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!!! 

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