Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'd like to start out the email with a joke I heard this week about my mission. "Missionaries who go English speaking come back masters of the gospel, missionaries who go foreign speaking come back masters of the language, missionaries who go to Taiwan, just come back."

This week flew by so much faster than the first 4 days. That's what everyone said would happen, but I didn't know if I believed them. I'm really beginning to lose all concept of time right now, which is a good thing. Its still tough thinking about just how long I'll be in here for. I saw Marcus Jardine today and he told me he leaves tomorrow. He got here only a week before me!!! That's insane. I also saw Mike Greenwood. He looks like he's doing great. It was so good to see him. I'm proud of him for serving.

It's weird to think that I will see 4 cycles of English speaking Elders come and go in my time here. But I know that I need to use all the time I have to get the language. Its tough, there's no denying that but I know the Lord will provide a way for me to do it so that I can become the instrument in his hands he needs me to be. When I was discouraged one day I stumbled upon 1 Nephi 17:50... and it hit me how much faith Nephi had. The Lord isn't asking me to turn water into earth, he's not even asking me to build a ship and move my family. He's asking to learn a language, a tough one, but other people have done it. I have faith that I can too. I just have to be patient, which isn't my strongest suit, but this is a language that over 1 billion of God's children currently on the earth speak, basically all of which haven't had the opportunity to come in contact with the gospel.

Our branch president spoke yesterday about a small event that took place last week in China that is a sign the Lord is preparing a way for the work to open there in the future. He also suggested we try to obtain a copy of David O Mckay's dedicatory prayer on the land of China regarding mission work. If someone could please send that to me that'd be really, really appreciated.

One of the older Elders gave me some amazing advice this week. He said faith and fear can't coexist, so if I really want to have faith that I can learn the language I have to let go of my fears and get to work.

Now on to some other things.... First of all thank you all so much who have written me. I really love it and appreciate it. Mom in my next letter home I will be sending some other letters to some of my leaders, and family who I either don't have an address for or know you will likely see throughout the week.

I got a letter from Nathan. It was filled with such great advice. I can tell how well he's doing just by reading that letter. I'm excited to get to that point eventually. Also if you could just copy and paste his weekly letters and send them to me through dearelder I'd love that. I miss him, but I know that his decision as well as mine is the right one. I hope that all the other younger cousins will make the same decision because it is great. Also, in our large group meeting, Nate's mission was talked about. They mentioned how in 2009 the whole mission had 24 baptisms. Then they decided to commit to baptism starting the first lesson in 2010, and by July they had over 50 baptisms. That's pretty cool if you also consider the timeline in relation to when Nathan has been there.

Oh yeah, I can't upload pictures here, so I'll have to send you some when I'm in the field. Maybe I'll send the card home at about 6 weeks and you can get all the pics off of it and send it back.

I'm really beginning to settle in and have a lot of fun here. The food at the MTC isn't good, that's a fact. I know there are multiple schools of thought on the topic, but that's where I stand. My district is 4 elders going to Taibei and 2 sisters. Our districts are small but its a big group of Taibei-bound missionaries. The 4 elders all share a room, and I'm thankful I'm in the district I'm in. I'm becoming quite good friends with Elder Townsend, We get along great. We walk faster than the our companions so we always just yell SPLITS!!! and our companions are like 5-10 steps behind. We love to joke around, especially with my companion Elder Vandenberghe because he's such a character and gets passionate about so many things.... it's too funny. I love that I got him as a companion... Elder Townsend and I have determined that he is a self-proclaimed expert in 4 areas, Politics, Dinosaurs, Breakfast Cereal, and North American Wildlife. I'm sure many more of his areas of expertise will become manifest over the next 11 weeks. We teach well together. We got to go this week twice to the "teaching experience" and practice teach before our weekly "test review teach." We had the most amazing experiences at the "T.E." The second time when I bore my testimony I was in tears and the "investigator" played by a teacher was also in tears, I felt the spirit so strongly. Because of the positive experiences at the "T.E." we were overconfident when teaching a set of older Elders in the zone, and it ended up being a disaster. It was a great lesson in humility as we approached the situation thinking we were such great teachers, only to discover we weren't the teachers at all. The spirit does the teaching and the spirit won't come if we're not humble.

Tuesday I had to get blood drawn for my visa to Taiwan. Having blood drawn and shots don't bother me at all. My companion was freaking out. It was funny. I also had to give a stool sample. That was no fun at all. Veronica asked if I get any stupid songs from home stuck in my head, and unfortunately its all the stupid ones that get stuck in my head all the time, never the good ones. The other day I was going to the mail room and the mail truck parked outside was playing Katy Perry's California Girls. That was stuck in my head for like 3 days straight. I wish the mailman would've had good taste in music. I miss music like crazy because they don't even let us play Motab or anything in the rooms.

I just want to close by mentioning Elder Holland's talk he gave here Tuesday. Amazing, life changing, never felt my Saviors love so much. The man knows how to speak. It changed my life. I've never ever, ever felt the spirit or my Savior's love for me so strongly. The man speaks with power and conviction, and speaks through the spirit. It was so good and so amazing. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I know that the Lord has a plan for me, and I hope to fulfill that purpose. I love you all and miss you all so much. Write me and keep me posted. Dad keep up the articles. I love getting them. Keep me updated about the kids lives as well.

Love Elder White

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