Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

What a great way to finish out the transfer. This week was amazing. Full of miracles. I loved it. But first I'll tell you about what happened with move calls. For the first time on my mission I will have a 3rd transfer in an area. I can call TaoYuan home. My companion, Elder Workman, is now the new assistant to the president, which will be sweet for our mission. It was so great working with him. TaoYuan is really on new heights. My new companion? ELDER HAUTER!!! He was my trainer, Elder Erickson's old companion and I've heard nothing but the best about him. He's been in this really remote zone of our mission ever since I've been on Island. It's going to be great. He is starting his 13th transfer. Is super hungry for baptisms. I love it! He's an Air Force cadet from Sacramento. It will be great. 9th transfer, 9th companion. I've been blessed with such amazing companions.

The temple this week was amazing. Other than taking out my endowment with so many family members all together with me, I think this was my most special trip to the temple. It was the first time I did it in Chinese, but I feel like I learned the most. Interesting how that works.

I remember before last transfer started I set a goal to "Kick family opposition in the teeth." I had Chen Hao Yun, the amazing former investigator, who the first time around wasn't able to get baptized because of fandui, as well as Tsai Duo An, an investigator that came to church every week, and met every week. He was told by his mom he has to wait until 20 to be baptized. Saturday night I achieved my goal of "kicking family opposition in the teeth." Why? Because my recently baptized, Aaronic priesthood holding, Chen Hao Yun, stood in the font and baptized Tsai Duo An. It was amazing. Did Tsai Duo An's mom know about it? NO, but he had approval from his dad who lives in Mainland China. Eat it family opposition!! It was so great. In the confirmation, the brother performing the confirmation blessed Duo An that he'd be a leader in the future of the Church in Taiwan. The spirit was so strong. I'm super happy.

Crazy thing was that 1 hour before his baptism Duo An called and said he got in a fight with his mom that day, and that she wasn't going to let him leave the house to go to the church "activity" and that it'd have to be pushed back to next week. I had him give her the phone and I talked to this mom that I'd never met but who I knew opposed us. I was praying harder in my heart than ever before that the spirit would guide my words. It was hard but after 20 minutes she said that if Duo An promised her he'd obey her next week he could come attend the "activity" that night. Duo An promised, then came and got baptized. :)

Our other investigators are doing great. We have our Aborginal body guard, still just needing to get Sundays off work and he's there. I really feel like this is the first time my investigator's effort has exceeded God's blessing to them. Not to be blasphemous, I'm just shocked at how converted Tsai Yong Sheng is. He fasts for work off, he prays for it, he begs his boss. He's in an interesting situation where he's making good money because he's a big strong ex marine, but if he doesn't do this kind of work he won't be able to make any money. This week I'm going to be bold, and invite him to quit his job and trust the Lord will provide. I'm going to share the story of Jesus commanding Peter to leave his nets, and follow him. It will be bold, I've got to do it with the spirit, but Yong Sheng really needs to get baptized.

One big decision I have to make is to whether or not take a shorter mission, and come home on 12/18 this year or go home late January of next year. I was leaning more to 12/18 because it would just make sense, but I prayed for confirmation on that date in the temple and didn't get it. Instead I received a flow of thoughts as to the reasons why the later date wouldn't be so bad. I'm not taking this as my answer either. I'm going to fast about it this Sunday. I'm just confused and I need to tell my mission president sooner or later. It'll be interesting.

I'm so excited for what the future holds in TaoYuan. I want our zone to continue to push to new heights and continue to keep improving. I'm tired all the time, in the best of ways. Spirits are high. The mission is doing great and our zone is killing it. With this month's move calls we have such an experienced zone, it will be great. In mission age, I am younger than any of the district leaders or senior companions in our entire zone. We've got lots of missionaries knowing what they're doing. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for TaoYuan this transfer!!!

I love this work. I love you all. The gospel is true. Period.

Let's all go out and kick Satan in the teeth by saying our prayers and reading our scriptures.
Love Elder White

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 21, 2012

Dearest friends and family,

You'd be hard pressed to find a happier Elder in the world than me right now. This week was fantastic. Today is going to be great too, seeing as I will be attending the Taipei Taiwan temple and doing an endowment session in Mandarin Chinese. I'm really excited. Where to begin on this fantastic week?

This week in our own area was fantastic. Things just keep getting better and better and the work keeps progressing on. We're always so busy with all our lessons, and then exchanging all the time. For example, today I'm beginning my P-day still an hour away from my own area as we finish up an exchange. But I love it all. The biggest highlight of my week was our long time investigator Tsai Duo An passing a baptismal interview! He will be baptized this Saturday by... Chen Hao Yun, my recent convert of just last month!!! I'm super excited. Duo An is great, but because of family opposition from his mom he couldn't get baptized. He's a little bit of a rebel in school, fights, sarcastic, etc, which carried over to teaching him the gospel. He was always willing to meet but some days he'd show up a good 45 minutes late after we'd left the church or some days he'd be really sarcastic while teaching him. I always thought he was really funny, but sometimes he was a little frustrating. That was until a week and half ago, when my view toward him changed. He had always attended the gospel principles class with us, but we decided to take him to young men's class. In that class I saw 6 young men, all of whom had no desire to be there. They were there because their parents dragged them. They were just as sarcastic to their gospel teacher as Duo An was to us foreign missionaries. It really opened up my eyes to Duo An, and how amazing he is. He does all these things (attend church, read scriptures, pray) on his own, not because his parents force him to, and as a matter of fact, his mom opposed him doing it. I really gained a new love and respect for him and we initiated our "get Duo An baptized at all costs" project. The next time we met I gave him a permission slip. I said I know your dad is in mainland China right now, and I know your mom opposes, but I want you to come back in 2 days with this slip signed by one of your parents. He brought it back signed. By his dad. I really hope that his dad came home for a few days from China, but I'm not going to ask too many questions there. He is being baptized Saturday.

This week we also had Zone Conference. It was great. So many good things learned. It was all about my favorite thing as well... FINDING. President also reported on how well the Zhang family from ZhuDong did in speaking at the fireside. He said it was the best fireside he's been to in his almost 3 years as a mission president, he said it was amazing and they helped so many investigators get over their problems and progress toward baptism. I was thrilled, News like that makes me so happy. But I was even more thrilled when Saturday, while on exchanged in a neighboring area, my companion, Elder Workman calls and says "your beloved Zhang family is at the church to see you." They took Saturday to come all the way up from ZhuDong to take me out to lunch. It was so unexpected and exactly what I needed. They are so great!! It was nice to see them all. It gave me so much fire just knowing that there are other Zhang families out there waiting to receive the gospel. We went out to a teppanyaki restaurant, and it was so good to catch up with them.

Other great news from Zone Conference came as my former companion Elder Chen shared his testimony. He is serving as a zone leader down in ZhuBei, where I was born. He talked about how he served in Xin An for a long time without baptism and felt a little bit down and unsuccessful, and then in moving down here he ran into a kid me and him had contacted up there, taught a lesson, then referred down to other missionaries to never see again. This kid went a while without continuing to investigate but then out of the blue came back, and is now a super golden investigator getting baptized in a couple weeks. Preach My Gospel says no effort is wasted, and that is so true.

I also had the privilege of doing a training in Zone Conference. It went all right. It was my first time doing a training for a big group in front of everyone, but at the end of the training, I had a feeling to give our zone an invitation to all see a miracle on the train ride home from Zone Conference. It was beautiful to hear the miracles that followed. Everyone in our zone was talking to someone on the train ride home, testifying of Christ and his restored gospel, helping people have a desire to use it in their lives. It was amazing. Our Zone found 8 new investigators just in that hour. I personally sat next to and taught a soon to be father who wanted more direction on how to raise a family. It was amazing. The Lord really sent angels with us on that train ride back and the whole zone saw miracles.

The work is continuing to be great here in TaoYuan. It's move calls in 2 days, I hope I stay where I'm at, but I'll also go where the Lord wants me to go if that is the case. I'm really excited Lin Shu Hao, or Jeremy Lin as Americans call him is doing so well in the NBA. Why? Because people in Taiwan are crazy about him, that's all they talk about lately, and he's Christian. I will not lie, him being Christian has helped our work. People are more interested, as shallow as that sounds. I wish I would have figured this out earlier on my mission, instead of referring people to or, I should have been telling them to google famous Christians. Go Lin Shu Hao and the Knicks, unless the knicks still have Carmello Anthony, then go Lin Shu Hao only.

One last cool miracle. I might have mentioned last week. We were rushing to an appointment and in a big hurry. A young man was waving to us on the side of the road. We smiled, waved back, and rode by. Just then my name tag crawled off my suit coat--jumped off of it. I don't know how, but it just popped off onto the ground. I turned around to grab it when this young man said "Elder, are you TaoYuan 3rd ward or TaoYuan 1st." I was shocked. We don't get asked this kind of question... ever. I went over to talk to him to find out he is a current member's less active son we'd been wanting to meet. So I got his number and bolted to the next lesson. Now we're working with him on mission prep and becoming active again. It was a really big miracle. Obviously Heavenly Father knew Brother Ru needed us, and when we weren't good enough servants to stop and talk to the waving young man for a minute, Heavenly Father provided a way for us to. My name tag got hit by a car, now it is a little bent. But it's a great reminder always to be listening for the spirit and observing your current environment, no matter what the scenario.

My new president has been called. A President Day. I have mixed feelings. I will miss President Grimley. I can't express how thankful I am to him and the way he has led this mission. But I also know that President Day has been called of God and I  will look forward to meeting him.

It was another wonderful week here in the paradise that is Taiwan. Read your Scriptures.

Elder White

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February 12, 2012

A fantastic week here in the TaoYuan 3rd ward. I want to start by expressing my gratitude for being given the opportunity to work in this ward. This is by far the most established ward I've served in thus far. It's full of solid members and solid leaders, and it is a real blessing to serve with them and contribute to the ward. I was really pleased at church this Sunday when they gave brother Chi and Brother Chen their certificates for being ordained to the priesthood, and we were able to have Sister Chen's confirmation. I feel like I've been so blessed here in TaoYuan. When I got here just a transfer and a half ago my companion told me we had no real baptismal candidates and I feel like the Lord has really blessed us with miracles with these 3 precious souls and with some amazing investigators who are progressing currently. It's truly a blessing to work here. I'm loving it. Brother Chen is so great! I walked into Sacrament meeting yesterday and he was paying his tithing. He shares his testimony and insights in Sunday School and Elder's Quorum. It's so fantastic.

The biggest highlight this week was Sister Chen's baptism. It was so great, and so spiritual. Her boyfriend returned to Africa, and wasn't able to fully prepare for baptism before he went back and he called her after her baptism to see how it went. She set a great example for him and I hope that when he comes back next year he'll get baptized. He's on a little tiny island with no missionaries. I don't know if it has the church, but his best friend there is LDS, so I pray that he can be a good influence. A big thanks to the Zhao Family in fellowshipping these 2 investigators. They are the greatest family ever. They are amazing member missionaries, and they were pivotal in helping Sister Chen get baptized. Brother Zhao is still emailing and contacting Brother Zhong in Africa, and he sent him pictures of the baptism. What a great family. They have the cutest little son as well. His English name is DYNOMITE. Pretty cool.

This week we were blessed with many other miracles and many of our investigators are progressing. We have Vincent Deng and his girlfriend Rebecca Lin who are living together with no intention of marriage. We need to teach the Law of Chastity. We haven't yet because we've wanted to teach it when Elder Workman and I are together but we haven't had the opportunity because we're on exchanges about 4 days out of the week. I think we'll just have to move forward with it. I hope all goes well.

Our investigator, Brother Tsai, has such strong faith but he can't get Sundays off at his new job. He fasted for it this week. He's the first investigator where I feel like he just deserves these blessings and Heavenly Father hasn't given them to him. I know God probably want's him to learn some more lessons through this or something. But I feel like we've done all we can and he's doing his part. We're just waiting on the promised blessing. We had just finished a lesson with him Saturday night. It was 8 p.m. I felt like my investigator was being shorted blessings. We had only half of our finding goal for the week. I feel like we had worked hard and the miracles just weren't there this week. I was a little upset. We were getting stood up by another really good investigator. We prayed to find someone outside the church while we waited. Then I went and contacted the first 2 people I saw. A couple of Vietnamese, who said they were going somewhere and that they were always busy with work. I testified. They moved on. And I kept contacting. After 40 minutes of straight rejection from everyone I saw, it was 8:40. We only had 20 minutes on the night. My companion and I were getting ready to leave and slowly contact on the way home, feeling a little down, when through the gate of the church came the 2 Vietnamese guys. They wanted to see the church and learn more. We were able to share a small message about prayer from the Vietnamese Book of Mormon. We prayed with them. They committed to coming back, and they did. It was a real miracle. I felt really ungrateful and I repented. It was a tiny miracle, but it came at just the right time.

We have another investigator Tsai Duo An. He wants to be baptized. He's 17, but has opposition from his mom. She won't let him and won't sign the permission slip. I think this week we're going to try to fax a permission slip to his Dad in Mainland China, and then see if he can fax it back. I've never done anything like this on my mission. But I pray that it will all work out.

I continue to enjoy working with Elder Workman. He's a great example. 

This week we've had a little bit of drama with the sister missionaries in our ward. We asked about the progress of some of their investigators and they got really offended. There is just a little bad blood there because of some disobedience on their part and it festered and it's really unfortunate. Elder Workman handled most of their complaints and rude comments because I was on exchanges or in lessons, but it did put a little bit of a damper on the week. We'll get through it but I feel like we've tried our best to care for the zone and love them. It's just unfortunate we had to deal with something like this.

The zone is doing spectacular. Overall it's doing better than any time in the last year and a half. It's really great. The Lord is blessing TaoYuan and I just feel blessed to be here.

My goal this week is to think about our investigators, baptism, and their progression at all times. Control my thoughts and focus them on only the most worthwhile things. It's been great this last week as I've been 100 percent focused on nothing but missionary work. I also am trying to study the Savior's example of leadership. I've learned a lot. The Savior is so amazing. Perfect in every aspect, and it's amazing He'll allow me to do this work with Him. We've invited our zone to read Jacob 5:72  (And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.) this month before going out the door to work each day. It's been great to recognize the Lord's help in this work.

I love being a missionary. I love this work. It's an honor to be able to do this. I'm blessed for the opportunity and I'm thankful for a patient and forgiving Heavenly Father who, despite all my weaknesses and shortcomings, still allows me to serve him and represent his son. What an honor and privilege. I think Heavenly Father teaches me a new lesson every day out here. I appreciate this opportunity so much, and I'm happy that Grandma and Grandpa Higginson are now serving him again on their second mission together. I'm thankful for their examples of service and for those that served before me.

I love you all.
Elder White
P.S. The internet cafe I'm in just had an awful pop version of someone covering tears for fears' "shout"
that's almost offensive.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 5, 2012

 Me with Brother Chi

 Brother Chen

 Me in Aborigine headwear

This week was truly fantastic. Lots of miracles and blessings. I'm truly grateful. Our area did fantastic, but even better, the entire zone did amazing. I was super excited. On the numbers sheet it was by far the best week the TaoYuan zone has ever had over the course of the last year and a half (as far back as our records go). Not that what we're doing is about numbers, but when every single one of those numbers represent a person, a person coming unto Christ, they are extremely important. It was great.

This week we had zone leader council as well. Our zone is doing so well. I'm so pleased and I love the opportunity to serve with the missionaries I serve with. Great news, the mission's focus for the month of February is finding!!! I couldn't be more excited! My favorite part of the work! Getting out there and talking to everyone, sharing our testimony and the gospel. There is nothing better, so we're going to get the entire TaoYuan zone to amp up our faith, fire, and find more!

This week the finding miracles continued for me and my companion. We were really too blessed finding people on public transportation as we traveled to and from meetings, baptismal interviews, and exchanges. My favorite miracle I will share. We were on our way to the church. We were going to be there at 11:30 to meet up with a member for lunch. It was 11:24, and we were 1 block away. All of a sudden I see a short foreigner sitting at the bus stop listening to his Ipod. I really didn't want to contact him because I figured he was one of the teachers that teach English at the English cram school that's right by our church. These teachers have all been contacted dozens of times and usually avoid missionaries like the plague. My companion went and started talking to the other person at the stop, because he was avoiding him too. I said a prayer in my heart, half expecting to get rejected, and began to speak to this foreigner. What happened next was not rejection. I met Josea, from Honduras, who has some different needs in his life. He is doing a PHD here in Taiwan, and was really happy to speak with us. I testified to him of the restoration and he said he had met missionaries in Honduras several years before. He said he wanted to learn more, and then his bus came. I was rushing to try to get out my planner and write down a number and he said it was no big deal and he could wait the 20 minutes for the next bus because he really wanted to learn more!!! It was great. We set up a time with him. I'm so excited. We should be meeting with Josea this week!

That is just one of the miracles this week. So many! They were so great. We were blessed to find 2 families, a few foreigners, and some people who for lack of better terms, are absolutely golden. So great.

Our latest deal was with Sister Chen and her boyfriend Brother Zhong. We met with them lots last week. Brother Zhong wants to be baptized but he was going to go back to a tiny island off of Africa last Wednesday. So we were going to see if his desire was strong enough, and if he could live all the commandments, if he could get baptized before he leaves. But then he just hadn't received an answer. However he postponed going to Africa until this Wednesday. Yesterday I met with him and asked him to kneel down right then and there and ask if this is what God wants him to do before he goes to Africa. We knelt down right in the middle of the lesson and he said he wants to join the church in his prayer, but he's not 100 percent. I hope that he continues to postpone going back to Africa. The real miracle in this however is Sister Chen. She has received an answer and has a huge desire to be baptized. She passed her interview and will be baptized this coming Saturday. I'm thrilled. She's so dedicated to the gospel, has made some great friends in the ward, and loves the gospel. I'm so happy.

Also great news is our recent convert Chen Hao Yun shares his testimony in Sunday school and in elders quorum and just impresses everyone with how strong his testimony is and how the gospel has helped him. It's great. He was ordained to the Aaronic priesthood yesterday. I hope he'll get to baptize Sister Chen. I think that'd be a great experience.

We have many other great investigators progressing. We have a brother Tsai who's new work is now keeping him from coming to church on the Sabbath. It's extremely sad. He's completely prepared except for church attendance. His desire is strong. Please pray for him.

The week was an all around great week in the mission. I was on exchanges Wednesday night and had to teach English in a completely different chapel which was weird, but set up 2 out of the 5 people in the class to meet with missionaries and learn more about the gospel. It was great. A couple really good exchanges this week.

Today we are going on a big bike ride through the mountains to the ocean. The man taking us is the guy that works at that local bike shop that I've become pretty good friends with. He's probably about 60 years old and just a jokester. I can't wait. He's taking us to a place where he guarantees missionaries have never seen before. He said it's beautiful. I'll take my camera. I'll be sure to take pictures, and then wait 4 transfers later to send them home, that's the pace I'm at right now. I'm sorry, just no time.

Also the Zhang family in ZhuDong spoke in the big fireside on families this week in Taibei. AMAZING. I wasn't there unfortunately but that's awesome.

I'm love this work. I love this gospel. I love my mission.

I love you all.
Elder White