Sunday, December 11, 2011

Family,

Sounds like a big week at home. I'm glad everything is still okay, that Trav is safe, sorry that Drew is sick. Some interesting stories, though. I don't think I have ever had a human bite like that, sounds nasty.
Sorry I don't always respond to all of what you write me, but I hope you know that I love reading about how things are going. Your emails are really great, so just because I don't always comment much doesn't mean I don't appreciate them. Tell Ashley I loved hearing from her and will write her a letter (eventually - it is hard to make promises on time).

So my life is going real well right now. I am working hard here in Taidong, but it is so different. Taipei was so full of people and buildings and when we went to find people on the street we weren't literally having to find people, like physically. There just aren't a lot of people around down here, at least that are available to talk to you. It has been kind of a hard week, I was so used to being able to just go out and work crazy hard and talk to a million people and then probably see some success if you spent enough time, but here you can go out all day and not talk to that many people and then not really see any results. The work is just different down here, it will take getting used to more than anything else I think.

Also, I have been deceived.  It isn't actually any warmer in the south. Well, it probably is, but it is still real cold and rainy. Except then we had a day where it was sunny and perfect, so maybe it is just temperamental. Either way, it is pretty here. Because our area is so spread out and there is not really one part that will for sure have people to talk to, we do a lot more bike riding than before. A lot of rice fields and stuff, feels like I'm back in Toufen.

There are a lot of aborigine Taiwanese here, which is interesting. So many of their cultural things, like art and stuff, and even the way they look, remind me a lot of native Americans. Most of them are Catholic, because of missionaries from a long time ago who converted all the natives. So I have gotten to talk more about the restoration than I usually do, because for the majority of people I talked to in other places the restoration doesn't have a lot of meaning because they really don't know too much about Jesus Christ at all to begin with. So that is one change down here.

My companion is great. He is 27, and it really shows in the way he does the work, he is just more mature about it than other missionaries. Everything is just more deliberate, and slower paced. He is a convert, and because of that he has a huge focus on our lessons. He really strives to be a great teacher, and feels like we weren't successful if we leave any lesson without creating some sort of change in our investigators. I think I will be able to learn a lot from him. He has been kind to me so far. All is well.

I have been feeling really humbled lately, and it has been good to have all these opportunities to learn so much. I wish I could write more about everything that has happened, or even remember everything that has happened. But I am overall feeling so blessed in so many ways and I know the Lord is helping me grow. It is hard because in all the time I have spent in Taiwan so far, I still haven't really gotten to see anyone make permanent changes in their lives, really become different because of what I am doing, at least in measurable ways. But I know you can't fall into the trap of trying to measure the immeasurable effects of missionary work. I just have learn to trust that, assuming I work hard and do what I have been taught and asked to do, the results I have are exactly what are expected by the Lord. True for all I do, not just missionary work. I have been focusing on using more faith lately, and it has been amazing what I've learned. Pray for us to have some miracles down here, we need them and they can happen if we have the faith.

Okay, thanks for keeping me updated on home, I love you all so much. I still don't know the details about the Christmas call, but I will hopefully let you know soon(?). I would guess it will be Christmas for you, probably about the time you would normally get this email, because that would be p day for us. Don't worry about sending a lot of stuff. I might buy myself some overly priced cereal and some milk from a cow, we'll see. I don't feel homesick at all, don't worry. Not sarcastic.

Love,
Elder Braithwaite

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