Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hello

This week I hit my year mark on island. SAD. But it is fun, took some time and read through some journal entries, specifically from the MTC. It's been a pretty packed year. I have been real good about journals, haven't missed a day actually except the first night in the MTC, totally spaced it then. But it is fun to see how much I have learned and experienced, hopefully changed some too. Maybe. Don't be surprised if I come back more or less the same in a lot of ways though. 

It's great to hear that you're all doing really well. Thanks for writing me updates. Some of the missionaries I know don't get emails from their families, because going on a mission was against what their family wanted. I am lucky you guys are so great. 


Most importantly is that my bike is now one year old. It sounds much older when I ride it. I figured I should do a tribute to that thing, it has served faithfully for so many miles in so many different cities and parts of this island, being shipped around and rode through so much traffic and so many fields and so much rain.
I love it. It has also changed over the last year, I took a picture outside the email place this morning and it is fun to compare to the one I took last year when I got it.

August 2011
September 2012


Got to try out translating for a zone meeting. A lot of the training is in English so these meetings are always translated for the Taiwanese missionaries. Kind of humbling actually, a fun experience and harder than I thought, but it was cool because even though I felt like my Chinese isn't good enough, afterwards one missionary told me that they could really feel the spirit when they listened to me and I just had this feeling that God made up for my less than perfect skills and was able to communicate the most important things through me anyway. Translation is a gift of the spirit right? 

This week went really well, I was really happy. I feel like we were able to help some people. I think that we have a lot of great investigators right now, I really love them. Just hope to help them be happier and find what they are looking for. I have stopped caring about a lot of stuff on my mission, I feel like my motives for being here and doing this have been slowly eliminated, until all that really makes me go out and work is because I love God and the Savior and really believe this is what they have asked me to do, and because I love people and want to help people. Not that my reasons for coming were ever corrupted, but I think all missionaries at least at some times, get motivated to work hard by pressure from their leaders or a desire for personal success, or because they want a sense of accomplishment or to see results so they feel like they aren't just wasting their time. Or maybe they even work because of something like a desire to see miracles or to have baptisms. But all these are so unimportant compared to the two motives that the Savior gave us: Love God, and love your neighbor. I did a training on this for our zone this week and it is something I have been pondering a lot, how to make sure that everything I am doing is because I genuinely want to help someone, and in doing so serve God. I really think the only accountability I will have to make for my mission to Heavenly Father will be based off those two most important commandments anyway. Goes for our accountability for our lives too. 

I don't have any specific stories from this week. One cool man I contacted on the street, a really really buff guy whose voice is super deep and he also speaks German which is special, met with us. He is a philosophy major and has always loved learning about religions, but has always been disappointed when talking to most Christians he knows because he feels like their answers are just limited, like the doctrine they talk to him about just doesn't satisfy his curiosity. So we have met a couple times and they have been some really fun lessons, really interesting discussions. Not sure how to answer half the stuff he asks. But it has been a fun experience. He says our church is definitely better at having patience with him and with giving him answers too. So that was fun this week. 

Oh I did baptize that older woman whose picture I sent last week. She wore the most extravagant pink princess dress to her baptism.  Funny thing was, like many superstitious older Taiwanese people, she is afraid of water. So I had to try three times to get her baptized, every time I finished the prayer and started lowering her into the water, she would start screaming, then laughing out of fear. The first time it scared me really bad. Really awkward situation, I have never pictured a baptism being scary in any way. The only reason it worked the third time is because I just dunked her fast enough so she couldn't react first. It is hard to maintain the sacredness of that ordinance when people are screaming. She was happy when it was over though. 

Okay that was a lot of stuff. I hope all goes well for you this next week as well. I love you!

Elder Braithwaite
 Tell ashley her kids are really cute, can't wait to see them someday. 






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