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Monday, January 27, 2014

week #47 Mon. Jan 27, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

This week was superb I loved it. I have one of the greatest companions ever. So here's what happened. First we got home, I found out my companion sings opera, he's from St. George his name is Elder Liesky (pronounced like Whisky but w/ an "L"). He went to SUU before the mission, he's on his 4th move call, I'm his 3rd companion, he was in Pingdong before here, so he's freezing here in Tainan. But he's doing great. So when we got home, we discussed our expectations for the move call, we discussed having a goal of a lot of lessons in a week, we decided to have a goal of 50 lessons in a week. The next day, we made a surplus of goals and expectations everyday in order to hit it. (he's so motivated I love it). 
Tuesday, I led a DTM (district training meeting) on the Book of Mormon, I felt it went really well. It's definitely weird leading these now, but I feel the spirit lead me into what to say, what to ask, and so forth. We've found a ton this week, we have almost doubled our investigator pool this week.  We have to call a ton of people now, and we're seeing miracles like crazy. Finding people right before we have to go home, so that we hit our goals, we will pray for a miracle and we find people who are willing to meet. There was one time were I prayed for a new investigator and the Zone Leaders called us within seconds of me ending the prayer, saying they were with an investigator who just admitted he lived in our area and was gonna come to church this Sunday. It is crazy what is happening, I don't have any explanation other than We are being obedient and diligent and God is blessing the work in drastic means. I love it. I tell Elder Liesky a ton, honestly, I feel work is the best when we are busy doing the work. He's been super supportive, I feel like this move call is gonna be filled with miracles.
Yesterday, I had my first Baptismal Interview. That was different. It was super interesting because he was super ready, knew all the answers, was willing to live the commandments, he just had a problem with Joseph Smith and randomly the thought came to ask him if he'd received an answer before hand. He said he had. I shared D&C 6:23 with him and asked him why he doesn't believe that first peace he received, than he agreed he did believe. Towards the end of the interview I wasn't sure if my decision was right, I started saying to the investigator "Well according to your answers and my understanding of the gospel, You are ready to be baptized" and then I felt a rush of spirit fill my voice and I knew what I was saying was true, it was so great. 
Yesterday while traveling to an less active's house Elder Liesky stopped and said "look a guitar". Sure enough in the trash there was a guitar, I was like "let's take it so we have a guitar, I'll try to attach a picture of what it looked like last night and what it was like after we fixed it up a bit, we have to go buy strings and a ...bridge...I think that's what it's called but ya. super cool.
Well in case you can't tell I'm loving life, I love Taiwan, I love Guiren. I'm seeing miracles, having adventures. I'm doing my best to lead our district to a better playing field. I'm 20 years old and so much wiser. I'm thankful for all the birthday wishes, I love you all. I know the atonement is a real thing, It may be intangible but I do know that my savior Jesus Christ has suffered for all of us. I know that we can all become better thought the power of the atonement. Until next week my friends and family.

Love you all,

Elder Brandon Bean

week #46 Monday, Jan. 20, 2014

Hey Family and Friends,
Today is amazing. This week was great, saw plenty of miracles, honestly like I think this was a week I'll always remember. So let's go through. So Monday my companion was still super upset with me wouldn't say a word, then that night the zone leaders called, and Elder Shang told them he didn't want to do District Training Meeting (he was district leader). So they asked to talk to me and guess what, they asked me to lead my first District Training Meeting. So that was definitely new. I actually think it went really well. I really felt a ton of help when preparing, I honestly felt I didn't put a lot of thought, but I got a lot of inspiration, it was really cool.
So then Tuesday we had DTM, spirit was super strong at the end Elder Edwards (the BYU kicker that's super cool) had an idea to share our favorite moment of move call. So we did and I got so fired up, I was so ready. And then I went on exchanges with an awesome missionary, Elder Bak! He was super awesome, his Chinese great, and he's super diligent, it was a great to exchange, learned loads.
Then on Wednesday we had a great English party, watched the Testaments, everyone loved it, and the spirit was super strong, came home. Elder Zhu helped Elder Shang get into a good mood while they were on exchanges. Then Thursday came around and it was like I was alone again. I was leading the area. I didn't not receive any guidance on where I could go, I was not told where people lived, he had crashed again and expected me to do it all. So I did, then Friday came. We started the day with  a lesson and in the middle of the lesson Elder Shang went into his crashed mode, he normally won't show his mood in a lesson, it's usually when it's just us, so I was scared, then after the lesson he ran away from me twice......I think the zone leaders and the Mission President definitely will recognize the sound of my voice, I had to call them a lot that day. Luckily everything turned out OK, I still managed to get an exceptional amount of lessons that day, got a new investigator. Then on Saturday, I was completely leading the area, taught by myself, chose how were gonna do things, went to where I wanted to go, and he went about 2ft/hour speed limit. I was dying inside, I had no idea what I could do to change this, I said a lot of prayers this week, he got super mad at me that night and yelled at the top of his lungs, I'm not gonna lie. It was a hard day. Maybe one of my hardest, he locked me out of our room, while he took pictures of investigator's records. He got a call telling him what was happening, he was going to Tainan west to be with another Taiwanese companion that was his good friend before hand. Then he hung up and told me I was gonna be with an Elder Lindsy, who is younger than me but he was already senior, so I was like "oh guess I'm still junior that's cool" then the next day I grabbed the phone, called the zone leaders because I wanted to know who was coming into the district, and then I asked wait who is District Leader and they were like, "you are" and I was like what!" turns out my companion is Elder Lieske who is not Elder Lindsy and that to a Taiwanese they sound identical. so ya.
Then Sunday I finally did it, I broke down the wall that Elder Shang had. We started talking, he was apologizing his behavior, and I told him straight up, already forgave him, I don't remember the bad things about companions, I try to remember the good things, ya overall he took it really well, and was super happy the rest of the move call.
I've got my companion, My zone leaders are with me and they're super cool, I'm loving life. We're gonna see miracles within the next few weeks, expect miracle stories, funny quotes, and amazing adventures. Because that's my expectations of everyday. I love this mission, I love every second, don't let me say otherwise, I know that God lives, I know that Jesus is the Christ, my savior, my Redeemer. I know that Joseph Smith did see God and Jesus Christ descend in a pillar of light. I know this is his work. I am so grateful to be a part of it. I love all of you, you're in my prayers, and this week I'm 20 (officially an adult according to Taiwan standards).
Until next week,
Elder Bean

Monday, January 13, 2014

week #45 Mon. Jan. 13, 2014

So ya, I really do have a testimony that God knows the bigger picture. I know that he puts us in these hard times for the future, Think about it, our future is so huge, as a missionary I might have up to 65-70 years left as a mortal on earth, this small trial doesn't even last a full 6 weeks, That doesn't even take into fact the eternity in the future. I obviously don't see what's gonna happen in the future, but today while at the hospital getting Elder Shang's ingrown toenail fixed, they wanted to give him an anesthesia shot so his toe would numb, he started  throwing a fit like some of my siblings do around shots, he was saying "please no, please no, there has to be another way" I and the nurse helped him to understand it's a little pain now, so that when they cut the nail he won't have any, it is necessary for the least amount of pain. Finally he took the shot, and he expressed how weird of a feeling it was to see his toe opened up practically but not feel a thing, and was grateful he had the shot. I know trials are in the big scheme, the same thing. We have these little specks of hard times, but they help us grow stronger, they help us have more experience, It truly is a blessing in God's plan.

Elder Bean

Monday, January 6, 2014

week #44 Monday, Jan. 6, 2014

Dear Family,

Well this week was long, but things are a million times better. So that's a good sign. Let's see.  Which was honestly great. I lead the area for a full 72 hours, then Wednesday night, then one of my new attempts to reach my companion, I wrote him a small notes (Taiwanese love to get notes.) Then that night, Elder Shang came out and said, "In all honesty I don't know why I'm mad at you, so I'm sorry for these past few days." Then Thursday, we had a meeting with the counselor of the mission presidency. It was so good. First, he talked to me about knowing the Shepherds of a ward. That's how you get work done. He's super inspiring, he really helped me feel focused again, and helped me get my fire back. Didn't really talk to me much, mostly with Elder Shang, but overall, the things he did say to me helped me a ton. He pointed out in the scriptures it often says "不要怕“ or "Don't be afraid". In fact it says it 365 times. He asked me, "You know what that means?" "Don't be afraid, everyday". He told me that everyday we can know that the Lord is with us and we don't need to be afraid. So that was a good sign. 
We're trying to help our investigators agree to getting baptized on a specific date, I think this is the hard part. They all know they want to be baptized, but they don't think "now is the right time".   We keep trying to use different techniques, we'll see if we can get through to them, if we can, they'll be baptized this month if not...maybe next.
Bishop used my scripture in fast and testimony meeting. It was so funny, he got up, talked about how when he was on his mission they had to memorize scriptures and he memorized 1 Nephi 2:15, but until we came and visited them 2 weeks ago, he really had no understanding of the scripture. He quoted me and everything, which is a good sign because it shows the ward trusts us. I used Sunday to get to know all the 牧羊人(shepherds) (the YM/ YW, Sunday school, RS, EQ president's). So useful, I think we'll have 80 people easy by the end of the month. 
Ya, that was the jist of the week, all is going well, Elder Shang has been pretty good the past couple days. I've been studying Ether lately and I've noticed there are a lot more times than not that The brother of Jared prays in behalf of his people, his brother. Even when Jared was fully capable of doing a prayer by himself, he asked his brother, to pray for him, and the people. He did, and the Lord gave Jared and his family blessings. Prayer is such a blessing, I don't know why people choose not to pray, or are scared to pray, but I pray for them, for now, hoping that one day they can receive those blessings on their own. Love ya all.

Until next time,

Elder Bean