Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Friday, January 25, 2013

Old Friends

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,

This last week was Zone Conference.  This is my fourth Zone Conference on island and it was incredibly great.  President Bishop completely removed standards of excellence (goals for lessons, finding, etc.) and instead has been focusing on personal testimonies.  The entire mission is fasting together, and reading the Book of Mormon together and recording applications we find.  It's a fascinating change in the mission from a missionary's perspective.  It's similar to a Utopian Society or Zion.  If everyone is intrinsically motivated and has a powerful testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ then the mission can only improve from it. If not, it will suffer.  In order to combat this however, the focus, like I previously stated, has switched to missionary's personal testimonies.  There is a lot of division amongst missionaries as to the potential results in it, but I think it's fascinating.

I saw Elder Taylor at Zone Conference.  He seems happy with his new companion. Elder Taylor is an amazing missionary.
Utah sounds cold. It has been cold at night here.  The days are wonderful although my companion (from Florida) is always cold.  It feels like spring to me.

One more of everything?  Well.  I don't really know what to say about that.  I'm not really thinking about it too much nor do I particularly desire to.  There are still two more priesthood sessions at any rate.  My trainer's days are numbered.  He goes home in May and it's starting to affect him (not negatively.  If anything in a good way).  I saw him at Zone Conference and he mentioned his concern and his dwindling timeline.  He has so many goals to achieve and people to help before he can return.  He's such a good missionary.  He's reaching that point in which he needs to sprint to the end.

I don't know Coffee yet.  Belle is still my puppy.

Mom has a calling in the Primary?  Of this I have not yet heard.

New American Idol?  It sounds like it's not even American Idol anymore.  I doubt I'll have much interest come next year.  I'm beginning to lack interest in all entertainment whatsoever. I just want to baptize, rescue, and retain.  That's where it's at my fuzzy friends.  I feel kind of like Dad must feel toward biking.  He has this desire that others can't fully wrap their minds around.  Dad has a desire to win LOTOJA that I can't fully understand because I'm not a cyclist and I just want to baptize, rescue, and retain people.

I want to be such a good person and member when I return.  I want to do everything to build my life for the purpose of being an instrument in the hands of God.  My career, education, wife, everything, will be aligned with the church.  It needs to be.  If not, I can't be as effective as He needs me to be.  I love the gospel and the Lord, and I love you all. I would stay here forever if it weren't for you three.  I love my mission.  My mission has changed me and I pray nightly that in this last year it will change me more than the first year.  I have almost no time left.  That feeling has never left.  It's a sprint to the end and we don't just want to finish the race, actually we don't want to just win the race, we want to set a world record and collapse in exhaustion at the end of the race.  

I know that my Redeemer lives.  This sentence truly does bring comfort.  I reflected on my first few days in the MTC this past week when I hit a year and I thought of my desire to return home.  I wrote in my journal something along the lines of, "if I didn't have a testimony of the Restored Gospel, I would go home right now."  I felt inadequate and incapable my first few days but I never didn't have a testimony.  I love the Lord with all my heart and I am going to do everything I can to serve him until the end of my life.  

I love you all.  Thank you for everything you do for me.

- Elder Woolsey

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