Week 8: Final week at the MTC–the week we start packing.

Its official.  We are leaving for Taiwan in 6 days.  I only have two more lessons with my investigators, and I’ve started packing.  My 9 week stay at the MTC is almost over.

Do I know Chinese?  Nah, not really.  Am I going to understand a thing when I get off the plane?  Maybe, I hope so.  Am I excited?  AW YEAH.  WE EVEN HAVE OUR FLIGHT PLANS!  We head to the airport around 5 am on Tuesday morning.  Its going to be awesome.

So because I need time to start packing today, I might be a little brief.  I don’t have any elaborate stories for you all this week.  Things have been winding down more or less.  Though we did get some new Cantonese speaking missionaries last Wednesday and 6 of them are from the UK.  So naturally whenever I talk to them I use my British accent.  Elder Taylor (who’s from Yorkshire) now says my accent is good enough to convince any Brit I was born in the UK.  And not just that, I can switch between a London accent and a Yorkshire accent now.  Pretty neat huh.  I think so lol.

As always my week has been great.  I enjoy every minute of every day.  We had our last Skype TRC this week, and we were able to teach a Taiwanese woman who was living in Oregon.  She actually is flying to Taiwan the same day we are!  So there’s a slim chance we might see her there!  Anyways, that lesson was on the scriptures and how we can learn more and receive personal revelation when we read them.  The lesson was super simple, but it was definitely the best TRC we’ve ever had.  We started by discussing what the Book of Mormon meant in her life.  Though I couldn’t understand all of her Chinese, I know she more or less told us that the teachings of the Book of Mormon make up the foundation of her faith and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We then asked her to share her favorite scripture, which was Ether 12:27 and explain why it meant so much to her.  The scripture reads, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”  God gives us weakness so that we learn humility.  When people are humble, they turn unto Christ.  They accept His teachings.  They try to follow His example.  Then, through Christ, their weaknesses can become strengths.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ can help us overcome completely any weakness or trial that we may have and turn them into our strengths.  My companion and I then proceeded to share our own favorite scriptures and explain why we loved them so much.  I shared Alma 29:1-6 and he shared Alma 56:47-48.  We then extended an invitation.  We talked about how the scriptures, The Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible, were written by prophets of God.  They are historical accounts of believers and followers of Jesus Christ and they contain the word of God as taught by His prophets, including His own son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  They exist because people were willing to write down the word of God.  They were willing to write down what the Spirit of God taught them.  Some books of scripture are even letters!  Paul in the New Testament wrote letters and they became books of scripture!  So our invitation to her was simple, when she read and studied the scriptures we challenged her to write down her thoughts and write down things she learned and how they applied to her.  By doing so she would be creating her own personal scriptures, that she wrote for her.  That’s something that I’ve been trying to do as well.  To write down any thoughts and impressions I have while studying the scriptures.  So I have a little journal I have designated my scripture study journal.  Its a simple idea, but I know that by consistently doing it I’ll be able to learn and apply far more from the scriptures than I would be able to otherwise.

One of the ways my perspective has changed this last week pertains to becoming the best missionary I can be.  For most of my entire life I have aspired for greatness.  I’ve always wanted to be the best person I can be and I always believed in a constant pursuit of excellence.  I had no doubt that through God, through obedience to His laws, and by striving to follow the example of His son Jesus Christ I could accomplish that goal.  I truly believe that the Lord has a plan for me.  This may sound arrogant or prideful, but I’ve always felt like God has had big plans for me.  I’ve always felt that God has given me so so much, and sometimes I feel like He’s given me more than others, whether it be experiences, knowledge, opportunities, talents, or whatever.  That doesn’t mean He loves me more, it just means He expects me to take what He has given me and give back to His children and serve.  I don’t necessarily think that I am better than others because of this, but I do feel that I have an obligation to help others.  I’ve felt an obligation to be great, to be the best I could be and make the most of what God has given me for the sole purpose of service.  And because of that I have striven for greatness; I have striven to be the best missionary I could be.  However, this week I decided I no longer want to be great.  I was reading a talk titled The 4th Missionary which was given by a Mission President some years ago.  In the talk he said to not make your goal to be a great missionary because if you do, you’ll be comparing your efforts and accomplishments to other missionaries.  As an alternative he said to strive to be simply a servant of God.  I’ve decided that instead of aspiring for greatness, which leads to constant comparison between myself and others, I now want to simply be a servant of God.  If that is my desire, then I won’t worry about my achievements and accomplishments compared to other missionaries.  Instead I’ll only be concerned about my capabilities compared to my potential, and what God has planned for me if I follow His will.  God called me on this mission.  God wants me to be a good missionary.  If I strive to be His servant and follow His will, then I will a far more effective instrument in His hands than if I were trying to be great.  After all, on my own I could never be great.  Without God I am nothing, but with God I am everything he wants me to be.

I wish I had time to add more!  Pretty soon I won’t have nearly as much time to write my emails so they’ll likely get a little shorter when I get to Taiwan.  Also, you’ll be hearing from me every Monday from now on, not on Wednesdays!
I love you all!!  Y’all are in my prayers, and I think you’re all amazing.
Wo3 ai4 nimen3!  Wo3 zhi1dao4 nimen3 dou1 shi4 shen2 de hai2zi.  Wo3 zhi1dao4 Ta1 ai4 nimen3 hen3 duo1.  Ta1 xiang3yao4 bang1zhu4 he2 zhu4fu2 nimen3.  Ru2guo3 nimen3 zuo4 qi2dao3 lai2 qiu2wen4 Shen2 bang1zhu4 nimen3, nimen3 jiu4 hui4 jie1shou4 Ta1 de bang1zhu4.  Wo3 yao1qing3 nimen3, qing3 qi2dao3 lai2 gan3xie4 Shen2.  Gan3ji1 shi4 fei1chang2 hou3 de gan3jue2.  (the numbers are tones in case you didn’t know)  Look it up and find out what I said!
Check out my blog for pics   ✌.
-Elder Councill