Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,
I would like to begin by apologizing. I didn't tell you last week that I wouldn't be emailing this week until today. We had a "Missionary Meeting" where Elder Watson, the Asia Area President, and Elder Evans of the Missionary Board and member of the first quorum of the 70 came to meet with all of the Taizhong missionaries. We spent the entire day from 8 in the morning to night about 8:30 traveling to and from as well as attending this meeting. It was exciting to hear the inspired words from our leaders. We were taught several Zone Conferences worth of information in about two to three hours. We learned how to write letters, we learned about the influx of new missionaries, seeking referrals, talking with and not to people, and much, much, more. It was so wonderful. They are such wonderful men filled with the spirit of the Lord. Their remarks were incredibly inspired. I felt like I learned a lot about how to become a missionary. He was very direct with us which I think was very beneficial for all missionaries.
It is also the beginning of POWER WEEK. Every day we have a new goal that we need to achieve. Yesterday was placing fifteen copies of the Book of Mormon and exchanging information for following up on reading. Elder Magnuson and I had a blast. We accomplished the goal and then, as instructed, called President Bishop to inform him, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED." We worked incredibly hard and had a blast every minute. I can't wait for tomorrow's POWER WEEK challenge. Every day we leave at nine o'clock and eat on the go. It's so much fun.
It sounds like everyone at home is working hard. I hope that things keep going well for everyone. You all are so great. I'm grateful for your loving guidance in all things. Mom and Dad, you are the greatest parents that I could ever ask for, and Eric, you are the shining example that EVERY little brother needs. I hope that you all keeping inspiring me to work hard.
Valentine's Day seems to have gone well considering Dad was out of town and a lot of construction was happening to the house. I hope that everything went smoothly. The house is going to look totally different when I return. I've said that many times, but that's alright. I just hope you're all happy. I for sure am, so don't fret Mom.
I can't quite wrap my head around the idea of Elder Manning having come home. That's astounding. The time in the mission field is so very, very, brief. I imagine that he was an outstanding missionary. His abilities with people far transcend my own and many others. I believe that he loved every single minute of his mission and accomplished a lot of good. I just hope that when I return I can believe the same about my own mission. I just want to do good. I want to change. I have been allotted such a short amount of time to change everything about myself. I'm not changing fast enough, but I'm trying to. I can't help enough people. I'm trying to do everything I know how to do, but I can never get anywhere near where I'm supposed to be. I feel a little bit like when I was little and I would ask for something and Mom would let my fingertips touch it and then pull away and I would have to keep reaching and reaching for it, but in reality it was never in my control, but in Mom's. I'm struggling to change and to be what I'm supposed to be, but I feel like when the Lord feels that I'm submissive, humble, and prepared, he will allow me to change and improve.
I imagine that Elder Jensen is doing an incredible job in Russia. His faith and dedication are astounding and steadfast. I'm grateful that i could say that he is one of my best friends. I admire his example of patience and long-suffering. He is the kind of person that I want to associate with after my mission and forever. His values and standards are those of one who is preparing for Celestial Glory and I admire it so very much.
There's not a ton to say about Chinese New Year that I haven't already said. We get fed every night and everyone tries to give us these red envelopes with money in them. We must refuse them each time. Every night as we were about to fall asleep, a slew of fireworks would be shot off. Music blares and almost no one is working for about nine days. It's quite the commotion, but we didn't see any dragon parades unfortunately. You eat a lot of hot pots during Chinese New Year which is like a big pot of boiling "hodge-podge". Kind of like fish balls, and vegetables all stewing away. We have a bowl of rice and then we grab what we want. That is essentially what you eat the entire holiday. It's really tasty.
I ate "Mexican food" on an exchange last week and it was pretty good. It didn't quite taste right as the rice was more Taiwanese and the meat was as well, but I thought it was an exciting option suggested by my companion at that time (I went to his area).
Am I going to transfer? I don't know. I hope not. I have been here for a few months now and the longer you are in an area the more likely you are to move, but I really can't be certain. If I move I don't know where I would go. I've spent half of my time in Taiwan in this one area and I love it. It feels like my whole mission has been here in a way. If I do, you'll be the first to know. I don't really want to think about it.
Mom, Dad, and Eric, I love you all so much. I love knowing that my family is strong in the faith of God. I know that this gospel is true and that nothing on the face of the planet can stop it. I couldn't deny the truthfulness of this message even if I tried to. I love my Savior and I'm grateful for His holy sacrifice. He died for me. He knows me. The sooner we submit to the will of the Father, the sooner we qualify for the healing of the Atonement. If I live to be a hundred years old, I will never, from this day onward, deny my Savior. I cannot. I will not. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. In 1820 he saw the Savior and Heavenly Father in a grove of trees in upstate New York. He was fourteen years old. Through the power of a mighty God he translated an ancient record buried centuries prior into what is now known as the Book of Mormon, a testament of our Redeemer's teachings on the American Continent. It is a true book. He did come, and He will come again. We are to read it and pray every single day of our lives. Please do. It will open your minds to understanding and like I said, qualify you for those precious blessings that wait behind the door of obedience.
I love you and miss you daily. Don't worry about me. I'm in the service of God.
- Elder Woolsey