Sunday, June 24, 2012


Good week. I feel like these letters are turning into a form letter.
Part 1: Response to family letter/maybe attempt a clever comment:
You guys sound great! Happy Fathers Day! Happy Birthday Mother! I hope
you do something really great for that. I am happy that it is your
birthday,  Mom. I liked that Uchtdorf talk about being in the middle. It
is good advice. I also think is a fancy excuse for an old person to
not feel so old, just say that everything is eternal so really we're
all just the same old. Nice try, you two. Still old though. If it
helps, when I show people that picture of me and mom in our kitchen at
my farewell they often ask if she is my girlfriend. But then, most Taiwanese people think white people all look the same and also that I am about 30, so that might not mean much.

Part 2: New from the week:
Almost 10 months on island. Transfers came and Elder Cordon is gone,
to Song Shan which is an awesome area that he will love, and I am
staying here and I love that because staying somewhere for more than 6
weeks feels great. Also I love Yonghe. Also I will be training! That
is an adventure I bet. Won't get him until Thursday. Man, still feels
like it wasn't that long ago I was being trained.

Part 3: Stories or experiences:
Most importantly is 楊弟兄 got baptized!       That is super good. He had some struggles but got over them and this guy is a stud. Hopefully we can
start working with his wife too. He wants us to meet her. He is such a
happy guy. He is Ashley's age. He was shocked when I told him she has
six children. Taiwanese people usually think that is absolutely nuts,
having 6 let alone by 30. When I meet people I like to show the
picture of her and the kids and me at the temple when I went to the
MTC. They always like that and think blonde kids are cute. So let the
kids know they have been helping with the missionary work in Taiwan.

This week I met a kid who is 18 and really wants to know if God is
real and has had friends get baptized in other churches but has never
been able to feel it. So we started meeting with him, and had some
really cool lessons and he ended up coming back and meeting with us
pretty much every day this week. Finished the week by coming to our
baptismal service. He is awesome, but just like so many of the great
people I find, is not sticking around. Today he is going down to the
south of the Island for boot camp, he is starting studying at the air
force academy here. So he won't have a cell phone or days off or any
way to keep studying the gospel. It is super sad for me to see someone
with that kind of desire have no way to keep learning, but it makes me
feel really grateful I got to meet and spend a week teaching him the
gospel and just trust that someday he will get a chance again. At
least he is a new buddy.

Got to do a baptismal interview with a Mom from China, actually from
Chengdu in the middle where they have panda bears and also Wayne and
that other guy who lived with us for a while. She was great and I feel
so awesome seeing all these awesome people with such amazing
testimonies accepting the gospel. So many of them say something like
"at first I had no intention of believing in this because it is
totally foreign and different than what I grew up with, but I started
meeting because I felt bad for the missionaries and after some time I
really feel it is right."  The spirit really doesn't have any cultural
or language or any sort of boundaries. Cool testimony to me.

Part 4: Share about last P-day/explain pictures I send:
I finally went to that really tall building!
 It was cool and there was a big tour group from northern China there and they had the Beijing accent and it was so much fun to talk to them because they sound so different. Taking pictures from the top felt more like I was taking pictures from an airplane than a building.

  If you look closely, you can see my area in that second picture, in the background by those grayish buildings.

Part 5: Say I love you.
I love you guys so much! Thanks for everything you do.
I will try to think of a way to make these more creative next week maybe.

Elder Braithwaite

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Good to hear from everyone, sounds like it is all going really well. I
guess no news is good news right?

I actually don't feel like I have a whole lot to say this week. This
transfer is a short one because of the new mission president, who
comes in a week. So this is the last week meaning I have the
possibility of moving again, but hopefully not because that would be
lame because I am loving this area, I feel comfortable and we have a
whole bunch of great investigators right now. I would love to get to
stick around here for a while and see some of these people through the
whole process.

This week we had typhoons, kind of. I guess it technically missed the
island by a little so the wind didn't come, but most of the week there
was ridiculously hard rain. A lot of the island had flooding I hear,
but Taipei was fine, minor stuff I think. I haven't ever seen rain so
hard before. But that just makes missionary work more fun because then
every little bit of success you see automatically becomes a complete
miracle because it happened in spite of the weather. There have also
been a bunch of small earthquakes lately but nothing bad at all, just
the fun kind.

As far as news for this week, 楊弟兄 passed his baptismal interview! Yay!
That means this week he will be baptized. It has been a little
stressful helping him make this choice but I know he is ready. He has
had a lot of progress, and it is really cool because this guy is super
happy and has a great testimony and I am proud of him. He doesn't have
any problems. He kind of feels like an older brother. There is this
super weird situation with him and this person and I really don't want
to explain it but it is unlike any other situation I have seen so
hopefully there will be no problems this week and it will all go
smoothly. I always get so nervous the last week before a baptism,
scared that satan will do something dumb.

I had a cool experience this week. Went on an exchange sort of last
minute, and ended up leaving my area for the exchange instead of
staying which was the plan. Then at one point in the day our plans had
to change and Elder Chen who I was with said he had a feeling to go
visit a less active lady, Xu, who they have been working with, because
they haven't visited for a long time. So we went and she was nice but
she kept looking at me funny, and finally she just said I reminded her
a lot of the elder who had baptized her about 10 years ago. She
started talking about him and how great he was, and she got a recent
Christmas picture he had sent of his family to show us and I knew I
recognized him from somewhere but couldn't remember why. Then she said
he was from Boston and I asked what his name was so she got a letter
and it was from Sam Baird! So I don't really remember him but I do
know I know who he is and I figure you guys know him. This lady was
super moved, she talked about how much she loved this elder and how
bad she felt for being inactive and she felt like me being there
really reminded her that this is what God wants for her and she should
go to church. So once again I helped someone by sitting there, I guess
the Lord knows I am not the most talented missionary in the world so
He is sticking me in the right place and time where I can help people
by reminding them of past missionaries.

Still seeing miracles and finding cool people to teach. I am glad to
be on a mission, it is the best. Elder Cordon Espinoza is healthy. We
are good.

Okay I love you!

Elder Braithwaite

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


     Gave up on Spanish. Not important right now. But I got jealous of all
my Spanish speaking missionary friends, I read the intro in my comps
Book of Mormon and felt suprised at how much I could understand or
figure out just because I know English.

     I got your package! A tie! Useful if not creative. But really, thank
you! I finally thought of what I can't find here - those little
plastic cases you put on the brush part of your toothbrush for when
you travel. Mine is falling apart and frequently has to have the mold
washed out. I do use it often. So that would be useful if you ever
send something else.

    I want to learn how to follow the Spirit! Yes! Here are some
experiences that I had with that. Had a feeling one night to go visit
an investigator unexpectedly, Brother Li, went through a maze of
streets to find his apartment. This part of the city reminded me of
the poor part of Gotham in that Batman movie, not as evil but kind of
just packed with old apartment buildings and narrow streets. He wasn't
home so we wrote him a note and when we about to leave he pulled up.
He is the one who is trying to give up chewing binlang and a bunch of
other things. He was really happy to see us and invited us up to his
place and we got to meet his wife from China and she was happy and
made us some steamed buns. But he was different because he was chewing
at the time. It is so sad to see a man who is normally so gentle and
humble be changed by that substance, he was just rushed and loud and
more rude about everything, like it wasn't him. Sad. But he was really
touched and felt like us being here right as he came home was a sign
that God hasn't given up on him. I think the Spirit still reached him
through the drug, little things like that mean a lot to people. Still
working on quitting, one step at a time I guess.

     Contacting in a park one day and passed a mom and her son, had a
feeling to turn around and talk to them. Ended up being super cool.  At
first the mom had not much interest but her son started opening up,
told us he was afraid of the dark and we taught him to pray when he
was scared. When I asked when we could meet again the mom said "no time",
and started giving some excuses but kid disagreed and totally shot her
down, like "I have tons of time. Let's do Saturday at 3." What was
cool was that when the mom saw her son's desire she was surprised and
she changed, like if he really felt that he wanted to learn more about
this then maybe there is something to it. So we met with them again
later this week and they brought us cookies and some sort of sweet
root drink. SUCCESS. I love that kids are so honest, and I also
believe that he was following the Spirit and his intuition and helped
his family by doing so.

Okay another: Really cool, one night I had a really certain feeling
that the next day we had to go to a certain place at a certain time
and if we did there would be a person who wanted to hear this message.
So we did and there were tons of people and I was contacting randomly
and I felt like if God led me here then I should just ask him where
is the person he wants me to meet. So I stopped and prayed and when I
finished looked up and saw a man in the crowd, a little far away.
Completely normal looking guy but for some reason he stood out and I
had a certain feeling that it was him. So I stopped him and as we
talked and we had a good relationship from the start and he opened up
to me pretty quickly. Said that his life is just not going how he
wanted it to go. Spent years overseas, in the US and other places,
tried to figure out what he is doing but never found an answer. Has
had a rough life. Feels like he has made so many mistakes, has hurt
all the people around him, doesn't feel like he can forgive himself or
move on. In the past he was raised Buddhist, gone to Catholic churches
for a while and tried other christian churches, but nothing felt
right. Finally a few days prior to this he had a realization that it
was time to look for faith again and find God. We met with him later
this week and in those few days between meeting he had got on (his english is great) and read about our church, started
praying daily, says he thinks that this is what feels right for him,
that this is what he has been looking for and he would like to be
baptized. Turns out that the day I met him he had walked to that area
I had felt to go and then just kind of walked in circles there for a
while, with no real reason, just kind of felt like he was wasting time
until I talked to him. I am amazed at the way the Lord does this work,
I am sure that both him and I were led by the Spirit that day.

     Had a fun lesson at a fire station with an eternal investigator who is
an old firefighter. He has gone through a lot of missionaries and told
us that he was a little disappointed at meeting us, was hoping we
would be different but it turns out we say the same things, dress the
same, and tell him to do the same things as every other missionary.
Like we all just follow our standard operation procedures. We are like
robots, all the same, the only difference is the paint job on our
bikes. I thought about this and figured that that is comforting to me.
First of all, all the missionaries I have met are very different
people even if we wear the same uniform, so it is amazing that the
message doesn't change. Truth doesn't have to change. It doesn't have
to be original or fresh or different because it is true. If it did
change it wouldnt be. So these old, old ways of developing faith are
trustworthy and effective for anyone willing to try. The prophets and
Jesus and now missionaries are teaching the same thing and it won't
change. To me that is comforting.

      Have a lot of other good investigators lately. I haven't written much
about him, but Brother Yang will have a baptismal interview this week
and has been doing awesome and made a lot of progress. Excited for

       Wrote a lot this week to try and make up for last week. I love you
all! Hopefully will continue to see miracles here.

Elder Braithwaite

 The duck head I ate.  We went to a night market for dinner
one night and you can buy all sorts of stuff at those places. It still had everything in it. The cool part is that because it is fried or maybe because ducks have weak bones, you can just eat the whole thing, like the bill and the skull and vertabrae and all that, super hard and crunchy but doable.

Summer in Yonghe. It is getting hot