Dear Mom & Dad,
That's great that everything went well with moving and girls camp. I don't think you know exhaustion until you are a missionary. Literally I go all day studying, learning, and growing with no real breaks or anything. Each day I am tired or exhausted, but I still manage to get through each day being better and knowing so much more. The Lord is definitely strengthing me.
Maybe study with the intent of how what you are reading or studying can best help someone else that day. All of my studying is focused on how to help the needs and answer the questions of my investigator and helping others come unto Christ. I don't have time to really sit down and just read or study what I want.
I will try to work in some time to write physical letters. I have to go get a chest x-ray done today at 2 and P-day ends after dinner. But I'll try. The rest of the week is so busy. I plan so much and literally all my time is filled with personal study (me studying doctrine and scriptures specifically to meet the needs and questions of my investigator. I have found that I don't have time to simply read or study what I feel like doing, but that my time is dedicated and devoted to inviting others to come unto Christ and specifically meeting the needs of my investigator). Then during companionship study we plan out our lesson plan or what we will teach, which scriptures we wish to share and such. Our lesson plans actually follow six specific points. Teach the doctrine, with baptismal interview questions in mind, and what committments we want to extend. Then throughout the lesson we incorporate in scriptures, asking questions, and examples (whether personal or from the scriptures or from something else). Then after companionship study and having our made lesson plan (which we also practice role playing with) we have language study where we now create the lesson plan in Chinese. So we practice vocab specific to the lesson plan, maybe phrases we want to memorize from resources or phrases we create for our lesson plan, and practice grammar principles or patterns specific to the lesson plan. Then additionally we have 6 hours of class most every day. So all my studying and time is devoted to specifically my investigator and inviting others to come unto Christ.
So yes time flies. I am really really excited to get out to the field. A good more chunk of my language study is understanding the grammar more now rather than like last time was vocab or memorizing phrases. So I really understand now more how the Chinese language works and flows.
Also additionally, last week our district had to go do a stool sample (which we found out is only required for Taiwan and like one other mission in the whole world) and blood sample. We then found out a few days later (because Sister Mancilla had to get a few more blood samples taken) that they no longer require a stool sample for Taiwan. So basically it was a pointless thing for us to collect a stool sample :/
But things are great and going well. Dad I really appreciate what you said. I have been praying a lot though for Heavenly Father to help my trust in Him as well as having patience. Things are going better now and I am really just becoming less selfish and centered on myself and more selfless. We watched last night an Elder Bednar talk given at the MTC on Dec 25, 2011 (I had seen it before, last time I was here) on the Character of Christ. It is such a powerful talk and sad that it isn't open to the public. But just briefly each of us has a natural man, or cookie monster as Elder Bednar describes within each of us. I want it now, I want baptism now, I want investigator now. However, when we experience difficult trials, circumstances, or other confrontations that would cause us to turn inwards to be concerned about ourselves saying "woe is me, think about me, be concerned and worried about me" the savior and character of Christ would turn outward and help others. Additionally when we sin, we turn inwards pleasing that natural man, or cookie monster, thinking only about ourselves and what we want. When we repent, or literally return, to Christ we are turning away from ourselves, from that natural man, towards Christ and serving others. But this continuation from testimony to conversion also doesn't just work on doing busy work and constantly working. But rather with that work of showing charity and love. Not thinking about yourself and how this is bettering me and helping me, but thinking about others and turning outward. If we try to find ourselves when we work and serve, we won't find us. But if we work and serve, turning outwards and thinking more about others and their cares and their concerns, we will find ourselves.
Love you all so much,