Sunday, June 9, 2013

Things are great. It is still real hot. I won't be leaving the area or my beloved companion, thank the Lord, get to finish it out here. I am trying to make sure that I "leave it all on the field", so sweating a lot is really helpful for making me feel like I'm working hard. Found out my second son is training, I am so proud to be a grandpa, hope I meet the guy before I leave.
We are meeting with a family who used to live in Utah, have been back in Taiwan for decades though. They are great, have nothing but a good impression of the church. One of the first questions the dad asked, in all seriousness, was "what's the difference between a Mormon and a jack Mormon?" I laughed, he must have heard the phrase when he lived there, it's impressive that he remembered it all these years.
Brother 張, our high school education rice farmer investigator is making good progress, hasn't missed church in 4 weeks now and has read to Mosiah, I am just not sure how much he really believes it all. We are working on it. Nonetheless, there is something different about teaching this type of person, so much more humble and less complicated than the average person. He is the first investigator I have taught who read what Alma said about praying for flocks, fields, etc., and really felt like this was God talking right to him.
It's fun to look back at every transfer and see the different things I have learned. Why does it seem a lot easier to recognize God's hand in hindsight? It's too bad that we are wired that way, at least I am, it is relatively difficult to pick up on how He is leading you or teaching you or pushing you in the moment, but when you move on and see some of the effects of your experiences, it all ties together and you say "oh, that's why". Actually, I still have a bunch of unanswered "why"s about my mission but that is not a problem. I have just been thinking about my mission and my conversion experience in general, and I can't really deny that Heavenly Father has been giving me a specific "course" so that I can learn what he wants when he wants. I think one of the blessings of teaching the gospel is that you witness firsthand the miracle of God supporting and leading these investigators to their answers and spiritual growth, and it helps you better understand and recognize the way He has and does work with you.
I am mostly drawing a blank on what else happened this week. I still think that seeing my new converts bless and pass the sacrament is one of my favorite experiences. I used to be a little sad that, for one reason or another, I have always seemed to work with a lot of young men investigators and not so many families (which would be ideal), but when I think of how much "learning in thy youth to keep the commandments of God" will bless these kids, and see them as future priesthood leaders, I feel privileged to be the one who got to teach them.
Thanks for all you do, I love you!
Elder Braithwaite

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