Friday, February 19, 2010

Feb. 15, 2010

Sorry, if this email is shorter. I've been trying to get alot of things done... Like... move emails over, get this new gmail account working, etc. But thing's are going here. This week was tough again, but things will be better. Just a few tough things with companions. But like, everyone has that.

This week really has gone really slowly and I really think it's because of the New Year... Everyone is gone, or can't meet, or is just busy. So like... Missionary work is ground to a halt. We teach small lessons when we can, but other than that, we're just eating at member's houses and meeting with them. That's pretty much it. Oh! Also, we've recently been looking for a new place to live too. The apartment we've been in, missionaries have lived in for about 10-15 years... so It's probably about time to choose another. We found one in the price limit... and it's called the Monte Carlo. We now feel alot more proud just having that name for a building. But luckly the missionary work is keeping us humble. Haha...
Anyways, I need to go now. I love you! Thanks so much for your emails all the time. I really appreciate them. :)

Elder Scott Carlson

Feb. 8, 2010

Hey Mom and Dad and Everyone else!

I teach English class for the Kids here in DanShui, and I immediately have a lot more respect for Teachers. They certainly do not get paid enough for their efforts. It sure is fun in someways though.

We had this long time investigator who decided he'll come to church. He got in a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago and had a bad wrist injury. He came to church and at the door he said "It's soo weird. My wrist doesn't hurt." He sat with my companion and during the meeting, he took off his cast and started flexing his wrist in all directions and just stared at it. He turned to my companion and said: "Ok... I need to get baptized. I have to do it quick and my family can't know about it"... So that's another issue, and we'll be working with him on that. He can get baptized, but we don't want any family issues. It was just a cool little miracle we saw here in DanShui.Here's a pictures I've taken recently... we have an investigator who is a security guard, so he let us mess around with his booth a little bit.

So, here's this week's story... The week started out good! We got to get lots of lessons in and talk to a bunch of people even though the 3 colleges and the schools around here are on winter break, and the Chinese New Year is coming up too. Then, during our District Meeting, the sisters announced that they have a baptism planned for this Sunday (Feb 7th). But.... they needed someone to baptize their investigator. Considering that I haven't had a baptism yet, and haven't even attended a baptisminal service here in Taiwan, they asked me to do it. So sunday came around and there I was doing the baptism. I had the prayer all memorized and it was good. Basically, the investigator's body was really really stiff, and the water was fairly low in our portable font. So... 7 prayers and attempts later, the lady was baptized. I felt so bad and embarrassed everytime I... kinda had to shove her down. But all in all, it was a good experience. I feel like she forgave my weaknesses, and it over all was great. She also is fellowshipped really well among the members, so it seems just perfect.

Even though I had the opportunity to baptize a person this week, I think the best experience I had this week came from a personal experience in the Scriptures. If you guys could read Alma 36:18-20 real quick, it'd make this even more meaningful. Basically in that scripture, Alma is recounting to his son his experience with the Angel. He said while he was passed out/unable to move, he was experiencing the anguish of his sins. But he remembered his father's words about Jesus Christ and called upon his name to deliver him from this sorrow and pain. After that, He said that he felt so happy and joy. He said his joy was as exceeding as his pain.

I really felt that this week. I thought about some stuff I really needed changing and felt that Godly sorrow for my sins. One of the saddest things I think I've felt is that severed connection between myself and my God. What's so marvelous is that through Christ's atonement, we can call upon Heavenly Father with a sincere heart to repair that connection. When the sin is forgiven and repentance is complete, the Spirit flows so strongly, and the joy comes. I really felt that. Not only was that time some of the saddest times I've ever felt, but also was some of the happiest feelings I felt. This experience let me know that God does live, and he loves us. Jesus really is the Christ, and the Atonement is one of the most important things we can use in this life.

Anyways, Life on a mission has challenges, but it's such a great experience. I hope you all are doing well in your everyday challenges too. It's always important to remember that trials are learning opportunities. Just always press forward with faith in Christ, and we'll make it home fine.

I love you all! I wish the best for all of you!

Love,
Elder Scott Carlson

Jan. 25 - I'm glad to be a missionary now... (song)

So this week and a little bit before that, we've been focusing on Love. It's pretty cool to see how much love really matters. I read in my personal study time today and also a week ago President Uchdorf's Talk called "The Love of God". It's really really good, and I'd suggest you two read it again sometime. One of my favorite parts that I liked in it is now on my wall. It goes:
"For what we love determines what we seek,
and what we seek determines what we think and do,
and what we think and do determines who we are - and who we will become."

Its just a great daily reminder to remind us to really focus on what we love, and to put what really matters on our love list. When we really decide that we love God and family more, then we'll consequencely be a more God-loving and Family-loving person. All we have to do is love something more, and it seems as though all else will fall into place.

So in our ward here in DanShui, we have 3 sisters that we call the "Qu(Chu) Sisters". They're all really funny, and the oldest, who's about to serve a mission created some T-Shirts. One of them says in English: "MISSIONARY IS NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND" and on the back it says: "Yes, I'm talking to you, investigator!".... Hahaha it was a funny friendly reminder to the Taiwanese people that we're here to teach.. not to flirt or get girlfriends. I think I'm going to buy one :)

I've noticed that I need to be doing better in my missionary work, and I'm going to repent. I found a letter that I got from Sterling in the MTC and I liked it because he said the best cure for bad feelings on the mission is obedience and hard work. I'm definitely going to work harder on both. I do know this church is true, and I do love it. I've also learned something from David too. He said: "make sure you work with the members, not through them, to get investigators..". I know that through the members, great missionary work can be brought to pass. It's really cool to see how the work really is going to be progressing in the next 10-20 years.

Anyways, I know Jesus is the Christ. He is our Savior and the only method(Chinese translation for a word i like using) for us to return to God's presence. I'm so happy to be helping others realize this too.

Love you both with all my soul,
Elder Scott Carlson =)

P.S. Quick story about Ethan.. we taught him Law of Chastity, and he told us a story of when he was in college, he refused his girlfriend to sleep with him because he didn't want to hurt her. I mean... like who does that these days??? HE'S So Cool!!!! So prepared too. I'm sooo excited for him.

Jan. 18, 2010 - Miracles!






Here's some pictures of Taiwan.. Last week, we went to the zoo, so we took some pictures... We found a giant poo, so we took pictures in it and around it. It was really really fun. Also, the picture of the sea and the mountains was a place called ChangBin, a place where my family passed through as they were in Taiwan. On the other side of ChangBin, is Yuli. It's really cool.

This week really was awesome and really fun. Last Sunday, we had 2 new investigators come to church that we didn't know before hand and added them to our list of people we meet with. One of them was really awesome. His name is Jiang Jie Wen. He was introduced to us by his member friend, and we met with him the first time this week. He's sooo accepting of the Gospel so far. He said that he's Buddhist by tradition, but has no general beliefs. We got to know him and shared random bits of the Message of the Restoration. After that, we talked about prayer for a bit and the meaning of it. He just suddenly said... "Can we try it?" Haha... we were kinda shocked, but said "YEAH!" Then... we asked who he wanted to say it, and he asked if he could. It was really awesome. I'm really excited to see how things will progress with him. We have another guy whom we met in English class, and he did the same thing too. Both prayers were awesome. It's really cool to see that all you really need to do is get people's faith in Jesus Christ and Prayer built up, and everything takes care of itself. That was a small but bit miracle for me this week. =D

So also this week, we had all our investigators set up and had a day with absolutely nothing on it, so my companion decided that we'd travel out to the borders of our area and explore and talk to people that might be interested in learning. It was an hour bus ride, but we got to talk to a really cool bus driver and go to the most northern tip of Taiwan. Also, while street contacting in that town, we found signs that told us we're in the Epizone of a Nuclear Powerplant... meaning that if it were to melt down... we'd be immediately toasted. It was pretty comforting =) Haha... maybe I should stop being sarcastic...

Other than that, the only other thing I can remember right now to tell you guys is some of the funny stuff we see here. I was biking and found a store named: "Hair Produce". We figured they sold Lice or Dandruff. I think I saw a sign in their window that said "Dredlock Chowder"... Just joking again. But that Hair Produce sign was funny.

I'm really happy here in DanShui and being in Taiwan serving a mission. Thanks so much for giving me this experience and for allowing me to come. I know I'll always be grateful for this. The Church is True!!!!

Jan. 11, 2010

So today for Preparation Day, we're going to the Zoo. I hope you're all having a good time in Hong Kong. I saw some pictures of it the other day and really missed living there. Then it was weird because I could read lots of the signs of the buildings and other stuff in Chinese. Oh yeah.. You know the Tin Hau temples all over Hong Kong? Tin Hau in Mandarin is Tian Mu... Which means Heavenly Mother... Or Heaven Mother. It's kinda interesting. Just thought I'd mention that.

That sounds like an awesome time there in Taiwan!! I really hope I get to build up relationships with people here so that I can be able to take you around to my friends. A lady in Yuli already said that if I come back, she'll let my whole family stay at her house. She's such a nice lady.

Oh and I thought that was really cool that you said you went up on the Coast. You probably got to see amazing sights then! Like... there's this one part of town called "Changbin" which was in my area in Yuli. We've been there twice... Once was when a member drove us, and the other time was about 3-4 weeks ago with Elder Lindsay. We biked up those huge mountains and rode down them down to the coast. It was SOO fun... but really cold. But we had a good lesson with an investigator. I think that's one of the most beautiful places I've been. Huge foggy mountains on the left, and nice big beaches and clear ocean on the right. I was in Heaven when I saw that. Truthfully, I probably scared my companion because I was semi-screaming so much. Yeah... but that sounds like an awesome vacation! Hopefully when I get back, my Chinese will be good enough so that I could translate for you all. Right now, I don't get everything being said in Church, but I get a main jist if I listen hard enough. The hardest part though is when you're tired and just can't bother sometimes to hear what the speaker is talking about. Gospel stuff in Chinese is pretty easy, but when people go into analogies or life experiences... it's pretty tough. Like... I have no clue how to say German Shepherd. Maybe Deguo gou? (German Dog)

Anyways, DanShui is doing really well over here. I had a hard day this week, but things are much better after I had an interview with President. What we talked about a lot is sustaining your leader's decisions. My companion is Senior, so I'll sustain his decisions. I'll question if a thing is against the rules or not, but ultimately, I have to leave it up to him. That gave me a little more comfort. What I really want to do though is keep our companion unity strong, because from what I heard, Lots of investigators won't remember the doctrine taught, but the feelings felt. If unity isn't there and there's some hostile feelings between the companionship, the investigators will see it easily.

Yeah... that's basically what I learned this week. I'm working harder, and it's feeling good. :) I thing a big thing is not to worry so much. That's one thing I haven't been really good at. If I just relax and know that Heavenly Father is behind us in this work (or in front of us), then things are easier and I'll be happier. :)

Anyways, It's glad to hear from you all! I love you all so much and I'm so glad you guys got to see this country! I love it here and it's really so much fun. By the way, we had 2 non-members come to church yesterday, and now we're teaching them. :) One is from China, so that's going to be fun to teach him!

Love you all!
Elder Scott Carlson xD

P.S. I'm not getting trunkie, but I just hit my 6 months mark this week. Weird that I'm 1/4 done with my mission right?

January 4, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Hey Everyone!

Yeah, New Year in Taiwan was pretty noisy. I didn't get to see Taipei 101, but...my companion's MTC companion... said he went with President Grimley to see Taipei 101. We were in our apartment when they did the fireworks and countdown. We live on the 11th floor of our building so we got to see the whole coast/riverside (if it counts as a river) light off their fireworks. Truthfully they were all pretty small because they'd only go about 50-80 feet up before exploding, but it was neat to hear. Also, it was funny to hear exchanges of: HAPPY NEW YEAR and XIN NIAN KUAI LE! Haha... That was soon followed by High Schoolers chucking bottle rockets at each other, which was pretty funny but then I had to go to bed.

So, DanShui is pretty cool. We did Companion exchanges this week, so I went with an Elder to a place called "Bali". Not like the paradise island Bali, but like "eight-neighborhood" Bali. It was really cool though. It's probably one of the most touristic places I've seen in Taiwan. Lots of foreigners and food, and bikes, etc. It was a mayhem to get through. But it was really cool. Everyonce in a while you'll hear a "Adoga lai le!" which means... The Foreigner's are here! Usually by little kids or people running shops. Maybe Dad will get to catch them saying that next time he gets back. Oh, and by the way, that's taiwanese, which I can't really speak, so sorry if that's the wrong way to say it.

One thing I learned from that Companion Exchange though is how much of a better missionary I can be here in Taiwan. My Exchange companion taught me a little bit about Charity and Love. Basically we can exercize our faith and improve it through prayer and other methods. But when it comes down to Charity and Love, that's a gift that we need to ask daily for. I've really been missing out on that and I need to improve on. I really think that Charity and Love is the one thing I can get and do that will change being on a mission into serving a mission. Not that I haven't been loving the people, but there's alot more I can be doing for them.

Anyways, it's 2010! I hope you guys are enjoying the new year and setting some goals. I heard once that those who set goals in their lives are much more effective.

Wishing you all a Happy 20-10!
Elder Scott Carlson

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dec. 28, 2009

(After I told Scott we would not be visiting him in Taiwan, he wrote this. I love his willingness to be obedient.)

Yeah, I called President Grimley and he told me that it's church policy. I knew it was against Church Policy to see your parents while on your mission, but I thought that since Elder Watson said it shouldn't be a problem, that I could do it. But hey, it's cool. I wish I could've seen you all, but it's better to follow the rules.

I'm SOOO excited for you all to visit Taiwan. You all probably aren't understanding what people are saying at all, but at least you have David there to translate for you. One thing I love about Taiwan is that it has all these little missionary "dongxi" (things). Like, the "No success can compensate for failure in the home" stickers, and we have magnets now. I forgot to send you all a picture of my bike, but its completely jet black and its got a giant "no success can compensate..." sticker on it. I think its pretty Missionary legit. Plus if anyone were to steal it, it'd be pretty obvious that its a missionary bike... But yeah, the people here are really into missionary work. My ward up here in Danshui aren't so much, but they're really cool. Some are trying hard to start up on it though.

So for Christmas, we didn't actually do too much. My companion was too into the Christmas spirit and couldn't really focus after talking to his family for 2 hours, so he took a nap and we did some missionary activities outside. I think we had a lesson or two too, but I forgot. Thanks so much for the presents though. I really enjoyed them all! Can you tell the people back in the branch thanks for me?

(I can get inexpensive ties here in HK, so sent 13 to Scott for Christmas - a couple for him, but mostly so he could give them to other missionaries as gifts. But only the guy missionaries got them - not the girls...)

Oh yeah, as for my District, we have 4 Elders and 2 Sisters. So the sisters weren't too bummed, and actually one of them took a tie and made it into a headband, so she was pretty happy. We actually have another guy who we basically count as a missionary. He joined the Church when he was about 17, and Taiwan only has 3 years of High School, so after he was baptized, he graduated. He REALLY has the missionary spirit in him. He actually is probably a more energized than most missionaries. So in his free time, he spends it with us, either contacting on the street, teaching lessons, finding less-actives, etc. It's really awesome. I couldn't imagine myself giving up all my time to do all that. Plus, he looks exactly like a missionary without the tag. He's just cool.

Haha, and after starting this transfer, I'm trying to figure out what President is doing. Either he wants me to be with a more slack missionary and bring him up and work harder, or he feels like he should put the slack missionaries together... Haha, my companion is really cool and is a great teacher, but just doesn't seemed to energized to go work hard and use all the time we have. So, its a little bit of a trial but its good. I'm definitely learning from it.

So I was writing weekly goals this morning during personal study and decided one really good goal I could probably do every day is to do something to increase my faith in Christ. I was reading Bible Dictionary on faith today, and I noticed a few interesting things. First of all, it talked about faith being a principle of action and power. Faith just isn't thoughts or beliefs in your head, but it's actually a power to do things such as part the Red Sea. Also, it talked about how [true faith will lead to some kind of physical and mental action]. If we ever wonder if we have faith in Jesus Christ, just look at your life and the things you're doing in your daily life. If you're going to church, if you're feeling the Spirit, if you're striving to do good, etc, I believe that faith is being manifest through these ways. Last cool little thing was: Faith is a gift. That kinda confused me a bit, but I guess we have to remember that all things come from God, and we just can't develop my own faith.

Anyways, things are great in DanShui! :D I'm enjoying my time here. I love being back in the city and having all the people. I do miss the relax roads in Yuli though. Here, I have to always be on guard so I don't get hit by a car. It's safe here though. I really like it.

Love,
Elder Carlson

P.S. Ask David to take you out for Ugly Tofu (he'll understand what I mean if he changes the tones a bit...)
P.S.S Oh... and make sure you try Winter Melon Tea and some of the breakfast foods.
P.S.S.S... and if you're really brave, rent some bikes and ride around the Taibei streets! ;) just kidding... its not that bad.

Dec. 21, 2009

Hey Mom!!
I like what you said about adding oil in your lamp and stuff... What I thought was so cool was a phrase in Chinese that's used for encouragement often. It's Jia Yo. You might have heard David say it every so often, but in chinese, it means "add oil". We all definitily need to add oil to our lamps and keep on going through life.

Soooo.... for transfers... I Moved to DanShui! My next companion is Elder Smith and he's pretty awesome so far. It's been really weird though this first day. I took a 9 o' clock airplane to Taipei and from there took the MRT (close to the MTR). THERE'S SO MANY PEOPLE AND CARS!!! Yeah... I was pretty wide-eyed and didn't know what was going on. I'm deffintely going to need some re-training up here in DanShui.

So yeah! My companion is writing about me right now, so I feel it's only appropriate to write about him. His name is Elder Bret Smith. He's from Salt Lake City and has lived there most of his life. He also said that his dad might know some people in Price, so maybe we'll have some family connections of some sort.

As for the guy who stopped us on the street, his name is luo kang wei... He's really cool but shy at church. He came to a Christmas activity and is doing really well. I feel really good about him, but he does have some interesting opinions on some things. It seems like he would much rather talk about UFOs than about having faith in the Book of Mormon. So hopefully Elder Lindsay will be doing well with him over there in Yuli.

So last Thursday, we took a really crazy bike trip to a place called Changbin. It's on the coast, so we had to bike over some mountains and then down them. It took about 2 hours, so afterwards, our butts were sore. We got to go meet an investigator in that area and then we headed up back the mountain back to Yuli. It was a whole day trip, but we didn't feel like it was a waste of time. I'll have to show you some pictures if I get to see you here in Taiwan.

I really hope I get to talk to you this week! I don't know what number I should call or could call since you're here in Taiwan, but I'll wait to see what happens. Hope you all are enjoying your time here in Taiwan!!

(We ended up NOT seeing Scott while we were in Taiwan. But he called us at home in Hong Kong on Christmas Day and we had a nice talk.)

Dec. 16, 2009

I'm doing just great! I heard a few things from people saying that recently I've been kinda discouraged and just wanted to let you know that I'm doing just great. I have up and down days just as everyone, and I hope that's not giving you the wrong idea. The Mission is SOOO awesome. I really liked what Elder Watson told us 2 Zone Conferences ago. He said that "one way to increase desire is to be extremely thankful in your nightly prayers". I've totally seen that. We have all been blessed so much in so many ways, but we occasionally forget. I've been so blessed spiritually so far on this mission and I need to remember what I have been given and where I'd be at right now if I didn't have this mission. I'm so thankful for what the Lord has given me, and I want to serve him better. Some times might be hard, but it's nothing I can't handle. What I liked about the Plan of Salvation lesson we teach is that trials were made so we could learn. They're not there to be a nuisance or to try to push us away from God's presence, but to give us a learning experience. 2 Nephi 2 teaches us that opposition is there to help us learn and be better people. Trials and hard times are ultimately good. Sometimes you just need to look beyond the short term problems and look to the long term blessings.

One thing that I found out recently is how important our person studies of the gospel are. We really can receive the Spirit to be with us during those times. If you want to go about your day happily and have the comfort the Spirit brings, I'd suggest having personal study in the morning. I'm not going to be the missionary that kinda forces things like that on my family or friends, but I can let you and the rest of the family know that it has blessed my daily life and I know it can bless theirs too.

Thanks so much for sharing scriptures and quotes to cheer me up. I really appreciate it :). I really hope you're not worrying too much about me here in Taiwan. The Lord's got my back and I have things I know I have to do after my mission, so I know I'll be safe.

Yeah! I'd love to see you all for lunch while in Taiwan. I'm probably transfering up to Taipei this Monday, so we'll see if I can see you guys or not!

Anyways, this week we've really progressed with some people. Ryan (investigator) is recently "too busy" to meet with us, but we have some investigators who just love the Book of Mormon, and read it alot. I'm excited but a tiny bit bummed I don't get to see them progress if I move. It's really cool though. I love it here :) One guy stopped me on the street the other day and said: "I want to join your church", so we set him up that night to start sharing the lessons.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dec. 9, 2009

It's been a really good week. Some disappointments, but overall pretty good. For Ryan, my companion and I are kinda sad about it, but we're starting to feel that he's using the time we teach him to learn English. Elder Lindsay said that sometimes you have to watch out for that. He said that the answers to the Gospel really are easy. For example, When you prayed, did you feel anything? Yes, I felt Good. What does this scripture teach us? God loves us... Like, they're really simple questions and sometimes we just don't feel he actually believes in the Gospel. So we're going to have to do something to see if he really does believe in it and actually cares to learn more about the church. As for the more up side of Taiwan this week though is a girl we met in the English Class we teach. Her name is Joan (pronounced Joanne). Her member friend referred her to come learn English from us, and after class we were able to set her up. We met with her and she already has a testimony of prayer and that a God exists. She came to a Branch FHE activity Elder Lindsay and I set up and got to meet with some more members. We also invited her to dinner with the Branch President and her friend that referred her, so she's getting LOTS of fellowship. She already feels really comfortable in the ward it seems and she's been praying to know whether it's true or not. I think it's just awesome! That's pretty much what's going on here. We do lots of member work and it's really fun. Keeping members active is really challenging, but it's worth it. Plus, it's easier to talk about Gospel stuff when the person already knows the Gospel terms.

That's mainly it this week. We had an awesome zone conference, which again I felt like was tailored for me, that got me going again on talking to everyone, sharing the gospel more on the street, and testifying more. It's really been helping out.

Wow! You guys are coming for Christmas. I really don't know what President Grimley would say, but I wouldn't mind seeing you all for Christmas. I really don't think I'll be the kind of missionary that'd get way distracted if I saw my family. So I'd be just fine with that. Maybe if I'm in Taibei, I'll have to make you all try things like liver, fish stomach, and other goodies down here in Taiwan :)

Yeah! The gospel is so simple. Not easy to follow though. I liked in 3 Nephi when Jesus shared what the doctrine of his Gospel was. All it said was something like: "Come unto me as a little child..." and partake of eternal life or something. I forget exactly where, but the whole thing of the church was in that small verse.

Thanks for sharing that Mom! I've been alot more happier this week, and I'm working on being more obedient, and it's coming slowly, but that's how we're supposed to learn. Step by step. I'm doing much better though. Thanks a bunch for your support.

Dec. 2, 2009

Thanks for the scriptures on not being discouraged. I don't think I am anymore. I can either look at it as I'm not getting anywhere, or I can look at it as that when I do get alot of things done later, I'll be much more appreciative for them. :) I know that when I move into a new area and do more investigator work, I'll be way happy when a person progresses more.

As for Investigators... Ryan is AWESOME! I think I might have mentioned him earlier, but he's such a cool guy. He's been studying like mad for a Police Officer test in March. He went from not having any English at all, to being able to understand and talk in English. He is such a hard worker, and one of the coolest things I see in him is his humility and faith. His family is all Buddhist, but somehow he has begun to have faith in God and prayer. He knows God has been helping him learn English and he prays every night for what he needs. He trusts us that the promises and the things we teach him are true. He's just such a great guy and you can really tell that he knows God lives and he loves us. Ryan is just cool.

I think it's funny that I also have a brother named Ryan... He got into Hawaii? Yeah, Ryan is definitely going to get into BYU then. All A's and great SAT scores. I honestly can see Ryan going to Hawaii. Playing Rugby there and going surfing, etc. I've always seen him as a future millionaire, sailing around the world in his huge yacht while wearing his aviator sunglasses. My little brother is such a "shwai ge" (aka a stud/hot guy/etc). Please tell him congrats for BYU Hawaii and also don't forget to ring the kitchen bell when he's in the kitchen. =)

Anyways, I probably need to go...
I love you Mom! I hope you're doing great with your Physical Therapy. I pray for you and the rest of the family every day. Thank you so much for supporting me on my mission. It's such a blessing for me and for others.

Love you!
Elder Scott Carlson

Nov. 25, 2009

(This was a much longer email, but it mostly related to the passing of a dear friend of the family.)

Things in Yuli are going good. Only thing is that I need to work on being more obedient. I've been slacking on some rules and I need to pick it up. When I was as exactly obedient as I could be, I was happy, I had my mind focused on the work, and I knew the Lord had my back. I had the Spirit more and was guided together with my companion to people whom we needed to teach. I'll definitley work on that this week and do my best to be the Lord's servant. Other than that, we have good people were meeting with, helping out the branch and doing other missionary activities. It's going slow here in Yuli, but it's good. Thanks so much for always caring about what's going on down here. I appreciate it!

Nov. 18, 2009

Elder Lindsay and I are in Hualien… we're up here for today because he has to renew a visa card thing... If he doesn't, he'd be shipped off to Hong Kong to reapply for a visa to Taiwan. We were joking to let him be shipped off so he could pick up some snacks from you, but decided a 10,000 TWD fine and having to pay for tickets to Hong Kong wasn't worth it. Plus Elder Lindsay is an awesome companion. Wouldn't want to change.

So, it's been such a "xinku" (aka hardworking) week and a half. Because Elder Youd left, lots of the responsibility was on me for a few days. I had to decide who was important to visit in the branch, had to remember things to do for our church meetings, etc. It's been really draining... Then on Saturday, we carried up some more binglang (Beetlenut) trees up a member's mountain. Probably some of the most tiring work I've ever done, but it's really helping out with our member become more active.

Unfortunately, our investigator with the Baptismal date has been skipping out on our teaching appointments and not coming to church, so we can't really do much to help him. He's also having more trials as his Grandpa just passed away. He's now in Taipei at the funeral. We keep praying for him to have the strength to pray and read. He's a great guy, but just needs more action to the faith that he has.

I was also really sad this week because Peter (the guy I felt so good about that we were meeting with a few months ago) still has been out of contact with us. We finally decided to drop him. Made me really sad to put him in the Former Investigator pile, but I have faith he'll come back in contact with the Church somehow. But hey, these are all trials and though it may be a little dark for us, we need to look on the horizon for the sunrise.

Other than that, our ward is doing great. Elder Lindsay is such a people lover. I'm learning alot from him about loving the people here in Yuli. He's a great companion and I hope I'm helping him out too.

Oh! Did you two by chance get my MTC name tag? I sent it to the Repulse Bay Apts, but I'm not sure it got there... I'm so glad you liked the pictures! I'll take more around here. It's so pretty and I'll definitley miss it.

Thanks so much for your letters! I love you both so much! Thanks for everything and especially this experience.

Love,

Elder Carlson ;)