Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 25, 2011 - What a Great Week

Wow, what an amazing week on the Island of Taiwan. What a great week in DanShui.

I feel like Heavenly Father was giving DanShui a big hug all week long, and we as the DanShui missionaries just got to see miracles and reap the rewards of Heavenly Father's outpour of love upon this beautiful city.

We were so busy this week! We've found and have so many good investigators progressing toward baptism, there's not enough time in the day. One of my favorites is Brother Zhuang. What an amazing guy, so prepared for this gospel. He had a date for this Saturday when I got to DanShui, but we were going to have to extend it because he still had a lot of lessons to hear. Upon meeting him the first time, I realized how amazingly prepared he was, so we've been working closely with him so that he hears all the lessons and is prepared for his baptismal interview (which is tonight!) so that he can get baptized on his goal. He was already living commandments before we taught them because he had done his own research and was committed. He truly understands his relationship with Heavenly Father and sees the big picture. What a great guy. He is an interior designer who just switched work to be a tour guide. He played college basketball here in Taiwan, so needless to say he and I get along great.

Speaking of basketball we decided to try to hold an activity where for our exercise Saturday morning we invite investigators, recent converts, and the other missionaries in our ward to play with us early in the morning. It went really well and we had investigators asking if we can do it next Saturday again. It's been a great way to strengthen friendships with our investigators.

I'm still baffled at how prepared DanShui is. The people I've found here have had interest, just like the people I've found elsewhere, but what sets them apart is their desire. There are some people willing to do whatever it takes to make that sacred covenant with the Lord. I'm so privileged to be a part of it. I'm so privileged to serve in DanShui with a great companion. He works hard and is such a great servant of the Lord. What a blessing to work with.

This week was the week of some CRAZY contacts on the street. I'll mention a few.

Me: "Hello, how is your day today?''

Security Guard(about 50 years old): "Mormon Church right?"

Me: "Yes, have you been."

Him: "No, but you guys are the church with Moses who split the sea right?"

Me: "Umm... Yeah you could say that's us."

Him: "Wow, You guys are AWESOME!''

That was probably my favorite.

I got chewed out by people on the street twice in one day while I was on exchanges in another area of the mission. The first person was just wanting to argue and thought he was incredibly deep and smart. But the second time was what was funny, because he chewed me out because I don't speak Taiwanese. The national language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese. And so he sat there yelling at me (in Mandarin) because I don't speak Taiwanese. He said if you want to learn Chinese go to Mainland China. If you come to Taiwan, learn Taiwanese. So I promptly left and continued to talk to people in their native tongue of Mandarin Chinese. It was a funny exchange.

I also contacted someone on the Subway who was interested in talking about America for only one reason. Sylvester Stallone. He was asking me if I've ever met Sylvester Stallone. He started talking to me about Rambo and Rocky. He knew Sylvester Stallone's birthday. If Sylvester Stallone was Mormon I could have baptized this guy right then and there. 

I also contacted someone wearing a "Pistol" Pete Maravich Jersey. He deserves to go to heaven.

But amid all the crazy contacts this week there were some amazing people, prepared to hear the gospel. I could get chewed out by people for 5 hours straight and it wouldn't matter once I find the one that's prepared. What a great week of miracles.

We were so busy this week that by the time Sunday rolled around we hadn't had a whole lot of finding time. We needed new investigators that day to meet our goal. So we prayed hard and we hoped to see a miracle Sunday night. We didn't have to wait until Sunday night, because as we arrived at church on Sunday there was a member from Taibei who goes to school in DanShui, and she had brought two classmates who just got to Taiwan from Mainland China. They wanted to see what Christianity was like and so the member invited them to church. We were able to meet and teach them after church and set up a time this week to continue to share. They are really good! I'm super excited about it and it was such a big miracle!! Sister Wang and Sister Qiu from Mainland China!!! The 2 new investigators we needed.

This week I also had one other interesting experience. I received a call from a member. She said she attends church in Taipei, but lives in DanShui and wanted to give us a DanShui member referral. She proceeded by telling us his name and phone number, then she said let me tell you a little bit more about his situation. She proceeded to say that he had been in trouble with the law, and I asked if he had taken care of it with the Taiwanese government. She said yes, he just got out of prison.... then she hesitated and said, "Well... actually he killed a man." I said ok and that was the end of that for a while. Then we had a few lessons. A couple hours later she called back and said. "Actually, it would probably be better if you didn't call him. It would be more safe, he might be dangerous, then she said "yeah actually I don't know him that well." So I never got ahold of the Murderer... but it definitely goes in the book as the craziest referral I've received.

Things are too good in DanShui, I'm too blessed to be in this area with an awesome companion.

I love you all and hope all is well.

Skyler Bingham's farewell, I know he'll kill it. Tell him I love him! Go serve the Lord.

Love you all, Elder White

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 18, 2011

Wow, the first week of my 5th transfer come and gone. Time flies. I will have been on the island of Taiwan 6 months this Friday.

Where to begin. My new area is AMAZING!!! So absolutely beautiful. What a great place. It reminds me SO MUCH of Juneau, Alaska--the way Juneau sits on the river there, and how there's the bridge over the river, and the historic downtown and then all the hills. There are some crazy steep hills we take everyday, but it's a lot of fun. My other favorite area was ZhuDong--also a mountain town. My home back in America is right on the mountains. I love mountains!!! and DanShui has plenty of them. 

What a great place, but even greater is how absolutely prepared the people are here. I'm amazed at how blessed we were this week in finding new, prepared people to hear the gospel. I testify if we do our part, pray hard that the Lord will do his, and trust him, HE WILL WORK MIRACLES. This week was evidence of that. I've found my weaknesses made strong through the atonement of the Lord. If we have faith in him we can do whatsoever thing is expedient in him. It's expedient to him that the church in DanShui continues to grow and is strengthened, and if that faith is leading to action, he will make things happen. 

We came in Monday with not really any set ups for the week, and by the end of the week we were CRAZY BUSY. The Lord let us see miracle after miracle in regard to teaching others and finding new people to teach. I testify the gift of tongues is real. I love it!!! I know without a doubt that this is the Lord's work because I see him participating in it everyday and that became even more real to me each day. I followed a prompting to go to a part of our area that my companion never went to this transfer. We didn't know what to expect but because I prayed about it I knew the Lord would place people in our path. We talked with everyone as we began heading out there, and one of the very first people we taught was a college student named Hu. He is on the college basketball team at his school. He's a really great guy and he and I had an instant friendship. I shared with him about the atonement on the street and set up a time for him to meet with us. He came and met with us and set a baptismal date. He's super willing to do what he needs to do to know if these things are true and he's super willing to change his life. What a miracle that wouldn't have happened if we didn't follow promptings.

I'm so grateful for the Lord's help. I'm so grateful for this gospel, and the opportunity I have to share this gospel with the people of Taiwan in Mandarin Chinese. This is a gospel anchored in happiness and peace, and anyone who embraces it and lives according to this gospel will have just that.

My new companion is Elder Gong from New Hampshire. I'm glad you like his name, Dad. He's a really good, nice elder. He's still super green, actually as green as I've seen a missionary. But he's got a great heart, and it's in the right place, which is most important. We're going to continue to work hard this transfer and see more miracles. I'm super excited for what the future has in store for this area. DanShui is going to be LIT ON FIRE!!!! That's the goal. That is what is going to happen.

I'm glad to hear the family is doing well. Veronica, you're a superstar. There was no doubt in my mind you'd get this job. I don't know how anyone could turn you down. Keep up the good work. Go to the school the Lord wants you to go to.  Keep enduring your new busy schedule. When you feel overwhelmed, focus on the big picture of things. Everything will work itself out. You're too amazing. That sounds like a great job. I wish I was at home to eat all the delicious bread.

Congrats to Savannah for keeping her chin up and working hard. Props to Joe for being too good at basketball and for standing up for himself and continuing to fight the evil forces of this world (Kobe Bryant). Neosporin the wound, Mom. Skyler's farewell. Wow, how I wish I could be there. Words can't express how excited I am for him. This single experience will change his life forever. I can say that because of what this mission has already done for my life. Elder Holland spoke to us in the MTC and said that his mission meant everything to him. I thought about the magnitude of that statement and I'm beginning to realize just how true that is if we serve the Lord right. I wish I could be there so badly. Tell him he needs to send me his MTC address and his mission address when he finds out.

I love you all.

This week, down on the boardwalk I contacted a man with a headband, neon short shorts, ray bans, a tank top, and best of all ROLLER SKATES and all the accompanying pads. He was a flashback of like 1980 California beach scene. I've never experienced the 80's California beach scene. But I know that I experienced the Taiwanese knock off of it through Michael, the 45 year old roller skater.

I really am too blessed. The Lord takes good care of his servants. I can't wait to continue to help more people here in DanShui.

The Church is True. The Book of Mormon is true, and it's God's Words. I love it!!

Do good things.
Love Elder White

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011

 Brother Guo's Baptism!!! My favorite is him with Brother Zhang (the other old guy). They became great friends. Brother Zhang joined the church 10 years ago at the age of 73!!

We had the opportunity to go to a beach for a youth activity where they brought investigator friends.

 The Grand Hotel
The real temple. 

a 5 stack baconator I forced my comp to eat!!

 The curly haired kid is our 1 week missionary Elder Tsai. The short one is Elder Chen.
 On p-day at a kao rou, Elder vandenberghe and me!!

Me and Brother Guo

 Pictures of the one and only Elder Chen

Picture of our District

Wow.... Move call day. Always big news. Let transfer 5 begin.... I am leaving my current area, the heart of Taibei City. I'm going up north to a town call DanShui. I've only heard great things about this place. It's supposed to be one of the most gorgeous areas in the entire mission so I'm very excited about that. There are also a lot of college students up there which I'm pretty excited about. I seem to relate well to them, get along pretty well with them. Here's some of the more crazy news. I'm now a member of our mission's youngest companionship. I'm now senior companion starting my 5th transfer, and my companion is a 2nd transfer missionary. We're incredibly young. Please, please, please keep us in our prayers. I know that those who the Lord calls he qualifies, but we only have 5 transfers of experience behind us.

I'm looking forward to my next companion though. He'll be great because I know his trainer was great. He is Elder Gong. He is the 1st Quorum of the Seventies Elder Gong's nephew. We're going to work hard, rely on the Lord to make up for our weaknesses and our inexperience, and see amazing miracles. That's the plan and that's what is going to go down. I've only seen pictures of where I'm heading but I wish I could show you. You, of course, can Google it. DanShui. It's a harbor town, with a fisherman's wharf and amazing ocean views. I'm very excited. It's the most northern part of Taiwan, so I hear winter gets pretty chilly. I'll need to bundle up.

It's been a really great time serving with Elder Chen. Our humor blends nicely and we get along great. It was also such a blessing to have back-to-back Taiwanese companions that young in my mission. It truly was a blessing to my Chinese.

This last week was very, very, very busy. I don't even know how to explain it or where to begin. One of my favorite parts was the opportunity to "babysit" (take the new missionaries who just got on island for a night of missionary work). It's a great opportunity to set an example of how a Taibei Taiwan missionary should work. And it's also an opportunity to see so many miracles. There's no doubt Heavenly Father provides great miracles on babysitting night to give the new missionaries a lot of fire. I saw some great miracles. The new missionary I took out was super quiet and shy, completely different from me, but our mission president asks us to take them out to "Dan Jones" (street preach). I brought my megaphone and had him stand up on a ledge and bear his testimony to a big crowd. He didn't like that too much, but the quicker the new missionaries can conquer the fear of talking with everyone, the faster they can be more effective missionaries. It was a great experience and we saw some cool miracles. We found a super prepared person on the street, and we also met a girl on the street and caused her to cry through bearing testimony of Heavenly Father. Crazy Cool! What a great opportunity to have a positive influence on the new missionaries.

There are some people I will miss leaving this area. Obviously I'm going to miss Guo Bing Jun, the 82 year old convert. What an amazing man. I'm going to miss Sister Wang. This week she had an interesting experience. She was pondering about the Word of Wisdom and if she wanted to try to keep it or not. She brought a big thermos of tea to her work, and started to drink it, then she got really sick and ended up in the hospital out of nowhere. She got really scared, and didn't know what that experience meant. But, she's now willing to try to keep the Word of Wisdom. I'm really excited, because I know she'll make it. She'll get baptized this transfer.

I'm so excited to get up to DanShui and see the ocean and the mountains. I miss mountains, both the mountains of Utah, and the mountains of ZhuDong.

I'm excited for what the future holds in store and to go up and meet all my new investigators, and find even more new investigators. The future looks bright for Elder White and Elder Gong. Elder Gong is probably an incredible missionary and I'm excited to start working with him. Getting back to speaking a little English won't be too shabby either. My English has really taken a hit these last two transfers. When I speak English, I use English words, but with Chinese grammar. It's really weird.

I leave Taibei's biggest apartment. I no longer will have my own personal bathroom. But I will manage.

Also in the group of oncoming missionaries there is a member of my U of U college ward!! YEAH! and a missionary from Lone Peak. I don't know him that well, but he was in my Seminary class, and we have mutual friends. He seems really nice. I hope I get a chance to work with him later. YEAH Missionaries!!!

Everyone go to church every Sunday.

Love Elder White

Monday, September 5, 2011

September 5, 2011

Time Flies. There is no other way to put it. I have been in Taiwan for over 5 months. This is the last week of my 4th transfer. I know that still counts as just a baby of a missionary. I'm still a really young, fresh missionary. I feel like I got here just yesterday.

My companion is still Chinese.

This transfer is coming to a close, and we've seen a lot of cool miracles. Yesterday we met with our most Golden investigator, Sister Wang, and she completely hated the Word of Wisdom. She said she was willing to try, but she said there's no way she can do it... It was really disappointing so next time we meet with her we're going to need a faith boosting lesson. This next lesson is going to be extremely important, so keep her in your prayers.

This week was just a blur because I got sick, and then Saturday was crazy busy. Saturday we set 4 baptismal dates in one day!!! It was awesome. Serving right smack dab in the middle of the heart of Taibei is great because there are so many people to contact and talk to always, but it's very hard to find people who live in our area. The actual parts of our area that are residential are small. We continue to pray to be able to find more people that will eventually be part of this ward.

This morning I cut my hair by myself, so if in my pictures from the next few weeks it looks weird, just know that it was free.

One benefit serving in the Jin Hua chapel (temple square and the church headquarters in Taiwan) is that the temple president and another senior missionary go and play basketball with some older Taiwanese men in the stake center twice a week. We enjoy going and playing with them for our exercise on those days. They lace up their Air Jordans (yes they wear Air Jordans) and we compete to the death. Well, actually just 21 points. It's amazing the effort they have in boxing out and crashing the boards for rebounds at 6 in the morning. When I leave this area I will miss the 6 a.m. basketball with the senior missionaries.

I'm glad to hear all is well at home. I'm glad to hear school is back in session. I hope all the kids have great years in school. I hope they absorb a lot of knowledge. Veronica, if it's not too late take Chinese. It's really easy and that way if you end up serving a mission you might be able to go speak somewhere Chinese speaking. Because Chinese is the 2nd best language in the world. It has a couple weaknesses keeping it from being on the same level as English. They don't have a really good translation for the word karma, or Audrey Hepburn. Other than those two words, Chinese is great.

Also, this is not expedient, but... if you ever do send another package any time soon, can you include my electric razor? At the MTC there was no need, because I shaved twice a week, and it was so dry there my skin would become too irritated if I used the electric, but here is more humid, and I need to shave every day or I look scrappy. It's probably because my trainer would get an 11:00 a.m. shadow, and in missionary lingo you trainer is your "dad" so it's just genetic. But you know that means??? I'm going to be able to grow a sweet mustache when I get home!!!

I love you all. Have an amazing School year. Do good things with your time.
Elder White
Bai ZhangLao