Sunday, April 7, 2013

Good week. I am stoked for conference this week.
This week saw some big letdowns, followed by several miracles. We have really been struggling to find people who live in our area, because our area is 4 square city blocks. Being a missionary means being the last thing on most people's priority list and the first thing to go. Like when you ride your bike 10 hours in the rain, and then the one lesson you have set up stands you up and gives the excuse, "I couldn't come, it was raining". So I was feeling bad.
Then we saw a big miracle. Over a month ago, a young couple, the Chens, came to English class, attended my class. I remember thinking they were great and seemed to listen intently during the gospel part. Then they stopped coming to English class. But this week, after class finished I walked out and saw them waiting in the hall for me, with a very serious look on their face. They talked to me, and the husband said that they had been through some trials lately, and that there was something that I had shared in English class that he couldn't stop thinking about. I had challenged them to tell my why they were on earth, and they couldn't come up with the reason. So I told them, "you are here to learn." I don't particularly remember this lesson, but apparently it struck him deeply. So they decided to come back, not for English, but for the gospel. We met with them this Saturday, and they are one of the most prepared families I have met with. They asked all the perfect questions, were very willing, the lesson was wonderful, the peike did perfectly, the spirit was there. And after, as we set up again, he told me "this is my priority, if I need to I will change my work schedule, whenever you can do it." and then added "the church will be helping me so much, what can I do to help the church?" It was the complete opposite of feeling like the last priority again. It was an answer to our prayer that we could teach a family. They live in another area, we will give them to the other elders this week.

In addition to them, the other week we contacted a man in a park gave him a book of Mormon, and had a great lesson about it right there. He later came to English with his friend, and she is now the sisters investigator and is making great progress. He lives somewhere else as well, and we have plans to transfer him over this week. They both may very well get baptized.

I was informed this week that a woman I contacted last transfer while on exchanges in Zhongli, Sister Du, is now close to baptism. I had contacted her at a stoplight, just smiled and introduced myself and invited her to pull over, and she talked to me for about a minute and left her number, which I gave to the sisters. Now, she has been coming to church, is planning on getting baptized in 2 weeks or so. Her 16 year old son has also been investigating with her and meeting with the elders there, and he is planning on a baptismal interview this week or next. I was thinking: I spent about 1 minute, just smiled to a woman at a stoplight and she was nice and we talked and she left her number. And because of that small action, a chain of events occured leading to a mother and son recieving the gospel. You can never know the effect of your actions, even the small ones. Big miracle for me.

And we have a golden investigator, Brother Li, that we have been meeting with for the last month and a half, who is a member referral from a young woman in our ward. He has a wonderful testimony, is close to baptism, just needs to discuss with his parents a little more. He is 18, but seems to be more spiritually mature than many of the priests in the ward, has a great testimony of the prophet Joseph. His date is on the 20th of this month, I believe he will make it. I believe he will not have family opposition. If he does, I am sure we will be setting a mission record for number of prepared investigators in one area who are kept from baptism by family opposition. But it won't happen this time.
So overall, in the past month or so, we have found about 6 golden new investigators for other areas, at least 3 of whom will almost certainly be baptized this month, and the other three are all progressing amazingly. And our area never saw a single number come from it. It reminds me, I play for team Jesus, not for my own team. And I take comfort in the fact that coach knows exactly where he needs me and what he wants me to do. And that I know our team will win.

Elder Andersen and I were excited to complete our 18 mile run into Taipei this week, we ran from our apartment in Taoyuan to the mission home in Taipei for our zone leader meeting thing.  It was great. The thighs! I got so sore. Not in good enough shape to do that, we took about 3 hours which is not super fast, but we did run the whole way.

It was a reminder that running in Utah is way more enjoyable than running in downtown Taipei during morning rush hour with acid rain pouring down on you. Thanks to the pollution here, I will probably come home with smoker lungs. Unfortunately I am not exaggerating any of that, including the acid rain.
Nonetheless, I love the work.
Thanks for all the emails, I love your insights and thoughts. I love you.
Elder Braithwaite

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