To be real, this week has been hard. We had three appointments, which did a little to break up the long hours spent at home on the couch or at my desk. I struggled knowing how to use my time this week. I had time to finish organizing our area book, which was in a dismal state (there are actually three binders), and to begin calling people contained in it. One tender mercy I've seen is that people here actually answer their phones, and the majority of people will actually talk to me. I talked to a lot of people over the phone and I wasn't able to set any definite appointments to meet them, but it still gave me a feeling of accomplishment to some degree.
The big question of this week has been "What would Jesus do?" I find that asking myself this question frequently helps me to focus on the doctrines, not just the applications. That is, why I make the choices I do, not just going through the motions. It also keeps me focused on finding what's most important, what I truly want to stand for, and who I want to become.
This week was also characterized a lot of opposition to virtually everything I'd ever been taught was right. I was encouraged to lower my standards, and was told plainly that a missionary who doesn't obey like I want to is a better missionary. There were so many voices bombarding me from all directions that it was hard to hear the voice of the Spirit. (see "The Voice of the Spirit" Mormon Message - it's my favorite!) The only times I was able to feel any sort of assurance and confidence was as I listened to primary songs in Chinese. I'm surprised at how much guidance and simple truth I felt as I listened and prayed about the things I learned from those inspired songs.
I want you, Mom, Dad, and all my family, to know how much I appreciate your patience and diligence in teaching me to live the gospel when I was young. The truths that you testified to me of, by word and action, and helped me to live, have sustained me through hard times thus far. I know now why there are so many comparisons of the gospel to a strong foundation. I really have felt the testimony I have been building from my early years support me, and give me a place to stand in which I can be firm and faithful. I know it is through the loving teachings and examples of my parents and family members that I was prepared in ways that I didn't realize. THANK YOU ALL! I cannot say enough to express my real feelings, but I love you so much!
I love you all! Thank you for all the help and support you give me through you letters and prayers!
I want to write so much more, but nothing is coming. There have been a few interesting events I could tell you about:
Finding a rhinoceros beetle hugging the tire of one Elder's bike as he went to get on it one morning.
Going almost every night to eat "fruit bowl" shaved ice and fruit.
Being invited to play the trumpet at the branch activity this coming Saturday.
Making a birthday breakfast of cinnamon French toast and honey bacon wraps for Elder Broadhead's birthday. I wanted to surprise him on the morning of his birthday, so I made breakfast with Elder Berger instead of exercising. He was really surprised, because it turned out that the bacon I had bought was actually steamboat pork strips, which are to be boiled and not eaten for breakfast.