Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,
Thank you so much for taking time to write me every week. I love seeing such extensive letters from all of you so often. Every week for over a year now, you have written long letters that have kept me informed on detailed information that has keep me in full connection with all things happening at home. I love it. Thank you.
It's a strange feeling being here in Taizhong I decided. Today is a rainy day and it feels so much like when I first came to Taiwan, seeing as I was trained in North Taizhong of Shalu. The weather is becoming the same as it was last April when I landed and memories of those first few days are flooding back. I remember my trainer who was so excited to see me on a younger move-call than I am on now. I remember riding really hard and really far that first day and loving every minute of it. I now think of how my trainer has only a little over a move-call to go before he has to return to America. And what a wonderful missionary he has been! Funny enough, he is no longer the assistant to the president, he has now stepped down and is serving once again in SHALU where he was a year ago with me. If I had to guess, I imagine that he will likely train again with his short time left before he returns home.
I am now allowed to email all of my friends and other family members. Please inform all of this and invite all who have the desire to do so to write me. It's an official announcement by the missionary board, so I can write other missionaries as well. I would love to hear from others and their experiences, so if there's any way of informing them, I would appreciate it.
I hope that all things go well. Keep me posted on all that you decide to do and what I can do here to help you. I know that I don't have a huge efficacy not being there, but I'm willing to share my thoughts on whatever you say and such. Of course the best course of action is to consult with the Lord. He is the most important person to ask. Remove those pavilions and you will have no problems. The Lord has a plan for our family and I think it entails being very close.
Also, it sounds as though your cycling ventures are going well as well. I can't believe that you are so physically fit. I have a small confession to make. When I teach the Word of Wisdom, I often use dad as an example of how the word of wisdom can change someone's life. I usually mention a previously less healthy state and now that you're more fit than I am. My investigators always get wide eyes and laugh because to be honest, I'm in pretty good shape right now.
Taizhong is on fire right now. It is a wonderful zone to be in. It's the heartland of this mission and I'm very convinced that Elder Hoopes and I are going to continue to see success, even if we only have another week and a half together. I better learn the area quick! He's a relatively famous missionary by missionary standards as most people know that he trained younger than any other missionary in this mission for many, many, many, years. Our thoughts on missionary work are very similar so we are already hitting the ground running. We dropped in a WEEK A investigator this last week which means without previously having a goal, we helped an investigator set one for that week and pass an interview. When this is the case, we have to first call president bishop and get permission to baptize him that same week. To make a long story short, we had a baptism last Saturday. He's an awesome kid that my companion has been working with for the last six months. I'm grateful that I was able to come here and help him prepare for baptism in such a short amount of time. We are going to try it again on another investigator who has come to church for four weeks straight for three hours each time, but unfortunately hasn't really been progressing toward baptism. He has a testimony, but just doesn't feel very ready. This area is golden and we plan to set it ablaze.
The Zone is wonderful. There are about 24 missionaries (in this Zone). We exchange with all of the Elders in the Zone at least once to observe missionary work and train. We have all of their numbers and it is our goal to help everyone in the zone use their time effectively and to teach others how to baptize. We have a specialized training meeting this Thursday in which we have to present some things. It's more responsibility than I've had in any other previous assignment and it's more difficult on the area because we exchange so much, but it's wonderful being so close to so many different missionaries. It's also interesting to note that all other missionaries watch you now. We have to be obedient. We have to be the example. This zone, fortunately, is wonderful.
Thank you for sharing your personal experience with me about Jared's accident, Dad. I'm grateful that you are willing to share such a sacred experience. I know without a doubt that everything you said is true. I know less and understand less than you do, but I believe it.
What you said is true. My time is growing short and it will be great to see you all again. I fear returning home knowing that I won't be doing exactly what I love. This work is wonderful and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I do want to see you all though. Thank you for caring for me so very much. Don't worry about me. I plan to sprint to the end of this race and collapse at the finish line at the airport. I love you all. Don't worry about me.