Thank you so much for writing such a detailed email this week. Little things like shopping at Whole Foods, your Boss's joke, and Belle being afraid of fireworks may not seem like much to you, but I love it. I just want to know what's going on at home, how life is, etc.
So, since I know you're probably most interested in knowing about my new companion, I'll tell you a bit about him. His name is Elder White and he's from Springville, Utah. He has been out for over a year and is on his eighth move-call. He's kind of the exact opposite of Elder Haag so I haven't quite become used to it yet. I'm not entirely sure what to say about him, so I hope next week you'll ask more questions about him, then I can answer them. I kind of expect to leave Shalu after this next move-call. Almost every new missionary who just finishes training (two move-calls) will either move to a new area or receive a new companion. It's fun to lead an area for such a long period of time, considering my new Senior Companion needs to learn it still. Speaking of Elder Taylor, however, I wrote him a little while ago and he wrote me back very promptly. This is the first time we've contacted one another since the day we split up at the mission home. That was really awesome. He says he wants to write back and forth more diligently so I'll likely write him today. He told me a little bit more about his area and it sounds quite a bit different than up here. He's about as far south as you can get and I'm about as far north (within the mission) so the people and the areas are rather different.
Elder White and I have been visiting with a lot of investigators in part-member families lately. Our hope is to complete some families. We're meeting with the children of some recent converts, the husband of another recent convert, the aunt of yet another recent convert, and another incredible woman whose older sister is a member. I want to tell you about this woman really quickly. She recently was in a very serious accident in which she had to replace some of her gums, her foot is the size of a softball, and she has to wear a back brace to sit up. She can't go to work and she can't sit up for more than an hour at a time without intense pain so most of the time she lies down. I want to tell you about this woman's faith. On our third visit (without even having talked to her about it) she looks right at me and says (in Chinese), "Elder Woolsey, I want you to give me a priesthood blessing." I was blown away. She said that her sister mentioned it and that she knew she wanted one. Naturally we gave her one, but it was incredible. Then, in my first visit with her with Elder White (by the way, his Chinese last name is Bai which is an actual Chinese last name and directly translates to white) we challenged her to baptism and she basically said, "of course I want to be baptized! As soon as I can go to church and actually GET baptized I'll be baptized." Her faith is massive. She says that she just reads the Book of Mormon all day. She says it makes her happy and gives her power. I just pray daily and nightly that she will heal enough to get baptized. She's one of those people that the church needs. A powerful woman who can lead her family as well as others in the church.
With regards to your email, a lot of notable things happened it seems. Nash playing for the Lakers? That's pretty crazy. You'll have to tell me how that works out. I adore Steve, but I don't adore Kobe. We'll see I suppose!
Thank you for sending a package. I love them, but at the same time I know they're expensive and unnecessary. Please don't send them if they're a burden. I don't want you to feel obligated or anything like that. P.S. The Essential Missionary Collection as well as Called to Serve would be awesome to listen to if you are thinking of things to send. They have a lot of great hymns. Perhaps you could open them and put them on the computer before you send them (which is what I would suggest doing because they're super super good).
With regards to that fire you mentioned in Alpine, it was right next to Elder Erickson's home apparently. He just told me. He's in the other companionship that lives with us. Heavenly Father absolutely heard your prayers and answered them. There's not really two ways about that in my book. Heavenly Father blesses us with miracles and wants us to appreciate and acknowledge them so that he can keep blessing us. It was absolutely a direct answer to prayer.
I'm surprised that Dad liked Spider-Man. It must be pretty good. You'll all have to show it to me in a year and a half (I remember when I used to say two years). I suppose that answers your question a little bit too actually. Does it feel like a long time or a short time? It feels incredibly short. Remarkably short. I feel like I haven't helped enough, haven't changed enough, and just haven't done enough. I'm really working, but sometimes I wonder if I'm even making a dent. Well, as Elder Holland said, if you go out on your mission and didn't convert yourself then you wasted your mission and questioned why we even went. I'm trying so hard to get the church deep inside. I dread coming home from the standpoint that I have to leave this place. All we do here is work for divinity. I know you can do that at home, but I don't know how to do that yet. I love it here. I don't want to leave. In two years, you should all just come join me instead. How does that sound?
I hope that in two years I'll have helped hundreds come unto Christ and begin to take the lifelong journey toward salvation. I also hope that when I get off the plane and see you all again, I will cry and collapse from exhaustion having no regrets, knowing that I did my best. Lastly, I hope that I can stand before the High Council and say that I have changed forever, that I served honorably, and that I'm ready to continue to serve.
Thank you for all of your love and support. I'll be home soon enough.