Monday, May 2, 2011

Another Move

Note from the editor: This email turned out a little long...Elder Carter wrote in two parts...pre-move and post-move. What a chaotic time for him!

Part 1

Hello. I might write again in a couple hours. Don't know. No time.
Well, last move call was my 7th. I was training. I moved in Week #4 of that move call to Tainan. I was here until this week. Today. I got called last night and was told that I would be moving to Gangshan in Gaoxiong. Just a little south of Tainan and in a different zone.
Someone went home. And one of the short-term missionaries was also sent home. So...we have an emergency situation and not enough missionaries to take care of everything. I'll be there for 2 weeks as a junior companion, until that area's senior companion leaves, then I go senior again. It'll be nice to be junior for 2 weeks, but I have to get to know that area FAST.
Yes, they call me Kong Zhang Lao. (This is the name he got in the MTC and I asked him if that's actually what they call him in Taiwan) What else are they supposed to call me? Lol, the english would be too hard for them to get. Love you!!
The Xu kids were baptized and it was beautiful! Close in comparison with Li Baba's baptism.
Time is moving quick, and I have less than a year now. I spent 6 1/2 weeks in Tainan and LOVED it. It is a wonderful place to come back and visit. Which we WILL be doing as a family one day.
I love you all! So sorry, I'm working back up to every week writing you all letters! At least in my new area I get to hike again... :D And I got to the beach before I left Tainan!
I love my mission! I love all of you! Keep in touch for the next 8 move calls and their adventures.
There will be some. :D

-Elder Carter

Part 2 
Well, I am now in Gangshan.
I have about a half hour or so to write, so I'll write a little bit more.
I don't know a lot about this area, or it's people, or it's investigators, or it's new members, or anything really. I just know it's in the farther reaches of Gaoxiong, and it's pretty big. I'll take some pictures of our apartment complex and some other things in the future when I get to know the area a little better. Elder Harris has been great so far, (hour and a half) lol, and it's great to be thrust into new shoes. He's from Orem, Utah. Right in the middle of Happy Valley, just like me! The first companion I've had that's from my home area. He's getting close to heading home from his mission. Not really, he's got like 5 or 6 move calls left.
I miss my last area super bad right now. I can't miss it too much though, I've got to get in to this area fast. I've only got two weeks to figure it out. At least enough to get around. I'm gonna miss my chapel, my other friends, Henry, the other missionaries over there... etc. I HATE moving.
I've realized just recently that I've been a complete BUMP in the program. SUCH a dork. Made a lot of stupid mistakes, and have no idea what I was thinking. But, I had a lot of success in the 6 weeks I was in Tainan, and expect to push forward here. Still have no idea what Gangshan is going to be like, but I'm ready to go. I really do HATE moving. Because of this sudden move and sudden change in my mission, especially in the last half of it, I just KNOW that it's going to go FAST. Luckily, two Sundays from now I get to talk to you all, and wish my dear Mother a happy Mother's Day. OH, that reminds me............
HAPPY 22ND ANNIVERSARY!!! May 1st, right? Lol, I dunno. I'm not quite sure what Asia has that's special concerning Anniversaries, but I'll check that out, and let you all know.
I think I put too much pressure on myself. I think I do GET chinese, though. Does that make sense? It just makes sense to me. I understand why they say things certain ways, and I can guess how to say something else using that same process and I get it right. Granted, I need to push up my vocab, and my characters (namely, writing... :D), but I think I'm doing alright. I've got some Taiwanese comin' out too. I can tell someone on the street how to get to the church, give a baptismal commitment, teach about God, and get their numbers all in Taiwanese, if I need to. It's broken, and very simple, but it works when I run into the older generation that doesn't speak Mandarin AT ALL. Everyone in Taiwan can speak Taiwanese, or at least understand it (In Taibei, they don't really speak it anymore, "modernization"), but not everyone can speak Mandarin. All the natives to Taiwan speak their own native tongue (no one knows it), and Mandarin (plus they're all christian ;P). So, it's fun.
I love being here in Taiwan. Have I told you that yet? And can you hear the nerves in my voice? I'm scared to death to keep pushing, especially after finally getting my feet into the water in Tainan (literally and figuratively). Now I'm up and into a completely new phase, AGAIN. It's all good. President had a need. I'm filling it. I hope I can do it right. And I hope I can do it well.
Tell Brittany to keep writing me, Mom keep writing me, Dad keep writing me. And other family. It's all you keeping me going out here. And I've still got 8 move calls. I can do it. But not without God. And not without you all.
Special thanks to my Dad, for giving me the strength to find tools to avoid temptation and the will to do so, with somebody to connect to. Another thanks to my Mom. You keep me pushing, remembering that there are still people in America, and keeping an ear out for my family.
A special thanks to Deanna Blackburn for her willingness to keep pushing, set such a great example for me, and her willingness to open up to me and send a letter! (I'll write back soon!)
Thanks to everyone else for writing letters. It's nice to get this support. Especially right now.
I don't have a lot of time, but I'm unbelievably grateful for my parents, and my wonderful sister. You've all done everything for me out here, and thanks for all reminding me that I should put God first. I think I forget sometimes. Lately anyway.
I'm really trying to be happy. I want to be happy. I want to be better. I'm finally able to look back on my mission and see that I've actually done a good job. I have a lot of responsibility, but I'm happy about it. I am actually a good missionary. I just have to keep going. I think I just need to RELAX.
Just know that I love you all, and I'm working real hard to get over homesick feelings for my last areas. Please pray for me. And please pray for the Chen family in Tainan. Chen Jun Liang's son was the first to join the church in that family, and then Brother Chen joined, and now his daughter is taking lessons at her school in Jiayi. Also, his wife is slowly warming up to us missionaries, and is progressing towards prayer right now. Please pray for them. And my recent converts. 
I really do love these people. This is the first time I've felt this kind of feeling. It started in my first area. I've never felt like this before except for my sister, and you Mom, and Dad. I truly love these people. Just like I love my family.
I just gotta push through the new area feeling (I hate it), and all will be well in a few days. Family is SO important in this world.
Without family, we've got no connections, nowhere to go. Just personally going through life. I don't know how people do it. They can't. One day, they'll fall. We all need some family somewhere. It'll be great to relive some investigator moments when I teach my children. And then learn how to do it better because of my children. Then, I get to go back to Heavenly Father with all of them together. The New and Everlasting Covenant is the last one I'm working for... plus renewing all of my covenants every week at Sacrament. Can't wait. Gotta help these people make it to that point though. They'll make it one day.
Love you all, keep smiling, stay strong.
I'm doing my best out here, don't you worry.

-Elder Carter

Hurrah for Israel!

I'm so glad I picked Alma 28:13-14 for my mission scripture. That's EXACTLY how I feel. Just a reminder. Oh, and reread Alma 26 again. Same thing. :D Love you!!!

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