Another Baptism and a Ride to the Beach!

Just beachin'!

Just beachin’!

This last week has been pretty awesome here in 玉里! Last Monday we had a member drive us over to the beach – it’s a famous place called 三仙台.

Always follow the light...

Always follow the light…

Sanxiantai Islet is a little island that they have a lighthouse on that used to be used a long time ago.

Sanxiantai Islet

Sanxiantai Islet






It “covers an area of about 22 hectares with the highest point of 77 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by coral reefs, sea-eroded trenches, potholes, stacks, caves, and wave-cut notches and other geological features, Sanxiantai Light Beacon, built in 1915

The beauty of God's creations!

The beauty of God’s creations!

during the Japanese Colonial Period, stands on a huge pinnacle to ensure safe sea navigation. It is also the first light beacon to be built on the east coast of Taiwan.” (Just in case you can’t read the photo!) It’s really pretty over there!













My investigator in 中和, Andy, got baptized this last Saturday! Unfortunately it took place at 7pm in the evening, so there was no way I could possibly attend it because of the time; it’s over a three hour train ride to get there and I wouldn’t have made it back home before the required 10pm. But I have a picture from that day – and they held up a picture of me on a camera. Haha!

Leave it to Elder Simonson to find a way to photobomb from miles away!

Leave it to Elder Simonson to find a way to photobomb from miles away!

Everything is so clean!

Everything is so clean!

Most of my pictures this week are from 三仙台 but you can also see what it looks like on the train (since our area is so large, we have to take the train a lot to get some places). We were inspired by the translation on one of the warnings in the train “Mind the trapping fingers.”



There are also some pictures of the town 富里 (Fuli) which is one of about 5 towns in my area.

Into town....

Into town….

...out of town!

…out of town!

“Selfie” – English word for “it’s all about me”! 😉








Can’t forget to include a nice selfie from our English class in 富里 [Big shout out to Alvis – angel’s little brother (front left), Jordan, Angel, Wilson (farthest back), and your’s truly]…..



Good friends...good food!

Good friends…good food!


……and eating dinner with one of our awesome students, Angel (plus her family and classmate, Wilson)!





With the fullness of the gospel, we don't need to be crabby...

With the fullness of the gospel, we don’t need to be crabby…

The interesting thing here about 玉里 is that many of the members of the branch have big problems with other members in the branch. It doesn’t create an ideal environment to bring investigators to when they come to church. Apparently these problems have been going on for years – it goes to show that everyone really does have their own agency. The gospel doesn’t force people to do anything; it gives them an opportunity to choose something better, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to do that.

…we can feel secure that all’s well!


We’re working to try to get these members to realize that there’s really no point in them being so childish and holding these grudges against others in the branch. The branch is already really small just because of the area, so when people get angry at each other, it takes up most of the branch.

Some college students we met at our investigator’s hostel/coffee shop


Here’s the story that Sister Jergensen (mission president’s wife) shared at Stake Conference last week. She and her husband attended the Boston Marathon the year the bombing happened and had really good seats, right up next to the finish line. They had left their seats and wanted to go to a certain store nearby to buy some t-shirts for gifts and as memories since they hadn’t bought anything else from there. However, as President and Sister Jergensen were walking over there, they both strongly felt that they needed to leave immediately, go back to their hotel to pack, and then go straight to the airport. Their flight didn’t leave for like six or seven hours I think, so they were really confused why they should leave immediately instead of buying those shirts. They decided to leave anyway. They went to their hotel, packed their stuff, and got to the airport about four or five hours early for their flight. As they were waiting for their plane, they watched the TV in the airport and saw that a bombing had occurred at the marathon they had just been at – and the bombs hit both the store they wanted to shop at and their seats that were right next to the finish line. At that point, they realized why they had been prompted to leave immediately without buying anything. I really liked their story; this was my first time hearing it, so it was amazing to hear about it!'s what we do!

Teaching…it’s what we do!

Oh yeah, I guess I’ve been on a mission now officially for a year! Wow it’s been a while – today is my 370th day…it’s a little weird since leap year was this year and added an extra day. I’ve still got over a year left to go though! I don’t go home until December 1st, 2017, which is still quite far away, but I hear that the time goes by really quickly!

– Elder Austin Simonson

One thought on “Another Baptism and a Ride to the Beach!

  1. Elder Austin…
    Always great to get your epistles and photos! Like you, our grandson hit his one-year mark and is doing well in the Gilbert AZ Mission. Sister Bassett and I enjoy your reports and she hopes you are getting the monthly letters. We hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!
    Keep On Keeping On!
    Elder Smokey & Co.

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