Hello family. Sorry, but this week I am really short on time, have about 12 minutes for you all. I apologize, next week will be better.
This week has been extremely hard at times but amazing in retrospect. Not because of new investigators. I always imagine you reading that and getting all excited, then being crushed as things go on as normal. Oh well.
We had some extremely hard days of finding. Very very discouraging, finding for hours at a time with no success and very few people willing to talk at all to us. That made me pretty sad, but I have really learned recently that perspective is so fickle that looking really far forward is never really a good idea (unless you feel happy). During finding I can be really sad, then later I realize it was just because we were finding and I was tired and hungry.
And we do have some contacts who MAY become new investigators, no promises. We were finally able to teach a guy who hasn't been taught for 10 weeks because of silly mistakes and people switching off who would teach him.
Church was cool; the missionaries were in charge of the program so I gave a talk. Honestly I think it could have been better but it was probably understandable, so that's good.
Had a chance to meet with President and Sister Hawks this week as well, as they did tri-annual interviews. Amazing. President Hawks is an extremely funny, but also very serious and smart guy. We talked a lot about goals.
I have been feeling recently like goal setting might be the most important skill I can learn on my mission. I looked back at my life so far and realized I could have gotten a lot more done if I just concentrated and set some more goals. So that is what I am practicing this week.
I also wanted to preach for a bit on something I have been gradually learning. I think we sometimes think that if we don't have sins, we are going to the Celestial Kingdom. I am starting to learn that that is not true. We have to do more than just NOT do bad stuff. Read the Savior’s teachings in 3rd Nephi. They're all about the extra stuff. That is what is meant by the higher law. As we try to not sin we naturally will do these things more, but the opposite is also true. As we go out of our way to serve others and become more Christlike, we will sin less, be more perfect. And the best way to serve others is through missionary work.
Man, I wish I had more time to talk about this but Elder Ah Mu got a book called "Power of Everyday Missionaries" by Clayton M. Christensen. In it he talks about ways that members can be more effective missionaries, and I thought it was awesome. He has a big section where he talks about the blessings of missionary work. I testify to the truth of them. Missionary work, and (as dad said) throwing yourself into service is how we are happy, how we are forgiven, and how we qualify for the Celestial Kingdom.
Please get it or find something on it. Buy it with my money as a late Christmas present. Read it. I know that this is the way that missionary work can be successful and the way that we can be happy.
Things are hard, but I feel like I'm starting to understand what it means to work with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. And we've read a ton of examples recently of people who's faith was tried. Try Enos, or Alma and Amulek in Alma Chapter 14. I hope that's what's going on right now. I know that this church is true and will bless us.
Wish I had more time.
Little bit of time.
Dad, I love your emails. They are really applicable. Honestly. I think that I'm starting to get what you said. I have a saying from you written several places in my notebooks, and all my companions keep hearing some of the principles that you taught me. So thank you. Keep sending the vicarious living. (Note: Glen told John that he’s reliving his mission vicariously through John)
The hardest thing is figuring out HOW to work hard, and working hard in the little things. Big ones are usually easy.
I got some actual vegetables today. In China they eat a lot of curry. I don't know why we don’t in America, it's delicious. So I will try to make it this week.
We bought a calling card for the Christmas call home.
Oh, Mary. Something needs to happen to her face so her looks are destroyed. (Note: I told John how the new season of Downton Abbey has begun and that Mary was very depressed and bitter about Matthew dying right after their son was born.)
Becca, your dance is looking pretty good. I actually wear glasses sometimes here because I'm lazy. But I hate them. Chinese people always fast earlier so it's torture every week. They give us food and we can't eat it.
I got 2 free suits so far, so there. And yes, IB is useless, but at least you get the best teachers. Mostly. Don’t slack off on math, I feel like I regret not putting more effort into it. Don't survive, thrive in math. Other subjects, okay. BUT math, my brother. Math is everything.
SORRY SORRY SORRY, but I've got to go. Love you both especially. Actually have a few seconds. David, nothing is important besides missionary work. So there. ABBY they have something called 1000 year old eggs here that are sold, packed in straw, don't need to be refrigerated because nothing can survive on them. I haven't eaten one yet but will soon. David, do well in school. I don't know.
Oh, have the girls read together. Set a goal. Do it. Please, for me. These little things are important. They add up to big things. And you'll be a lot happier looking back on life if you've got a lot of good habits like that.