Well I am sorry to hear that your application for the Marriott school was placed as an alternative. I can understand how that would be quite a downer and pretty discouraging. Don't give up though! You can still apply again come August and whatever comes it will work out how it should.
Do you remember what happened almost 4 and half years ago? This would have been about the very end of February or beginning of March. I was in my junior year of high school. I was taking my classes, 3 AP classes in fact (Calculus, Physics, and U.S. History). Do you remember that throughout all of February I went to every single early morning conditioning training in preparation for high school soccer tryouts? Never missed one. Do you remember that I went to try outs and that there was well over 100 people trying out? And remember that I made it to the last day of try outs? Do you remember what happened?......I was cut. Didn't make either team. Do you remember how sad and distraught I was? I was so sad that I just said I am done with soccer. I don't want to play anymore. Even several Seniors told me that I was good enough and should have made the team. But Dad talked me and reassured me into playing with my club team for the fall, my last fall to really be able to play on a competitive soccer team. And you know what in retrospect I look back see how much there was that blessed me from what happened, even though at the time I had a vision and desire of what I wanted to have happen (to play on the high school team my junior and senior year). I had much more time during the spring that I could practice and prepare for my AP tests that I got a 5 on the BC Calculus test and a 4 on each of the Physics and U.S. History tests. Then even though that last year of competitive soccer we weren't the best or anything, we all just had a fun time just more kind of playing for fun.
Then even look at what has happened over the last couple years. Went to the MTC, came home, going through probably some of the most difficult trials and times of my life. Making it back out, staying in the MTC the full 9 weeks. There are no such things as coincidences. If I had gone to Taiwan at any other time I would not have been trained by Elder Dailey (which I still feel and know with my heart that he was exactly the one who needed to train me). I mean even look at it. I was called to the exact same mission again. As my mission time goes on and I talk with others, I have come to learn just how rare it can be that a missionary who had a call previously gets the exact same call the second time. It doesn't really happen that often.
So keep your chin up! Heavenly Father knows exactly what you need to do and where you need to be.
So my last area that I was in was the ZhongXing Zone (中興地帶), I was serving in Zhanghua City (彰化市), and I was in the Zhanghua 1st Ward (彰化一支會).
Also while it is on my mind, yes I did get your package as well as the big letter you sent. I love the talks you included! Especially the one by President Monson about the Goliaths we face. Thanks so much for sending the package! With some of the cookie packages I would put them in with my oatmeal, soymilk, banana breakfast. Really yummy! :D Today though I made for breakfast a chuabing (the tortilla thing with an egg on it) and added on it this time mango. Super yummy! :D I don't know what I am going to do when a few months pass by and the mango season ends. Or even when going back to the states where there aren't really any good mangos. But so yeah you can maybe send a sweater in a package to wear for the winter time, that way I am not just having my rain jacket only (like it was last winter).
So I feel actually that Elder Randall and me are doing really good. Like this past week we have really grown a lot closer. We did go on exchanges at one point and talked with the missionaries we were on exchanges with about finding the middle ground to work well together (basically we have come to the conclusion that Elder Randall and I work really well in different strengths that differ from each other). So we are working to become even better building off what each others strengths are and working as effectively as possible. But so this past week (actually just a couple days ago) we got our Duanchuan, or short term missionary. He is from the Nantun district here in Taizhong and will be with us for 10 days. So not actually set apart but opportunity to see what being a missionary is like. He is 17 and is still in High School. And yes we can tell and know that he is still 17. I know I am only 21, but even at times I still feel too mature for my age and really work at just trying to be a kid sometimes and enjoying the childhood joys and wonders in my life. The best way I can explain how our duanchuan is is that one you would need to watch a MASH episode from season 4 about when Hawkeye helps patchup a really big marine who then while he is still at the 4077 healing up goes crazy out of the way of always trying to repay back Hawkeye and Honeycutt. But like he is kind of oblivious of how he acts or is treating others. Our duanchuan is good, but funny too how much still is like a kid. He has a really good testimony and isn't afraid to share the gospel at all. It's like when I was little and we would go to parks or other places I would insist on running out in front leading, but I honestly had no clue or idea where we were going so I would always look back at you and Dad to see where we were going. Our duanchuan very much is like this. So it makes me feel like Elder Randall and I are like parents and helping teach and such our duanchuan. That is what we are trying to find the balance right now with our duanchuan is letting him have fun but also teaching and kind of disciplining him a little. Like he has sometimes kind of acted like he is the one running the show and calling the shots (which no he is not). But I am just a more quiet person and not super mean or harsh in speaking towards people. So I don't ever snap at him when he has done sometimes things like that. But he has actually been doing really good now on the 3rd day. It was kind of cute and funny that he was so tired this morning that he fell asleep during the first 20 minutes of personal study. Granted I feel bad that he has to sleep on the sofa because we literally have no other mattresses. Elder Randall and I each have one mattress (which more feel like the spring boards of a bed) and then underneath a wood plank board. Not really much, but no way am I giving up my bed! Have to face some realities duanchuan! Plus I am too big for the sofa. So is Elder Randall. And so is our duanchuan. So it doesn't really fit for anyone. But we will make do for the week.
But I think having the duanchuan has helped Elder Randall and I to grow closer and build our relationship. To be all honest the first day I had a hard time having our duanchuan because his personality is exactly the one I do not like and if had my choice I would just leave and let be, never really being a friend or anything to a personality like that because it doesn't fit well with mine at all. But it is something I see more now with Dad's comment that you can't run away as a missionary. You can't fight as a missionary. All you can do is humble yourself. Which actually I have been doing more now over the last couple days and today while studying on Charity in Preach My Gospel really stood out to me more. Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the love that Christ has for every single person. It made me think of a scripture that I read recently as I have carried in the Book of Mormon nearing the end of Mosiah. I think it is in the beginning of Mosiah but it talks about how Christ has never taught nor the prophets never taught that salvation can never come for any person. Christ's salvation is given to every single person. That means the ones that make bad choices, the ones that ridicule, hate, kill, harm, criticize, and destroy. He still has love for every single person. That is what it means to have Charity. When you can love every single person. No wonder the Lord taught to love those that despise you, to love your enemies. Even more Charity is gift. It is something we need to ask for....all the time! But one other particular part that stood out to me is how those who strive to have charity they avoid things such as envy, lust, covetousness, etc. You can't have these feelings and have charity and love for someone. They simply can't coexist. You can't see someone as a child of God, truly love them as the Savior would and be happy for them if you have these competing feelings of envy, lust, etc. It made me really feel how small my charity and love is and how much I need to grow and improve my charity. Something the mission does. Makes things so much crystal clear of what you need to improve, change, and add upon.
Yeah as for English class this past week guess how many people we had (this was the day of the typhoon, which wasn't really that bad and also the rain gear I have is fine. Works really great for the rain storms. The lighter rain is when things get annoying because you can start to get wet with light rain or start to sweat a lot because it is still fairly hot with the light rain)? We had a total of 20 people. The Beginning class didn't even have any students so the Sister missionaries joined our intermediate class. But yeah hopefully this Wednesday with no typhoon (which people always get scared about) we should be back up to hitting 100 people. We also really emphasized in our Ward correlation meeting with the ward mission leader how we want more members attending our English class to help during spiritual share, help with meeting with investigators afterwards, and getting to know non-members. And I was super happy that our ward mission leader was a boss in following up and reporting about it in Ward Council yesterday and in priesthood opening exercises. So hopefully it goes through well that more members attend.
Well this is pretty long now. I hope all is well with you! Let me know if there is anything I can do! Love you lots!