Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 8 of the Fort Lauderdale, FL experience

So it's going pretty good here where I am, I have like three minutes to do this e-mail.

 I found out today that I'm going to be staying in the states for at least another two transfers, hopefully it all works out well. It turns out that now I need to acquire an FBI clearance, and that takes a while. It's going to be taken care of here in the mission though, I'm pretty sure that it's just a bunch of paperwork. I'm staying pumped and ready to go to Brazil.

Also, today we had a pretty sweet time. We drove an hour to wellington so that we could play volleyball and storm the castle. We had a lot of fun playing volleyball, and storm the castle was crazy awesome. We set up a bunch of chairs and then put up tables sideways and a few chalkboards in the church gym and had an epic Nerf gun war. Needless to say, it was awesome. We also got to shop at Walmart in wellington, which is much better than shopping at Winn-dixie. Everything that you can buy at Winn-dixie is twice the price of everything at 
Walmart! So if it says bogo there, it actually means that you are buying something at the regular price that something would be. There's just a ridiculous monopoly here just because Winn-dixie is the only grocery store around. And the quality of the food is terrible too. But I won't get into that.
I was at a member's house for dinner, and we found out that he likes cool different stuff. And we found these laying around his living room. Super Cool!
This past Christmas was pretty cool, thanks everyone for sending me cool things and letters. Everyone that was staying in the apartment woke up at 6:00 instead of 6:30. Needless to say, I was pretty grumpy for half an hour because I need my beauty sleep. But we were able to have an amazing Christmas out here in the mission field in Belle Glade! There were some cool members that had us over for lunch and an early supper also. Suuuupper good!

Well, I guess that I'll e-mail y'all next week!

Week 7 of the Fort Lauderdale, FL experience

So... Christmas is just around the corner and the holiday spirit is out the wadzoo! There are lots of people that go all out for decorating their yards and  houses in lights and inflatable things. It looks very colorful. The best yards are generally the Latinos. They put so many lights out. They pretty much dress their trailers in lights.

This week was actually pretty boring. We taught a lot of people and were pretty busy for the week. Only the usual escapades, such as destroying fruit and batting things into the cane fields (we live in the middle of cane fields) This past week we were destroying heads of lettuce. It's interesting that whenever you hit them with a bat, they EXPLODE. they go all over. They basically get shredded and go every direction. Maybe I'll experiment with other random things and see what happens! :)

There however was a miracle that happened this past week. Elder Pa. and I were contacting people on Thursday evening and decided to stop by at this one apartment building. We contacted this woman and she accepted going to church, a follow up appointment, and being baptized. We said we would call her and try to stop by later for a return appointment. We went on splits that same night and I went to see precious 2 hours after we contacted her. The Member I was with was a childhood friend of her mother's and helped her to know that this experience wasn't by chance and that now is the time to change her life. It was a super powerful lesson! She then came to a ward activity that Saturday night and then came to church!

Just letting y'all know, I'm super excited for this holiday season and even though as a missionary, the huge regular Christmas doesn't happen, I'm super pumped! I'd just like to send a thanks to everyone that has helped me to get to who and where I am today.

Ate mais! or Ate Logo!

So we made covers for our planners so that they would last a lot longer and not get destroyed. It's really cool and makes the planners look super duper nice.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 6 of the Fort Lauderdale, FL experience

This week is transfers week, so we have proselyting Mondays. We have p-day on Tuesdays. The reason why is so that people don't get trunky and stop working as hard. So it's a p-day the day before transfers. This week was a pretty uneventful week in Belle Glade. There is only one really good story. Me breaking something.
So we were doing service at a home, cleaning things up. I unscrewed a hose from an outside spigot and then screwed on a yellow two way spigot (it divides it into 2 streams of water instead of just the one). And while I was screwing on the yellow thing, I hear a snap and hear water gushing. The pipe broke! It wasn't the pipe connected to the spigot, but one further down. I'm assuming that it was old, brittle, and cheap pvc. This was in a trailer that wasn't up to code, so it was an adventure putting it all back together. First off, I go with Elder Pa., My companion to the hardware store and buy stuff to fix it with. We fix it, return a few hours later to turn on the water, turn it on, and see that another pipe was broken! We have to 'til Monday, because this was on Saturday and the hardware stores were closed by the time we realized that the second pipe was broken. Anyways, this piping is way off code, it's cpvc and electrical pvc for the cold water. Elder Pa. and I didn't realize it, bought regular pvc fittings, checked it out, and then saw that it was all cpvc for cold water and that cpvc and pvc don't fit together. We wasted two hours, then went and got cpvc and fixed the pipe. Yay! Thankfully the people were nice about it. Hopefully one of them will go to church with us!
We saw Christmas devotional, it was amazing and helped us to get into the spirit of Christmas.
And this is a kid of one of the recent converts in the ward, She's suuuuuper tiny. Normal for her height, but skin and bone. Anyways, we were helping them put up laundry and "pinned her to the clothesline." You can't see the clothes pins, but they are there.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 5 of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida Experience!

This past week I was quite the adventure. Example:

I was on splits with a member and we were trying to see people on a street that we had set appointments up on. And no one was home or answering doors. After 20 minutes, we go back to the member's car. I try thinking of someone that we can see right then, and no one comes to mind. I then ask him if there's anyone on the home teaching list that needs to be seen. I'm giving up here. But I'm still flipping through my planner, trying to see if there's someone we can see. Then I'm like let's go see H.. We walk to her house and walk past her while she's going to throw something away. I didn't recognize her here. We knock on her door and her kid walks over and deadbolts the door. She gets back and I ask her if she's H., and she says yes and the she tries to get back in and her door is locked! 
This is basically what it looks like where I am right now, just less blurry b/c I'm traveling in a car. The city that we're in [has about] 17000 people. So pretty small.
She tries to get her daughter to try and unlock it for like 5 minutes and she finally gets in. While this is all going on, we're trying to help her out. Anyways, it turns out that her daughter was trying to unlock it the wrong way.  and have a great lesson and she accepts going to church and baptism. The next day we're on exchanges, and I'm with Elder E.. We try and find her and she's not at home! And I start thinking that that's not her name. H.. H. lives across from where this is. Then the next day Elder Pa. and I see her in the parking lot and we find out what her name is and start talking to her. We then leave and I get back with Elder Pa. and we talk about it, and then we realize that H. lives else where and that I talked to a complete stranger like we had contacted her before. (We knew her) But I had never seen or talked to her in my life! Ok, recap: I walked into a strangers home, no previous contact before and somehow she accepted going to church and being baptized. Thankfully it all worked out and nothing bad happened from it.

This super awesome guy that we're teaching right now is part of a local family business, and they cut, pack and deliver produce all over Florida and sometimes go up to places like Chicago. So we see him this past Saturday and we got 12 heads of lettuce from this guy! 12 large heads of lettuce, cut right off that same morning! So much vegetableness! So you know how they say that things taste a lot better when they're fresh? Well, if you have some fresh fruit of something that you don't like, then when it's fresh it just accentuates the taste that you don't really like. So the lettuce is amazing on burgers, like the best I've ever had. But there is no way that I can just eat it plain. It just tastes like lettuce that is more lettucey. Oh, and this is some foreshadowing for next week, we might try and eat a head of lettuce each, (there are 4 elders in my apartment) and see who can eat the most or finish it off.

Oh, and I ended up getting that suit. It's pretty fly. And it's only like 74 with the tailoring and this guy is way sweet too that's selling it. He basically sells for way cheaper than everyone else (he makes less profit but he sells a lot) and he has tons of suits. And he invited The Elders that are in Belle Glade to stop by and go with him next year to Palestine. Way cool. Too bad I can't go, but who knows, maybe after my mission, something could happen there.

It's been real. Really awesome. Well, until next week, have fun!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 4 of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida Experience!

So this week was wayyyyyyyy cool! We had tons good experiences talking to new investigators. but I don't have much time. So I'll keep the letter short by keeping the sections short. so I guess I'll let your Imagination run wild.
Thanksgiving was pretty good, and thanksgiving means lots of food! we had two meals and then got to go and proselyte. Needless to say, a turkey coma was coming on. It was ... exciting, to say the least.

So last night we took a bat and started hitting things into the cane field. (there's a sugar cane field basically surrounding our neighborhood) we had quite a bit of fun. Carrots, apples, other random things that had gone bad or dropped on the floor. And, thankfully I had played baseball for two seasons, so I was able to hit the objects with quite good accuracy. 

This past holiday, Elder Pa. and I were able to find some great people at home that want to learn more of the gospel. It's really awesome to be able to share my testimony with people every day and be able to help them to learn more about Christ.

And, this past week we struck out on having anyone at sacrament. It was a little disappointing, but I know that we'll do better next week. Well, I'll make sure to have more stuff next week!

and here are some things that I thought y'all might like to hear about from my first few experiences in Florida.

So when I got here in Fort Lauderdale, I was greeted by sweet, sweet humidity. It was sooooo nice! I missed it so much even though it was only 6 weeks! It was nice. And I was also greeted by the Mission President, President Anderson, his wife, and the 3 AP's. The first day I got here I was super nervous, but the people here all seemed super awesome. So we got off the plane, saw the president, then went to the hotel to put our stuff away, ate dinner at the mission home, and then went back to the hotel.
We then proceeded to go to transfers the next day and then I went to Belle Glade, y'all know the rest of the story.
So I would say that the most valuable advice that I was able to receive before I came out here are three things:

Love the people,
Love the people,
Love the people.
A quote from Uncle Joe. Because If you love the people, then everything else will just fall back into place.
and a quick testimony.

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the church of God. It was restored in these latter days. I love this church and want to help other people to come unto Christ because of the love I've felt in my life and my personal testimony of the rightness of the church. The church was organized and set up by a prophet of God who was acting for God. I've gained a personal testimony that God exists and that he wants the best for us. I also know that this is the restored church and that Joseph Smith did indeed see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And I know that he translated the Book of Mormon, which is the word of God, written by prophets in the Americas.
Rex-quan-do pants in Napoleon Dynamite
Elder White

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 3 of the Ft. Lauderdale, FL Experience

This past week went much better than the last two weeks. I've been trying really hard to become better at getting to be a better missionary and getting used to the work. And it's paid off. This past week, we were able to have a great week and were able to have a "normal" week, quoting Elder Pa.. Through diligence and hard work, we were able to build up an area and find some sweet people.

We had an awesome miracle this past week. So we had two people meeting with us and we had them set on date. We then get a random call from them and are told to never come back. This was the trial of our faith. We were a little bummed out, but we were trying to work hard and to meet people ready to hear the gospel. One day later we follow up with a guy named S.. He's way cool. We talked with him and scheduled an appointment for the next day. His friend walked up and S. called him over and told him that he should listen to us. We schedule an appointment with S.'s friend for the next day, and then we followed up with those lessons. S. then hooks us up with another guy that lives near him. And he wants to meet with us too.

So here are some interesting and funny stories that happened this past week:
I've always been apprehensive of going to the thrift store and buying used clothes. You have no Idea where they've been. But this past we were able to have some fun at the thrift store. I was walking around, being bored and not really interested in anything, when I walk by a rack of pants. This rack of pants had something that looked like an American flag on it. Upon closer inspection, I was able to observe that this American flag was pants that looked like the rex-quan-do pants in napoleon dynamite! Obviously, I bought them and washed them. Who could deny pants like that? And they were exercise pants, so they can be used whenever. And when I say whenever, only in the apartment because they are too flashy for missionaries to wear.

This week I had an experience that really strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father is watching over us. On Saturday night we had a few minutes between appointments so we decided to follow up with a former investigator. While driving to the former's house Elder Pa. felt like we should stop by the house of another former investigator who lived on the way. We parked and talked about what we would teach for a few minutes and as we stepped out of the car we heard a series of shots punctuated by silence and then another round of shots. We later discovered that the shooting had taken place almost exactly where we would have been if we hadn't stopped to visit the other investigator. This experience strengthened my testimony so much that Heavenly Father truly is watching over and protecting us. Don't worry we're friends with most of the gang members so we're safe.

On a more cheerful note, we had 100 people at church yesterday! When my companion Elder Pa. got here 2 months ago the average sacrament attendance was 44 people. Last week we were up to 77 and this week we had 100. I know those numbers sound pretty small especially compared to wards but it was a huge success for us to have to pull out the folding chairs to everyone could sit during sacrament. Plus one! One day the Belle Glade Branch will become the Belle Glade Ward. 

On Monday night Elder Pa. walked into my bathroom and discovered an overturned trash can with a stack of Book of Mormons sitting on it in my shower. Automatically he assumed that there was a toad underneath the trash can that other Elders had so lovingly left for us. Rather than letting the toad go outside he got me and we slipped a piece of cardboard underneath the can, transported it to the Elders study room and kicked the door open as he took the cardboard away and released the frog. Elder Bu. proceeded to scream and jump on his chair while Elder E. scrambled into a corner. The frog made a bee line for Elder Bu. causing the screams to escalate into shrieks. He then made a panicked, yet graceful leap off of his chair and landed on another chair further away from the frog. After a few minutes of torment as pay back we caught the toad and put him outside. Needless to say, it was a priceless moment.

So this one is more of a random story, we were in the Winn-dixie parking lot (yes, the only grocery store here is Winn-dixie) and we see a guy walking right in front of our car with a machete. It wasn't scary, it's a common occurrence. People that work in the cane fields harvest the cane with machetes and take their machetes home with them after work. It was pretty cool.

My suit is pretty banged up, so luckily my companion and I were waking around and found a store that was willing to sell 4 suits for 200 bucks. And these were good suits too. Anyways, we are thinking of getting some of these soon and especially me.

Week 2 of the Ft. Lauderdale, FL Experience

So just in case y'all weren't exactly sure of what my mission address is, here it is again with more detailed instructions.
This is the address of the mission office. We aren't supposed to have anything sent to us at our current address. I'm pretty sure it's so that mail doesn't get lost in transfers. It's all supposed to go to the mission office, then to us. And there's another Elder Seth White in my mission. Crazy, right? So make sure you specify it's me. My middle name is Daniel, considering that's the easiest way for it to be specified.

7951 SW 6th st Suite 110
Fort Lauderdale FL

So this past week was really awesome. I hope that my visa doesn't come soon. The lord really has blessed us in this area and we can see the effects of them. The people are so awesome here! Flippin' legit! 
So I saw a tree frog the other day that was huge! It was probably the size of my hand. It was late at night and we were walking to go inside and it was just chilling on the door handle. Crazy! And there are huge amphibians everywhere! There was a toad the size of both of my hands put together. It was a little creepy.
And this past Sunday, we all as missionaries were able to give talks. It was pretty cool. I talked about the value of every person and used these scriptures if y'all want to check them out or use them for a spiritual thought:
Luke 15:4-6
Alma 23:14 (the one Amalekite is important enough to be put into scriptures that were chiseled into metal plates that were inscribed by an ice pick)
D&C 18:15

So this past week we were able to meet some really cool people. So we were walking in the ghetto, contacting people, talking to some, getting shut down by others. When we walk up and meet this one guy sitting on someone's back porch eating ramen. His name is D.. (this porch had mesh to keep bugs away) So we walk up and start talking with him and this girl he was talking to and he was like: here, come with me, I want to show y'all some stuff. And then he goes off on how he's a really good painter and how his stuff it top of the art. Super good. We start to follow him to his house, which is like 60 yards away. While walking down the street, we see a random horse in the middle of the ghetto. One of the most out of place things I've ever seen. A horse just chilling right in the middle of the ghetto. It was chilling with hay around it and was fenced in. And right next to it was a double wide trailer. It had some stuff painted on the side and I was like huh, cool. So we follow him into his house and he starts talking to us and showing us some of his paintings. He pulls out this one painting and just blows us away. It was amazingly detailed and realistic looking. My companion has seen a lot of the best world class art and says to me, this guy can compete with the best of them. He's amazing. So we check out this huge painting for a while. It's probably 7X4 and it's just got so much detail everywhere. He then showed us a sculpture of his that he's going to reveal in January that's supposed to blow everyone out of the water. And it was crazy detailed!! It was a sculpture of a woman. He even did the lines and bone structure of the knees! he also put on hair and did some crazy texture stuff to make it look ridiculously realistic. There was arm hair. Lines in the lip, teeth, toes, just ridiculous detail. Anyways, we're always welcome there and he said that we can stop by whenever. So not only is he a ridiculously good artist, he likes us too. We're preparing him for baptism right now. It'll hopefully happen in December.

I also got to eat some Haitian food this past week, It was kinda scary. But it wasn't too bad. It just looked like it would make me crazy fat from eating it. It was some kind of soup w/ these starchy potato like things in it. It was super thick. And for noodles it had ramen noodles. Basically it was very interesting. The person who made it was cool, but I couldn't understand a single thing she(the person who made it) said. (I don't understand Creole (Kreyol))

Ft. Lauderdale Nov. 11

And there's another Elder Seth White in my mission, so make sure that they know it's me and not him whenever you send it. Have fun!

7951 SW 6th st Suite 110
Fort Lauderdale FL

So here is Ft. Lauderdale FL is crazy! I got here on Tuesday afternoon around 4 PM. The humidity felt amazing, and my skin is almost getting back to how it was. The mission president was pretty awesome, his name is president Anderson. So I went to transfer meeting on Wednesday meeting and got assigned to the stuart zone. And right now I'm in Belle Glade until I get sent to Brazil. 

Belle glade is way different from anywhere I have ever been. They grow sugar cane here. Most of the people here work in the sugar cane. And there are lots of Haitians here. So here, it's all flat and all ghetto. There are only a few nice houses around. So Belle Glade I've been told is the most dangerous city in America per citizen. It reminds me of the idea of Orangeburg but way more ghetto and smaller. 17,000 people. There's someone that gets shot every week, but thankfully we're missionaries and they respect us. Also, in Belle glade in the surrounding area there are canals and flat land everywhere. It's way different from SC and the pine trees.

My trainer is Elder Pa., I think he's been out for 9 months, and he's from Texas and he also went to BYU. He's pretty cool. I don't think he gets me yet and I'm not super comfortable around him yet. He is pretty cool and speak 4 languages. English, of course, French, Spanish, and Creole (Haitian). He was called to here Spanish speaking but picked up the languages. And I found out here that I'm nowhere near prepared to communicate with other people in Portuguese. It's way different talking in a different language. But, where I am there are no Portuguese speakers.

The first day was really crazy and weird. This area was basically whitewashed before I got here, so we started with no teaching pool. Starting up from ground zero. Oh, and there's a small branch here. Anyways this past week, we've gotten 9 new investigators and done lots of work. There is something that they do here in the mission called harvesting. It seems weird, but it works. We knock on the door and tell them we are representatives of Christ and ask them if we can leave them with the prayer. We then say a quick prayer to them, and because praying brings the spirit this works. Then we talk about Jesus Christ and invite them to be baptized. A surprising amount of people say yes. It's pretty awesome. We then tell them we share messages of Christ and invite them to come to church with us. That's about it, super simplified of course. But the whole process takes like 2-4 minutes.

Anyways, it's interesting to be here being trained and getting used to it. Hopefully I can adjust quickly.

MTC Experience

Well, it's been pretty awesome here. Here's some things that went on during my experience here at the MTC.

So this one elder in my district is a helpless flirt. I saw a sister I thought I knew and went up to talk to her and asked her if her name was C.. She said yes in a really cool accent.(she's from England) The elder, right next to me says "C. is a very nice name and it fits you. It's the most beautiful name for a British girl." It was hilarious! She looked at him awkwardly, and he said "umm... I need to stop and I need to go" right after he said that. We have never let him live it down... But he's getting better at it, I think. He's always talking to the sisters a little bit too much.

Last night we all made guesses where we were all going. Three elders got two of us right. So one person in my district is going to Oregon, 2 to California, my companion and I are going to Florida, 1 to Washington, and 2 to Brazil b/c they got their visas. It was pretty awesome. And I played volleyball with some people in my district last night too after we opened our reassignments. We destroyed, needless to say. It was one of the funnest volleyball games here at the MTC.

The food here is pretty good, but after 6 weeks here it gets kinda old. So earlier when I weighed myself, I was 190. That's the fattest I've ever been in my life. I think I've dropped a little weight since then, but still, that's ridiculous. It's easy to digest and is calorie packed. This one elder in my district came into the MTC at a 240 pounds and now he's 276. 35 pounds!! This place is crazy. And sitting in a classroom all day doesn't help much either.

Our teachers are really awesome, we have two. One is a guy, I. S. and then there is Ir. H.. They are both really good at teaching. I think we are Ir. H.'s last district that she teaches. We are getting I. S. a cow hide tie w/ the hair on it and everything, and we are still deciding on what to get Ir. H.. Probably a shirt with us signing it.

Yeah, that's all I can think of right now, and I gotta go, so until Monday! (you get a free p-day the day before you leave)