Monday, May 7, 2012

VICTORY! May 6, 2012

 The rock says Bo Jue, which is my Chinese name

 Elder Miller and Eye sipping our "Winter melon tea (no caffeine), add ice cream, add mint." They thought we were crazy when we ordered it. but it'd be crazy not to order it.  (NOTE: I left the eye because that's how he wrote it. I don't know if it means something or if his English has deteriorated that much.)
 We played soccer one p-day and kicked the ball really hard. It hit Elder Miller's leg and made that mark, which lasted for three days.
 The motel says Bo Jue, my Chinese name
 "sauce district, access to your own, thank you!"
 The shirt says funky fresh. Elder Sheng's favorite English word.
 My new Jeremy Lin pencil bag. I get people self contacting me now because they see it in my back pack. I found a new investigator this week who was willing to learn about Christianity because of Jeremy.
 These are 2 of my English students, really funny little girls, the younger one just turned 8 and got baptized last week, they lived in Belize when they were younger so they're English is sweet.
 Some drunk people we ran into playing the guitar and partying. They wanted us to jam with them and me to sing English, so Elder Sheng grabbed the guitar, and I sang some song I made up calling them to repent and leave their evil ways. They didn't understand a word of it but they really loved it.

 Some cool Taiwanese advertisement with a white guy on it
 The one and only drinking fountain in all of Taiwan!!
Elder Sheng counting to check if the key chain really had 50 stars on it
 LiAn's baptism

Victory, Victory, In Jesus Christ our Lord! I've been in a battle with Satan for Brother Tsai Yong Sheng ever since I got here in TaoYuan. Over the course of the last 5 months he's had some big ups and some big downs. He's kept his faith unshaken through it all. Let me tell you what is going on. Let's begin last week. We reviewed the restoration using Joseph Smith's History, we talked about how right before the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph he faced great opposition and temptation from the adversary. It was perfect because every time he gets close he runs into some serious attacks from the adversary. He related really well to the story and it was a strong spiritual lesson. Then he went a few days, attended a baptism, and at the baptism talked with one of the brothers in our ward about how he's feeling the adversary really strongly in his life tempting him not to pray and read. This last Tuesday we decided to share a strong scripture based lesson, then we decided to take the last 10 minutes and talk about priesthood blessings. After, we asked him if he would like one. Brother Zhao gave him a beautiful blessing. The spirit was so strong, and at the end of the blessing brother Tsai got up and said his feeling was amazing. He'd never felt anything so good before. Then Thursday we met with him again. He said he had talked to his boss yet again about getting Sunday off, but this time he was very bold, and his boss said he'll set it up. He was so excited and said "I'm getting baptized this month."

Sunday was stake conference and he came, and loved it. (he's been to church enough to get baptized, just can't live the Sabbath day commandment). After church I asked him if he'll be able to rest every Sunday from here on out, or if it's still just once every 2-3 months. He said every Sunday. Then I said to him, well in that case do you want to get baptized Saturday? He grinned ear to ear. And we set up a baptismal interview. I sat outside the interview room door praying and worrying. 30 minutes later Brother Tsai walked out of the room teary eyed. He walked right up to me and gave me a big hug. He's getting baptized this Saturday. He and I are the 2 happiest people on the entire island. All the prayers, fasting, lost sleep, worry, and even some tears were all worth it in the end. The ward is all really excited for him. Keep him in your prayers.

This week we also had Yang LiAn's baptism. It was wonderful. She was really happy. Things went really smoothly. The Relief Society sisters gave her mother the right kind of pressure. The mother has every intention to be baptized. She just says she needs more time. I know the family will all make it. I'm really happy LiAn was able to feel it, recognize it, and trust it, so she could set the example for her family. Her baptism was so great, so spiritual, great ward support. It's such a beautiful thing to see someone put their trust in God, and enter into the covenant of baptism with him. Being a missionary is the greatest thing in the whole wide world.

We have an investigator, "Nature" Chen, who is also progressing really well. We met with him this week and talked to him about his baptismal date on 5/19. He said he doesn't think he can make it because he's only in 2nd Nephi. We then informed him he didn't need to read the whole Book of Mormon to be baptized. He said, "that makes more sense, I was wondering how brother Hong did it so fast." (Brother Hong is a recent convert of the other elder's companionship in our ward, and he was baptized in about 2 months between the time he was contacted until baptism). Then Nature said, "but if I make my goal I'll be faster!" haha He's hilarious. He's just got to hear tithing, so he'll hopefully have his baptism interview this weekend. Yesterday he attended stake conference with us. After about the 3rd straight speaker who got up and said they were nervous and had been dreading having to talk in front of everyone, he looked to me and said something along the lines of "What's up with this? Isn't our church all about agency? Why does everyone feel like they're being forced to speak?" Haha He's super funny. His prayers are so amazing when we meet with him. I hope I get to see him baptized in this transfer.

I'll report on one more soul I've been working with here in TaoYuan, that is Ru Pei Yuan, the nametag miracle. He was doing really well for a while there. He had 3 weeks straight coming to church, wasn't fully living the commandments, but was doing better, and was praying. Then last week he stole his dad's car and took it for a joy ride, wrecked it, and was kicked out of the house by his dad. He is currently living in a 1 room hostel, he had to go find work, and he's got a horrible job at a movie theatre. When I went and visited him he had the equivalent of USD $1.40, that's it. He had eaten one bowl of rice in 2 days. The consequences of his decisions have caught up to him, just as they always do. He's now having to work 40 hours a week, while going to night high school so that he can actually graduate, and has just enough money to pay for rent, gas, and the blandest of foods. I'm trying to help him find a job that will allow him to rest on Sunday's, because he's willing if his job allows. Pray for him, It's pretty rough for a 19 year old kid.

This week was one of the greatest of my mission. Besides all the good news concerning investigators we had an amazing zone leader council up in Taibei, I learned so much. It was such an edifying and uplifting meeting. And, I can't lie, it also felt really good when each zone did their report on new investigators and baptism and I was able to report that our zone is leading the mission in baptisms and set a record for finding new investigators in one month. Highest any zone's every found in one month in President Grimley's time. The TaoYuan Zone is doing so well. So many souls are coming unto Christ and our missionaries are all so amazing.

This week also included an awesome exchange with Elder Miller, always a blast. We listened to some really cool audio clips of prophets and apostles bearing testimony with a musical background of piano hymns. It made us inspired to make our own. We bore testimony and read scriptures as if we were southern preachers, all to the background hymn of As Sister's in Zion. Elder Miller has it all recorded, it was really powerful stuff. Really great companionship study.

Another great news from Stake Conference is Brother Chi, the first person I baptized here in TaoYuan, received the Melchizedek Priesthood at stake conference this week. I don't know how it can happen that fast, but he was sustained to the office of an Elder. It's really great to see him progress.

In other great news I found out that Brother Tsai, the one getting baptized this weekend, used to be an advertisement model, and he's been on the cover of a motorcycle magazine. I'm baptizing a male model. Sweet.

So I'm always dead tired at the end of the day, I think that's just called being a missionary, but this week I had one day where I was incredibly tired, probably the most tired I've ever been while still awake. We got home and planned from 9-9:30, then made calls from 9:30 to 10 just like everyday. At about 9:50 while Elder Sheng was still making calls I went in the bedroom, that's about all I remember, because I literally collapsed on my bed. The next thing I knew I woke up at 5:00 A.M. laid out on my bed in full missionary dress. Really confused but still dead tired I untied my tie, took off my white shirt, and went back to sleep until 6. I was wiped out. My companion then told me the next day that I looked dead laid out on the bed. The most tired I've been ever in my life. AND I LOVE IT

The Church is true. Missions are awesome. Brother Tsai is getting baptized. Brother Tsai is getting baptized. I could say it a million times. I'm so excited!!!

I love you all,
Elder White

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