So................I don't really know where this email will go. I am having a lot of words and thoughts just not happening at all in my mind.
It's way cool you got the chance to go up and see Grandma Dayley. Yeah it's sad that time and age have taken their effect. Good thing there is the resurrection and eternal families.
I figured Pat would be home in the next little while. You know I never once really emailed with him or him with me. Kind of weird and sad a little. But I remembered it was at about this time 2 years ago he went into the MTC. Sounds like he gave a really good talk.
I remember Cubby mentioning about getting a place out at Thanksgiving Point to open a second restaurant. Good for him! I imagine it wasn't hard to get a few number of the girls in the ward to get a job out there and with it not too far away.
Good for Elder Shumway going out. He will have an amazing experience that will specifically designed and planned for him by a loving Heavenly Father. An interesting story too that he shared. I still don't like really the thought of a 50 mile backpacking hike.
Yeah I miss the ward golf tourney. Wish I could have been there to play it.
I knew mom mentioned about doing new carpet and paint. Didn't know when though she was going to be starting on it. Thank you for your consideration and care with my Legos. Yes I know I have a major collection. It's what I like.
Now to the part about where I really am at a loss of words and thoughts.
Do you feel like I don't really do good or strive to do good? I know there have been times where I turn inwards or just am trying to make it through a day handling my own personal struggles and weaknesses. I won't lie Zhanghua has probably been one of my hardest areas. Not in the missionary work or such, but in myself. This has been a time of such tremendous challenges, trials, learning, refining, affliction, that it has caused me many times to go to the very point of edge that I feel like I can't go on anymore. I don't know if I ever told you but back at the beginning of coming to Zhanghua, about 1 week after being senior companion I ended up talking with President Blickenstaff on a Monday night and basically just breaking down. I missed you. I missed being able to talk to you about my life, what I was working through. I was scared a bit. Stressed and exhausted from being senior, being with a native. He asked me what I wanted to do. I told as much as there had been thoughts about going home, leaving, I knew I didn't want to just give up. I said I just wanted to talk things out. So we set up to meet after Zone Conference later that week. But since then there have still been several times where I break down (and most often it is where I need to stop and just talk things out with Elder Oldham, because often or not that is just what I need is to talk it out, but I try to get better where I can work through things and not feel like I am using up time when we could move on to the next activities).
I would say Dad that I am in a state of going against the very core and fibers of what has been built in me to change and transform it to become like what the Savior is. I have come very far from what I was several years ago when I was caught in the middle of my addictions. But now I am building and healing from these addictions, AND IT IS NOT EASY! It takes all my effort, all my devotion, it takes time, patience, and much much more. It takes a Savior to bring in the divine aid to do the things I can not do on my own. I will admit and share with you that this past week we had Zone Conference. Super good and great. We actually had talked about and discussed the Elder Bednar talk that he gave at BYU back in like 2001 (Mom sent it to me in a letter). As well as we talked about a new initiative and approach of working with members. We will strive to meet with members 3 times a week to help strengthen their understanding of the doctrine of Christ and help them in the ways they can hasten the work of salvation. Rather than before it always feeling like missionaries just asking for referrals. The Taichung zone had already been doing this for about a month and they had seen quite a jump in increase of ward excitement, involvement, and numbers. But so the next day, Thursday, was feeling still a little anxiety and pressure about trying to do these things (which I still feel like I am not the most out there and bubbly missionary when interacting with ward members. Got home and went to bed with the thought that tomorrow is a new day and will be better. It ended up being even harder and worse. Meaning in that my mind getting so mucked up about doubts, negativity, temptations, and becoming confused between what is temptation and sin (which then just leads to more doubts and negativity about am I worthy, good, etc.). So went to bed still trying to have the attitude that it's a new day and such tomorrow, but really just not feeling good about myself, or confident, or strong, or just feeling like I am worthy and good. Saturday came and it didn't go too bad. There were times though when it just felt like lots of despair and sorrow were just sinking down on me and destroying me. We went to English proselyting that night at a night market for half an hour, and I just felt emotionally and spiritually like I got beaten to a pulp (I probably handed out a total of 15-20 flyers, which know that was not very many at all). It really felt like the peoples hearts were really hardened. People completely ignored me when I would talk to them. People would just walk into my arm or hand and not even think twice or tak the flyer. And on top of all that I was already feeling down and struggling with emotions and confidence in myself and it just seemed like there was so much immoral stuff, that just as we were biking back home I was further behind Elder Oldham and just kind of struggling to even bike home. We got home and I just fell down on my bed, just weighed down by tons of hurt, pain, sorrow, and feelings of guilt. To make something straight I still keep at strong of changing my thoughts and such and trying to keep in the positive and uplifting thoughts. I feel like I am in the middle right now and working towards transformation to be more virtuous in thought to see things with that kind of mindset, ALWAYS, of love, respect, kindness.
Even Elder Oldham said that he got hammered a bit from the English Proselyting. But so we just kind of planned out the Sunday, I had Elder Oldham give me a blessing that night. And pretty much Sunday we had church, ward council meeting, and then studies and meals at home (could we have pushed ourselves and gone out and worked more in proselyting that day? Probably. We were both pretty beaten up and very exhausted, and especially me, feeling of not wanting to deal with the world and needing time to rebuild and work up my defences again. So we also ended up napping some that afternoon. Like 2 hours or so). We went to FHE that night and it was better, we had our RC come as well as a LA. And now we come to today. Doing better. Things are stronger right now, but in parts I still am just not sure how to exactly think and react to you saying this is the place to try and over-achieve. Talking and inviting people. Something I have come to see on my mission is that I am really hard on myself, I have hard times seeing myself as successful and doing good, and so making confidence and belief in myself diminish which makes other work harder to carry out and do in my full effort. Dad, why do I have a hard time seeing myself as successful? Why do I have smaller confidence and belief in myself? Why is it when you positively or others provide suggestions to improve or do things that I immediately think to how I am not doing good at all or feeling like I am a failure?
I have some visions for myself that I want to achieve when It comes a year from now. That is to be someone who is trustworthy, dependable, and honest. I was thinking yesterday though that I want to make sure I am someone who comes home who is confident in who I am, strong in believing in myself, and feels that I am successful. What do I do now? I try to understand this. I am working at improving and changing and transforming thought processes and how I think about things. But what else is there? Is it simply time and patience? I don't want you to feel or think like I am a failure. I really do try to work hard. I end up getting lots of guilt that beats up on me because I have an overwhelming sense of feeling that I can't ever stop and just think about myself or help myself. I am a missionary and am called to serve others. I can't think about myself. That is sometimes the complexity of my mind. And it does need to change. Because it can't be right. The perfectionist in me. And no it is not mom's fault I am this way. This is me, and I am working to improve.
Yes I will strive to go out this week and put in all my effort I can. I really honestly and in humility strive to follow the guidance of the Spirit and where Heavenly Father would have me go. A lot of times I don't feel like I ever have promptings or things like missionaries all the time talk about where they felt this prompting or go here or do this. There have been several times yes where I bike by someone and feel I should have talked to him, and most times now I turn around and go back and talk with him. Have I had someone say I have been praying and wanting to come closer to Christ or someone who was by that person I first saw? No, I have not. I know I am still doing the right thing. It's just a lot harder sometimes when you don't have the tangible success that lots of others seem to always get. I am super happy that our really good progressing investigator has accepted a baptismal date this past week for August 2 and finally came to church for the first time now yesterday (he only stayed though for sacrament meeting because he told his wife he would be home at a certain time, as well as he has set to go out to their rice field on Sundays to work).
So yeah that is about it for me right now. I really look forward to what you have to share and help at this time. Definitely I feel I am not the same man you dropped off a year ago, but I still feel I have a lot to go before the time comes a year from now.
Love you so much!