Way cool that you got to attend General Conference again! Definitely, I feel there is a difference when you make the commitment to watch Conference when it is live rather than saying "oh it's ok, I can just go back and watch it later". I think when we make that commitment we are more focused and intent on listening and receptive to the Spirit. Then we are better prepared to hear the messages. Then, of course, it is even better to return again to listening or reading the talks after we have heard them the first time. Basically modern day scriptures.
Because of General Conference this upcoming week, Stake Conference the following week, and a fireside the following Saturday for all RC's from the past 2 years, it has really thrown a wrench in our plans. We have worked it out now, so we will be finishing up teaching our investigator the Commandments, Law of Chastity and Follow the Prophet this week. He should be ready for a baptismal interview on Saturday. We're planning to have his baptism on October 20 from 3-4 with his confirmation immediately following his baptism. (Usually, new members are confirmed in sacrament meeting). He has been doing really well and seems pretty solid. We might need to review over Sabbath Day Observance with him again, especially about buying things on Sunday. But he has been doing well with the Word of Wisdom. He has told us he hasn't been drinking any tea leaf tea and has been drinking a lot more milk now.
Feng Shan is a difficult area. Very few people who actually add with us and set up times to meet. Our investigators have a hard time keeping commitments and/or don't show up to meetings. We have a few who are pretty solid and good with keeping commitments though. So it really weighs on Elder Dailey and I how difficult Feng Shan can be sometimes. Elder Dailey recalled when he was in Ling Ya with Elder Jorgensen. An AP came and did splits with them and told them they needed to have more faith in the area. Elder Jorgensen and Elder Dailey thought he was a bit ridiculous, but later were talking about it and felt maybe it was true. Elder Dailey and I are thinking maybe we need more faith in this area. We are having to do a lot of searching right now, which can be hard for me since I am not a person that feels comfortable just going up and talking with strangers. It's just not part of my character. I try to remember what you've told me and also what Elder Dailey has told me; forget myself and think, what does the Lord need me to do today. I try to do my best, but sometimes part of who I am kicks in when we have hard times right now. I start beating myself up striving to be perfect and comparing myself with others. I just see them as being so much better, so much more obedient, so much more blessed, so much more diligent. I feel awful and like nothing next to them. This is also something I am trying to work on -- not comparing myself with others. It's a very bad and real problem, especially for missionaries. So Mom, in her email said it right. About how she pictures herself in her classes. It's just her progressing and comparing against herself and nobody else. Same with missionary life. It's my mission, just between me and the Lord. Elder Dailey and I were talking last night for a long time and he was telling me how that a lot of his mission searching has not been a problem for him. He is willing, not scared, to work long hours tracting, contacting and talking to strangers. But he, as well, has a hard time not comparing himself to others and his companion. He told me when he arrived in Zhang Hua, something just clicked in him. He began to think along these lines -- I don't care what others are doing or where they are at. It's good for them, but this is my mission. It's just me and how I can progress and improve. I feel I need to strive better to not compare myself with others. Eventually, I will come to that point where, hopefully, it will just click. The other part that contributes to beating myself up is perfectionism. I think too much and wonder if I am doing my best or if I am slacking. Is Heavenly Father proud of me? If you, Dad, have seen my last two months since I have been here, would you be proud of me or disappointed in me? So I get feelings that I am doing good and doing my best but then contradicting feelings that tell me I am a failure and pathetic. Elder Dailey gave me a really great talk by Cecil Samuelson Jr. from 2006 about Perfectionism that I read through this morning and will read through several more times. I really need to become a more positive person, not saying only the things that I dislike, but seeing the blessings, seeing what I am doing good, and then realizing I have areas where I can improve. Those don't mean I am a failure, but that I can do better and don't denote how good of a missionary I am, especially with other missionaries.
I feel that I need to strive to contribute more to our lessons. I really always want to. The language can be so difficult sometimes, and I don't want to say the wrong thing, but really teach and help according to the person's needs. Something to progress and work in is the language. Elder Dailey always tells me that my language is similar to someone on their 3rd or 4th move call.
So one thing to mention is that I had been wondering how much time I would have here in Taiwan since my call was a reinstatement with being in the MTC for 16 weeks and coming back out again and no one ever really telling me if those first 7 weeks for sure have been deducted from my mission time. I asked President about it and he got back to me saying that my release date is June 9, 2015. So that is the same as everyone that I came here with from the MTC the second time. So that will be fun going home with everyone I came over with.
That would be fun for a few weeks or so after I come home to show each other our missions. I will think about it though. Also, I think BYU should be replying back fairly soon if I remember. Sounds good for Christmas though. Everything will get worked out for contacting you. I hope that I will still be in Feng Shan since a new move call starts about December 6 or so. I would like not having to move to a new area right before Christmas. Also, speaking of Christmas I figured out that you sent me a Lego advent calendar after I opened gift #1. I am guessing I was suppose to wait until December, right? Oops. :/
Well, I love you lots, and lots, and lots!