Monday, September 26, 2011


Hey tell Drew I say Happy Birthday! And also Rebekah. Someone in my English class (we teach English once a week as community service) is named Becca. I love the English names people pick for themselves here. They don't care if the name doesn't match their gender, it is just whatever sounds pretty to them. Like Eugene or Tenor. Anyway, I would write Drew but I don't know where he is. I am assuming it is still Haiti. For some reason I thought he was still somewhere in the States.
Hey so I don't know if there is any way for you to figure this out, but someone should google the population of Toufen for me, I am kind of curious. It is crazy to think that me and my companion are the only elders, really almost the only foreigners in this city, and that our area is even bigger -- about a 45 minute bus ride up into the mountains that includes a bunch of other rural towns we never go to due to inconvenience. We were sitting outside eating dinner a couple of nights ago and I was just looking at all the people and it is crazy that there are only two of us given the responsibility to teach all of them. Really makes you realize how small the Church is.

We rode our bikes to the beach last p day, pretty fun, there was a typhoon right before I got on island so the beaches are kind of ugly right now. Not sure yet what we will do today, maybe go look at these statues of some Buddhist gods over in Zhunan, I am not sure what their names are but they are about a hundred feet tall, pretty cool. Just a sign of how many different gods there are here. There are Buddhist temples all over the place. Our area is more traditional and Buddhist than Taibei, according to my companion. One of the biggest problems right now is that all our investigators don't understand the first commandment. I always thought that as a missionary my investigators would struggle with the word of wisdom or law of chastity, not this. We will tell them that if they know the Book of Mormon is true, they will know that there God is their Heavenly Father, Jesus is their Savior, Joseph Smith is a prophet, and they will totally accept and believe that, but they just don't understand the concept of God having one way. Or more specifically, they think that His one way is every way, that any road will take you where you should go. They have no problem with other things being true in addition to this. It is really difficult to get them to understand why the gospel implies that Christ in not only a good path but the only path. They just don't have the same mindset as westerners who readily accept an "either, or" view of things instead of "this and that both".

I wish you could all be here with me, I want you to experience this place. I say this every week, but the fruit is so great. And I don't think anywhere has nicer people in general. Although the more I go out and talk to people, the more I find that some people really are not nice at all. But still love it so much.

 One thing we do here is called "Dan Jones"ing. It means that you find somewhere where a lot of people are gathered together and can't instantly escape and you get their attention and yell something about the gospel to them all.
 The most common example is at a stoplight, when all the scooters line up waiting for the light to go green. You walk out into the street and have about 30-45 seconds to preach repentance. They have you do this from the first day, good for getting rid of new missionaries nervousness.    Anyway, this week we rode our bikes past a junior high school, all the students (at least 1000) were sitting outside in the courtyard for an assembly or something. We waited till their principal finished and all the kids stood up, and then I got up and stood on the school fence for a Dan Jones, shouted repentance to them all, probably looked pretty ridiculous but who knows, they might have been touched. Just one more way to keep it interesting.

The work is steady, and we definitely have plenty to do. We need some help right now with our investigators,  need to help them develop testimonies and have personal spiritual experiences. But we have a lot of faith in them. This gospel is making real differences in real people's lives. I love it, I feel like the next two years are going to fly by. The language is rough for sure, but I have no doubt I will get it eventually, and so far I have been able to do alright regardless. Thanks for all the support, I love you all so much, especially Drew because he is the birthday boy!

Elder Braithwaite

1 comment:

  1. Jan, I have just learned more about the Taiwanese mission in reading Evan's blog for 20 minutes than Nick has told me in the past 11 months that he has been on island! Obviously, Nick isn't much of a writer and he does his best, but this has been super fun. Evan didn't mention that he sang "Ebony and Ivory" by Michael Jackson at the karaoke bar night, and that Nick said it will be one of his favorite memories of the mission. I didn't know they were staying above a strip club owned by the mafia. Nice.