Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 9, 2014 Letter to Dad

Hey Dad!

Well I feel to mainly write one BIG email today since things I have already pondered on will address many different parts for different people. 

So first off, this past week has not been an exactly fun week. I feel like I have been on a freaking bullet train almost about to derail! I feel like it has been a bit of a way too big roller coaster for me. Some really touching and meaningful experiences as well as some worst feelings and times in my life. It actually made me think of when I was home this past year and thinking wow I wish I could just be back at that time because those emotions and challenges are nothing compared to what I am handling and going through now.

To start off a clarification the picture from last week, that was not Elder Chen. Elder Chen helped to take the picture, and that was Elder Chiang with me in the picture. I just had the picture because I thought you would think it funny of eating McDonalds in Taiwan and eating none other than pancakes (kind of like England, right?). I have a picture this week though of Elder Chen.

So to start off every Tuesday we go and visit a very elderly man in the ward who is 80 years old. He has to be the cutest, sweetest, old man I have ever met. He lives more up on the mountain part here in the city at a senior citizen home. But he is way faithful in coming to church each week (actually another member who drives a taxi picks him up each Sunday). We sit with him while he eats his dinner and then afterwards have a lesson with him. It is so cute because he is sitting at his table with his food and 3 other old men (one of them is 96 and he is still lively as ever and can tell that no worldly things really have any concern or matter in his life). But even still he bows his head and says a little prayer to bless his food. We are working right now to plan for him in May or June to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and then be able to go the temple to do his endowment (he is too old to do baptisms for the dead). He wants to achieve this goal himself. And we feel that it will bless his life more than ever for him to be able to go to the temple.

After Tuesday though it felt like things just broke down like none other. Pretty a lot of these feelings I will share are still stirring around in my soul and I have been praying and seeking for guidance and help. I just wish to have peace and comfort in my life about myself and about what I am doing. Pretty much things collapsed down as several lessons went on that I felt like the less actives didn't progress at all even though I sincerely tried to listen, understand, and testify of truth. Pretty much feeling like I am inadequate, in no way qualified for this work, and that there are so many others more qualified and better workers than me that can be here in 彰化. Like even with my Chinese I have been feeling like it is so bad as I see other missionaries (even Sisters who are just a move call ahead of me) whose Chinese is so much better (they use them to translate things sometimes in FHE or other settings). I feel like I am trying to put in my effort and really working hard each day to study Chinese and practice things. So because of my character of perfectionism it pretty much has been shooting me down. It has been such a heavy load to handle because I feel like I should try and help more as well in the companionship, especially since I am senior. But I am new to the area, don't really know everything, and what makes it more difficult is the Elder Chen has already been here for 3 months, already fluent in the language since he is native. I don't know.......I feel like my worst enemy is myself. I tear myself down from the inside out. What I would like to have happen most is confidence and faith in myself, in the Savior, and simply in my little sphere or bubble of influence and capabilities for there to be peace and calm. 

Last Thursday though (and I like how this day as well Mom was having a tough time but still remembered about me) was a big day as we biked out to our only secondary area 芬園. We have an investigator out there who makes cakes. No joke the bike ride was an hour or more straight riding. And there isn't really much between there and here so not much stopping or contacting. So just an hour straight of riding on a bike. But definitely it is worth it to visit someone. We actually helped this investigator in making some cake with him. It was really fun and I have never seen a bigger whisk in my life. You know our KitchenAid thing we have and the big wire wisk for it? This guy had an even bigger one. The wire wisk no joke was bigger than my head! But so his cakes he make are really special and really good (like just as good as the ice cream cake Marty and Allisa had for their wedding). He makes everything from scratch. He has a bottom layer of cake and then the middle isn't quite ice cream but is a very good creamy filling (that needs to be kept in the freezer) and then another layer of cake on the top. It is really cool to see the whole process of it all. But so afterwards we walked with him for a bit and then shared the first lesson with him as well as gave him a Book of Mormon. He still hasn't done our invites (as well as the wife might oppose) but this Thursday we are going back out again to visit him (and yes I got to eat some of the cake for free, maybe about 4 1x2 in. pieces since we helped make cake with him). Then we had a 1 hour bike ride back. Over these past few days it actually has been a bit cold and even raining kind of hard some days. Not fun at all.

Then Sunday in church I was sitting thinking about the phrase "forget yourself and go to work". I was focusing on the 'forget yourself' part and had two ideas come to mind. First is focused on worry and fear. Basically stop worrying about yourself, family, home, etc. (things out of your control). Tomorrow will take care of itself tomorrow. Turn your thoughts outwards. Guarantee someone close around you has a much greater struggle or challenge in which you are needed to help strengthen, encourage, uplift, and support that person. Second is focused on glory and riches. If you aspire for riches and glory of men, you will be frustrated, disappointed, and saddened. This isn't YOUR work, it is HIS work. You are blessed and called to help in this building up of the kingdom in your sphere of capabilities, limits, and talents. So it is not a competition between missionaries, because we are all doing the same work, His work. We are all components of a greater machine, and EVERY part is needed to allow this machine to work. In humility, work your best at your sphere. If you are called to lead, it is NOT because you are better, but because Heavenly Father trusts you and needs your talents and will stretch your limits by furthering the building of His kingdom through you.

As well I have been reading the Liahona from January this year. I was reading an article by President Eyring about "Preparing Gifts". There is a section I wish to share with you:

"Then a young man stood up near the back. He had said little during the term; I'm not sure he had ever spoken before. He was older than the other students, and he was shy. He asked if he could speak. He told in a quiet voice of having been a soldier in Vietnam. One day, in what he thought would be a lull, he had left his rifle and walked across his fortified compound to mail call. Just as he got a letter in his hand, he heard a bugle blowing and shouts and mortar and rifle fire coming ahead of the swarming enemy. He fought his way back to his rifle, using his hands as weapons. With the men who survived, he drove the enemy out. Then he sat down among the living, and some of the dead, and he opened his letter. It was from his mother. She wrote that she'd had a spiritual experience that assured her that he would live to come home if he were righteous. In my class, the boy said quietly, "That letter was scripture to me. I kept it." And he sat down."

Many times your letters and emails to me are like scripture. There have definitely been a few that shared and said exactly what was need in the precise moment. Truly the Lord puts His hand into our lives and blesses us on both ends.

Love you as always with all my heart (sorry for a more downer email this week, but I always feel in being honest and open and expressing my thoughts and emotions so I that I can better be helped and healed),

Elder Roo

March 2, 2014 Letter to Dad

Hey Dad!

Thank you so much for all that you have shared. So this will be a bit shorter than a response I would like to give as I spent a little more time focused on Allisa's email.

Yes it really stunk leaving Jiayi. I left a little part of my heart there. It was dear to me and I pray with all my heart I can go back, or even more have the opportunity again to be with Elder Mudrow.

So to start. I am in Zhanghua City. I am serving in the 1st ward (Elder Dailey had served here before). You know the two native companions I was staying with, I am now companions with one of them now. They had just finished training this past week. So you know what that means......I am now senior companion! Wow! Parts of me feel like I am not ready for it yet. But then parts feel like if Heavenly Father and President Blickenstaff think I am, then I am ready for it. I have the feeling as well that I will be in Zhanghua a bit longer. At first when I got here I didn't really like it. I felt lost, disconnected, a bit confused, unhappy. But starting Saturday as I really made the effort, things started to turn around. Then Sunday was a blessing to me. Letter to P. Blickenstaff:

Well definitely this past week has been a whirlwind of events and everything. I won't lie I left a chunk of my heart in Jiayi. I loved that area as well as my companion and the people. I hope in the future I will get another opportunity to return to Jiayi. Definitely being in Zhanghua and being with Elder Han and Elder Chen (who were finishing training) was a bit hard. I felt disconnected, lost a bit, having a hard time. I was very grateful though for being able to go to the temple (I didn't know at all that this zone was going, so I kind of got 2 P-days this past week the other one going to Fancy World with the 4-man in Jiayi and a member). But as Saturday came I made the resolution to go out and serve, to forget myself and think of others. It made all the difference, and then carrying over into Sunday and fasting helped to really allow me to start to love the area and start loving my new companion. Definitely this past week has been a lot of uncertainty and anxiety not knowing where I would end up. But knowing now that I am in Zhanghua as senior with another native companion makes me feel that you as well as Heavenly Father really have a lot of trust in me. I pray and will strive to do my best to make Heavenly Father proud and help wherever and whenever I can.

For me my most spiritual and touching this past week was Sunday. I was so blessed at church yesterday and can truly testify of how revitalizing it is and how necessary it is for our spirits. Fasting and attending church helped to uplift me, pick me up, brush me off, and prepare me for a new week. I want to testify now more than ever to people how important and vital attending church is. I will forever be grateful and thankful for what the Lord blesses me with and these experiences I gain each week.

I testify and know that church is a necessity. It is interesting and funny that your email is ghosting exactly what my thoughts have been over the last 24 hours. Church is needed every week. Because if not our spirit will starve and die. Truly it needs nourishment and food. And attending church along with keeping the Sabbath holy help to feed it, uplift it, and grow us.

So yeah my new companion is Elder Chen (yes another Elder Chen! :D). He is from Taibei and his whole family are members. He is a way nice guy and very loving and a hard worker. I think he is 24 (he has already gone and done dang bing, the mandatory military service). But so as I said he has just finished being trained which means he is starting his 3rd move call and I am starting my 6th. I still feel so young and like a noob on the island of Taiwan. But this is where I trust in the Lord more than ever that He will help me in adjusting, acclimating to the area, getting to know my companion, the people, and serving with all my heart as my love develops.

Thank you thank you thank you so much for sending a birthday package. This will be probably the best birthday ever.
I found that zone conference is going to be on my birthday! Yay :D

Love you so much!

Elder Roo

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Feb 26, 2014

Hey, Hey all!!

So have you noticed what is different yet? Today is not Monday! I legitimately have just got 2 P-days this week! 

I don't know if this was some slip of the mind on leaders parts and such, but I am counting it as a huge blessing :D 

So this is what all happened. I went to Fancy world on Monday for P-day with Elder Mudrow, Elder Ng, Elder Palmer, and Eddy (a member). We played around for almost 4 hours. We went on this one coaster called the G5 6 times. It is a bit scary but so much fun and thrilling. It brings you up really high. Then brings you around the corner to where it will go down and drop. It stops the roller coaster car at the edge and hangs you over the edge for a certain amount of time and then lets you go. We also went on the other coaster 3 times which was a floorless coaster but rail is beneath you. There was also this one ride called the Inverter. That one was just ridiculous. Besides just spinning around one point of axis, the car out on the lever arm is spinning around a separate point of axis. We also went on this tiny log flume ride that we didn't realize at the top before the drop is exits water and so gets going really fast when you drop and hit the water. Needless to say Elder Mudrow and I got pretty wet because we are both heavier. We went on a really big Ferris Wheel that actually was pretty scary towards me because of how slow it moves. Lastly we went to the little kids section and we played in one of those foam ball shooting areas as well as riding on a merry-go-round.

We had a blast and a half of a day. But sadly to say after members made dinner for us that night (they always have a dinner for missionaries who are moving or going home) and felt obliged to try everything since this dinner was for me, I ended up throwing up that night because I was still feeling dizzy. Thank goodness it didn't happen until we were home at our apartment. But so I couldn't finish packing that night. I went to bed at like 11 then had to wake up at 5 to finish packing and then got on the train at 7:30 with Elder Mudrow and Elder Chia to jump off at Zhanghua while they went on north to Taizhong. Also a slip up of communication was that I was suppose to call the Zhanghua Elders I am staying with for this week. I came out the station and no one was there. So I waited around 15 or 20 minutes, then called Elder Mudrow's cell number to get them to call around for me and let the other Elders know. Not until an hour later did they show up, none other than with a Sister's bike. So yup I am biking around this week with a Sister's bike :P ...........

So why do I get 2 P-days!? Because the Zhanghua zone today went to the temple. And I just arrived in Zhanghua yesterday with no clue or idea at all that they were going to the temple. So sweet! I just got a second P-day.

It was so nice to go to the temple. I haven't been since last June. And yes I knew they had a newer version and everything since last August, but since being down south I never had the opportunity to go to the temple until now. I really liked attending though and going and doing an endowment session. I also got to do initiatories which was way neat since they had two booths by each other of one that was done in Chinese and one that was done in English. All the people I did things for were Chinese. Even the guy I did the Endowment for was from 0916. I think Elder McCulloch who was sitting next to me was from about 0620. Way old!

Well that is much of the happenings over the past few days. I have been way tired, not able to sleep my full 8 hours because of having to get up early (I had to get up at 4 last night since the bus was leaving at 6 for Taibei, which I finally saw the 101 for the first time but it was pretty fuzzy because of lots of clouds and pollution).

I love you all and hopefully will have lots to share next Monday with you!

Elder Roo