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