Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25, 2011

What an absolutely amazing week! I don't know where to begin... I guess just MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! My Christmas was just great. It was so great to hear your voices this week family. Nice talking to you and hearing you exercise your vocal chords to give me messages of glad tidings, support, and encouragement.


This week's English class had to be great, it being Christmas and all, so come Wednesday night I was really feeling the pressure. What could I do to make it great? I did what anyone put in that situation would do. I taught them all how to sing George Michael's "Last Christmas." Then I made each member of the class do solos to make sure they had really got it down. It was a big success. 


Speaking of English class... a real miracle happened 2 weeks ago. In the last 30 minutes of class we have an opportunity to share a gospel message. 2 weeks ago our message led into the Book of Mormon. I bore testimony of the book and promised the class that if they were willing to read it, it would bless their lives and that through us missionaries they can obtain a copy and learn more about the book and the church. After class a college-aged girl in the class named Nami came up and said she wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon. Now she's attending church and church activities, and has a baptismal date with the sister missionaries. It was sweet!!!


Last Monday night our mission president called my companion and me and informed us of an emergency situation. One of the Elders in our zone had to go home immediately. And so we had to pack our bags and go over to their apartment for the night. Then the elder going home and my companion went up to Taibei to go to the temple and the airport the next day and me and the other missionary stayed back and worked our areas. It was a tiring night. We didn't get over to the apartment until very late in the night, then we had to help the missionary pack, then I slept on a tiny, tiny loveseat. On Tuesday mornings zone leaders have to wake up early to do a bunch of faxes and follow up with all the district leaders, and so I was having to do that at a convenience store away from our area and stuff by myself because my companion was heading up to Taipei. It was really tiring and hectic. Since then, the leaving missionary's companion, Elder Miller has been in a 3-some with us. It's been a blast. I love Elder Miller. He's hilarious!!!! He's from Atlanta Georgia, and he walks around telling people he's our secretary. It's been absolutely great.


Speaking of secretary, the word in Chinese is MiShu. It sounds a lot like the word for Pastor which is MuShi, MiShu, Mushi, anyways... I called a guy that we had set up the other day and a young female answered. I proceeded to ask her if she was his MuShi, or in English if she was his pastor. I then corrected myself but we had a good laugh.


Great News from DanShui. Edward Liang, the awesome dad from Canada, is being baptized this Tuesday. He's really excited and I can't wait. It was such a miracle finding him, and there is nothing better than having someone you found, taught all the lessons to, and helped quit smoking get baptized. I couldn't be happier!!


About baptism... This Saturday a man name Brother Chih is being baptized!!! He's been meeting with missionaries 6 months but wouldn't commit to being baptized because he didn't want to leave his other church. He attends his other church in the morning and ours in the afternoon. Next year our church is changing to the morning and he said he would come here 2 weeks and there 2 weeks. He's never been willing to commit and was just an eternal investigator. I asked my companion 2 weeks ago if I could take over the teaching of Charlie, and give him a fresh look. My companion reluctantly agreed. This week I finally got to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time but my companion never would let me. I was on exchanges so I had the chance, and that is to go into the lesson without any lesson plan, and just ask questions to resolve concerns. It's something I started doing in DanShui if I had investigators that seemed stuck. I did it Saturday with Brother Chih and the spirit completely guided the lesson. We were guided to scriptures and really asked some questions that came straight from heaven. Then I felt the spirit really strongly and invited him to be baptized NEXT week, be confirmed on January 1st of 2012 and start next year a member of our church, with the Holy Ghost, and continue to come every week after. He was hit with the spirit and said he gets it now. He committed and passed his interview yesterday. It was a huge miracle. I'm so excited!


Another great miracle happened this week while I was contacting on the street. I began talking with a younger man. I asked him where he was going and he informed me he was headed to the pub. I asked him how old he was and he said he was 18. I said "WAIT RIGHT THERE, TALK TO ME." He was going to the pub to drink by himself because he was sad. He said it's something he's been doing in the last few months because he wasn't happy. I asked him if it's made him happier and he said no. I said we have a message that will bring him the joy he's been looking for. I then grabbed my companions who were making phone calls and told them we're walking to the chapel. So we walked with this young man to the chapel and prayed with him. The spirit was so strong. I told him he has a choice to make. He can drink his life away or with a little effort and a lot of change find the joy he's been looking for. He committed to give it a shot and try God's way. It was a great miracle. When we finished I asked him where he's going and he said back home. I really believe God placed one of his children who really needed help right in my path that night. It was great.


This week was absolutely great. Saturday we had a missionary performance on a stage in front of the Tao Yuan train station in front of 500+ people as well as many passersby. I got to give a talk as well as play the ukulele and sing. It was pretty fun.

I also got to return to Zhubei for the first time in months this week for a special training meeting down at that chapel. It felt like going home and reminded me of the area where I first gained a love for hard work, a love for serving the Lord, and an area where my testimony grew so much. It made me miss Elder Erickson and I'm just so thankful for all the areas that the Lord has placed me in and all the people I've been able to work with.


This week should be crazy. With the Elder Miller joining us ordeal, we got behind schedule on a couple of companion exchanges we're supposed to conduct. So this week I'll hit the road hard. I will probably go 3 days straight without setting foot in my area or seeing my companion, with a total of 5 days outside of my area. It will be crazy. Wish me luck.


I love you all and I love being a missionary.


May we all have the best Christmas ever and remember our Savior at this time of the Year.


Oh by the way... The Church is True

I love you all,
Love Elder White

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18, 2011

Hello.

I don't remember much of what happened this week. I turned 20 at some point in there. Actually on the day I turned 20 I was in the very southern part of my zone on exchanges with the Frank's nephew, Elder Benson. It was wonderful. He is an all star missionary. 


My typing is getting bad... and here is why. In Taiwan some of the older people will grow out one fingernail (usually the pinky) really long. It's supposedly a sign of respect or something. At the beginning of last transfer, about 8 weeks ago, Elder Erickson (my trainer) pitched the idea that we do it, only on our ring finger. We were going to do it until he goes home, but then he was diagnosed with Chrones disease and had to go home the end of that transfer. I still haven't cut the fingernail as a way to pay respect to him. I think I'm going to grow it out until the day he would have normally gone home. Needless to say it's getting pretty long and influencing my typing skills. WPM is really taking a hit.


This week was great as can be. The work was mighty fine, just as it always is. The Mission is focusing on Christ-like Attributes this month, and this week's big emphasis was charity. It was really great and they gave us studies and invitations to make us more charitable. It was pretty good but I feel like I finally LEARNED what charity is and how to apply it to missionary work Saturday night in my personal prayer. It was revelatory and hard to explain, but it was one of the greatest prayers ever, so edifying.


Taiwan is COLD!!! I didn't know that before I actually came to Taiwan. I sent scarves and sweaters home from the MTC because I thought Taiwan was a tropical climate. Well it is, but it's a tropical climate that gets freezing cold. So it's a super wet cold, not anything like what I'm accustomed to back in the wonderful desert of Utah. This cold gets down to your bone. It's pretty intense.
 


I came down with a bit of a cold and sore throat this week. I'm taking medicine and getting better so that's OK. I really need to get better before today ends because tomorrow I'm back on the road visiting companionships and exchanging with them all throughout our zone. 


To answer you're question mom, I do not travel alone to exchanges, one companion from the companionship will come to my area and work with my companion as well so we will find a meet-up point and switch there.


This work is absolutely fabulous! I love continuing to see miracles. I'm sorry I've forgotten so much of this week, but know that I couldn't be happier. It's weird to me that Christmas is 6 days away. It doesn't feel like it at all. Not much celebrating happening in Taiwan. But I know I'm exactly where the Lord needs me to be right now. A young man from our ward got his mission call yesterday, and because it's all in English we read it for him. There is such power in a mission call and as I read it the Lord reconfirmed that my call was from Him and that I'm where he needs me to be.


I'm learning so much and growing so much in the work and the gospel. This is such an amazing experience this mission. Recently I have had the opportunity to cast out a devil in a priesthood blessing. It was one of the most terrifying, yet powerful, and testimony building experiences of my life. There is no doubt that the power of God far outweighs the power of the adversary. I came out of that experience with a firm testimony of the power of this priesthood.


I hope everyone has nothing but the greatest of Christmases. Let us remember our Savior and Redeemer at this magical time of the year.


Merry Christmas, Love you all
Elder White

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11, 2011

Well another week is in the books. This week was very interesting. It felt like it went by very slowly, but not in a bad way. It was actually a pretty good week. My new companion's name is Elder Smith. He is from Beaverton Oregon. It's a lot of fun working with him. He's a great Elder and it's fun serving as zone leader with him. He has been out on his mission for a year and a half. It's weird starting to work with these older elders. Every single one of my companions has been so young at the time I was with them. 
 Elder Bruce White
Arnold Vosloo



I really like my new area. It's so much cleaner and newer than your average part of Taiwan. The chapel here is also amazing! The crazy thing is I won't be in my area a whole lot this transfer. Part of my new calling is going on exchanges with every member of the zone, and all district leaders twice. We've decided I will be on the road for all of these exchanges. So I will be living out of a backpack for this transfer. It should be a great experience. It's so great to get to know all of these different missionaries with their different backgrounds and stories, and learn from them, and observe how they interact with the people. I've already learned so much and I've only been on a couple exchanges. Saturday I got to travel basically the entire distance of my zone doing baptismal interviews along the way. It was really good to do the interviews but it was also nice to get a feel for what my zone is like and the different areas.


Before I forget, I had an awful haircut last week, so in attempts to save my hair, I had to do a really, really short buzz. When I do this buzz cut I get people telling me I look like someone famous. I ask who? and after they think about it a bit, they say "The bad guy from the movie The Mummy." I don't know if I've seen that movie. If I have it's been years. However I got that twice earlier on my mission as well when my hair was a bit shorter. If you could look up the bad guy from the mummy movie and send me a picture that would be much appreciated. I'm really curious as to who this man is that I apparently look identical to.


Also I will be calling home for Christmas in the near future. I would like it if you could email me our phone number so I know what number to call.


The TaoYuan zone had a really good week in finding new investigators! Which is great because I feel like that's what I was called down here to do. I was really happy about that. This week I saw a great miracle finding as well. We were out on the street riding our bikes around and talking to everyone. I began talking to this guy who said he didn't have any time, then I asked if he wanted to meet with missionaries, and he said he really didn't have time. As he began crossing the crosswalk, I asked if we could call him tomorrow and see if he had time. He allowed and I wrote down his number. The next day we called him, set him up, and he came to the church that night... with a Book of Mormon!!! He had met with missionaries three years before in GaoHsiung. He said he had always felt bad about standing them up at one of their scheduled meetings so that's why he was willing to give me his number. But then he said he had been wanting to run into missionaries in the last three years in TaoYuan, and the Lord finally gave him that chance Tuesday night!! He now has a baptismal date and is reading and praying from the Book of Mormon.


This week we also got to attend Zone Leader Council! A meeting with the mission President and all Zone Leaders and Assistants. The best part is after the meeting we get to go eat amazing food. A new senior sister made homemade lasagna!! WHOA! I haven't had a meal like that since being on island. It was great.


Keep my trainer Elder Erickson in your prayers.

Read the Scriptures and CTR
Elder White

Sunday, December 4, 2011

7th Transfer, 7th companion, 5th Area, 4th Bike, New Calling

Dear friends and family,


Another transfer of my mission is past. This 6th transfer was absolutely great. I feel like I grew a lot. Unfortunately the place the Lord needs me for my 7th transfer and the place I wanted to be are not the same. After a short 3 months of much joy and success, I'm leaving DanShui. DanShui will always have a special place in my heart. This is a really, really tough one to leave. I absolutely love some of my investigators here that are so close to being baptized. They will get baptized next transfer, and I will be in TaoYuan. 


TaoYuan is the county southwest of Taibei County. I will be in TaoYuan City. I have also been asked by my mission president to serve as a zone leader. So I will get to go all over TaoYuan county. It will be so amazing. I'm a little nervous that I might feel overwhelmed. I haven't even hit the 1 year mark on my mission, and I'm far from my halfway point as far as number of transfers on island. Pray for me. I know it will be great though. I know for a fact that wherever I'm called is where the Lord needs me and that as long as I'm doing my part, miracles will follow. I'm excited. I've heard nothing but the best about my next companion, and I can't wait for the work we're going to do.


I'm so excited for my amazing investigators and the progress they're making toward baptism. Brother Ben Liang, and Brother Edward Liang. Both from Hong Kong but not related. They didn't even know each other until they met in church, where Ben fellowshipped Edward. Yes, MY INVESTIGATOR FELLOWSHIPPED MY OTHER INVESTIGATOR!!! It's too awesome. Now they call each other to go on ride bikes. They call each other to make sure the other one goes to church. They've become like best friends!!! It's too great! Ben Liang is one of the coolest people ever. He's got a super successful jewelry business and gets on TV a lot, drives an amazing Mercedes convertible, but he's so down to earth and a family guy. Everyone in the ward loves him, and he comes every week and takes amazing notes, says prayers in Sunday School and contributes a lot. Yesterday I overheard him talking to one of my other investigators about the Word of Wisdom. This investigator, Sister Lin, who I can tell you about in a second, was saying how hard it is to try to quit smoking. Ben was saying, "You gotta pray!! Prayer is the best!" He's too great!


Sister Lin originally was an English class student, but now she comes to church often, reads the Book of Mormon and prays every day, and is trying to live commandments. She won't set a baptismal date because her whole family is Buddhist and she still practices with them. But she loves Elder Glen and me, her English teachers, to the point where she buys us tons and tons of food every week. (I've put on weight because of her). This last week was especially ridiculous. She found out I was moving and it was almost my birthday. So she took the four DanShui Elders out to eat at DanShui's nicest steakhouse. Then let us all buy silver rings. On mine I got CTR engraved on one side, and the characters version on the other. It's pretty cool. Then she bought Elder Glen and me some expensive necklaces, some shirts, and some Chinese dragon statue gifts. We all feel really bad she's gotten us so much over the transfer in food and gifts, and now this week was just crazy. She's easily spent a few hundred US dollars on me and Elder Glen this transfer. Needless to say I wanted the gift-giving to stop, and now it will because I'm moving. I hope she gets baptized though. She's an awesome lady.


My trainer, Elder Erickson's mission just got cut by 6th months. After spending a long time testing and after a colonoscopy, he has been diagnosed with Chrones disease, and has to end his mission with 4 transfers left to go. It's really so sad. I feel pretty bad for him. He's devastated. Pray for him. He'll go on to continue to do great things, and be a great guy, but I know he didn't want to end his service yet. It's really made me realize how valuable this time is. I have a chance that I can focus my whole time on giving everything I have to the Lord, by serving his children, but I have a limited time to do it. I can't afford to take any minute of it for granted. I must continue to work in all diligence until the day these 2 years are over. I learned a lot from Elder Erickson, and I'm thankful the Lord put us together.


As I close this last email from DanShui I would like to quote a sign that is on the main road in to DanShui and is written in English, a real rarity here.


The sign reads "Welcome to DanShui, Don't do Drugs, Don't Drag Race."

And so that is my piece of advice this week to family, friends, and everyone who might read this. Don't do drugs and don't drag race.

Elder White








Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27, 2011

Wow, crazy to think another week of my mission has come and gone. It was an absolutely beautiful week in DanShui. I can't believe how blessed I am to serve here. I really hope I will be emailing you from DanShui again next week indicating that I am still here for my next transfer. I haven't been in an area of the mission for longer than 2 yet, and I hope this is the place. I love it here and the Lord is continuing to bless us so much here in DanShui.


This week was magnificent. Things really felt like they got off to a bit of a slow start this week because of a lot of meetings, but they were spiritual so it was worth it. Then the last bit of this week all came together with miracle after miracle. I loved it.
 

I really feel like this was a big learning week for me on my mission. I tried especially hard to focus on the spirit and I feel like I learned a lot more about how to listen to those promptings from the spirit. We were out riding around on our bikes, contacting people just like we do every day and we had a feeling to go to a different part of DanShui. So we were riding down this little alley short cut I had found earlier in the week. As we were riding down I looked at a door on the left and felt prompted to turn around and knock it. So we did. A Christian woman answered and set up a time to meet with us tonight. She said she has a family of 4, and that we can meet with all of them. It was a pretty amazing miracle just to knock a random door while on the go. However the miracles that morning continued to follow as we followed the promptings of the spirit. We made it over to the area we had felt prompted to go and ran into Tony, from Nigera, and his family. Tony is married to a Taiwanese wife, and has 2 sons--ages 8 and 5. Such a cool little family with cute kids. He knows about the LDS church in Nigeria and had run into missionaries in Taiwan, but he said they had only invited him to go to the English ward in Taibei and he thought that was a little far. We told him that we could share this message with him and his family on days other than Sunday as well, and that we can share it in English, Chinese, and Chenglish, just not his native Nigerian tongue. His whole family will be meeting with us this week. I'm so excited and it was such a great morning.


The highlight of this week however was church. Investigators came to church, had great experiences, and came back. I really need to thank Heavenly Father and the DanShui ward on this one. We have some investigators that came to church last week, had absolutely great experiences, felt loved, and made friends. The ward was very warm to them and so they were excited to come back this week. It's such a beautiful thing when the ward fellowships someone. Specifically Ben Liang and Edward Liang and his family. They've became great friends. Since they are both originally from Hong Kong they can speak Cantonese to each other. They are now getting together to ride bikes for exercise, and they call each other to make sure the other is going to church. It was been a great experience and miracle. They both are loving church so much.

One of the coolest things this week was Edward's wife, who reads the Book of Mormon and loves studying and learning more, exercising the faith to pray. The elementary school where she worked was supposed to have a running competition for the kids on Wednesday and Thursday. It rained on Wednesday and was cancelled. She said a prayer that they would be able to run on Thursday, but also that the track would be completely dry and safe. Thursday was nice and sunny and beautiful all day. She was excited to tell us her story!!! I was excited to hear it!!!


A wonderful, miracle filled week. I've been too blessed to have some amazing investigators. I pray the Lord and my mission president will allow me to stay in DanShui again to continue to teach these people and help them progress toward baptism. If not I know the Lord has a plan for me and I'm willing to do whatever it is that he wants.


I love this gospel like nothing else. It's absolutely changed my life. This mission thing has completely changed my life and it's not even close to half way over. I LOVE IT!! I love being a missionary. It's the best thing it the world.


I love being in Taiwan and speaking Chinese because it's fun. And such a blessing to get to speak a second language and experience another culture.


In closing I would like to relate to you an experience that occurs every so often on the streets of Taiwan. Someone will ask me about my English name and what Elder means. I will inform them that Elder is a title given to full time missionaries. They will then ask me what my English full name is. I will say Bruce, like Bruce Lee. Then they think that's the coolest thing in the world. And usually like me a lot because of that. And they usually ask me something along the lines of this. Your parents must have really liked Bruce Lee? Then I inform them I'm not actually named Bruce because of Bruce Lee. I like the name Bruce, so thanks to mom and dad for picking it, but an extra thanks for naming me Bruce for the right reason and not after Bruce Lee.


Also this week, while on an exchange I met this crazy cool old Taiwanese guy in Shipai (another area). He had a long pony tail and a long mustache and Rayban sun glasses and was riding around on an old junky bike. He began talking to me and he was really funny. His English name is Elvis, because he loves Elvis. He then informed me most people in Taiwan worship their ancestors in the Buddhist temples, but he only worships Elvis. Pretty fun. Pretty Crazy.


I'm loving life and this work and everything.

I still have so many pictures I need to send home.

So I've been so bad with that.

Love you all!
Elder White

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20, 2011

Me with one of my favorite members in XinAn. We're on the campus of TaiDa (NTU)





 DanShui's famous ice cream.

 Some glasses Elder Gong and I found.


 DanShui's crowded LaoJie (historic street)
 This is where we can run in the morning for exercise if we get up a little bit early. This transfer we haven't been able to run in the morning. We've had to exercise indoors because my comp says he can't run. Between this inability to exercise and our investigator, Sister Lin's food she brings, I'm getting fat. But this beach is great.


 Me walking on what all the old people walk on.

In the Love shirts is Elder Glen and me. He's from Australia and also serves in DanShui. We're really tight. One of my favorite elders in the mission. He's like my second comp. A lotta fun!

 This is a member family from our ward who took us out to eat for P-day.


 DanShui's baptismal font.

  Brother Zhuang and his wife at his baptism.

 Brother Liu




Hello friends and family,

Happy Thanksgiving!! I think? I have no idea, I haven't heard anything about it.

This week was a great week in DanShui. Some big highlights, and some disappointments, but overall I learned a lot and the Lord blessed us with some big miracles.


One of the biggest highlights was that the Zhang family from ZhuDong came up to DanShui to visit me last preparation day. Well the Mother and the oldest son did!! What an amazing family!!! They're so great. They all have callings and are doing amazing. They took me and my companion to eat at a really nice restaurant and Zhang mama was sharing the gospel with the waitress and telling her she should come to church. They're so awesome!! The oldest son is preparing for a mission. The daughter is serving as a 1 transfer missionary in our mission this transfer and preparing to go to BYU Hawaii. Such a great blessing to see them, I can't wait until I can go attend their sealing in the temple.


Edward Liang came to church!!! A really big step and sacrifice for him. I'm very thankful for his choice to come to church and I think he had a positive experience. Ben Liang is awesome. One of my favorite investigators I've ever had. So prepared. So much FUN! The entire ward loves him. He loves looking on the internet to see what famous people are Mormon. Almost every time I meet with him he has a new famous person from America that he's excited to tell me is Mormon. It's really funny. He's so great. So happy and so wanting this gospel!


I have a new investigator name Niuanai... no that's not Chinese. We met him through the group of Tuvalu Islanders we know. He's 6 foot 3 with a mohawk and tattoos all over his arms. He looks like an NFL defensive end. He plays rugby back in Tuvalu. Before he came to Taiwan he worked for the Tuvalu government as the head of all sports. He's super athletic and intimidating, but he's very humble and open to the gospel. We set a baptismal date with him. He's willing to read and pray. He's great!!! He also throws the javelin in the World Games for his country. He's a cool guy. I'm excited about the whole Tuvalu gang. Look up Tuvalu on google if you get a chance. It's really cool!!!


Another great week in DanShui! I'm loving this work so much. I don't want it to ever end. On one hand I'm a really young missionary still, but on the other hand I know that time is flying by and I don't want it to. One day I'll wake up and be an older missionary. That will be scary.


I hope all is well back home. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

If there is one thing I've learned on this mission it's the importance of giving thanks.

I'm so blessed. All I can say is Thank You to the Lord, my family and friends.

Elder White

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 13, 2011

Hello Friends and Family,


This was a great week from DanShui Taiwan. It did include some heartbreak and some people I care about unwisely losing their agency, but what week in missionary work doesn't? I'm excited as can be for tonight. The Zhang family from ZhuDong are coming up to DanShui to visit me. All except for Yan Rou. She's busy being a six week missionary!! What an amazing family, I feel so blessed to have met them and been able to share this gospel with their family. I feel so blessed just to be a missionary. I love this work so much. I'm so thankful to the Lord for this opportunity and the success and miracles he allows me to see.


A great part this week was Brother Zhuang (the one we baptized at the beginning of October) passed the sacrament this week in sacrament meeting. He's doing great! I wish I could send pictures but this e-mail place in DanShui doesn't allow my card reader to work. We'll have to find a different way.


The heart breaker was Brother Zhao, the one who had broken the Word of Wisdom between his baptismal interviews. He says he has no faith when I call him. We finally got him to come down to the church to meet with us and he wouldn't come in. I was on exchanges with our Zone Leader at the time, and we both did everything we possible could to encourage, invite, and help him. He just wasn't having any of it. He has given up, and he was so close. It's sad to see, but for the time being we're too busy in DanShui to keep spending a lot of time with him. As sad as that is, we need to continue to press forward with those who the Lord wants to give a chance to now, and the Lord is providing us with plenty of those people.


This week I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Phelps, a member of my district. He is from Alpine and also went to Lone Peak. He's a hard worker so I was looking forward to the exchange for quite sometime and the exchange did not disappoint. It was absolutely amazing. Thursday night on the exchange we had set up a lady named Mary. Someone that toured the temple in Taibei had given us this referral. I called Mary and told her we'd meet her and her friend Tom in the local college's library. When we got there Mary and Tom asked us if we wanted to go to their house. Normally I would have said the library would be fine but Elder Phelps and I had the feeling we should go to their house. Mary is from Tuvalu islands and Tom is from Kirabiti Islands. When at their house we also met Lafita, found out Mary was a member in Tuvalu, and wanted us to share this message with her friends, Lafita and Tom. Elder Phelps and I were a little thrown off because we had originally made a lesson plan for Mary and now were going to be teaching Lafita and Tom with Mary as our member present. And Elder Phelps and I aren't companions so we didn't know how we'd teach together.


What happened in the next 30 minutes was purely led by the spirit. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. Elder Phelps and I taught really well together and Lafita and Tom set baptismal dates. I'm so excited for them, and they have an awesome member friend that can accompany them to the English ward in Taibei each week!! It was a great miracle.

The Miraculous exchange continued when the following morning, in personal study, I had a feeling to go to San Zhi, the small town north of Danshui. I really didn't want to go there so I kept trying to talk myself out of it, and ignore the feeling, but I couldn't. I knew it was the spirit, and I knew I could not ignore it. So we hopped on a bus to go to SanZhi and the miracles followed. On the bus ride, I sat next to a college student and taught her all about the Savior and prayer and baptism. She is now a new investigator. As we walked around the small town of SanZhi we walked down an alley. I felt like we needed to turn around and go back the way we'd just came on that alley. As we turned around we saw an old guy squeeze in between two houses down this tiny little walkway so I decided to follow him having no idea where I'd end up. We ended up in this small oil factory. It was so weird. A small little factory making oil that the family would then sell at the street market. We ended up in there where I used my tiny arsenal of awful Taiwanese to explain to the older people who don't speak Chinese that we're missionaries. Then the old guys went and got a younger guy. He didn't want to talk to us, so he went and got his brother. His brother was nice and was willing to sit and listen to the message. It was a really interesting experience--two kids from Alpine sitting in the back of some family run oil press, in San Zhi Taiwan. I would be willing to guarantee we are the first white guys to step foot in there.
 

The coolest experience of the transfer was hands down the ride back to DanShui. I set a transfer goal to hitchhike. So as we waited for the bus from SanZhi to DanShui I had my thumb out looking for a ride. A few minutes later a blue car passed with 2 young guys in the front, I could see they thought about picking us up, but then they drove by. 2 minutes later that same blue car came around the corner, and we found it, our ride home. We met Andy a Taiwanese surfer who actually can speak a little English just from listening to American music and having surfing buddies. He and his friend drove us home. While on the drive we taught Andy and his friend how to pray, and got Andy to say the first prayer of his life. Somehow after teaching them the conversation turned to how Andy had learned English through American music and so we asked him who he liked. He named a few artists and then mentioned he loved Bon Jovi. What unfolded after that was pure Magic. For the last 15 minutes of the ride the Taiwanese surfer Andy was drumming on the dashboard and singing Bon Jovi songs at the top of his lungs with the rest of us singing along on the chorus. It was so funny, a lot of fun, all started with a thumb pointed toward DanShui. After Andy and his friend dropped us off in DanShui, we said our goodbyes and they headed across the river to their home in BaLi (the other DanShui ward elder's area). Then Andy called me and asked if I had Facebook. He called me which was actually a small miracle because I didn't have his number. 10 minutes later I realized I had left my Book of Mormon in his car. So I was then able to call him back and I set up a time I could go get it.

So Friday I went over to BaLi with one of the BaLi missionaries to get my book. At that point I found out Andy had been reading it, and wanted to learn more. He was able to set up a time with the BaLi Elders to continue to share and give him a Book of Mormon. It's amazing the different ways the Lord leads you to the prepared.
 

This week was amazing. It was a week I really needed after last week. I'm so absolutely exhausted, I'm going to have a relaxing P-Day. Try to recover so I can do the same thing next week.

Love you all,
Elder White

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 8, 2011

Hello friends and family.

It's Temple Day!

This last week had some ups and downs. I went on a couple of really amazing exchanges, and saw some amazing miracles, got a lot of people to church, and worked hard. However, it seemed really slow. When you are working with a ton of college age investigators in a college town in a test driven society, mid term week kills the missionary work. I can't wait for all these tests to be over.


It's really sad having to stop meeting with some of our investigators that aren't progressing. Some of them were doing so well and stopping meeting with investigators is something that is really hard to do. However, I feel like I held on to some of them a week too long, and I need to let the Lord know I'm ready for the next batch of prepared people he wants to put in my path.


I've got great news from ZhuDong!!! The Zhang family, I got their letters. Zhang mama is now serving as the sacrament meeting chorister and Relief Society secretary. The youngest boy is the deacon's quorum president. The older boy went out and worked with Elder Bogle a couple transfers back and wants to start preparing for a mission. But the coolest part is that Zhang Yan Rou, the oldest daughter who started it all, and also was on the receiving end of what is probably my most spiritual lesson in Taiwan, is out being a short time missionary! She is in our mission with a sister missionary for a full transfer!!!! She's been baptized for only a few months!!!! They're all doing so amazing. After I left she referred some friends to the missionaries and two got baptized!! It's so great to hear from them. They wrote me and are planning on coming to DanShui to visit me next p day!!!


I contacted an absolutely crazy man last week. Scratch that. He contacted me while I was eating dinner. He wanted me to talk to Barack Obama about his invention he made and wanted to get America's help to develop because China said no. He then informed me China has tried to kill him like 60 times now but they gave up trying to kill him because he's seen Jesus. Then he let me know that the American CIA was listening to this conversation and would come and talk to me after he left and he told me what I should tell them when they come. He was a little out there. I run into some crazy crazy crazy people here, but I think he might have been the craziest.


Yesterday was also a bit of a scare. I had to go to Taibei for leadership training meeting. It started at 9. We were supposed to be in our seats at 8:30. I left with plenty of time to spare, however because I had to make a bunch of phone calls to the zone leaders and then to other missionaries in my district I decided to take the bus down to the Railway station instead of my bike. I boarded the right bus, going the wrong way. When it turned around and came back it hit a bunch of traffic. Needless to say, I was now 35 minutes behind schedule, really really late!!! I decided I had to take a taxi from DanShui to Taibei (it was so expensive!) and even then I was stressing out! I got there at 8:55. It was awful, I walked into the chapel and everyone was already sitting there. I was so embarrassed, and now I get to eat bread for the rest of the month. Curse DanShui bus system!


All in all I'm good. I'm alive. I'm working hard. I absolutely love the Lord and this Gospel. I'm thankful for this opportunity that the Lord has given me, I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Love Elder White

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 30, 2011

The first week of my 6th transfer.


Time absolutely flies. I don't like to think about how fast things are going. I've been in Taiwan 7 months now. WOW.


The highlight this week was definitely Brother Liu getting confirmed Sunday. He had to wait a week because last week was stake conference, but it's so nice that he can truly become a member of the church and receive the Holy Ghost.


There are some other investigators that are doing really well and that I'm really excited about. They were able to make it to church and are progressing. I hope they all can make the sacred covenant of baptism with their Eternal Father.


The coolest thing that happened this week definitely happened with Edward Liang, the man who was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Canada. He's doing so well, as is his wife. Their son is so cute and it's fun visiting them. Edward has had the Book of Mormon for 3 weeks. He is in Mosiah 5 as of a few days ago. So Amazing!!! The other amazing part is how he absorbs it all so well. The first or second time we met  Edward, he had poured us tea which we politely declined and then had to teach a mini Word of Wisdom type lesson. He was very curious about it, but we just kind of explained it was a part of a law of health. He explained that he drinks coffee, tea, and has tried to quit smoking but had struggled to. Fast forward to this last Tuesday. We formally committed him to live the Word of Wisdom and he said he was willing to try. When we visited him Saturday night, he informed us that the last cigarette he had was the Tuesday before we met with him!!!! WOW!!!! So exciting. I'm so thankful for the Lord following through on his promised blessings and assisting those who truly desire to keep his commandments.


Another cool thing that happened this week took place on Saturday. All our afternoon lessons canceled. I was a little upset but I knew that it just meant the Lord needed us to do something else in that time slot. I prayed for guidance Friday night and had a strong impression to go to SanZhi. It's a smaller town just north of Dan Shui. It's still in our area. Elder Gong had been there before I got to Dan Shui and told me it wasn't really worth going to, but I couldn't kick this thought out of my mind. So we took a bus to SanZhi Saturday and the miracles followed. We met an awesome middle school teacher who said his grandfather was Christian and he grew up with that kind of background but hasn't been in a long time. We taught him a lesson and we'll continue to meet with him. The coolest miracle came on the bus ride back. I sat down next to my companion and then saw someone across the aisle. I said a quick prayer and moved across to sit next to him. As we got talking I found out he was Atheist, but we continued to talk more. I shared scriptures with him, prayed with him, testified to him. 20 minutes later, he had a baptismal date and set up a time to meet with us and hear more. I'm very thankful for the Lord placing prepared people in our path. I hope that I never let those people pass who the Lord has prepared, but to ensure no one ever gets by, you have to be talking with everyone. I know without a doubt that the Lord wanted us in SanZhi Saturday afternoon. The really good thing about SanZhi is everyone there goes down to DanShui at least several times a week, if not everyday. So it was a great opportunity.


This week was a little rocky at times. All of our college aged investigators are getting prepared for midterms which was a big crutch to us. Because of studying for mid-terms they were busy and couldn't meet. It is a test driven society, and I admire how much they study, but I can't wait for midterms to be over so they can continue meeting with us.


My district is BIG. 10 missionaries, biggest in the mission, so I'll basically be exchanging all the time. One really great thing is that Elder Glen and Elder Papritz (the other companionship serving in our ward are both together) which means I get to still teach beginning English with Elder Glen. He's probably one of my best friends in the mission, but the best part is he's Australian. So we teach beginning English and these poor Taiwanese students have no Idea what's going on. I will say a word for them to practice pronouncing, and then Elder Glen will say the same word, but it sounds completely different. The accents really threw them for a loop. They have no Idea what to do. I say bark, and Elder Glen say bach, trying to mean bark. It's a riot.


In other news my Chinese is getting better, because I learned how to say Audrey Hepburn and camouflage this week.


I'm looking forward to mid terms being over.


I'm looking forward to what this transfer has in store. I hope DanShui can continue to have lots of baptisms.


I love you all
Elder White

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23, 2011


Let the 6th Transfer begin. Time goes by too fast, and I honestly never want this to end. The good news is I still have a long time to serve. I still have 10 maybe 11 transfers depending on extend dates. I will still have the opportunity to serve in the lovely harbor city of Dan Shui!!!!! YES!!!! Unfortunately Elder Gong is moving. He was a pleasure to work with and just an all around great person. A spiritual giant. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to work with him. 


My new companion is an Elder Gist, on his 3rd transfer, and he is the mission's piano genius. Maybe he can teach me all the hymns in the hymnbook I have no idea how to sing. I look forward to serving with him.


Brother Liu was baptized Friday night!!! However Brother Zhao was not. We found out what happened with him. The Saturday night between his first baptismal interview and the one with our Mission President's counselor, Brother Zhao was visited by some friends, who then pressured him to drink wine. He eventually gave in and felt too bad to come to church Sunday. He is struggling, he feels remorseful and still wants to be baptized, but he has lost a lot of faith in whether or not he can do it. I hate Satan. He works especially hard on those close to being baptized. The following Tuesday I took a balloon to district meeting, and drew Satan's face on it. Then I gave anyone who wanted a chance to "kick Satan in the teeth." That is one of my trademark slogans out here. I started that, for real, not  for pretend, the way Dad thinks he started "congrats."


Brother Liu is doing great though. His baptism was a nice and spiritual experience.


Yesterday we went to Stake Conference. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake to all the Asia Area. It was so good! It was like a mini general conference directed to the people in Asia's needs. President Osgathorpe of the Sunday School presidency who visited our mission a few weeks ago spoke, as did Sister Dibb, President Perkins (Asia Area president), and Elder Richard G. Scott. It was so good, so catered to the needs of Taiwanese members and people. I loved it, and it was great because it was all in Chinese and I could fully understand everything, be taught and religiously uplifted. What a miracle. The gift of tongues is so real.



Speaking of the gift of tongues, I passed the mission's Phase 2 test! It's no easy task because they raised the percentage needed to pass to 90 percent. But I got it!!! I missed concentrated liquids, screen part of the tv, and "turn over a new leaf"... If I ever use concentrated liquids on the streets of Taiwan, I'll be shocked. But now I know how to. Let the studying of Chinese characters begin, No easy task... but the Lord will continue to aid me if I'm doing my part.


In other news I just became district leader over the largest district in the mission. 10 missionaries!!! I'm young and inexperienced, but I'll rely on the Lord to help. Except for my very first transfer, I never even had a senior companion who was also district leader at the time. We'll see if I can remember what is going on. The other really cool news is there are 3 of us in our district from Lone Peak 2010 graduating class!! That's crazy! We're probably the only district in the world with 3 missionaries from the same high school and graduating class. It will be really fun, One of them was in my Chinese class, and the other was in my seminary class. I look forward to serving with them.


The future looks bright. I'm so excited to be in DanShui still. I'm looking forward to my new responsibility and going on more exchanges!!! Including exchanges with Zone Leaders, I think I'll have 9 exchanges this transfer. Up until this point on my mission I've only had 2 every transfer. It will be a big difference. Time is only going to go faster, which I'm not too excited about. I never want to stop doing this work. I've been studying Henry B. Eyring talks like crazy this last transfer, and I'm really inspired to try to meet my potential as a missionary. I'm super excited. I'll continue to work hard with Elder Gist!


Love you all,
Love Elder White

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 16, 2011


Another great week here in DanShui. It went by so fast. I don't even remember a lot of what happened. The work continues to go forth. We're working with some great investigators. It's amazing to see the atonement change lives. It's amazing to watch people's testimonies go from only having heard the name Jesus Christ to believing him to be their Savior and Redeemer. That's absolutely priceless. What an amazing work I have the privilege to be a part of!!!


This Friday night we had 2 baptismal interviews!! Brother Liu and Brother Zhao. Brother Zhao needed to do one more interview with one of the mission president's counselors. The mission president's counselor came to our church in Dan Shui Sunday to do the interview, but brother Zhao didn't show up and his phone was off. It was a real disappointment. Up until this point in time he had never missed anything that we had scheduled with him. Never missed a lesson, never missed church after he arranged his work schedule. He was doing really well. It's really heartbreaking he wasn't able to be interviewed yesterday. Continue to pray for him.


This week my mind has been on close to explode mode. In our mission language study program we have 3 phases. Phase 2 consists of 3000 or so random words. When we are ready we can test phase 2 and try to move on to phase 3. Phase 3 involves learning the Chinese characters. The Phase 2 test combines a written and a spoken portion and you need 90 percent to pass! I've been preparing to take this test the last couple weeks and I feel like I have so many random Chinese words bouncing around in my head constantly. Please pray for me. I take the test today, and I really want to start learning the characters. I've been waking up early to cram study, and my head is really about to explode. So we'll see how that goes.


I continue to love DanShui, the ward is great as far as supporting the missionaries with teaching our lessons. I really have enjoyed it this transfer and I believe I've got a couple more to come still in DanShui.


I honestly have little recollection of what took place this week.


A student from our free English class took us out to eat before English class last Wednesday. The place is a new, hip restaurant called Basketball and Steak. Yes, that's the name. Those are 2 things I really like, but it just felt weird together. Only in Taiwan. I'm amazed at how infatuated they are with basketball here. It was good though. They had shrimp the size of a pickle. It was very good!

I'm running out of time.


Say prayers to Heavenly Father every day
Love Elder White

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 9, 2011


Hello to one and all,


Where to begin on this beautiful Taiwanese morning. I know I'm a week late on this, but in Taiwan they watch conference a week delayed. So I want to talk about conference. Conference was too good!! I can't even explain how much I like conference now that I'm a missionary. Elder Holland speaking in Priesthood is a rarity, but it was so amazing. It was so needed. There were so many amazing talks. My overall favorite was probably Eyring in Priesthood. My overall favorite seems to always be Eyring in Priesthood. There were so many other amazing talks. I loved Elder Waddell in priesthood, as well as the Seventy that spoke about the Book of Mormon and its necessity in the Sunday Morning session. Overall what an amazing 10 hours of spiritual enlightenment. I'm very thankful to have living prophets leading our church. I'm thankful for the opportunity of spiritual revelation if we listen and I left conference with new goals and a greater understanding of what the Lord expects of me. Now we must wait 6 months. I look forward to April 2012.


The work was great again this week. We were busy but the best part is we're getting 2 investigators ready for their baptism interviews to be held this Friday. Brother Liu and Brother Zhao. We'll keep praying for them and making sure they're still prepared, but if all goes as planned they will be baptized on October 22. This would be a huge miracle because that is the last day of this transfer and they were both people we began teaching in this transfer. That's super amazing!


I absolutely love DanShui. We found a very nice, picturesque, large but secluded beach on accident when we got lost one day. It is about 10-15 minute bike ride from our house so if we get up a little bit early we can go running there. We ran there a couple times this last week. Not only is it such a beautiful area, but the people are so prepared. The ward is absolutely great. I couldn't have asked for a better place to serve the Lord. I love it.


Last week I went to try to find a camera case to better protect my camera. Unfortunately, all I could find are Hello Kitty Camera Cases. Thank you Taiwan! I'll keep my eyes open.


By far one of the biggest down sides this week was while eating a hot pot with an investigator. A hot pot will have an wide array of  vegetables, meats, and tofu like things. He pulled out a piece of food from his hot pot and said. "I do not eat this, it is disgusting." I was curious because it is something I've eaten a couple times before but never knew what it was. He then informed me it was hardened pigs blood.... Great.... I had a goal to be willing to try everything while I was here, except for the pigs blood. Little did I know I had unknowingly eaten it several times.


One of the crazier things to happen this week took place on Friday afternoon. We were stopped at a stoplight so I do what I always do at a stop light, find a scooter and talk to them, see if they have interest in the gospel. I pulled up next to Mr. Yang, an 82 year old man. He was happy, kind, and a genuinely nice guy. A pleasure to speak with for those short 60 seconds. He also speaks fluent Spanish because he lived in the Dominican Republic for 30 years. The light changed and he turned the corner onto what is probably the busiest street in DanShui. I turned the corner behind him and began ascending the hilly street. Mr. Yang was about 10 feet in front of me when a careless, speeding car, in an attempt to make a lane change as he weaved through traffic, bumped Mr. Yang off his scooter and he fell violently to the ground with his scooter laying on top of him. I immediately bailed off my bicycle and went to assist Mr. Yang. I pulled his scooter off of him and then with the help of my companion and another bystander we picked him up. The man who struck him was a real jerk and wouldn't call the police, but this Mr. Yang was in really bad condition. We sat with him trying to help him for about 10 minutes. We tried to offer to call the hospital for him (even though I have no idea how to make that type of call in Taiwan.) But eventually Mr. Yang, in no shape to drive, took to his scooter and headed up the hill back to his house. I immediately mounted my bicycle in efforts to follow him home, however I lost him while trying to ascend a steep hill. I hope he is alright. I hope his fragile 82 year old body can recover. It was a very interesting experience, really made me think about the value of life. What a precious gift it is. We must use our time here in this life wisely and be focused on the things of eternity.


A really cool miracle this week was finding Allen. Allen is a 17-18 year old high school student. We were riding our bikes on our way to dinner, when we saw Allen. He was also riding his bike. We passed him and then both had the feeling to stop. We looked back at him and he had a curious look on his face. Then he started riding in our direction, and the first thing he said in English was "Do you guys believe in Jesus?" That's always music to the ears. We shared with him about prayer, Heavenly Father, and then prayed with him on the street there. Then after we prayed and he liked, he said. "Now what? I'm bored, what are you guys doing right now?" We invited him to come eat dinner with us, and we taught him and set him up to meet again with us this week. It was a cool miracle to have a person self contact us. I'm looking forward to continuing to meet with Allen.


The work is continuing to be great. The Lord is continuing to bless me and my great companion. I am really loving this work and this gospel. I can't believe how fast time is flying though.

I love you all.

Heed the prophet's and apostles' words.
Love,
Elder White

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 3, 2011 - DanShui


Hello everyone. 


I hope you had a great conference weekend. We won't get it until next week here. I hope I get to watch it...in English. I'm really excited to listen to the words of a living prophet.


Conference here is a bit different. We don't watch it the week of. They will send the DVD's translated into Chinese to each ward, and each ward will show it. My first area Zhubei had a lot of Filipino members so it had an English translation. I got to watch it in English with them while the bulk of the ward was watching it in Chinese. I don't know if I'll get that here. When I transferred to ZhuDong with Elder Bogle he hadn't been able to watch conference. I hope that doesn't happen to me here. Speaking of Elder Bogle, he and Elder Erickson are together now as zone leaders down in ZhuBei. Talk about an awesome companionship.


I took conference for granted so much before the mission. It's too good!! I still remember conference in college before I left on my mission. Skyler and I listened to Saturday's first two sessions, Saturday night came along and it was time for priesthood. That same night there were 2 concerts in Salt Lake City of bands we both really liked. We were tempted to go to the concerts and just wait for the Ensign to read priesthood, but ultimately we went to priesthood session. That was an important decision. Now I'm in Taiwan serving the Lord, and Skyler is going into the MTC this week!!!


I'm too happy!


What a great week it has been here in DanShui. My time in DanShui has been nothing but pure bliss. This is truly a blessed place. This is known as one of the prettiest places in all the mission, but I think it's also one of the most blessed. It's a miracles factory!!!!


This last Saturday Brother Zhuang, the interior designer who played college basketball was baptized. It was such a great experience. He is so great because he really grasps the big picture of things. He really understood the covenant he made with his Father in Heaven, and he is committed. He also brought his wife to the baptism and to church Sunday which is a great miracle. We'll work on her next.


Our investigators really are making progress. Our next step is baptizing a Brother Liu and a Brother Zhao. They are both scheduled for the 22 of this month, the last day of this transfer. It will be so amazing when they meet their goal because we started teaching them right when I got here the first week of this transfer, and if they were able to be baptized in the same transfer that'd be amazing. That's incredibly rare. I can't explain how much I love DanShui. However, the DanShui winter is coming, which I've heard is brutal. I experienced the first taste of it last night. Cold, hard, rain. Huge wind. It will be great! I have the feeling I'll be here a while.


Brother Zhao is a funny investigator. He teaches me Chinese idioms, (that make your Chinese sound incredible if you can use them right) and he always tries to teach me Taiwanese. He's really funny. Last night we had our mission's fireside they hold for investigators and new members down in Taibei, and he rode the hour train ride both ways with us. He was trying to get me to speak Taiwanese to people on the train the whole time. He's a funny, 55 year old guy. We met him through our English class. His new dream is to come to Utah and find me after my mission and after he retires. So be prepared family. Yesterday when he rolled up to church on his scooter, and parked it, he bumped and knocked down 3 adjacent scooters. He's really funny.


So we have to be in our house by 9:00 every night, and one night this week it was 8:55, we were almost home, but I saw a family, so obviously we had to go try to contact them very quickly. I met Edward. He grew up in Canada, but he's originally from Hong Kong and he has a wife and a baby. Due to time I was just able to get his phone number. However, I called him the next day and we were able to go out to his house. What a wonderful family!!! He's such a humble and nice guy and his interest is all because of concern for his son. He was an amazing miracle, and a demonstration of what happens when we use every minute of the Lord's time his way. It would have been easy to not contact that very last person of the night, but we did, and we saw miracles!!! I'm super excited to continue to share this amazing gospel with Edward and his family.


Saturday we were contacting in an intersection close to the church. When I heard some loud yelling from inside a Buddhist bakery shop place. I rode by and I saw 2 guys beginning to fight. Then they knocked down shelves of bread in their struggle. Naturally I continued to ride by back and forth and take glances. The 2nd time I rolled by they were on the ground wrestling. Then things got crazy, I rolled by again and one person was holding another person down while someone else was kicking his face in, then I rode by and they were elbowing the man on the ground's head. It was awful. Things like this don't happen in Taiwan. We're talking about a country whose top story in the news is sometimes like a snake was out on the street or someone's locker at work was broken into and they take 20 minutes to cover those stories. This was a real fight. In the end 4 cop cars came. It was mayhem in Taiwan.
 

I'm glad to hear all the wonderful reports about friends and family back home. Say prayers. I'm loving the work, love my companion, LOVE DANSHUI. What a wonderful opportunity it is to represent my Savior in Taiwan.




I'm too excited for Skyler! Big props to him. Also really excited Hayden Simmons put in his papers. I'll have to know where he's going when he finds out.


I hope all is well. I continue to pray for you.

I love you all,
Love Elder White