Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hello,

Apenas llevo 2 semanas en esta area y mi español ya mejoro bastante,
ya puedo escribirles en español espero que puedan entenderme...

The new area is great! Whitewashing is rough but its really fun to
just go out and work, really feels like back when I was with Daniel
and we had no clue what to do so just went and street contacted all
day. More or less the same. Found out that Yonghe is indeed the most
densely populated area in Taiwan. Half the streets in this part of the
city are super narrow, the buildings just kind of close in on you and
block out all sunlight. But there is never a shortage of people to
talk to, so that is good. It feels a lot different than any of the
other areas I have been in. But then, everywhere I have gone has been
that way. This is the complete opposite of Taidong. What I have
realized though is that the bulk of what you do is exactly the same no
matter where you go.

Also found out that my companion is indeed Guatemalan, from Guatemala
City. Elder Oscar Ivan Cordon Espinoza. His English is still nearly
perfect though. When he was in high school he decided he wanted to
learn Chinese, but there was no where to do that, so he went to the
Taiwanese embassy and asked around, found someone to teach him once a
week. So his Chinese is okay too. It should be a fun transfer, my
first time with such a young companion so hopefully I can help him
feel more comfortable with the work.

We have a bunch of good investigators in this area, people who I am
really excited to help. The closest to baptism is Brother Yang, an
insurance salesman and really friendly guy. He is getting close, still
has some obstacles to get over, but should be okay. Then there is
Zhang, he is one of the few high school aged investigators I have ever
had who is actually mature enough to really progress. From the time
the missionaries met with him last week and gave him a Book of Mormon,
he has read it every day and loves it. So I am excited about him too.
Also, my favorite is Li Qiao who is possibly one of the most humble
men I have ever met. When I first saw him I thought of a Buddha but not
shirtless, just this really heavy set but smiley guy. He has a real
desire to change and really wants to understand God. His problem is
that he has really strong addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and
especially binlang. I don't know how much I have talked about that.
Binlang is this drug that is everywhere here,  these little
"nuts", some sort of plant. You chew it like tobacco and spit it out
all over the streets so other people step in it. It is red and it
turns your mouth and teeth and spit red and drips out of your mouth
and makes it look like you're all bloody, just disgusting overall, and
really addictive. But this guy really wants to change and we set a
plan with him. He needs a lot of help so keep him in your prayers.
Break free, Li! I want to help him really bad.

One cool miracle this week: For our English class on Wednesday night,
I was sitting in my classroom at the church waiting for students to
show up and this lady walked in early, so we started talking. I was
confused because she seemed to know a lot about our church. I soon
figured out she had actually been baptized, but hadn't gone to church
for over a decade. Tried to understand why, but pretty soon other
students came so the conversation got cut off. But for the last part
of English class we do a spiritual message, and I had decided to teach
about prayer. Halfway through the lesson I asked her to share her
testimony about prayer, not really knowing how that would go. But she
stood up and started talking about her experience, about how and why
she fell away from the church but how for these 10 years she had still
never given up on prayer- she knew that God really does hear her. She
has been looking for a long time for a way to come back, but never
knew how to do it, has tried calling the church but no one ever
answered.  I guess maybe she thought that people wouldn't want her to
come back. She remember that the church does this English class, so
decided maybe she should start with that. Anyway, she was praying for
God to help her use this opportunity to get involved in the church
again and when she walked into the classroom and saw me and that I was
named 'bai', she felt like it was a sign because that was the name of
the elder who baptized her when she was 18. So she felt okay to talk
to me about coming back. Her testimony was really powerful and she
basically recommitted to this class of about 20 English students that
she will never turn away from the church again because it is true, and
all these people where clapping for her and shouting amen and
hallelujah and funny stuff because that is probably what they have
seen Christians do on TV or in the movies. But the spirit was there
nonetheless. A testimony that Heavenly Father will never forget any of
us, and if we are just willing to remember Him things will work out.

A lot of other stuff happened this week, had a Seventy and the 1st
counselor in the presiding bishopric come speak to us. It was
interesting they didn't even have a topic, just kind of did a
testimony meeting-ish thing. Had a lot of other cool miracles. The
district is doing well.

I love you all!

Elder Braithwaite

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