Friday, March 30, 2012

Pictures March 2012

Brother Chi!!!!!!! getting baptized
 My latest major purchases: my new paddle and my new bike.
I also bought a backpack with the Christmas money

101 shot
The beach in DanShui

Me and Elder Workman in our disguises to get into the Taibei fireside... just a joke, didn't really try

 Me in an Aboriginal headdress

My fingernail in honor of Elder Erickson (now cut... I couldn't endure to the end)

 A traditional house

Us at a lookout on our bike riding p day adventure

  Me and Chen hao yun and his baptism

 Me and the Zhang family from ZhuDong

 Me and Brother Chi, Brother Chen baptizing Brother Tsai Duo An (my 3 priesthood holders I've baptized in Taoyuan so far.)

 Pics from Duo An's baptism

The last picture is me with Tsai Duo An, and then hopefully our next Tsai Yong Sheng, the body guard

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 25, 2012

What an absolutely amazing week here in TaoYuan. I don't even know where to begin. There are too many blessings being showered upon our companionship and our zone. The Lord definitely blesses obedience, diligence, and faith. It's actually been a huge blessing to be in an area for 3 consecutive transfers because I can see my recent converts grow in the gospel. I've been extremely blessed so far in my mission to be able to work with people through their entire conversion process as well as see them into baptism, but because I've always been switching areas, the opportunity to see them grow in the gospel as new converts has only been through letters back and forth. It's been great to be able watch my amazing converts here in TaoYuan. They truly have strengthened the ward.

Tsai Duo An blessed the sacrament this week. He's a champion. He's really a changed person by the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Chen Hao Yun spoke in sacrament and brought the spirit so strongly. He and Sister Chen Pin Jun (no relation) both had temple recommend interviews yesterday as well. They will be attending the temple this Saturday. Brother Chi is still doing great, helping us teach lessons all the time, and attending every church activity and study class that ever existed. It's wonderful. 3 priesthood holding men, exercising their priesthood in one way or another and building the kingdom in TaoYuan.

Another great bit of news is about the Sister investigator, Sister Jiang, English name Nami. Nami had been coming to
English class a while. My first day here in TaoYuan I taught about the Book of Mormon for the gospel share at the end of English class. I shared my personal testimony of the Book of Mormon, and how it can bless our lives. She came up after class and said she wanted a Book of Mormon and to learn. She then started meeting with the sister missionaries, and made the preparations for baptism, but postponed because of some disapproval from her mom. But she's officially doing it this Thursday!!! And she asked if I could baptize her. I'm really excited to see her enter the waters of baptism. It will be so great.

Other big news. Brother Tsai!!! He said his boss was going to allow him to rest this Sunday, but when I called him Saturday night to confirm, he said his boss had asked if he could come into work. I told him that if he went in it would indicate to the boss that keeping the Sabbath day holy isn't that important to him after all. He said that he didn't know what to do because he wasn't in a good position to say no. I told him to pray about it, and do what the Lord tells him to do. I went to bed sad that night, thinking that everything we'd worked for for brother Tsai, all the fasting and prayers, were about to be in vain. Then Sunday morning... who walks in, wearing suit and all? Brother Tsai. I think my heart jumped through the roof with excitement, which is pretty high because we have a 5 story chapel. It was the greatest! I can't describe how excited I am.

This week we also had a big miracle with a former investigator. I was looking at a couple of old teaching records and I decided to call a Brother Huang. To my surprise he was willing to set up. He had heard all the missionary lessons before and had been to church more than 10 times, but was never baptized. We asked him why he wasn't baptized and he said there were some Word of Wisdom problems, and he had struggled with making scripture study and prayer a daily habit. He talked about how he wants to try this time around. We invited him to church and he said he'd think about it. He said he didn't want to say yes because if he commits he's going to make it a weekly thing, so he was debating that commitment. We went back Sunday morning to wake up Ru Pei Yuan, the nametag miracle less active, and Brother Huang's neighbor, so after waking Pei Yuan up for church we went to see if Brother Huang was coming. His wife answered and said he was in the shower.... because he was getting ready for church!!! He came and knows tons of members who were happy to see him and immediately fellowshipped him. What a sweet miracle!!!

The Huang family is doing great. They all came to church this week and when we visited them Saturday night the Mother and son had said they were starting to seriously consider the baptism thing!!! The daughter wasn't wanting to go to church and was planning on staying home the following day, but we took a great mother/daughter from a family in the ward and the daughter did a great job of fellowshipping the Huang daughter. So she came to church as well, and met lots of great young women. The young women in our ward really know how to fellowship. Overall we had 11 investigators to church. The mission's GOLDEN standard is 3. In all our entire zone, every companionship is performing at or above the golden standard level. It's amazing.

Brother Chen Hao Yun's little sister has run into some opposition from her mom. So we need to continue to pray for her.

Speaking of running into things.... more bike news!!! I didn't run into anything, more like over it. I was riding really fast, I mean really, really fast to this appointment in another area that we were a little bit behind schedule for, and we were riding past this big open park/plaza area. Out of the corner of my eye I see a little dog, running towards my path. I start to choke up on my brakes but then as I get closer the dog stops running, so I push it hard and then at the last second the dog jumps in front of my bike. It just folds under my wheel and I watch it all happen. The dog yelped as one of it's legs snapped. It limped over to it's owner and I was a little in shock. I went and apologized and the owner said, "You hit my dog." I said, "I know." Then she said it was ok and she was going to take her dog to the hospital. I felt bad, but I had to go to another lesson. So that was pretty much that in the story. I hope this lady has a great chance to accept the gospel in the next life because I think she'll always see the missionaries as the guys that ran over her dog. It was pretty crazy.

In other crazy news I was contacting on the street, talking to everyone like I always do and ran into a young Taiwanese girl dressed in the most immodest of fashions. So I do what I always do in these situations. Grab our English flyer and invite them to English class and then just ask if they want to meet with the sister missionaries. To start my typical English class contact I just start talking to people in English and they don't know I speak Chinese... actually I start lots of contacts this way... it's really fun. But I asked this immodestly dressed girl, "Do you speak English?" She said the typical Taiwanese response, "So so." Then I said, "What is your name?" I wasn't prepared for the answer. "Lucifer." It shocked me, so then I asked her why the heck her name was Lucifer. Anyways she needed help so I started talking gospel and the sisters will be meeting with Lucifer this week.
Crazy stuff going on. But overall everything is great.

I love the gospel. SO MUCH.
CTR always
Elder White

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 18, 2012

Wow time flies. Hard to think this transfer is halfway over. I feel as if it just began. My companion has 12 weeks left on his mission... crazy!! He goes home with President Grimley so it's really weird to think about how soon it will be before we have a new mission president. WOW. 

This week was really great with the exception that everyone and their dog committed to come to church on Sunday and no one or their dog came. Well we did have investigators there, but not as many as was expected. We've got to get that soul to church. This week every other aspect of the work was great and the Lord just continues to bless us.

I think one of the coolest things that happened this week was that we were asked to attend a meeting with President Grimley discussing the future of the church in Taiwan. They want to make a 4th stake out of the 3 stakes in Taipei, and it will also involve the TaoYuan stake, so President asked all the zone leaders to come up and talk to him about boundaries and the needs of the wards in our zones and stuff like that. He then took what we presented Wednesday and shared it as he met with the area presidency and area general authorities on Friday. Pretty interesting stuff and pretty cool that we got to be part of a meeting like that. I'm glad the church is growing in Taiwan. Pretty amazing for a country with absolutely no Christian background.

This week we heard that Brother Tsai's boss will start letting him have the Sabbath off starting the end of this month. That's a huge miracle!!! Will his boss hold true to his word? I don't know. That's how a lot of the Taiwanese people are--they don't want to say no, so they just postpone and hope it's forgotten about. But if he holds true to his word, Brother Tsai should be able to start attending church in April and be baptized a few weeks later.

The Huang family went to attend the other church they've been investigating this weekend... Yikes. I know they didn't have a great experience at our church the first time, (I had a hard time staying awake through that sacrament meeting), but we really need to pray for them. We won't get to meet with them until Saturday.

This week was so full of miracles though! People that we set up last week and then never were able to get ahold of to confirm just came at their appointed time (that doesn't happen very often in Taiwan!) Saturday was amazing as well. After lunch we went to the church to use the bathroom and then head out, and we just began talking to the first person we saw, and he was willing to come into the church and sit down with us and we were able to teach him. The rest of the day until dinner at 5 followed the same pattern. Every single time we stepped outside of the chapel we'd talk to the first person we'd see and they'd come in. It was incredible. We never even had time to make it to our bikes. We spent 1pm to 5pm teaching 7 lessons, setting 4 baptismal dates, and finding 4 new investigators. There were even people walking into the church on their own. It was amazing because we didn't have that solid of a plan, but the Lord brought them to us. We're So blessed.

I feel so blessed to be working here in TaoYuan. This place is amazing. Our zone is amazing. I absolutely love it. It's great working with Elder Hauter. I admire that although his time left is so short, he stays so focused. I hope I'm like that as my time winds down.

This week we also were assigned for buying the food for a specialized training meeting here in TaoYuan. Stressful!!! We have to get something that the mission president likes, and President Grimley loves curry. One problem, the meeting was held in a different TaoYuan Chapel outside of our area, and we had no idea where to get any curry that was the right price, that could deliver. We went to bed Wednesday evening still having not ordered our meal, nor knowing what we were going to order. We prayed hard and were blessed to be able to hear about a curry shop that morning. We called them and they answered. We placed an order and hoped they could get it done in time. Then we headed over to that area to find a drink shop. We couldn't find one, so I began asking people on the street. A kind lady instructed me how to get to the nearest CoCo's and so we finally rolled up there at 11:15. I told the guy I needed 50 drinks by 12:00 delivered to the chapel. He said I'm crazy. I said I'd be willing to hop behind the counter and help them make it. He said no, but he said he'd try his best to get it done. We needed a miracle. Sure enough the food and the drinks came before they had said the closing prayer of the meeting and President Grimley loved his curry. It was crazy how well it all came together, because for a second there Elder Hauter and I were worried we'd have to make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I look forward to another great week here in TaoYuan. Our zone is setting all kinds of Finding records as far as new investigators and it's beautiful!

Love you all,
Elder White

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 12, 2012

Hello all friends and family,

The TaoYuan zone is still on fire!! I'm super happy in this work and I'm so happy to be here in TaoYuan with a zone full of great missionaries, giving it our all, and living worthy of the Lord's help. I don't know why it is, but the Lord is really blessing our zone. This week was a great week for the work in my area. We were able to get 10 people to church this week. The mission's golden standard is 3. It was such an amazing miracle and a personal goal of mine to get 10 people to a Sacrament Meeting on my mission. The most I'd ever had before was 8 in DanShui when the Zhang family were all coming together every week before they were baptized. This week was truly amazing.

Three of our people in church were the Huang family--a mother and her two kids. We met them Monday night and she invited us over for dinner that night. We said we couldn't make it but maybe another day. Then our lesson that night cancelled so we called her up and asked if we could come share a gospel message. She obliged. We went over to find that she had 2 kids and her mother all there. They are great! She said she's been wanting to be a Christian and hasn't been baptized!!! So we shared about how the gospel blesses families and set baptismal dates with all of them. Then we met with them later that week and taught the restoration. They committed to come to church! The Grandma was sick, but the rest of them came for the first hour, then they left to go to another Christian church after our service. I can't wait for them to get answers through the Book of Mormon. They had a good time at church and I'm so excited to continue to share the restored gospel with them and help them prepare for baptism.

Another one was a young Vietnamese factory worked named Fan. Elder Workman and I met him one night and taught him but didn't set up a next time with him and didn't think he had a ton of interest. We went back Saturday to his neighborhood to work and I suggested we give his door a knock. He was super excited to see us, had been praying every day since we last met, and wanted to come to church. He came to church and had a great time. There will be a little barrier with the language there, but we gave him a Vietnamese Book of Mormon, a.k.a. Sach Mac Mon. And we'll be able to show him The Restoration DVD in Vietnamese and help him that way. He's really good.

Brother Tsai asked for work off again and was denied. Then he asked again and told the boss he'd leave if he can't get it off. So his boss took it to a higher boss. We should hear soon. We shared Nephi going to get the plates and how the first tries were good, but they didn't work. So Nephi had to be pushed to the very most extreme of faith and courage before the Lord provided the way. Nephi slayed Laban and thus the Nephites and Lamanites had the writings of the prophets. Those people right there are brother Tsai's ancestors (he is an aboriginal Taiwanese and they are widely accepted as being Lamanite descendants. It's also amazing if you study their culture. It's right in line with some of the traditions talked about in the Book of Mormon. But he said he'd be willing to quit if his boss's boss says no. He's determined. Keep him in your prayers.

Its been a blessing being in an area for 3 consecutive transfers for the first time. Our investigator pool is so strong and solid right now, I can't believe it. There are so many amazing people progressing toward baptism and I feel so blessed that the Lord would trust me with these souls. I'm absolutely lost in their lives. I realized just how lost in them I am yesterday. I can't stop thinking about these people, stressing for their welfare, praying constantly that no matter where they are at any given time they're making the right decisions.

One person I've been continuing to work with here is Ru Pei Yuan, English name: Wilson. He's the less active I found when my name tag jumped off. We had a solid lesson on repentance Tuesday and invited him to call the bishop right then and there. He set up an interview with bishop and set a goal to repent. He was making great progress. Then my recent convert Chen Hao Yun saw Wilson with some friends Saturday at his restaurant and Wilson was smoking. Then he didn't come to church. It's really hard to see. He needs new friends and a complete change. I've gotten really close to him and we're good buddies. Sister Ru wants him to come to America and find me after he graduates from high school. I'd love that. I just want him to make the right choices and start preparing for a mission. I hope that he can CTR.

Speaking of Chen Hao Yun he is doing amazing. He is doing his home teaching, helping us teach lessons, he shared his testimony in district meeting, he teaches me every time I meet with him (I feel like his insights into the scriptures are amazing. He finds stuff I miss). He got another calling. He is inviting others to learn about the gospel and brought his little sister to church Sunday. She is 15 and has read some of the Book of Mormon. She had an amazing time and wants to get baptized. The young women did a great job of fellowshipping her and she loved church. We set a baptism date for 1 month out, and she got excited because it's the day after her birthday. She has an amazing example in her older brother and I'm super thankful for his example. His testimony is so strong, and he is now beginning to think about a mission.

Cai Duo An, my 17 year old secret baptism is also doing great. He blessed the Sacrament for the first time this week. He tries to be "Mr. Cool" all the time, but you could tell he was super nervous. He got through the prayer and then stood up to give the trays out, then looked at me and winked. He is so hilarious. He has a plan to tell his mom about his baptism in 5 months on his birthday. He's a little punk, and I love him for it.

I've been so blessed to be here in TaoYuan and I've been so blessed as a missionary. I'm so thankful. I can't wait to continue pressing forward and serving the Lord. I've given some thought about my coming home dates of either December 18 this year, and January 26 next year. I haven't come to a set answer yet, but I'll continue thinking about it. That doesn't really matter right now. The point is each day that goes by is one day less I have to serve the Lord--kind of scary--but I'm loving every minute of it and I need to make the most of every minute of it. I've heard apostles and other people say that they can trace every good thing that's happened in their life since their mission back to their mission, and I'm beginning to see how that would be. I've loved my mission, and I'm definitely changed because of it. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.

This last week was great. The best is yet to come. My comp came down with the flu yesterday so I hope that we can get over that quickly and press forward.

I want to include something about zone conference from last transfer about 3 weeks ago, I may have already shared this story, so sorry if I have, but I can't remember. Our TaoYuan zone was assigned to do a musical number. I arranged the music for the number. I know the kids that were in choir and enjoy singing probably weren't thrilled with my arrangement, but it was unlike anything that any other zone has done for a musical number before. We sang "Let Us All Press On" and we didn't do anything but sing it--no parts, no fanfare, nothing. Like grits without brown sugar. Then after the end of the second verse, as we went into the chorus, all 22 missionaries whistled the entire chorus. Everyone was shocked. I heard President Grimley laugh. I know he probably loved it. We finished whistling the chorus and then sang the 3rd verse plain and boring again. It was great and took everyone by surprise. That is what the TaoYuan zone is all about.

That's about it for the week. Everyone CTR all the time.
Elder White

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012

It was a great week here in TaoYuan. I'm really looking forward to this upcoming transfer. I feel like we've got a couple people that are so close to baptism, but there is just that last bit of opposition keeping them from making it. I hope we can help them kick Satan in the teeth and be baptized. That's what occupies my mind all day now. I think that I think about it to an unhealthy degree, but all I want is to help these people make the sacred covenants they need so they can return to Heavenly Father. So we must start by getting them baptized and confirmed. I can tell you more about them in a second.

First a little update on my Zone!!! The TaoYuan zone is amazing! Every single week is getting better and better. Especially in finding. It's amazing taking the call in reports every week. We see the trend that President Grimley has been telling us from day 1--that is that as finding goes up, everything else goes up. This week our zone soared to new heights, especially in finding. We don't focus on the number itself, but the people that the numbers represent. We also don't compare, however, I think this might have been the biggest finding week by one zone since President has been on Island. It was beautiful and the best part is that means baptisms will follow. I'm super blessed to serve the Lord in TaoYuan and super blessed to serve with the missionaries we have.

The biggest news this week is that I invited Brother Tsai to quit his job. We shared the story of Jesus calling to Peter to leave his nets and follow him. Then we posed the question what would have happened if Peter hadn't left his nets. He'd never have reached the potential God had planned for him. We then very boldly and by the spirit invited him to quit his job. It was so strong spiritually, and the spirit was confirming to him that the things we were inviting him to do were right. I told him we've already asked him to do a lot of things to change his life, and they've been hard, but I asked him if they've been worth it and if they've had benefit. He said they all have. Then I promised him this would have huge blessings. He'd just have to trust the Lord because these blessings are hard to see before he actually does it. I then told him that we represent Jesus Christ and what we're inviting him to do is what Jesus would invite him to do if he were here in the room. He thought for a second and said "I'll do it." I asked him when and he said "tomorrow." 

Then our 1st counselor who was our member present in the lesson (really PMG) said "Hold on a second, maybe you can just ask for Sunday off. Don't quit, because your job is a really good job. Just let your boss know you really want to attend church." I was a little bit mad on the inside because we've invited him to do this already several times and his boss always says no. So brother Tsai the following day asked for time off. His boss said he'd think about it and called him back and said no. We had it. He was ready to leave his nets and follow Christ. He was willing because the spirit was so strongly present... and then we lost it! We're going to meet with him this week, and invite him to again. I really hope the spirit can be with us as we do. All I want this transfer is Brother Tsai, one of my favorite investigators ever, to be baptized. Inviting someone to quit their really solid job was very hard for me, one of the hardest things I've had to do on my mission. But I know the Lord has better things in store for Brother Tsai.

On a more happy note, the sisters have an investigator who has her baptismal interview this week! The best part is she was an English student (at our free English class), and my first week in TaoYuan I taught her English class. I testified of the Book of Mormon and how it can guide our lives, and she came up afterwards and asked if she could have a copy of the Book of Mormon and start learning... 2 transfers later she's getting baptized!! I'm so excited!!

A real highlight this week was working with an Elder Braithwaite on exchanges. He's from Alpine, graduated in the same class as me from Lone Peak. It was my first time working with him and we saw so many miracles. He is such a solid elder, but the best part was the miracles we saw. I feel like on that exchange everyone I talked to turned to gold. We were contacting on the street and I decided to go up to a drink shop and talk to the person working there (not common to talk to someone on work with so many people on the street) but I had a feeling to talk to him. I asked him if we could come back and share when he gets off work. He said he gets off at 3 and we could come then. At 3 we came back and sat down with him. We began talking about Heavenly Father and prayer (a common starting point here in Taiwan) and I shared with him 3 Nephi 18 about prayer. It says that if we pray for righteous things with the belief we will receive, God will give them unto us. I asked him what things he thought he could do to start developing that belief or faith. His answer was awesome! He said "I don't know, but I feel like I should set a goal of some sort." I looked at Elder Braithwaite and our eyes both lit up. We talked about setting a baptismal date goal and he set it right away. He was super golden. It was an amazing exchange.

Also on this exchange I had a short period of time where I was really confused. This is because I was on the street contacting everyone I see and I started feeling like everyone I was contacting was a really pretty, 25-30 year old women, speaking good English. I didn't know what was happening, so I decided to ask one of them. Then I found out I was standing outside of the Eva Air headquarters, where the Air hostesses stay between flights in the living quarters. That answered a lot of questions. Needless to say I have a posse of about half a dozen air hostesses willing to come to church with me if their layovers are on Sundays.

It was a great week for us and moreso for our zone. I really hope the mission is all pushing to new heights and getting stronger. I know that this is the Lord's work, and I'm privileged to be a part of it, working under a mission president called by him.

I love the gospel!
Elder White