Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,
That was a wonderful email packed full of information, advice, encouragement, and much more. Thank you for always being so diligent and never running out of things to say in those wonderful emails of yours. They truly are remarkable. I love being inspired to work harder (even if there always seems to be some talk of coming home in each email). In all honesty, hearing the countdown on days, etc. makes me work harder is all. All I want to do is push through all of those messy things and come out on the other side exhausted and regret less which is what I am thus far. I love my mission so much. Actually, Elder Matthew Taylor is sitting right behind me typing his emails right now. He has a Zone activity today so we are here together sending emails. It's strange how things work out the way they do.
Thank you for putting that money into my account. I doubt I need that much, but I will take out some to work with for the next while. I may buy a new pair of pants or tailor my old ones or both because all of my pants are disgustingly huge on me now. I didn't realize how big I was before I left. I weigh a lot less than dad does now. Needless to say I used to weigh much more than dad. It's shocking how a little cycling, daily exercising, and eating right can completely change your health and appearance. It does become addicting. And now that I have a body builder for a companion, I may be able to bulk up a little bit even though I have little time or money to do so. He'll help me make my morning exercises more effective at any rate.
I was shocked to hear about the bomb. It's disturbing to think that anyone would do something so malicious and evil. It's honestly terrible. Thank goodness for all of the talk at General Conference on peace. I bet those talks seriously helped some of the people victimized by the attacks. I love how the Lord's hand is in ALL things and we only need to clear all of the worldly sludge away from our eyes and take a step back to realize it. The Lord is over all of these things. It will be fine as long as we're obedient.
I'm grateful that I have parents that work so hard at their jobs and do their very best to be productive with their free time. You two are the best a son could ask for. Thank you for putting your family and your God before anything else. The sacrifices that are made by parents for their families are tallied in heaven and treasures and blessings will be heaped upon you in sheaves when the day of judgment comes. I'm confident that there is no one who works as hard or for such a good of cause as parents.
I'm incredibly happy that Eric is doing so well. He is a wonderful person. Keep doing family activities together. I have every intention of spending as much free time as possible with all of you upon return. Don't worry about me coming home right now, because I'll be fine and you'll be sick of me saying "well, when I was in Taiwan..." when I return. If I live at BYU, I will be home every single weekend that first semester. If I live at home, you will see even more of me. I love that we have such a small family that is so close. My brother, mom, and dad are my three best friends in the entire world. I couldn't ask for better ones. I have other friends to, some of which are far away from here, but no matter what happens, you three will be my best of best. I just love spending time with you all.
I've been praying about a major. I will minor in Chinese for certain, but I seriously need some counseling with regards to picking a major. I will be interviewing with president sometime in May and we will discuss things in detail then. Directly following, I will report to you. I would love some short synopses and opinions on each of those majors. My passion is writing, but I'm afraid to pursue it fully to be honest. I feel like I can do both perhaps. Any thoughts on that? Also, please talk to a counselor from BYU on what I still need to do to pass off all of my general education requirements. I want to dive in and hopefully be graduated in two years, definitely no more than two and a half. I want to focus on schooling and finish it fast. I will soon have answers to many of those questions.
My time is growing short and although that countdown is only a friendly reminder and an expression of your love for me, it does make me sad to think that in only a few short months I will be returning home to you all. I love it so much here. We just had a baptism the other day of a young man who has overcome some intensive internal struggles to come to this point in his life. You should have seen the smile on his face all day yesterday and the day before. He was shining with light. He was so happy to be baptized. He had two friends that showed up as well. One of which was a recent convert in another ward and the other we just barely met and hopefully will be baptized soon. What a wonderful situation. Heavenly Father is blessing this young man. On top of it all, he will be attending Taiwan National University, which is essentially the Harvard of Taiwan. He's so excited to go.
Oh yes, I nearly forgot. I know I have mentioned his name many, many, times on my mission, but Elder Erickson, one of my best friends in the mission (if not my best friend) is the new assistant to President Bishop. That is so exciting. It's great to see such a wonderful missionary to so well and be put into a situation in which he can influence and bless the entire mission. The other great thing, is that once again, for the third time on my mission, we are in the same Zone (President Bishop and the Assistants are in this Zone as well). We have been around each other for most of my mission. He's such a wonderful missionary.
1. My bike is fine. I got my bike fixed. I am too attached to my original bike (you know me) to have taken another missionary's for too long. Mine is doing well, but it definitely is getting old and struggling due to negligence and disrepair. There just isn't the time or money to take care of it.
2. I got used to the local food a year ago. It's great.
3. Do I eat American food? Not very often. It depends on the companion or whether or not we are eating with members. I've had companions that love McDonald's and therefore we eat there often. Right now, not at all. We only eat Taiwanese food. There are so many foods that I've forgotten about.
4. I don't really need any clothes. I should be fine on that front, but I am considering buying a new pair of pants or tailoring my current ones (as previously stated). My pants are huge. It's ridiculously cheap to tailor things and buy Taiwanese made clothing here. I will likely tailor my suits before I return. It would only be about $10 a suit.
5. My watch is doing great. It's a little beat-up, but It works like a charm and is always faithful. I wear it every single day without any major problems.
6. Would I be comfortable jumping right back into math and chemistry? I don't know. I think I would have to retake Calculus 1 or at least retake Calculus 2 before I could move forward I think. Chemistry should be absolutely fine. My last class was relatively simple.
Thank you for the extensive email. I love this gospel more than anything and I intend on putting everything into my mission these last few months. I love you all and miss you so much. Don't worry about me. I have the Lord.
- Elder Woolsey