Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WEEK THREE

Nimen Hao,
Thanks for sending me all the stuff I need. That is probably really annoying for you, but I appreciate it.
I hope Dad is doing okay. It doesn't sound too serious, but I'll be praying for him anyway.
Nothing new here, really. The devotionals are great, along with personal scripture study time they are the highlightS of my week. I feel like I always learn so much from them. Our Fourth of July one was particuarly fun. Some people talk about how powerful it is when all the missionaries get together and sing "Called to Serve", but I can testify that it is equally impressive when we all sing "Yankee Doodle" together. (Except the line "and with the girls be handy" seemed a little ironic given our current circumstances.)
The only really notable speaker we have had is Elder Bednar, but everyone else has been great too.
It's true that this place is fairly similar to a minimum security prison. We all have to wear the same thing, have scheduled meals with dissapointing food, scheduled exercise time outside, are never alone unless we are in the bathroom, and we aren't allowed to leave our little half-mile square radius. The only difference is that we aren't allowed to have visitors. And that we're here by choice. But I guess that really makes all the difference.
In all honesty, everything really is great here, I'm not trying to complain and I really wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Except Taiwan, I suppose. But what I mean is I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. Today my companion and I were walking and trying to figure out a word in Chinese, and the guy in front of us turned around and told us. He was from Hong Kong, fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, and was headed to New York to speak English, which he could barely speak. It makes you wonder why the Lord would want a native chinese speaker from Hong Kong to learn English and preach in America and want a bunch of immature native english speakers from America to learn Chinese and preach in Taiwan. But I know there must be a reason.
There is one guy in our zone from French Polynesia who came here and is learning English and Mandarin at once. So I guess it could be worse. He's a stud.
The spirit is so strong here, I'm learning so much. I have such a greater love for the scriptures, prayer, pondering, and repentance, among other things. I feel like this has been such a great humbling experience so far. For reals. I have so much to learn and so far to go. But I know I'm not doing it alone, I guess none of us really do anything alone. The Lord is always with us, that means more to me now than it used to.
I love you all, thanks for supporting me and thanks for all the great lessons you teach me.
Wo ai nimen,
Elder Braithwaite

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