Hmm, where to begin? Definitely I feel the tender mercies of the Lord continuously in my life and see so much, so many times when He reaches out to me. Thank you for what you have shared with me. Lots of things you share with me I strive to do. I actually had the thought go through me last week about a previous letter you sent about asking if I am doing what the Lord has asked me to do, am I doing my best, and are people accepting my message.
I really had thoughts a lot directed towards the second question, about am I doing my best. That is the thing that sometimes gets me. I never really know if I am actually doing my best. Because of how deep sometimes my sense of perfectionism can run, I can't see clearly and understand that I am giving and doing my best. I constantly see others and see what is being done around me and immediately feel that I need to be doing that as well and that my work I have been giving is not satisfactory as I am not doing that (sometimes these are things I had already learned of before or had already seen done before). And so it sometimes gets hard for me to really tell myself to calm down and know I have been giving my best.
One thing about church and befriending those around us. President Blickenstaff actually came out and said that for the 3 hours of church we companionships are not allowed to separate from each other and that we must sit side by side, even in sacrament meeting. He said he had been seeing one too many problems to come out and give this rule. So we still strive to befriend and help those around us. But we also call on our RCs as well as LAs to help in befriending, accompanying, and sitting by those in the ward.
So this past week as I have mentioned has been a week of great strengths as well as some further furnace time to really put me on the right path of recovery and improvement.
Tuesday came and that day Elder Kou (my district leader) had scheduled to do companion exchanges with us. Elder Kou came to our area and I went to his with his companion Elder Chiang (a native companion, whose English is just about the same as Elder Chen or maybe a little better). As we started the day out I was still feeling down. But as we progressed on and seeing Elder Chiang with his love and desire he has helped to start to heal me. By the time night came and we came home I was doing a lot better. But I still didn't know a lot about Elder Chiang himself. It is actually really amazing how much I don't know about people and how often my first views of someone can be quite wrong. One instance was before with Elder Watson on exchanges. And now this instance. I thought Elder Chiang was probably some 18-19 year old native who had just gotten done training (yes he actually had just gotten done training). Turns out that he is actually 25 and has already graduated in civil engineering and has also done his military service as well. And that part of his family is inactive even though he was born into the covenant. From this experience and exchange it helped to revitalize a lot the desire and fire within me to go out and serve and help others.
Also during that Wednesday with Elder Chiang we went to visit a potential investigator who is an artist. He has a pet weiner dog who I was pretty much playing with and petting the whole time while we talked with him and got to know him. Needless to say I think that dachsund really loved me because he might not have had that much attention or love in a long time. I did try to pick him up and give him a hug at the end of the lesson, but the guy quickly told me not to do that because he is scared of heights. :( Oh well, I did get to pet him a lot though and learned how to say weiner dog in Chinese now.
Thursday came and it was Birthday day (thanks for singing to me and everything, the time you sang actually was when I took those few pictures I have sent with everything I got). Also thank you for going to the temple and praying for me. But so originally Zone Conference was going to be in Yuanlin, so we would need to take a train ride to get to the chapel there. But instead they changed the location to our chapel here in Zhanghua. So Elder Chen and I took a nice 2 minute walk to the chapel to attend Zone Conference (I got to wear my new suit). Zone Conference for me was really great in overall but still had some parts that nicked at my feelings of worry and stress. Large parts of time when ever leaders go on over expectations or numbers it can get to me sometimes pretty hard with my stress and worries. But it was still good. The assistants taught and reviewed over our morning schedule, emphasizing Elder Holland's statement saying "you tell me how your morning goes at 6:30 am and I will tell you how the rest of your day goes". President Blickenstaff in particular focused on teaching the doctrine of Christ and had us split into groups discussing 2nd Nephi 31 in the aspect of before baptism to after baptism. I was studying after baptism, then what? and right out the start I noticed in verse 3 it talking about the Lord will bring light to understanding. It made think on how we come to know things to a point to prepare for and receive baptism. But afterwards we still continue to learn and grow. It is like the sun as it progresses and rises more and more is illuminated (like our knowledge and understanding) until it progresses to noon day where it shines the brightest and in a sense is perfect (like what we are progressing towards).
Right now Elder Chen and I are working with a really solid investigator. He had a baptismal date for this Saturday, but we have pushed it back to April 19 (together with him we have set this date). We reviewed the first lesson yesterday and watched the Restoration video. He has been doing really good of trying to read the Book of Mormon each day, has been praying, and even praying asking questions about what we have taught and shared. He has come to church 3 times and he frequently comes and attends other activities. We introduced the Plan of Salvation to him and plan to continue on teaching him to help him reach his goal in April.
I am striving to work towards really having that true joy and happiness. To be happy each day. President Blickenstaff actually mentioned in ZC about a talk by P. Uchtdorf on love that got me interested and I have copied over to my external drive now so I can print it off later to study.
I love you and miss always!