Monday, October 31, 2011

HELLO FROM NEIHU

 
This has been a pretty crazy week. Things are totally different here, like I expected but still... Neihu is great, real pretty, I am indeed in the rich part of the city, or one of them. Lots of nice restaurants, fancy looking apartments and shopping, a lot of city parks and lakes, etc.  The name means something like "inner lake". Plus a Costco, Anything obviously American like that is a sign that the area is wealthy.
 
   I have never been as tired as I was this week. Our area is full of hills, constantly riding up and down is starting to get to my legs, I need to get in better shape. We have been working crazy hard here, because the area needs it. It has quite a history of either bad elders of no elders at all (it was closed for a while).  It just reopened last transfer but both elders were super excited to go home because it was their last transfer, so they honestly didn't get too much done. That that may explain why they whitewashed my companion and me here, get some new perspective. So hopefully we can build some momentum. Basically it means that we are riding around the busy part of the city a lot, just talking to everyone, trying to find people to teach (although this is what you do all the time anywhere in this mission, just a little more so right now).
 
In addition to all this, we got a surprise call about halfway into this week. Turns out my companion is going into the army about a year and a half earlier than he was expecting (service is mandatory for young men in Taiwan), so his mission is over in about 9 days (he had about a year left). At this point I am not sure what will happen, it will be interesting to see what President Grimley does. I was liking having a native companion, although his English is so good and he would rather speak that, which is way lame and not helpful for me. He isn't really patient with me either, so it has been real hard to get him to speak to me in Chinese even though I know that will help. I feel like I am living with a slightly crazy person, but crazy in a subtle way. But I really do like him, he is a good missionary and it will be sad to see him leave.
 
I really feel good being in the city though. So different from Toufen. Here we have actually skyscrapers, lots of classy looking business buildings and rich looking guys in suits, but regardless people are still willing to listen. I was worried that the wealth might make things more difficult. 
 
The weather has been more like what I expected for Taiwan, lots of rain and gray, really cool temperature. I feel so good now, no more sweating all the time, although I guess I am still wet anyway. But I really like the rain, so far. The members in our new ward have been super welcoming, feeding me a ton and all that. Even took me out to get pasta, which is a really big deal here. Italian food is the new hip (and expensive) thing to eat. Also got taken to this super nice Korean restaurant, the most Asiany meal I have had so far. Super flavorful, really fun but once again I feel bad at how expensive it all is. But when people want to feed you it is more polite to just let them, and futile to try to refuse anyway.
 
We do have some good investigators right now, especially this family we met. They have a beautiful house and a little boy and girl.  The dad says he just wants us to come teach his kids good things, says he really likes church. They love everything we teach. Really hoping they can make it to baptism, so far it seems like they will. So a lot of hope there. Also, we are meeting with a 40+ year old man who has been meeting with the missionaries for years, not baptized because he has never quit smoking. We basically told him he was going to quit now, and he just committed and hasn't for about 5 days now. We will see what happens with him, but we believe he can do it. I am really hoping for a lot of miracles this transfer. 
 
Went on exchanges this week with my Zone leader up in Shiling, really fun.  Just going crazy talking to a million people on the street, so fun, especially when people listen. We taught a lesson to a man whose family life was awful -- wife and daughter with psychological problems who couldn't get along. Eventually she divorced him. He couldn't sleep for months because of stress. He went to Buddhist monks but they told him they couldn't help him because the "evil spirit" they sensed that was antagonizing him was too big. Finally he was planning on committing suicide the next day, but he had heard of Jesus and decided to try praying and see if he could help. That night he slept for the first time in months. Now he is meeting with the missionaries. Cool story, the gospel is for everyone and the Lord is preparing people to hear it. 
 
My district includes a lot of different areas, but interestingly 3 of us here went to Lone Peak and had the same Chinese class, sort of --me, Elder Phelps, and Elder White. Just a small world I guess, but it was good to see some people from home, and I will get to see them a lot.
 
Okay, that is all for now, I don't think I have anything else. Sounds like things are okay at home, I hope all the trips and stuff go well! I love you all, thank you for eveything you did to get me here.
 
Elder Braithwaite
 


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