Monday, December 27, 2010

BaBa's and such

Well, I just looked at the "attachments" button and thought of how I haven't 'attached' something in a long time. When will I ever use that button again? I don't know. Sending pictures through email is too slow.
Sorry for the random comment. :P

Hallo!!! Well, luckily I have the country code for USA. So I sure hope that's good enough. I'll buy a calling card just in case. They're cheap. Don't worry about a thing! God will set it up so that it works. I never trust all these stinkin' numbers. Why can't I just use the cell phone? Money crunchers.... grrrr.....
Well, I'm sending pictures home this week. They're full of pictures from Dali. I'll send another card home next week with pictures from the Christmas activity. Only a few from Tanzi so far. I focus on taking pictures of the area and with my companion on the last few days of the move call. Within the rules of course. Although I have taken a picture that was taken at !0:42 or so. I thought that was funny. The clock sitting in the background blaring at me that I should've been in
bed. Well, I tell that clock that it was the last day of the move call, I had permission from President, and I was packing. That's what happens when you go proselyting on Sunday. No time for packing at all till the night time, and then the next morning, IF there's time before you miss the train.
The mini move call we had recently sent home a bunch of missionaries and a few small changes. Got a new Zone Leader here, and some missionaries moved all over the place there, some just stayed put in Tanzi. That's fine with me. I'm expected to be here in Tanzi for awhile. Most senior companions are here for 4 or more move calls. If that's the case, when I leave here, I'll be in the summer of 2011 and going home in less than a year.
I've been out for 9 months now. Just passed the 9 month mark. Passed the 1/3 mark, and have 2 move calls left until my half-way mark. 2 and a half until my "one year left" mark, and 3 or 4 until I've been in Taiwan for a year. That'll be here before I know it. I've got 15 and a half months left before I'm headed home. Lol, it makes me happy to see that big of a number. I don't feel like leaving at all. Then again, I do.
That feeling comes when I'm at the mission home when missionaries are leaving for home. I might just want to avoid going there at move call from now on. I get pretty trunky, especially when our financial secretary Elder Greene puts Wedding Announcements from returned missionaries on the wall in the office. Ugh. He knows it annoys us.
The worst is that all the girls are gorgeous, and the guys are just "ok". So it flips us out when we see those pictures. Drives me crazy. Especially when I know half the people up there. Then hearing how FAST people go off and get married when they get home... ugh. A wedding planned in 7 weeks? Is that even possible?
Never mind. Back to my investigators. :P
Li Baba. He committed to quit smoking completely last night. His interview is this Saturday and baptism on the first of January. We had 9 other members besides us missionaries at his house last night (including his whole family). I had set up only 1. But another family came to support him, cause they somehow found out we were visiting them, and when we picked up our buddy to help us teach Li Baba, our buddy Fang Meng Xiang had two friends with him including a less active Zhang Sheng Cheng, and our very own Liu Wen Shen (who just passed his priesthood interview). So, EVERYONE knows that Li Baba is quitting. He's got a lot of pressure, but his desire is golden.
Daniel will be baptized at 4 in the afternoon on Saturday. He can't let his family know or they won't let him get baptized. I think that is super funny :P. So 4:00 is the only time. Then in a couple weeks, we plan on visiting his family. We'll see how that goes.
The twins were caught smoking on Saturday, confessed to my District leader in their interviews Saturday night, and came to church Sunday. Their mom and dad aren't interested in the church, but they say that if the twins want to come they need to come to learn and do good things, be serious about it. Not come to play. Lol, we'll be visiting them soon too. Also, the twins need permission. They're 17, so they need written permission, and we are doing our best to help them out with that. Please pray for them!!!
Our other investigators are coming along. But they all need prayers. I'm dying in prayer every night. It doesn't matter what I do, I'm there for an hour or more because I can't keep myself from falling asleep. Then I go to lay down and think about other things for awhile, but I never get to it, and I don't ever remember climbing into bed. Then it's 6:00 and it's freezing outside, and we still have to run.
Ugh. At least there's no snow. But I miss the snow.... Cold rain is horribly miserable, but it's still beautiful to me, just like I thought before. There's not any kind of weather I don't like. There are preferences, but yeah.
I will call Sunday morning at 7:00. Be prepared with questions you want answered so you can get them out of the way and we can just talk. An hour will go by WAY too fast. I remember thinking "ugh, still have 7 months until I get to call home" (this is when I just barely got to Taiwan). Yeah, well, 7 months disappeared.
I told a recently returned missionary (Li Baba's son) that I had 15 and a half months left and he waved at me and said "bu-bye!" I was like, "why? That's a long time!" And he told me--- "---bu-bye!" I guess time goes fast out here.
I love the work. It gets hard. It gets easy. But at the end of the day I'm always happy. That may have something to do with the fact that I can go sleep at that time and pig out on food, but really. I really am happy every night. And keeping almost every single one of my goals. I have a ton for the new year, and I'm in the process of prioritizing them and shrinking the list. I don't exactly have the longest time. :P
I love you all!!! 

-Elder Carter

ps- talk to you on Sunday, then an awkward email, 'cause I won't know what to say.
"Hurrah for Israel!" (An Elder Byerism)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Climbing Trees

Well, life is good here!
Not a lot of changes.
LIU WEN SHEN: This 17 year old, mischievous, annoying, wonderful, brilliant young man was baptized and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost this last weekend.
CHEN RANDY: Randy is another not well-behaved, but hilarious, very spiritual 16-year-old. He will be getting baptized on Christmas Day.
CHEN JEFF: Randy's twin. A little better-behaved, but is a lot quieter. When you get him alone, he seems to open up better, and is more willing. The two of them put together are quite the hoot, but a really hard lesson to control. Luckily they've been to church a ton before, and are totally willing. Also, obtaining permission from their parents is not a problem. Jeff will also be baptized on Christmas Day.
CAI DANIEL: Unbelievably Golden. He had Word of Wisdom, and Law of Chastity problems, but they were overcome the lesson of. When he heard Sabbath Day, he sat back, took a deep sigh, and told us he LOVES this commandment. He thinks it's very smart, and just makes sense. He likes the idea of being commanded to rest. He thought it was pretty funny. God has to do that every now and then, doesn't He? Command us to rest a little... sounds familiar... I just think it's funny it has to come in command form... :P Daniel, because of a miracle, will be getting baptized on Christmast Day as well. Our Asia Area Presidency has said that every investigator must come to church at least 3 times before getting baptized. Daniel has come twice, and will not be able to come to church on the 19th. Therefore, we thought we would have to move his baptism goal to the first of January, which we hate to do, because delaying baptismal goals is NOT a good idea. But President Bishop is comfortable with it. Daniel's family would protest if they knew he was coming to our church, but luckily he's 25 and doesn't need permission. His reason for not coming to church next sunday is because he is going to Xinzhu to be with family. He doesn't want to tell them, because he's afraid they wouldn't let him get baptized. He almost didn't make it to church yesterday because he was hiking with family, but he booked it over and made it almost on time.
YUE ZI XIANG: Met two weeks ago on exchanges. Set up for an appointment on Saturday at 11 AM. Didn't come, and didn't call (like most of our lessons, lol), so he was dropped off of our APR because he wouldn't answer, but we kept his number around because he was so nice on the street. Friday night, on exchanges with Zone Leaders, he calls me and apologizes for not coming (this is a week later, this never happens) then sets up again for Saturday morning at 11. Doesn't come. Promises he can come to church. He comes to the baptism Saturday night, and we find out that he had surgery and couldn't come and had no use of his phone for a few days. Oh. Patience, Elder Carter. He came to church and brought a friend. They both have interest, and are ready and willing to get baptized on New Years' Day.
LI BABA: A 9 year investigator. He let missionaries in 9 years ago when they were tracting and the whole family was baptized except for him. Because he couldn't quit smoking. Lol. Still has smoking problems, but he, for the first time in 9 years, set up a baptismal interview for Christmas Day. Every missionary that has worked with him before has not gotten this far. So he's progressing. His son just got back from his mission in California, and he pushes hard for his Dad to get baptized. It's about time.
When Li Baba gets baptized, that will be a completed family. And in one year, they can go to the temple. And I can attend. I'm praying hard. Please pray for this man. And for the twins :D.
Me? I've never felt shorter. I've never felt older. I've never been so busy. I've never been so happy. I've never had so little money. Oh wait, I don't have money. :D
But I'm a missionary.
I'm an emissary.
I'm a messenger.
I'm a Son of God.
I have an opportunity for eternity.
I can go to the Celestial Kingdom.
I'm on the right path. I might like climbing the trees on the sides every now and then, but one thought back to Mom and Dad, sends me running back to the middle of the path.
My relationship with my companion took a couple hits this week, but we worked it out and came out on top. We have a great companionship. And I feel like the way I serve my mission is a little too relaxed sometimes... lol. Elder Zhu is SO much better than me. He makes me feel like I need to be better. I WANT to be better around him. He's so diligent and unbelievably focused. :D I'm so glad he's here. I'm scared about what happens when he leaves.
My trainer, Elder Krantz just went Assistant to the President. Seeing him today was funny. He was totally humbled, and a little scared. He is companions with an Elder who he was with in the MTC. Yes, they are the same age. Elder Krantz has 4 move calls left and will head home. All 4 will be as Assistant. I love him!! :P He's so funny.
I hope all is well at home. I'm doing my best out here and I love all of you!
My feelings are changing. My personality is the same, but more secure. I feel like I love people more, like I treat people better, including myself. But I'm not perfect. Isn't that a great feeling? I'm NOT perfect. Sigh........ All that being perfect pressure is not mine to bear! Don't we love our Savior for doing that for us. Luckily we only need one person to do that for us. But, Mom, you're right. We don't understand all the time, just how COMPLETE the Atonement of Jesus Christ really is. I need it, you need it, everyone else needs it. Who cares if you're perfect? You know who else needed the Atonement? Christ.
Don't forget how easy it is to forget how to use the Atonement, and how easy it is to succumb to pride. Lucifer himself was one in Authority under God, and he fell, because of pride. President Benson (I'm pretty sure it was him) 21 years ago, gave a talk on "Beware of Pride". It changed this church. It had a funny side effect though. This was mentioned in General Conference, but I forget by who. Maybe Elder Uchtdorf? When we feel like saying "I am proud of my son" "I am proud of my family" "I glory in the fact that I'm a messenger for my God"... etc, we feel like that is the bad pride. When this talk was given about "Beware of Pride", the word proud, or pride, became taboo among saints.
Just remember. YOU need the Atonement, too. So does President Monson. Not just the smoker on the street curb, the broken mother pushing her house around in a shopping cart, the drugged up homie with missing teeth and a false sense of what seems to be happy, or even the business man with the shredded suit, empty suitcase, no job, no account, and, at the time, no apparent future.
The Atonement is real. Don't forget it. USE it. Every day. REPENT.
See you next week!!!
-Elder Carter

ps- I'm writing Lindsey, by the way. She's great isn't she? :) Just thought the whole world should know. 'Cause she is great. (LYL) :D (yes, Elder Brimley, I heard that sigh... and Elder Seamons...) :)
Love you all! Gotta go! figure out the call stuffs!! LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pure KJ

Note from the editor: Sorry for the delay in getting this out this week. A lot of it is pretty personal for our little family, so I thought about editing pretty heavily, but I decided to send it out completely unedited. Shelby had her patriarchal blessing last weekend-12/7/10-and it was a pretty special time for all of us. I think one of my favorite things about having our missionary out is the love he keeps sending back our direction. What a reward for those not always fun teenage years! Have a great week everyone...on to the Elder.

Have I told Shelby yet how much I love her? It grows everyday, and I'm not even around her! I wonder if that would've worked back home.... But then again, I couldn't really get away from her, could I?
And besides, who, in their right minds, wouldn't want to be with my sister her whole life? Granted there's the toothpaste, the stealing brother's things, the arguing, the getting brother in trouble... etc... the list goes on. But when you get to know her. When you get to see her heart for what it really is.. You begin to understand what being in Heavenly Father's presence must be like. I've always wondered if she was a celestial spirit. In fact, I've been pretty sure for awhile.
Shelby, you knew what you were going to go through in this life. You saw that pain. But more than that you saw the joy. You were willing because you knew that you could at least help your brother. I'm not sure how many other people you've helped, but you've nearly saved me.
I remember the peaceful, closed eyes I saw on that day 15 years ago. The beautiful spirit of my sister in the presence of angels while her body went through mortal pain. But do you know what I remember most? I don't remember a baby face. I remember a mature, perfect, peaceful Shelby. That's who I saw on that bed. That's who I remember. Everytime I see you, that's what I see, that's what I remember. Everytime I think of you, I remember who you are. I can only imagine that you and I were best friends in the pre-mortal life, since we both seemed to have pretty strong testimonies of our Savior. I must have begged Heavenly Father to let you be my sister. You know what else I see in your "countenance"? Our Savior Jesus Christ. The purity of His Truth. I know this all sounds dramatic, but I'm overcome with emotion right now. I want to read your patriarchal blessing so bad! I knew for years, that your blessing would be special. Everything I've heard so far is unbelievably amazing to me, and they are things that I already knew about you. I can only imagine how Mom and Dad feel.
    Mom, Dad. Don't you two EVER tell me you "broke things" in raising us. Do you realize who you're the parents of? A celestial spirit, and Heavenly Father gave you a pretty mischievous, naughty, rebellious son to correct and fix up. I needed you two and my sister. Only with you could I have become what I am, and get to where I'm at.
Because you two are perfectionists and raised me that way, my investigators understand what we teach. They know what they have to do, and all the information our leaders need is given. This is because I'm picky, and a perfectionist. But more so, is because of Elder Zhu's testimony and together, the presence of the Spirit when we teach.
Thank you. I know what I really want now. I know where my hope lies. I know where my heart belongs. And it's because I have the BEST parents, and the BEST sister. I love you Shelbs. You're still the first person I'm hugging when I get home. Don't let me forget that. And don't you dare get all annoying and tell me you don't want it. I'm chasing you from the airport to Taiwan and back until you let me hug you. You first. Not the dog. You. Then Mom and Dad, and then everyone else gets a turn. That's then though.
For now...
160+ missionaries in our mission. Had one week where we contacted 28000 people (the whole mission put together). Added hundreds of investigators, and are helping several progress towards baptism. Our companionship alone has Liu Wen Shen ready to get baptized this Saturday. Daniel, and the Chen Twins getting ready for a "White Christmas" on the 25th of December, which is a Saturday. Perfect for a baptismal service.
Miracles happen everywhere. And they happen everyday. God is everywhere. I'm just starting to see. How could I have been so blind before? I thought I knew things... ;P Now, I'll admit I don't know a thing. I just can't wait to stand before God, with confidence and fire, and take my first steps to Godhood alongside my own, glorified, Eternal Heavenly Father. Although, I'll never be as Good as Him!
Can't wait to see Sister Lee! I'll have to explain that she's a lifelong friend pretty quick, or half the mission will be bearing down on my back. So, Sister Lee! Please make sure you come say hi to me when you see me! So cool! So excited! How do the Lees feel about all this?
Yes, I get Jean's letters. :D I GET JEAN'S LETTERS!!! Is that big enough to see? I hope Jean can see that... ;P I'll write back soon enough, no worries.
Learning the new area is pretty easy, considering it is significantly smaller than my last two areas. Makes it fun. I have my map on my new bag which sits on the front of my bike, so I can see it easier. It's fun visiting people. The mission focus has turned from contacting at intersections to contacting while traveling. We want to be visiting more people. Stopping at intersections is not entirely effective.
There are 20 or so local missionaries in our mission. Probably less, actually. No, I will never be junior companion again until I get married.
Zone Conferences are every other move call. District Training Meetings are every week. Combined District Training Meetings are every other move call. Mission Conferences are Christmas, when Authorities visit, and special calls by President Bishop.
Some fun facts.
Anyway, life is good. My 6'8" companion is super great, and knows how to find investigators. He helps our numbers look good. But since that doesn't matter, it's fun to see how he befriends the people he finds. He's different. I understand the Chinese spoken on the street better than I understand him, but it's nice to have a harder language experience. It's tuning my ears to the way they actually talk. He just barely got into the mission, so his accent hasn't turned into the American accent yet. He's got HIS way of doing things, but he's funny, and we figure it out. It's hard being senior companion of a missionary who just left his trainer after being with his trainer for 2 move calls. Gotta untrain them then train them again. Because every missionary is different. Plus, he doesn't do everything I did when I left my trainer to make sure the companionship has no bumps. He does it different, but everything Dad told me to do, he doesn't really do. So I teach him things here and there, so that his next companion won't be so tough to get used to.
I've been told I'm really good at making friends, and our 17 year old investigator tells me I'm really fun. Another younger missionary, when his companion was in Beiqu for training and came around with me and Elder Zhu for two days, told me that he appreciates that I'm me. What?!! I'm me? Since when has that ever been the case?!
Stuff like this makes me feel better. But I'm even happier to think that people enjoy being around me here, and love talking with me. They enjoy me for who I am. I'm still perfectionist, I'm still me.
Love you all!!
Time's running out!
-Elder Carter
"Hurrah for Israel!" (An Elder Byerism)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pardon my horrible English

Well, I have no idea what coloquial means anymore or even how to spell it, and I'm nervous that the big english word has a negative meaning to it... It sounds good next to Local, though, doesn't it? Pardon my horrible English.
I love my new area. The people are funny, solid, and ready to go. It counts as a more country area, with really only one intersection that is worth contacting at. The church is on the 15th floor, and going to the roof to eat dinner is an experience worth serving 2 years in a foreign country for. It is BEAUTIFUL up there. I WILL DEFINITELY be taking millions of pictures. Don't you dare delete a single one. Even if it's blurry. That might have been done on purpose. :) There will be pictures coming. With some funny videos and stuff.
I would LOVE to get more pictures of our family together (funny, content, happy, silly, serious, angry types... etc). I would absolutely LOVE to have pictures of me from on my mission, from the ones I've already sent home. That would be fantastic. Oh, I don't know why I just thought this up, but tell Lizzy (Sister Shattuck is our next door neighbor and will be coming home from her mission this month!) to write a letter saying hi when she gets home, and I can ask her questions about differences in England, and how sisters serving is different from Elders (there is a HUGE difference. Not much different from the same situation that exists at home. Girls are usually more behaved (unless you're Taylor Hart, of course... jk).
Anyway, pictures. Pictures from before my mission would be nice, pictures while on my mission would be nice, more pictures of family would be nice, more recent pictures of family would be nice (like thanksgiving or Christmas), and a small book like the one I have would be great. Also, I need Christmas music! Thanksgiving has past (yes, Dad, I still won't sing or listen to Christmas music til midnight on Thanksgiving, and I made sure I did it according to American time.) :D and it's time to start blasting Christmas music for all to hear.
Our apartment building is full of members. It makes coming home, and waking up super fun. Here in Tanzi, you actually run into members on the street. That's new. The baptismal font is a blue tub. I'll send pictures soon.
I need more bubble-wrap envelopes!!!! :D Please?!!!! Or you all won't get pictures for a while.... and that'll be disappointing.
We have an investigator that will be baptized on the 11th of December. I've never been closer to an investigator, and I've only known him a week. He opens up to me, and he's supposed to be the most closed off, shy Taiwanese 17-year-old in eastern Asia. Yeah, ok.
Daniel (Cai Yan Zhang). A very good man. It feels SO good to have an investigator ask a lot of questions who's not asking questions to catch you in false words. Like Zeezrom. Talking to Zeezrom-like people is the everyday thing. But when they turn into Lamoni-type people, where their questions are asked because they are seriously looking for truth... life gets happy in a millisecond. I love Daniel. He couldn't come to Church yesterday, because he was going hiking, and he had a date with what he called a "special friend". I asked him about it Sunday night, and he said she was "hai hao". Which just means-alright. Lol.
Elder Zhu's girl stories are hilarious. And there are SO many. I wonder if that's what I sounded like to my senior companions. If so, I kinda want to apologize... lol. Nah, it's fun. Plus I have plenty to share, as well. Lol.
Well, we all knew I had a feeling before this move call that something was gonna change. Or I wouldn't have asked Dad in written letter how to be a Senior companion only to receive his reply 4 days into this move call right when I was starting to freak and not know what to do.
Now, I'm ok. I know what I'm doing, and how I want to do it. It's fun sharing ideas and doing things your junior companion's way. Because when things work out, man, is it beautiful to see the light that shows on his face. He literally ran over a 75-year-old woman the other day (I'm just glad I didn't do it. Usually it's me that has problems like that). He literally ran over her, and she biffed it hard. I have a new testimony of how tough Taiwanese grandmas are. She's one tough braud (spelling?). She took us over to her house while she was bleeding everywhere from her upper lip, limping after smacking her "had surgery before type knee" (wow, my english is gone. I literally don't know how to say that better.) on the street. We entered and agreed to pay her deductible. (like three bucks american, because of this medical system. One nice thing. I heard America's medical system finally changed. Did President Obama get his way? ... I can't talk about this...)
The next morning we brought her a pineapple (pineapples work miracles, I'm telling you.) and she agreed to meet with sister missionaries. I don't know the results, but they met with her last night, and I'm afraid to call the sisters to find out. But, Elder Zhu's face lit up when he heard she was going to meet with the sisters. He really respects the older people. Very much a part of this culture. And he felt absolutely HORRIBLE. So when he heard that this experience had Gospel-related results, he was so happy. Made me feel SO happy. Isn't that what love is? When you're willing to do things you may not usually do for the happiness of others? Isn't that what Jesus did? Is that true love? I'm literally asking this question- is it?
Taiwan is great. Every area has it's ups and downs, but the Spirit is everywhere. Along with God, and Jesus Christ. Faith. That's my focus this move call. Faith. With faith, ANYTHING is possible. So how do you convince your investigators to use their faith? Now, isn't that the question... By the Spirit, of course, but how? Trusting the Spirit is part of it. But there's more.
It will not be expensive to alter my suit. Less than 20 bucks American. I'll do it next week. Pants also need altering. I'm gonna clean my ties here, too. Since a drycleaner is close and dependable.
Food is not eaten as much here on my part. Portions are smaller. Plus, in a country type area, there isn't "Eat to arrive at Full" restaurants (buffets) anywhere near. And, I want to write letters. Eating time on Mondays isn't as long as before. But I will make it to a buffet every move call if possible. Absolutely delicious. And all the food is all mine.
Christmas activity this month, too. :D Can't wait! Make sure you all have a good phone that I can call that will ensure quality conversation.
Shoes. Size 11.5-12 running shoes. I like Asics, but those are super expensive. I can probably get cheaper here. And I'll just tell you when I need them. Cause I don't need them right now. Don't worry about shirts unless I specifically ask for them from home. Quality shirts here are unbelievably cheap. No worries. :D Once I figure out what I'm gonna be sending home, I'll tell you about how much it might be, and if I could get help with that, that would be nice. Sending home other than by boat is a lot more expensive, so I'll let you know. :D
The Church is true. God is here. "Thou shalt not fear, for I AM near"... (paraphrased, and set up to rhyme). They love us. They have their time. They have their reasons. Love them with all your heart, and you will begin to see Their hands in literally EVERY part of your life. Don't doubt. Love. Don't turn away. Keep focused. Love with all you have, every fiber of your being, every string of your heart. And then we can start to comprehend their love for us... but it's only a start. So keep working at it.
Love you all!!! The work is Golden! 

-Elder Carter

"Hurrah for Israel!!!" (An Elder Byerism)

ps- Being Senior seems to be no different than being Junior. I'm just a missionary. With more responsibility. :) Love you all. (YLTIY)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

VIDEO: Dinner with Elder Carter

Check out the latest video from Elder Carter below. Enjoy!

New Mission Pics on Flickr 11.30.10

See all the new Mission Pics from Elder Carter on Flickr HERE.

Freaking out!!!

 I have a bunch to write.
 Hold on.
I'm senior companion as of today. 
My new companion is Elder Zhu.
He is from Taipei. 
He is Taiwanese.
He is taller than Tyler Haws.
I am now north of Taizhong in Tanzi (Tantzu).
I'm freaking out.

I don't know my area, my ward, my own name. My Chinese is still not where I'd like it to be, but that's not gonna change. I got the call on Saturday. I fully expected to continue with Elder Huang for one more in Dali. But SURPRISE!!! On your 5th move call you are going to be senior. That doesn't happen very often. I am one of three people out of the 15 that came with me from the MTC that is going Senior. I'm also going senior with most of the people from the group before me. I fell in love with Dali. As soon as the Move Call came Sat night, I sat down, and literally started crying. I did NOT expect that. I have felt like the weakest, most unable missionary the last two weeks. But near the end, I figured it out, and felt like I was going through a bunch of small silly trials in preparation for something. Yeah, going senior. Too early, mind you.
I have no idea how to be senior. I wasn't expecting it, so I didn't even think about preparing anything. I'm fresh of the airplane, and I'm being put in charge of thousands of people. And taking care of 30+ new members. AHHHHHHHHH!!!! Responsibility?!!! WHY?? I don't like responsibility. But I'm taking it with a full heart and a willing mind. DEFINITELY a broken heart and contrite Spirit. Yes, I'm nervous. But Elder Zhu is a super good missionary, so I'll be ok. Being with him for a short time today already makes me feel like I'm being trained again. Here we go! I've served a fourth of my time on island now, and the halfway mark is coming up in March/April. Plus, this move call I get to call home. Won't that be nice?
Uh.... shirts are perfectly fine. I bought a couple of smaller long-sleeve (3$/each) shirts, since the ones I came with are WAY too big. And I'm gonna need to get my suit altered. And my pants. My suit is way to big. Everyone says I look like I'm wearing Elder Pei's suit. Clothes are ok. Will need new running shoes soon. Starting to fall apart. But I'll let you know. A very light, black jacket would also be good. Cheap. Just to keep me warm in Dec and Jan. Don't know if I need it. Just if it's convenient. I already have a sweater, so probably don't need it actually.
Could use 20$ to buy Chinese materials at the big mall in Beiqu. Have a good book or two there that I would like to buy. Cheap, and eternally useful. I would LIKE a translator, but that involves hundreds of dollars, so that is a big want, not need. And I'm ok without it for now. Plus, I get to carry the cell phone now, (and keys) which has a mini dictionary in it, so-- ok. :D
I need more pictures! :D Most important are good pictures of me, as well as pictures of the family to let people see. They all ask, and I never have one. :D Thanks.
I'm getting Jean's letters :D I love them!!! Thank you!
Thanks, Dad, for getting me those pictures. I appreciate that.
Life's good, but I'm gonna need some tips on transitioning into becoming senior companion. Especially this early.
CAMILLE LEE?!! Sweet!!! I will definitely see her around! She is PERFECT for this mission. And I'll be going home before she does, but not by far! How cool is that? So good! She'll fit right in, no mistake. I might even get to serve in the same district/zone with her! How fun would that be? Tell her to get working on Chinese, and not to worry. Sisters BAPTIZE TONS in this mission. I don't get it.... :( ;) (For those of you who don't know, we've known Camille and the rest of her family since before she and Elder Carter were in elementary school! Camille has been called to Taichung and will be entering the MTC next February. So AWESOME!)
I like Thanksgiving because everyone gets together, and we eat a lot of food. And it puts a break in the pathway to Christmas to remind us to be grateful. I like the history it represents, and the best part is having family together again. Those times are always my favorite times! But, other than that, not much. Turkey isn't even my favorite food... or meat. :P
Stuffing is good.
I don't get to see snow. Meh.
Guess you could say it feels cold. It is a bit chilly right now, but not bad.
I might be wanting to send stuff home this move call. It's building up a little bit with all the study materials and other stuff. So I might need some money. I'll let you know.
Can't wait for Shelb's letter. Love her to death. Life's good. And I miss you so much Shelby!
A new phase of missionary work is about to start. Has started. I'm gonna have new strains, stresses, and breakdowns. I'm already super nervous. But, because Elder Zhu so so awesome already on his 3rd move call, I'm pretty sure there won't be any problems :D.
Luckily, God blesses us with trials and then blesses us with a million ways to handle those trials. The real trial is to find those 'million ways'. It makes life worth it. If we can work through the little things and strive to be obedient and love those around us, everything goes right.
I left my heart in Dali. And I'm pulling at it hard! To get it to come up into Tanzi. It's tough. The members over in Dali were great, and they are already writing letters to give me as well as all the stuff they gave me when I left. You'd think I'd be going home soon with all the stuff they gave me. But it's all cool, useful, and fun. You'll all get to see it in about 16 months.
Stay strong. Keep it real. Love everyone! That seems to be the best and only way to get used to change. Especially when everyone you knew and loved disappears from your side. :D But Elder Durham is now my Zone Leader in North Taizhong, so life will be grand. :P Tell everyone I love them. And I'll talk to you more about Christmas call. Right now, it looks like it'll be around the 26th or 27th. Depends on whether you want a morning or nighttime call. We'll talk more when I get more info.
May God be with you all, and wish me luck in trying to take the place of Elder Zhu's trainer. Ahhh!! :P

-Elder Carter

"Hurrah for Israel" (An Elder Byerism)
ps- Starting to plan for more people to write letters to. Yes this includes females, and no, I won't be losing focus. Yes this includes Lindsey.
Thanks to Lindsey for taking care of my sister. You're great! I miss you, too, and WILL be writing you today. With a letter full of secrets.......... ;)
Lol, Love you all. Make it real. And I'll tell you more about the last couple of weeks in a letter, Mom and Dad. Ok? LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!! Get as many people as possible to the house at Christmas!! And I need to know which number to dial. As well as what you guys think will be the most convenient, loudest, long-distance telephone. I'll get details later.