Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"My time in this world is very brief..."

Dear Mom, Dad, and Eric
Another week has come and gone and my time grows short in the MTC. The days feel both long and short, but I know in two years it will all have felt brief. I wish that I could slow things down, but unfortunately time marches on and God's work moves forward. Two weeks from today. As this week has progressed, my thoughts turn to how I can work harder to serve the people of Taiwan without being there. Elder Chan (the British Elder who I get along famously with) and I have developed a renewed and refined language study plan that involves us getting up at 5:35 every morning. I'm excited to get rolling on it, because if I'm not doing everything that I can on my end to serve the Lord, how can I expect to call upon Him to answer my prayers? I only have two years to serve, I need to make the most of every moment. Since I've entered the field, I've really noticed a change in several things. For example, I've gotten up at 6:30 or earlier EVERY SINGLE DAY since being here. I don't tell you these things to be prideful, but I tell you because you know how difficult it was for me to wake up on time at home, and mainly because it gives me an opportunity to praise my God and give you one tiny, tiny, example of how the Lord has provided for me since being here. He's even helped me in waking up.
Now to address your email. I am ridiculously jealous that Mom and Eric are going to see Hunger Games. It's going to be incredible, I can feel it.
Haha! I was riding the stationary bike during gym yesterday and I overheard two of the "fitness specialists" discussing it. I SO wish I could go with you guys to it, but it's a sacrifice that I'm more than willing to make. Nonetheless, I miss the midnight showings.

How did Bryan Parry's talk go? I didn't imagine him to change too much. This work is SO important and the Lord needs all that He can get "for the field is truly white, already to harvest (D&C 4)". I'm excited to hear more about Tyler's progress (he'll be a great missionary I think). It's also very exciting to hear that Nate is doing so well! He's a stud!

With regards to Brother Tillman's thoughts: What inspired Elder Chan and my language study overhaul was a teacher here. He was discussing his Chinese progression with us and it's remarkable. He, after four transfers, had better Chinese than his senior companion of ten transfers. This guy isn't prideful, he only told us because we asked. It was remarkable. If I do everything I can to learn the language, then the Lord will magnify my efforts and I'll be unstoppable in Him. I want to be all but fluent in four to six months from now. I have every intention of working even harder. I'll "command" the language. I also look forward to that day, Dad, when I get to report. I know it's more of a payout for you, but it will be a choice time of reflection for me. I'll be sad to have left, but it will be great to look back on the experience with so much joy. I can't believe that I'm over two months in. It's....staggering. Truly. It's FLOWN by. It only gives me more motivation to work.

I'm glad that the Suns are doing better. I imagine they still won't amount to much, but I'm happy regardless. That stinks that BYU got
pwnd. Bu hao yise. That's great that everyone is so in shape over there in Draper. You guys are all studs. Keep it up!!
 I have some other exciting news: There's going to be an MTC choir for General Conference! Bad news: Everyone in my Zone (who signed up) got accepted...but me and my companion....yeah....
bu xihuan.
I didn't get my travel plans this week. I get them on Friday. The people who are going to New York leave on Monday and they have to be AT the travel office at 3:00a.m....poor guys. That includes our wonderful District Leader Elder Bates (great guy!) I hope mine isn't that early. I'm so excited to talk to you guys. It's going to be awesome! I'll purchase a calling card for sure. How many minutes do you think I should plan for??
I LOVE this gospel. I love it. It has become to mean everything to me and I imagine that it will continue to. If the only thing you two and look at as a success is that Eric and I are active, then I hope that has incredible value in your eyes. I get kind of emotional when I think about the alternative...the "what if's"...but thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I couldn't have asked for better parents.
To answer your questions: I did get the cookies and things. The letter was lovely from mom.

The package was delicious. I've burned through the chips, the box of cakes, and a sleeve of cookies already ( and I got it yesterday....). The donuts were also yummy, and they lasted two days (I share my bounty
f.y.i.). Sister Mitchell wants you (Mom) to send more. I can only get the Children's Book of Mormon in Chinese in the Book Store ( which is $5.20), the other things like the Chinese hymnbook and children's song book can't be found, sadly. The BOM is the same one I had to read before my baptism, but in Chinese. Hen you yong! Dui bu dui?! I very much enjoyed the way that the blog looks. You guys are doing a bang up job!

Now to add a few more of my own thoughts: I don't know if I mentioned this last week, but I would appreciate it if you could print off and save my original letters somewhere as I have written them. That would be sweet. Also, I sent home my name on a cardboard paper thing. Please save and scrapbook things like that! I may send some more pictures and my memory card with a video or two on it before I leave.
I did
initiatories today and it was PHENOMENAL!! A man took Elder Neil (his has well) and I aside and discussed our missions and how wonderful it was that we were serving and what the initiatory meant for him. Truly great. I also read some powerful scripture that I feel like REALLY answered my prayers and will help me work harder. Also, every now and then the Initiatory workers will talk to you during the initiatory and one of them was convinced that I'll get home and a little bit afterward, get called to China. I have to admit, I've felt very similarly for some time now. I may serve two missions! Imagine! I'm pretty sure I told you what President Jenkins said about this, but if I didn't, please tell me and I'll inform you.

I'll be
uber busy for the next while working hard and getting ready to leave. I'll be able to dry clean and things like that.
Did you understand my testimony at all? Or get it translated (I realize it's very difficult without tones, but I bet Wes Tillman could help you out)?

The new generation is....young. Like...some are older than me, but they just feel young. They also tell us that we look older than they. I don't know what it is, but I think that on your mission, a lot of change occurs. A spiritual change that in many degrees is manifested physically. Anyway, because conference is in two weeks, we are having a sort of going away musical number for the younger generation. We are singing the EFY medley....wait for it....IN CHINESE!!! We found parts of it and translated other parts and practiced today. Please look up the English one on YouTube...You'll love it! Anyway, they are really good guys, but I don't really know them that well yet. I'm sure they'll do well. They're generation isn't as large as ours (and most are only here for nine weeks). Most are going to Taipei where as most of our generation consists of half Taichung and half elsewhere (New York, Scotland, England, France, Australia, and Canada).

Anyway, I don't know if I need anything. You guys spoil me WAY too much. I thank you sincerely for it as well. I would like a nice picture of the family before I go if you have one. If you can manage a Chinese (pinyin and characters) hymn book (the small ones are cheap) that would be sweet, but I can always get one when I get there. No worries.

Thank you guys so much for your diligence and example. Knowing that you are all doing well, helps me focus on the work and work even harder. You are all great and powerful members. Remember that the Lord loves you. I've been reading about Nephi (3 Nephi) and
Ammon lately. Perfect missionaries. I want to be like them.
Anway. Wo feichang ai nimen. Wo hen xiang nian nimen. Dang wo huilai de shihou, women hui bao he ai.
I love you all.

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