Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week 35

Hey! Our fireside for the 2nd branch went pretty good.Thank you for all who made the music possible. We played two songs at the fireside. One was "Did you Think to Pray" for violin and piano, and the second was a singing one called "The Maker's Touch". I played a cello part on viola, Elder Braithwaite played piano, and Sister Rosander sang. I think they all really liked it. It was fun to have some music rehearsals again. We had one investigator come, and the sisters had a billion. But it was a good activity, and it was good to see a lot more people from our branch and get to know them. I can't believe it's the last week of the transfer already. I really hope I don't move -- I want to get to know this place even more. It's really hard when you only meet your branch 6 times. Recently, as a mission, we've been learning about "1 minute messages". Basically you give your message in one minute.....yeah, that's simple. But it's really, really hard. Especially since in one minute you want to establish trust, get to know the person, fit a gospel message to their needs, and most important, let them feel the Spirit. It's been weird to get to my point really quick...and then not know what to do. Another way this has been a small trial for me is that it's a lot harder to be able to feel love for people if I don't spend the time to get to know them. But I know this way has been really great for me to use my time most effectively in finding those who really have interest to know more about this Gospel and are willing to act. I'll just need to find other ways to develop trust and love with those I talk to. Whaa! They sent out information on our new Mission President, coming in July. Their names are David Owen Day and Vicki Temple Butler Day.'ll just be easier to copy/paste. I'll put the info at the end. I'm excited/nervous to get a new president soon. There might be a lot of change here. But just as I need to do with all things, I need to pray that this really is God's will. That's all I need to know. This week...has been harder. It really hit me when we were counting up our numbers this week. Of course numbers don't matter -- it's the people. But I noticed the only two investigators we found this week were for other areas. I feel like this week, we didn't contribute anything in our assigned area. But I know that because Elder Braithwaite and I did our best, then that's enough. Of course we still need to improve and to continue to grow. We can still improve in our diligence and obedience, such as always being on time, or getting out to work faster after an activity or something. But the Lord has a greater plan for us. Of course, we just learned in Zone Conference that finding is an act of faith, and sometimes needs to be tested. I know the Lord will let us feel of the blessings as we continually strive to faithfully and diligently do His work. Elder Braithwaite and I are doing just great. He makes up for a lot of my weaknesses and a lot of my forgetfulness. I'm really grateful to have a proactive, diligent junior companion for my first time being a senior companion. It is also nice to have a companion who I can relate to more, being from the same background of Utah and BYU. We have some investigators who are making some good progress. We finally got to meet with some college students who went back to their hometowns over winter break and are back now. We have about 3 investigators who are fully keeping their commitments, which is a big blessing. I will talk about them more next week. Thank you everyone for your wonderful support and love! I love you, -Elder Liu Our new Mission President: David Owen Day, 53, and Vicki Temple Butler Day, five children, Burgess Falls Ward, McMinnville Tennessee Stake. Brother Day serves as a counselor in a stake presidency and is a former stake clerk, stake mission president, bishop, gospel doctrine teacher, ward mission leader, elders quorum president, Young Men president and missionary in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. President and owner, Law Office of David Day, P.C. Born in Long Beach, Calif., to Robert Owen and Linda Sue Day. Sister Day serves as a counselor in a Relief Society presidency and as a stake Young Women camp director. She is a former seminary teacher, Young Women president, counselor in a Primary presidency, Sunday School teacher and Primary music leader. Born in Greenville, Miss., to James William and Virginia Millis Holmes Butler.

Week 34

This week has been really good. I think Elder Braithwaite and I still been adjusting to a new place and new companions. But I think there will always be those problems no matter how long I stayed here. We're trying to do our best to get to know the branch around here. I know that a lot of them just don't come to church, and it's really hard to get to know people who can peike. Right now we only get 4-5 of the same people to peike. We're really trying to avoid overusing people. Recently our exchange with the Zone Leaders was really great. We really saw a wonderful miracle. I went with Elder Haueter. He said at the beginning of our transfer "What kind of miracle do you want to see today?" In which I responded "Uh...a good one?" He just smiled and said "Okay, Let's get one person inside our church building today, and shang4ke4 with them." So I just agreed. We prayed that we could see that miracle, but I didn't think much more of it.But he did! He kept asking if we'd be by the church for our plan that day. We went to a lesson 10 minutes away, made some calls, ate dinner, and a bunch of other things. At the end of the day, we were at the church making calls. We still had to evaluate what we learned in our exchange, so we were going to spend some time at the church at the very end of our day. Elder Haueter just kept walking around outside contacting people while I finished up some calls. He said "hey, wait a minute" to this lady and her friend on her scooter, and asked if she wanted to come into our church. She said "okay, wait a minute" and she drove off. I just thought this was a lame excuse to reject him, and we were about to just go back inside, but he was persistant that she might be the miracle we wanted. And sure enough, after 10 minutes of waiting, she came back and said "I said I would come back." her name is Winnie. We gave her to the sisters to teach, and she setup another time to meet. I have learned that I still need to do better at relying on the Lord. In a way, I can expect to see miracles, because I know I am doing my best to do the Lord's work, the Lord's way. But I also need to realize that these things hinge on other people's agency and my hard work as well. Elder Braithwaite is doing well. Sometimes he gets a little tired and doesn't seem like he wants to plan very long. But I know that's just a reflection of what I need to do better at. So i'm trying to be an even better example at having a good attitude. Love you all, sorry I don't have much time today. -Elder Liu

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week 33

I had a very happy birthday this week! Thank you everyone for making it so. This week we saw some true miracles!...not that the other ones are fake. But it was great to see the Lord's hand in our work. This week Elder Braithwaite and I rode down a smaller road as planned. There were probably people every 3 minutes. But we saw two teenagers across the street, and we turned around to talk to them. One of them stayed around to hear us, while his friend ran off. He was Christian, and has been praying regularly. He also said he was part of the soccer team in his school. He was willing to hear, willing to setup. We sent him on his way. We said a prayer of gratitude, and the first motorcycle we contacted had two kids on it. They happened to be on the same soccer team. They weren't any religion, but they were still willing to setup and learn more. They setup to come listen with their friend, and they'd all meet with us together. We have high hopes for these kids. Hopefully we can present this message in a way that they will be able to have the best opportunity to accept it. Elder Braithwaite and I are doing marvelously. As senior companion I've been trying my best to be able to serve my companion. But really, Elder Braithwaite is too amazing. It's hard to find things to help him with. We've had our little struggles with trying to get our teaching styles together to have more unity, but we're getting over them just fine. TaiDong branch is doing just fine. They're getting some training and some systems going for home teaching, as well as peike schedules and such. It's been a rough start with a new branch, but they're moving along really well. We're trying to switch it up with peikes, and not try to get the same ones as they always do. It's hard because we only have about 8 members who regularly come to Priesthood meeting, which starts first here. And yes, they found out that I can play viola. So I'm playing at their fireside in a couple weeks! Whoo! I might play with one of our investigators, Zeng1 dx. He plays piano, so it'll be cool to have a musical number with an investigator! I'm hoping it'll all be a good experience. This week we were happy with our efforts. Especially with the referral portion of our work. It was a special experience to be able to visit a lot of referrals that members have recently given to us. I think people here are just more willing overall to give this message to their friends. Love you! Thank you for a wonderful birthday ^^ -Elder Liu P.S. In MiaoLi there was a Gao (Kao?) family who knew Chris Pope and his family. If anyone gets the chance, tell them brother and sister Kao say hello! Brother Pope served in MiaoLi when he was here. Coolio stuff. P.P.S. And of course, everyone knows mom and dad here. President Cai says hello!

Week 32

Things here are going great! I think we're having a little bit of a low, when it comes to tangible success. But we're still working hard and doing all we can to help the people here. Elder Braithwaite and I get along quite well. He actually reminds me a lot of Kevin. Someone else in my district, Elder King, reminds me of Chris Pope. I've been blessed to be able to see the things I love in my friends and family in the people that I meet here. I know the Lord is helping me learn to love everyone as if they were your old friends. They are all your brothers and sisters, so there is already that sense of goodness and love in them, as long as you look for it. It's been a little rough trying to get to know the new branch. Our first sacrament meeting was combined with the first branch for the new years, so I didn't know who would be in my branch and who my leaders were. There's been something that has been upsetting me a lot in Taiwan. That is a lot of leaders get so worked up with "Jing1 Shen2 Bing4" or any mental illness. They treat any type of mental illness like a deadly and sad disease, making even depression something to avoid. Some leaders are saying that those with depression don't need to be taught and that they don't need baptism. I...don't know. I'm pretty sure that's definitely not true. But I don't know how to say it in a way that respects their position. Or maybe it's not my place? So far I haven't done anything about it, but that's how I feel. Elder Braithwaite is doing well. I think he's been more affected by our lack of visible success. But I try to set an example to go out to work with a good attitude. I hope I've been helping. I'm praying to try to know how to help him. I think I might need to serve him and show my love more. So far we don't have anyone who has high potential to be baptized. I thought I found 2 this week, but they fanged us on our first visit. It's been hard to have learned to really love them, and then see them so quickly lose their way again. That might be the hardest thing out here so far on a mission. But we're still determined to hit our goals, and to work as hard as we can. I'm so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength. Yeah, so TaiDong is....I'm pretty sure just like Hawaii. I would assume is. Maybe few palm trees here, but it's all about the same. The weather changes like crazy. Apparently the combination of a beach right next to a mountain makes the clouds move extra fast, so you can never predict the weather here. I've been super grateful that my companion, Elder Braithwaite, already knows the area. I can't imagine someone trying to whitewash an area -- that would be so stinkin' hard! We call the Taidong area the Taidong Taiwan Mission, because we never see anyone else. All our exchanges are just in Taidong, and we never have reason to leave. It's kinda fun. We get to spend a lot more time with our district. New Years went great! Except....I don't think they do too much here. We ate at member's houses, which was really nice. Our branch is really nice. This last week we only had to buy 2 meals. Yay! It feels weird pulling out money to get full now :P There were a lot of random firecrackers, too. It was my first time seeing firecrackers. They're pretty fun. Speaking of firecrackers, Taidong has a crazy, crazy tradition. Apparently on the...15? of the Chinese new year, they this tradition. Someone volunteers to get paid money by a bunch of long as they get to throw firecrackers at him while he's wearing nothing but shorts and has a little branch to cover his face. They always end up in the hospital. I heard it was 100 years ago or whatnot, the firecracker...was supposed to cure some epidemic in the area or something? I didn't really hear that conversation very clearly. But anyway, maybe this week I'll see a random guy get bombarded with firecrackers.... :S