Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25, 2011

What an absolutely amazing week! I don't know where to begin... I guess just MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! My Christmas was just great. It was so great to hear your voices this week family. Nice talking to you and hearing you exercise your vocal chords to give me messages of glad tidings, support, and encouragement.

This week's English class had to be great, it being Christmas and all, so come Wednesday night I was really feeling the pressure. What could I do to make it great? I did what anyone put in that situation would do. I taught them all how to sing George Michael's "Last Christmas." Then I made each member of the class do solos to make sure they had really got it down. It was a big success. 

Speaking of English class... a real miracle happened 2 weeks ago. In the last 30 minutes of class we have an opportunity to share a gospel message. 2 weeks ago our message led into the Book of Mormon. I bore testimony of the book and promised the class that if they were willing to read it, it would bless their lives and that through us missionaries they can obtain a copy and learn more about the book and the church. After class a college-aged girl in the class named Nami came up and said she wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon. Now she's attending church and church activities, and has a baptismal date with the sister missionaries. It was sweet!!!

Last Monday night our mission president called my companion and me and informed us of an emergency situation. One of the Elders in our zone had to go home immediately. And so we had to pack our bags and go over to their apartment for the night. Then the elder going home and my companion went up to Taibei to go to the temple and the airport the next day and me and the other missionary stayed back and worked our areas. It was a tiring night. We didn't get over to the apartment until very late in the night, then we had to help the missionary pack, then I slept on a tiny, tiny loveseat. On Tuesday mornings zone leaders have to wake up early to do a bunch of faxes and follow up with all the district leaders, and so I was having to do that at a convenience store away from our area and stuff by myself because my companion was heading up to Taipei. It was really tiring and hectic. Since then, the leaving missionary's companion, Elder Miller has been in a 3-some with us. It's been a blast. I love Elder Miller. He's hilarious!!!! He's from Atlanta Georgia, and he walks around telling people he's our secretary. It's been absolutely great.

Speaking of secretary, the word in Chinese is MiShu. It sounds a lot like the word for Pastor which is MuShi, MiShu, Mushi, anyways... I called a guy that we had set up the other day and a young female answered. I proceeded to ask her if she was his MuShi, or in English if she was his pastor. I then corrected myself but we had a good laugh.

Great News from DanShui. Edward Liang, the awesome dad from Canada, is being baptized this Tuesday. He's really excited and I can't wait. It was such a miracle finding him, and there is nothing better than having someone you found, taught all the lessons to, and helped quit smoking get baptized. I couldn't be happier!!

About baptism... This Saturday a man name Brother Chih is being baptized!!! He's been meeting with missionaries 6 months but wouldn't commit to being baptized because he didn't want to leave his other church. He attends his other church in the morning and ours in the afternoon. Next year our church is changing to the morning and he said he would come here 2 weeks and there 2 weeks. He's never been willing to commit and was just an eternal investigator. I asked my companion 2 weeks ago if I could take over the teaching of Charlie, and give him a fresh look. My companion reluctantly agreed. This week I finally got to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time but my companion never would let me. I was on exchanges so I had the chance, and that is to go into the lesson without any lesson plan, and just ask questions to resolve concerns. It's something I started doing in DanShui if I had investigators that seemed stuck. I did it Saturday with Brother Chih and the spirit completely guided the lesson. We were guided to scriptures and really asked some questions that came straight from heaven. Then I felt the spirit really strongly and invited him to be baptized NEXT week, be confirmed on January 1st of 2012 and start next year a member of our church, with the Holy Ghost, and continue to come every week after. He was hit with the spirit and said he gets it now. He committed and passed his interview yesterday. It was a huge miracle. I'm so excited!

Another great miracle happened this week while I was contacting on the street. I began talking with a younger man. I asked him where he was going and he informed me he was headed to the pub. I asked him how old he was and he said he was 18. I said "WAIT RIGHT THERE, TALK TO ME." He was going to the pub to drink by himself because he was sad. He said it's something he's been doing in the last few months because he wasn't happy. I asked him if it's made him happier and he said no. I said we have a message that will bring him the joy he's been looking for. I then grabbed my companions who were making phone calls and told them we're walking to the chapel. So we walked with this young man to the chapel and prayed with him. The spirit was so strong. I told him he has a choice to make. He can drink his life away or with a little effort and a lot of change find the joy he's been looking for. He committed to give it a shot and try God's way. It was a great miracle. When we finished I asked him where he's going and he said back home. I really believe God placed one of his children who really needed help right in my path that night. It was great.

This week was absolutely great. Saturday we had a missionary performance on a stage in front of the Tao Yuan train station in front of 500+ people as well as many passersby. I got to give a talk as well as play the ukulele and sing. It was pretty fun.

I also got to return to Zhubei for the first time in months this week for a special training meeting down at that chapel. It felt like going home and reminded me of the area where I first gained a love for hard work, a love for serving the Lord, and an area where my testimony grew so much. It made me miss Elder Erickson and I'm just so thankful for all the areas that the Lord has placed me in and all the people I've been able to work with.

This week should be crazy. With the Elder Miller joining us ordeal, we got behind schedule on a couple of companion exchanges we're supposed to conduct. So this week I'll hit the road hard. I will probably go 3 days straight without setting foot in my area or seeing my companion, with a total of 5 days outside of my area. It will be crazy. Wish me luck.

I love you all and I love being a missionary.

May we all have the best Christmas ever and remember our Savior at this time of the Year.

Oh by the way... The Church is True

I love you all,
Love Elder White

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18, 2011


I don't remember much of what happened this week. I turned 20 at some point in there. Actually on the day I turned 20 I was in the very southern part of my zone on exchanges with the Frank's nephew, Elder Benson. It was wonderful. He is an all star missionary. 

My typing is getting bad... and here is why. In Taiwan some of the older people will grow out one fingernail (usually the pinky) really long. It's supposedly a sign of respect or something. At the beginning of last transfer, about 8 weeks ago, Elder Erickson (my trainer) pitched the idea that we do it, only on our ring finger. We were going to do it until he goes home, but then he was diagnosed with Chrones disease and had to go home the end of that transfer. I still haven't cut the fingernail as a way to pay respect to him. I think I'm going to grow it out until the day he would have normally gone home. Needless to say it's getting pretty long and influencing my typing skills. WPM is really taking a hit.

This week was great as can be. The work was mighty fine, just as it always is. The Mission is focusing on Christ-like Attributes this month, and this week's big emphasis was charity. It was really great and they gave us studies and invitations to make us more charitable. It was pretty good but I feel like I finally LEARNED what charity is and how to apply it to missionary work Saturday night in my personal prayer. It was revelatory and hard to explain, but it was one of the greatest prayers ever, so edifying.

Taiwan is COLD!!! I didn't know that before I actually came to Taiwan. I sent scarves and sweaters home from the MTC because I thought Taiwan was a tropical climate. Well it is, but it's a tropical climate that gets freezing cold. So it's a super wet cold, not anything like what I'm accustomed to back in the wonderful desert of Utah. This cold gets down to your bone. It's pretty intense.

I came down with a bit of a cold and sore throat this week. I'm taking medicine and getting better so that's OK. I really need to get better before today ends because tomorrow I'm back on the road visiting companionships and exchanging with them all throughout our zone. 

To answer you're question mom, I do not travel alone to exchanges, one companion from the companionship will come to my area and work with my companion as well so we will find a meet-up point and switch there.

This work is absolutely fabulous! I love continuing to see miracles. I'm sorry I've forgotten so much of this week, but know that I couldn't be happier. It's weird to me that Christmas is 6 days away. It doesn't feel like it at all. Not much celebrating happening in Taiwan. But I know I'm exactly where the Lord needs me to be right now. A young man from our ward got his mission call yesterday, and because it's all in English we read it for him. There is such power in a mission call and as I read it the Lord reconfirmed that my call was from Him and that I'm where he needs me to be.

I'm learning so much and growing so much in the work and the gospel. This is such an amazing experience this mission. Recently I have had the opportunity to cast out a devil in a priesthood blessing. It was one of the most terrifying, yet powerful, and testimony building experiences of my life. There is no doubt that the power of God far outweighs the power of the adversary. I came out of that experience with a firm testimony of the power of this priesthood.

I hope everyone has nothing but the greatest of Christmases. Let us remember our Savior and Redeemer at this magical time of the year.

Merry Christmas, Love you all
Elder White

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11, 2011

Well another week is in the books. This week was very interesting. It felt like it went by very slowly, but not in a bad way. It was actually a pretty good week. My new companion's name is Elder Smith. He is from Beaverton Oregon. It's a lot of fun working with him. He's a great Elder and it's fun serving as zone leader with him. He has been out on his mission for a year and a half. It's weird starting to work with these older elders. Every single one of my companions has been so young at the time I was with them. 
 Elder Bruce White
Arnold Vosloo

I really like my new area. It's so much cleaner and newer than your average part of Taiwan. The chapel here is also amazing! The crazy thing is I won't be in my area a whole lot this transfer. Part of my new calling is going on exchanges with every member of the zone, and all district leaders twice. We've decided I will be on the road for all of these exchanges. So I will be living out of a backpack for this transfer. It should be a great experience. It's so great to get to know all of these different missionaries with their different backgrounds and stories, and learn from them, and observe how they interact with the people. I've already learned so much and I've only been on a couple exchanges. Saturday I got to travel basically the entire distance of my zone doing baptismal interviews along the way. It was really good to do the interviews but it was also nice to get a feel for what my zone is like and the different areas.

Before I forget, I had an awful haircut last week, so in attempts to save my hair, I had to do a really, really short buzz. When I do this buzz cut I get people telling me I look like someone famous. I ask who? and after they think about it a bit, they say "The bad guy from the movie The Mummy." I don't know if I've seen that movie. If I have it's been years. However I got that twice earlier on my mission as well when my hair was a bit shorter. If you could look up the bad guy from the mummy movie and send me a picture that would be much appreciated. I'm really curious as to who this man is that I apparently look identical to.

Also I will be calling home for Christmas in the near future. I would like it if you could email me our phone number so I know what number to call.

The TaoYuan zone had a really good week in finding new investigators! Which is great because I feel like that's what I was called down here to do. I was really happy about that. This week I saw a great miracle finding as well. We were out on the street riding our bikes around and talking to everyone. I began talking to this guy who said he didn't have any time, then I asked if he wanted to meet with missionaries, and he said he really didn't have time. As he began crossing the crosswalk, I asked if we could call him tomorrow and see if he had time. He allowed and I wrote down his number. The next day we called him, set him up, and he came to the church that night... with a Book of Mormon!!! He had met with missionaries three years before in GaoHsiung. He said he had always felt bad about standing them up at one of their scheduled meetings so that's why he was willing to give me his number. But then he said he had been wanting to run into missionaries in the last three years in TaoYuan, and the Lord finally gave him that chance Tuesday night!! He now has a baptismal date and is reading and praying from the Book of Mormon.

This week we also got to attend Zone Leader Council! A meeting with the mission President and all Zone Leaders and Assistants. The best part is after the meeting we get to go eat amazing food. A new senior sister made homemade lasagna!! WHOA! I haven't had a meal like that since being on island. It was great.

Keep my trainer Elder Erickson in your prayers.

Read the Scriptures and CTR
Elder White

Sunday, December 4, 2011

7th Transfer, 7th companion, 5th Area, 4th Bike, New Calling

Dear friends and family,

Another transfer of my mission is past. This 6th transfer was absolutely great. I feel like I grew a lot. Unfortunately the place the Lord needs me for my 7th transfer and the place I wanted to be are not the same. After a short 3 months of much joy and success, I'm leaving DanShui. DanShui will always have a special place in my heart. This is a really, really tough one to leave. I absolutely love some of my investigators here that are so close to being baptized. They will get baptized next transfer, and I will be in TaoYuan. 

TaoYuan is the county southwest of Taibei County. I will be in TaoYuan City. I have also been asked by my mission president to serve as a zone leader. So I will get to go all over TaoYuan county. It will be so amazing. I'm a little nervous that I might feel overwhelmed. I haven't even hit the 1 year mark on my mission, and I'm far from my halfway point as far as number of transfers on island. Pray for me. I know it will be great though. I know for a fact that wherever I'm called is where the Lord needs me and that as long as I'm doing my part, miracles will follow. I'm excited. I've heard nothing but the best about my next companion, and I can't wait for the work we're going to do.

I'm so excited for my amazing investigators and the progress they're making toward baptism. Brother Ben Liang, and Brother Edward Liang. Both from Hong Kong but not related. They didn't even know each other until they met in church, where Ben fellowshipped Edward. Yes, MY INVESTIGATOR FELLOWSHIPPED MY OTHER INVESTIGATOR!!! It's too awesome. Now they call each other to go on ride bikes. They call each other to make sure the other one goes to church. They've become like best friends!!! It's too great! Ben Liang is one of the coolest people ever. He's got a super successful jewelry business and gets on TV a lot, drives an amazing Mercedes convertible, but he's so down to earth and a family guy. Everyone in the ward loves him, and he comes every week and takes amazing notes, says prayers in Sunday School and contributes a lot. Yesterday I overheard him talking to one of my other investigators about the Word of Wisdom. This investigator, Sister Lin, who I can tell you about in a second, was saying how hard it is to try to quit smoking. Ben was saying, "You gotta pray!! Prayer is the best!" He's too great!

Sister Lin originally was an English class student, but now she comes to church often, reads the Book of Mormon and prays every day, and is trying to live commandments. She won't set a baptismal date because her whole family is Buddhist and she still practices with them. But she loves Elder Glen and me, her English teachers, to the point where she buys us tons and tons of food every week. (I've put on weight because of her). This last week was especially ridiculous. She found out I was moving and it was almost my birthday. So she took the four DanShui Elders out to eat at DanShui's nicest steakhouse. Then let us all buy silver rings. On mine I got CTR engraved on one side, and the characters version on the other. It's pretty cool. Then she bought Elder Glen and me some expensive necklaces, some shirts, and some Chinese dragon statue gifts. We all feel really bad she's gotten us so much over the transfer in food and gifts, and now this week was just crazy. She's easily spent a few hundred US dollars on me and Elder Glen this transfer. Needless to say I wanted the gift-giving to stop, and now it will because I'm moving. I hope she gets baptized though. She's an awesome lady.

My trainer, Elder Erickson's mission just got cut by 6th months. After spending a long time testing and after a colonoscopy, he has been diagnosed with Chrones disease, and has to end his mission with 4 transfers left to go. It's really so sad. I feel pretty bad for him. He's devastated. Pray for him. He'll go on to continue to do great things, and be a great guy, but I know he didn't want to end his service yet. It's really made me realize how valuable this time is. I have a chance that I can focus my whole time on giving everything I have to the Lord, by serving his children, but I have a limited time to do it. I can't afford to take any minute of it for granted. I must continue to work in all diligence until the day these 2 years are over. I learned a lot from Elder Erickson, and I'm thankful the Lord put us together.

As I close this last email from DanShui I would like to quote a sign that is on the main road in to DanShui and is written in English, a real rarity here.

The sign reads "Welcome to DanShui, Don't do Drugs, Don't Drag Race."

And so that is my piece of advice this week to family, friends, and everyone who might read this. Don't do drugs and don't drag race.

Elder White