DA JIA HAO!!!!!!!!!!
Wow! What a week on both ends! It sounds like so much has been going on at home and it's ridiculously exciting to hear about everything. I know that typically I wait till the end to tell you the parts you really want to hear, but I'll toss you a bone right off the bat....so...MOTHER'S DAY. My Mission President strictly adheres to the Missionary Handbook (which I actually love...but you may not in a second). It states that calls must be limited to 30-40 minutes, which essentially means that I CANNOT go over that time. In essence, the call will be brief. Now for the good news! Our Mission President gave us permission to SKYPE...if we can find a computer with the capability...which is surprisingly difficult here. LUCKILY...the church here (for whatever reason) has the latest and greatest everything. I need to take pictures of my ward building because it's the nicest I have ever seen....sorry about the off topic statement...anyway...a few lucky individuals work for the church here and work in our jiaotang (meeting house). Their computers have the capacity to SKYPE, and we're really good friends with the man that works there (he's a convert who served a mission and speaks English). So set up Mom's laptop to do it, because we'll be able to. Now the calling time will probably be at 10:30a.m. Monday morning here in Taiwan, which means it will be 8:30p.m. Sunday night for you. It may be forty minutes after that time depending on who goes first, but yeah, that's how that's going to work. If you have anymore questions, please send them this way! Also, please confirm everything I said. I'm very excited!
Now I'll respond to the rest of the email. The weather hasn't been that hot actually because it has been raining so much...like A TON. In fact it's raining buckets right now and I forgot my rain gear...YAY! Haha! It was bright and sunny when we left only an hour ago. It's kinda bipolar like that.
I'M SO HAPPY ABOUT TYLER'S CALL!!! THAT'S FANTASTIC!! WHAT A STUD!! That's so crazy that he's going to Nicaragua!!! WOW!! I can't wait to receive updates on how he's doing! He'll be a great missionary! I LOVE THE GOSPEL!! I'm excited for him to go out and baptize the country! Tell him I think he's incredible and that I'm ridiculously excited for him.
That stinks that the Suns are doing poorly. :/ I'm going to miss Steve Nash. I wish I could have seen his last game. That would have been fun, but kinda surreal. The Suns are a HUGE portion of my childhood. It makes me think of Nate. I bet he's tearing it up. I sure miss that Elder! I'm jealous that you ate at Jack in the Box! Hao chi hao chi(good eating). I could go for some American food right now in all honesty. Haha! Speaking of, expect a package from me soonishly...like in two weeks or so. :D I'm happy that Stake Conference went well. :D I'm also so happy that Eric is moving home. I miss him so very very much. I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT YOU GOT THE DAN JONES VIDEO!! THAT'S AWESOME!! I love it!! HAHA! I can't wait to see it when I get back. I can't get on and watch it now. That's buxing (not ok). I looked SO FAT in that video, but I've lost 10-15 pounds at least so I look much thinner than that now. I'm going to try to send a couple of pictures today.
I'm happy that Mormons are in the news. I love the idea of the church getting publicity. It's a sign of the last days coming. The church is becoming huge. The mission had 73 baptisms. I'm still waiting for my first, but we have this golden young man. He's nineteen and his name is Huang Zi Hao. He calls us and asks us gospel questions and says he's praying for us and such. He's our friend and he loves it. It's only sad that the members aren't receiving him that well. One night, we called him and he didn't answer (we do loads of follow-ups). He called back later and said (in chinese), "sorry I didn't answer, I was PRAYING!!! HAHAHA!!!! How wonderful is this guy! I bet he'll serve a mission. He's incredible. We're excited. We have many who could be baptized..so we're trying our best and following the spirit as much as possible.
Speaking of following the spirit, we had a really great experience while on District Leader exchanges. I was riding with the District Leader to eat dinner and I got a feeling that I should talk to this one kid, but I just went past. I caught up to Elder Oakman and asked if we could go back to talk to him, but he said our time was running out. He's like if you REALLY REALLY REALLY feel like we need to, we can, but he wasn't wanting to. I told him that we needed to and we went back and talked to him. I asked if we could meet with him sometime, and he was like sure! Right now! Follow me to my house! We went to their really nice house and met with the entire family! We walked in and they asked if we wanted something to drink. We're usually afraid of this question because it's often tea....but it was dong gua cha (cha is tea, but this is a winter melon tea which is pretty much the only tea we can drink here and it's yummy and sweet). What a joy! Then we taught a watered down version of the first lesson and the whole family (except the dad) knelt in prayer! It was incredible! The only sad thing is that they are not in my area so I may never see them again unless the other Elders get them to church.
My apartment is...ok. Nowhere near as nice as the one at BYU. It's very hai hao (ok). It's technically a house, but it comfortably fits two people and we have four....yeah...and it's always messy and we get cockroaches and such. I love the work too much to care, but mom would be pretty upset if she had to stay there I think. I'm not sure what you mean by good area. If you mean looks, all of the houses are hideous on the outside by my standard, they're all close together and it doesn't make much sense. All of Taiwan is beautiful though which is nice. SO GREEN! If she meant crime, then that's never a problem. Supposedly stealing doesn't happen here and if it doesn’t everyone knows who the robbers are...so that's nice I guess. I'm still losing weight, yes. And supposedly with Summer coming, it's going to get more intense. I need to lose weight anyway, so meiyou wenti. By the way, I was thinking yesterday or this morning that I wouldn't mind trying to bike with Dad a bit when I get back. I'll have biked a lot so my butt will be ready. I just will need the further conditioning and riding up hills. We only have a few of those here and they kick my butt.
We don't really have fun on preparation day because there's no time. We have stuff we need to get done like emails and shopping and because my emails are so long it takes a long time. It's really hard to find extra time. We take some dorky pictures and sometimes we shoot the whole day in the foot like the Zone Activity, but it's worth it.
I just want to say that Mom's words of wisdom were exactly what I needed to hear. I've been stressing because I haven't been doing enough, but it really calmed me. I am so appreciative of a spiritually in-tuned mother who is concerned enough for me to think of me and try to help regardless of the distance. It's inspiring and I greatly appreciate it. Seriously, perfect. An answered prayer.
Dad said something that I've been thinking about a lot. He said something along the lines of saying that it must be great to represent the Savior, and Dad, it is. I get to be his mouth, hands, and feet for two years. It's not much because of what He did for us, but it's all he asks for and I want to do what He asks me to do. It's not Jesus Christ here, it's Yesu Jidu, but it doesn't matter, He's the same man, the same sacrifice, and everyone has the same need. They must here this message. It's so true. I have ZERO doubt. I've seen too many miracles to doubt. I've read too many scriptures to doubt. I've felt too many promptings to doubt. I hope that you all know how much I love this gospel now. It took until I served a mission to fully realize this about the gospel. If there's something you guys are not living fully, please change it now. I doubt there is, but the Lord is waiting to bless you more for whatever thing that is, but literally CAN NOT until you submit fully to him. I'm happy to say that I'm not the same person. I hope that you can see that in my emails. I don't want to act like any of these things come from me, because they don't. I'm trying to boast of my God right now like Ammon. I really love it. I will weep when I leave.
Now for a few more things. We helped a family move on Sunday from a home into a factory (which was kinda sad, but they did it because they had to). I just wanted to say that they work in a SRAM RED factory. I thought it was ironic. They make loads of their products by hand. They make planet X racing tires and I don't know what else, but I thought Dad might get a kick out of that. We see that A TON here. Tons of factories or ladies in their home packaging boxes with things to be sent to America that say "made in taiwan on them."
I tore the skin off of the top of my foot this week. I scratched it and because of the heat and stuff the skin healed to the sock and I literally ripped the skin on the top of my foot off. It hurt really really bad for about three days. It's fineish now. :D Like I said, we've seen many miracles. Whenever we are ridiculously tired, we get rides somehow. Whenever we are starving, members feed us (like the other night with DOMINOS PIZZA!!!). As long as we're doing everything, the Lord has been stepping in to help us. It's crazy.
I want to apologize to Dad about something. Remember when you were frustrated because of my seminary attendance? I'm really sorry about that. You were trying to raise me more fully in the gospel and I wasn't thinking about it enough. I didn't care enough. I do now, but I just want to say that I'm really sorry for that. I was a dumb teenager then and I would like to think that I'm less of one now.
I really love you all and miss you heaps. I can't wait to see and hear you all in two weeks. This mission has become everything to me. I love the gospel more than I ever knew I could and I'm feeling the spirit more than ever as well. I want this forever. I just want to leave this mission with these principles so deep inside me that they can never leave and if the Lord needs an errand run he can ask me to run it for Him. I may sound like a silly missionary, but I'm serious. This is more important than anything in this life and I know it is. It's so obvious now. I feel like someone took a bag off of my head and I can see now. I'm working hard, and I'm still trying to improve. I love you all. May the odds ever be in YOUR favor. ;)