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