Monday, February 14, 2011

American Steak, Taiwanese Spices

Sorry for the miscommunication! lol, Move call isn't until next week. This week is POWER week, though. Chinese New Years is nearly over and we need a buffer. The entire mission is going to be out everyday for 12 hours. No time for lunch or dinner, except on the go, and every day is focused on different things. For instance, today is service, tomorrow is finding new investigators (adding on the street), wednesday is all tracting, thursday is RCLAs, friday is contact everyone, saturday is all lessons, sunday is find families. We are using the entire day every day (12 hours) to do these things. It'll be exhausting, but it should be fun.
Today I'll be cooking real American steak for some members. I didn't know I would be doing that til this morning, and I didn't prepare my favorite marinade (like I even know what I'm talking about...). But still. It's not exactly difficult to cook steak, but when you don't have a barbecue, and all you have are Taiwanese spices, I'll just say I hope I don't waste these members' money. I've also never actually cooked steak before. I just know from common sense how to check it out, and I've seen dad do it so many times I think I'll be alright. But things are still uncertain. It'll be a laugh in the very least, so good luck to me!
I met Chen Baba 3 or 4 weeks ago, and he will be entering the waters of baptism on Saturday. His family still hasn't really shown a lot of desire, but they'll come along. I really hope it happens before April 10th. Unless I find another family before then, this is pretty much the only chance to be able to see a family I found go through the temple in a year. I'm really prayin' for it.
My Chinese seems to be slipping, so I'm getting a little more serious with my studies to accommodate the fall. Luckily, the Spirit is still able to be with us as we serve our missions.
Well, my recent converts list came last week, and I was able to see a full list of all the people I've helped baptize. I've helped a lot more than I thought. My personal stats aren't ginormous (like numbers matter...) but, "your" recent converts will also count anyone you've taught or people you found that got baptized even if you weren't their "Gospel Elder". I had a lot more than I thought. Now, numbers don't matter, but when you see a number you realize just how much you're helping build the Kingdom of God. It helps measure effectiveness and efficiency (same meaning, ba). By the way "ba" means "ish". most of the time.
The last week went by pretty ok. You'll be getting a lot of pictures of me at dinners and lunches with members. We get taken out for Chinese New Years every day, lunch and dinner. That's because nearly every store in Taiwan closes for Chinese New Years. There's literally nothing to eat. And we don't have the money to buy food from the grocery store to last us for a week during Chinese New Years, so the ward takes us out every day and night and stuffs us. The miracle is I've only gained one pound. I didn't know my body could do that. I've literally eaten more than it was ever possible for me to eat in America, and I come out today and see how much I weigh and I'm still less than 180.
I have no idea what to write.
We've been having different activities lately on Preparation Day, so there hasn't been a lot of time to write. And I've been handling my own messed up mind by writing letters to other people to clear up idiotic decisions I still seem to make even on my mission.
The members here try to encourage missionaries to come back to Taiwan and marry here. Ugh. Just put me in a mountainous village with nothing but grandmas and old army men, and an 8 and 9-year-old brother and sister maybe, and tell me to spread the gospel for two years. I can do that. Give me a sword and a shotgun, and that's my food, give me a Book of Mormon and there's my source.
I don't know.
WELL, guess what. That's just HOW IT IS right now. I'm kicking my BUTT out here to fix that, and the pressure coming from home is overwhelming me. YES, I'm too hard on myself. YES, I'm a perfectionist. YES, I'm scared to death to do something wrong for fear of someone back home giving up on me. I've TRIED to put that behind me, and not worry about it, and just be ME. But it's not that EASY. EVERY single missionary out here has some seriously awesome background. Literally, I'm not kidding. EVERY one. Whether it's having run the Wall of China three times, or super basketball fan, or Masters degree at 19, they all have something. The only thing I can tell you I've got, is that I'm me. Shouldn't that be good enough? Yes, it should, but it's hasn't quite satisfied the prideful, slothful, addict of a dork I am. I am hard on myself, and I have NO idea how to fix that. I shouldn't be comparing to other missionaries. I've come to accept the fact that they're all better than me, so why worry so much? How about Derek Brimley? Absolutely nothing wrong with him. He seems to have it figured out. Eric Seamons? Knows how to focus. Dustin George, knows how to be humble and love others. Kendall Stauffer? Knows how to laugh. Jake Hart? Knows how to work. Spencer Bernards? Knows how to help and support others. Where am I in all this? I don't know. I'm just Kevin Carter. The player, the addict, the fake.
But I'm still out here. I will not be coming home until April 10, 2012, and that's it. So all I can do is hope that somehow, someway, I'll make it. And that when I get home, even if all my friends ditch me, or girls gives up on me, at least I'll still have my family. I'm not even sure about that. That's the problem.
Ugh, this email sounds WAY worse than it is, but at least I'm getting it out of my system.
Sorry to throw this all at you, and sound so selfish just talking about my self and not Chen Baba, or Elder Zhu. Bear with me. Please be patient. Please keep writing.

-Elder Carter

ps- Forgive me for the weaknesses, somewhere I'll find a strength. I need your support. But please don't overload me with advice. I love you all.
"Hurrah for Israel!" (An Elder Byersism)

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