Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011 - SCOTT COMES HOME!!!

Elder Carlson's plane lands tonight at 7:10 pm, Hungary time (just after 11 am for you Utah folks). It will be SOOO fun to welcome him home. We will go immediately to the Stake Center where our Stake President will officially release him.

Besides his mom, dad and little brother, Ryan, two of his cousins, Sara & Samantha, will also be on hand to welcome him home.

Well done, Elder Carlson! We are so pleased with you!!!

June 20, 2011

Oh NOOO!!! Do I need to bring a shirt to change into for the interview with the stake president??? Just Joking... You know... I'm secretly hoping my flight to Hk gets delayed, so I miss my flight to moscow too... therefore, I'd get to spend a few hours in HK! :D That'd make my day, but that'd be difficult to work things out with you guys over there. Schedual another interview and all.... I'm excited to be back though. It's going to be nice to be with you again.
I'll tell you about this when I get back, but I got the best send out! Sunday night was a YSA FHE night, and it was basically a HUGE party. We brought 4 investigators too. There were probably 20+ people attending. Basically, we ate, played games, and I got to explain I'm leaving, my feelings about the mission, and share my favorite scripture. Then, as we were leaving to go home, we took a group picture. Then I said bye to people... It was such a fun night. I'm really going to miss this area. The members are so great.
Our ward is still in a rented chapel, but this month, if we can get an average of 120 people to sac. meeting, they'll build us a brand new one. 1st week: 90 people, 2nd: 104, 3rd: 129!!! So, we can totally do it. Us missionaries are bringing 7-8 people a week, including ourselves, so we'll accomplish it. 129 is pretty good yeah? It seemed like alot of people for taiwan, but we're DOING IT! So, I think we'll have a new chapel in DanShui when I come back and visit.
Truthfully, I'm excited to get back to Facebook... that's one of the only ways I'll be able to get back in contact with all my friends here in Taiwan. I'm really going to miss all these people. It seems like it's going to be soo sad. It's like what David wrote to me in a letter: "... Then you'll be on the plane home, not knowing when you'll ever see your friends in Taiwan again." I'm starting to feel like that. I leave the mission office at 5:30 am tomorrow morning, so basically, I only have 2 hours and maybe 30 minutes tonight. The rest of the time is all traveling time. Way way sad. I'll truly miss this country.
Elder Scott Carlson (Until I serve a senior mission)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 13, 2011

So about that rest that I wanted/needed... Well, my companion has been sick with the flu this past week. He still has it, so we've been taking it really really easy. Basically, I'm so rested that I wake up naturally at 5:30 now and just sit in bed until I have to wake up at 6:30. I've organized records, deep cleaned the kitchen, bleached the bathtub, and done other stuff. Yeah... so I got my rest. I'm afraid to set up lots of people for this last week because we might need some of that time for him to rest more and finally get over the flu before the next transfer. We've been teaching lessons still, but just mainly taking it easy so we don't kill my companion. I'm sooo excited to see you two again! I'm going to sure miss Taiwan, especially Danshui, but I'm way excited to be back with my parents again.

I'm going to miss Elder Siebert. He's a great guy. He'll do awesome in the mission and just see miracles the whole time with his efforts and faith. Yeah... I really don't know what to say now... because it's basically all over... As a sister missionary wrote in my bye-bye book, "These 2 years are the best, although not the happiest." It's hard, but I love my mission. I wish I could've worked more boldly in my previous efforts. I'm really really going to miss it. Sure, I'll be back in the world where I can use the computer, play around with friends, talk to my family whenever I want, etc... but there's just some other connection to life that I don't think I'll reach when I get back. It's like there are 2 'real life'.

There's this world, and there's knowing what real life really is in an eternal perspective. On earth we have iPhones. In Heaven, we'll have our personal revelation rock. On earth, we have our lives; work, home, recreation. And in Heaven, we'll just have worlds without number. The biggest connection I think I've felt during this time is Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ going before us in Their Work. Preparing the way. Helping us through the hard times. Basically this has increased my desire to serve the Lord more. I hope I can get a calling to serve others in my next BYU ward. I'm excited for it.

Well, I gotta go. Thanks for writing me so diligently these past 2 years. It's meant a ton to me. I love you both and I'll see you soon!!!
Elder Carlson
P.S. There's a chance I'll check my email next week if there's any last minute details. If not, just email the mission office.
Well, I love you both! I'll see you in just a week!

Hey all!
So I just wanted to write a mass email for my last one on the mission. You know, it's really weird to say that. Just last saturday morning, I got to attend O and M's baptism (pictured). They were 2 people I got to teach when I was serving in the mission office, and they got baptized about 6 weeks after we started teaching them. Talk about people really prepared to learn and accept Christ's teachings. They both have awesome prayers and really believe this is what God wants them to do. Anyways, it's great to see friends come to the Savior like that. I'll see you all in a week or more for others of you. Anyways, it's sad that I'm going home, but I'm excited to see all you again.
Love you all!
Elder Carlson

June 6, 2011

Ahhh!! This week it hasn't been like: "Yay, soon I get my ipod back!" or "I get to watch Star Wars again" or "I finally get to sleep in!". But more like... "I only have 2 more weeks in Taiwan!" "Only 2 more Chinese-speaking sacrament meetings" "No more cheap food and fun companions".... Yeah...I'm the Anti-Trunk!!!
But really, I'm going to miss it here a bunch. Taiwan has been such a good place to me. I am dead tired and would love to take a rest, but yeah, I'll miss this country a bunch. I am excited to see you all soon though. 2 more weeks! But truthfully, I feel like it's going to be really weird because it still hasn't hit me that bad that I only have 2 weeks left. It feels like I'll continue to be here for months and months.
I don't really have much to report on... I'm just super tired. OH yeah! O passed her baptism interview and will be baptized the same day as M. I'm way stoked to attend. It's 11 in the morning, so we'll see if I can or not.
I know this gospel is true and Church is needed by everyone. We don't just need to do "good things", but we need to learn what they are and how to do them. Church will help us learn and act. And especially help us become clean from our mistakes.
Love you Mom! I'll see you soon! Next week might be one of the last emails I write. Maybe that last day, but we'll see!

June 1, 2011

We had a cool week because both Elder Jay E. Jensen and Elder Bednar came to Taiwan. Elder Jensen spoke to our mission, and Elder Bednar spoke to the Stake. Only my stake here got to see him, so I felt really lucky. Plus, my companion suggested we go super early, so we got 4th row pew seats in a stake center sized room. We had the Wang family come, and they were awesome. They were dressed up really nice, and when they got there they just started reading scriptures to prepare. I love that family!!! Their kids were too rowdy to come, but Brother and Sister Wang came and seemed to like it. Especially because Elder Bednar spoke directly to non-members. It was really powerful. We had 4 investigators there (haha one got pulled away from us to usher people into the meeting), but I wish we had more because it would mean a lot to them to see and listen from a modern day apostle.
We also went on exchanges yesterday and when I was in a place called Beitou, my exchange companion and I contacted this lady, and we found out she lived in the US. So, we contacted her in English. I'm sooooo thankful for the Mission office. My English was more coherent, and my companion struggled in teaching english lessons. Really, the office improved my english a ton! It went really good and the spirit was strong. But she told us she knew some things about our church and couldn't accept the Godhead, or that we have to "earn" our salvation, or the 3 kingdoms of glory. I didn't have the Bible on me, but I asked her to re-read James 2. I said I didn't want to argue about it or say she's wrong, but I invited to read a few passages in the scriptures and if she wanted to learn more, check out mormon.org. She was really cool. I can totally see her accepting the gospel when she goes back toCalifornia.
Anyways, my companion is still really sweet and I'm glad to be with him. He helps me always work hard and do my best to find and teach. Time is ticking by, but it's going to be good. Our temple day is today so thats why I didn't reply on monday. Which, is going to make it even shorter because our next Preparation Day is only 4 days away. Then it's my second to last week. Yikes. Well... Onward ever onward.

May 23, 2011

Regarding the picture of Scott with his companion in the lily field:
Yeah, we went out to a mountain where they had a huge field of lilys. We could pick about 10 for only 3 USD. Haha, I'm not much of a fan of flowers, but I thought it was cool. That was taken on my camera by Jimmy Ku. The missionaries in it is me and Elder Cheng-Jui Yu (Chinese: 余承叡).
So here's something I wrote to my mission president today:
"We saw tons of miracles here and I'm so glad to be serving here in DanShui. The one I wanted to make note of was last week monday. I had a feeling to contact a guy nearby when we arrived at a house, and he set up for the next night. We met with him and his small family twice that week, and they came to church. They said they really like Christian churches and its what they were looking for in the past. They just backed out of getting baptized in the past because of their parents wanting them to worship ancestors. After working through that issue, they said they'd be willing to shoot for July 9th for being baptized. They came to church this sunday too. It was a really cool experience to show that through faith, miracles are brought to pass. Christ really is preparing souls here in Taiwan."

Yeah, basically I'm having the time of my life here in Danshui. By the way, M. is getting baptized on 6/11. And.... O IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON 6/4!!! I'm going to ask president if I can attend at least O's. We have a person or two getting baptized here in Danshui too, but I just love seeing O and M get baptized because I got to work with them a bit more and help them even with all the stress in the Mission Office.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


May 16, 2011

Hey Everyone!

So quick update, I've now been placed in Danshui, Taiwan as a District Leader. (For those who don't know what that is, I'm basically leading a group of 5 missionaries in a north part of Taiwan. I basically train them weekly and also go on exchanges to train them on what the mission president wants us all to learn and know.) So, this week was great and we saw lots of miracles! My companion especially is cool. He's only on his 3rd transfer (3-4 months) in Taiwan, but his Chinese is probably as good and maybe better than mine. I can write characters, but he can definitely speak better than I can. But, yeah. He is a big help and we're having a good time. We were on the road the other day, and I started talking to an Indonesian lady (because Elder Denies taught me some in the past) and while I struggled talking to her, he talked to this other lady. He just said: "Hey, can I share this book with you?" and he and her just talked about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the restoration of the gospel. She thought it was so cool that she invited us up to her house that moment to share it with her husband. Her husband wasn't as interested, but we'll meet with her this next week hopefully.

So guess what! I'm not trunky! I've been much trunkier on different parts of my mission, but this morning, my companion was joking, telling me of all the movies I need to see, music to listen to, things to do... I just shrugged my shoulders. Yeah, no effect at all! Like... I just thought "whatever! I can see all that soon and I want to be here in Taiwan right now..."

I'm glad you guys had a great week. I'm short on time, but yeah O… is doing great. They only have 6 more commandments to share with her, and she's great with being baptized! I'm totally going to attend and I told Elder Porter to tell me when they hold it. I'm so stoked!

So basically, I'm having a blast this last transfer. It's scary how fast it's going. Like David said, I'll be on the plane home soon and just... yeah. I won't know when I'll see all my Taiwan friends again. So, I guess I'll just live it all up while I can and enjoy the last stretch while working hard. Probably the biggest spiritual experience I had besides lessons we taught, was this morning in my studies. I was preparing for the District meeting (where I teach other missionaries), and while I was thinking of things to share and an activity to do, it felt like the Holy Spirit was testifying to me that this is EXACTLY what the missionaries need to do to improve their efforts, results, happiness, and biggest of all, faith. I'm excited to teach this tomorrow.

I love you all and miss you all too! I hope things are going great and summer preparations are going well.


Elder Scott Carlson

May 7, 2011

Well, big news! I'm moving! Hahaha... jk, I've known that for a long time. But, I'm moving back to Danshui! My second area! I'm so glad I'm back to the ocean. I love the ocean! So, I'll be companions with Elder Siebert. He's a good energetic missionary, so I'm excited to finish up my mission with someone ready and willing to work hard. The hard part is that I'm the District Leader. So, I guess I'll really have to jump back into the field running. Talking to everyone, planning out things for the day, etc. It's going to be tough, but I can do it. It's sad though that my time in the Mission Office is over. I'm really going to miss it.

O… and M… are doing awesome. I noticed that when you just stop teaching a "lesson" and start teaching the person because you love them, things go so much better. We were just teaching M… about the Plan of Salvation, and he was confused and didn't really know how it applied to him, but later we just swapped it around and showed what it can help him with and let him know about his life in the future.

I'll be honest that I'm excited and pretty nervous about next transfer. I haven't done whole day missionary work for a long time, and I've only had one junior companion. Now, I have to be an example to the district, and... yeah. I'll just do my best and see how it goes. I want to just be happy and focus on fulfilling my purpose. Yeah, if you want, you could pray for me...

Things are just going great here in Taiwan. I'll try not to count the time, but it's hard when you have 6 weeks, 43 days... hahah just kidding. I'm trying not to count. I just know it's coming soon.

Love you Mom! Talk to you Tomorrow!!!

Elder Carlson

(Scott called us on Mother’s Day and we had a nice talk. He really is doing well.)

April 30, 2011

This week was great. Elder Porter and I are working out well. I really admire some of his qualities and he's taught me things that I'll use my last transfer to just keep on going till the end. Since I've been in the office, It's really easy to find excuses to put off that finding/teaching investigator time. There's always something we could be doing to helping out the mission office, but we need to remember that our missionary work at night is just as important. Someone in the office said something that made me think about how to be a great father when I'm feeling work stress. Basically, there's work time, and family time. Once I get off work, I should STAY off work. I should go home, stay with my wife and kids and build a good relationship with them. Anyways, It was just a thought for the future. Doing it is more difficult that just thinking it.

O… is doing awesome. She has a great desire to learn alot, and isn't meeting with us just because we're cool or whatever. She's amazing and has thought about alot of more spiritual and life things. She has a baptismal date set for June 11th. Right before I go home. Of course, I'll be in another area, but I'll see if I can get permission to attend it. By the way, I'm still in the Mission office. I have 1 more week, and then I call home on the 8th, then move the 9th. I'm really hoping I stay close to Taipei. That's where most of the people I know are at, and it's close to all the places I want to visit before I return. We're also meeting with a guy named M... He came to our English class, but we met him before and talked to him about the gospel.

Yeah, so this last week is going to be sad. I'm really going to miss the office. I've had lots of great experiences there. I just think it's going to be hard in a new area that I KNOW I'm leaving in 6 weeks. It'll be hard to be motivated to build a good relationship with the members. I'll try my best though.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 23, 2011

President has finally found a person to replace me. It was one week earlier than expected, but it's alright. I've got my job down enough that I can pass it on over fine. ..(Someone) threw away alot of my stuff. I didn't notice for a day, so it was too late to get it back. Nothing TOO serious, but hey, it's my stuff... my cell phone chair, some numbers of people I contacted, and my watch. Maybe more, but I haven't noticed yet. Anyways, I won't explain all the details... I've had a really tough week, so I talked to president yesterday, then to my companion this morning, and things are hopefully going to be working better. I'll be honest in saying that I've never lost my temper on my mission, but yesterday was the first time I got REALLY close.

On the otherside, Elder Yu and I have been seeing some miracles in our proselyting. We met with this one girl named O. She's a Japanese major in College. She is Golden! I know lots of missionaries say that, but really, she's amazed us from day one. We asked her to start praying and to come to church the next day. She prayed at the end of the lesson, and it was one of the best first prayers I've heard. She came to church and loved it. We just met with her yesterday, and after we shared our message, she told us that she came to meet with a question. Why did we all believe this? She said we answered it without her asking. We then told her about preparing for baptism and receiving more blessings, and she started happily tearing up, and said she feels if she's not ready to be baptized, it might be disrespectful to us and to Christ. We reassured her that she could be ready, and that Heavenly Father understands our hearts, and as long as we're honest and true about our decisions, things will work out. It was a great lesson. I'm so glad we get to teach her.

I'm so glad for all the hard and happy experiences I receive through
missionary work. I know this work is true. I've prayed many times and I know that the Book of Mormon is true and Heavenly Father lives. I know Christ lives and through him we can come back to the presence of the Father. We may sometimes doubt. But we can always renew our testimonies through prayer and study.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 16, 2011

Yeah! I got the (birthday) package! It was a HUGE surprise! The Christensens (our friends from Hong Kong who now live in Taiwan) brought bread and a quick-make cake too. Too bad I don't have an oven to make it. I'll see what I can do with it. I also shared some of the things with other missionaries and made their day. Haha... American cereal is something most people really miss. But the thing I loved most of all was all the pictures. I just love seeing my family again. It doesn't make me trunky, but it's just really fun to see what you've all been up to these past years. I'm way excited to just sit in front of the AppleTV looking at even more.

Hmm... The talks I liked the most were probably Richard G. Scott's and Monson's Priesthood session. There was so much revelation in Monson's talk. For all of us guys. You'll just have to watch it. It was funny too.

Hahaha... yeah I got my itinerary too! (He'll be coming home to Budapest via Hong Kong and Moscow on June 21.) I was a little bummed I wasn't going to be in Shanghai for 10 hours, but HK will be fun to land in and walk around for a short time. Just thinking about the past. I really miss it, and a big goal I have is to move back to HK. I had lots of good memories. It might not be the same since I'll be older, but I still love that island.

Sister Lin really is fun. She's had lots of hard things in her life, but she's cool though and fun. She actually served a mission about 40-50 years ago. She was one of the first Taiwanese sister missionaries.

As for proselyting, we had a really cool lesson last night. The spirit was strong, and the girl we met really seemed to want to know if this is true. She said she had a christian friend pray for her once, and she felt it was really peaceful. We shared about the Natural man and testified about letting the gospel change your life to have these attributes. We commited her to pray about these things and to know if what we taught is true. She was way willing and had no objections.

I really had a great week. I tried to keep my birthday a secret, but in doing so, it provoked other office people to celebrate it more... =P. It wasn't what I was going for, but oh well. I had a great time.

I'll be out of the office for sure, and I'll probably be training someone starting next next week to take my spot. This time really went by fast. It was hard, but it was good. I'll have a great last transfer being out in the field all day.

Thanks for the birthday wishes. Let everyone know I love them and miss them, but I'll be back soon! :) Plus, I get to call for mothers day! Aiyo! That's just in 2-3 weeks!

Love you!!!!
Elder Carlson

April 9, 2011

(We called Scott's mission to talk to them regarding his itinerary for coming home. I hoped he'd be the one to answer the phone, but it was another elder - I guessed his companion. We also talked a bit about going to pick him up, but ultimately decided not to as the cost and travel time were both so high. And we've been to many of the places he has served - including the office where he is sitting right now!)

Haha... It was pretty funny because yes, it was my companion who answered. After he transferred the call to Sister Walker, she put it on speaker phone so I could hear. She's probably one of the trunkiest in the office, so she wanted me to be able to hear my parents :). Before she answered though, my companion told me it was my parents. Ahh! I was tempted to talk, but Sister walker didn't want me to. So I was answering a phone call and heard Dad was hanging up so I quickly yelled "BYE DAD!!". I bet the missionary I was talking to was weirded out.

It's alright about not coming to Taiwan. I looked up tickets, and yeah... around 1000 bucks per ticket, plus the ticket back. Also, the routes are CRAZY! When I go home, I might have a 9 hour layover in Shanghai. So I asked president what I'm allowed to do, and he said: "You can't proselyte, so go play in Shanghai for a day!" So, we'll see. I'll just have to be careful that I'm not traveling on my diplomatic passport and I'll be ok. But yeah, I probably shouldn't be making plans so early. I figure I'll be happy anyways 'cause I'll get to see you and Dad soon. I have pictures and stories to tell too. So it'll be just fine. :)

As for conference, Taiwan watches it on Saturday and Sunday, so that's basically today and tomorrow. And since today is our preparation day, we're emailing really early to get it out of the way. We'll be in conference for the rest of the day. It'll be long, but it'll be good.

Last week, we got a senior missionary to go out running with us in the morning. It was mostly her decision, but we help her get the motivation to wake up. Her name is Sister Lin, and I'll have to show you some pictures. She's really spunky and likes to play around.

Well, that's pretty much it. It's been an average week of running, eating breakfast, working at the office, proselyting in the night, and going to sleep. All day, every day. At least I'm busy 24/7.

I'm excited for conference. I don't know what they'll say, but I know its catered for everyone who has a open, willing heart. Hopefully lots of people we've been working with will get alot from this conference.

April 2, 2011

It's really great to hear from you. I've been so stoked to read emails from you, Dad, and Ryan today. Like, REALLY. But, I never did it in the Mission Office. I try to be obedient.

I KNOWWW!!! I'm kinda downed about Ryan not speaking Chinese, but I'm sure he'll love Chile. He'll probably be an Assistant to the President. It's just Ryan's personality. I can see him being a great missionary (even though I keep having dreams about him doing voodoo). I'm sure he'll love it. I'll have to send him stuff since Chile isn't too far from the US. Well, basically it settles that I don't need to buy learning supplies for Ryan now.

It's scary that I'm THAT close to coming home. I keep running into things that tell me: I don't want to return. Missionary work is tough, but I feel unready to head back into the real world. I can do it though.

Happy April Fool's Day too! For it, my companion and I did a few things in the office. First of all, my taiwanese companion has some "drink mix" that basically clears and liquifies your bowels. Sooo... we used it to make milkshakes for the Assistants. Too bad we didn't add enough mix because the Assistants to the president didn't say anything :(. Also, I flipped the screen on a senior missionaries computer and made it hard for her to do her work. :) But not too hard. I'll explain it when I get back. Basically, I got in that morning and President said: "I like it, Elder Carlson!" Haha... It was a good day. I also sprayed my companion when he was brushing his teeth. That's pretty much it.

I'm so excited for conference. Two days to relax and listen to what the Lord wants to speak to us. This is the time to receive new scripture. Maybe it's not the seal portions of the Book of Mormon, but whatever it is, is what the Lord wants us to hear. I hope I get to hear it in English this time. I'll see what I can work out. Maybe go on exchanges?

Anyways, we're just finishing up our preparation day. We spent around 5-6 hours traveling to and from a strawberry farming place near Taichung. Kind of a waste of time since all the traveling smushed the strawberries to paste, and the skin had alot of pesticide, so maybe it needs to be thrown away, but anyways, things happen.

March 26, 2011

I really miss looking at pictures from the past. I'll probably spend hours on the Apple TV just looking at them. There'll be lots of stuff to get done when I get back over there. There's already ton to do here, and I'll just be even busier there. But it'll be way fun! I'm excited. A senior couple in the mission office showed me pictures of their grandson who just got back. Wow. They made a sign for him that said: "Welcome to the land of eternal P-Days!" That made me a bit trunky, but I got over it fast cause this week has really been busy. We have to prepare all the moves for the missionaries and submit forms that let them know we changed our addresses for them. It's sooooooo... hard. There's more colorful words I could use in chinese to describe it, but hard is good enough. Haha...

I'm running out of time because we still need to type those letters so the government will be happy with us. Really, thanks for writing again! This week really went by fast, and really busy too. I didn't even have time to eat lunch yesterday! We got new missionaries here and they're all great. It's tough but it's fun here.

AIYO!!! I'm so stoked for Ryan's call! I'm going to be so tempted to check my email because I'm almost always on a computer these days. I'll try to be patient. I'm just excited he's going on a mission and excited for it.

March 19, 2011

As for the Tsunami, a really funny, trunky senior sister missionary showed us some movies about it in Japan. ITS HUGE! Just watching that thing roll into Japan was crazy. Totally unexpected too. First the ground shakes, then water just rushing up onto land. Really really sad. As for us in Taiwan, nothing really huge. I didn't even feel anything. We're all safe. Thanks for asking though!

I used to think that keeping the Sabbath day was just going to church and not playing with friends. Little did I know that doing service for others and learning was a part too. Instead, I'm pretty sure I got 15 hours of sleep every sunday. :) We shouldn't be doing work/labor, but we should be extending our efforts in preparation for the next week and helping others. That's something I learned in (the book) Jesus the Christ. The Sabbath wasn't made for us to honor it, but made for our benefit.

Ok, the last thing I wanted to say was the big change of heart we've been seeing in a less active and his wife. Brother Y. and his wife have been really making improvements, and I know the gospel is blessing them. When we first met Sister Y, she was really quiet. Brother Y. did his best to find excuses for everything. But over time, being friends with them, and most importantly, sharing the Book of Mormon, Brother You makes an effort to get a job, read the scriptures, and come to church. As I'm writing, he's in a job workshop put on by the church. Sister Y. has even made bigger changes. She's now more open, happier, and even laughs. She loves the Bible and thinks alot about helping her husband, etc.

The church really is true and I love the gospel. I know I'm not the best missionary and have lots of weaknesses, but I hope I can always improve.

March 12, 2011

I was talking to Sister Perkins in the car to the airport, she told me about all the things going on in Japan. She said that... the missionaries are all safe. So, I hope everyone isn't worrying too much. It's such a big earthquake though.

Interesting thing was that Elder Yu (my companion) and I went up to the coast of JiLong to fix a thing in an apartment. We already left when we got the call, as a few people in the mission office were worried about us and those elders. They said the Tsunami would hit at 5:30 or 6, but nothing big happened. I talked to the Yuli Elders (because I can call anyone in the mission I want too. I love privilages!), and they said in Taidong, the water rose 50 cm, but nothing big happened. We're all safe here, but Taiwan is a fault line, so it's only a matter of time since the last days are here.

Anyways, I'm really enjoying the office. So many privilages! I do have to watch myself alot though that I don't do anything unbecoming of a missionary. I also need to learn to balance my time better. It's so easy to be caught up in a lot of mission projects.

I'm so excited to hear where Ryan is going! like REALLY! I'm still wishing that I'll see the email through the mission email address, because when he gets his call, we get all his information on the internet. But, most likely he's going to another mission. I'm going to guess Taichung. We need a missionary in every part of Taiwan. Then we could really give you and Dad tours of this island.

March 5, 2011

The servant of servants!

So, another quick week has gone by in the mission office. It's really going to go by super fast! Kind of scary. Almost everyday we have stuff to do and work on in the office. Today is our Preparation day, and we still have to buy flowers for President Perkins' visit. We also went to the temple today and we're going to be doing some more busy work. It's all good though. Only thing I think I'm lacking sometimes is patience. I'm starting to feel the stress of the work since we're on time scheduals, and we have a Less-active guy we're working with who's mentally ill, so he does some really rude stuff to me on the phone.

Anyways, it's a good calling to have, and I have to say, that I'm the servant of servants. People on their missions are servants of the Lord. My job is to assist and serve them. So far, I've fix a lot of computers, a toilet, a washer machine, and other stuff. Then we just write reports for President, and do our best to make the government happy so they don't kick missionaries out.

So Ryan is turning in his papers now... He'll probably get an answer in a few months right? I'M SO EXCITED! I really want to see if he'll serve European or South American, or will he be like us and come to taiwan?

I went to the temple today and received some cool revelation. I really love the House of the Lord and it really is much different than being in the world. I hope that when I'm off my mission, I can just sit in the Celestial room for a long time and just think and rest. But right now, I have to be nice to my companion :)

It's really scary to think that I'm getting close to coming home. These 2 years have really gone by quick.

February 26, 2011

Truthfully, I love the office. It's super busy, I get to do some proselyting, and have fun. I know I'm not the best at helping people overcome addictions, problems, etc, but I know I can really help and serve others through my position. Actually, I've got rid of almost all my acne since I've been there. I guess the stress of doing missionary work got me for most my mission. I do miss going out proselyting and being with a companion like that though. To be honest, I feel that my mission is over. Because we're doing all these worldly things (phone bills, websites, records, fixing computers, working with landlords, sending packages, etc), all the past spiritualness is gone. It's like going from testifying and praying all the time to... working in an office! On the good side, It makes me really appreciate church and missionary meetings (district meeting). I can really tell when I feel the spirit and when I don't. So, it's hard in some ways, but it's a big blessing in others.

As for driving... no permit or licence. So, to my companion's dismay, no driving. He's already pretty sick of it... I bet he never expected an American NOT having a drivers licence. Haha...

We've been doing a really cool service activity too. It's been making my companion super busy, but its fun. We're doing a Health Puppet Show produced by the church. It has smoking, drugs, sanitation, drinking, and... I don't remember what else. We performed the Smoking one yesterday at a school. It's quite a blunt performance, including the skit: "Death by cigarrette", where we kill "lungs" after he gets addicted. It's kinda corny, but in some ways its funny. "Addiction" is a red octopus with a lustful woman's voice. It's pretty creepy, but pretty accurate in displaying what addiction does to you. It wraps you up and drags you down. Anyways, it went pretty well. We have 3 more shows coming up in march. It's going to be way fun.

I'm still really enjoying my mission. I know I only have a little bit of time left. The office is going really fast, and after the office, I'll probably only have 4 weeks of being back in the field. Way sad that it's almost over, but I'm just glad I can serve and enjoy it so much.
Life over here is really busy but really good. I'm really really really excited to know where Ryan is going on his mission! He's definitely going to love it. Also, Steven Lew, (Chris Lew's cousin), is coming to our mission! We received his info in the mail and he's now on the New Missionaries board. Really cool!

February 19, 2011

So, for now on, my preparation day is always Saturday. We're busy on every other day of the week, so we get the weekend off to proselyte and take care of personal things. Basically, our daily schedual is like this:

6:30 Wake up, Exercise.
7:00 Breakfast and Shower
8:00 Personal Study
9:00 Office Work
6:00pm Dinner
7:00pm Proselyting
9:00pm (some days later) Return home and plan tomorrows activities.

That's basically it. We're in the office the whole day taking care of the mission needs. Right now, Elder Chatlain is training me. He's from Sandy, Utah and is a really cool guy. He knew my BYU roommate Alex. Pretty sweet! He'll be with me for 2 weeks, and then he's off in another area procelyting. I'll probably be here for 2 transfers and then train someone for 2 weeks on my last transfer. Then I'll be thrown out into the field to finish up my mission. Kinda sad to know that it's just THAT much over. We do get 2 hours a day to proselyte, but usually things come up and we don't get the time.

Anyways, my responsibilities are: Filing baptismal records, sending reports to Elder Perkins, faxing things, fixing computers, and most importantly, keeping the senior couple sane :) There's alot more, but that's the main jist. Another busy part is accompaning my other companion (Elder Yu) who has to travel to all the apartments to fix them, manage contracts, pay bills, fill up President's Toyota Camry, etc. It takes a LOT of time.

Well, this is my new mission! It's pretty different!

February 13, 2011

Subject: A New Mission...

I don't have much time this morning as there's been some changes to my mission. I got an unexpected call this friday from the mission president. He called me to be the next Office elder, so I'll be like [my friend, Alex] Elder Nightingale, always in the office. So, I don't have preparation day today, but I'm going to the office early to get started, so I wanted to shoot out an email. My preparation day will now be saturday for the next 2-3 transfers. I very well could end my mission in the mission office.

That's way interesting about Alex... One thing I noticed is that most Elders in the office get some sort of medical problem after entering the office. It might be some revelation President receives? Anyways, it's happened with the past 2 office elders, so I'm hoping I'll be ok! (Alex was in a bike accident on his mission in Singapore and had several breaks in his collarbone - it'll need surgery someday.)

So, I was sick 2 weeks ago, and it wasn't going away, so the mission nurse suggested that I go see a doctor. Taiwanese doctors are crazy! I'll send pictures later, but he put me on 6 medications. Ambroxol, Pseudoephedrine, Panadol, Medicon, Resplen, and Loratidine(finska). What he told me is that I'll feel better in 3 days. What he didn't say was that I'd be super dizzy and not be able to ride a bike for a week. Anyways, It was hard spending a week and a half inside.

Elder Denies and I are splitting up after being together for 3 transfers. He's sad and nervous about the future (makes sense, because he's only had one companion so far...), but he'll do just fine. He's an amazing guy and he has alot of faith. I had a really great time with him. I'll miss him.

February 7, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai!!! (Happy Chinese New Year!) Year of the Rabbit!

Sorry about the short email last week. I was pretty sure I was going to come back and write more, but found that I ran out of time because of bad planning. Sorry about that. Kelly's note: I didn't even include it as it just talked about receiving a box of things I sent. Also, I've caught the mission plague too. Kinda like what Sterling has. Basically, a had a fever and headache last sunday until monday. Then for the rest of the week I've been coughing up mucus and getting extremely dizzy. And I'm still coughing it up today and I feel like I'm going to fall over. But I'll be fine in a few days. I've been resting, but I hate being inside all day, so I've been doing missionary work too.

This week has been like a dream. We've basically woken up, slept through studies (because we're both sick), go eat lunch at a members house, rest at home, proselyte outside a bit, eat dinner at a member's house, then proselyte/rest at home. That's mostly it. I haven't felt so tired my whole mission. The up side of the week though was that we got to meet more members and know them better, and also the weather has been amazingly warm. I'm wearing short sleeves again with no jacket :)

As for coming home, yeah, June 22 is the day I should be flying home. The mission will most likely give you some info about it. Shouldn't be a big problem. And really, no worries about me being trunky. I got a taste of what it feels like to not be on a mission this week, and it's weird. I didn't like it. I'd much rather be studying, preaching, testifying, and helping people understand the importance of the gospel. I'm really going to miss it here.

Anyways, I heard from my Ward mission leader that theres lots of signs of the times. Volcano in Japan, we had an earthquake here last week, Yellowstone has a volcano that might explode, snowstorms all over the US, Big storm in Australia, etc. Crazy huh?

The further and further I get on my mission, its not the "I"M GOING HOME" feelings. It's more of the "wow.. I still have so much more to learn!!!" feelings. I still feel so spiritually immature and that I need to grow more in listening the the spirit to receive revelation. I've received some good revelation last night that maybe I'll have to share with you after my mission. Right now wouldn't be too appropriate. I'd feel bad. I'll just tell you later.

Yeah, This experience really has changed me and I'm really am grateful for it. I'll really miss it though. I don't want to come home and worry about girls or about dating, etc. Sooooo ma fan! I just hope I can learn what kind of girl I want and make the right choice. I've made...mistakes in the past. But I learned alot. Anyways, I really miss you too, and I'm excited to see you in a few months. It's really going to come fast. Elder Green is leaving home in a week. I remember when he had 3 transfers left. That's where I'm at now. That was like yesterday for him. I'll see you all soon!

January 24, 2011

Subject: Best Day Ever.

So, this week, I really had a great time. I had, probably the best day of my mission. I felt so directed in everything I did. I even saw some cool miracles. I took a picture of my Journal entry for that day, so I'll hopefully send that to you in a second. Basically, one of the highlights was how I was directed to the prepared. We prayed and asked Heavenly Father that as we go out contacting people to be directed to the prepared, or have them directed to us. We went to the MRT station near our house to talk to commuters, and I just offered a "Free English Class" pamphlet to a nearby lady. She looked at me, and just spoke in Chinese saying "What Church are you? I'm looking for a Church." I shared about our name, who we were, and what we believed and also got some of her background. She said she's been looking for answers about God actually existing. She said that because she was Chinese, she tried out Buddhism. Like, a really strong believer of it, and after 10 years, still no answer. So, she met us! :) I answered some of her questions about how we get an answer, how we know it's from God and not the devil, and what we do at church. She seemed interested, so I set her up a time to meet with the sister missionaries in our area. She later cancelled, but she really seemed sincere. We're hoping she'll actually meet with us and thus find the truth. It was really cool though.

Other than that, a few other answers to my prayers came that day. I'll let you both just read my journal entry and see. About the rest of the week though... really really hard. Because the Chinese new year is coming up soon, most people are busy, and have to schedual things over our times. We had about 20 lessons set up for this week, and about 14 cancelled, and one of our investigators stood us up. So. Yeah. It was just hard, but as we say in Chinese: Haiiiiii Keyi!!! (Still Can Do!!!).

Anyways, I hope you two are having a blast over there. I'm loving my mission even though I miss all you. I hope this next week goes well for you all. As I keep reading the scriptures and praying, I realize how true this gospel really is! Really! God lives! His Son is Christ! Christ is perfect, but died for you and I. And the important part is... He still lives! He still loves us, and he still performs miracles so we can become like him and live with God again. I love that we don't use crosses in our church. I realized it's all because we decide to remember his sacrifice, but realize and focus on that he lives today.

January 17, 2011

Subject: Nightmares only come from your perspective on things....

So... to start out explaining the subject. Basically I've had about 3 weird dreams this week. Only 2 would be counted as nightmares though because I woke up at 5, not being able to fall back asleep. The first one was so weird because in it, I encountered all the decisions I had to make when I got home: Who to marry, what major to do, how I'm going to pay for everything, etc. I realized a bit of the pressure RMs get when they return home, just without the time restrictions they have. It just made me think about how easy I have it here. Here my worries are: Am I diligent? Am I saying the right stuff? Am I who I should be as a missionary? etc. It's all valid questions/concerns, but there are even more things to have to worry about. I don't really want to go home now, but it's stuff I'm going to have to face and solve. It'll be alright though. It just scared me for a bit that night. So, thus, nightmares come from your perspective on things. Going home might be pardise for some missionaries, and awful for others.

Anyways, this week we had a surprise Zone conference and it helped us boost our faith. President shared a Gen. Conf. Talk from Elder Edgely. It was about choosing faith. We choose faith through our works. Like, being obedient to the gospel and teachings of the prophets will prove the Lord's blessings are true, and this will give us faith. President focused us on being more obedient to receive more faith and help from Heavenly Father. It was a good talk. I'm striving more and more to be obedient to rules now just to see more miracles on my mission.

Actually, for investigators, we have about 15-16 people in total. Actually quite a lot, but 2 of them are families, so we teach about 6-7 group/people only. Not as many lessons, but more people listening. Sister W. and her daughter were able to come to church this week, and they seemed like they liked it. What she said really showed wisdom: "I've been praying, and I'll come back to church, because I know I can't learn and understand it all at once." So she'll keep learning and when she understands more, she'll get a clearer answer. We're also teaching a Sister Z. She loves her family so much and she's understanding alot and loves praying to heavenly father. She says it feels really good and happy every single time she prays.

It's colder over there so STAY WARM!!!

January 10, 2011

I would love to take a team of global warming scientists outside and let them sit in the cold rain here in Taiwan, and tell me about how the world is heating up. It's much much colder here that it was last year, but we're staying warm. My companion got in a bike accident last monday night, and still has some headaches and sinus problems because of it. We might just rest this preparation day. But as for global warming... I still don't completely buy it.

Anyways, this week went by pretty fast and we had an awesome time yesterday as we were teaching a Wei family. We brought over another family to help us teach, and they did awesome. In fact, we're going to use them next week too. They both have a kid the same age, and they live the gospel well. They're such a good example for this family. No baptism date, but now they know what's the purpose of missionaries. We'll help them understand these truths. I know we'll encounter some issues along the way, but if Elder Denies and I put our trust in the Lord, we'll find a way to overcome it and help them to continue to learn about this.

It seems that as I've been on my mission longer and longer, things go by quickly because it's normal. Like... teaching lessons, tracting, contacting, working with members, etc. It's all good though and I'm loving every minute of it.

P.S. You know what's weird? The sisters that were in my MTC district are HOME!!! That's exactly what David said when I was in the MTC. "Soon you'll be on your mission for a year, then in another blink, the sisters will be going home, and THEN you start feeling old elders!" Yeah, It's really really fast. I feel like it's not long until I see all you again, and I know now that I'm really going to miss my mission, so I'll make the most of it right now.

January 3, 2011

I love this time of the season. I have Chinese New Year and April to look forward to now. Too bad it probably won't be "Cake week" anymore in the Carlson household because of us all moving around the world. But it will still be fun as it's yours and Dad's anniversary.

Kelly's note: "Cake week" refers to Arvid's, David's and Scott's birthdays being within 9 days of each other (April 3, 5 & 12, respectively)...lots of cake... and our anniversary is in there too (4th). Since then, we've added (yes, within those 9 days) the birthdays of our two sons-in-law and a granddaughter. They're all on different days, too (6, 8 & 10). We still have April 9 & 11 unspoken for!!!

I wanted to start out sharing what I wrote my mission president this morning. "I have to admit, I had a SUPER hard time this weekend. I, by my personal nature, like logic, science, psychology, etc. If I didn't had the spiritual experiences I had in my early teens, I might not be on a mission. And now, I've met a few people that pose questions that I've wondered. "Couldn't the use of psychology manipulate us into thinking we got an answer by feeling peaceful or happy?" It tried me because in a sense, yes, it can. It took me some prayer and thought to also realize though that those feelings I felt are much different than I've ever felt. It wasn't the 'pleasure' feeling I received, but as if I was being loved. My process of thought wasn't "I'm happy so I guess it's true", but it was "This makes logical sense with everything else going on in the world". I'm thankful to Heavenly Father in helping once again realize his presence through the Holy Ghost. I know these trials I face are from Satan, but as I conquer them through Christ, I'll prevail, gain a more whole testimony, and become more wise. "

I had a hard time these past few days. It seemed like all my dreams I had on Saturday night [included doubt]. It was such an awful feeling, but I still held strong to my belief in a Heavenly Father, and once again he has witnessed to me it's truthfulness. This experience of overcoming this has also helped me in another area. Because of the reassurance of my faith, I was able to teach better the same night.

We have a member referral from another area that we setup for yesterday (sunday) night. I've already met with the Mom and her daughter before, but today was to meet the Dad. But, the Dad called over his sister and her kid too. We had a total of 5 people learning together. The Wei family are really awesome. They're Buddhist by tradition, but don't really practice. Brother Wei said that he's never really known or felt that God existed. When he worships the Chinese gods, he has no feelings and no answers. We talked a lot about our experiences and testified that Heavenly Father answers the prayers of his Children. In 3 Nephi 18, it talks about prayers being 1) in the name of Christ, 2) being right, and 3) believing ye shall receive. Brother Wei understood well that we don't ask for $10,000 or anything else, but that Heavenly Father can watch over our families and answer questions. They all commited to try praying to actually understand God exists. We set them up for next Sunday. They are all so cool.

December 27, 2010

So Christmas was really great. One of the best parts was on Christmas eve, we had a big Christmas party with lots of investigators coming and alot of members brought their friends, so my companion and I were just busy talking to people and trying to get their phone numbers. I didn't do as well as I should have, but it was a great event and everyone seemed to get a great vision towards our church.

We met with a lady last night, and she was awesome. She had alot of questions towards the church like if we have a pastor or why we have a chapel if no one lives there, and etc. We taught a ton about Heavenly Father and Prayer, and then she finally noticed the Book of Mormon. She then said: "So.. what's the difference between you and the Mormons?" We basically said it was us and she said she's heard lots of things. My heart dropped, but then she said: "Because, I work at NuSkin. I've heard the boss is Mormon." We just joked around with her that she could get the missionary lessons from him. My companion was bearing his testimony before extending a prayer invitation, and he said "Are you willing..." She interuptted saying: "...be baptized?" Haha, I thought: "Well, not what we were going for at that moment, but SURE!" So we quickly shared some doctrine and blessings of baptism, and invited her. She's now preparing to be baptized on Feb. 5th (I think).

Anyways, It was so great to talk to you all. The next time I get to talk to you all is right before my last transfer, so maybe you can place some orders of what you want me to bring home from Taiwan. I'll get you some cool paintings for sure, and then we'll see from there. And by the way, I really don't feel bad that I'm not in Rome with you all, I didn't get to go to New Zealand that spring break, or get anything big for Christmas, because I'd much rather be here on my mission. I was just joking by bringing that up. Thank you both for helping me serve this mission. I really love it here, and it's been a great experience. I've learned so much. A big part is the gospel. I know understand more of Christ's teachings and our main purpose for being at church. I know this is true and I know anyone else can feel it is through the Holy Ghost.

...the Holy Ghost speaks through our thoughts and feelings is doctrine. It surprising that a ton of people don't realize that. I was reading another church's tract, and they said to continue on the path, we need to have faith and read the scriptures. That's truth, but then they said that we shouldn't listen to feelings. It's weird how true the feelings part is. I can truly feel when things I read are true or not. I love the gospel.

Scott with the Christensens- Brian and his son, Matt. Brian also served a mission in Taipei years ago and is now there again with his government job. Matt also served a Mandarin speaking mission (I think in California?). We were good friends with their family in Hong Kong.

December 13, 2010

Yeah, I've ran into lots of the English ward members and always ask them to say hi to the Christensens for me, but haven't run into them for half a year while they've been here, until Wednesday. Yeah, interesting enough, I was talking to Brother Christensen, and he's served in most the same areas I've had 15 years ago. YongHe, XinDian, TianMu, YuLi, etc. It was weird that we've gone to the same places and have some of the same interests (doing computer stuff for the Embassy). It made me think that the next area I move to might be the mission office (because he served there too... but at the same time, I don't think I'll be going there). It was really fun to see them. Jeffery, Audrey, and Becky have all gotten HUGE. It's crazy to see how much people change in 2 years. I wonder what Ryan looks like...

We actually teach a class on tuesday morning with a few Relief Society moms. They have a play group, so we teach simple English, and play games. Non-members come to it too! We basically go over the story of Jesus too. They always say "BABY JESUS" or "MARY!!" so happily and excited. Kids are cool :)

This week has been crazily busy. Our district leader's companion left to the MTC, so they put him with us. We're now taking care of 2 areas of investigators, so most of the time is spent inside, teaching lessons. I have never been so tired. Well, I did catch a cold, but I just feel like passing out on the couch today. I've got letters to write though, so we'll take care of those first.

December 8, 2010

On a Chicken, what is the red skin on top of the head called? I was choosing what I wanted to eat for lunch, and they had that, so I got that :). Not much flavor, mostly cartilage. Other than that, I can't think of anything weird I've eaten.

I had a big change this past week in my attitude towards missionary work. It was a huge burst of fire when I realized that EVERYTHING is related to our purpose as missionaries. We're here to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism by immersion, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." I noticed that and then it became more clear that when I meet with investigators, it's not to "make them better people" or to "add members to the Church", but I found that I have more charity towards them because I desire for them to develop faith, repent, so that they're worthy to receive baptism and most importantly, the gift of the Holy Ghost. I loved this week. I even shared this with my investigators, saying "My purpose as a missionary isn't just to say "Join the Church!" but to help you develop faith in Christ and to repent, so you can receive the blessings of baptism and of the Holy Ghost." Then it becomes clear to investigators why they're meeting with us. It gives them a better idea to know what to expect from our lessons. Anyways, I had a good week.

November 29, 2010

Yeah... "balmy Xin dian"... It's so cold here! I had to put on a long-sleeve shirt! Like... I ALMOST FROZEE!!!! Hahaa... just kidding. I'm still walking around in short sleeves and my thin summer "naked" pants. (called naked because they're so light, it feels like you're naked). I think if I went to Utah or Budapest for a winter, I'd die. It was so cold in Utah. I think I'll live in warmer areas the rest of my life. But then again, Snow is so much fun.

I love giving Elder Denies different foods to eat. Sometimes I tempt him to eat stinky tofu, or 100 year old egg, or pigs foot, but he always rejects it. I did make smores' yesterday though and he loved it. It's so nice to eat foods from home.

As for this week, I thought it was alittle tough, but good at the same time. The biggest trial wasn't leading in the area because I'm used to that from having a lazy companion or two in the past, but the hardest thing was loving the Taiwanese people. Sometimes being rejected day after day with silly excuses wears on me. I really liked Christ's Parable of the Great supper though. I read that yesterday and all my bad feelings went away, and I had a greater desire to work towards these people's salvation. Go look it up in Jesus the Christ... it's so great. Anyways, we haven't found any solid investigators yet, but we know the principle of patience and endurance and now that we know our area more, we'll do well in finding those prepared as we make plans to proselyte.

Oh, LiHai means awesome... or incredible... or fierce... or extraordinary. Things like that.
I remember those days where you and Dad took us out to do random things of service... like cleaning the parking lot in South Africa or helping out the man with leoprocy in India.

Well, Elder Denies and I have to go out to the mission office, and then after that we're going to do some of his family history since he hasn't ever started his. His grandma might not be around too long too, so he wants to get as much done as possible. He says Hi back! He might be going to BYU after his mission, so you might be able to meet him in 2 years. He's such a good Elder. I learn from him daily.

November 22, 2010

I forgot to tell you. My companion and I just got transferred. Elder Denies and I are now in Xin Dian (New Store). It's right next to YongHe. Instead of having a 4 man apartment, we only have 2 now. We already got lost but quickly found our way around the area. We're also white-washing this area, so we really don't know what's going on here and how to do missionary work. It's tough but we're doing fine so far. I'm feeling a lot of stress, but it's normal for the beginning of the transfer.

But woah!! I knew you've been teaching Seminary, but I had no idea that it was with 23 students. I teach English classes here and I have usually 12 students. When I was in TianMu, I had about 25. I totally remember how difficult it was teaching that. Now I can't imagine what it would be like teaching teenagers from the scriptures and lesson manuals without games or other activities. But yeah. Wow. In Chinese we'd say you're LiHai.

As for the RM from Canada, he just got called and set apart as our new Ward Mission leader, and he is awesome so far. Too bad we left. We offered to take him tracting, and he said he'd love to... but we moved. So not anymore. From what I hear, this new ward is going to be really awesome. There's a few recently returned missionaries that still want to help teach lessons and do missionary work.

The Armed Forces Museum was really cool! I thought about lots of the stories and things I've read about the Vietnam War and other wars around that time. It's really really interesting to now get the Taiwanese perspective on it. I'm not that much of a history nut, but I love studying it because of Grandpa. They even had a U-2 spy plane exhibition. I saw the US Air Force's old logo and one of their pressure suits there. It really makes me want to go up there someday. Go fly around and become a jet pilot. But... we'll see. I'll most likely get my job somewhere on the ground.

As for Christmas, I really can't think of anything. I'm serving a mission and that's a great enough gift and blessing. I'd be happy enough with a handwritten card/letter from you and Dad. Thank you! :)

I can't wait to get back in contact with lots of people like Michael Rollins, Wietse, Hans, David (Badinga), and others in HK. I think I've actually made that a goal in my life. Get back to Hong Kong! It's really what seems like home to me. Provo is cool. Midway is too. But I had my friends and family there in Hong Kong, so it just feels that way to me. But of course, home is really where you and Dad are. That'll always feel like home to me too.

I'm actually shocked about lots of Taiwanese people here. We asked if they would like to have an eternal marriage, and a lot say that they don't want one. They just want to have fun here on earth, have no commitments, and be free later on. We might not see it as much in the US, but in Taiwan and in other Asian countries, what the prophets say about Satan attacking the family is true. It's way sad.