Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Annexing of Surrounding Zones

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,

What an eventful movecall!  Today is move day!  Because of the secret mini-move call of two weeks ago, naturally my companion and I are not moving.  We're staying put, but the Zone has changed.  President Blickenstaff in an attempt to create better cohesion between the stakes/wards and the mission, he changed Zone boundaries to include the entirety of a stake (whereas previously they merely would contain a city and a few surrounding areas).  There used to be ten zones and now there are seven.  Elder Chan and I are now no longer the NanTou Zone, but the ZhongXing Zone.  We used to have nine companionships and now have sixteen.  We are over all missionary work in the ZhongXing Stake (please avoid posting anything insinuates leadership positions please).  It also happens to be the largest Zone in the mission now.  When we received movecall yesterday morning, we were just about blown over.  It's quite the change up.  On Thursday, the Zone Leaders and Assistants, and Sister Trainer Leaders have a correlation meeting with President Blickenstaff where we will discuss many of the changes that have happened and have yet to come.  Exciting.
With regards to schooling, I honestly want to finish my degree in about two years from my return (less than three for certain).  I plan on going to graduate school immediately afterward and having my advanced degree before 26.  In order to hit these goals, I'll need to take closer to 18 credits.  I took 17 credits that one semester at BYU.  Also, you will need to include a religious class on top of what you've just suggested because its BYU.  That will pull it up a couple of credits I think.  I have some steep goals, but I know I can hit them if you all have confidence in me.  Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  I fear not.

Eric is a fireball.  He is working so hard to establish his life and it is inspiring.  I'm so enthused by his wonderful example.  Putting his heart into school, work, and his callings.  It's impressive.  I want to return and do the same.  I want to take the fire I feel as a missionary and apply it to the rest of my life.  The Lord has blessed me with "goodly parents" and brother whose examples I can follow and not be led astray.  I must take advantage of these blessings to achieve the greatest life for my future family and allow myself to be put in a position to be used by the Lord the most efficiently.  That's honestly what I seek more than anything else.  I desire the Lord to use me as a tool to further his glorious kingdom.  Everything else is merely a refining process that leads me to that point. 

I apologize if my emails feel incomplete.  I'll try to add more.  I try to avoid all forms of priestcraft in my emails.  I don't want to draw attention to myself, or be prideful so I exclude much.  I know that you are already aware of this.  I'm sorry if it feels empty sometimes.  I'm trying to find a balance.  Any ideas?

My area is rural in that we ride on long highway roads where there is little else but trees, rice patties, and mountain ranges on either side.  It's gorgeous to be sure.  We have a McDonald's in the city portion of our area, but our area is huge and it's uncertain whether we are in that part or not.  The homes are made out of cement in the rural parts, and the roofs have collapsed in most cases.  Power is in short supply and living conditions are dirty.  The urban portion looks just like urban Taiwan, not much difference.  The rural is really sad, but beautiful. 

That's funny that my room hasn't changed.  I will be on top of that when I return.  It will likely feel like I never left.

I love you all, you're amazing.  Don't count the days until I return, because I'll be home all too fast.  I love you all.  This gospel is true. 

- Elder Woolsey

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Resurrection of NanTou

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,

I hope you all didn't feel too bad that I didn't get your email.  It was honestly OK.  I was curious how you all were doing and I worried that something happened, but it's OK.  Don't worry about me too much!  I'm still alive!

I have a ton of questions and things to respond to, so I will kind of do this quickly and hopefully it won't come out too rough.  I got the contacts sent a long time ago.  They are fantastic. 

The new book that mom is reading sounds fascinating.  I am really curious to how it is, because the idea sounds kind of poor, but if it's well written, perhaps it could be alright.  I can't wait to read when I return.

I would like to take 18 credits when I return if possible.  Please talk to a councilor ASAP in order to find the appropriate classes I need.  I think I can take a large load and handle it adequately.  Please tell BYU that I'm returning at that time NOW.  We need to ensure that things are prepared and we don't miss ANY deadlines.  It's getting to crunch time and things need to be established so I know roughly what to prepare for going forward.  Please tell me how it goes next week.

The dogs went rogue on you all?  Well, I'm glad they made a safe return home and they didn't get shoveled off to another home.  I expect to see them when I return. 

Basketball sounds amazing.  Members and investigators would update me often about the NBA finals a month or two ago.  It was frustrating a bit.  Even on your mission, a lot of news still manages to reach your ears.

I can't wait to go hiking, Mom.  I've thought about that before.  It sounds awesome!  I will go in a heartbeat.  My liking for all things has changed dramatically on my mission.  I'm willing to do whatever, whenever and where ever.  I can't wait to try tons of new things.

Hey, is milk bad for your body?  Tons of Taiwanese don't drink it and say it's bad, but I don't have enough information to say otherwise.

My new area is amazing.  It is gorgeous.  It is in the mountains of Taiwan in the most rural of places. It rains constantly and the people are much fewer than the busy, congested streets of TaiZhong, but success will come.  There is work to be done.  I can't wait to do it with my new, amazing companion, Elder Chan. He's seriously fantastic.

I hope that Denise is fine.  I'll pray for her.  The Tetons sound gorgeous though. 

BYU tickets sound like a great idea.  Go Cougs!

I don't have much to report.  I got ridiculously sunburned this week from being outside for so long.  We ride our bikes up big hills and over long distances again and I have to readjust.  I can't wait to see success soon though.  This area is golden. This work is hastening.  The Lord is at its head.  I love this gospel.

- Elder Woolsey