Monday, November 1, 2010

Star Wars and the Scriptures

Ok. Pretty sure it is completely pointless to worry about typhoons and me. First of all, they're super fun, second, I'm in Taizhong where Typhoon effect is smallest (virtually NOTHING, so this last typhoon you were freaking out about? We got a couple sprinkles and some sweet lookin' clouds-- I'm not joking), and third, when I move to Gaoxiong, you can start worrying a little, and I'll start being a little more careful, 'cause in Gaoxiong, things actually get a little "water-logged" lol. They're not a problem, and everyone is used to them. Even though they all act like its the worst thing in the world, when it happens, everything is normal, except work is cancelled, school is cancelled, etc. All is well.
Yes, I would like a list of EVERYONE in the ward with pictures of new families. I need EVERYONE'S birthday, age, and picture. And I need it before New Years'. I would also like the Elders' "snail mail" addresses just in case they need something special from Elder Carter, lol.
Yes, don't worry about me. All is well, and the Lord is shaping me into who I need to be. I have so many weaknesses, follies, faults, problems, and broken thoughts that I can only imagine what the Lord can do with such a broken down piece of equipment. I have so many things to say, and not enough time to say them. I finished my first journal today. Seven months and one week in one journal. So about 7 months per journal. I'm gonna need two more of the same type. You should get those details in my coming letter. So sorry there wasn't a letter last week.
I've been reading the other Elders' emails, and it's fantastic to watch them grow, as well as the knowledge and feelings that come from being in the mission field together. I was meant to be here, at this time, in this place.
By the way, every day I try to write in my study journal, and I have several little sticky notes sticking out of my study journal. Those sticky notes represent notes I have made to help me remember connections I found in the scriptures that have to do with Star Wars. I don't focus on it, but I don't want to forget those insights either, so I mark them. Lol... there's your Star Wars note... lol. (I told the elder in my last email that he is growing so much I’m not sure I’ll recognize him when he gets home…I need him to do something so I know he’s still my boy…something about Star Wars or something…;-))
Apparently, there are a million people here who have checked out my Blog and Facebook page. Ok, not a million, but a fair few. I don't even know how they got my blog address. Is there a link on my Facebook? Whatev, all is well. But speaking of my Blog, could you put a link up to, and a link to on there for me? We were asked by the Area Authority 70 and the visiting Authority Elder Pratt to do so. Thanks!!
Life is good so far. My first baptism on island, Zhang Shu Wei, pops up randomly every now and then. He was supposedly in the hospital for a while, and moved into Beiqu. He set up with the Zone Leaders the day I was on exchanges with Elder Prier last move call, and then he didn't come. Keep prayin' for him. I still haven't heard from him, and his cell phone is still off.
Jun Xiong is backtracking still, but he called me today and we are eating dinner with him, and he sounded happier than he's ever sounded before. Wei Han visited me at the church yesterday, since it was Stake Conference and gave me some cake for my birthday. Joie brought his wife to church, and she expressed a desire to be married in our Temple. And wants to know how to get there (spiritually and physically, lol). They took us out to eat lunch today. That was nice. Remind me to tell you all about Joie's work and life.. it's pretty crazy. I can't really tell you over email or through letters, but I can when I transfer to Cedar Hills on April 10, 2012. :P
Life gets hard every now and then, but I have got to keep remembering to trust in my God. Satan digs and digs and digs, and it is really hard to avoid him sometimes. When you have a more relaxed companion, things get tougher, too, lol, so I'm still pushing forward. The Taiwanese are funny people... :P
The love I have for these people is unmeasurable. Yes, there are times when I feel like chasing someone down and dragging them to the church and baptizing them, but we all know that that's against the rules. It's just hard, when someone tells you their life is miserable, and you tell them you can help them, and then they reject you. That's the worst rejection. When they know it's true, or they know it can help, and they still reject you. Rejection is tough. But I wasn't sent here on my mission to baptize the unprepared. Those who reject you are unprepared or using their agency wrongly. As long as you are in the Lord, and letting yourself be directed by His hands, it's not your fault if someone doesn't accept the invitation to be baptized. You are there to find the PREPARED souls, and by talking to everyone, you find them. There will be success, and when you go home at the end of all of it, you'll be able to see the difference He made in you. But don't focus on that now. Depression swoops in and takes hold and the Satanic temptations rip at our hearts, but if we stay focused on being directed by His hands, we need to not worry about how good we are, or how many people we talk to. Just keep a prayer in your hearts for where to go, who to talk to, how to do it.. etc.
I love this work, and sometimes we lose sight of the success we actually have. President Bishop spoke at Stake Conference, and said that 28 years ago, there was just a small branch of a few people in Taiwan Taizhong. Now there are at least two stakes, 5 wards and two branches. That church was full to bursting with people coming to hear the words of our leaders. In 28 short years, the church has flown. In my own mission, I've helped 7 people's lives change. And many more. I don't like numbers, but they help us see what God can do. I have names behind every number you see, and I can tell you every name, every friend that person has, what their baptismal service was like, their conversion story, what their families are like, and so on. This mission baptizes 20 or so people every week. I've baptized one person a month. A goal I intend to keep. These people need us. All of us. Every member a missionary.
Trust in God. And He'll trust in You. Even if you don't believe in God, that doesn't matter. Because He believes in You.
(Although, I would recommend believing in God. It makes life a lot better... ;P

I love you all!!!
-Elder Carter

ps-Shelby.......... wish I was there for your first date. Sorry I missed it. I love you! Tell every boy you date to be nice to you or they will have the righteous justice and inidgnation of your big brother on their backs. I may be a world away... but I'm right next to you in heart and Spirit. What I wouldn't give for our family to be serving a mission together. Wouldn't that be fun! Shelbs, I love you, and I'll be home sooner than you know it, but right now, I'm asking you to pray to Heavenly Father to protect me and help me stay motivated out here. Plenty of young women out here remind me of you, specifically a girl named Sara. I'll have to send a picture. Amazing members and it just makes me happy to know my sister is working on her own Personal Progress. I love you.

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