Sunday, January 15, 2012

(Me at a cafe on a mountain in this area, Taidong Valley)

   I am glad you got the package! I didn't know if it would get there because I left it up to my old companion and he is Taiwanese and didn't have my address, but I guess he figured it out somehow. I guess being Taiwanese doesn't really have anything to do with it. Anyway, you can pick who gets all the stuff, I don't really even remember it all. Send me a picture of the scripture that they gave you and I'll tell you what it is. That is really nice of them to bring you presents and to visit you! What good friends.

         By next week I will pick my plaque scripture. I just keep forgetting.
The Guonian stuff has been going on for a few weeks now. That is Chinese New Years. Anyways, most nights and days there have been firecrackers going off frequently, and we have been invited over to eat with different people most nights. Still have a week till the actual week long celebration starts. So that has made things interesting. However, a big problem for us is that the majority of our investigators are students at the college here in Taidong and they have winter break now, so they all went home for winter vacation to different parts of Taiwan, which means we have not a whole lot of lessons and probably a ton of free time to go find! So not really a problem, we are just going to have to get a little creative and think up some new ways to do this.

        I  am staying! Finally! It is such a blessing to not move. Elder Shu was great, he has been sent back to Taibei and I will not be seeing him (or anyone else in the mission because the South is isolated from all else) for a long time. But I am super excited about my new companion, Elder Liu, who I met in the MTC and we were in the same district for my first transfer on island so we have already worked together on exchanges back in Miaoli. Also, my very first night in Taiwan I worked with him and his companion, because your first night they send all the new missionaries out to work with some local Taibei elders for their first night of proselyting, so we got that too. He is an ABC from Provo and is one transfer older than me, so we have a very inexperienced companionship but there is nothing better than young missionaries anyway right? It can't be any less experienced missionaries together than my situation 2nd transfer so I think we'll be okay. I'm glad I am at least staying with a companion that knows Chinese, if not a native Taiwanese. But I already know that we get along real well and we are going to see miracles down here in Taidong for sure.
      I don't know what to tell you about all our investigators. We have plenty, many of whom we can't meet with because of the college situation, and many others I have no idea how to help because of some serious problems. But I feel like this transfer the one thing I have learned is how important it is to really love them. I was thinking about the shepherd/sheep analogy. It makes a lot more sense when you try doing everything you can to help these people- they become people you care so much about and just want to protect. I feel so sorry for all the struggles these people have and how the gospel could help them so much. So I am trying my best to feed the little flock we've got here but it's hard because I feel so inadequate all the time, I never know exactly what to do. These people all have such difficult things to face in their life and I'm just a kid that knows nothing. That is one reason I am glad I can trust the Savior and the gospel. I'm not such a great missionary or teacher but He doesn't have anything in Him to make my trust waiver. I think the reason God lets us know he is perfect is so we can trust Him, like a way to enable our faith.
     Not too much time, but thanks for everything! I am loving it all and I am very excited for this next transfer!
I love you!
Elder Braithwaite

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