Sunday, February 5, 2012

Family,

I am glad that everything is going well. I'm also glad that you are not mad about me inviting Daniel to our house and I hope that he arrives safely (today?). He is a good guy and very eager to learn English. Also sorry about the plaque thing, go ahead and go with the Matt 5 one.

Things have gone well here. This week had an odd feeling overall, all sorts of weird things happened to us every day. I don't really know how to explain, but by the end of the week we were just laughing at how weird the week was. Plus there was this odd atmosphere, with the lantern festival going on. There are these people who get big trucks and build these colorful temples in the bed, then add about ten people with huge drums and gongs and drive around the city all day long and part of the night playing what sound like Indian war songs or something. Unfortunately we didn't get to watch them do the tradition where they throw firecrackers at the guy, but a lot of foreigners were in town to watch. Last night we went to go visit our investigator, this kid who lives up in an Aborignal village, but he couldn't meet because their society chief had just died and he had to gather all the young men to do some sort of ritual for the night. Just a lot of odd things have been happening, kind of a reminder that this place is really different from home.

We had some really good lessons this week, and then some really bad ones. At the beginning of this week we met with this college student who first met us last transfer when I had just come down to Taidong. At that time we weren't sure why he was meeting, he didn't seem to have any interest and we assumed he would just die out. He admitted to problems like cutting himself, hating life, his family, etc. We have met with him a bunch of times and haven't been able to get him to react to anything, he just didn't seem to care. We tried sharing all kinds of messages with him. But over time he has had a gradual change, has started becoming happier and trusting us more. This week he was willing  to accept a baptismal invitation and is excited about being able to have a new start on life. It is so cool to see someone really changing their life, and most of all becoming happier, because of the gospel.

The next day we met with a lady who was super willing to meet, but the spirit just wasn't in the lesson and it went pretty badly, and honestly she probably won't be willing to meet with us again. It is sad to feel like because we blew it she wasn't given a good opportunity to accept the gospel. It is so important to have the spirit in every lesson. That really is the difference between when things go well and when they go poorly as a missionary.

I am glad that I get to be here and get to work hard. Things are going well with the branch here, we have seen some great progress. It has been an interesting experience being in this branch. The members are great, but usually at most about 40 or 50 are in the meeting on Sunday including missionaries, our investigators, and children, and our priesthood meeting is usually about 8 including my companion and me, plus the bishopric and maybe one or two young men. So a different experience from Utah for sure. I am loving being here though, it is such privilege to be a missionary.

 I don't have much time this week. I love you, keep me updated on everything!

Elder Braithwaite         

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