So I will try to say as much as I can with so little amount of time I have. Because I have many, many things I want to say, need to say, and ought to say.
First is I felt bad throughout the week because of last weeks letter. It simply was all just about me complaining. I am sorry. I was praying throughout the whole week that you or Mom wouldn't worry or such over me. But it is weird is that really this week was much better. Really the Lord blesses me so much, and I am so ungrateful in so many ways. I wish I could be a better son and a better man. Truly I am ungrateful for what the Lord does for me. And then the Lord turns around and blesses me more.
So I would not say that my companionship with Elder Chen is that we hate each other or have discontent. What it is (and part of it feels hard to describe) is that very much we have different characters of one that has great desire to be obedient, and one who struggles more with time management but has a greater abounding love and understanding. So we are open with talking with each other and truly I love Elder Chen. He has taught me many things that I couldn't learn anywhere else and have really excelled my friendliness towards complete strangers and willing to open my mouth while he says he has learned a lot throughout this move call.
But yeah it was weird. Sunday night came and that is when we had the whole explosion (that night Elder Chen in his planner drew a picture of a volcano). After we had returned home, things settled down and we went about planning the next day. Then Elder Barson called and asked if we would like to go to Fo Guang Shan with him and Elder Turner the next day. I think this literally helped me personally so much and as well as our companionship in starting the week off. It was just very peaceful and relaxing to go out and see some of Taiwan's wonders and as well as learn a little more about the Taiwanese people and Buddhism.
Miraculously and truly the Lord blessed me and Elder Chen as well so much. That night we worked hard together in being diligent and doing the best we could. Tuesday followed and we tried working our best again (granted some nights we need to make more thorough and specific plans or making sure we have back up plans so as to have really good days) and it felt like a good day.
However, at Tuesday night I got a little stress as Elder Magnuson (yes the one from my first district) called us and said that him and his Trainee were having to move out Wednesday night of their apartment to a new apartment. So quick background is that at the start of this move call we split the beginning English class into two and I was teaching the younger age beginning class (around maybe 6 or 7 people). But so Elder Magnuson told me that they won't be their at English (he is our English Leader) so he was going to have Sister Smith and Sister Ward teach the advanced class (their class) and have me and Elder Chen teach the two beginning classes together (so a total of about 16 or 17 students). Granted this gave me a bit of stress as I was used to teaching the smaller class at this point as well as I had already prepared my lesson for a SMALLER class. So the next morning (Wednesday) I had to spend my time preparing again for English. Needless to say truly the Lord blessed me because the class went really well (Elder Chen as well as Gao Rei said it was really good). So that made me feel good at the end of the day.
Thursday came and this day we had to do weekly planning. So we left the door at 2 rushing to go eat lunch since we had lessons at 3 and 4. However, while eating both lessons called and canceled (huge bummer :( ). So we sat their thinking for a bit and decided to go visit formers that we have accumulated from trying to call but their numbers are useless now but still have an address. So first we stopped back in our apartment because it was really cold outside (we had a cold front come through) and grabbed jackets as well as one of the formers lives in our apartment complex. So we visited them first. We asked the security guard person at the front desk to try calling their home for us, but no one answered. So we tried knocking on their door, and still no one answered. So sadly we moved on to go visit the next one.
This next former had met with missionaries 3 years before and was now about 20. He also lives in an apartment complex. We arrived and had the security guard call the home, but no one answered. Graciously enough, when we asked, the security guard was nice enough to let us in and go knock on their door (sometimes they are mean and won't let us in :( ). So we go to the door and knock. An older gentleman answers and we find out it is the former's dad. He is very kind though and lets us come in. We go in and sit down on the couch and the first thing I see is sitting on the table in front of the couches is a cage. And in the cage is a.......... squirrel! No really, a squirrel. Of course Elder Chen does more of the talking about the squirrel (because come on, I am only here in Taiwan for 4 months, I am not going to know how to say anything about a squirrel). But so this guy has a pet squirrel. After introducing for a little bit and settling in, the man then lets the squirrel out. So this squirrel is just having the time of its life running everywhere (the man as well has a ladder set up so that often times the squirrel will go there to poop, which is easy clean up since nobody has carpet here. It is all tile). So at first as Elder Chen and I are talking with this man and getting to know him we keep trying to touch the squirrel, but it keeps running away. But as we start focusing more and teaching this old gentleman about our Church, Heavenly Father, and prayer the squirrel then runs over us. As we drew our focus away from the squirrel to the man, the squirrel would then get close to us and run on us. So I had a squirrel in this lesson that was jumping onto my thighs and onto my shoulders, and even at one point because I was wearing my rain jacket the squirrel jumped onto my shoulder and was really curious about one of the plastic tighten fasteners. So he sat there trying to chew on it and I noticed and so put my hand up to pet him as well as get him to stop, but he didn't stop until after like 10 seconds. So yeah we taught this man and he was very friendly, open, nice, and he set up to meet again tonight (which is confirmed and still ok to meet tonight).
Then Friday came and this was the day for the two Gao Xiong Zones to meet for the mission tour. Yes a mission tour. Elder Funk of the Seventy and his wife came and visited our mission (he talked in Priesthood Session about the boy who served in India and they were the mission president and wife, talking a lot about becoming humble, obedience, and receiving spiritual strength). It was really good and learned more about how to really work with the ward and to know them, not be a stupid or inconsiderate missionary. Afterwards Elder Chen had an interview with President Blickenstaff which I feel really helped for both of them so that they know each other more and President Blickenstaff can help Elder Chen more. As well since President Blickenstaff had time, I sat down and talked with him for a little bit about my own feelings and such. He really helped me so much and helped in teaching me much more. First, he talked about that having a native companion as a second companion is one of the hardest things (as well as P. Blickenstaff had a native companion as his second whose English was not very good at all, like Elder Chen or even worse, so I don't know what that entails for me in the future.....). He also talked about how to strive to use your time effectively even when companions aren't maybe using time as best as they can. He talked about how he doesn't hold anyone disobedient or bad if their companion is the one not being obedient. He also talked about always, always, always try to never get frustrated or angry. So one of the things I am working and striving towards is greater patience with myself, Elder Chen and having greater love. He also mentioned that sometimes we are called to certain places or with certain companions mainly because of that companion. He said that if all that I do in a move call is help that companion be that much more obedient, or have a greater testimony or understanding of doctrines or principles, then that is a success.
Saturday was great as we had Ward Correlation and our Ward Mission Leader is amazing. They have such a great family. But they had left overs from their Thanksgiving and gave us as well as the Sister missionaries rolls and mashed potatoes and gravy (and these were good mashed potatoes and gravy. Even better than the MTC).
Well so this is some of the doings of my week and that truly the Lord has blessed me so much when I have been so ungrateful and complaining. Granted I feel that definitely being with Elder Chen is to grow my patience like none other because there times where things he does causes me to stress more and make my patience thin. But I really feel that it is teaching to be better and as P. Blickenstaff said to strive to never get frustrated and have love and think of how I can help Elder Chen, because quite possibly that is all that the Lord has planned for me with this move call is to help Elder Chen improve and be better and love himself.
Also I am taking a wild guess (yes I received my package this last week and it is all great. The chocolates are wonderful) that the two lieutenant clone troopers LEGOs are from a bigger box at home with bigger LEGOs. Dui4 bu2 dui4 (correct?)?
I love you lots and miss you lots and always think of the wonderful memories and good times being with you, with mom, with the family. Keep on keeping on! Cool cool!