Saturday, April 30, 2011

More April 2011 Pictures

  No parking on sidewalks sign "How am I supposed to get them to obey the Word of Wisdom if they can't obey simple parking regulations?"
  kao rou. Awesome dining experience, this is a couple p days ago, they set up these little grills and you go and grab a bunch of meet and sauces and cook it all there
 just another contact. "will you.... be baptized"

  From our last P-day. Me, my companion, and the zone leaders. This is the crew we always run with


 back of my shirt after riding my bike on a rainy day
 a phone I won in a crane machine game. Yup that's a phone!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 25, 2011 - One Month on Island

Ni men hao.

Another week passes by in the city of Zhubei. Where to begin? Prince of Egypt is on the mission's approved music list. Boys 2 Men did a song for that soundtrack, so I get to listen to Boys 2 Men sometimes.

I'll start with P-day. Last P-day was cool. My companion and I hopped on the train with the zone leaders who work in the bordering area and went down to the very southern tip of our mission's boundaries on Taiwan's west coast to a tiny town called Sanyi. We got off the train stop there and walked a few miles up to the small town that sits on a few streets built into a hill, surrounded by jungle. This little town is known for its wood carvings, and once you get up there, there are hundreds of little shops with AMAZING wood carvings. I wish I would have taken pictures. There was some really really cool stuff. It was fun to walk around and look. One of the zone leaders goes home this next week so he was there to shop and bought a really cool warrior carving. The whole town smelled amazing because of all the wood. It was a cool place.

After we had finished looking around we realized we were going to miss the train back that we were planning to take. We started running down the mountain so we wouldn't miss the train because if we missed it we would have to sit at the train station for 2 hours with nothing to do and we'd all be late for our appointments that night. We were running when a nice lady pulled over in the SMALLEST car and offered to give us a ride. We all piled into this tiny car and she got us to the train with a couple minutes to spare. We probably would have missed it if it weren't for her. What a miracle.

Our ward boundaries changed and we're losing all our investigators except the one family I wrote home about last week. If I could only keep one, they'd be who I keep, but it's tough because we're basically white washing Zhubei now and starting from scratch.

This week was tough, very tough. I'm rolling on a bike a missionary who just went home left behind. It's a blessing to have it and not have to go buy a new one, but the bike was having some big problems this week and I had to go get it repaired. Besides the bike problem I got really sick in the middle of the week, so I've been trying to get over that. I'm almost there. We contacted this city 'til we dropped Saturday and found 1 new investigator that doesn't even live in our area. Three different times on Saturday night, we contacted people that we had contacted earlier that day on the other side of town. It was ridiculous!!! I feel like I contacted everyone in Zhubei.

The good news is we finished Sunday night on a high note and had a really cool experience that made me realize how much God has his hand in this work. Sunday night Zhubei has it's night market that attracts a TON of people. We had a prime contacting spot right where a lot of people walk to and from the market, but it was very quiet and away from all the hustle and bustle. We were seeing a lot of success and teaching a lesson right there on the street when the sister missionaries in our area came and decided to park their bikes and contact right next to us. That was lame so we left and were a bit mad as we went a couple blocks over, but now I see that that's where we needed to be. We were contacting there when I saw someone across the street riding by on a bike in a red shirt. I thought that I saw the U of U, block U on it. So I started yelling at him, and ran across the busy street to flag him down. Sure enough, it was a U of U shirt!!! I was shocked. Got to talking to him and he lived in Utah one month with an LDS family. Right now he is in an English class one of our really good members here in Zhubei teaches, and we were able to teach him a bit about Joseph Smith and commit him to pray about it. He reminded me so much of Mehmet! We can't meet with him for a while because he's a senior in high school and they all take a test that literally determines their future so they are super busy studying, but after the test we'll have ourselves a great investigator. It was such a miracle! God put us in a place where he knew we could come in contact with Benjamin. God has been preparing this kid for some time now, and it just happens that the kid was wearing a shirt that made us run across the street to talk to him. Had he not been wearing that shirt he would have just rolled on by without us knowing. God really does amazing things in this work. It's such a blessing to have seen so many cool miracles and I've only been here for a month.

I'm just thankful that he trusts our companionship with some of the children he's been preparing.

The opposition is working hard too. It's amazing how many times we'll be sharing the first vision on the street or in a lesson only to have it interrupted by a cell phone call.

This week was hard, but our companionship is good, and we're having a TON OF FUN!!! We are getting along so great and this week we tricked out and customized all of our phone's ring tones and alarms with stuff we recorded. It was hilarious. President did a good job with pairing everyone up with trainers who are a lot like themselves. I fee like this coming week is going to be awesome!!! Having a great time.

Today we're hopping on a train to Zhubei since it's one of the zone leaders last p-days, and we're going to go play hard! I'm planning on eating snake meat!! I'm excited!!

The work was hard this week, but we had a lot of fun, and the Lord continues to bless us when we press forward in faith. It would have been easy to try to have a more relaxing evening last night after a long, hard week, but we pressed on until the very last bit of the week and saw much success and many miracles last night.

Elder White

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 18, 2011


Great news that your book is in Wal-Mart. Hope all goes well at your writer's conference. Glad Veronica had fun at prom and glad she did well on the ACT. Hope Grandma's feeling better. Glad no one was critical.

I don't even know where to begin. This week was a great week for the work! Our companionship had such an amazing week last week, that we didn't know if we could possibly improve on it, but we did!! We absolutely tore it up this week. The Lord is smiling down on Zhubei.

This week we met with Scott Zhang and his family. I don't remember if I told you about them in my first email home, but last week we were on exchanges when my companion met with him. This week I got to meet with them twice and they are about as golden as can be. They are a husband and wife and have a little 2 year old son. They are so awesome, they are unlike any Taiwanese people I've come in contact with yet. The story of how the missionaries met Scott is cool. He pulled up to them at a light a few months ago and told them to pull over. Then he said he really liked our church's stance on families, and met with the missionaries right there. The bad news was that he lived in Taichung and was only in Zhubei for work. Fast forward to this transfer. He moved to Zhubei, same time as I did. It's been awesome to be able to teach this family. They keep their commitments (except coming to church this week!!!!) and they've done a lot of research on their own about our church. They are already starting to live the commandments and we haven't even taught them about them yet. They asked us if we could eat chocolate, because of the caffeine, after doing some Word of Wisdom research. The wife was really happy to learn that we could. They are so great. Last time we met with them Scott was asking us about the priesthood, and when we told him he could get it after he's baptized he got really happy and said he could use it to bless his family. They're awesome.

< br /> Jevon Wesley, the investigator I've talked much about and that we found in a miraculous fashion. Where to start with him. He runs with a rough crowd, a really rough crowd. Although this week he brought a friend named Gary (these are all these people's chosen English names). Gary is great! He has a decent Christian background and is curious. Gary is different from this group of friends. He is respectful and very smart. He's just hanging out with the wrong crowd and not reaching his potential. When we meet with him he begins by turning off his phone and then he's absolutely focused and participates in the lesson. He set a date for baptism the same day as Jevon. It would be really great to see these two kids enter into baptism. There will be some problems with the commandments, but their faith is good. They also brought two other friends to meet with us who have set baptismal dates for that same day, so we will continue to work with them, but Gary and Jevon are the ones who have been consistent in meeting with us.

Last night some other missionaries called and told us one of our investigators was at the church. We hurried over and found Jevon there. He informed us he had no money and no food and hadn't eaten at all that day. We prayed with him. It was really hard to know how to handle the situation. We can't have this group of kids expect that they can just turn to us for money or food. We prayed about it and decided we would go grab some of the food in our apartment an investigator had given us but we didn't want to eat, and we gave that to him. We asked him to try to budget his money better this week and buy food before anything else. It's tough though, the poor kid was starving, and just is in a bad situation. When we found Jevon, I had specifically said in my prayer to lead us to someone who we could help and change their life (not something I typically say in a prayer when we go out looking for investigators). There is no doubt in my mind or my companion's that we were led to Jevon divinely. We just need to figure out the best way to go about helping this lost soul.

This week English class was rough. I teach the beginner class, and the first week it was all adults and really fun, but my district said I got lucky. Now I see why. The kids I teach are all about 9-11 years old and absolutely crazy. They aren't really there to learn English. Their parents just drop them off to be babysat. They all just want to play games, and when I had run out of games to play, I started doing math with them. They loved it. Little Chinese kids love math, reading, and computer games. I thought it was just some overplayed stereotype, but it is so accurate! Once I started writing math problems on the board they were better behaved than ever before. They were still crazy though, and I still hate English class.

This week we were doing so well in our area we got permission to go down to Xinchu and help a couple of Elders in our district down there because they were having a rough week. Xinchu is a much bigger city and I knew I wasn't familiar with it so the night before we went I made sure I set my bike lock key out right next to my nametag so I wouldn't forget it the next day. Sure enough I forgot it. I wasn't too worried though. My companion never locks his bike and it's always fine. However, we parked our bikes, went into Subway, and returned 30 minutes later to find my bike stolen.

Let me just say that nothing positive ever happens from eating at Subway. When you eat at Subway you end up always regretting what kind of bread you ordered, always end up smelling like Subway the rest of the day, and sometimes you end up having your bike stolen. There goes the bike I paid $350 dollars for and got 3 weeks use out of. I did too good of a job painting it. The good news is there is another bike I can have from a missionary who just went home. But it really does suck. When we came out of Subway and realized it was gone, I was mad, but I said its not going to come back by us standing here. We gotta go preach! And we had a very, very successful afternoon of sharing the gospel.

Three weeks in and I've already been hit by a car and had my bike stolen, but the missionary work is good. We're working HARD. My companion is hitting his year on island mark and all but 2 transfers have been here in Zhubei. He said that in his whole time on island, Zhubei hasn't had numbers like these last two weeks or success like these last 2 weeks. We're breaking all Zhubei records and I've seen and felt a change in Zhubei from the time I walked off the train until now. The work is going great, and we're finding like crazy. All this is happening in what was supposed to be "the hard area to find people" in the mission. They even brought that up in zone conference this week. I'm glad I got sent to the "hard area" first thing. We're doing great things here, and I'm excited for what the future holds. Working hard and having a lot of faith. Loving it. Doing good work.

Do your best and good things will happen. Love you,
Elder White

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pictures from April 11, 2011

grand hotel with district and mission president and his wife, blog 27 with the hotel nice and centered in the background

My new ride.
The street we live on.
freezing at our bishops house the first night (blog the one where I'm smiling) My trainer is on my left, the pictures right, the one on the pictures left is my trainers last companion

  my favorite meal here so far

view from top of our building, this is the wonderful city of zhubei!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 10, 2011 "I Got Hit"


This guy didn't want the gospel, but I think his mullet did.

My new Chinese nametag

Hello Everybody,

First things first: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE. Live it up. I just realized I'll be on my mission when he starts passing sacrament. I wish I could be at home for that. Tell Joe not to live worthy to receive the priesthood until I get back from my mission. Just kidding! But tell him I love him and am proud of him and hope he had an amazing birthday.

This week was a REALLY GREAT week. It kind of went by as a blur, so I'll try to remember everything.

On Monday nights we meet with this member, Chen Jin Tian, and try to talk to him about kicking his smoking habit so that he can go to the temple. He loves studying the scriptures, and is all about the gospel, comes to church and actually wears a suit (most people here don't get very dressed up for church), but he just can't kick his habit. He's also hilarious! He's genuinely a little bit crazy. The first week we met with him he kept telling us to tell him when the second coming was. This week he was on a kick that the LDS church needed to get a hospital in Taiwan, because the Catholic church has one. He says he's been praying for it everyday. He used to call America "amiguo" (in Chinese it's meiguo) thinking that was correct but over the last week he began calling it amicycle and seriously thinks that's the correct way to say it. Its the only word he says in English except when referring to his ex-wife as "my woman." This last Monday night at one point he said amiguo and then corrected himself and said amicycle. Me and my companion were trying SOOO hard not to bust up laughing. It was really hard. Then in his closing prayer he prayed Taiwan would get an LDS hospital, and that the meeting houses would get better artwork.

I told you about Jevon Wesley last week, the kid that we found in the last 30 minutes of the night right after saying a prayer to be able to help one person's life that night. We were scheduled to meet with him Tuesday but he didn't show up and his phone number wasn't working. The next day we prayed to be able to find him (which is unlikely in Taiwan's overpopulated cities) but during English class in rolled Jevon Wesley. We found out he thought it was Wednesday we were supposed to meet and we had written down the wrong phone number. It was good to meet with him. He and his Buddhist girlfriend broke up. I feel like God really is preparing this kid. I think it will be hard because he runs with a really tough crowd, but his faith is strong and I really want to help him change his life through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday English class was full of a bunch of ROWDY 9-11 year old kids. They were crazy, and to top it all off midway through an old man who didn't know any English walked in. He was trying to ask all these questions in Chinese and I couldn't understand his Chinese very well. Then he told me I didn't know enough Chinese to be teaching. My response? Make that old man play duck duck goose with the little kids. It was hilarious! Take that old man.

I'll tell you about my trainer a little bit. His name is Elder Erickson. He's from Boise Idaho. He's the current district leader in our district. He is great! I'm so glad he's my trainer. I think president did a great job of matching people up with trainers that are a lot like themselves. He is a Boise State fan so he should probably repent of that. Our companionship is great. He's all about working hard and having fun, and we're doing great things. This week our zone broke the zone record for new investigators, and our companionship found the most of any companionship in the zone. We're working hard and seeing many blessings and miracles every day. The work is hard but it's rewarding and great. Saturday night we had a baptism. It was so cool to see the first person I've had the privilege of helping teach receive baptism.

Because my trainer is the district leader, Friday we got to go on splits with the zone leaders. I got to go with Elder Jhou for 24 hours up in their area. It was a lot of fun! Our zone leaders are all about working really, really hard, and having a lot of fun. He's hilarious and we had an awesome exchange, got a lot of good missionary work done and had a lot of fun. Their apartment had a guitar as well. It felt so good to be able to play a little bit since it's been so long. It was a lot of fun.

Yesterday was an eventful day. We watched the Sunday sessions of conference in the morning (such a good conference this year! The first presidency's talks in priesthood were UNBELIEVABLE!) In the afternoon I was hit by a car. On our bikes to turn left we have to turn right and flip around and wait for that light to change to go through the intersection. Anyway, I'm turning right and am biking across that lane to turn around and as I'm biking across that lane a car takes the right turn way too fast. I see it out of the corner of my eye and see it's going to hit me, so I flung by body forward to the front of my bike, and the car smacks the back of my bike and flips it around. The bike fell down but I was able to somehow miraculously stay on my feet straddling the bike, sticking a perfect landing that would make any 12 year old Chinese gymnast jealous (a couple people on scooters and in other cars that saw it said "that was amazing!!")

Anyway, the guy that hit me gets out, and so does his girlfriend/wife in the passenger seat. They're both freaking out "are you ok? are you ok?" Trying to be the good missionary boy I was I said I'm fine and asked if they were ok. Then I asked the guy why he wasn't looking, and told him that he needs to look, and he said he was on the phone. The way he said it was in a way like that made it ok, and then I realized he was still on the phone with the person through this whole thing. Right then he said into the phone "he's ok" telling the person on the other line that I was ok. I lost it. In that brief moment I wasn't Elder White anymore. I was back to Bruce White. I grabbed his phone from him and hung it up. I started yelling at him and telling him he needs to pay attention when he's driving and not talk on the phone. (This was all in Chinese.) I finally rolled off and my bike wasn't working. We messed with it a little bit and it started working again which was good. Just a little bent metal. Most importantly I'm fine. I just had a bit of a headache and was a little sore, but I'm perfectly fine and was back to doing missionary work 10 minutes later.

Later that night (Sunday night) we went out to a newer (more hip) part of our area in hopes of finding some young couples. We turned down a side road and ended up in a bunch of rice paddies right up against the jungle. It was foggy and dark and really, really cool!! We could hear all the monkeys in the jungle. It was awesome but not the best place for missionary work. We would see these little houses right up against the jungle and to get to them we'd have to bike down a tiny narrow road for about 50 yards surrounded by rice paddies on both sides. It was a really, really cool area!! We're going to go back on an upcoming p-day and hike up some of the hiking paths we saw that lead straight into the mountain and jungle. It was a really fun night of going out and exploring and knocking doors in a different part of our area. We even got chased by a couple crazy dogs for a little bit.

Overall it was a great week! Really saw the fruits of our labor. Hard work really does pay off. I'm excited for the week ahead, to continue to be able to do this amazing work, God's work, on the island of Taiwan.
Love you all,
Love Elder White

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3, 2011

Our plane from Detroit to Japan
In the airplane
The things I bought when I exchanged money in Japan
Taiwan has the Jonas Brothers, too.
The Taiwan Temple
Taiwan dedicatory site

April 4, 2011 And All the Dogs Run Wild in the Streets

Traffic Duty

Elder Cannon Clark and Elder Bruce White (Cannon is a friend from Idaho)

Our MTC district with Elder Hodges and Sister Fan.

Me painting my bike.

Finished product

I have a mustache vicariously through him.

This is where we tract.

The nicest person I contacted that day.

Night Market

English Lesson

English Lesson

English Lesson

Letter for the week:


Great first week in Taiwan!! Where to begin.

In Zhubei, where I'm serving, there are hundreds of dogs that just run wild in the street. That's a little different.

I'm not good at Chinese. I contact people and have no idea what they're saying back to me, so I just bear testimony and hope that the spirit can do something. This week I spent 30 seconds contacting this couple using Chinese. They were nice and nodding their head, and then after 30 seconds she said, "duibuqi wo bu shou yingwen." That translates to, "I'm sorry. I don't speak English." hahaha! That really boosted my confidence in my Chinese. I'm studying like crazy. I really want to pick this language up quickly so I can be a more effective missionary, but I know it's going to have to come slowly, bit by bit. My MTC branch president said something that has popped in my head a lot this week. He said "Don't let the things you can't do keep you from doing the things you can." I really like that. I can still work hard, study hard, smile and wave to everyone I see, have faith, and strive to improve my language skills everyday.

Speaking of working hard, having a companion willing to work is AWESOME. I really am loving my trainer. We get along really well and the one thing I wanted in a trainer was someone who was willing to work hard, and Elder Erickson has that. I love being able to get out there and get to work.

I painted my bike. They have us paint it so it's less likely to get stolen, but I'm worried with my amazing paint job I made it more likely to get stolen.

I really enjoy the food here. Twice this week we've had older ladies come up to us and talk to us about America. Both of them asked if we eat hamburgers everyday in America. They're shocked when we tell them we eat the Taiwanese food. One of them even tried to imitate what English sounds like. HILARIOUS!!!

I taught my first English class. I was assigned to teach the beginner class and the other missionaries said that I'd just be teaching a bunch of little kids and would just have to play a game. Then I get in my class and the little kids were nowhere to be found. What I did see was a couple who look to be in their late 20's and a 40 year old lady. So I started to teach out of the little book the mission has made, and it was going horrible. One of the most awkward 15 minutes of my life. I had no idea how I was going to teach 90 minutes of this. Then I turned to the body parts page. This I could point to and didn't have to know the Chinese to every word, so it was easier. Then an idea came to me. I taught them the words from the book and then I also taught them head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose. Then I made 3 adults stand up and sing "Head, shoulders, knees, and toes." It was hilarious seeing these adults doing this in broken English, and they were loving it. One of them said that toe and tongue sounded the same. I thought this was hilarious coming from a Chinese speaker, where everything sounds the same, and the tones change the meanings of words.

Then a miracle happened. One of them asked me how to say mustache. From there it was smooth sailing. I taught them every facial hair term in the book, from handlebar mustache to lamb chops, to soul patch, I covered it all. It was so hard not to laugh every time these people were saying soul patch in broken English. They were diligently trying to study the words and taking notes drawing all the different styles and writing the English name. It was the greatest!!! I then taught them hair styles like mohawk, afro, corn rows, and mullet. They asked about girl hair and I didn't know what to say so I taught them bangs, and no bangs.

Before I knew it the time was filled and class was over. It turned out to be really fun when I just relaxed and made it funny.

Friday night we had a basketball activity which was great because we got a lot of people's info that we can call and hopefully some become investigators. Basketball here is so funny!! They all work like crazy on their ball handling and tricks, but they can't finish or score. It's so funny to see all the crazy no-look passes that go on. But there were actually a couple kids that broke the stereotypes and proved that some Asians can ball.

This week our goal was for 4 new investigators. We'd worked hard all week to meet it, prayed hard, had a lot of faith, but as of Saturday evening we had found one. We were trying to stay positive, but we had two scheduled lessons that night with people who we were hoping to teach and get set up with so they'd become new investigators, and they both no showed. (so many no shows every week) Anyway, we waited until 8:30 and then we just said we got to go. We went to knock a door we had knocked earlier in the week and the guy had said come back, but he wasn't there. We found ourselves at the end of a long day, having done a lot of hard work, and with little results. We pulled into the alley and I offered a prayer. I prayed that in this last half an hour God would put just one person in our path who he has prepared for the gospel and who needs our help at this time. We said amen and I pulled back out on the street, and the first person I saw was a kid about 20 years old on the other side of the street. I had a really strong prompting to talk to him, so I crossed the street and began talking to him with my companion. He said he knew about the church from when he was really young, and that his older sister is a member. We asked him if we could give him a tour of the church and he said we could. We showed him around and he liked it a lot. We then sat down and taught him a lesson and he really was interested. He said he still tries to pray like he was taught when he was a little boy. We had a great lesson and set up to teach him Tuesday. He really is as prepared as I've seen an investigator since being here on island. He talked about wanting to follow Jesus Christ and we invited him to be baptized and he accepted. That was great! I was so excited on the ride home I almost got hit by 3 different cars. (Riding bikes in this traffic is SO FUN!!!)

We still needed 2 more investigators to meet our goal and we got one Sunday afternoon, and then our 4th came the last 30 minutes of Sunday night. The Lord was really testing our faith this week, but I know that he definitely answers prayers.

Another really cool story this week is about a less active in our ward named Dan, a.k.a. "Dirty Dan." (Most of the people here have picked English names, and so that's what I use when writing home for convenience.) My trainer and his last companion told Dan when he was going to go out to parties and clubs to call them first. Last week he did and they said don't drink or break the law of chastity. Saturday he called and said he was going to the club that night. We set up a time to meet with him in the afternoon. We taught him a lesson and tried to convince him not to go, but he was pretty set on going. We concluded by making a deal with him that if he went he couldn't drink, couldn't break the law of chastity, and had to be to church on time at 9:00 a.m. the next morning. He agreed and then my companion invited him to say a closing prayer. I quickly interrupted and asked him in his prayer to ask God if he should go to the club that night. He thought it was weird, but he said he would. Then he prayed and he asked God if he should go to the club. After the prayer we asked if he got an answer. He said no, but the expression on his face said otherwise. Then later that night we're at the church for a lesson, and in walks Dirty Dan. He's not at the club. He's on his way up to the gym for a church young single adults activity. It was awesome. The next day he was at church on time, and Sunday night we saw him on the street on his way to another church activity. It was so cool!

We have a baptism Saturday night!!! Her name is Yang Qi Ping, English name Apple. I'm excited. She was scheduled for the 20th of April but that was a Wednesday so we teach English. We asked her if we could move it up and she said she didn't feel quite prepared. Then we bore testimony and I challenged her to be baptized on the 9th, moving it up even further than we had first anticipated. She said she was willing and she passed her interview Saturday. I'm really excited. I've heard it's been a while since Zhubei has had a baptism.

The work is going well. I've hit the ground running and working hard. We come home each night and just die on our beds because we're so tired, but the Lord provides us with enough energy to get through the next day. The Lord loves the people of Taiwan. I'm so thankful to be serving here. I still sometimes just look around while riding my bike and see all the bright neon lights and characters everywhere and can't help but grin from ear to ear because of where I am. I'm loving it so far, It's definitely hard, but I'm definitely growing a lot. The Lord answers prayers, and definitely has those he's prepared in Zhubei waiting for us to find them. We just have to talk to hundreds before we get the one. Our zone leaders here said it's like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles. Well said. That's why we have to just open our mouth and talk to EVERYONE! I've talked to everyone. My favorite is the 20 second contacts to people on scooters next to us at red lights.

Also the weather in Zhubei this week was absolutely wonderful! The other older romanization spellings of it are Chupei and Jhubei if you want to look it up at all. My companion and I set a goal to take a picture a day, so I hope to be able to get you a few every week.
Love all of you!
Elder White