Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, and Belle (is she still around? I wouldn't mind a picture...),
Wow. All I can say, is wow. What a week. Elder Forbes and I have been pushing ourselves to the limit to try and hit our goals (most of which we hit), and then we got to spend times with the other American members and watch all five sessions of General Conference in English. What a spiritual feast. I was truly flabbergasted at the incredible, inspired, words of our Prophet and the Lord's Apostles. I was trying hard to only write down the things that I felt the spirit prompted me to write, but there was just so much I wanted to remember. Did you catch the Eric Little reference, Dad? I'm sure you did. Or Shayne M. Bowen's remarks on the separation of loved ones, and that those scars NEVER heal until we are in their presence again. I think of Grandma. I still miss her. People think I was too young to remember correctly, but I don't think people remember how close we were. I remember one night, when I was much older, I was in my room trying to sleep when I began to spontaneously cry because I suddenly missed her so much. Mom came in and told me something along the lines of, "Bry, you know what she would say if she were here: 'Bry, what are you cryin' for?'" It made me laugh. I also think of being separated from you all. The feelings are less intense knowing that we can still communicate, but there are still gaps and pieces missing that can never be replaced. That's why the Plan of Salvation is so vital. These gaps and scars are permanent. They do not heal with time. They heal when things are restored. When they are fixed. When they are the way they are supposed to be. That is some time away, but everything will be in its proper order in the Celestial Kingdom.
We heard from Dieter F. Uchtdorf who entreated us to live lives without regrets. To enjoy the moment, but to work and to serve and to be with families. It made me realize the important things in my life and what I want to and need to accomplish in this life.
Boyd K. Packer discussed the difficult journey of repentance and quoted the beautiful hymn I invited you all to listen to a few weeks ago (although I don't know whether you did or not); "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy." What a brilliant hymn full of the beautiful, yet sublimely simple analogy of those struggling in sin and the tempest tossed sailor.
Hey Dad, do you remember Rodney? You taught me a lesson with him that I didn't realize that I had learned until this week. You make think that you didn't do much and you may have nearly forgotten about him, but I learned so much from the character of you and what it means to be a man during that time. I didn't like Rodney much in that moment of time. I felt like he was a burden, he smelled strange, he did strange things, he was distracting, loud, etc. But you, Dad, had patience with him. You gave him rides. You sat by him. You answered his questions. You were his friend. I would like to say that when I return, I can be that for someone else. You sacrificed much for him, and although you and he likely didn't change much because of it, I did. People are blessed by our service. We should work constantly to serve others because we just may answer another's prayer. I wasn't praying for an answer to a prayer regarding those things at that time, but the Lord knows my needs better than I do.
Also, Dad, you know how you keep saying the reasons for my serving, and what you expect me and imagine me to become on my mission? Well, when I heard Elder Eyring's talk on Priesthood Potential, your words sunk in deeply. You were telling me my potential so that I could achieve it. I was blessed enough to have that counsel from a worthy earthly father and my patriarchal blessing from a loving Heavenly Father. Both of which allow me to know what I can become.
I loved the picture of Mom and Dad. Very cute. I also loved seeing the mountains. I miss those. Houses and nature are not the same here. 55 degrees sounds frigid cold too.
Scheels sounds pretty cool. The framework was done while I was there. Basketball and football seem to be going well, but I am completely disconnected from it at this point. Aside from Jeremy Lin, neither sport is that big here it seems. Baseball is the thing right now.
You want a girl name for the Jeep? OK. How about SHI MEI YU?
I think it's hilarious, ironic, and lovely that you sent Peanut Butter. We have it here, but it's expensive and tastes strange. Many fail to remember that we don't have many things that you all have there in America. We don't have colored drinks like Kool-Aid, Gatorade, etc. The Filipinos sell it here but it's really expensive. There are many things we don't eat. I laughed when you thought that meal looked gross. That's fine dining for me and Elder Forbes. Most times it's rice and meat with a couple of strange vegetables that I don't know the names of. Chili Verde sounds beyond delicious. I can't wait to eat that when I return.
To answer your questions, I did get the money out. My bike is still not fixed, but that does not mean it's not inoperable. I can ride it just fine, it just makes some crazy sounds that sound really scary. Feel free to put money in my account, it will allow for peace of mind and convenience in not having to keep asking the question. Pictures? I just sent some pictures last week, but I'll send some more, and then put ALL OF THEM on a disc and send it home probably today or next week.
I have both heard of and seen pictures of the new iPhone. Did you know that there is no 4G in Taiwan?
We actually found out that there is a Burger King in the Zone. Strange, huh?
Well, I want to say that I love you all very, very, much. I think about you all often and pray for you all nightly. I miss aspects of home, but when I think of how long I've been out, I can only think that I'll be home all too soon. I adore the pictures. Keep them coming. I'll try to send a couple more today, but don't expect too many. I love our small family. I'm grateful that we have testimonies in the gospel. I'm not going to be the same when I get home. I plan to work. I will have changed.