Friday, December 27, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Dear Mom, Dad, and Eric,
The sun is setting on the sweetest and most lovely time of my entire life. I've never been so happy. I'm never felt so accomplished. I've put everything I have in me into my mission. I worked harder than I ever thought imaginable. I love the Lord.
My mission blazed by on wings of lightening and I am so far from ready to return home. I want to serve God forever. "O THAT I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."
If there's anything I've learned from my mission, it's that I am to serve God with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength for the rest of eternity. I love the gospel. I just want to declare repentance unto all for all of eternity. I never want this desire to be taken from me for I know for a fact, "...for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire..."
I know that this gospel is true and I can never deny it. I will take home with me a love of the gospel, my family, I will know my purpose, I will have correct habits and desire. I take home much more than trinkets and toys (although I do have a couple of those as well).
I will see you before you know it.
- Elder Woolsey
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,
Thank you for handling all of the logistical aspects of the returning process, I imagine those answers and information will be very beneficial come next week. I essentially am going to dump almost everything. I may take one white shirt for commemoration, but the others are going in the trash. I'm leaving all garments and likely the pair of shoes destroyed in the Taiphoon, and things of that nature. I'll probably leave a lot of my exercise apparel and other related things. If there are any oppositions to these matters, please inform me immediately, I'll try to make sure that I take them home. I will dump all that I feel are unessential to ensure that I make the required weight requirements. I will be bringing a few little doo-dads home with me, but don't get too excited, because I have a lot of specific weight requirements and a lot of things here are very fragile. If there are any requests, please bring them up soon and I will see what I can do. I got my itinerary today actually. I know all of those details:
It's essentially the same schedule as coming here.
9:40 a.m. (Taiwanese Time) - Leaving from Taibei to Tokyo
3:25 p.m. (Japanese Time) - Leaving Tokyo
10:15 a.m. (Oregon Time) - Leaving Portland
The flight duration is 1:41. I imagine that I'll get in around 11:56. We'll have the entire day ahead of us after that.
My companion just showed me an email that President sent to him and the line said, "I hope you're grateful for the time you've had with your companion. You've had an opportunity to serve with one of the greats." I'm so grateful for my mission president. He is so loving and kind to me. I want to do whatever it takes to be the righteous person that I need to be for the rest of my life. I really worked hard on my mission. I'm so grateful that I had righteous parents that sought to raise Eric and I in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has changed my life and I will always know these things are true. I worked hard on my mission because I have a testimony of the truthfulness of these things. I know that this Gospel has changed me and will change many others. I just want to be enveloped in this gospel for the rest of my life. It is the only true route to lasting happiness.
Christmas sounds like a distant thing still. We have our mission-wide Christmas activity this week. It should be a blast. We are going to famous place called Sun-Moon Lake. It is breathtakingly gorgeous. It was in one of my former Zones, but unfortunately while I was there I didn't have time to go. I'm excited to go see the sights, but also will have a chance to buy some last minute things before heading that way. I hope that you all aren't expecting too much. I'm going to prepare some small things, but don't get too excited. I wish I had more time to give you all something really valuable for Christmas. You're going to have to settle with a raggedy, stinky 21-year-old burden.
The house is a go. I imagine we'll move in that week following the events. All of the people for it are also confirmed and such. Don't fret about that part. The living conditions are prime. We have a kitchen, living room, and three small bedrooms (two per room). It's going to be pretty choice setting for our studying and such. All of the missionaries living there were amazing, obedient missionaries while they were here so I imagine that things will be smooth.
Oh yes, the phone call. I will call on the morning of the 23rd in Taiwan, so the 22nd in America. I will call around 8-9 Taiwanese time, and so 5-6p.m. in America if my calculations aren't incorrect. Please plan accordingly, and if this will not work out, then please notify me immediately.
I'm sprinting as fast as I can. My Mission President sent me a hilarious email this week about fearing that I'm not working at top speed because my numbers were slightly lower than the week before. He's a hoot. You would ADORE him. I hope you all get to meet him someday. He loves the Lord. I've learned so much from him. I have every intention of working until I collapse on the 29th. I love you all so much. Talk to you on Monday.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee (still don't know this little guy yet),
My head is spinning a little bit from that email. At the same time, I feel like it makes me happy. You all are night and day more trunky than I am. It's crazy. Some missionaries go home wanting to go home. I am not one of those missionaries. Thanksgiving wasn't appealing last year and it still isn't this year. Christmas gave me small pangs last year, but hearing about trees and movies doesn't make me want to go home. I would love to share these experiences with my beloved family of course, but an actual desire to leave here is nonexistent. I just love being a missionary. I could serve in the church for the rest of my life. I want to, but it's all up to what the Lord wants, not what I want.
I love that my parents and brother are active members in the gospel. This gospel means everything to me. I love it more than anything. I can't even describe the gratitude and love for it that are in my heart. I knew little to nothing about the gospel before my mission. My testimony was barely existent. I now understand the basic principles of the gospel relatively deeply. Enough so that I can't tear my testimony from my body if I tried. The gospel is what I want and what I need which is the best combination ever. My nature has changed. I wake up at 5:55a.m. every morning because I actually want to. My nature has changed. I work hard and study hard to know the Gospel. My nature has changed. I ride my bike fast and can honestly say that I know what I believe. I love being obedient. I love being well behaved. I don't want to pretend to be edgy or cool or whatever I'm not. I want to be what the Lord wants.
I can't even imagine coming back and being thrust into such a crazy whirlwind though. A wedding reception, a football game, Disneyland, Christmas, speaking in church, etc. It's going to be a rush, but I'm hoping it doesn't rock me at all. It likely won't. I'm overly fretting I know, but I just don't want to leave these people I love so very, very, much. The thought of leaving kills me.
I'm happy that Thanksgiving went well. My companion and I ate Turkey Rice for both lunch and dinner to commemorate Thanksgiving, but aside from that, this holiday goes relatively uncelebrated in Taiwan. Sometimes the church will have an activity, but there wasn't much of one here in this branch. I don't think to highly of this holiday. I put all of my eggs into the Christmas basket. I can't believe that you got an Albertson's Turkey though. Where did you find Albertson's in Utah? I thought that they all pulled out. It sounds great either way though. I'm sure it was delicious. Cut off tiny pieces of tasteless turkey and put it on some white rice and that's what I ate for two meals that day. Yummy!
Keep me posted on all of the Christmas festivities. I love this blessed time of year. I invite you all to read the story of Christ's birth and perhaps parts of His ministry in the New Testament this year. I've been reading it recently and it's ever so lovely. The Savior is so good. I can't wait to celebrate these wonderful days with you. Are you going to have a mini-Christmas on the 24th and 25th or are you literally moving the entire ordeal to the 27th and 28th? Whatever you decide to do sounds great to me! You all are so great and wonderful for thinking of me. I love you all so very, very, much.
I'm sprinting. I'm not going to slow. I've exhausted myself, but there is more left. I love you all so much.
- Elder Woolsey