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, November 24, 2014

First Days in Taiwan and Pictures!

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow!! I am in Taiwan! hahaha! I LOVE IT HERE!! I am so grateful for the Savior and my sacred call as a missionary and the opportunity I have to share this message with the beautiful people of Taiwan.  Wow!! haha these last few days have been crazy, so I will do my best to answer questions and catch you all up to par! :) All of my MTC District received their visas so we’re here together!!!

Arrival at the Tapei Airport
The flight over was good!  I actually sat by this guy on my way to Tokyo who was from Taiwan.  Wow, he was so nice!!!  His english was awesome, because he has been studying in the U.S.! I got to talk to him a for like 4 hours straight.  I also got the opportunity to share about the Book of Mormon with him.  He actually is Christian... which is super rare.  It was really neat, and I also got to swap info with him... and I told him that if he was ever in Utah that he could stay with you guys... haha.  So... I hope that is okay!! hahaha! ;)  Anyways, when we got to Tokyo we had like a 4 hr layover and our whole MTC district met up and it was awesome!! We went and had noodles and shared stories! So great!! haha!  Then we got on the plane to Taiwan, and that was when I really felt immersed in the language! haha everyone spoke chinese.. and I had no idea what they were saying!!

With President and Sister Blickenstaff
We got off the plane and got our stuff and met mission president and his wife.  Crazy... haha the smell here was so different.  I am used to it now and LOVE it, but at the time it was so weird. We got on the bus and traveled like 2 hrs to Taicheng which is a big city, and we had a small devotional.  It was great!  I was so tired though. 

Elder Redding - 1st Morning in Taiwan at Mission Office
I stayed at the AP's home with Elder Varvel-MTC Companion.  That was super fun, and in the morning at like 6:30 he gets me up and is shaking me. haha, we didn't have to get up till 7 because we didn't get back till like 1, haha and he was like "Elder Redding, lets go running." haha that was fun.

I don't have a lot of time to go through all the details of everything, so I will tell the highlights.  The next two days were orientation type days.  We got to go out to eat and the food is different.  There are some things that I love!  other things that I will need to get used to.

The night before we met our trainers we went to dinner and they literally eat everyting..  haha Whole fish with scales and all!  haha and the chicken... head and all!! haha!  After dinner President got up and told us about Dan Jones, a missionary in the church.  He talked about him standing on a soap box... I thought uh oh.. haha so we went to the night market!  We all gathered around in the middle of everyone... It is packed of people everywhere and we sang a hymn and then we got up and shouted our testimony to everyone around!!! haha It was crazy!!  I got up and shouted it and got down and then this missionary ran up and grabbed me to go and start contacting people.  haha it felt so sureal!! It was so Awesome!!!!  I loved it.  We talked to people and I didn't understand a whole lot, but the Elder I was with was super nice and would tell me, share about the book of mormon, or share about prophets.  It was really neat. 

That night we got back and I fell asleep in my suit and all!! haha I was exhausted.

Lunch with New Trainers Just Prior to Heading to New Area
The next day we got our trainers!!  We went up to the very front and got a red envelope with our area and our trainers name in it.  I opened it and it said I would serve in DaKeng with Elder Munger!! Then he came up and gave me a hug.  After we went to lunch and then we were off!!  Elder Munger is great.  He is a stud... that is all I can say.  haha.  He is so obedient and is so patient with me.  haha he also is an animal with his workouts.  He is the most fit person I have ever met.  He is crazy... haha we get up at 6 and he wears a backpack with weights in it while he runs and does everything... haha and he also wears a gas mask!!! haha yes, a gas mask!! It makes it so its harder for him to breathe!! haha He is awesome! 

In DaKeng with Elder Munger and One of His New Coverts
We had lessons immediately and over the last two days we helped 3 people set baptismal dates.  I just love it here.  haha.  I don't know what else to say.  I love the people, the food, the smell, the gospel.  Everything. 

I am sorry this is such a crazy email, but I am trying to help you guys know what I am experiencing. 

The roads are crazy... haha there arent lanes and there a millions of scooters and cars going everywhere, haha and we just weave in and out of cars.  Its crazy.  We go full speed right by cars and reach our arms our and touch them... haha.  There really arent a whole lot of rules for traffic.  The one thing that I have learned is you cant hesitate.  haha You just keep going and scooters will get out of the way and cars will wait.  When you hesitate, bad things happen! haha.  I just wish you could experience it.  Its like nothing you could even imagine.  When we get to a red light we just pull up to a scooter and literally have 30 seconds to get them to pull over to the side.  It is so hard... especially when you have no clue what they are saying... hahah!

Church was great, we had 4 investigators at church.  I also got to bear my testimony. 

Last night we went to a members house for what they call hotpot.  you just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and eat it.  I don't understand a lot of chinese, but I can feel their love.

This morning we went and played basketball with two members... haha the Taiwanese are so funny!! haha and of course to get our exercise in we ran there.  2 miles... and Elder Munger flew!!! haha! I was so tired!

I love it here guys.  I really do. I know that the Lord will help me with the language.  He already has.  I can feel it.  I am horrible at Chinese, but I know he will help.  I love you all so much and am so grateful for you all.  Keep up the good work.

I read in 1st Nephi 8 today about the iron rod and the mists of darkness that surround us.  The mists of darkness will never allow us to grasp them.  They will never guide and direct us.  You cannot grab mist. When we make a real effort to "cling" onto the iron rod we will always be able to feel the direction of the Lord in our lives.  The Gospel is what allows us to progress.  If we aren't "clinging" then we aren't progressing.  Love you all.


Elder Redding

Breakfast the First Morning - After a Very Short Night's Rest!

Dinner - Night Before Receiving First Assignement in Taiwan

Lunch Break

First Day - Pres. Blickenstaff Leading us in Buddha Pose After Mile Run

New Missionaries with New Trainers

Monday, November 17, 2014

Visa Has Arrived!!!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well everyone!! I got my visa!! Crazy!! I can't believe the day is finally here. I leave for Taiwan tomorrow!! I am sooo excited and so nervous at the same time.  It has been a good experience here for me in Portland.  I said goodbye yesterday to some people that I am really going to miss!!!  Right before sacrament started the first councilor in the bishopric asked us to give talks because the speaker didn't show up... Haha so we were scrambling to get our thoughts together. Then when we were up on the stand I got a note that we only needed me to bear my testimony... I thought that it was so fitting because it was the last time I would see these people.  It was nice.  After the meeting the ward was so kind to me. I let them know I was leaving and was so grateful to serve with them. They were so nice to me.  The church is true in every part of the world.  It is full of people who have normal lives and try to do the best every day to come closer to Christ.  It is amazing. 

I am super grateful for the opportunity I had to serve in Portland! The people here were so kind to me and I love President Ballard and his family. I love all of you guys! I hopefully will call you tomorrow from a layover!! 

Love always,

Elder Redding

Monday, November 10, 2014

We Are All Known to Heavenly Father

Dear Family and Friends, 

Wow!  It has been a super great week!! I still don't have any word on the visa, but I have a feeling it's coming this week... I dunno though.  This last week went by super fast, I will try to remember some of details.

Wednesday was amazing.  I loved it so much!! There was an emergency splits, so I went with one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Barrow and Elder Plessinger went with Elder Cooper. We got two new investigators in our area... And we taught like 3 lessons, and we saw like 4 other families.  It was really cool because we talked to this girl who was new to taking lessons as well. I really enjoyed it because we just worked super hard. He has a really positive attitude and that in my opinion makes all the difference in missionary work and life.  A good buddy of mine... AKA the green machines heart and soul, Elder Hawks often says, "attitude is half the battle" it is so true.  When we surround ourselves with people who make us happy and strive to be happy themselves I truly think that is when we see miracles.  Elder Barrow and I saw this one girl who hasn't been to church or a YSA activity in years a looooonnng time.  We met with her on the porch and talked to her about some of her favorite T.V. Shows.  She was really enjoying it.  We then read a scripture with her from the Book of Mormon and I invited her to come to FHE on Monday and she said she would, then we set up our next visit with her on Monday right before FHE so we could all go down together.  That was super cool, and when we left Elder Barrow told me that he had never seen her so happy before. That was neat. 

Friday was really neat, we went and saw Grandma D and took Sister T with us.  It was really cool, we talked to D about the temple and about her parents who she always talks about. We talked to her about working towards going through the temple herself and then for her parents.  We helped her understand why temples are so important for families. 

On the way home Friday night, I had this impression out of the blue to go and visit this lady named K Who is never home because she works a ton!! She has a little girl and is divorced with her husband.  It's really hard on her and we hadn't seen her in weeks.  I just felt like we should go over.  So we walk up to her apartment and sure enough, no answer.  We went back to our car and there she was with her little girl. She had just pulled in.  We told her that we were looking for her.  After we just kind of said that we wanted to make sure she was doing okay and if there was anything that we could do for her.  Right then she broke down and cried and asked for a blessing.  Her divorced husband has just disappeared and now her little girl has absolutely no father figure. Plus she has two jobs and always took the little girl to the dads... She just was really scared and worried.  It made me so sad to see the little girl who has no idea what is happening and this mother who is working so hard to make ends meet.  We gave her the blessing.  I really felt that it was so neat that we were able to be there. The prompting from the spirit to go see her was so quiet that I will be honest... I didn't recognize it at first. I just felt we needed to. I think that this is mostly how we feel the spirit.  There are always those times when we feel it super strong, but a lot of times it really is a still small voice.  The more we act on those small promptings the more we will begin to recognize them.  I think a lot of this life is learning how to listen to the spirit.  This is something I am working on every day.  I am so grateful that I was able to have that experience.  

Saturday was crazy! Haha... We had a FHE lesson with these two older couple and I brought cards from a members house and taught them Russian Rummy! Haha! That was way fun and we had cookies and crackers and cheese! After we went to this guys house and I got to play his 2300$ guitar! He plugged it into the amp and man... IT WAS AWESOME!! it made me miss playing the guitar.  

Sunday was stake conference and was super fun! :) stake conference was awesome! We heard from Elder Anderson and President Monson.  One of the messages from the 70s was super good too! He talked about how especially in Portland it rains every day.  How we need to seek out the light.  There are always going to be storms in our lives big or small they will always be there.  Instead of sitting back during those storms we need to seek out the sunlight.  Or as my big bro would say, we need to make it happen.  When we show our Heavenly Father that we are willing to seek him out he will help us.  I really like the analogy of the rain every day.  It's so true.  

I am reading in the scriptures about the 2000 stripping warriors.  As I read it this time I really felt Helaman's love for those boys.  He even called them his sons.  I really thought that it was amazing how they kept fleeing from the Lamanites, and finally had to face them.  It made me realize how much Helaman cared for them.  Immediately after, he numbered his people and none were lost.  It made me feel so grateful that we are all numbered as well.  That during our trials Heavenly Father is mindful of us.  When we are in the service of our god we will never be lost.  

I love you all so much! Have a great week and keep the faith!! 

Elder Redding