Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Typhoon Day

Happy birthday Dad!!! 45. Good age. :) Most of our investigators are that age. 45 or 80 or 20. Those are the average ages, not a lot in between.
I'll be sending pictures tomorrow. I know it's been awhile, and you don't have ANY pictures from Dali yet. We are close enough to the mountains to be able to run up them in the mornings. That's nice. There are bigger, taller mountains behind the "hills" we run up. But the view from the top is fantastic. You can see almost all of Taizhong on a clear day. Dali is great!
We have 3 investigators right now who are two weeks away from baptism. Lin Huang Cheng has accepted everything. He even came up to us with this question, "I've forgotten to pray for 2 or 3 three days…what do I do?" He has accepted everything including the Law of Tithing. But now we need parent permission for him to be baptized and his mom isn't too fond of the church. So, time to keep praying!
Joie. It sounds like "Joy". He is PURE GOLD. I ran into him at the McDonald's one day when we had another lesson up there. He told me he was Christian, and we had to get to another lesson, so he left, and we parted ways. I should've got his information there, but we were in a hurry, so we didn't. I repented. :) Because about a week later, I was at an intersection hunting for someone to talk to while waiting for Elder Durham to finish up his phone call. I turned around at that intersection and came to talk to Joie. I recognized him and he recognized me. His english is amazing, so he will usually only speak english to us. But we will still speak Chinese to him. Most of the time. He asked us if we could go to his house with him, and we followed him to his house and had the most GOLDEN first meeting with an investigator I've ever had. 5 years ago, he met missionaries and was meeting with them. He already reads the Book of Mormon every day, prays every day, and keeps most of the commandments. The only problem is he lives with his fiancee. But he already believes in everything, and is unbelievably willing. I'll tell you an example in a minute. He calls Elder Durham "Mr. Many". Elder Durham's Chinese name is Duo Zhanglao. That "Duo" means 'many' in English. Dork. Chinese people are really funny. When Joie gets baptized, he will be the first person that I found and got baptized. So cool!!!
Yesterday was "Typhoon Day". If both of my parents weren't being normal, than they weren't keeping an eye on the western Pacific. But if my Mom and Dad are my Mom and Dad, then they know about the Typhoon. (Note from the editor: We didn’t know about the typhoon. Don’t tell on us!) Well, it was lame. Way too hyped up. Saturday night was confusing because we had no idea what was happening with church the next day, and it was driving us crazy because our investigators needed to come to church! All three members of the Bishopric had different announcements for our ward, the stake had a different announcement along with our mission. Hello!!! At that time, it hadn't started raining or being windy, AT ALL. And they already decided to cancel church. Silly Taiwan people. Trust God, keep the commandments, or, at least, do your best, and Heavenly Father would have provided a way to go to church.
Sunday morning came and we were frantically calling our investigators to try to get them to come to church. No one would come, and our official ward meeting was cancelled. But, luckily, Taiping ward's Bishop is You Banfa and held a small sacrament meeting. We rode our bikes an hour and a half to get to church (twice the time), in unbelievably powerful wind (no rain). It was almost impossible to ride our bikes in that wind. BUT. Flashback--
Our bishop the night before called from the Czech Republic to affirm that there was no church. The stake president confirmed that, but Taiping still had a meeting. Plus my bike sprung a flat Saturday night, and we had no time to get a new inner tube, and the next day was Sunday, and we needed to get to the church, so we borrowed the Bishop's wife's bike. Short, female bike with "Batman" on the side. But bum hurt all day. Whatever. It was fun. The wind would make it near impossible to make progress on the bike, and literally pushed us back sometimes. If we had a tail wind, we went faster than we could handle, and the brakes could stop. That was a little scary, but SO fun!!!
We made it to the church, and it was the only church having a meeting in the entire city of Taizhong. So most of the ward was missionaries yesterday. The assistants came over from Beiqu to attend, and Elder Durham and I had 4 investigators get to church. YEEHHAAAWWW!!! YOU BANFA!!! I was SO happy. Heavenly Father TOTALLY answered our prayers. Joie brought his friend and older sister to church with him, and Lin Huang Cheng got a ride from Shi Baba to get to the church. Shi Baba also brought 4 other members of Wufeng ward to the church. So we had amazing members at the church on Typhoon day, plus 4 investigators to church. All progressing. Unbelievable miracle. And because Joie brought his sister (who also brought her little bunny, that was fun) and his friend, we were able to give his sister a baptismal goal for three weeks from now (just met her yesterday), and his friend was referred to other missionaries in Pingdong (his friend was outside smoking at the end of the meeting, lol). Joie's sister is amazingly willing, and Joie's fiancee is coming next Sunday.
Shi Baba is the all famous member in the mission. Everyone knows who Shi Baba is. His name "Shi" means 'to bestow, give all, big heart". Which totally emulates his personality. He had to meet with President Hoer to figure out a compromise on how often he can feed the missionaries and give them stuff. He's a very poor man, and will use other people's money to give food and things to the missionaries. So the rule is that he can't give the missionaries anything, and he can only take us out to eat once a month. Lol. He's super smart, and will figure out ways to get you to take his food. He sends other people to give it to us, or he tells other people to buy stuff for us, and he pays them under the table later. Dork. Lol.
Anyway, yes, the Typhoon Sunday was a miracle day like any other day, and my bike still has a flat, I was able to get a few letters out last week, I'll probably have time today, three people are getting baptized in two weeks, one in three, two more in four, maybe three, and I am UTTERLY EXHAUSTED. My Chinese is flying, even though I feel completely inadequate, people understand me, they talk to me normally, and they don't try to speak english to me unless they see me and know that I'm white. And have I mentioned that the people here in Taiwan and Asia are the nicest people? I don't care how often I'm rejected, at least they reject me in nice ways. White people culture is completely different. Asian culture (at least in Taiwan) is all about "saving face". We as missionaries can't allow people to "lose face" or they simply will NOT meet with us. It's so funny sometimes. Yes, we run into super mean Asians, but those ones are ALWAYS just having a bad day. Giving people face is a beautiful thing, and works miracles. You could sit there for 10 minutes arguing about who is more handsome, or cute [yes, guys call other guys cute here, it's not weird in this culture (I'm not part of this culture, so it's completely weird to me, when a Taiwanese man, like Joie, calls me cute in English. Saying it in Chinese is fine, but please, guys just don't call other guys cute in english, SO weird)]. Lol, I love the people though. They are wonderful.
Anyway. It's just been good lately, and there is a lot of success, and endless prayer. Thanks for all the support.
 I'm unbelievably envious of the other boys in the ward on their missions and my other friends. I feel like such a poor missionary when I read Elder Byers' letters. Trainer in less than 6 months?!! WOW. Future assistant ba. Elder Seamons is the humblest missionary I've ever heard of, and his focus on his investigators has motivated me to do better about that. Elder Brimley seems to be enjoying his experience, and has the you banfa attitude every missionary should have. He motivates me to stop worrying so much and just get back to work. Even when rejected, or investigators stop progressing. Be sad. But don't lose focus because of it. The other Elders that are in the field with me are already way better than I was in the MTC, and are storming the field with their testimonies which I've felt pretty hai hao about in my own mission. I am going to love hearing all the stories and the miracles performed and enacted through these, my brothers in the faith. One of my greatest hopes and desires is to have the Alma experience in Alma 17:2-3. I can already imagine the joy I'll feel at that point when Dustin comes back from his mission and we're all home safe, sound, and successful, having served the Lord well, and are all still brothers in the Lord. I pray every day for all of them.
This church is true, and if anyone has any doubts, attend the next baptism in your area, ask your Bishop to give you time to share your testimony in Sacrament meeting, or call the missionaries over to discuss your concerns. If you're concerned, so is God. But He's concerned for your welfare. He loves you. He spends every waking minute thinking about you. Since He doesn't need sleep, that means He is thinking about you all the time. He KNOWS how you feel. TELL Him. And you will feel Christ's arms around you as the Spirit whispers, "It's ok. It'll be ok. Just breathe. I love you." Mom.... why do those words remind me so much of you? I hear them every day...

-Elder Carter

Monday, September 20, 2010


The transition into my new area was unbelievably smooth. I was homesick for a couple days for my last area, and I didn't shed a tear :P, and then I was in Dali, and ready to keep going. Like I have anytime to think with my new companion anyway... Elder Durham is a super diligent missionary, and the contrast between the way he and Elder Pei serves their missions is VERY different. One isn't exactly worse than the other, it's just -- different. :). I don't think I've ridden a bike this fast EVER. My legs are sore everyday, and my bike loses oil, and loosens up pieces WAY too fast. Maintenance is required a lot more often. But I don't care. I feel like we have more success than I've had before, and I'm happier than I've been in a while. I find that the more people you talk to, the happier you are, regardless of the results. Elder Oldham, who has gone home now, was an assistant when I came to Taiwan and he said, "The happiest times are when we talk to the most people"-- I want to add my little bit to that and say, "- no matter where you are, or what phase of life you're in". I truly believe that the more we converse and connect with people, the better people we become, as well as happier.
It's not easy. Never is. But I'm determined and motivated this move call like I haven't been before. My Chinese is still REALLY poor, but I'm a lot more confident than I use to be, so it gets easier. I'm also a little too focused on my accent, because my new companion has a really bad American/Taiwanese accent. I don't want that. :D But who cares, really? Just say the words so they understand, and all is well. Although I think focusing a little bit on developing an accent like the people I teach will bring me closer to them and help me understand them better. Plus, they appreciate that. I also run into foreigners all the time. And that's fun. I ran into two Thai people last night. Their Chinese is alright, their accents are amazing, so, at first, I thought they were Taiwanese. But they misunderstood a lot of what I was saying, and I thought that my Chinese was just bad, but as we continued to converse, I realized that their Chinese was about as horrible as mine. They didn't speak English, at all. So I thought it was interesting, that a couple people from different countries speaking different languages were both in a country not their own speaking a language not their own, but it was the only way we could communicate. It was fun! And they were referred to the Wufeng missionaries and are coming to Church next week. Hope that goes well. We're also meeting with a Phillippian investigator this week who speaks english. So that should be fun. I just think it's cool to see people from places where my friends and heroes have served missions before, and to think, that I'm meeting people that they talked with for 2 years on their missions. Like Alexx in Thailand, Japheth in the Philippians, Ryan in Thailand. Just cool to see.
Time escapes me too fast right now. There's not enough time in personal study to study what I want or need to, no time at night to write in my journal. But the blessings of being the District Leader's companion are insurmountable (ooh.. a big English word I just remembered... that makes me feel good). It's already week 3 in move call 3, and I can't believe it's already the middle of September. Didn't September just start? I'm scared! I don't want the time to go too fast, but I watch missionaries all around me go home, get closer and closer to going home, and it makes me think about it sometimes. But that's so far away right now, I'm just excited to keep digging my toes into the track of my mission with my head bowed in fervent concentration. Shoving my legs down one, two, three more times, and looking up to breath every now and then. When I ride my bike or run, I treat it like I would treat my mission. Don't stop. Or that's how your mission'll go. I've done that for 10 years. I always thought about my mission when I thought about giving up during any physically taxing activity. It always helped, and I've never given up completely. I have no regrets from giving up physically. So I won't have any regrets on my mission. It's amazing what could happen if you don't focus on your mission. It's scary! I know exactly when I'm not focused, and it's scary, 'cause you know that if you're not focused, you won't receive the blessings you've asked for, and that means that your investigators may not be able to keep progressing. Yikes. I just like that everything I want right now is not really for my own welfare but for my investigators'. Yes, sometimes motivation is for numbers, 'cause you've got to make a goal, or something, or our motivation is to get baptisms. But as soon as I think about numbers to motivate me into continuing to be diligent, I know I'm wrong, and won't have success, or any lasting motivation.
I'm so use to the culture now, that everything is completely normal. The bus parades for religious marches are interesting, the random funerals on the streets are silly, the loud Buddhist music pounding across the street from the church or on any streetside, the puppet shows to no one but the Gods, set up on the street side, the millions of scooters, the random KFC at which we meet our investigators... lol, I could go on. It's all normal now. If I run across something American or an American Cultural anything, I take a step back and say, "Haven't seen that in YEARS! Americans are weird.... " lol. I hope I'm not too weird for too long...
I'm blown away everyday about where in the world I am. Did you know that fire alarms here are a loud bell for a few minutes followed by peaceful, relaxing music? And the dump trucks play Fur Elise as they go around picking up trash (NOT ice cream trucks here)? Huh? Where am I? I, still, everyday, feel like I'm living a dream, or watching a movie. I feel like I'm in a videogame sometimes, too. It's a weird feeling. But time goes so fast here, that's probably how it's going to be for a long time.
I also feel like I'm a completely different person, but at the same time, haven't changed a bit. One thing I do know, is that, yes, I feel like I wasted my life before my mission, and, yes, I could've done a lot more with it-- but I've found the EVERYTHING that happened to me before my mission was preparing me for my mission. EVERYTHING. Name my any experience and I can tell you how it helped prepare me for my mission (specifically my mission here in Taiwan, not just a Christlike attribute or a future characteristic, specifically for Taiwan Taizhong mission at this time). I'm not so scared to teach anymore, even though it's still nerve racking. I just don't want to be District Leader and have to do baptism interviews. I guess that's one of the best parts of being District Leader, but I'm scared to death to perform something so important like that in a different language.
It's also interesting to try to figure out how I'm gonna keep studying the language. It was easy to study words with Elder Pei, cause I could use them with him right there, and he would understand- but, now? I really have to work to use them on the streets. I'm seeing progress, but it's slow, and I've been feeling like I've been digressing a little bit, because I'm not speaking as much as I used too.
For some reason, I'm scared to call home at Christmas. I don't know why. Obviously, I will, but first of all, 1 hour isn't enough, 2nd, I'm gonna get WAY too trunky, 3rd, I just don't know how that's gonna help me. But it'll help you guys. And that's what's important. Plus, I think it's funny... Elder Durham said that after Christmas, when you call on Mother's Day, it's WAY too fast. He said that the Mother's Day call was funny because there wasn't a lot to say, it had only been 5 months since the Christmas Call. Lol.
Mom, have I told you about the cockroaches EVERYWHERE!!???? I left my bag open one morning, and reached in the top pocket to get a pen, and something moved. I looked back in, and realized I had grapped a palm-sized cockroach. BLECH BLECH BLECH BLECH BLECH!!!!! I washed my hands furiously for 15 minutes after zipping the pocket shut and stamping the poo out of my bag. I opened the bag, and it was gross. White cockroach guts EVERYWHERE. Took way too long to clean, but at least I killed the bugger.
They're everywhere. I'm used to it now. I'm not bothered by the bugs everywhere, or the occasional spider, or the everywhere type spiderwebs and fruit flies. This place is so dirty, one of two things will happen in the future. One. I will be a clean freak the rest of my life, or- 2. I just won't care, because almost anything in America is cleaner than the cleanest place here (not quite that exaggerated, but close... ;)
All in all, all is well. So sorry for my Typhoon sized overload last week. I hope you all still love me and still know that I love you and am forever, unfailingly grateful for the influence you've had on my life. Or I wouldn't be here in Taiwan today. And my mission is already everything to me, as it has been for my whole life. So thank you. And, Mom-Dad, ... sorry. I love you.

-Elder Carter

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dali Days

from the editor: Elder Carter clarified for us last week what his mission's rules are regarding emails. He said that the only people he is supposed to be emailing with are his parents and the mission president. He loves to hear from everyone else, but if you want to send him emails, please send them to Kevin or me at kageysea@gmail.com or embeesea@gmail.com. Just so you know, because Elder Carter's time on email is limited, we've been printing out emails and sending them to him in our weekly snail mail letters...so you might just want to send him a letter yourselves...you can get the mission address or look at his mission pictures at his blog, www.kovidude.com. Postage is $.98 for a regular letter. If you still want to email us, no problem! We'll be happy to forward them along...on to the Elder...

I'm more busy than I've ever been, and utterly exhausted. Reading my friends' emails from their missions is enlightening. I don't envy them, I admire them. They are amazing missionaries, and exceed me in every way. It's beautiful to see. Elder Byers is especially an example to me. I'm glad to hear from him. I just hope he's not too mad at me for not really writing him directly. (Elder Carter met Elder Byers at BYU last Fall. He is serving in Nevada. There are four others from our ward who have gone out since Elder Carter left...Elder Brimley is in Ukraine, Elder Seamons is in Florida speaking Haitian Creole, Elder Hart just arrived in Tennessee, and Elder Bernards has another week or two in the MTC before he heads to Washington State. There are others as well, and more to come. Truly a mighty army!)
The work is gold here in Dali. I live in Wufeng, and it's a 20+ minute ride to our area of north Dali. I can see towers from my old area, which makes me a little homesick for that area. But I don't see them very often, so I still feel like I'm in a completely different place.
Even though my old area and this area are neighbors, the people are different. To be honest the members here are a lot more involved with the missionary work going on, and so should it be in a country and place where the Church is a tiny minority. But I never remember the members in Utah ever being this missionary active. Obviously, it's a little more difficult when there are so few non-members, and those who aren't members already have a defence put up before even moving into Utah.
I must say also, that white people cultures are very open with their feelings and openly opposed to anything that argues their sacred opinions. Even the most devout Buddhist here will ask me, "why do churches have to fight? Why does there have to be conflict? Don't we all have religious freedom for a reason?" Well, that is a great opener to begin discussions with this man, and shows the truthfulness of the reason for conflict between religions. Satan gets in the way. All Satan wants is to just touch the precious Spirits that encompass the intelligences of God's children and put one or two spots on them in places where they may not notice. With that they cannot enter the Celestial Kingdom, and must spend eternity alone. But his ultimate goal is to get people used to those spots and slowly get them to jump into the mud. But that's not mud. Whatever it is, it destroys body and mind, and eventually Spirit.
This is what we defend against. This is why I'm here. I must go out and at least try to save souls. But even I, unclean, barely worthy, striving to be obedient and diligent (failing all the time ;) missionary, can not do this. I must be a vessel. That's all I can be. It is impossible to do more. How could the Spirit possibly inhabit this broken, weak, impure body and bring others to Christ? That answer is beyond me. We are just promised that if we are trying; if we are striving; if we are repenting every day and taking part in the saving ordinances, He will save us. The funny thing is, we've already been saved. Everyone. Now, it's our turn to accept it.
We CAN be perfect on earth. People don't realize this. NO ONE is worthy. But through everyday repentance, change, progression, and striving to be worthy-- we are counted worthy. We are the weak made strong. And we ARE perfect in Christ. What a beautiful blessing. How can people live without this knowledge? They do it every day. I don't know how. I wasn't blessed with the opportunity to be outside of the church and witness my own Spirit's conversion in that situation, so I don't know. But I am becoming my own convert. I've been told that when you come home from your mission, you should have at least one convert. You. I disagree. If it's just you, that's great, but you didn't serve your mission right. President Holland has said that 30 baptisms should be your goal, no matter where you are in the world. Now numbers don't matter, names do.
It may be easy for me to say all this, when I am in an area full of prepared people, but I thoroughly believe that this truth is evident in every place on earth, the ability to baptize many. I didn't think Elder Byers would get a lot of baptisms in Las Vegas. But, he has a few already. He's only 6 months in and already trainer. I hope to be like him someday. He embodies Christ in my mind, and I thoroughly respect him. I am not the perfect missionary. My mind will wander, and daydream, and keep losing focus during lessons and such, but that's because man is weak. It is up to God. I have given him my life. I am not doing anything wrong out here. I will not live the life of a worldly member. Because that is not who I am. I only hope to match up to the missionaries that my friends are becoming. I'm just grateful to be their friends, because I know they're better than me. And one day, I will love to discuss with them the beauties of the miracles I see every day.
Do not tell me that I have no faith. Because my faith is strong. I do not boast of myself, but of my God. He has given me this faith, allowing me to see the miracles, and the parts our Heavenly Father plays in EVERYONE'S life, in EVERY moment, in EVERY place, in EVERY heart.
This church is true. I can NOT doubt again. As much as I should be focused on my mission, you all should be focused on your personal works. I don't care what they are. I don't know. God knows. Ask Him. Then Act. Prove Him now herewith... Prove your faith, my brothers, my sisters. Be your own missionary. If you are waiting for someone, while waiting, be the missionary you think he/she is being. This church changes and blesses lives faster than the blink of an eye. And it is the ONLY way you can make it through this life with pure happiness. The problem is, no one knows what happiness is anymore... I tell you, I know. Because I have found it. Through the eyes, words, and hearts of the members here in Taiwan. I used to think I knew what love was... and it screwed up my teenage life. I tell you, I have found true love. Here in Taiwan. I finally feel like I'm doing something with my life, because I wasted it before my mission. And I apologize for wasting all those countless hours of guidance, advice, and counsel given to me by many, including many young people of my ward. I love these people, and I love my God.

-Elder Carter

Monday, September 6, 2010


I am no longer with Elder Pei. I cannot tell you how much I respect and admire that Elder. The way he shows his love for God and others is different, but cool. Almost exactly like Dad. I'm gonna miss our nightly conversations, and the unending amounts of laughter that escaped my curry-filled mouth. Elder Pei never stopped making me laugh, and I've never eaten so much food. BUT, I'm still losing weight. Love it!! My metabolism is bouncing back for a season. I'll see him soon though. I'm not too far away. By the way, this move call, I learned how to cook Elder Pei's curry. It's good. He says that that kind is REAL japanese curry. And Indian curry tastes more like Dad's. I'm confused now. Whatever. Elder Pei's curry is good. I cooked some and had enough for a whole week. YES, I ate curry at every meal (with vegetables) for an entire week, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now I know that I can't get sick of curry. Thank heavens for that blessing. Plus the extra food money I had for not spending money eating out all week. That was nice. :D
I have moved. It's sad, it's sweet, I'm excited, and I'm homesick for Zhongming. It's a weird feeling. I LOVE those people and I miss them like I've never missed anyone ever before. This kind of homesick is worse than American homesick. But since I'm still in Taiwan, it's manageable. I have moved to Dali. I live in Wufeng, but our area is Dali. That is still in Taizhong. Just south-east of my old area. Literally. I just moved one area over. I'm still in my same zone, and my companion is whiter than I ever thought white people could get. And his hair is flaming red. And he's a Utah fan. Now I've had 2 die-hard Utah fan companions, and Dad will be proud to hear that I'm sticking to my true-blue heart and wearing my BYU shirts every night. Elder Durham. Amazing Elder, and a fantastic leader. He is district leader here in Dali, Wufeng, and Taiping. I'm in Elder Krantz's old district. And Elder Durham is Elder Krantz's best friend. Don't ask me why Heavenly Father has put me with two best friends who cheer for Utah. I'm NOT changing to a Utah fan. Yeah right. And I'm a BYU fan. Love ya Dad.
Heavenly Father is in everything I do. He is everywhere. I have never seen so many goals be achieved by my weak unable self, and I've never been so happy. Yes, I still have problems, yes, I still have problems, yes, I still have problems. But at least I know how to set goals, and at least I know that God exists. Now help me tell everyone else, cause if anything counts as good news, God existing definitely counts. I'm a little worried for my Chinese, but this move call will just help me get back to work on individual study. I can't speak English anymore, and if my letters or emails sound funny... well sorry. I can't help it now. But if I accidentally write a word that you don't understand, well-- sorry. You can tell me about it, but I may not be able to explain it in English. Plus, sometimes I may know that I am about to use a Chinese word, and try to do it in English, give up and leave it in Chinese. If that happens, I'm sorry, but that means it won't be until a few months of speaking English back home that I can tell you what it means.
Johnson and Johnson floss. "Reach". The longest you can find. That'll be good. The floss here isn't very good, and it's expensive. One thing of that "Reach" stuff can last a couple move calls or more. :) Plus, it can be found in almost any store in Utah. I would love some.
Life is good, and I have grown to love these people. Every day it just gets better. I'm sorry if my last email sounded frustrated, angry, or impatient. I wasn't very happy at that point. And that day was kinda tough. So I didn't get a letter out. Sorry. I may not get any out today either. I'm finding it might be hard for my entire mission to be a good letter writer. Sorry. But, Mom, Dad, Shelbs, and fam, I will definitely try to get it out to you as often as I can. I'll talk with Elder Durham and try to set up time to write, but Dali, apparently, has a lot of good things to do, so, for the most part, I will be saying everything through email, and a short, short letter every week or so to Mom. 'Cause I love y'all. And I'll keep trying to find time to write the others.  Don't think I've forgotten you, I'm just finding time is hard to find. Lol.
I would like to send my bike home at the end of my mission, but only because it's unbelievably cheap to do. $20 to slow boat it home (three months) and I don't really care if it gets destroyed, cause if it does I'll say, "ok, no worries, let's take a picture, maybe try to fix it, and then throw it away if it's no use". But if it arrives in one piece, I have a bike that may last me for a while. And it's my mission bike that says Jesus Christ and Missionary on the sides and front all in Chinese.. It doesn't get much better than that. But I won't send it home til my very last day. :D I'll have money to do so by then, so no worries.
I love all of you!!!
Shelby. Write me if you want. I will write you back when you write me. But please feel free to write me. I love getting letters from my little Sister. I would love to hear from you. I promise I'll try harder to get letters to you. I love you, and just keep being a good girl, and follow your heart. Heavenly Father is inside driving, so it's pretty easy to follow-- ;P In other words, Heavenly Father won't put bad thoughts in your heart, so follow your heart! God loves you. Knows you, and believes in you. God believes in YOU. Isn't that cool? That even God believes we can do it? Why are we always so afraid to be nice to ourselves? Why so hard on ourselves? When GOD believes in us? Shouldn't that knowledge give us enough strength to keep moving forward? But men are weak. That is our weakness. Pray for faith, my little sister. Pray for faith, and you'll find that one day-- you'll believe you can do it, too.
I love you all. Stay strong, keep it real, and do things right to seal the deal!
-Elder Carter

(From the editor: We were telling Elder Carter about all the young men in our ward that are driving now...kids he remembers as Deacons.)It was weird to hear about all the young men. I'm excited to see if anyone will follow me into Taizhong. Maybe I can train them! That would be fun. Caleb needs to stop driving. Or at least get his license and then take 10 years to practice on a simulator before he's allowed to drive around my house. I don't want him slamming into the two beautiful birthday and anniversary gift cars I gave my parents. (He is referring to the two cars we now own because he successfully totalled the two cars we owned before, and managed to time them on our anniversary and on my birthday, respectively) That would ruin the story. But keep trying Caleb, I promise you'll be a good driver some day...

I love Elder Pei!!! I miss him already.