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.
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 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