Thanks for what you share. I always read all of it, even if I don't reply to everything. But so first off I really, really, really, really, really, really, must apologize that I completely forgot your birthday earlier this month. I remembered just earlier this week and thought "oh, no" it's already the 24th and over a week and a half has passed. So Happy Belated Birthday. Also, tell Kyle Happy Birthday because I am pretty sure I remember that his birthday, as well, is in August.
So diving had its ups and downs? Sounds like fun. We have been pretty much sometimes swimming here ourselves. We had a typhoon hit this last week, but it mainly was worse up north like by Taibei. We got off pretty easy. Thursday there was a lot of rain, but Elder Dailey and I caught a lucky break because we had 6 lessons that day. Most of them were at the little library in our apartment complex, so we didn't have to go outside much. We didn't get on our bikes that day until 3:00 in the afternoon. It was nice to be able to avoid the rain. So I do use my rain jacket and keep it in my bucket that I put on the back of my bike, but I only use it when it is really raining hard. Otherwise, I just start to sweat in my jacket instead. So it's a balance really between deciding when to put on the jacket or not.
This past week I went on my first exchange. From 5pm Friday to 5pm Saturday. Elder Turner (yes, my MTC companion) went with Elder Dailey and I went with Elder Vandiford, my district leader. I was at first a little apprehensive about it and a little negative thinking that I was having to pack more things into my box making it a tight fit for my day with Elder Vandiford (like exercise clothing for one thing). But after the exchange I am going to strive to think positively and optimistically as much as I can about everything. The exchange was really good and helped so much. Elder Vandiford is a great missionary that is very friendly and really likes opening his mouth and trying to become friends with everyone. So we practiced contacting and he as well helped to teach me some things about contacting. I also was to see some ways or things I can implement as a missionary to be better and improve. One of the cool things that he did with me though was that night he did this psychology test with me to see what kind of person I am. He does this with everyone. It helped me to better see who I am and really actually made me feel good. I will try to write and explain it as quickly as I can.
So we had the lights off and were lying on our beds. He told me to clear my mind and empty it and that he would then talk me through a story and that I would say the first things that come to my mind when he would ask questions. So first was that my mind was empty and he asked to think of place and describe it. The first things that came was a castle. It had an outer wall with a main central tower. There was courtyard in front with a water feature and then little village houses within the walls. (He explained what everything meant after we were done, but I will explain as we go along) So this was my outlook on life. That I see life as majestic and great, and having great potential. So we go along that Elder Vandiford tells me to start walking along a road to this castle. Then he says there is all of a sudden a huge boulder (an obstacle) in front of me. What do I do? I say that I just wonder for a second why there is a rock there but just walk around it. This means that when faced with obstacles in life I don't let them get to me, that I simply just go around them and get over them. Next, I am walking along and he says there is an animal to the side, what is it? I say its an anteater. This is my view of my family. (I guess I didn't forget my aardvark.) Next, I am walking along and there is a box on the side of the road. I open it and there is a cup in it, and he asks me to describe the cup. It's a smaller mug only maybe 3 inches tall. It's simple, a blue teal color, no flashy designs or graphics on it. Just simple and eloquent. He asks me what I do with it. I pick it up, look at, admire it, and decide that it is a good cup and will be useful and so I bring it with me. This is my view of the opposite gender. The cup is my wife. The color of blue means she will probably be more patient, loving and forgiving. Also, she will be simple and eloquent, nothing far out there, flashy or striving for attention. And the great thing is I bring her with me to go through life together. Next, was I see a house to the side. I describe it as a small european cottage house. I go up to it, knock, and no one answers. So I go in and check it out. This is my self-esteem. Going in means I am comfortable with myself. Next is another obstacle, a gorge. I look for a bridge and find one but it seems a little sketchy so I check it out first. This is how I handle goals. That I look for plans to accomplish them but make sure they are sound and good plans. Next is a body of water, a lake that I come to. I find a boat that get in and cross the lake. This is how my relationships with family, friends, and others will be. I will have smooth relationships that I won't just dive into. Then I cleared my mind again and forgot this place. I was then told to think of a new place. I thought of a futuristic space station like something out of Star Wars. Then someone comes up to me and Elder V asks me who is it. Its you dad. He then asks me what I say. I ask "how are you?" and you reply well. This last part is my view of heaven. Heaven is very advanced, really technologic and such. And then you dad are my view of God and that we both thought it really cool that the first thing I ask you is "how are you".
But so these are just some of my things from the past week. Tell mom I am sorry that I won't have time to email back to her email. If she has any questions from that tell her to send them again next week and remind me to send the hymn lyrics for I am a Child Of God. Also a good idea for things to send in the package is CD's like appropriate soundtrack music.