Favorite Scripture

Favorite Scripture:

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 37:37)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Leave Our Nets Behind

Dear Family,
Wow, another week down.  I can't believe it has already been a month here.  At times I really can't remember not being here and at times I can't believe I have been here so long. It is very hard to explain.  haha! Chinese feels like It has slowed down... Its getting harder to learn I feel like... but it’s not as overwhelming.  I have a goal this week of speaking nearly only ZhongWen and trying to memorize all the words I need in the First Three lessons.  I can teach the first lesson with no notes, no problem.  The plan of Salvation is a lot tougher.  However, our teacher was telling us about the Plan of Salvation and teaching it- he also served in Taizhong - but he was likening teaching the plan of salvation to trying to explain baseball bunt coverages or some sport lingo to someone who has never heard anything about it.  You just can't go into depth like you want to.  ...but that doesn't mean you can't help them understand and fall in love with the game, or in this case the gospel.  So starting off with Adam and Eve, they don't know anything about that... so there is no reason to confuse.  However the story is very important.  That is why we are all able to choose for ourselves and that is why the atonement has been given to us. 

So he taught us to just keep it simple.  Even if it is just, Adam and Eve were our first parents sent down to this earth.  Because they like us were subject to temptation and making mistakes, Our Heavenly Father created a perfect plan, a plan that allows us to be forgiven when we mess up.  ....So something like that.  It gets the point across and helps them kind of gather that Adam and Eve were our first parents and it leads right into our mortal life and the Atonement.  It can be just as powerful.  The ultimate goal is to get these investigators to church where they can feel of the Savior's love and better understand in depth these topics.  ...however, that is the thing I have realized in this gospel.  It is so simple.  When teaching, we truly must bring it to the level of a small child... The gospel is most effective when even we as members remember how simple the gospel is, and the simplicity of prayer and scriptures and obedience.  It has been a neat thing being able to teach these things in their most simple forms.  They have helped me even more. 

To answer a couple of your questions from the emails... I actually have Hosted twice already and actually sing in the devotional choir every Sunday! The choir director is amazing.  He shares the most incredible stories.  He shared one a couple weeks ago about the song sweet hour of prayer.  I always thought that was kind of a stupid song... haha kinda bad to say i know! I just knew it was the easiest to learn in the Hymm book... haha but he shared a story that changed me.  The person who wrote this song was blind, and was his whole life.  He had a man read him the bible every day and this blind man memorized the bible. He actually memorized the Bible.  Amazing.  He wrote this song.  Listen to the words... " in seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief. " Wow... can you imagine being blind.  This man truly learned the importance of prayer.  He then went on to tell us a story about his wife almost dying... and in his last effort cried to Heavenly Father.  He then told us that we would find ourselves in this situation someday if we haven't already.  Where we would have to call upon our Heavenly Father in desperate need.  This is the sweet hour of prayer. Amazing. ...so yeah... haha i kinda like choir. ;)

Sunday during personal study I began reading about John the Baptist.  I find him truly amazing.  I wondered where he got the power to Baptize Christ.  I then found that he was ordained when he was only 8 days of age by an angel.. haha. Pretty neat huh?? One of the most powerful things that I read was how he prepared the way for the Savior and he himself had a lot of followers himself.  Then when Christ came, all his followers followed Christ.  Naturally, that was what he was doing. Preparing them for Christ.  What struck me was that Christ then called his apostles and John, the man who prepared the way for Christ and had a ton of followers wasn't called as an Apostle, and at least two and probably more of the people he taught became Christ's apostles.  Here John was, prepared the way, trained Christ's apostles and then baptized Christ and wasn't chosen.  This is what I love.  It said that John had no feelings of jealousy or anger.  Wow.  He then was sent to prison and later beheaded.  Christ says about John that he was one of the greatest prophets to ever live.  Wow.  The Savior said that.  To me John the Baptist knew his role as a missionary and thrived.  Man... I thought that was so awesome.  

The last thing I wanted to share was when Christ told Andrew and Peter to follow him, they right away left their nets.  Their nets could have very well been their lively hood, and they left them right away to follow Christ.  Notice how it didn't say that they folded up their nets and took them home, they left them and followed Christ.  This is like the mission.  There can't be a lot of time to look back, or fold up our nets.  We don't take our nets with us... we follow Christ and ask others we teach to do the same.  I loved that.  That was in Mathew chapter 4 btw. 

This week has been great, Elder Lloyd is amazing.  He has gotten me through some rough days.  I am so lucky to have a best friend like him (here at the same time learning the same difficult language)!  My district is doing great.  We are super close and love to play 'would you rather' at lunch. Hahaha usually this revolves around disney movies! hahaha I love them all.  

I love you guys!! Keep the faith and always know that the Atonement is perfect and can and will cover us all.  It has the power to make us strong beyond belief.  I am still learning this.  I love you guys!!! 

Love always, 

Elder Redding

Monday, August 18, 2014

Learning Taiwan Style!

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week has flown by again! We get another couple districts this week in our zone! So we will no longer be the youngest! It is going great here!! I love this work! So, I will do a better job writing things down during the week so that I can remember more, because all the days start to mix together! I will do that this week!! Every Saturday we have what is called TRC.  In TRC we have 2 20 min lessons with active church members.  Except in our case they all speak Chinese.  A lot of them are RM's, but some are Natives.  It's one of my favorite parts. So we were able to teach and learn with some Natives from Taiwan!! It was a lot harder because usually the TRC people are super nice and help you in English.  haha the Natives hardly spoke English at all!!! They were SOOOO nice, it was just a lot harder because they spoke faster and in a Taiwanese accent.  It was like the best thing for us though! I am so glad we got paired with them because that was so helpful.  The more native speakers I can hear the better!!

On Friday we taught a lesson to L, and it went really well.  He told us that when he reads the Book of Mormon he knows it is true.  The week before we asked him to read 2nd Nephi 9, and he told us that it gave him a lot of comfort because his mom had passed away and that she would be resurrected.  
The language is coming along... slow but steady.  hahaha, just like usual.  Just when I think I can't get more humbled... I do. hahaha!!! It is great though. This week we have 4 lessons planned and two TRC lessons planned!! It should be great!! Things are really ramping up!! I love it!! 
Thank you guys for all your letters.  I love them.  I am glad to hear everything is going well!! I love you all so much!! 


Elder Redding
Elder Varvel & Elder Redding after
appointment to doc for Elder Varvel's arm.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Chinese is Tough!!!

Hey Family!!
Another week in the books! This week was a very tough week! It flew by, but the language was really tough! It was filled with some great experiences though! On Tuesday we taught our new investigator, and on Wednesday we taught him again.  It went well.  Still have a hard time understanding all the time.. haha so i just have to ask if they well repeat, and repeat, and repeat!! hahaha! We had a good lesson on that this week.  That when we don't understand, don't pretend like you do, because it is obvious when we don't and pretend like we do.  All that does for the investigators is let them know that we really don't care what they have to say! Our teacher told us that the people of Taiwan are very patient and they know that we are trying, they won't get frustrated when we ask them to say it again.  So that was some good advice. I used that a ton!  This week was tough, but on Friday during personal study I was reading in 2nd Nephi 9 and when I read verses 21, and 22 I had this thought that even though this isn't a trial and it is a huge opportunity for me to learn this language, it is still one of the hardest things that I have ever done.  There have been days I have felt horrible about the language and my learning, but it came to me when I read that, that on top of everything that Christ suffered for, He also took these feelings upon himself as well, just so that I would have the opportunity to draw closer to my Heavenly Father.  On top of everything he suffered, he even suffered so that I could have an opportunity that would benefit me and bring me closer to My Heavenly Father.  I found that so comforting.  That meant everything to me.
Looking Stunned on the Floor of our Chinese Study!!!
At the Temple with Elder Lloyd!!!
On a funny note, our teacher was telling us about a time when he mixed up his words with a brand new investigator, and wanted him to read a scripture with them.  He meant to say 1st Nephi 3:7 hahaha and on accident he said 3rd Nephi 3:7 hahahah you will have to read it!!!! It seems like whenever you mess up the words the wrong thing always comes out!!! It has happened to me! The best was Elder Shurtleff and Elder Tatton, haha they switched times with the sisters because they were feeling sick, and when they got there the investigator asked where the sisters were.  They tried to say that the sisters felt sick and couldn't come, but on accident said, " Jie mei men si wang" which meant that the sisters died! hahahahah!!! we died laughing at that! we still do!
I had the opportunity of giving a talk on Sunday.  In English luckily! It was for the kitchen staff. it went well! My companion and I volunteered.  Besides that everything is going great! I love this work, and it is amazing to be a missionary! I love you all and it is always amazing to hear from you guys! Keep the faith always.
Love always, 
Elder Redding (Hong Zhang Lao)

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Amazing MTC District

My Awesome MTC District - Taiwan, Taichung Bound!!!

Dear Family,

Elder Shurtleff After a Long Day of Mandarin!!
Man, this week has flown by!! It’s crazy!! Sorry I have such limited time. This week has been really good. The language is still as tough as ever, but it is supposed to be that way!  I see Elder Lloyd daily, that is always so nice for me. The work here is very hard! I study Zhong Wen for at least 8 hours a day, it is tough, and then the rest is devoted to either zhong wen or gospel study.  It is great though.  I love my district.  They really are like family! We do everything together!  Elder Shurtleff in our district is so funny! He is this big guy who went to West Point! He has the kindest heart and the funniest personality! He loves cartoons and he just has the funniest sense of Humor!  We get along really well!

We have some very talented district members! They are all amazing at music! It’s really neat, sometimes at night after class during additional study time our whole district will find a chapel and someone will play the piano and others sing while we read scriptures.  It is much needed some days and really refreshing!  I am liking learning Chinese!! It gets really daunting and scary at times thinking about it, but studying it I already have a love for the Asian people!  Even though this work is so tough, it is so joyful to think that there are people waiting and being prepared right now half way around the world to hear this message!! It gives me a lot of joy thinking about that... That this message will change their eternity! It motivates me to work harder than I ever have before so that I can be ready to relay that message and help them find a happiness that they never thought possible.  Even if it is only one, I find that so amazing! It makes me just already love the people of Taiwan!  

This week was Fast Sunday and I decided to bear my testimony.  Our sacrament meeting is with our whole zone, so about 60 people.  You have to do it in Chinese, so that was cool! I bore my testimony in Chinese! It was very simple. The other thing that was really cool is that I could understand everyone who was bearing their testimony! It was a really neat day.

We have two teachers now for language! We have our first who is a returned missionary who served in Taiwan and W, who is actually from Taiwan and she doesn't speak much English!  It’s super hard to understand her... she only talks in Chinese for the whole three hours!  It is so hard to understand.  It was very discouraging the first day, but I have come to realize what a blessing it is to have her teaching us!  It will give us a whole 7 weeks of practice listening and trying to understand someone who is actually from Taiwan.  Which is very rare!  It’s super hard, but really cool!! I actually volunteered in class for her to teach me a lesson in front of everyone.  I understood a lot more than I thought I would!! It is so hard though!  It was really neat!!
I love you guys!! I love your emails and your letters! They really are a great reminder of the blessing I have to have the gospel and the most amazing family in the world.  I love you guys so much!! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now!!  This is going to be a great week! Let’s go get it!



Elder Redding