Monday, December 10, 2012

The diary one writes in his life often differs from the one he intended to write.

Hi Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna!!!

Wow! Can you believe it's already December 10?!!! Crazy right!!! 3 months until I come home! That's crazy too!

It sounds like you're having a good time getting ready for Christmas!!!

I'll start with your questions first:

1 – In the pictures of the plants with writing, why was there writing on them? 

It's about the equivalent of carving on trees and rocks in hiking places in the states. But it looks a lot cooler because it's in a different language.
2 – Do you know where you will be for Christmas? Still in Macau?
I don't know yet, moves calls are tomorrow. I got 20 more days when I exited Macau last Wednesday, so I am allowed to be here until Christmas, and then I could have an additional 10 days before they kick me out, but President Hawks might have other things in mind.

3 – How do you get mail while you are in Macau?

We don't. . . hahaha until someone comes from Hong Kong. I've heard that Sister Kesler will sometimes put all the mail in a package and mail it here if it gets too piled up. It's not been too bad, once every 2 ish weeks. That way it piles up too. I had soooooooooooooooooooo much mail when it came on Wednesday!

This week has been a good week. First of all today, our neighbors lunch for us!! They are so cute! The Chinese woman next door is also our landlord and very nice. Her helper is from Indonesia. One day they came over to fix our water heater and we complimented L. (the helper) on the good smells that come from her cooking! She said, "I'll cook for you sometime, do you like Chinese food or Indonesian food better?" Wow!!! We told her that we like anything, but that she really didn't have to cook for us.  A week later she came over with a whole pan of Indonesian Curry!!! It was sooooo yummy! Last week we were out on our balcony and L. called over saying, "Do you like Chinese food? I make you Chinese food next Tuesday!!" Well, we ran into her while we were finding on Friday and she said she did cook for us, but we didn't answer the phone. So she scheduled us to have lunch with her and her boss today!!! Wow! They are so nice! The boss, Mrs. C., kept saying, "We can cook for you anytime, just let us know the day before!"  When we told her about what missionaries do she asked about pay. We explained that we give money to the church and the church provides our apartment, money for food etc. and she said, "Well I better feed you more often, this is your money that I get for your rent!!" It's been fun to get to know them! I also felt Super Chinese because we brought fruit over as a Thank you! (They love giving people fruit here!)

I tried Turon for the first time yesterday. It is a Philippine food that's like an egg roll, but it has a Banana inside instead of meat and vegetables. It was pretty good, but definitely deep fried so I couldn't eat a lot! Mamma Beth (President Marcello's wife) is soooo cute!  She made Turon and sandwiches for all the missionaries (There are 11 of us!!)

This week I've learned a lot. I guess this entire move I've been learning, but this week I was finally able to sort out my thoughts and feelings. I think what helped was a question that Sister Clements asked in a Companion study. President Hawks has given us this plan to help us focus more and bring more power and authority into our work. (I'm soooo excited!) He has given suggestions of things to read and do every day between now and the end of January. One of the quotes said something like, "The diary one writes in his life often differs from the one he intended to write. The humbling moment comes when he compares the two."  During companion study, Sister Clements asked us what "diary" or story we expected to write as a missionary. It didn't take much thinking for me to realize that I expected to be "perfect, smiling and sharing my testimony all day long." A bit of a fairy-tale image. I thought that missionaries could be perfect if only they desired to be. Only the ones who weren't really sincere would do dumb things. Well, I feel like I'm pretty sincere, I really want to be good, but I make stupid mistakes every day! So shux, I'm not perfect, but this week I've realized how grateful I am for these imperfections. President Hawks also gave us a talk by Elder Holland. It is a talk he gave in the MTC in 2000. It is sooo good! In it he says that we cannot preach and testify of Jesus Christ and represent Him as full-time missionaries if we are not willing to taste or suffer even bit of what He did. In the same light we can't teach of the powerful effect of the Atonement to cleanse us from our sins and bring us peace if we have not had the blessing of applying it in our lives. So I know mistakes and weakness are uncomfortable, annoying and embarrassing, but as it says in Ether 12:27 God gives us weakness that we may be humble and that our weaknesses can be made strengths. In my mission I have felt the Atonement making up for where I fall short. I have felt Heavenly Father's love strengthening me and helping me as I face the challenges He gives me. Never in my life have I thought I'd be so grateful for trials and weaknesses! I even find myself praying for them because I know they will make me better. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He suffered and dies so that we can be forgiven of our sins and so that he can comfort and support us in everything we face. I know that Heavenly Father loves every one of us. He knows who we can become and exactly what we need to do to get there. Even though my mission story is nothing like what I expected, it has been exactly what I needed.

Lesson #2 of the week: It hit me the other day that time is short! I've heard of missionaries looking toward the last day of their missions and missing out on many experiences at the end of their missions. I've also heard of some that go into denial and have a freak out when they get home. I don't want to be either of those (although I promise I'm going to be a bit awkward and weird until I adjust) I was thinking about President Uchtdorf's talk about missionaried being in the middle of their missions, not matter where they really are.  I was thinking, "Does that mean I should pretend like it's always August 2012? Isn't that like going into denial?" Then I realized that I'm still in the middle of my LIFE! and a mission is just another part of it. So every day is just another milestone in my life.

Ok sorry done with the deep thoughtful stuff! Just lessons learned from the week!

I got Savanna's Flat Stanley last week! I finished the letter today and I plan to get him in the mail soon. If I e-mail you pictures next week can you print them?

Tonight we get to go to the MGM (a casino, but we're not gambling!!!!!!! We cleared it with our district leader!) for dinner with a ward member! It should be really nice!

Oh before I forget, we cannot use Skype to call home, so I will be doing a normal call, I'm planning to call on your Christmas night. Is that ok?

I love you all soooo much!


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