Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,
I'm so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that loves my family more than I can possibly imagine. He sends His heavenly angels to bear us up on all sides. He loves us and guides us with His all-seeing eye. He is mindful of you all and especially mindful of Dad right now. In these challenges are when He carries us. I'm so grateful that He protects my family. They mean everything to me.
Oddly enough, my fellow missionary had a similar experience happen that he just told me of this last week. His dad was mountain biking (instead of street biking), and got in a serious accident (of which can't be clearly remembered by him). He was found sprawled out on the mountain side by a half-hysterical woman. Apparently his helmet was completely shattered, his collar-bone broke in half, both arms are broken I believe, and he lost his memory of the two weeks prior to the accident. He's alive, but in casts. Strange that these two experiences happened so near to one another. His dad is not a member, however. I'm so grateful that my family knows this gospel clearly and not only knows it, but lives it. No matter what happens to our family, it will be OK, because we have the Lord assisting us. I will not fear, I will not doubt.
I'm just happy you're OK Dad.
This week we had a conference in GaoXiong focused on stress management and how leaders can help others who are having difficulties adjusting to missionary life. It was really beneficial to hear President's counsel and personal experiences in which he had become depressed and needed to get his life in balance. He's a really humble man who says his weaknesses, but not in a pitiful way. He's not afraid to admit he's wrong, but he maintains his power. We also were introduced to our a new uniforms. We, at night, are now to wear reflective gear similar to that of a cross-guard. Not too many Elders were excited about it, but most laughed it off and wear the uniform with pride. I like the idea of knowing I'm safer that before, but it is pretty funny looking. Members make fun of us, and non-members all think it's a smart idea. It was strange though. At this meeting, the group of missionaries that came to Taiwan a movecall before me gave their reflections (a time in which they have a few moments to sum up what their mission has meant to them). I'm next. I don't know how I feel about it. I was in tears as one of my favorite Elders: Elder Erickson, gave the most sincere, heartfelt testimony, in the form of a poem he wrote. I can't even imagine how badly I'm going to cry when he actually leaves or worse...when it's my turn.
There was another exciting event this week that allows me to understand more fully why President is focusing so much on JiaYi. A member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and President of the Asia Area came to our District Conference on Sunday to declare tidings from the first presidency and add his voice to the motivation being injected into JiaYi to become a stake. It's pretty exciting. Also, Elder Holland and Elder Hales, along with the Primary Presidency First Counselor spoke to us through video (translated into Chinese of course). They are really focusing on establishing the church more fully in Taiwan and throughout the Asia Area. Another interesting tid-bit is that they made a video about this family in Taiwan that spread the gospel with their friends who got baptized as well. They are pushing member-missionary work like crazy. It's thrilling.
I suppose that because of the accident, Dad didn't have an opportunity to see Nate's report to the High Council. If you did, I would love to hear about it. If not, I would love to hear what other people said about it. I imagine that he is more polished than ever before. He's a wonderful individual. I bet he was a well-prepared and well-oiled tool in the Lord's hand and will continue to be for the rest of his life.
With regards to getting a suit made, I'm working on it. The place that most missionaries go to isn't in JiaYi. I would need special permission to go to TaiNan and do it. Aside from that, I don't know where other places to buy suits would be. I'll keep an eye out, but I don't know what the likelihood is right. My suit pants have multiple holes in them (only one pair). I'll keep working on it. Don't worry too much. My old suit isn't in tatters or anything crazy like that.
With regards to classes. I would say to register me as an English Major and we'll go from there. I know I have interest in English. I've actually been thinking more and more about a Chemistry major because I have been thinking more and more about pursuing a medical career. I don't know. I think for now, let's go with this option (my first mission president graduated in English then went to medical school at DUKE). I think that my options aren't too limited yet, so lets go with English major and we'll see where that goes for now. I would just like to encourage you again to enroll in classes ASAP or I won't be going next semester at all. I know things are a little crazy around the house there right now, so take your time, but I would just like this to be present in the front of your mind because I do really worry about it. I want to make sure that not extending was the right decision. I have living situation all worked out and solidified (in that it is a done deal for that house with ex-missionaries and an LDS family). Please set those things up as soon as possible (and convenient of course).
I'm doing well. I'm safe and I don't have any major trials. We have some golden investigators that appeared out of no where this week. I imagine that baptisms are on the near horizon. Thank you all for your support and consistent love for me. I love you all so much. I'm working as hard as I can. I'm sprinting and have no intentions of slowing down. You're the best family anyone can ask for. I know the Lord is protecting us and showing his love for us. I often reflect on that moment of Eric returning to us after his mission. He stood from the pulpit at the Crescent View Stake Center and with two battered arms and the tongue of angels declared with unwavering faith that the Lord protects His missionaries. I know that that is true and extends out of the mission field into the homes of those missionaries. He loves us so much and He protects us from danger daily.
I love you all so much. Never forget that.
- Elder Woolsey