Monday, August 17, 2015

Aug. 17, 2015 - Last Week

Well, this week was super cool.

If you're ever feeling hungry and poor and unwanted and you really wish that you could have people show some love to you, try serving a mission for 2 years and then finishing. The ward will open the windows of heaven and poor out food and love upon you even that you have not room to receive it. I can testify of that. We've been fed by so many people this last week. Bishop Chan announced in PEC last week and in sacrament meeting this week that I'm leaving. If only there were more evening in the week. Or lunches. Or Breakfasts. People have been trying to get me for everyone. Honestly, it's not so much a reflection of me as it is a reflection of how the people feel about missionaries. Many are converts here, and they truly love the missionaries. It's been an honor to serve with them.

We saw a lot of miracles this week. One of them is the sudden addition of 2 mandarin Elders living in our apartment, one brand new. Another was the confirmation of Jacky Ho, the 9 year old who was baptized last week. I was able to do the confirmation and it was really a sweet moment. His older Brother has been changing a lot too, and will be baptized on the 30th. Then there's Mr. Dou, a cool old guy who we met with twice and who came to church on Sunday, and a Fung who was a former investigator. We taught him while on exchanges on Friday, and it was such a simple powerful lesson. The spirit was just there. He also came to church on Sunday and seemed to like it (there was a returned missionary who's a super powerful speaker.). And the best miracle of all was Mr. Chi, 池超! This is an excerpt from my report this week:

We saw a miracle this week. Our investigator Mr. Chi has been working in Mainland and was supposed to be there until the 20th. The last time we saw him he was considering just focusing on his work and being baptized maybe in December. I prayed like Alma the Elder that he would be "brought to a knowledge of the power of God" every night for 2 weeks. No angel appeared to him. But he appeared at the start of Sacrament meeting on Sunday, and now has a firm date for the 30th. The spirit taught him as he prayed, and though he still has some challenges, he's determined, he has faith, he has a penitent heart, and the ward is so supportive of him. I know the Lord answers our prayers. I am so grateful to have been able to serve in his vineyard here, nothing could compare in value with what God has given me these 2 years.

I know the Lord Jesus Christ lives; I know he was sent to this Earth by our Father in Heaven, for the salvation of all mankind from death and sin. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore to the Earth the powers of Heaven, the Priesthood of God, so that all who desire might be baptized and gain a remission of their sins. I know the atonement is real, because its power is living and has healed me. I know that the Book of Mormon is true because I have read it and I know of God that it is his Word, and because I have shared it and seen it change the lives of the people of Hong Kong. I bear witness of the reality of the Holy Ghost, for I know that I have felt it testify through me to others, and this is the greatest joy of a missionary. All you still serving, endure to the end. Every trial strengthens our testimony, if we trust the Lord and endure.


Thanks for all your prayers and advice. I'd love to go to the cabin, honestly. It'd be great, though I think all the kids might rebel. I'm pretty excited for these next couple days. I've got a lot of lessons and people scheduled, it should be pretty cool. One thing you can pray for for me. I have a goal to find 2 families before Friday, and we haven't gotten them yet. I'll be finding as much as possible, but please pray for us to be guided to them. Oh, by the way, we did an exchange on Friday and I recalled you talking about trying to schedule a lot of lessons to teach. We did and it went very well.


As I said, I'd love to go to the Cabin. My only fear is that I'll be bored because there's not enough stuff to do. Honestly it feels really weird thinking about having free time. I agree with the sentiment that Dad said before, most of the stuff that you miss on your mission doesn't seem that cool in comparison. Maybe we can go finding in Island Park. The only two things that I'd like to do that I can think of now would be hiking Mount Washburn and cooking Mapo-tofu for you guys. And grocery shopping.


I thought about it, and I think you were incorrect about the grammar principle last week. I explained when to use 'the' and when to use 'a' to Elder Chan, pretty good stuff. Are you prepping the calculus refresher course for me? I feel a little bad, because I know I instructed y'all to keep a list of good movies, but really honestly I'm not going to watch many of them. But thanks for the hard work.


You should start prepping a German refresher course for me as well. It's nice to know that you're making waves. I guess being infamous is better than being not-famous. That's a cool little English quirk there.

I'm just saying I've been doing cool sabbatical things; you've just been sitting on a hot chair waiting for school to start. So really, who's been wasting their time now, eh?


I have another funny story for you. So, This morning at about 6:00 I was happily dreaming that I was in some weird mock medieval war game thing, and most of the people were either school mates or people in the mission. As a zone leader, naturally I was the leader of one team, and we were battling about 150 other people in some weird school building. My team was losing and all our horses and cavalry were already dead, so I thought up a scheme to even things out (stratagem, as the Book of Mormon would call it, though this was more the Amalakiah type stratagem then the Moroni type) I called a truce to discuss a peace treaty and met with about 20 or 30 of the other team, and as a show of friendship we had some 2o odd guys from my team and we met together in some room. I had instructed my 2nd in command to ready the troops, and on my signal we'd suddenly rise up and kill all the people at the treaty meeting. So at about 6:07 I randomly woke everyone in the apartment up by shouting "STAB THEM!" I kid you not.

Abby, the pale duchess of the North.
I think that a gradual loss of weight is the best. People who do diets and lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks very often get fat again afterwards. Why? Because they cheated, they found some way to get rid of the fat but they never developed the mental discipline or the healthy eating and exercise habits necessary to maintain it. Your habit of eating healthier is the big success. It's worth more than any weight that you lose. So congratulations, and keep it up. Have a good high goal in mind and make it!

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015 - Jacky was Baptized!

Well, dear family (and anonymous tackers on) this week has been pretty busy. But in my last email I felt that I was just too long winded, especially when compared to Elder Perez, so I'm going to do my best to deliver the information succinctly.

Recently in our mission, and especially our zone, we've been practicing something called the 4 minute restoration. It's essentially just teaching the Restoration, or other lessons, in the simplest way, as you would the first time visiting someone, or on a train, etc. This morning as we practiced teaching the Plan of Salvation that way, and I learned that teaching that lesson, the knowledge of the plan of Salvation, is essential because it tells people why the Savior matters in their lives. Seems obvious, but I think that's what the spirit does, is make obvious things precious.

This week we had a mission tour with Elder Gong, the Asia area president. Did you know that the Asia area includes about half of the world's population? And currently there are like 4 temples in it? But it's growing a lot right now.

They focused on 1) finding and 2) the meaning of the sacrament and 3) the reality of our call as missionaries. It was really cool, especially the Wednesday evening devotional. And on Saturday when we met they had me translate for the natives and summer missionaries. That was actually super fun. Apparently my Chinese is pretty good. No, it's just prayers being answered.

Because of that we were really busy this week. But we still had some cool success. Jacky Ho, a 9 year old, got baptized on Sunday! We had his interview on Friday, which I was slightly nervous for, but it all went well! Hopefully his mom will send the pictures next week, and if all goes well his bother will be baptized on the 23rd.

Brother Chi has been in mainland again this week, so we didn't get to meet him. That's been really tough for me, but I feel okay about it now. I'm just working to get him baptized as soon as possible now. Other than that, we were able to meet with Mr. To this week, whom we haven't met for a while because he was sick. We taught the restoration, and it was simple and awesome.

Other than that, nothing too special.


I always really love hearing you guys go to the temple. They have a whole-Hong Kong Youth Conference every year, and it's basically the topic of every youth talk for the next several months. It might seem simple but I know that here at least it has a great influence on the people who attend.

It's been very odd here. I sometimes feel stressed at not having enough time, but today I had the exit interview with President Lam and did some studying before hand, and I basically feel content.

Looking forward to see you all again, though I wish it would come a bit slower!

The White Sovereign of the North

I like that idea of the diet. It seems like it's focused not on restricting your eating but on training you to eat more healthily. We actually did something really similar in our zone training about the 4 minute restoration. We gave people one minute to teach, then 2, then 4. They learned to teach really simply at the beginning, so that by the end it seemed like they had tons of time.

I made an amazing meal this week. I took a rice cooker, and threw rice, chicken broth, chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions, pepper, and salt into it then cooked it like normal rice. It was delicious!

How's the weather been in Utah recently? What are the cats doing? Do you feel different after doing the diet? Are you in the room that the boys used to live in?


It sounds like your life is just dominated by dancing. There’s a girl in our ward who's a big ballet dancer and the way she runs around always reminds me of you, because she sort of skips and relevee's and prances.

I have to tell you a story that occurred this week in church. The Cheng family gave a musical performance in Sacrament meeting. Brother and Sister Cheng are in their 30's, and their kids are 3 and 4. They sang “I am a Child of God”, and the kids were singing the first verse. It started very well and cute, with the 4 year old girl's head barely poking over the pulpit and the little boy just showing a bit of hair, but right at the chorus the girl just broke down and started sobbing as she sang. The words of the beloved song became more and more garbled by the crying as her mom tried to sing with her to comfort her. Heading into the second verse it seemed for a moment that the Dad and Mom's powerful beautiful singing voices might be able to save it, but the little boy, still very well composed, seemed to decide that the mic was too high and his sister couldn't be heard well enough, so he began to contend with his father for the microphone. Then the climax came when all the babies in the congregation joined with the little sister in sobbing for the finale. Somehow it just got the idea of eternal families across in a way that the music alone never could.


I wish we had more time for finding. Recently we only get a couple hours a week to find. If I could stay here and see all these people get baptized, I'd obviously be happy, but I'd also really love to open up an area. That'd just be so much fun, to have 4 or 5 months to go from nothing to baptisms. But I guess there's no rule that you can't do missionary work if you're not a missionary.

It's interesting talking to President Lam, because as a doctor he's got a lot of things very similar to you. He also like physics and dislikes Chemistry, especially organic chemistry. Oddly enough, one of the members over here who I'm friends with was a chemistry major, and he also hated organic chemistry.


Maybe I'll give you one or two more letters as well. Something cool that happened this week was we went to a meeting on Sunday evening, a devotional, and on the way home we got literally drenched. Luckily I wasn't wearing my Korean pop-star suit, but still we literally were drenched. It just turned on the water and we had no umbrellas. The funny thing was on the way home, literally with water dripping down my face, these people around us felt to inform us that "It's raining! You should have an umbrella!" Thank you, I hadn't noticed.

Then we got home and realized that we hadn't closed any windows and our books were all wet...


Congrats on the patriarchal blessing, and welcome to the tribe of Ephraim! That sounds so odd. I recall being a bit disappointed at my blessing, because I felt it didn't have anything specific and I didn't see how it would be very helpful. Even for a good chunk of my mission, I didn't really appreciate it, but especially the last third of my mission, I was really able to experience and know that it's true, it's from God, and what it says is important to me. Study it, and don't discount it if it doesn't seem useful yet.

I forget, where are we living in BYU?

Love you all! Stop counting days!

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015 - Greatest Joy in Missionary Work, Knowing You Were Meant to Go to that One Person

This week has been very demanding in a good way. We've been so busy lately that this week I think we only got about 2 or 3 hours of finding total. That's probably a good thing for me because I really think that I have a bad tendency to just go finding all the time, when there are much more useful things to do, like diligently calling through all the numbers you get from people during finding. I've been pretty well weaned off intense finding since coming here.

We attended our mission leadership council and later held our Zone Training meeting this week. The planning required for those takes up way too much time, to be honest, because we always get stuck on the brainstorming stage all the way until a day before the meeting, and then we end up with like a million ideas. But it went pretty well, not perfect of course, but people seemed to really learn from it. We were mostly sharing about attitude this month, and confidence. We've also been practicing teaching a restoration lesson in 4 minutes, which I love because it makes you really think about what the key points are. The spirit really comes when you are able to teach simply and testify of Joseph Smith.

We saw a lot of success this week in contacting part member families in our ward. We have been teaching 3 families this week, which I will give more detail on next week when they have a chance to progress. But all have come from persistence and consistency in contacting them, particularly the Fung family, whom I bothered at least 3 or 4 months before finally getting to regularly teach the husband Erik.

Jacky and Jimmy are doing well. They are some of the most curious and hard to focus children I know. Teaching them is always a challenge, but a welcome one. It helps me think of more object lessons and creative ways to teach, and their whole family is really awesome (including the Dad, who's one of the aforementioned part-member families. They invited us to a BBQ at their house (I know what you're thinking, how is it done? How do you BBQ within the confines of a tiny Chinese apartment? The answer is a magical little grill stove deployed on the table. Genius) and we started teaching him.). I have a great love of double (and even triple) parentheses. Jacky was sick this week but next week may well be baptized!

Mr. Chi is back from Mainland and we visited him a couple times, rushing to teach all the lessons before his interview this Sunday. He asks so many questions and gets so confused sometimes that I thought teaching him a short lesson would be impossible. I was right, until Sunday where we taught an awesome lesson after church which included most of the 5th lesson and was finished in 20 minutes. After that he met with Elder McEwan (also in my group) for the interview, but didn't pass because he still doesn't have enough of a personal testimony of Joseph Smith, he mostly just really believes us. Despite this I'm really really happy with this week. He enjoyed church so much and learned so much, and it was just so apparent that he felt the spirit and was enlightened by it. We're struggling now to see when he'll be able to be baptized and resolve a very foundational concern about if he should focus on his job or baptism, but I know the Lord loves him and will help him.

Sorry for writing so much, but you know that I am a rather long-winded fellow. I know the gospel is true. I know Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God, the Book of Mormon to be His word, and I know the Priesthood has been restored. I know that God answers our prayers and in an enduring, grand, and ennobling way loves us. I know these things not only because I have prayed and searched, but because I have taught them to others and seen them change the lives of others. The greatest joy of missionary work is feeling the spirit testify through you of the truth of the Gospel to another, and knowing that you were meant to go to that one person, to speak that word, and to help that soul.


I'll have to learn at the feet of my younger brother in this aspect. I definitely have to put more effort into learning how to go on dates well. I think a lot about how you described your attitude at the end of your mission and I think that maybe we are very similar. My biggest challenge is just to enjoy the time I've got rather than stress about whether or not I've done well enough, and turn more towards the people rather than myself. Honestly I think it'd be so fun to be put into a brand new area and just spend 5 months building it up.

I notice that in your every letter you spend most of the time describing other people in our family. I think that reflects on what you really value in life. Thanks for being such a great Dad!


I love that feeling of just doing something that you always sort of meant to do but never got around to doing. A couple weeks ago I had an idea to make a hanger for my towel that had sort of been puttering around in my mind for a bit, and then on P-Day I just did it! And it felt good!

Jan Corallo was one of the most positive and happy people I knew, and a true teacher. She always had so much faith and love for us. She could have gone through the motions and taught us our technique and passed songs off, but I know she really desired us to play music, to really reach and play better than we thought we could. She believed that even a lazy and reluctant student like me could play Deux Arabesques. I think that is her most Christlike attribute, because truly, that's how Christ felt for us. I loved her, and I'll miss her.

I think that Facebook has its origins in Heaven. Though it's a major challenge to many people, and is often over-used and abused, it's definitely one of those inventions designed to help us stay more together. Love you Mom! Don't remind me of the time!


I think you'd appreciate this perhaps more than most, seeing as you pride yourself on having proper grammar. So I live with Elder Chan, who's a relatively newer native missionary, and who has an intense desire to learn more English. This week I've been teaching him Grammar, and really setting up a foundation for him to understand the real why of the complicated and twisted rules of English. I'm going places most English speakers never dared to dream of. I found and graphed out 12 different verb tenses, and defined the use and explained the serpentine loop-holes of the monstrous 'to'. I don't know if the terminology I'm using is correct but man he's going to get the why of the what.


I like the idea. I could see that coming into play with a lot of products. Non-radioactive: cereal, milk, clothing, dentures, teddy bears (prey on their love of their children, you know?)

I guess one difficulty would be if you really want to make that product work you've got to get the radioactivity down really low, and you'll have a very awkward fine-print label

"This product contains some radioactive materials." The best you could do would be "Relatively non-radioactive vanilla" which might not be as catchy.

There's a really cool Mormon message called LIFT.

Ghengis Rebecca,

Look it up.

Sounds like the dance camp was awesome, though I have to agree with you I don't entirely understand why. I'll just say that I've been sleeping in twin bunk beds for the last 2 years and I'm a bit taller than you are. We'll totally have to work out together. I've realized that as far as physique goes, being skinny and puny before your mission is much preferable to being huge, because I’ve actually been able to become more muscled than I was before.

Abby of the North,

I'm so happy to hear about the weight loss. 5 pounds is a lot in one week. Usually that's what people get by the end of a couple weeks. I don't know what I'm supposed to be getting ready for right now; I'm plenty busy as is. I have three questions for you: 1. Stop counting the days! It makes my blood pressure go up 2. What does your diet consist of, and how's it been so far? 3. Do you think you will serve a mission?

Love you all!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 27, 2015 - Stop Counting Down the Days!

Honestly not too much else to report since a few days ago, but life lurches on in an unnaturally fast way. Our investigators are doing pretty well. We've taught the kids Jimmy and Jacky a total of 4 times this week, which is a ton for Hong Kong. Their lessons are so crazy, because Jacky's got no attention span and loves asking questions, and our fellowshipper always gets pulled way off track by them. Friday I was on exchanges with Elder Buss, who knows sign language, so we made sign language names for them to help them get into the lesson. They will both probably be baptized on the 9th of August.

Brother Chi should be back from mainland this week and hopefully in the water by the 9th. Our whole ward is pretty excited for him to come back. We weren't able to meet Justin this week, because like I said last time, people are too busy here.

We didn't find any new investigators this week, but our zone did amazing. We had set a goal for 60 at the beginning of the month, and by the 2nd week we were at about 17 or 18, so it looked hopeless. But they destroyed it this week, and the coolest part is there are a lot of historically struggling companionships that got them. Being a Zone Leader has helped me start to really rejoice in the success of others. It's not easy for me, honestly, because I'm too competitive, but God doesn't want us to beat each other up on our way home. Life can be a lot more joyful, I've found, when you turn outwards and care for others. That really hit me when I was reading Alma 26 in the Chinese 摩爾門經 about how Ammon felt about his converts. He loved them so much, it just struck me how happy he was and how focused he was on the people he served, how he wanted them to feel what he'd felt and not just to be baptized but to really endure to the end, to see them again in the celestial kingdom. I've begun to feel more of what he describes there.


Good thing that bike riding is a low impact sport. We'll have to get some good mountain biking in when I get back. It's really cool to see how much everyone has grown since I've been gone, and just since before, I guess. Old Joseph would view that sort of hike as a Herculean task, but it's clear that Now Joseph takes on physical challenges with ease.

I agree with you about the half-civilization thing. I think that Hong Kong people don't really get that too much. Usually when they go camping it's just to these "camps" with houses and bathrooms and everything. Not nearly as cool as the King's Peak hike or the 60 miler. It seems that though people change, you and I are still the main proponents of wilderness pilgrimages.

I've had a couple dreams about being home on my mission, but they're usually very stressful. Mostly I dream about teaching people. Last night I was dreaming about teaching some family we're meeting today.


Yeah, I think having a temple right here in the mission has been a big blessing. One difficulty is that I always stress about having a perfect temple trip because we can only go once every two months. I hope to go very regularly when I get back so that I can relax a bit and get more out of it. It's always very comforting, though, to be in the temple. We had interviews with our Mission President after the temple, and it was interesting how different he was from President Hawks. The biggest difference, which I think is neither good nor bad, is just that he's way more relaxed and approachable and casual. It's hard to describe the difference. With President Hawks there was a feeling of respect and soberness, with President Lam there's respect but more casual and open.


I loved reading what Dad said about your physical ease on this hike. I look at you as 2 or 3 levels evolved above Old Joseph. Like in Spore, or Pokemon, you added new abilities and your card got all metallic and shiny to show that it's now a level 9 monster, If you have sprouted giant bat wings by the time I get back I'd be a little perturbed but not surprised. As for me, I think you'll mostly just be jealous of my AMAZING 2 NEW TAILORED SUITS. They look way too nice for my head.

The mile run was really incredibly painful. But I feel great about it now. I'm sure you could get pretty fast now if you wanted to, but it sounds like you're more of a distance running guy. What's your running schedule like?

Try not to be too disdainful of life, sometimes there's no van to run to. You've got to learn to love the good and forgive the bad in order to be happy.


If you think a red tailed skunk bear is going to be afraid of an AR15 (of course I know what that is, where is your faith in me?) then you've got something coming. In about 78 hours. The incubation period. Of the rage. Of the


Flee to the north lands, before it arrives.

See, you're such a bad influence on me. Every week your letters make me revert to a 9 year old. That's cool to hear that you and Joseph both are in better shape. I still think of you as bones and skin and organs, but maybe I'll be surprised when I get back. Make sure you don't forget the temple trip this Tuesday. That habit will be so worthwhile in your life if you can keep it up.


I know you're not back yet but I love you! And apparently in Dad's mind we're the same person! I did always feel that in the family you and I were really similar. The reading, the hair, the physical prowess, though I think you are a lot more diligent and disciplined than I was. Oh well, I'm taller at least. But really, I love you. Thank you for your prayers.

The wolf-queen of the North,

(Only she can withstand the Skunk Bear)

I am really quite impressed at the diet thing. That is super cool. I've never gone on a diet before, though I do eat pretty healthy now a days. I like how your diet includes Pizza and was preceded by Wendy's. But really, that is so cool that you're doing that. Something I always think is interesting is how God cares about our everyday problems and desires, like a diet. He won't just magically make you skinny, but if you really pray to remember what to do and to have strength to do it, he will help you. The 2 and 3rd week are always the most important because that is where your desire and your determination are tested, and where the habit is formed. I'll be praying for you!

Recently we've been making a ton of smoothies, and I made one on Saturday that was about 2 frozen bananas, one ring of canned pineapple, some ice, and some maple syrup, and it was amazing. But I didn't add enough milk so it was like ice cream, which I think is okay.

Love you all! Stop counting down the days!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 23, 2015 - My Mission Has Been No Sacrifice At All!

Well, it's been a while. Sorry, we have temple today and as usual I forgot to warn anyone.

This week was pretty good. We have been having a bit more success getting people scheduled and taught. It's one of the big challenges here, getting people scheduled. I don't really believe that people are that busy, but there's sort of a culture of "Hong Kong People are Super Busy" that we always have to break down with common sense, daily planners, and backup plans. It doesn't help that our lessons are longer than they really should be. I'd like to teach more simply and quickly, it's something that PMG is very clear about but that is hard to put into practice. Especially because seeing someone more than once a week is abnormal here. If you want to get someone baptized and you only have one meeting a week, it's hard to fit it into 45 minutes.

Brother Chi is probably doing great but you'd have to ask the Chinese consulate to get more info because he's still in mainland. We taught Justin again last week, and it was a great lesson (partially because, like I said before, we got it all taught in 35 minutes.) We were able to really teach out of the scriptures, and our fellowshipper (who's a recent convert) shared a lot of really great experiences that helped him a lot. He just needs to be able to get to church this next month, which is a challenge because of his work schedule. The other main thing we did this week was teach the kid Jacky and his brother Jimmy, a ton. We met them every day from Sunday to Wednesday this week. He could be ready to be baptized, but he's often yaaih, or naughty, and contrary, so it's hard to tell if he actually wants to be baptized or if it's just us trying to manipulate him. 9 year olds. Did you guys ever wonder about that when we were young?

Our planning for Zone Training has been pretty tough. Stumped is an excellent word with no Chinese equivalent, meaning unclear or unable to figure out how to move forward. Elder Boyd included it in his otherwise Chinese prayer ending our 3 hour planning bonanza on Tuesday. But I felt a lot of peace knowing that we'd all prayed, we'd all prepared, and God certainly wouldn't drop us now. And sure enough, on Wednesday we started to un-stump ourselves (would that be a tree growing up, or finally getting the stump pulled out?)

Something I read recently that I loved was King Benjamin's address in Mosiah 2. He spends some time listing all the things he's done and how great a king he'd been, but follows with the statement that he's not doing it to boast, but to serve God. I used to think it a bit odd how that'd not be boasting, but I realized this last read through that Benjamin simply really wants his people to know how worth it is to serve God. He's felt it, and he wants them to feel it. As a missionary we often have people tell us we're "hou san fu", such a tough life. I can say totally honestly, with King Benjamin, that I am only in the service of my God, that He's given me everything I have and am, and that my mission has included no sacrifice at all. In the words of Brigham Young, I've given up one situation for a better one. God is good, he has no obligation to repay us, but pay us he does. He's answered my prayers, he's redeemed my soul, and he's given me my family, for eternity.


That sounds like a pretty idyllic week. I remember at Abby's birthday, you'd often mention that you remembered back before she was at school, you'd have a girl's alone morning. Now you can relive those happy days. You should read Caroline's email about grandmas in Russia; it's almost a perfect description of grandmas in China. Very weird to think of flight plans. All my friends are about to finish and I feel super weird reading their emails, because I really don't feel that old at all.

I ran into a French less active member named Etienne while on exchanges with the Assistants. It was pretty cool. Do you have any contact with any converts or companions from your mission?


It sounds like you and Joseph aren't too excited about this High Adventure Trip. Just remember the truism the more horrible it is at the moment, the better the story later.

You know, every time I meet anyone who likes programming I say something along these lines, "That's cool, I don't know programming much, but my brother actually designed the engine for Counterstrike while he was in elementary school, it's just that they couldn't put his name on it because it'd be underaged labor."

Just so you know I’m almost out of time


I pity you. But it really is cool how much more in shape you are now. At the beginning of my mission I set a goal to run a 6 minute mile, which I've never come close to before. Yesterday, in the rain, we jogged down to the track, and with Elder Boyd and Elder Busby switching off running next to me as pacers I ran. It was horrible, incredibly painful, and I was reminded of why I hated swim meets so much, but when I finished my time was 5:47.5. I literally collapsed in the grass.


That is really really early and diligent. I'm surprised and impressed. Why do you get up so much earlier than swim team? Not that I disapprove, I think early mornings are healthier, but curious. TEMPLE! YES!


I hope you have a fun work-out week with Mom. You should find a time to go to the temple with her. And congrats on the swim meet! As I mentioned, I hated them. But you feel so good after you know you've done your best.


The thought I've really had recently is about a quote by President Hinckley on PMG page 93 about prayer. It's the desire and dream to feel the Spirit working through me to bless the people and help them come unto Christ. In recent days I've really come to realize that that is the truest measure of a successful missionary, and the sweetest privilege I have.