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...

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