I don't want this to sound like I'm starting off this email on a bad foot, but I think I've figured out the only thing in mission-life that bothers me. We ride around daily, sharing a message that means literally EVERYTHING and so many people won't accept. Buyong xie xie (no need/use, thank you). Meiyou kong (no time/interest). Wo shi bai bai (I worship my ancestors). What's the worst part is that if you ask them why they believe they usually don't have an answer (not that that's the best tactic, don't worry I'm not being impatient). It doesn't make me mad, it makes me sad. Sometimes, while I'm talking to these people, my heart sinks into my stomach. I feel like I'm pleading with them to take something that they should be pleading with me to tell them more about. This gospel is so ridiculously true it hurts. It boggles my mind how people can reject it. I spend so much time on my knees crying to heavenly father to help these people because they don't know what they're rejecting. This is everything. Everything. I wish that their minds could be opened for a second so that they could have a taste of the joy and desire that I have with regards to this gospel. I see families at church and NOTHING makes me happier now. I'm serious. To see a family raised in the church is like seeing a beautiful cake and a tall glass of cold milk after a year long fast. I can't describe it. These children are going to grow up knowing who God is and where they come from. They'll have purpose. They'll have salvation in the Kingdom of God, where mansions are being prepared and eternity awaits. I often reflect on how lucky I am to have been raised in the gospel. I think of how the Lord, for reasons I still can't comprehend, plucked our family from the brink of tyranny, ignorance, and worthlessness to enlighten our minds with the glory of Him who is mighty to save. I've never felt such a burning desire in my entire life. Mom, Dad, Eric, if there's something that you're doing or not doing that you feel is not in harmony with the Savior and his teachings, please change it, because this is life eternal, to know Him, to know Jesus Christ. I don't know how I stood idly by and watched friends like Thai go by without sharing this beautiful message with them. How ignorant I was! How poor and selfish my ways were! I just want to be clean and pure and work hard so that others can come unto Christ. I haven't seen any baptisms yet, and I blame myself. We've had nine goals this week and they've been falling off one by one. We're down to six. These people don't realize what this is. They don't understand that after this, if they didn't accept this message, they don't have anything. We can be with our families forever!! We can live with God and learn from the Master of all righteousness for eternity!! We have unfathomable blessings waiting in story if we will just do what He, the Creator of the earth and all things that in them are, asks us to do. He asks us to read, pray, go to church, give him a little money, and be healthy. These aren't sacrifices! He's asking us to do what we should be desiring to do anyway just so that he can BLESS US EVEN MORE!!! This is what races through my mind when a man, smoking a cigarette, chewing binglang (a plant like tobacco that stains your teeth red and is highly addictive), on his scooter in the middle of the street, on a blazing hot, humid day in Shalu says "Buyong. Xie xie."
I don't know why I was so lucky.
Anyway, back to your email. The weather here actually hasn't been awful as of late. A lot of cloud cover. I'm getting tan (as tan as I can get OK.... ;) ) I'm still the whitest thing ever here in Taiwan. The Taiwanese think really, really white is beautiful. They also think my eyes are incredibly special. I've had people ride up on their scooters just to touch me. It's really strange. Haha!
I'm happy that you enjoyed my package. I'll send off another one soon for Eric, but then that will probably be it until Christmas honestly. It ate all my money. :P That being said, I will send a card for Mom on her birthday and for you all on your anniversary and the package will include Christmas, and mom's birthday when it comes.
I have already received your package about three days ago. :) It was great, but it hurt inside to see that you spent $45 just to send it. Please don't do that. I'm ok here. I have food. I didn't realize that it would be that expensive. I ate the pringles in about five minutes. I finished the Chex this morning. I'm almost through the M&M's. Haven't opened the Kit-Kats. I have six rice crispies lift. The Junior Mints were melted (by the way, Taiwan opens EVERY package that comes here) and I still ate them. :) The note is always the best part however. :) Thank you so much. :) It is so appreciated even if I eat it really quickly. It just means I love it so much. ;) Thank you.
My companion, as of today, is officially on the downhill slope. He leaves one year from today. Technically he's been on the actual downhill slope for a couple weeks, but he hit his one year left mark today. Honestly, that percentage you sent my was TERRIFYING. I didn't know what to do. I'm almost twenty-percent done. It's going too fast. It's supposedly only going to get faster too. Once I get the language down better, it will take off I imagine.
MOM, MAKE SURE THEY PLAY "O, MY FATHER" AT GRANDPA'S FUNERAL.
My companion got me to eat stinky tofu today. There are a few things in Taiwan that people are afraid to eat and I've eat about half. Fish eyes, coagulated pig's blood, fermented bean curd (stinky tofu). That's what I've eaten. There are other things like pidan (thousand year old egg) that I haven't eaten yet. The intestines and stuff don't seem that bad. Haha! They make up for their bad taste in food with their fruits and vegetables though! Mmm mmm mm! :D Mango season kuai dao le (is almost here)!
We have an incredible investigator right now who is doing everything to overcome his addiction to smoking so that he can be baptized and make this change in his life. His family doesn't believe in him, but we do. He's incredible. His faith is great. There are always goldens everywhere. Finding them is the problem.
Well, I love you all so much. These emails each week inspire me to press forward and work harder. I'm grateful that you all took the time out of your schedules to write me and were so patient with my email this last week. I was going to send pictures of the temple and Elder Erickson who I just realized I've told you nothing about, but I forgot the cord.
Elder Erickson is Elder Oakman's new companion. He's incredibly shuai (handsome) and hilarious. He'll probably be a leader in the mission.
I love your shining examples and kindness. Thank you for the support.
Love always, Elder Woolsey