This week was both amazingly good and amazingly hard. This week I flew solo as Operations Manager. I made a lot of mistakes, but am making some decent headway with other things. This week, I think, tops my list for the times I have been most stressed out in my life. Early on in the week, we prepared Costco bags (a bag from Costco full of all the supplies missionaries need to proselyte for 3 months) that we give to missionaries at their interviews. It was then that I found my predecessor had not taken inventory or ordered more materials for quite some time, and everything that was requested we were out of. I dislike situations where I am completely helpless and feel like I failed. We gave the missionaries what we had, but it wasn’t much and I got nearly 50 phone calls asking why I hadn’t filled their orders. So that was a rough start. My computer broke this week and we cannot fix it for the life of us. So, I am trying to survive without being able to do most basic tasks. The ward asked us to cook Thanksgiving dinner for them while they went to the temple, and then left a huge activity all up to 6 missionaries for about 100 people. We spent all Saturday just trying to pull it off. I think it all worked out.
On a good note, this week we got a new office couple from Provo, Brother and Sister Darrington. They are super kind to us and are a little culture shocked, but love us missionaries! We were invited to a special Thanksgiving feast at President and Sister Bishop’s house which was just phenomenal and we got to meet some pretty influential civic leaders here in Taizhong. We have been searching for a place to take everyone to for the Christmas Mission Conference and I kind of suggested as a joke we take everyone to Mingjian (my area I loved where I was trained). The president took it serious and told me to put together a proposal for him. I sent him my proposal and he told us to drive out there and get everything set up. Saturday morning we woke up early around 6am and drove out to my old area! I got to reminisce and actually visit some of the former families I worked with! It was one of the highlights of my week! I thought I would never get to go back there. However, I have now officially been back to all of my former areas!
The last great thing that happened is one of my good friends, Su Yao Dong (from Dakeng), decided to finally be baptized. He introduced his family to the church nearly 13 years ago, and then kind of walked away from it all. I worked with him for over 9 months in Dakeng. I didn’t think I made much of a difference with him, however he told me my never giving up on him kept him closer to God and eventually led him to be baptized. I missed most of the service because I was running the Thanksgiving party, but then I got to run in and actually see the baptism so that was really special!
This week has been a roller coaster! Some of the greatest and lowest moments all together. But that is life, right? I have just had this sinking feeling though… I really can’t do it all. I try, but I cant. I am first and foremost a missionary. But that is so hard to do in the office. The standard is when you get things done, go proselyte. My to-do list seems never-ending though. It’s like it is impossible to be done. I just kneel down at night and pray, “Heavenly Father, I am exhausted I don’t know if I can keep doing this.” But then I wake up each morning, throw on a smile and try to keep going. It feels like where I am at, I just forget about myself. I guess that is kind of good. I have to focus 100% on those around me, however when I step back, it just worries me. I have no time for language study and things like that. My Chinese is getting worse and worse, or at least I feel like it is.
Can you pray for me to:
- Get everything done so I have time to be a missionary
- Smile and not be stressed
- My brain can slow down for just a second so I can retain the Chinese I’m learning
Thank you so much for your little package! That came on such a rough day. We sort the mail in the office, so I sit there sorting all the stuff and you have this little hope that one of the hundred letters will be mine. My expectations just drop and drop as I get closer to the bottom of the stack, and then boom-a package with my name on it! It just made my day! I particularly like your letters (if you ever send anything and you are at a blank of what to send: letters, pictures, and little quotes and thoughts outweigh anything else! On a mission you realize how little material things matter)! Being thankful has been what keeps me sane lately! When I start thinking of myself and get a little down here, I stop and write a thank you note to someone for something small and send it out. It feels so good, it keeps your heart close to heaven!
When it comes down to it, I just want an eternal family. It really is what I am fighting for. Every time I hang up the phone with any missionary I say, “Go find leadership-quality families.” They always say okay, but I don’t think they get how serious I am. My mission has embedded families in my heart! When I saw Su Yao Dong baptized, I just cried with joy. It is another completed family in the church out there. His mom dad sister and him are all together now! Next step, the temple! I am so excited! I get to go to the temple next week! My companion told me, “Usually the office Elders don’t go with the zone to the temple because we are to busy.” I was rather firm with him and explained that anything we do here can be rearranged for the temple. The day we become to busy for the temple is the day we truly fail in our commitment to God. He agreed to go with me and make it happen.
My, oh my, has the “Lord shown unto me [my] weaknesses”. Thank you for loving me through all my weaknesses! I’m trying daily to become pure like Christ (Moroni 7:48) because the invitation still stands to come unto Christ and be perfected in him. (Moroni 10:32) I am far from perfection, but it is my goal!
I love you! I hope you had the most wonderful holiday season!
P.S. This picture is of one of my best friends, Chen Kun Tai, who used to be in my ward in Dakeng, but moved to my ward in Gaoxiong for college. When we were down in Gaoxiong for meetings, we went to dinner.
Me: who Ni Hen Shuai Wow, you are so handsome!
Him: Mei you, mei you. Ni bi wo shuai wo ba shi san Oh no, oh no. You are much more handsome! I am 83.
Me: Mei you, zhen de Ni hen shuai Oh no, you truly are very handsome!
Him: Dan shi, ni shi yi ge mei guo ren But you are an American…
Me: Mei you cuo, dan shi ni shi tai wan ren That is correct, however you are Taiwanese!
Him: dui ah. That is also correct.
Me: Ni yao bu yao lai jiao hui Would you like to come to church?
Him: mei you guanxi, you kong de hua Oh that is alright, maybe if I have free time…
Me: Zhi shao women pai yi ge jiaopian hao bu hao? Well, let’s at least take a picture together.
Him: Hao de zhu yi Oh, that is a good idea!
(Most conversations have a lot more doctrine and testifying. This man had just gotten done listening to us testify to a family and was walking away. When I started talking to him, this is what went down.) Pretty fun.