On My Way

June 26, 2017

Well this is it, the last weekly email I’ll send as a full-time missionary. It is crazy for me to think how fast everything has gone, but I’m excited and giddy to be back home with everyone. I decided for my homecoming talk that I will make it more on the spiritual side, so I will answer some of the “typical” homecoming talk questions for my last weekly email.

  1. What will you miss most?

Besides the people of course, I will miss how convenient Taiwan is. It’s a close and compact country that makes everything pretty easy for you.

  1. What will you miss least?

Sewers. I love Taiwan and just about everything about it, but I could do without the smell of raw sewage from time to time.

  1. Favorite food from Taiwan?

Taiwanese curry with fried pork cutlet. Taiwanese curry is taken from Japan. It’s not very spicy but it is pretty sweet. Very delicious! Also, Taiwanese fruit is unreal.

  1. Favorite area?

Serving in the small islands of Penghu was a pretty surreal experience.

  1. Favorite ward?

I loved serving in the Daya ward in Taichung. It was like a typical, strong ward in the U.S., and I have tons of friends there.

  1. Favorite mission scripture?

1 Corinthians 13

  1. Unique to Taiwanese missionary work?

We do all of our finding on the streets. Almost none of the missionary-found converts come through tracting. Most of the people that I contacted and taught were found at convenient stores or beside me on my bike at a red light.

  1. Greatest change?

Spirituality aside, it’s gotta be that I’m not picky anymore.

  1. Greatest life lesson?

Obedience and diligence are keys to success as a missionary.

  1. Unique to the country you served?

Taiwan is not considered a country by 95% of the rest of the world. They think it’s part of China. It’s not.

  1. Biggest regret?

I have no regrets, but looking back I realize I could have been even more diligent and obedient.

  1. Greatest success?

I was a happy missionary. I never let circumstances or disappointment make me unhappy.

  1. Tips for future missionaries?

Read Preach My Gospel!

  1. What is Taiwan like economically?

I would say that most Taiwanese people would be considered lower middle class in America. About 5% are upper class and very wealthy. That’s what you get with a fiscally social country, right? #FreeCollegeForAll #Bernie2020

  1. Are you scared or hesitant to go home?

 

Consider the lyrics from “On My Way” (Phil Collins) from Disney’s Brother Bear:

Tell everybody I’m on my way

New friends and new places to see

With blue skies ahead, yes

I’m on my way

And there’s nowhere else that I’d rather be

 

Tell everybody I’m on my way

And I’m loving every step I take

With the sun beating down, yes

I’m on my way

And I can’t keep this smile off my face

 

Cause there’s nothing like seeing

Each other again

No matter what the distance between

And the stories that we tell

Will make you smile

Oh it really lifts my heart

 

So tell ‘em all I’m on my way!

穆長老

Elder Sam Moody

 

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Only days left

July 2, 2017

Sunday nights have become a sacred part of the Sabbath day for our family. Every night for two years we have anxiously awaited Sam’s email home. His Monday morning (P-day) is our Sunday night. Tonight we won’t receive an email because Sam will be on a train to the mission office. He will weigh his luggage, have a final interview with his mission president, attend a career workshop and attend a devotional at the mission home. He will spend Monday night at the mission home.

Sam and the other departing missionaries will board a bus to Taipei first thing on Tuesday morning where they will do some sightseeing and have lunch. They will participate in a 2:30 p.m. temple session, take photos, have some free time and then spend the night in temple housing.

Taipei Taiwan Temple patron housing

On Wednesday morning a bus will transport the missionaries from the Taipei Temple grounds to the airport. Sam will spend 17 hours in the air, and will fly to Hong Kong, Los Angeles and then arrive in Las Vegas just 5.5 hours after leaving Taiwain (if you forget the time change).

We’ll greet Sam in our custom made Taiwan t-shirts with the flag on the front and our familial relationship to Sam on the back in Chinese, a tradition we’ve done with all the kids so far.

Artwork for Taiwan t-shirts

We can’t wait to see him and are incredibly proud that he chose to sacrifice two years of his life to serve the Lord.

Todd & Dee

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Evening with Elder Peter F. Meurs of the Seventy

June 19, 2017

Hello! Getting emails and photos of all my friends returning home from their missions—most of whom left after me—is driving me a little crazy, but the finish line is definitely in sight so I’m working as hard as I can!

First off, happy b-day and Father’s Day to Dad! Love you, and thank you for all you do.

I had two highlights this week, and both were on Saturday.1. On Saturday morning we had a ward activity where we made rice dumplings. Rice dumplings sound like a regular food, but they are really gross. They use this special kind of rice and then they put pig fat, duck egg yolks, and overcooked mushrooms inside. It was fun making them though.2.  Elder Peter F. Meurs of the Seventy, a counselor in the Asia Area Presidency, spent the eveniong with Elder Thorup and me doing visits! We spent about two hours in the car with him, and I prodded him with all sorts of questions. He taught me a lot and one piece of advice for a missionary with two weeks left was, “Give it all you got!”

I read from 2 Nephi all the way to the end of the Book of Mormon this week! The book is true.

Love you all!

穆長老

Elder Sam Moody

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“Time flies like an arrow”

June 12, 2017

The Chinese proverb “Time flies like an arrow” is my reality. This is my third to last email.

Weeks are starting to feel a little bit longer, and the trunkiness has definitely set in. I’m just trying to soak up my last remaining moments on the mission while mentally preparing myself for a big change.

Tainan Dragon Boat Festival

The work is going wonderfully. Not too many investigators are progressing right now, but we’re working hard.

Two days ago I decided I wanted to read the Book of Mormon again before I’ve been reading a lot. I haven’t been able to sleep much latel, so I just stay up at night reading. I’m already in Alma. I’ll definitely be able to get through it again! I love that book! Whenever I have doubts or worries about the gospel, if I read the Book of Mormon my questions are answered every time! READ THE BOOK!

Love you all! See you soon.

穆長老

Elder Sam Moody

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It’s raining

June 5, 2017

Well, I have exactly one month left. This week it rained a lot. Taiwan is almost underwater at this point.

穆長老

Elder Sam Moody

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First week of my last transfer

May 29, 2017

Hi everyone! This week was a great! It was the first week of my last transfer which feels pretty weird.

This last P-day we went to Chimei Museum. It’s one of the most famous museums in Asia, but since I’m the least cultured person on the planet I just laughed at the naked statues for the first 30 minutes and then got bored.

We have two investigators on goal right now. One is really progressing great and has already been to church a few times. We just need to teach him all the commandments and he”ll be ready for baptism. The other is progressing but slower, so pray for him!

This week we went to a missionary activity for the youth in the stake. It really helped me see how far I’ve come in the past two years. It made me incredibly grateful for my time out here on the mission.

This week I took the invite from Nephi to “liken” the scriptures unto me so I started writing some renditions of my favorite scriptures:

1 Corinthians 13

  • Though I speak in the tongue of Chinese and in Taiwanese, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
  • And though I have the gift of discernment, and understanding all my investigators concerns, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could baptize weekly, and have not charity, I am nothing.
  • And though I bestow all my time to serve Taiwan, and though I do not give my fake money to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

You should try it too!

Love you all!

穆長老

Elder Sam Moody

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Reflections on my mission

May 22, 2017

When asked “What will you miss most about your mission?,” most missionaries respond, “The people.” As cliche as it sounds, it’s true; the people we serve–the members, other missionaries, and especially companions–open our hearts in a way that we never expected before being set apart as a full-time missionary. Instead of talking about the investigators and converts I’ve met and grown to love as a missionary, I want to talk about my companions and what I’ve learned from them.

1.Elder Ethan Starkweather was my companion in the MTC. He’s from Dallas, Texas. Elder Starkweather is a convert to the Church, and has a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. I heard him testify many times that he is a member of the Church because of the Book of Mormon. Despite being a convert, Elder Starkweather is a scholar of scripture, and understood the Standard Works better than most missionaries who are lifetime members. Im forever grateful to have served with Elder Starkweather; he taught me that our most effective tool for conversion is the Book of Mormon.

2. Elder Jack Varvel trained me in Tainan. He’s from Greenwich, Connecticut. One of my fondest memories of Elder Varvel was watching “The District” with him. I’ll never forget the “Exhortation for Jynx to read the Book of Mormon” segment. Elder Varvel watched this video so many times that he had every word memorized, including the actors’ movements. It was as if Elder Moreno were sitting right next to me. Elder Varvel mouthed the words and mimicked the missionary’s hand movements, including clutching the Book of Mormon between his hands while testifying that his entire message hinged on that book. Elder Varvel was a terrific teacher. He embraced Preach My Gospel, especially Chapter 10, and taught me how to study, rely on the Spirit, and use the lesson of trial and error to make myself better.

3. My “breaker” was Elder Dominic Stringham from Layton, Utah. I’ve never met a missionary better than him at following-up with investigators. I believe it is because he fixated less on the application, and more on the doctrine. Far and away, his favorite shoe brand is Sketchers, yet for the sake of literary device I jump to his second because when it comes to following up with investigators you’ve got to be like Nike; “Just do it.”

4. My first companion on the islands was Elder Jarron Ahfua from Taylorsville, Utah. Elder Ahfua loved learning and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t anomalous to spend half of companion study hearing Elder Ahfua’s rehearsing the symbols in Revelations 2:15. He was superb with his studies, and more sensational was how willing he was to share with companions everything he knew. He empowered me, made me a better student and helped prepare me to train and lead.

5. Elder Orin Duffin from Idaho Falls was my second companion in Penghu. We came together as budding, eager missionaries and while we were together we found 11 souls that would find their way into the Kingdom through the waters of baptism. I’ve thought a lot about why were so successful during our short time together, and decided that it was the result of our combined faith. It takes faith to find.

6. I was transferred to Douliu where I served with Elder Lin Xiu Yi from Taoyuan. The Lord knew that my Chinese needed some polishing and allowed me to serve with Elder Yi. I will always be grateful for what I learned from him. Elder Lin’s Chinese was up-to-par and he loved me enough to teach me. It’s Chineasy as that.

7. Elder Lincoln Westcott was my first trainee. He’s from Alpine, Utah. If he were a Buddhist he’d have already attained nirvana because he has a profound understanding of life, more specifically the Gospel. I believe that knowledge is power, but what I learned from Elder Westcott is that knowledge comes through understanding. We must not expect our investigators have an understanding that transcends our own. We must understand what we teach.

8. Elder Hagen Jensen from Holladay, Utah was my next companion. Mission lore suggests that I called him “Caiaphas” for the first few months of our time together in order to wring-out every last drop of self-righteous in him. To set the record straight, Elder Jensen is one of the most Christ-like people I’ve ever met. He lives and breathes Chapter 6 of “Preach My Gospel”.

9. Next was Elder Jonathan Poon from Sandy, Utah. Elder Poon once told me that working with the ward is working with the Lord. Side-by-side he taught me that it’s true; missionaries who learn to work with members are successful missionaries.

10. Last and certainly least, Elder Thorup from West Valley, Utah. Elder Thorup arrived in Taiwan, knowing exactly why he’s here and what he wants to accomplish. This knowledge led to an immediate potency and influence in the companionship. Effective missionaries must understand and act on their purpose.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my mission presidents.

President Blickenstaff: During interviews with President Blickenstaff he would grade you based on the quality of your Planner, and that grade weighed heavily on his decision making.  I’m most grateful President Teh does not continue that praxis; nevertheless, President Blickenstaff taught me the importance of planning and goal setting is. It weighs heavily on the work.

President Teh: When transfer night rolls around I suggest you grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show. 不用 predictions…they’re always wrong. President Teh most assuredly heeds the Spirit’s guidance. I know because seemingly ill-fated transfers have led to miracles. I have learned from President Teh to seek the Spirit, and act on those promptings, despite how it may look to everyone else.

It took 10 companions and two mission presidents to learn the lessons outlined above. Interestingly, these are all principles and lessons that can be learned through studying and exercising the truths taught in “Preach My Gospel”. Be a converted Preach My Gospel Missionary.

I had to learn to love, serve and listen to my companion. No matter how great two missionaries in a companionship may be on their own, they can only be truly effective missionaries when they are united and can act as one, not two.

I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Christ’s final message to his disciples was “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all the things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” How grateful I am to be one of his disciples and to do my small part to feed His sheep. In the Taiwan Taichung Mission we heed the Savior’s petition to teach repentance and baptize converts.

I say that in His name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

 

 

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