Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,
This has been a rather eventful week for us here in Taiwan. It's the Chinese New Year here and things are getting crazy. It's hard not to feel like the Chinese New Year is a masterful scheme designed by Satan himself to dismantle missionary work. I adore the festivities, and I would love to be a tourist here, but church attendance drops like a rock, all of our investigators returned home, and ever member possible is feeding us. Now, on the surface this sounds great, but I want to be out on the roads finding prepared so badly and we are seeing a slight influence on our numbers. Speaking of members feeding us, we literally are being fed by families every lunch and dinner for a week. I feel like an American missionary! I don't know how they get anything done. Each dinner or lunch appointment is an hour and traveling/trying to find home is consuming our time. We're using this effectively to find Member-Referrals, but it's still difficult to adapt so abruptly. It's sad that I only get one.
There are fireworks, and foods, and worshiping of idols like would not believe. The Chinese New Year is the time of year for this country. You all would have a lot of fun if you were on vacation here at this time. It's exhilarating.
Another thing that you would probably like to know all about that I'll go ahead and tell you is that I interviewed with President Bishop this last Thursday. We discussed extensions/return dates a little bit. He told me that there is an extension that he can give me of 30-days, but that he doesn't really like giving it. He also said that it may be possible to return home for the Winter semester in which case he would invite me to do so. I didn't know how I felt about the entire situation until this interview at which point President Bishop and I had one of those moments that completely changed our relationship. He first of all remembered that I loved to write. He then used that to analogously relate the situation to a story saying that every great story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. He said that no matter how great the story, it must in fact end, and it will end. As he told me this, his eyes filled with tears. I don't know if he thought of stepping down from being a mission president or if he thought of his own mission, but the thought touched his heart with emotions I can't articulate, but only felt. He then said that after it ends, we are responsible to take the things that we have learned and go and be the best son, brother, student, etc. that we know how to be. I love President Bishop. He made me finally wrap my head about things a bit. The mission is a refining period. I am meant to be learning so that I can be an even greater tool in the Lord's hand afterward. Part of the further training is education. I still don't know if I can go home in time to make it for the semester, but if I can, I think I will. I want to be here forever, but my mission president is more wise than I am.
Now, in terms of classes, I don't really have a clue. I don't remember a lot. I would suggest working with BYU and a counselor to help me set up classes that I still need to take. If you have more specific questions like (BIO 256 or CHEM 300), I will be able to answer easier, but right now it's a little bit difficult. I apologize, but I need you to do a lot of legwork on that department for me. I don't have a major nor do I know what I should take. I'm interested in Business, Law, of course Writing, and Medicine. I don't know how I am going to decide from those though. I really need another interview with my mission president. Speaking of which, my new mission president's name is President Blickenstaff. I don't know much about him, but he looks great.
I'm sorry that Eric has been sick. That's so hard. I hate being sick, and luckily for me, the Lord has protected me on my mission. I won't get sick as long as I'm obedient and righteous. I've never gone this long before in my life without being sick. I have confidence in the Lord that I won't get sick anytime soon either.
Ok, so Coffee is pretty cute. I'll admit it.
I can't believe all the changes that have happened to the house over the last year. The house will be the same basic structure, but everything will be so different when I return. I'm actually excited for the changes. They'll be exciting. I used to be and in many ways still am like Eric in that I didn't like change, but I'm honestly excited for them for some reason. I think it's primarily attributed to the fact that I'm used to this massive change and that when I return I expect tons of changes.
The snow sounds dreadful. I haven't seen snow in about a year and I'm grateful for it. I don't miss it much. Especially that much. Keep working hard. Spring is coming soon.
A care package? I don't really need a lot I suppose. I wouldn't mind some hand-written letters. Other than that, there's not much I really need. I feel rather content here. Sometime in the not-too-distant future I may send a lot of mission things home, because they are beginning to accrue a bit.
How's everyone in Arizona?
Is everyone happy? What are you all doing every day to be happy?
How have you all developed your relationship with God lately?
Any questions for me?
I love you all so very much. Keep working hard and go out of your way to serve each other. The Lord wants us to be happy so do it.
- Elder Woolsey