Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hello,

It has been a really good week again. It is so funny, I feel like it was just barely Halloween and I wasn't doing anything different, now it is Thanksgiving and I didn't do anything different. Not complaining at all, just saying, I didn't even realize it was Thanksgiving until most of the way through the day. Funny how that just dropped off my list of important things, although once I remembered I started trying to think of all the things I was thankful for and there really are too many, I feel so blessed, and especially right now being a missionary. I have it really good.

This week we got to have some really fun days where we had nothing scheduled, no lessons or anything, so we just got to go out and talk to people on the streets all day. It is the kind of day that I probably would have found really miserable at the very beginning of my mission, having no breaks aside from meals and being rejected over and over. But in all honesty I loved it, and it just amazes me how much I have already changed over these few months I have been able to be a missionary. We even got to sing with someone on the street. We brought our hymnbooks and decided we were going to find someone who was willing to sing a hymn with us, and I talked to a girl who was on her way to an opera competition so we sang her "Angels We Have Heard on High". She even sang with us after the first verse. A lot of weird looks from all the people walking by, but fun and hopefully she felt good because of it. I have a million stories I could tell but it is hard to remember them all, it is just really great to be able to share the gospel with so many people. I love just getting down to work and doing everything I can to accomplish my goals and help people accept the gospel. I have never been able to go to bed with so much satisfaction in what I did during the day, but also so absolutely beat and ready to collapse. It is a good feeling for sure.

Last night we got to eat with a member. She made us this big homemade chinese meal, so much food but some of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. I don't know what kind of fish it was but it was amazing. I wish I could learn to cook some of this stuff and make it when I get home, but there is probably no way that will happen. My companion makes me noodle dishes all the time that are really good, I could probably learn some of those. Living with a Taiwanese is great. Found out this week he also speaks Japanese and Taiyu, a native dialect here, so between the two of us there aren't too many people we talk to who can't be invited to learn more. I have been running into more and more white people, but for the most part they aren't as nice or willing to talk to me. I am really so grateful I am where I am and get to do what I am doing.

Assuming there are no problems, we should have a baptism this week. Our investigator needed another interview because of some more serious sins, so that slowed up the process a week, but now he is clear so we are really hoping he will go through with it. This week I had some different emotions. There are some of our investigators who haven't been meeting with us, haven't kept various committments, didn't come to church, etc. When these things happened, I felt this really deep sadness, which is weird because I really don't feel like I get sad too easily. But I just felt so hurt for them. They are chosing not to do these things that will bring so many blessings. This one family might be losing interest, and they are going to miss out on an opportunity to be together forever. These people don't understand fully what they are going to miss. There is nothing that could make me feel worse than seeing these people I love and am trying so hard to help choose to not do what is best for them. It is so hard to accept that they have their agency. So I feel like maybe this is kind of what parents feel like when kids don't do what is right or do something stupid. Or how Heavenly Father feels when we choose not to do what it takes to receive what he wants. In the same way, we don't fully understand what he is offering and what we are rejecting when we don't choose to follow the Savior. Anyway, it was just a new experience for me to feel so deeply sad. Missions really have a lot of ups and downs.

I am glad everything is going so well at home. Dad, this thing with the Chinese guys sounds super cool, I really hope it works out. I really love you all, thanks for everything you do!

Elder Braithwaite

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