Sunday, October 16, 2011

It has been another really good week. It is amazing how much I have learned in the last 5 weeks, this transfer is almost over and it is astounding to me what a difference there is between where I was as far as language, teaching skills, knowing what is going on, etc. and where I am now. Still making mistakes, with wrong tones you change "the BoM and Bible are similar" to slang for "the BoM and Bible are lesbian", and in the first vision one tone changes "this is my beloved Son" to "this is my midget", both of which I mistakes I made this week (only in role plays, thank goodness). Next week I may be writing from a different area, we'll see what happens. It is really not for sure, but I would love to stay here in Toufen. It is such a dinky, dirty little city and there really isn't anything special about it, but I love it and I love our members and our investigators (even though none of them will come to church! stinkers).
Things have been pretty normal here. Weather has been so nice, fall has arrived and it is just perfect. Real cloudy and warm, always like it is about to rain, but you don't constantly sweat anymore. My companion says it feels a lot like Oregon (where he is from). With all the plants and green around in our area, it almost looks like it too. My companion got hit by a car earlier this week, but he is fine. It wasn't really too bad, but it still scared me. I guess I will get used to that, riding our bikes in this traffic is still a little iffy sometimes but it has to be done. But, I did buy a hot pink storage box and stuck it on my bike with a bunch of zipties, so at least I am lookin stylish.
We walked into a McDonalds this week and there were about 30-40 junior high students, all of whom seemed to notice us but were trying not to look/stare. Finally one decided to say "hello"  because everyone knows how to say that, and we said hello back and everyone in the room got all giggly. Just a weird situation, but it is so funny to me how interesting people here think white people are. They are actually kind of racist, there used to be a black elder in this area and people were apparently a little scared. They don't really like dark skin, like black or Filipino or Thai, etc. But, there is this toothpaste that you see everywhere called "hei ren" which is literally "black man" with a picture of a smiling black man in a top hat on the front. While it does seem like black people often have nice teeth, I don't think this marketing scheme would be as appropriate in the US.
Investigators are all doing well, we worry a lot but a lot of them still seem to have genuine interest. I contacted a 18 year old kid the other day who set up with us, and it turned out to be a really cool lesson. We shared about baptism, and he was completely willing to do that if it would help him understand God. He says he really wants to know if God is real. We asked him to say the closing prayer, and even though he was super nervous he did, after thinking for a long time he said "Heavenly Father ...... from now on I promise I will try my best to get to know you, in the name of Jesus Christ amen".  So simple, but I was just really struck with the humility and honesty, we get to talk to a lot of people but not all of them will be as earnest about it. It really is such a privilege to get to see people take these first steps towards an understanding of Heavenly Father. I get to see so many amazing things every day, God is helping His work move along and I get a front row seat.
Sorry, I forgot my camera cord, so no pictures. I wanted to send one I took while on exchanges in Miaoli, this town up in the mountains in our district, but I guess next week. Today we are hoping to go up to Nanzhuang, this old town with some temples and stuff. Some members didn't have school so they wanted to hang out with us since it is our p day. It is so funny, members here are literally friends, not just friendly with the missionaries. They would choose to hang out with us on a free day. But anyway, thanks for sending me those articles and for writing, I love hearing from you all. Oh, do you have pictures from our Costa Rica trip somewhere, like digital copies or printed out? That is the memory card I have, so I don't know if I can delete them.
Okay, I love you all so much, thanks for the support!
Elder Braithwaite

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