Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,
Thank you, Dad, for your testimony. I felt the spirit so strong as I read why you follow Christ. I can't even begin to describe what it means to be a member of a family that has strong, powerful testimonies of the restored gospel. Coming to Taiwan, and in many cases seeing people struggle with their identity in a corrupt and broken world, makes me appreciate my family more than ever before. I love you all. This gospel means everything to me. I cannot deny the change that the Savior has wrought in our family. How glorious! How marvelous! How can we not shout praises to Him from now till the end of eternity! Thanks be to Him who is mighty to save.
Next week, it's mom's turn.
I bet you're all wondering why I'm emailing on a Thursday, well...basically, we initially had a temple trip planned for Wednesday, but then Monday morning (after the entire Zone had the day planned with proselyting activities) President Blickenstaff that he was going to be out of town when he announced trainers so he announced them early, subsequently having a training meeting for them on Wednesday. Since missionaries in our Zone are training, the temple trip is moved to next week and preparation day changed to Thursday. Our temple trip is now next Thursday, so don't expect an email till then. Following that, preparation day will be back to normal! Sorry about the stir it may all have caused. I'm still alive however.
I can't even describe how badly I don't want to return home. I love my mission more than anything. I love serving the Lord. I know that the Lord loves me and desires my welfare. I've never felt so close to the Lord. I've never felt so much like I've been actively helping people like I do now. Home feels like a foggy dream that's hard to recall properly. I just can't imagine not eating rice every day, not speaking in Chinese, not wearing a white shirt and tie (which unless exercising in the morning, we always wear no matter what the circumstance), not being a full time missionary wearing the name of the Savior on my chest. The thought hurts and stings a bit. All I know is that I'm not ready yet. Like the end of LOTOJA. You get to this point, and you're not finished yet. In fact, far from it. There's probably even still another rest stop in there somewhere. I have time. I have to make the most of it.
Blake Rost is home? Incredible. I bet he was a great missionary. I love that young man. I love that entire family actually. I know that they all are disciples of Jesus Christ. Something I'm still working on and hopefully one day will achieve. Nate comes home soon doesn't he? When is that? It's likely less than ten weeks, right? Wow. I can't even fathom him coming home. I think I'm most excited to see him when I return. He's always been a great example to me. I imagine his testimony and leadership abilities are more than stellar.
Elder Taylor is doing well I believe. He is in the south whereas I'm still in the north, so I never see him, but he's training right now and I'm sure he's doing great. Elder Taylor is a wonderful missionary and a wonderful person. I just hope that we are able to run into each other before all is said and done. Seeing him in the mission field is pretty surreal to be honest. It's like a pure line back to home. I can't fully describe it, but it's indeed strange.
I miss home teaching with you Dad. I wish we could be home teaching companions again. I've realized on my mission how to properly home teach. Before I just picked an article and shared some thoughts on it. Now I know that there needs to be testimonies, promised blessings, invitations, inspired questions, and so much more. We are family home TEACHERS not family home visitors or family home sharers or family home anything else. I can't wait to be a magnifier of my callings. The idea excites me. The church needs more members like you three: active, and diligent in all things.
In my next interview with President I will bring up my feelings about leaving, and receive some inspired counsel. Unless he asks me to stay or suggests strongly that I should, I won't change anything about the current choice. I also believe that returning home at that time seems like the most effective and efficient choice. I'm not suddenly not a missionary, or a servant of God, or incapable of being close to the spirit when I return. On the contrary, I have a greater responsibility to prepare for my future family and help my friends come unto the Lord.
I love this gospel. I love you all. Please take care of yourselves.