Elder Fleming

Elder Fleming

Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 2 in Yuan Lin

Hello everyone! I sure miss you! It was great getting your emails this week and to see how you're doing! :) I really look forward to P-days and being able to read your emails and see what's been going on in your lives! :) 
     Well, this week was pretty good. We are currently "White-washing," which means we are both new to the area (this was actually Elder Bak's first area when he came to Taiwan), but he hasn't been here in over a year. So we had no investigators. We have been doing a ton of finding and contacting. It's kind of hard and you really have to be careful about not getting your spirits down. It's also kind of uncomfortable to go up to people on the street and start a conversation with them--especially about Jesus! :) I've been getting a little more used to it, though which is good. I feel like I am learning the language way to slowly. I have a hard time understanding people a lot of the time because they often use words I don't know. I will kind of sit there and smile and nod most of the time and my companion will talk a lot. I try to help where I can, but I feel bad because I can't understand very well. We have seen some amazing blessings and miracles, though, like we found about 7 new investigators last week! :D Hopefully now, most or all of them will start progressing, because so far we only have 1 progressing investigator. He's super cool, though! :) 
chi dao bao food. Yum! :)
 Today and last week we went to places called "chi dao bao's" or "eat until you are full." So it's a buffet. :D They are so awesome!! :D At these buffets, you can eat all you want for about an hour and a half for a certain amount of money. The food is always super good, too!! Their food is really good quality, too! It's like eating at a P.F. Chang's quality, but it's also a buffet! :) The one we went to today was all you can eat meat and you get to cook it yourself. They also had all kinds of ice cream that was also all you can eat. :) It was super good!! :) The one we went to last week was about $250NT ($9USD) and the one we went to today was about $500NT (about $15USD). Isn't that awesome!?! :D The new foods I tried today were cow intestine, cow tongue and cow liver. All pretty good. :) The cow intestine was ok, but not bad. It felt really sketchy eating it, though. :) I should have taken more pictures of the food. :/ That has been my goal, to take more pictures of the food that I eat here. :) Usually food here costs $100NT to go out to eat (about $3USD) and it's been really good. :) I'm still trying to avoid the majority of seafood and shrimp and so far, so good. :) 
     I hope that I stay in Yuan Lin for a while, the ward is amazing!! The Bishop went out and taught with us for a couple hours yesterday! The ward is super helpful and supportive and stuff! :D They say that not many other wards work as well with the missionaries, but hopefully that can improve. :) 
      Well, I'm not sure what else to write, other than that this week was a pretty good one and I'm really glad that you were doing well. :) thank you all for your support and encouragement! It is really helpful. :) I love hearing from you and I am so glad to hear you're doing well!! :D I love you all and I pray for you every day!! :) 
My companion and I outside on a side street in Taiwan. :) 

Elder Fleming

Monday, March 23, 2015

1st Week in Taiwan

This is week 1 in Taiwan, although I have only been in Yuan Lin since Friday. :) It feels like it's been longer than that, though. My companion is Elder Bak and he only has about 2 1/2 months left on his mission, kind of like my companion in California, Elder Schoonmaker. :) Yuan Lin was Elder Bak's first area when he got here. He came back for his last couple transfers and he's really excited to be here, which is pretty cool! :) He is an awesome companion and I have a lot to learn from him. He came from a different area and this is my first, so we are both new to the area. We call this "White-washing." So we came here and didn't have any investigators. That means a TON of finding and tracting and contacting people on the streets. I think that Heavenly Father is trying to help me improve my contacting skills and stuff like that. :) I personally don't really like it a ton, especially contacting on the streets. I also don't really have a lot of vocabulary and I have a hard time understanding people when they talk. :/ I feel bad because I feel like I can't really help my companion very much. I also have NO Idea where I am when we go places. I need to buy a map or something. :) I have lost all sense of direction, which is really unsettling. :) 
     So far Taiwan has been pretty cool, though. The humidity isn't too bad; it reminds me of Ohio and it isn't as bad as I thought. I just hope it doesn't get more humid in the summer! :) It is also going to start getting hotter, which will be... interesting. ;) I didn't eat the duck brain or the fish eyes, haha. :) I watched the other Elders eat them and that was difficult enough! ;) I tried the duck, which I don't think I've had before and it was pretty good! :) We also went to the Bishop's house in our area yesterday and they had a fish, which I fortunately was able to avoid. :) I think I will be ok eating fish as long as it isn't sushi or shrimp or eel or something like that. :) They did have a couple of things that I didn't know what they were, but I didn't ask, because they were pretty good and I didn't want to ruin it mid-meal by finding out it was something I was really scared to eat or something. ;) 
     We have done tons of contacting people on the streets like I said earlier, which is kind of weird. We will just go up to people on their mopeds and talk to them, but there usually isn't enough time. I feel like tracting might be a little more productive, but I'm not sure yet. :) We have seen a couple complete miracles while we've been here, though!! :) The first one is how they cram so many mopeds onto one street and city! ;) There are SO many of them here!! I thought there would be a lot, but then there was about twice as many as I thought there would be! :) The second miracle is that I haven't been hit yet by a vehicle! ;) Or that anyone else hasn't been hit either, for that matter! Do you remember that game on the iPhone, called Traffic Rush? You would try to see how many vehicles you could get through the intersection before you crashed them? Yeah, the intersections are kind of like that, but with way more vehicles! :) They also obey the law of physics here; the bigger the vehicle, the more the right of way. :) But you'll see bikes and mopeds just zip around cars and stuff all the time! It's nuts! :) 
     The next miracles have been that we have found a couple of families and were able to teach them and set up appointments to return and teach them again! :D The other big miracle was that a lady and her two sons came in to church because of a street contact from other Elders yesterday! :D (For us, yesterday was Sunday) ;) Anyway, the first week has been pretty intense, but overall, it's been good. :) The exchange rate is pretty good here, too. I can get a meal at a restaurant for about $3 or less, usually. :) Oh, the pollution is really intense here, too. :0 You can look straight at the sun in mid-day with little or no clouds and it's won't burn your eyes. You can feel it, too. It's kind of like in Utah in the winter where it doesn't snow or rain for a while and we get that inversion, but it's like that every day and it's more than the Utah inversion. It's really cool here, though and the people are all nice usually! :) 
        Alright, I think that's about all I've got for now. I love you all SO much! I hope that you are all doing well! You are all always in my prayers! I love you so much! 
    I met up with some of the people from my district in Japan! It was really nice to be able to see familiar faces and be with missionaries in general, even if it was only the last few hours of travel. :) The people from my district were Sister Liu, Elder Ludwig and Elder June, as well as an older Elder I knew in the MTC, Elder Stringham. :)
     I love all of you and you all are always in my prayers! Jia you! (that means "add oil" but roughly translated, it means "keep it up" and stuff like that) :) 

Elder Fleming

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ooops! Forgot to post these

The day Zack left California for Taiwan, the mission president's wife called me. She said she had just returned from taking Zack to the airport and wanted to send me some pictures. She said the missionary he was serving with was disappointed Zack was leaving so soon. Zack was also bummed because they had been getting along well and doing great contacting. She was very kind and was worried about him being so skinny. She said she wanted to feed him about 12 baked potatoes.:)

New Missionaries "Dan Jones"ing Video

Dear Parents of newly arrived missionaries,

They're here! Their testimonies and faith will change this island forever!
Here is a video of an incredible experience they had to share the Gospel by "Dan Jones"ing and screaming out their testimony to all that would hear!

Dan Jones was an extremely active missionary who famously stood on a box and preached to the crowds. He was amazingly successful in his missionary efforts in Wales. In honor of him, and to give the young missionaries a taste of active missionary work, new missionaries go to a busy night market on the first night of their mission in Taiwan, stand on a box , and preach to the crowd. It is a lot of fun, and they generally collect a lot of referrals for later teaching in wandering the market after the "box preaching."

Thank you all so much for giving us your missionary for two years! We will take care of them! J

Video Link:

Elder Tolman 陶長老
Taiwan Taichung Mission Operations Manager

Friday, March 20, 2015

More About Elder Fleming's Arrival

To see more about Elder Fleming's arrival and first couple of days in Taiwan, click on this link to the  Taiwan Taichung Mission blog.

I love the look on Zack's face when he is watching his neighbor who is about to eat fish eyes.

Elder Fleming's Arrival

Dear Brother and Sister Keith Fleming:

Sister Blickenstaff and I would like to inform you that Elder Fleming arrived safely in Taiwan on 18 March 2015. We are excited and grateful to have him in the mission.  Please find enclosed pictures of him on his first day at the Mission Home.

Elder Fleming stayed near the Taichung Mission Office a couple of nights for orientation before receiving his initial assignment to the city of Yuen Lin. His companion is Elder Tyler Bak. I have carefully and prayerfully selected an outstanding missionary to serve as his first companion to ensure that his initial assignment will be a successful experience. My objective is to help each missionary reach his or her full potential and accomplish all that the Lord has sent each of them here to do. In this regard, your weekly letters of encouragement will be invaluable. I have also instructed Elder Fleming to write or email you each week so that you may share his progress and spiritual experiences.  Enjoy watching your missionary in action at:

We thank you for the solid foundation you have provided for your son and look forward to serving with him.

President Kurt L Blickenstaff
Taiwan Taichung Mission
Look at how green it is. Zack is loving the palm trees, I'm sure!
Elder Fleming with President and Sister Blickenstaff
Looks like Yuen Lin is a very urban area in Taiwan. YuanLin Taiwan Map
Here are some pictures from the area and information--Yuan Lin info

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

He made it!

After a super long day of travel, Zack made it with other missionaries from his MTC district. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

I guess I'm going to Taiwan :)

So, I just got a call from my mission president. He said that I got my visa and the church made travel plans for me and I am leaving tomorrow at 6am. I will be calling from the airport again. :D It was really nice here and I really enjoyed it. My companion was Elder Schoonmaker and he was really great! My area was super small and we were actually mandarin-speaking (though I didn't use it much) :) Our area is a university, so our area is basically like a street. We didn't even have bicycles because it was so small of an area. :) We talked and met with people who came here to study who were from Mainland China. It was really cool and it was cool to see how things were in the field. :) It was a little different than I thought that it was going to be because first, our area was really small. Second, I was surprised when we found a couple of people, I was surprised that they were interested in learning about churches and finding God and stuff. But yeah, I guess I fly to Seattle then I go to Japan and from there I get to the airport there. Also sorry I didn't call from the Las Vegas airport, I wasn't able to. Also sorry I'm kind of all over the place, I'm trying to get a bunch of information down quickly. Hopefully you can decipher all of it. Haha. :) Umm, it was really nice here. It was really nice here and I am a little red but it's not too bad. Hopefully I'll spend enough time outside that my hair will be blond when I come back! :) That's awesome about Nicole and the Seminary Council! I had heard about it and I knew that they helped with seminary stuff, but that is so cool that Nicole gets to do that! :) That's awesome that RSL started their season and I'm glad they didn't lose! :D We got to play soccer as a zone today, which was super fun! We tied at 7-7. :)
     Anyway, I hope all is still well there and I love you all very much!! :D I guess I'll give you a call tomorrow! :)
My companion, Elder Schoonmaker
Elder Fleming

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Shortened Time

We got this email early Friday morning. Zack had been in Riverside, CA for 4 days at this point, so we were completely shocked, but thrilled.

Dear Parents,
We were informed by the Church Travel Dept. that some of missionaries from the January and March group have granted the VISA to travel to Taiwan. The rest of them are being processed at this time. So I have emailed the two groups to prepare them to travel in case they get a short notice from the Travel Dept. Please do not contact the Travel Dept. They will inform your missionary when they are ready to issue the flight itinerary. Below is the letter from your Mission President, President Blickenstaff.

Sister Jennifer Jan
Mission Secretary

Dear Parents,

We are looking forward to your missionary arrival to Taiwan. We are currently planning for the group arrival. Sister Blickenstaff and I will personally meet the group at the airport and all of them will have the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Taichung for a mission orientation. 

Please begin to enjoy our mission blogspot  http://taiwantaichungmission.blogspot.tw now.  We will be sending an arrival picture of your missionary at the airport.  It will be updated the night they arrive or the next day. 

We look forward to your missionary’s arrival and are eager to help making the transition to full-time missionary service here in Taiwan.

President Blickenstaff

Sounds like his time in California will be shorter than anticipated. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mailing Address

Here is the mailing address for Zack while he is in California. 

Mailing Address:
5900 Grand Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504
United States

Arrival of Elder Fleming

11 March 2015
Dear Brother and Sister,
We are so grateful to have Elder Zachary Keith Fleming join us here in the California Riverside Mission until he receives his visa to Taiwan! It was exciting to meet him at the airport. I had the opportunity to interview your missionary and we were able to hear his testimony before having dinner together. We have been impressed with his testimony and desire to serve. It has been a privilege to get to know him.
Elder Fleming is now hard at work in his new area, the MT. RUBIDOUX Zone with his companion Elder Schoonmaker.
Preparation day is Monday; most missionaries choose to email their family on that day. We encourage you to write or email weekly as well. Thank you for keeping your letters positive, uplifting and encouraging your son to work hard and take advantage of the time spent here in doing the work of the Lord.
As we visited with your son he expressed his love for you and said his family is “awesome.”  He said he is most excited about, “getting to know people and helping them come unto Christ.”
We look forward to a wonderful experience together with your missionary.  Thank you for preparing one worthy to serve.  May God continue to bless you.

John H. Mullen, President

Monday, March 9, 2015

Last Day at the MTC!

Well, it's my last day here at the MTC and I am actually pretty excited to get out into the field right now! I had to wake up at 3am for my companion to go this morning and I am going to have to get up at around 2 tomorrow because my check in time is at 2:30... yuck. :/ Hopefully I'll get some sleep today in a nap and tomorrow on the plane or something. :) I'll need it! I loved reading your emails this week! :) It was really good to hear from you!
     Anyway, that is way exciting about MORP, Nicole!! :D I am super excited and happy that you got to go and hang out with friends! Pool is awesome, I'll have to re-practice when I get back so I can try to beat you. ;) I think that I've been to Lowe's Extreme Airsports once or twice before. That place is pretty cool! I remember when I went there last they were still building the American Ninja Warrior thing and it wasn't quite finished yet so we couldn't use it. That's awesome that the season for soccer is starting!! :D I'm glad we didn't lose, but it's a bummer we didn't win. :)
     I did hear about the Mandarin Branch and hopefully I'll be able to go there a couple times. I really want to be able to talk with people that speak Mandarin and keep practicing for when I go to Taiwan. :) Everyone who is supposed to be going to Taiwan that doesn't have their visas (everyone from America), is getting reassigned. Right now there are 2 Mandarin zones. The missionaries in both zones are getting reassigned stateside temporarily. Both of these zones are all Mandarin, there aren't any English speaking missionaries or anything like that. :) Some of them are headed to China in the other zone and some of the other districts, some are going to England, California, Canada, NY, Australia, but it seems like quite a few are going to Taiwan. :) Everyone in my district will be going to Taiwan. :) Thanks for the game update! :) I'm glad too that Colin got a straight red! I don't really like him very much. :) 
      I had to say goodbye to most of my district this morning. It would've been a lot harder, if I wasn't half asleep at 3am. ;) It actually was pretty sad saying goodbye to them. :/ The Sisters in our district cried. The Elders said goodbye and gave long hugs and told each other to take care and stuff. Then they got on the bus and left. :) I'll miss them but I'm really glad that I will get to see them again in Taiwan in a couple months! :D I kind of wish that I could have gone today, too, because now it's Elder Booth and I for the Elders and also Sister Graham. We are all leaving tomorrow. It's weird because there are only a couple of us and I feel like we were left behind. :) Also, I have to wake up super early again tomorrow! Gross!! ;) Anyway, I'm glad to hear things were going well for you this past week. I love you all so much and I'm looking forward to calling you tomorrow! :D I love you all and you're in my prayers! :)   

Elder Fleming

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Excerpts from a letter dated 2/19/15

Dear Fam,
I got your pictures yesterday. Thank you so much! I love getting pictures of you! It was funny that you wore my clothes and I laughed. I was really confused at first, but it was funny. :) Clothes pictures

I realized today that I only have 19 days left here at the MTC, which is a little sad, but it really freaks me out! I feel like I haven't prepared enough here and stuff!

I am also loving the warm weather! It is so nice! My companion from Las Vegas has a hard time with the "cold" sometimes. :)

Haha it is funny grandpa wants to call me fang! ;) That will be super cool of them to come out and hang out with you. :) Give them my love for me and let them know that I will miss them!:)

Oh yeah, the new soccer season is starting soon! I almost forgot! that's awesome, go Real! I didn't know we got Olave back, that's cool! We lost Wingert, too?!

That was so exciting to hear about the visas! I'm so glad that's being cleared up! (Taiwan signed some visas for missionaries who were temporarily reassigned in November and December so they were able to go over.) We really need missionaries in Taiwan. Elder Chen from my district has been to Taiwan a couple of times and he says that they have a pretty good variety of foods. He also said that they don't eat fish very often, :D I am so bummed that I am missing the Chinese New Year and all the festivities, I am so excited for it! It's really sad that I will only have one Chinese New Year in Taiwan. Anyway, Elder Chen's mom sent him snacks and stuff they have commonly in Taiwan, and it's all been really good! :) I was so excited to hear about the November and December missionaries getting their visas!! That was so awesome to hear about!!

The Valentine's Day package was so awesome!! Thank you so much! :)

I had a weird dream the other day. It was a bad dream because before I went to bed I was tired (of course), then I fell asleep and had a dream I went throughout my day and had class and stuff, but the whole time I was really tired! And then I woke up and I was still tired! Haha, it was like I was tired for almost 3 days straight! :) I'm usually tired, but at least I can take a break by sleeping.:) It was pretty funny.

Well, I hope that you are all doing well! I miss you all very much and I love you very much! I am getting emails from Grandma Franklin and I will be responding to her soon, I just haven't really had the time :(. Please let her know that I really appreciate her writing me.:)

I love you all very much and you are all always in my prayers. :) Moroni 8:3 :) Love you all! Take care! Zai jian!

Elder Fleming

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reassignments are here! :O

So we got our reassignments a day earlier than I was expecting. I thought that we would get them tomorrow, but we got them today! It was super weird and I am super excited about them! Most of my district is going to the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh mission. It will be Elder Chen, Sister Liu and my companion, Elder Ludwig, going there. They are leaving on Monday, so I am going to have to be with the other Elders from my district for a day. It's kind of a bummer and I'm really going to miss them. :/ Elder Williams, from Phoenix Arizona, is going to the Tempe Arizona mission about 20 minutes away from his house. That would be so weird! :) Sister Graham and him will be going there. Elder Booth has his visa already because he is from Australia, so he is going straight to Taiwan. :) I was called to go to the California Riverside mission!! :D You guessed correctly that I would go to California. :) I am the only one from my district going there, but there are a couple other Elders from the other zone I will be travelling with. I leave on Tuesday the 10th. :) I get up that day at 2:30am and my flight leaves at 6:10am to Las Vegas. I am flying the Southwest Airlines Texas there and then I go from Las Vegas to Ontario La/Ontario airport. I will probably be calling you a while before I leave, so maybe around 5:30 or so? Um, I'm not sure what else I need to tell you, so let me know if there's any information you need. :) I love you all and you are always in my prayers! zai jian! :)

Elder Fleming

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 9 :O

I can't believe it's already week 9! I feel like I just got here on one hand and on the other I feel like I have been here for forever! :) We got papers telling us about reassignments on Friday last week and it was a huge wake up call! It's really weird knowing that our time here is almost up. We only have probably 8 days left here. It is kind of scary and also pretty cool. :) Elder Booth got his travel plans because he has his visa already, so he will be going to Taiwan as scheduled. The rest of us got our names put in for reassignments, so we don't know when and where we are going yet. We are supposed to email you when we get our reassignments, so on Thursday or Friday I'll know and let you know what is going on with that. :) When we got our papers telling us that our names were put in for reassignments, we decided to pretend that we got our reassignments for the sisters in our district. I have a video which I will put in the dropbox account after I am in the field and if I can figure out how to use it. ;) We handed out the sister's papers telling them that their names were put in for reassignments but they thought it was the reassignment, so they got all excited and then realized it wasn't their reassignments. Haha it was pretty funny for us and I think it will be pretty funny to them... in a couple weeks. ;) I hope that story made sense, I'm trying to type quickly and tell you all what's going on and what has happened this past week. I haven't had much time lately. Yesterday, I got to help bless one of the Elders, Elder June to feel better. He was feeling sick and so we got to give him a blessing. It was really cool! I really need to memorize how to give blessings! And then I need to memorize how to do it in Chinese! :) 

 I'm glad you got to go skiing with Grandpa Kip! That is so fun and I wish I could have gone with you! :) Nicole says she's the new "Speed demon," haha! :) We'll have to race when I get back. ;) I'm sorry Uncle Brian couldn't make it, that's a bummer. :/ Oh well, maybe next year. :) 

I still need to write Grandma Franklin and thank her for writing me and tell her what's been going on and thank her for the cookies she sent me. 8) Yeah, I'll let you know my travel plans as soon as I can and know what they are. :) 

 I don't know what or when or where I'm going until next Thursday or Friday. I am actually kind of hoping that I'll get to stay here for a couple more days or week or something. :) I could really use the extra time to study and learn and stuff. :) The Mandarin is coming along alright. :) I feel like I don't know anything, though! :) Every time I talk with people for a lesson or something, I have a new list of words that I need to learn! :) I think that I will be ok though, and hopefully I'll be able to pick up the language pretty quickly. :)

 I love you all and I am going to try to write you more often! I love and miss you! Oh, how's the blog going? I'm kind of curious to see what you've put on it so far. :) anyway, I'll be trying to send you some pictures soon. :) Love you! 

Elder Fleming
My companion enjoying the snow (he is from Las Vegas)
Found a new game. We call it "district duels." We get those air thingys and stick them to our pants and draw and pop them at each other. Haha. :) Good stuff. :)
Elder Williams has great draw speed!! :)

District temple walk
 Elder June's family sent him a tie that is just like mine but red! :) We had to get a picture of it. :)