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, September 29, 2014

A Chinese Miracle!

Family and Friends,

This week has flown by!! The work here is great!  It is very humbling.  We sure do have an easy life.  There are many people who struggle and every single day is a battle.  It makes me very grateful for the life I have.  Neither of us know the ward members, but we are starting to get the ball rolling a little bit and have some great opportunities this week.  

This week as we were walking to a lesson, we saw this lady sitting on these steps smoking.  As we passed I said hi and smiled at her and she smiled back.  As we passed, I thought we should go and talk to her... haha but I let it pass because I see everyone and have that feeling!! hahaha  but we went to another guy's door and he wasn't home.  So as we walked back and my companion asked how her day was, and then she started asking about the church.  It was really neat, we basically gave her the whole first lesson in a nutshell and I talked to her about the Book of Mormon and asked her to read it.  She then was telling us how she was really tired lately because she has been moving, so naturally I just asked her if she would like help this week.  She said that would be great. and then we asked If we could come meet with her again.  She said that would be great and she gave us her number.  Now, this sounds kinda dumb, but it is very rare here to get a street contact like that.  It was really neat, because most people here on the streets don't like to talk about the church.  A lot of people will swear really loud when we walk by.. just to make sure that we won't talk to them.  haha and if we say hi or something... most will say hi back... others will ignore us, hahah others will randomly say something religious just to try and show that they already have religion.  It gets funny sometimes.  The people in our apartment complex look out for us.  They like having the missionaries live by them.  

Enjoying a Chinese Dinner after Splits Courtesy of Some Generous Members
This last Thursday when we got home, it was dark and there were like 10 cops surrounding our apartment and caution tape all around and an ambulance.  So we proceeded to go toward our apartment and went inside.  And our whole backyard was taped off and everything.  I guess that there was a stabbing like 30 min before... Idk what happened to the guy, they took him to the emergency room.  There was a cop standing outside our back door all night to make sure that the guy didn't come back.  It was different than anything I have ever experienced.  hahah that doesnt happen at home!

Anyway, Sunday was really cool! We went to church, Oatfield Ward and the people there are awesome.  It was the primary program.  It was cool, and after we met the McDonald's who we were going to have dinner with that night.  They are a really young family and are super cool.  They saw my name tag and got really excited, haha i didn't know why at first, but then she told me that they just got a foreign exchange student from Mainland China who is living with them for the next couple months until she gets an apartment because she is teaching Chinese here.  So she was like " we are having Chinese food tonight" haha and so I went over and talked to her for like an hour and a half and even got the chance to teach her the first lesson in Chinese.  I think she really liked it because she hasn't been able to speak Chinese much. It was honestly so cool.  I asked her if she could help me every week with my Chinese and told her that next time I would give her a Chinese Book of Mormon.  It was neat.  I hope that before I leave I can help her.  I hope that she can feel the spirit of this gospel.  That was seriously the best Chinese I have ever spoken in my life.  I even had basic conversations with her!! Without the spirit there is no way that I could have done that.  I have been so blessed with this language.  I have so much to learn and so much I don't understand... but I know that without the spirit, I could barely say a prayer.  

Keep up the great work everyone!!  


Elder Redding

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Day in Portland! Amazing!!!

Dear Family,

What an amazing experience I am about to have here in Portland.  You are never going to believe where I am serving... I AM SERVING IN THE EXACT SAME WARD THAT WE VISITED!!! hahaha I am serving in Elder Cantrells old area!! I am in his old apartment!!  The one we visited!! It is so crazy! I can't even believe it.  It has to be the weirdest thing ever.  hahaha! like... I was here in the exact area in the exact church I am right now writing this 2 months ago!!!  I cannot even believe it.  So I will go sunday to the ward that Elder Cantrell and I bore our testimony at 2 months ago.

Elder Redding and Elder Cantrell
New Missionaries

With New Arriving Missionaries

Elder Redding with President and Sister Ballard
Mission Pres and Mission Mom - Portland, OR Mission
When we got here we went to the temple first and took pictures then went to the stake center and met our Trainers.  He is awesome.  He is very laid back but obedient.  Haha he prays that every day we will have fun.  I think that is so cool.  We are out here doing this work and it is meant to be joyful and fun.  I love that.  We meet with the ward mission leader tonight and the bishop.  I am way excited.  

President Ballard and his wife are awesome!!  He is so cool.  He just seems to understand missionaries.  He is awesome.  I am so grateful for this opportunity.  When President Ballard introduced me to my trainer he said.. " there is a Chinese woman in your area that you need to teach the gospel."  ...no pressure.  hahah with my 9 weeks of Chinese. I hope that when I meet her that I will be able to teach with power and testimony.  I am excited.  

With President and Sister Ballard
At the Beautiful Portland Temple
It is so cool, right when we moved into our apartment, within the first minute this guy came up and offered to help, I said yes and he helped and then just came up to us and told us that he wanted us to help his daughter.  He told us he used to be a member and wants us to help his daughter so that she can find the right friend group at school.  It was a neat first experience.  We had never even met this man.  

Love you all.

Love always, 

Elder Redding

Elder Redding and Elder Lloyd with MTC Companions Before Leaving MTC

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pictures Taken by MTC District Sister - Yahoo!!!

Fortunately, one of Tanner's district members, Sister Wawro, sends pictures home that are posted on her blog - so, that makes it so we can get a "visual". Between her, Sister Cardon and Elder Lloyd, thankfully we've been able to grab some pictures because Tanner isn't great at sending pictures to us! Hope he's taking plenty of them.

I mentioned in a letter that I was grateful that his friends at the MTC take pictures and send them home! Tanner must have let them know so, Sister Wawro had pity on me and sent extras this week! Yahoo!!!  Now they have all left the MTC so we may be in trouble getting pics in the future.
Elder Redding with his FANTASTIC MTC District
Prior to leaving for their U.S. Assignments

4 Square is a staple for having fun and releasing a little tension at the MTC
Looks a little competitive!
What a scenic backdrop for exercise!

Elder Redding on his 19th Birthday!

Breakfast with MTC District Friends

Cleaning - dangerous duty!

Goofing around - these four would tap their foot and switch legs crossed
every time someone would walk by. Fun memories!

Caption from Sister Wawro:
"I leave my camera alone for 5 minutes and I come back to find
 them all posing for an album cover... #thestruggleisreal"

District with their great teacher, Wu JieMie/Lao Shi.
She is our Taiwanese teacher. She is awesome!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Xinde ZhaoHuan!!!!!‏

(Note:  The  Taichung, Taiwan District received their new, temporary assignments and got to email parents the news! Wonderful! Our family visited Portland during the summer and Tanner loved it there. He kept saying he wanted to stay longer - little did he know that three months later he would get his wish in a round about way!)
Hey Family!!!! I just got my temporary mission call!! I am going to serve in the ... ... ... ... dah dah dah daaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!  Oregon Portland Mission!!  I AM SO EXCITED!!!  I can't even wait!!! Holy cow!! I am like dying! haha, I am so exited!! We were just there!!  I am going to know my way around the city!! ;) 

I leave Monday Morning at 8:44! I have to be at the travel office at 4:30.  I am so excited!! Isn't that Elder Cantrell's mission??? He is probably going to train me.. hahahah!!!  This is sweet!! Sure do love you guys! 
Elder Redding and Elder Lloyd - Birthday Week for Both!!!
Elder Redding (SS) with friend and teammate Elder Stringfellow (1B)
Shortstop and 1st Base Connecting Again!!!
The New Classroom!!!
MTC Zone

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Spirit is Very Quiet

Dear Family and Friends,

Hey guys!!! How are things going back home?? This week has been another great week.  Mom, to answer your question about the skype... it went really well!  We have another one today around 5:30! haha... they are always a little scary going in because it’s really hard, but they are always so rewarding.  A quick update on the Visa!  We received a notice last week in the mail that our Visa has not come yet and that we would receive our temporary call assignment next Thursday or Friday!  So in a few days I will get to open a whole new mission call! ;) haha kinda cool!  Also, that day I get to email you guys and let you know what the plan is and when I am scheduled to leave and where!! So look forward to that this week!  

This week has been great.  It has been a big learning week in Chinese.  Learning Chinese is full of HUGE ups and downs.  When you are learning this language you have to learn to not be hard on yourself and not compare.  Only work hard and trust in the Lord.  This last week has been a really good one with the language.  I had a cool experience in one of our lessons, WuJieMei was giving us a lesson and she only speaks in Chinese.  By now... I usually know what is going on... there are always words that she throws in that I haven't heard, but usually I am able to guess the meaning based on the context and the other words I understand. but.. back to the story!  She was giving us a lesson on putting the world behind us.  She told us to get out a pen and paper and draw ourselves holding an arrow.  We did and then she began to tell us that we need to bury our weapons of war (the things that might hold us back) just like in the Book of Mormon.  She asked us to list those weapons that we haven't buried yet and told us that we needed to bury them now!  I was able to list a lot more than I thought.  I was only being honest with myself and my Heavenly Father.  He let me know what I still needed to bury.  It was really neat though, because it was all in Chinese and I truly felt the Spirit. My Chinese may not be perfect, but I know that the Holy Ghosts Chinese is amazing.  ( Wo de zhongwen bu wanmei de, danshi shengling de zhongwen feichanghao!) It gave me confidence in learning this language and burying anything that is holding me back.  
Elder Redding and Elder Stuart - Selfie on a Rare Outdoor Moment!
Another cool experience this week!  Last week as we came back from dropping Elder Varvel's package off from the room and were heading to class we passed TangZhangLao and ShiZhangLao (Elder Tatton and Elder Shurtleff)  Elder Shurtleff was in the Army, so we gave him this funny little salute! haha Then this guy came up to us and was laughing because he was in the military before. This guy is a Gold Tag investigator, meaning that his job is to just wander around and missionaries can teach them and set up appt. with him.  Gold Tag investigators are not Members, so this is a real life opportunity.  We got talking to him, and I had the impression to ask him if we could meet with him and shared that we are probably going to serve in the states first and need some practice teaching in English.  He said that would be awesome!  (Usually foreign speakers don't teach Gold tags because they are just too busy with the language)  So we went to the appt. and he wasn't there.  It was kinda sad, because i knew we only had 2 weeks left and probably wouldn’t be able to meet with him again or see him.  I really thought that Elder Varvel and I could help him... haha just like every missionary does.  So that happened last Monday, later that week we were going back to the classroom from lunch and went a different way... we never go this way.  We ran into him!  We saw him and set up another lesson.  We got to the lesson and shared about our loving Heavenly Father and he told us that he was atheist most of his life but got really messed up in a bunch of stuff and went to the Catholic Church.  So we built on that and built on feelings that had helped that dealt with God.  We then shared about the restoration and that many churches even now days have great truths, but we were able to testify that this church has the fullness of truth and that it literally is the exact same church that Christ set up while he was on this earth.  He asked us if we always knew we wanted to come on a mission... I don't know why, but I knew I had to share a scripture with him... I didn't know what one.  In my mind popped, "fear not little flock, do good."  I didn't know where it was... but I needed to share it.  I thought I remembered that it was in the D&C, so i flipped there and I went right to it. I had it highlighted and everything.  I shared it, and told him that I realize I didn't know why I came at first.  I thought I did when I came out, but I told him once I read this scripture, I knew why I came.  I knew because it helped me so much in a time where I felt at the low of lows.  Right after he asked where that was and said, "that is so interesting you share that right now."  He then opened up to us for like 10 minutes about his life and hard things in it. He shared some experiences and I hurt for him when he shared with us because I could see he was hurt.  He began to cry and thanked me for sharing the scripture.  I learned that the spirit is very quiet.  I am working harder to better understand it.  Sometimes we don't even realize it is speaking to us until after. 

I love you guys, and love this work.  I will let you know in a few days with my new call :D


Elder Redding

Monday, September 8, 2014

Potential Delay on Taiwan Visa

Dear Family,

Hello Everyone!  Things are going great here!! We just keep on chugging along.  We had some interesting news this week though.  The older districts going to Taiwan are having some issues with their visa applications.  They changed the Visa app process for Taiwan recently.  So the older district is getting reassigned this week to serve for a transfer in the U.S.  ....We might be in the same boat.  It is looking very probable that we might have the same thing happen.  We aren't sure though.  We are still very in the dark.  From everything I have heard we are probably going to end up in the same boat.  That is okay though.  I know that because of that it is going to be very hard with the language and not using it for 6 weeks, but I think it is a very cool opportunity to serve for a transfer in the U.S.  ....Really, it isn't preferable, but I am not too stressed about it.  The work is the same everywhere.  It doesn't matter if we are here or half way around the world.  Notice how it says that the worth of ONE soul is great in the site of God.  It doesn't say that the worth of the people of Taiwan's souls are more important  in the sight of God, It doesn't say that the worth of the souls in Florida are more great, It says that the worth of ONE soul is great.  No matter where we are.  It would be tough, no doubt. However, I know that it would be amazing.  

This week has been really good,  I am going to start working on memorizing D&C 4 this week I think.  That should be tough.  I also have a goal that by the time I leave I will memorizing 30 words a day... Its going to be crazy tough.. but I think with the Lords help I can do it. 
Elder Lloyd (Singapore), Elder Jowers (Armenia), Elder Redding (Taiwan)
Great Buddies Leaving Soon to Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ
(Seeing them together is more joyful than it was to watch them play ball together)

Elder Lloyd and Elder Redding - Their Second Fast Sunday together in the MTC
wearing the matching ties that four of their other friends wear every Fast Sunday in
 Nicaragua, Pennsylvania, Equador and Samoa

Later today we actually have a skype with people from Taiwan.  They are members... so that is nice! haha but they don't speak any English and our lesson has to be 40 min... hahah so.. We are going to be relying on the Lord a lot.  haha!  

There was a really cool thought this week about these last two weeks and trials. I had this thought about our trials that we all go through.  Its a lot like the 4th Quarter in a football game.  That is a lot of the time the time you feel like giving up, the time you feel the most tired, the times you feel exhausted and feel like you can't stand.  These are our trials! When I look at every game I have played in... the most glorious victories always happen in the fourth quarter.  You don't remember the victories where you killed the team and it was over in the first quarter.  They are nice, but the victories that stick out are the victories where you felt like giving up, where you were tired beyond belief, where you feel like you can't stand.  When you have given it all you had, the victory is always sweeter.  This is a lot like our trials.  The hardest trials in our life end up becoming the biggest learning experiences in our life.  They are the ones we fall back on.  They are the ones we remember. I love this.  Always remember that we are here to learn and grow.  We aren't here to skate by and just make it through.  If this is how it feels then something is wrong.  Days are supposed to be challenging.  However, days are supposed to be joyful.  This is where the atonement kicks in.  I had a very hard time understanding this for a long time.  How do we ever grow if we aren't being pushed?  How when we are being pushed and have trials are we supposed to maintain a joyful attitude?  

This is where the atonement comes in.  It seems impossible to connect the two, but with the atonement to connect the two it creates an atmosphere where we can learn in our trials and feel ultimate joy.  As I read in Jacob 5 I loved verse 21 ... i think... or 22? anyways It is Christ talking and he tells his servant basically: "council me not, for i knew that this ground was bad.  Yet I have nourished it, and it hath brought forth much fruit." This was so cool to me.  Christ's nourishment is the blessing of his atonement.  I think that this is so cool because Christ tells us that the blessing of his atonement can reach every single one of us.  No matter the ground we are planted on... or in other words our history.  I love that.  It also talks a lot about the roots in Jacob 5... the roots are our promises we make with God.  When we look at every promise we make with God, they all revolve around his son Jesus Christ.

We are so lucky to have our roots in Christ... they enable us to stand through our trials.  They give us strength, they boost us up.  This is how we are able to grow and progress and maintain a joyful attitude.  How can we not have a good attitude when we understand why we are able to stand and all the blessings we have because of Christ's atonement.  There will always be very tough times in life. Very hard challenges, but once we have finished that 4th quarter and are able to look back on the growth, there can always be joy.  Christ's atonement doesn't take away the pain, it makes it bearable. It is such an amazing thing.  I feel so lucky that I get to go and help others root themselves into Christ and His atonement.  So that when times get tough in their lives they know that through Christ they can stand.  Christ did the Atonement completely alone so that none of us would ever have to be alone. That was my main thought this week.  It was a really cool thing to me.  

Everything is going great!! This Chinese is so tough.... but it is so awesome!! 

I went to the temple this morning and thought about you guys a lot.  I sure do love you guys. 

Keep up the great work!  

Love Always, 

Elder Redding
Celebrating Elder Stuart's Birthday

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Chinese!

Dear Family,

Hey Guys!!! How in the world are ya??? Things are going great!! Today because of Labor Day we didn't have the temple... so that kinda stunk, but I got to write a lot of letters. This week has been great!! On Tuesday, it was a super good learning day!! Still trying to figure out this whole chinese thing! haha... but it is fun! I love this work.  My companion and I's lessons this week didn't go super well... :/ that was a little rough, but when Saturday rolled around and we had TRC, we had two awesome lessons!! In one of them there were three RM's one who served in Taiwan.  We invited them to share their testimony with someone this week.  They accepted, but it was really cool because I was able to testify about the power of testimony in Chinese and felt like it made a difference.  Sometimes it is hard to feel like you are making a difference when you are teaching members and when you are speaking a different language.  One thing that is so cool though is that with the Spirit anyone can feel a difference or a change in their state of being.  That is what the gospel offers.  Change for the better.  As saints, if we aren't changing from day to day for the better then we are not fully utilizing the blessing of the atonement and the gospel in our lives.  I have been changed by my MTC experience.  I hope to continue to change every day into the missionary and son that My Heavenly Father would have me be.  

I have been playing basketball recently... I think I am getting worse... haha.  I am also getting fat... haha! However, I am not too worried because I know that when I go to Taiwan in the heat and eating rice and veggies... I will probably lose more weight than I would like.  So... I think I am gonna continue to soak up the burgers and four square for the last 3 weeks.. ;) haha!  

I was able to hear from Mr. Wheadon this week!  What a great man.  It is people like Mr. Wheadon that keep you going and make you feel very loved. He also sent doughnuts!  My district LOVES him!!

I am sorry, these last few weeks I need to take more pics!!  I will!  These last few weeks are going to go by super fast... so I am going to take in every single thing that I can.

My Great MTC District on Temple Walk
We had a kinda interesting day on Thursday, Our teacher Ou Yang Laoshi had to switch classes... so that was tough.  I really liked him.  He was a real friend and brought the spirit into every lesson. We still have WuJieMei so that is good, but on Friday WuJieMei told us that our tones are really bad... It actually was really depressing and hard for our whole district.  We took a grammar and communication test... our results were poor. haha, but I think everyone’s are.  Anyways, after she told us that, we worked on tones for two hours... and made no real headway.  It was really hard for a lot of our district.  I kinda knew my tones were already bad... haha so I didn't get too down.  It hurt me to see everyone else down though.  It kinda scared me though.  I really don't know a ton of Chinese..  and in 3 weeks I will be in Taiwan... I think everyone at this point is a little nervous.  We just have to remember to rely on the Lord.  With the Lord, we can get our message across and not speak very well.  Without the Lord, we can't speak very well and our message doesn't get across. One thing I encouraged everyone to do was use this time these last three weeks very wisely.  I remembered hearing a quote " this isn't our time, it is the Lords time. "  That hit me really hard.  It makes me think every second if I am using my time wisely.  

I have thought a lot about football and the great lessons Coach Wall taught that are really life lessons.  I am so grateful to have had such amazing coaches and mentors in my life!!

Love you all!! 


Elder Redding