Friday, October 29, 2010

New Mission Pics on Flickr 10.29.10

Click HERE to see Elder Carter's latest pictures from Taiwan.

VIDEO: Dali Apartment Tour

Here is another video from Elder Carter. This time he takes us on a tour of his new apartment in Dali. We get to meet his companion Elder Durham.

A Little Help from My Friends

Note from the editor...Typhoon Megi went raging across the Phillipines headed due west the earlier part of this week, then decided on Thursday to turn directly north. She headed straight up in between Taiwan and China before striking land in China Saturday morning. We haven't heard a single word from the church or the mission office or Elder Carter, so we are pretty sure he is just fine...probably pretty wet. I hope the rest of you don't mind, but these emails have turned into a kind of neat little circle of communication for several brothers in the gospel who the Lord has sent all over the world. They each send emails home every week and all of their families print off and mail these emails to each other. It is such a joy to hear from all these amazing young men and their families, and the editor of this email (me) took some liberties with Elder Carter's email to send a couple of personal thoughts along with his. Thanks to the rest of you for your forbearance, and hopefully some part of all this will be uplifting for you, too. On to the Elder...last we heard from him, he was getting a new companion, his fourth in four move calls, and his second native companion...he was pretty stressed but trying to move forward in faith...

I've decided I need to snap out of the old KJ attitude of just getting all freaked out at any big changes. I'm sick of those feelings. Of course, this transition was no problem. In fact, I feel like I've been with Elder Huang for ages already. We've already shared miracles, and had investigators come and go, and laughed til the time runs out... etc. He's quite the interesting missionary to be with, and I just love the fact that I'm with another local.
My Chinese, I find, is still horrible. Blech. This is literally a lifelong thing to try to learn a new language. As I go, I find that not even the people who natively speak it, know it all. The same thing goes for our own culture and language. It is apparently the best language for the Church to use, but there is SO much I don't know. I definitely have a lot more focus on how I can improve my English as I go, as well. I definitely have a different opinion towards English class now, except that I don't want to be writing any essays, still.... But I'll get over that one day, or never, I don't really care... It might just be one of those things that I grit my way through... etc.
The language is tough, but I can communicate with people. They understand me. I understand a lot more than I can speak, and I'm starting to recognize characters, and read them. Writing is a far ways off... :D No worries, that's not important right now. I need to focus on improving my skills in speaking, understanding, and then teaching.
I've been blessed with a companion, who I've been told is the best teacher on the island. And he really is. He's brilliant in lessons, and makes EVERYTHING super clear. Who'd could've ever imagined that the most important soul-searching, soul-saving, Godly principles could be fully understood in a five minute lesson on the Plan of Salvation? Obviously we need to take what we learn and put it into practice to understand it better, and to see the effects, as do our investigators, but with Elder Huang by my side, everyone understands everything!!! And we teach pretty equally as well.
Yes, my Chinese is not super amazing, but it's better than I expected it to be 7 months into my mission. I have a long way to go, though. I find that as you progress in the language/understanding the culture, people slowly speak in more advanced tones and words. To start, they see that I'm white, so they automatically speak slower, then they use what English they have, and as I learn more advanced vocab and grammar, so do they. And they speak faster, and the English disappears. This is all well and good, but the problem is, you don't exactly get to see where your Chinese improves... lol. My English is absolutely horrible now... With Elder Durham, I realized that super fast. My English has taken a nosedive. My grammar is gone. Oh well. That just makes my first English class at BYU all the more exciting.
This last week has been fun. I realized that I didn't really know my area really well. I did better here than I did in Zhongming with Elder Pei at the beginning. I did not know Zhongming at all, but I at least knew Dali a little bit this time. So, now, after a week, with one of the best missionaries I've ever seen, I know my area better than I know my neighborhood back home. Maybe not that well... but still. It just feels good to know how to get around, where to avoid, where the shortcuts are, who's who, who's on what corner at what time of the day, which stores are open, which crazies are at the parks when, when is "swear in Taiwanese" man gonna show up at the KFC, where all the white people are (that also counts as places to avoid :P).
Anyway. It's been good. We have three people moving ahead at a fantastic pace now. Plus several other Golden potentials. I'm learning to cook REALLY good food. I'll just say breakfasts will be GRRREEEAAAATTT. :D
I know where every new member lives, what their schedules are, I know where a big clump of members live, where there are less, where the strongest members are, and so on. It's great! I know the big streets, I know where the food is, where the clothes are, where the Betel nut is, where the flirty waitresses are (counts as places to SERIOUSLY avoid), where the consistently accepting baptismal goals but never show up people live, I know where all the homeless people live (huh? aren't they homeless?) The truth is, homeless people aren't really homeless. They have a home. And they don't like to leave it. It may be bigger than some other's homes, it may have a lot more bugs, but it's still home, and to them- it's all they've got. Until you give them God. Then everything changes, and they show up to church with a brand new bike because they wanted to look good at church. Pretty sure the random suit they wear was found in the nearest garbage can, but at least it's pretty clean! :P Gotta give credit for that.
I'll just say I know where Elder Brimley is right now.(Elder Brimley is another missionary serving from our ward. He is in Ukraine and from his emails home, it sounds like maybe he’s been having some companion issues, and has been finding the people don’t seem too receptive.) Missions are different, and I'm not authorized to give others counsel that aren't in my mission or that I haven't been assigned to receive specific revelation for, but I'll just say I know where he's at. And all I need to say is "Obedience".
Follow that handbook. That applies to the Lord's ambassadors all over the world. Not just here in Taiwan. Yes, different areas of people are more prepared, and have different ancient promises that apply to them, so sometimes hearts are soft or hard, but the point here is-- LOVE them. Look in their eyes and you immediately perceive the state of their Spirits. Their souls. What they need, who they need, how much time it might take, when they're lying or when they're not, when they love the Lord, and when they don't, or when their eyes are clouded over with something that repels anything Godly of any kind... all of these. Even when they are rejecting you, even when their bodies have lost agency because of substance abuse, even when you know they know it's true and they still won't listen, you can still perceive their Spiritual state of being. And you immediately love them. You immediately long to find a way to touch them, to bring them home, to TEACH. I, at least in part, understand how Jesus felt a lot of the time.
This church is true. There is no doubt left in my mind. My testimony has been tested too many times for me to not say that I KNOW I cannot move. I have found my foundation, I have found my life, I have found my Savior. Those that are unsure or confused about this church, just need to understand one thing. And that one thing is Love. God loves you. The most basic principles of this Gospel answer ANY SINGLE QUESTION OR OBJECTION EVER DIRECTED AT THIS CHURCH. Is that not enough evidence that even a 4-year-old can change a man's heart? A recent Liahona addresses the fact that a 4-year-old boy acted on his testimony of Jesus Christ, and ended up being a major step in the conversion of a family to baptism. All this little, innocent boy wanted to do was tell his teacher about Jesus, all he wanted to do was be a missionary, and he surpassed them all. The pure innocent testimony of the truth of this Gospel is enough to create a universe. And that's no small thing- I was four once... was I a missionary then? Did I help people come unto Christ? I remember sharing my testimony in school, and telling my friends about my church on the busride home in Washington State... did that help? My challenge is this--- Be a Four-Year-Old. Be a Missionary. Whoever taught that child has got parenthood down pat.
And from Elder Hart's (Another missionary serving from our ward…he is in Tennessee) testimony on the importance of families we know that a Gospel-based family is a Celestial one. It really is obvious, the difference between families based on the Gospel, and families not. So those of you already steadfast in the faith, as a family--- STICK WITH IT. DON'T YOU EVER GIVE UP ON EACH OTHER. THIS CHURCH IS MEANT TO PULL US TOGETHER, not apart. Satan gets in there and rips at the steel that bonds families together, and, unfortunately, he succeeds sometimes in pulling it apart. He will stand there forever with the tiniest match to melt the iron if he has to. You wouldn't think matches would do much to melt steel would you? That's what he wants you to think.
My point is this. STOP WORRYING. Like Elder Bednar said in the MTC almost two years ago- "Be a Good Boy, Be a Good Girl, and Stop Worrying About it!" God has told us that with His church, He is "Well pleased." We are not failing, we are succeeding. Yes, there are less active people in every ward. REACTIVATE them. They need it more than they think (duh). There are nonmembers everywhere-- MEMBERIZE them!!! They need it more than they think (duh), and they might even think that a certain Missionary's heart-felt testimony about this church may just sound wacky and not quite know how to respond. Keep pushing. Like Elder Seamons (Yet another missionary from our ward…he is in Florida speaking Haitian-Creole.) mentioned, "If you think you can't move God's Kingdom forward, You are DEAD WRONG." (paraphrased). Or as Elder Bernards (Spokane Washington…all of these are fine young men and need to never forget that their old Webelos den leader loves them and knew they could do it 9 years ago, just like they are now…mighty warriors every single one.) mentioned in his letter- "Sometimes you run into more animals than people, but the work still moves forward." (paraphrased). You can't stop it. The king of Devils, who knows your innermost thoughts and desires, even HE can't stop it. If you think you can, then your pride exceeds that of Satan himself. Because even He has to admit that Jesus is the Christ, and that the work can not be stopped.
This work is real. And I am a key factor in it. As are all of you. The plan is in action. The Master is moving, Follow Him. And know that He loves you. Each and every one. Individually. As if you were the only human being who decided to follow Him in the beginning. He loves you. As do I.
May God Be With You. And at the last day, when all is said and done, may the Armies of God cry in one great call of trumph, "HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!" (A Seanism) (Or should I say, an Elder Byerism) (Elder Byers is our new friend serving in Nevada…we love him!)

-Elder Carter

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chillin at 95 degrees

Note from the editor: Hi all! So it appears our Elder Carter thinks he might have scared some people away from writing to him, and he's worried and he's noticed a decrease in the volume of mail coming his way. We aren't really sure how this all came about, but it sounds like in an effort to get focused on his mission, he kind of went overboard and didn't realize how much letters from loved ones and friends really help in the stressed out times. Here is a little excerpt from his email that doesn't really fit in the rest, so I thought I would include it here:

I just want you all to know how Unbelievably grateful I am for you. I don't know how I'd do this without you two backing me up, along with everyone else. If ANYONE (including girls) want to send letters of encouragement and comfort, feel free. (Directed to the females outside of my family- Encouragement and comfort only!!!) I'm sick of not having any mail. Consequences... :P Yes, I'm still me. But at least I admit it now.

Sigh, isn't it comforting to know that they can go half way around the world and grow by leaps and bounds and still be themselves? Phew, what a relief. On to the email...


I'm in yet another weird emotional state right now. I have to take huge breaths, because I have WAY too much on my plate. I've got to get a lot of stuff done, and I have quite the move call ahead of me. Elder Durham is going to Daya. That is in North Taizhong, and that is a different zone. He will be zone leader up there. I have now sent two zone leaders off. Elder Pei (my companion before Elder Durham) was in the MTC in the Philippines with my new companion. My new companion is Elder Huang. He is from Taoyuan, Taiwan. Yes, I have another local companion. But, this time, I'm not freaked out about my Chinese. I actually don't know what I'm freaked out about, actually... I'm working that out.

I still do not enjoy talking to people at random intersections. The phone is better. And then, I'm not on the phone as often anymore. It's hard, but I just have to do my best and keep moving forward. I still hardly know my area, or even how to get around. Especially since I don't even live in my area. I always feel like I'm annoying my companions with my weird personality, and my different likes and dislikes. I just want to get along!! Transitions are tough. And I still have a while.
This is move call #4.
Yesterday, after conference, Li Jin Xing was baptized. I will be getting those pictures home soon. It was a beautiful baptism with 4 people entering the waters, including a sister who was wearing a wig, and was scared of water. She was SO scared. But she closed her eyes and said a prayer before she went in, and her baptism was beautiful. God answered a prayer right then. I wish I could have that much confidence in myself.
Why can't I ever figure out how to not care what other people think? I just can't be myself. I feel bad if I don't live up to my companion's expectations, let alone my family's. I feel like I'm not the missionary you all think I am. I don't even know what you think. Well, there's my tirade. Now that we are through most of the turbulence.... I can focus again.
I got something from you guys. Elder Durham thought it was his, but it wasn't. I got a BYU football shirt. Is that the right one? I swear that's your handwriting mom...

I know the best is yet to come. Thanks so much for all your help. Both of you. Dad, I'll get back to you on the characters, I'm sorry....
Mail is SUPER nice to have. I love it. Please don't stop sending mail. I don't quite know how I'm gonna make it to 13 move calls from now... but I will somehow... but I need all of you backing me up. That's anyone who reads this email.
I love you all, more than any words can show. I miss you all, too- including you, Dad. But, most of all, I just want to say thank you. To Mom and Dad. You both have made my life, and I understand everything you ever taught me now. At least I think I remember everything... :P 
I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry I gave you pain, I'm sorry I caused peace to leave the home, and I'm sorry if I start contention while on my mission. No, I'm not reminiscing my problems, I'm just trying to convey my gratitude in horribly not efficient ways. But I love you. I love you I love you I love you. Sometimes I still don't know where I am. Sometimes I forget where I came from. Sometimes I just want to go home. But I've gotta keep pushing. There are people to save. And I can't let my God down. Let alone my parents. Or my sister. I've still got a year-and-a-half to go, so be patient and I'll be home soon enough, sis. Just remember that I've got things to do here first. I have to finish, and then I can come home. Just like what Heavenly Father wants to do with our lives on Earth. Endure to the End. 2nd Nephi 31:20.

One thing I thought was interesting, real quick... Everytime I ask you for advice, Dad, I have already started trying to figure it out myself. Like the characters. When you give me the advice, I find I'm already practicing parts of it. Your advice helps me refine and reevaluate. Because you're the one with the experience. Yes, I may have 10,000 characters to learn before I can read a newspaper, 20,000 to understand everything I see, and 30,000 to be able read the most advanced books--which have no use right now :P-- and dictionaries full of words to memorize, but without your advice (this applies to more than just temporal "characters" it also applies to Spiritual things and the general Mission way of life) I would not be able to be where I am. I take every word you say and try to use it. Because I feel bad about not writing you, because I feel bad about not getting to know you better or respecting you better before, and such, I am going to change some things and I'll be a better missionary overall.
I love you all SOSOSOSO much. And wish me luck on my new adventure with Elder Huang. Oh boy.

-Elder Carter

PS- By the way, it's still burning hot. I'm used to it now, so when you think I'm baking, I laugh and say, "I actually got chills today" (it was 95 or so with whatever percent humidity) :D It's supposed to get cold in December and January, and I might need a jacket... I'll let you know as I get more info about what kind, and what's allowed, etc... if I need one. Keep in touch. 

PS- Please send mail!!! I need it! :D I'm doing my best to return the favor... And will everyone forgive me for anything I've ever done that ever offended you? Please? I know it's email, but it's all I've got. I'm sorry. We have temple day this move call, as well. Loves-- Elder Carter. Write back soon...

Monday, October 11, 2010

VIDEO: Wearing of the Fruit!

Latest video from Elder Carter:

Shabu Shabu

New pics from Elder Carter now on Flickr, check them out!

Another Wreck? Really?

Hi All! So, last week, Elder Carter hinted he might enjoy some more letters from all of us back home. So, here's some reminders about how to get in touch with him.
First, you can type up an email and send it to us. We will print it out and send it to him in our weekly letters. This is how we are getting all the missionary letters out to him.
Second, you can send him a letter snail mail. It costs $.98 and gets to him in about 10 days. If you want to send him a small package, the best option is Global Priority. The small envelope and small box cost about $13 and take about 10 days to get there. We've heard you can send first class for less, but we've also heard that only the priority mail can get forwarded to him in Taiwan...all the others have to wait for him to pick them up the next time he is at the mission home. Here is his address:

Elder Kevin Carter
Taiwan Taichung Mission
498-11 Wu Chuan Rd
Taichung, 404-46 Taiwan

Third, you can use the same address above to send him a letter through You can type up the letter and then you just pay the price of postage. They will send it out for you. Just a little plug from mom...these Elders LOVE mail from home, so feel free to send just about any little note about anything and he will love it!

On to our favorite Taiwan Elder...
Don't freak out. I got clipped by a motor scooter the other night, and he skidded into a ditch. He's fine, I'm fine, my bike's fine, he was going too fast, and I didn't look perfectly well when turning left. He came from behind. His bike was damaged pretty bad, and I probably could have fought it a little harder, but I ended up having to pay for the damages. I was on exchanges with Elder Cocke in my district when I got clipped. I didn't want to get in a fight, or anything, and he wasn't very happy. But he was going fast, probably a little drunk, headed to a party, and just off work. I don't know. I think I handled it pretty well, but if I had it to do over again, I would have fought it a little. But I am happy, because everyone came out of it with good feelings and the bike shop was impressed with the fact that we didn't fight the bill to the point of fighting, which is, apparently, what happens most of the time. And everyone was impressed that we didn't run. That seems to be the norm in Taiwan. So everyone came out with better feelings towards the church (I hope), so, in all, it was a success.
BAPTISM BAPTISM BAPTISM BAPTISM BAPTISM BAPTISM BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mom, you asked me what the most beautiful thing I've seen in Taiwan is? The beauty of our investigators after receiving the Holy Ghost. They glow. And it is a beautiful reward of hard work, a lifetime of change (for them), a lifetime of preparation for this mission, a move call of stress, prayer, frustration, repentance, practice, training, contacting, tracting, teaching, biking, running, sweating, studying, serving, with a couple move calls before of similar experiences. It makes it all worth it to see people enter the waters of baptism (in whatever unpracticed, slam down in the water, not bending knees, multiple retries way it takes). A recent convert of the Wufeng area had just received the priesthood right before the baptism yesterday, so he had never done it before. He went straight into the water to baptize our two investigators. Lin Huang Cheng got his mom's (hardcore Buddhist, Grandma is TOTALLY against it, but Mom let him do it- Miracle) permission, and got baptized and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday. Joie also. Something cool? I found him. Or- the Spirit led me to him.... but I contacted him. And he got baptized. YEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Makes me feel SSOOOOOSOOOOOO good!!! And Li Jin Xing passed both of his interviews. He had to do a second with President Bishop, and passed! He's getting baptized after conference next week. Yes we don't have conference til next week. :D
All in all, yesterday was a miracle day. It was amazing. And the Yang family--who were baptized last move call, who had shaky testimonies, too many questions, had marriage problems, still got baptized-- have solidified their marriage are working toward the temple, and their family is so much closer. Mom and Dad Yang's love shows more and more everyday, and they work together to overcome problems. Dad is home a lot more now, because he feels like he needs to spend more time with his family if he's gonna have an eternal one, and he expressed the desires of his heart last night at Dinner. They fed us last night, and Brother Yang looked at us, started tearing up, and said that he wishes his kids can have their own eternal families in the future. And he can't wait to be sealed to his wife. He also desires that his kids can serve missions. And his other daughter who can't move, talk, or is really comprehensible in any way... well, he expressed his love for her and how he can't wait to see her resurrected.
The things this Gospel does for people. It LITERALLY changes hearts, and lives. Sometimes, we're blind to it, because we're used to these stories, and/or we've grown up in the Gospel.
I don't know how to explain it Mom, but we spent almost no time outside yesterday, and I saw the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen in Taiwan. All inside. There was water involved though... :P
I wouldn't mind getting photo albums like the one I got on my first day every now and then. Don't fill it all the way with pictures, but I wouldn't mind getting more pictures, including the one with Bishop Lin and Brother Yu.
Birthdays/Christmas. I don't like talking about my birthday. But if you want to send stuff, cool. But it should be unique to who you are, and you are sending it to me. If you want to buy stuff, it's probably smarter to send money and tell me what it's for, since everything but Apple iPhones and computers are cheaper here. And not just cheaper, a LOT cheaper. That's a good idea for the end of my mission, too, if you want me to get stuff for you, I can go buy it for cheap here and bring it home. Although, I'm not sure how expensive customs fees will be. Lol. But the point is made, and I'd just as soon forget I had a birthday coming up, so it's up to you! Or as the Chinese say, "Kan ni", or "see you". I bet you thought I was gonna throw a Chinese proverb or idiom down there, but I'm not THAT good yet... lol.
 I love you all, I hope I answered all your questions!!! "I'm in Asia" was just me exclaiming that I'm amazed everyday about where I am. :D Silly overthinking parents.... don't you know overthinking is bad for you?
 -Elder Carter

 ps- Joie. He met missionaries 10 years ago, and was Brother Hodges former investigator. My MTC teacher's twin brother's former investigator. We just baptized him. The world is a small place, especially in the church... How cool is that!!! A big hello to the Hodges!!! And Sister Li, if she's reading this... :P
Next email will be some thoughts from conference, a new move call, starting a new goal to add thoughts from my personal study, and so on. Expect big things!!! Next move call is my FOURTH!!! Ahhh! I've been on island for 4 months, and on my mission for almost 7. Time flies WAY too fast. And I hate the idea that I've lived for almost two decades now... Blech. Bye bye teens...... sniff.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Names not Numbers

Note from the editor: We had the greatest opportunity today! The Bishop of the ward where Elder Carter is serving right now came to Utah for General Conference. He called us yesterday and we got to meet him today! He and the group traveling with him are headed to Manti and then to Nauvoo but he wanted to bring us a package from KJ! Wahoo! it was so great to meet him! Attached is a picture so you can all see him. We actually met him-Bishop Lin and his second counselor, except I already forgot his name. Wow what a treat! On to the Elder...

Asia really has a special connection with nature, and the people have a super special connection with the ancient traditions, ancestors, and so on. But it's amazing to watch, and listen to these people talk about their history or their families. If I didn't feel it was disrespectful, I would film some of the things that happen with random people in their homes or on the streets. I could live here forever. I feel like I know these people, and I can get around. Then I feel like I don't understand them at all. I'll just say that christians are really hard to talk to. But Joie, our most recent find is a die-hard christian, and he is the most golden investigator I've ever had. It's really unbelievable.
Miracle after miracle after miracle. And funny stories all in between. Li Jin Xing finally was home. We tried to visit him on Thursday, but he wasn't home, and we went searching for him, since he wasn't answering his phone. Then we visited him Friday night, and caught him chewing binlang to handle the pain. So we took the binlang away and committed him to quit, read some solid, healing scriptures and the next day, his mouth was clean, and he was done with the Binlang. But he wouldn't come to church, because he felt too embarrassed to be seen by people after having been in the hospital. he feels fat, he hasn't shaved, and he's old. Lol, come on man!!! Shi Baba convinced him to come to church next week, and we plan on visiting him 4 or 5 times this week to watch church videos with him and help him feel stronger in the faith.
Joie wasn't able to come to church because of last minute changes at work, but both he and Huang Cheng both passed Baptismal interviews on Saturday. Joie's WIFE was not able to come to church either, and his sister is rejecting our phone calls. Oh well. He's solid, and his WIFE loves praying... we think. :) But the funny thing is, that Saturday was his interview and he still needed to be taught tithing and Law of Chastity. At the time, we were planning on discussing the fact that we can't live together before marriage, and we invited Arthur to help us peike. Arthur is a big guy, with a huge heart, that looks exactly like Uncle Mike. He'd be better able to explain why we can't live together before marriage, so we thought that he'd be a big help. Elder Durham and I braced ourselves to teach the next part... When Joie opened up and told us his little secret. His fiancee is not his fiancee. She's his wife. Legally. Legal wife. Papers signed, ordinances performed, complete. So, Elder Durham and I looked at each other, smiled, chuckled, looked at Arthur, who shrugged and laughed, and turned back to Joie, and just invited him to keep the law of Chastity. He passed his interview in less than 10 minutes (same with Huang Cheng, who did it at the McDonald's, lol).
But I'm super happy, 'cause I found Joie at an intersection, and he's getting baptized next week. That's my first one. The first person I found, that makes it to baptism while I'm still around. I feel like that should've happened earlier, but I've been a good missionary, and God is working through me. Apparently I am a lucky missionary. I've had golden investigators every move call. I guess a lot of other missionaries don't have a lot. Like 2 or 3 golden ones their whole mission.
I realized a special thing about me today. I am finding that about certain parts of this church and Gospel, I have stronger or weaker testimonies. We were discussing what we could do to get more people to church today, and I realized that I don't have a huge testimony of church. I know we need to go, and I know we need to partake of the Sacrament. But I don't have any experiences that I can remember that result from going to church. I have a testimony of Sabbath day, and keeping it holy. But the church part, I have a hard time testifying of. I feel like my testimony is weak. It's just what I've done for my whole life. I've never known anything different. And if I decided not to go to church before I would've been mawed out by my ward, and my parents would've hated me, so I had to go. Plus all my friends were there, too. Sometimes I wish I could be an investigator and gain that kind of testimony from meeting the missionaries and going to church. My testimony about church is so weak! So I have a new goal to strengthen that, and really figure out why it's special to me. I thought that was pretty cool, that I realized that about myself and that I am able to want to progress with it instead of take it and use it as an excuse (pretty poor excuse) to say the church isn't true, like I might've before. I felt a lot better about myself this morning after that realization... and then, of course, I felt horrible, 'cause I should have a stronger testimony, and be more in tune, and understand the scriptures better, and the list goes on. Like, what am I doing being a missionary with no special testimony of the worth of going to church every Sunday? All I know right now, is that it is a commandment of God. I need to partake of the Sacrament every week to renew my covenants, but mostly, I just know that keeping God's commandments brings uncountable blessings later, and I'm gonna keep following those commandments (including Sabbath). Because one day, I'll see blessings from it, and feel good for being obedient. Sometimes I don't know why God gives us certain commandments, or why prophets give us certain "counsel", but I don't care. I follow it anyway, 'cause I know it's from God. From now, 'til the end of my existence, I will find a way to get to church EVERY Sunday. I don't care where I am, or what I'm doing. And it's just nice to be able to have such a strict lifestyle for the next year and a half. It's actually relaxing. I love working hard. It never felt better than this.
(We asked about dogs in Taiwan in honor of our dog Bailey’s 10th birthday)All sorts of different kinds of dogs in Taiwan. It is not ok to eat dog here. Although you can still find it, if you try... The Taiwanese people flip out when I tell them my dog just turned 10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAILEY!!! They freak out, because their culture just lets the dogs out at 5 years. So there are dogs just roaming the streets EVERYWHERE. Sometimes they chase you with frothing mouths and big, scary teeth, but most of the time they just bark, and leave you alone. Some dogs still have their collars on, and it's actually pretty sad. They look so miserable. Fur missing, open wounds, broken legs (no one does anything to help 'em), no food, etc... But the dogs that are kept well and are tamed as pets are really cool! Unless they're treated badly, then they are mean. But dogs are still better than the stinkin' cats...
This last week we had training for three days, where Elder Durham went up to the Mission office and I went on exchanges with the Wufeng Elders Cocke, and Petters. I was given the cell phone, and was put in charge of Dali for three days. Yikes. Being senior companion is scary. And you get overwhelmed super fast. Bu Yao. I don't want it. I'm perfectly fine being junior the rest of my mission. I'll just say I was glad to have Elder Durham back on Friday as my full-time senior, so I could just follow him again. That was a nice feeling. He set everything right and our investigators are still progressing. Phew!
Tell Brad I say hi. It's good to hear he's got an accent. 'Cause... so do I. Blech. Tell Kendall to push through it. These last few moments before going in are tough. There are two young men leaving for missions (one is going to Provo) from our ward here, and they are amazed at how many temptations come up in the last two or three weeks. Stay strong. Good to hear Jason and Jennifer are doing well. Keep strengthening both of them. Are they going to church? I've always seen Jason as one amazing missionary. If he can make it, that would be one heck of a powerhouse missionary. And Jennifer could blow the Young Woman's program out of the water. It's good to hear there are improvements. As well as with Jean, and the Blackburn family. Thanks for the letter, and I'm just glad that it's possible to affect people across an ocean. I'm doing my best, but I'm not perfect, and I'm sorry if anyone has taken offense from my words. I'm trying to be better everyday.
 Did the ward forget about me? Did Brother Brady get my letter from a few months ago? Bishop/President Olsen? How is the ward? How's Brother Johnson and fam? How are the Goodmans? How are the Nances? How are the Allens holding up? Kim? Anyone else? Are the Hewards doin' good? How's Brother Oler and fam? Dustin? Bishop Bernards? The Seamons? How are the Fotheringhams? Sister Creighton, Sister Greer... etc? How is everyone? Did I really have that little of an affect on my ward members? lol, jk. Wouldn't mind hearin' about or from the ward every now and then, though.
I love you all, sorry I can't get all my stories out in one email. There's so much to say, and I'm sorry if I don't answer all your questions. :D


-Elder Carter

-Not that numbers matter, but we could potentially baptize 10 plus people this move call... but that's how it is every move call. Plus, every week we have 50 plus investigators. We add 400 plus every move call. And people wonder why this mission baptizes 1400 plus people every year. The point here, is this. EVERY NUMBER HAS A NAME. NUMBERS ARE NOTHING WITHOUT A NAME BEHIND THEM. WE NEVER GIVE NUMBERS IN REPORTS, WE GIVE NAMES. And, TALK TO EVERYBODY!!! If you talk to 100% of the people you see, you will find 100% of the prepared souls that need to be baptized. So, if you ever ask me how many people I baptized, I'll list off the names of the people I helped baptize, and you won't understand. :D Love you!!!