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

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