Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hello,

This week has been good. A lot of fun. 
We had a baptism! Brother Wu. He is great. Super great guy, loves the gospel so much, grew up Buddhist but just never really felt anything about it. We only met him about a month and a half ago, but he has come to church every week since then, and everything we have ever shared he has just loved, he has just found exactly what he is looking for. Super cool. He was really happy.

And next week our other investigator will get baptized, Brother Su! He didn't make it this week because of some problems that came up, but it has been super fun to see how much he has changed. I will share more about him next week. 

Elder Kattelman and I will be together for another transfer, and I get to stay in Yonghe for another too. YAY! I do love it here, it has been such a blessing to get to stay in an area for a while finally. 

I feel like not much else has changed. I still feel like I am learning a lot. Still trying to figure out what it means to be a good missionary. 

The pictures are of Brother Wu. He is great. That is the new method of baptism. 

Well that is all I got this week. Maybe next week I will write more. Thanks for everything! I love you!

Elder Braithwaite

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hello

Good week. I had fun. It's only been a few days though.
This week some stuff I should tell you is that we have two investigators that will be baptized. Hooray! One is Brother 蘇 who is that guy that got married and I sent you pictures. He is super great and it was a blast to work with him. Because of new elders coming here, they got to finish up teaching him, so there was a team effort on this one. The other is Brother 吳. He is perfect, which is probably why I haven't mentioned him. We found him last month and he is one of those people who just loves the gospel, he just wanted it. Truly prepared to receive it. Super great guy, super happy, a lot of faith. Each time we shared a commandment he just accepted without question. We asked why and his answer was always "Because God is right". Plus he is buff. I feel like having been able to teach him and be his friend was just a privilege Heavenly Father gave us, that we really didn't do anything at all. Just a reminder to me that God will give the Spirit and faith to anyone who really wants to find it.


Ya I have felt really blessed lately. I love being here. We are working hard and feeling the Spirit and seeing miracles. Like we knocked on one door and this youngish couple let us in and they were friendly and open and willing to learn more. Except they had this big dog that peed all over when it saw us and made a mess that the wife spent five minutes cleaning up, which was not an ideal first impression. And then we sat down and I showed them some family pictures, including the one of Ashley and the kids and this woman just loved that picture, looked at it for so long. And as we talked we found out that they really wanted to have kids and were trying but no success. Sad, and this woman is in her 30s so seeing 30 year old Ashley with 6 kids made her sad I think, and at the same time was likely the reason (or a main one) they invited us to come back. So many people see that picture and think, this is the kind of family I want, they look so happy. I showed the same picture to this one man, and afterwards we were talking about his faith and he says "I have seen God". So I was surprised and ask when that was and he said he just saw Him in that family picture, that there is no way that family could look so genuinely happy unless they had God with them. He has a point. So I just wanted to thank Ashley and the kids, their family picture is honestly one of the powerful tools for missionary work. Something about little kids just gets people to feel the spirit, to feel that there is something different here. So thank you all for being such tools.

That is all I got for now. Thank you so much for all you do! I love you! Mom, I have a friend coming into the MTC this week headed to the Salt Lake Temple, she is a Sister in the ward here, I might give her something to give to you if I can find something to give to you, so watch for her when you volunteer. That is all.

Love 
Elder Braithwaite

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hey hello
 
Sorry no letter Monday, pday is really today which is because we get to go to the temple! So that is fun. Always fun to do that. Can I still go in Chinese at home? Won't be the same anyway but it is interesting to see what different things you get out of it.
Conference was great huh. Not surprised. Love hearing so much great direction. We got a bunch of investigators to come listen and this less active mom that we ran into on the street came to church for the first time in a long time too. I loved what President Monson shared. There is so much more I can be doing to get the will of the Lord accomplished. I believe if we care about receiving direction and being able to help others, God will help us and allow us to do so, we will be an instrument in his hands. Actually I like the Chinese translation of that, the word the scriptures use really means "tool" in a more normal sense, which makes me think of like a hammer or something more blunt and awkward than a surgical instrument or something. Which I feel fits me better. President Monson can be an instrument, right now I just want to be a tool. A big tool.
 
This week I got to feel like that a little. One day my companion and I prayed to know where to go, and as we prayed we both got some inspiration. My companion said he didn't know where we should go but he had a feeling we needed to talk to someone sad and alone. I didn't get that but I really did have a view of this one street corner and felt we should go there. Team revelation! So we did and right at the spot I had felt to go was a lady, sitting on a bench by herself just like he had thought of. We started talking and I asked how she was feeling and she just smiled sadly and said "what do you think?". So we talked for about 10 minutes, about all her family troubles and about God and how he wants to help. And the spirit was there. And we invited her to just give it a try, and she said no, and then she just left, she said she couldn't try to learn more right now. And I was thinking about that. I have no doubt that we were led directly to that mom. Can you measure following the spirit? I know we did, and the tangible results were zero. But with God you never really know what you're accomplishing for him, you probably never will in this life, but the job is just to really try so hard to know what he wants you to do and then do it happily and with love and without doubt. I have learned to love that feeling. I know I was a complete tool.
Things are great with the comp, we are having fun. He is a good guy and we are a lot alike. I have been blessed on my mission, I feel that I have had very few companion problems, not that I haven't had some harder ones but never anything we couldn't work through. More and more people keep saying he looks like the witch from Narnia. Probably just because he is pale and has blonde hair and blue eyes. And I keep getting Christian Bale. I don't see it, but for some reason Taiwanese people all do. I have just started answering by telling them they look like Jackie Chan. They take me seriously though so its funny.
 
I hope my companion's mom still blog stalks me. This is a little odd, but on our first day together Elder Kattelman said he had actually heard of me because, when he was in the MTC, his mom found a bunch of Taiwanese missionaries blogs and printed off their letter from their first week in Taiwan and sent it to him. Coincidence? Your son is great, Sister Kattelman!
 
We met with Brother Zhang. He is cool, he likes motorcycles and the band Boston, which are not common for Taiwanese. And he met with us last week and just really wants direction in his life. Just got done with his military service and college is over and he is sick of playing around and having no direction. After we met, he stuck around for a baptism our ward was having, and we were like "its Saturday, don't you have plans?" and he said he planned to go drinking with his friends but this seems like it had more meaning. So great, some people really are just looking for this. So we have been meeting for the past week and had some awesome lessons. But he goes to China today, hopefully not forever but you never know. I am sick of China stealing my investigators. If he does comes back I have no doubt he will get baptized.
 
Things are all great here. Thanks for all you do. I love you all so much! These pictures are from where we went hiking last p day. Another really pretty day. We get those a lot here.
Elder Braithwaite

 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hello.
 
Good week! I don't see Conference until this weekend. Are you sure that no one knew about that missionary age change thing, because I had heard about that for a while now. Maybe it just wasn't for sure or something. But I remember them talking about that. Slightly jealous, but it doesn't really effect me now so not really. Except that it means all my female friends will probably just go on missions now. I guess this also probably significantly increases my chances of marrying an RM.

Speaking of that, our investigator got married this week! It was fun to watch their wedding. He got married to a member so it was in the chapel. Taiwanese people are so socially awkward in so many ways. Hard to explain. But it was good. I felt like it was just so unsatisfying though, when they say "married for time" and leave out the eternity it just sounds so sad, that last part is so obviously absent. But we are getting him baptized soon hopefully, so all should be well. Weird part of the wedding was when this song came on and everyone started doing the exact same dance that looked like horse riding, even the little flower girls and stuff, and the only people not doing it were the missionaries. We just stood there so confused. I am guessing this is just me being out of the loop again, but it really made me laugh. Someone explained to me that it is a Korean thing -  is this big in America too? 

My focus is still mothers, especially with babies. I am going to learn how to get Taiwanese moms to not be afraid of me before I leave this island. I don't blame them for being suspicious. It just shows that they are good parents, because I am large-ish and probably seem like a threat to their children. This has been my struggle and it really bothers me because my intents are so far from sinister. But most just don't give me a chance to show it. So I have talked to my comp and we are really making a focus on finding families. The problem is he isn't much help because he is just as tall and foreign looking. We are learning though. 

One cool miracle of God making up for my weaknesses: We were contacting this nice mom, she had a few young kids, and she was really nice and sort of interested, but just not really trusting us completely and wasn't really willing to try or to leave a number or anything. Right when she was about to leave this other mom was pushing her stroller by and I noticed she was a member in our ward, so I said "hi" and started talking to her and got her to start talking to the mom we were contacting. Then this member mom explained some stuff about church and they began chatting about that, and their kids started playing together, and it just turned the whole situation around. So in the end the mom was willing to leave a number and expressed desire to come to church. I have no doubt that that member mom was sent by God, and I also have no doubt that members are so much more effective at missionary work than missionaries are. A mom talking to another mom about how much her kids love church and then inviting her to come works way better than two tall 19 year old white strangers doing that. So if I can't help the moms, Heavenly Father sends moms to help the moms. Just a cool insight for me of how much influence a normal person can have when they share the gospel in natural and normal ways. 

Had a super spiritual lesson with Brother Wang, the 15 year old with the basketball issues. He is so great, he just has to choose. His coach says if you don't go to Sunday practice you don't play. So he wants to come to church, and he wants to get baptized, and he knows it is right, but basketball is his life right now. He promised he would talk to his coach this week. I'm so proud, he really is a brave kid and is an example to me. But we have been praying and fasting that things will work out and he will make the right choice. So let the agency be used and we will see. 

Have been really enjoying everything lately. Not just lately, for a long time now. I love being a missionary and I feel that my testimony has grown of the gospel. So glad I can do this. My comp is great, we are good friends, he is a hard worker. No complaints. I'm also glad you got to meet my trainer, he is a good guy. 



Here is a cool picture of my corner of Taipei with the sunset. Sometimes I get reminded that I used to live in a place with no buildings or people and it seems weird.
I love you all! 
Elder Braithwaite