So this past week has been as it feels always a week of difficulties, challenges, and burdens. But that I have grown and have been so spiritually fed, it is amazing.
I don't know about you, but when General Conference comes I love it so much. Maybe just being a missionary has allowed me to appreciate it on a galactic scale.
So yes we get to listen to all of the sessions over the span of Saturday and Sunday. They set it up in the chapel building having Chinese in the cultural hall and then English in a classroom. Needless to say, yes I watched English (ain't no way I am going to watch Chinese. Sorry but I am not a native). But so it started Saturday with 2-4, then 4:30-6:30, then 7-9 (the Sisters do not get to watch Priesthood session, so they leave at this point). Then Sunday is 8:30-12:30 (yeah pretty much no real break, just a straight shot through).
I won't lie but I feel like my 6th move call will go down in my books as probably one of my most difficult and trying times ever. The morning of conference ended up being hard and we didn't get a lot done that morning, just mainly trying to make some calls. I ended up not being hungry at lunch. And this is my prelude into General Conference.
When I went to General Conference it literally just rocketed me into outer space with so much hope, so much desire to improve and change, and so much motivation. Sadly the talk I was looking forward to listen to (Elder Bednar) because you mentioned it, I actually didn't get to listen to all of it because at the latter half of it Brother NNN had just gotten to the church, so I needed to go out and get him, get him set up sitting by Elder Chen in the Chinese session (and thank goodness he came before President Monson's talk, and he stayed for the second Sunday session).
For me though I feel that one of my actual favorite and most inspiring talks was by Elder Nelson. Which is surprising because as of the past few years he hasn't been one who has touched and reached out to me. But this time it felt like what he was sharing was what I exactly needed. I hadn't ever really formulated it in my mind, but I know now more than ever I need to develop my faith greater than ever in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Which is why I feel that Priesthood Session ended up being a power play for me. Elder Oaks taught for me became very informative and opened up greater understanding. Then it just took off from there as it move through Elder Hallstrom to Elder Ridd, then onto the First Presidency. What it taught me and has helped to really give me the greatest direction in how I want to improve right now starts with the Book of Mormon. I am committing greater than ever with a much more fiery passion to read the Book of Mormon from the beginning, but with this specific focus: building upon the rock of our Redeemer. This comes from Elder Andersen's talk to read the Book of Mormon to strengthen trust and faith. By strengthening and developing my faith in Christ it will help me to have greater courage in facing my fears (whether from temptation and sin to things I don't like or are uncomfortable). And by this courage I will have greater virtue and I feel self-confidence. Then by this I may more powerfully testify, teach, and preach the gospel. I will not feel burdened down and letting the rocks of mistakes, past sins, current temptations and weaknesses get at me and pummel my foundation into dust. For I will be built upon the rock of Christ. So this is my current undertaking and what I am working towards (by the way Priesthood session ended up being the session I took the most notes on, 6 pages).
As for the work here in Zhanghua. Yes I am staying in Zhanghua. Elder Chen moved to Yuanshan (that was the neighboring area my MTC companion Elder Turner was trained in). Elder Oldham (who is actually quite funny is moving from Yuanshan) is moving to Zhanghua to become my new companion. I think he is only one move call behind me. So you got me senior on my 7th with Elder Oldham just on his 6th. We are going to have a hard fun time. Sadly our new investigators has been harder this last move call and is something I will focus and pray more than ever that we can find. That is why I am undertaking the improvement and change to myself to read the Book of Mormon to strengthen my faith and testimony. So I can more fully let the Spirit into my life to guide and direct us. Brother NNN is having his baptismal goal moved back a week. He isn't quite there. He is coming to the baptismal service on Saturday and will have a baptismal interview after the service with Elder Kou. I pray for him always. But this is a lot of my doings here on the island of Taiwan.
Dad, Mom, family, I love you all so much. There isn't a day that goes by I don't think of you. You have some invites as well from Elder Ballard to study Preach My Gospel (something I need to improve upon) and to share with your missionary ;)
Love you so much!