Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Kind Word

You know, sometimes I really have no idea what to say when I start typing. But as we all find out, that changes quickly. It's kinda like contacting. You have no idea what in the world you're gonna say, and all you can think up are the usual 9 or 10 phrases you use on everyone, and then you open your mouth, and words you've never heard, Spirit you've never felt, reactions you'd never expect, come flying out of those experiences. Just like email.

I just thought up the Barclay family (see what the Spirit does when you open your mou--... fingers?). I don't know why, but I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that (as far as I know) Brother Barclay is still not a member. Now, I have no idea what the circumstances are, and I'm not gonna go into a sermon and invite Brother Barclay to read this with the wait of his eternity behind my words, but I will tell you why I thought them up.

Li Baba's baptism really was fantastic. He's struggling. He's pushing. But his wife loves him more and more every day. She sees his progress. She knows he's changed. And I think she's changed more than Li Baba has since his baptism. Li Baba and his wife are divorced. So I guess she doesn't count as his wife. They sleep in separate rooms. Since the baptism they're working towards a temple marriage. Before the baptism, not a lot of people knew they were divorced. I found out by asking their daughter. Their recently returned missionary son didn't know they got divorced while he was in California serving. As I was filling out the baptismal records on the night of Li Baba's baptismal interview, I had to ask Max (Returned missionary son) if his mom and dad sleep in the same room. He was confused by the question and I explained, that because they're divorced.... they can't sleep together for Li Baba to pass his interview, get baptized, and keep the Law of Chastity. Max had no idea they were divorced. I was mortified. This wonderful thing happening in their family's life just ruined by the very missionary meeting with the father of that family.

I was absolutely mortified, and my prayers have never been more earnest. When we met with Li Baba last Sunday, Max got really mad because of the delay on him finding out (by the way he had been home from his mission since August, and didn't find out til December- how does that work?), and the recent convert lesson with Li Baba got blown out of proportion. But Mom stayed calm. When everyone calmed down, and it was my turn to speak, I simply asked mom why she was so calm, and looked so happy even though hurt and mad and apologetic feelings (including my own) were being thrown around the living room. She simply told us that she loves Li Baba, he may be slipping up already (he smoked again), but she has seen his progress, she has seen his change. He's willing to work for marriage in the temple, and therefore, so is she. And she is happy for it. So she calmly handles the aftershocks of recent decisions, and silently wishes they never divorced, but the family his happy, and the hope of eternity is renewed and exists in a Spirit-filled aura surrounding each member of the family. This family WILL make it. And I have nothing to do with it.

This is a super extended explanation of what I originally wanted to share, but it brings up a point. I am no longer worried about the Barclay family. They will make it. The Goodman family? They'll come back (if they haven't already). The Johnson family? They will reunite in purpose and in Spirit. Brother Wicks? He'll be fine. Why worry so much about these people? God knows what's in their future, and He will lay the plan. In fact, He already has, and we're already following it. And the love, faith, and prayers of my home ward ALONE is enough to save thousands of souls. Not including the millions of prayers said in behalf of these wonderful people and families I've come to know and love in my home ward-- these prayers said at the Taipei Temple. Do they know just how many people they have praying for them, and how lucky they are?

Another point. Make an effort to say a kind word. This goes for EVERYONE. I did that last week, and this man, Wei Yong Xiang, is getting baptized. I said one kind word to him. ONE. And a universe of souls and worlds will be added to the queue because of him. Because the Spirit whispered one small kind phrase in my ear, and through all my trials lately and crazy drama, I was smart and wise enough to listen and speak it. This man now has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ, and his prayers last longer than our lessons. He smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, and 60+ pieces of Betel nut every day. He's down to 1 pack, and no Betel nut in less than a week. I said ONE KIND WORD. I'm NOT KIDDING. That turned into a 7 minute conversation at a stoplight in the rain about our Savior and the importance of families, which turned into a solid week and a half of lessons and progression, and another one of God's sons beginning to pray. God's hearing one of His sons' voices for the first time... like a new baby in the hospital... fathers? Do you remember that first cry? Dad, do you remember mine? Do you remember that first word? That first I love you? Multiply that feeling by a universe of universes, and you begin to scratch the surface of the universe that is God's love. You begin to taste of that wonderful, beautiful, delicious, joyous fruit of Lehi's Tree of Life.

This goes for all the children that ever read this. Say ONE KIND WORD to someone every day. AT LEAST ONE. And you are doing missionary work. That's all I do, you know. That's all we do. Brother Barclay and Fam! Goodman family! Johnson family! Brother Wicks! We all love you in this Taiwan Taizhong Mission, and we are all praying for you. Us 160 missionaries, and the 50,000+ members here in Taiwan, plus the members of Cedar Hills 8th ward, and countless others praying for you in the temples attended by the members of that celestial ward.

All right. I'm off the soap box. Maybe. ;) Like I said, it comes from nowhere!!! Just open your mouth, and you may not realize til 6 months later that what you said was inspired. You might even think you were sitting there for five minutes, not even caring about helping this person in front of you convert just caring about saying a complete sentence in a completely foreign language, but because of your purpose, and your heart, the Spirit STILL spoke through you. ONE KIND WORD.

It'll be freezing cold til san yue di (End of March). :D. At least it's warmer than Taibei. Going to the temple today was FREEZING. Whoever told you that they served inTaiwan and it never got cold was LYING. Unless they served mostly in the south, than it doesn't get cold at all, so, yeah. Plus I'm in one of the most north parts of the mission. If we wanted we could ride up to the border and take pictures of the Taipei mission. BORING. And too far, and too cold.

I have not been the best missionary in the world lately. I've been weak, sick, overthinking, crying, being prideful, making investigators sad (lol, funny story :P so not really making them "sad" persei (spelling?)), etc... I could go on. All this is normal missionary stuff. Including the comparisons I'm making to my fellow missionaries in the field. My friends. I've decided to take a new tangent, a new tact. I've accepted they're all better than me, I'm gonna keep reading their letters and just try to follow their example and try to do what they do as it applies to my mission, my investigators, my companions, my leaders, and me. I'm not being prideful (i hope) about saying I'm compelling myself to be humble by doing this.  What it's doing is helping me get over the fact that the way I serve my mission is competely different from them, and I feel like they know what they're doing SO much better than I do. They've figured out so much, and I feel like I'm falling behind. I'm ok. I'm not overthinking (that part) anymore, and I've realized (thanks to President Bishop) that following their example and not trying to be and do better than them is the right way to go. I already do that with Elder Byers. That started from the day I met that righteous warrior. I have no possible way of EVER matching up to him, so I already started asking him for advice. Elder Byers, thanks, by the way. :D I just hope I'm a good friend to you. Zone Leader this fast... not even a year out... wow... :)

I love you all! Keep reminding me to answer questions!

Any other questions? Bring 'em on! And tell Raquel to write me back soon! Unless it's me that needs to write her.... uh-oh.

Love you all! Stay smart. Stay real. Love God, and my hands are like cold steel.

Keep up the good missionary work back home!
Talk to you again on Monday. Remind me to tell you how I feel about the Savior. I received new revelation and inspiration today.
Love you.
-Elder Carter- A missionary who's at least trying to do better every day. Isn't that good enough?
A good friend of mine once told me - What really tells you how good of a man you are is what you do when you're discouraged. Thanks Brittany. That helped a ton.
My mission's taken another turn... Thanks to all for the help and the cards... Including Elder Stauffer, and the Blackburns!! Love you all!!!

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