Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,
What a week. This week has completely changed my mission in more than one way. Elder Haag (my trainer), Elder White (my second companion), Elder Fiala (My third companion), and Elder Croft (my current companion), and President and Sister Bishop all gave their reflections in a mission meeting this last week. A reflection is a two minute spotlight of what you learned on your mission prior to leaving. Elder Haag slept at our apartment last night and is currently on a plan to America as we speak. The other three return in the next couple of weeks. My entire mission has a different feel to it. All of my senior companions left or are leaving at approximately the same time. I'm now an older missionary, more so than before.
I fear the day I return home for I fear the negative influences of the world. I also fear not fulfilling the expectations I have for myself, or worse, the expectations that the Lord has for me. I want to be everything I can be. I want to live my life in accordance with the teachings of the gospel 100%. I don't want to even think of doing something wrong. I want to obey.
The mission is moving past at a racecar's pace. I feel as though I'm standing still as my life is blazing past. Have I changed? Am I still changing? Am I working as hard? I want to do everything I can to be the best I can be, but in the confusion of a hurried life and rushing time, I can barely stand straight. Thinking of coming home, think of Elder Haag returning, President Bishop returning, knocks me down to the ground. The thought of it brings tears to my mind. This time is so short and trying to stop or slow it is like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands. Impossible. But then again, we're not meant to catch smoke with our bare hands.
Thank you for the care package. I'm sure I will love it. Keep biking dad, but don't be too hard on yourself. You're doing an amazing job in all things right now. I love your success.
Eric is also incredibly successful. Having read his thoughts and your thoughts it sounds like he is tearing it up. He is setting a firm foundation that will last for the rest of his life. Truly incredible. I'm so impressed by his effort. I want to be able to do just as much when I return. What stunned me the most is not only has he done all of this, but he is observing the Sabbath and keeping it holy 100%. He cleaned prior to Sunday, and canceled friends with plans to be home, he won't watch television, movies, spend too much unproductive time on the computer (other than writing my email), or listen to non-church music. Incredible. He isn't even studying today. That, my fine furry friends, is a converted disciple of Christ. He is working that hard and obeying the commandments of a Mighty God with exactness. I challenge you all to do the same, because I will be doing EXACTLY that when I return. I WILL NOT seek entertainment, I WILL spend all of my time with family or studying the words of the Lord. I love the gospel and I tell you now (you can hold me accountable), I WILL BE OBEDIENT.
Girl's camp also sounds great. Don't worry about me and clothes, food, etc. I have enough to eat and wear. There aren't steaks or Reese's Puffs in Taiwan, but I love the thought. I will be fine without those things for at least six more months. I have no desire for them either. They just get in the way and distract from the purpose of a mission.
We hiked mountains in a jungle today. It was great. If you ever come here to visit, we'll for sure do it. There were spiders the size of your head that if you get bitten once, you have to get sent home. This is all hearsay, but they are huge and it makes me that much more afraid of them. The spiders are super scary. There are also huge caterpillars and butterflies, and lizards like you have never beheld before. Truly spectacular. You all would love it.
My new mission president comes in two weeks.
Don't get too excited for me to come home, because I still have a long, long, time left. I love this mission more than anything and I will keep moving forward. I just want to be the best I can be and I feel like what Brigham Young said is true. Each day is truly a struggle and fight for the Celestial Kingdom. I challenge you all to find a way to get closer to God this week and tell me about it next week. Please don't put this challenge aside, please ingest it and do something. I want to see spiritual changes in you all when I return. That is our purpose! I heard about family scripture study, that is a great start! Keep it going!
I love you all more than I never knew I could! Keep pushing forward! We'll see each other again someday!
- Elder Woolsey