For myself life has been treating me well out here. How can it not when I am on a mission right? We have had a number of Chinese investigators either go home or drop us over the past couple of days which is sad, but it just means we have more time to go walk the streets of Manchester and find more people who are ready to accept the Gospel. We are working with a Chinese Student named Evangeline who has been taught off and on for teh past 8 months. She is finding it really hard to have any belief in God at all and lets logical doubts into her mind. We had a great lesson with her speaking about how we recieve answers from God using Sections 8 and 9 of the D&C. She has a desire to know and comes to church every week, but can't seem to recieve an answer, or at least recognize it when it comes. I have faith that she will be baptized in the next two months.
I have been able to realize in the past and even now that one of my greatest weaknesses is patience. ( I know I speak on this subject often, but it is a big part of my learning as a missionary so please bare with me. :)) Patience in all aspects in life is something that has always seemed to escape me and I feel that my mission has helped me to overcome it a little. I think that it helps to be part of such a hard and patience needed work with the Chinese people. :) All people are able to use their agency to choose and when it comes to the gospel many people choose the opposite path, some completely and some just a little. I have been able to see and notice the differences in culture and attitude in the English and the Chinese. It has been extremely hard to help the Chinese understand who God is and how he can help them in their lives. They have just been taught not to care, and so they don't. I have been able to learn patience in a large part because you have to be so patient when working with the Chinese, and it is a good thing I love the Chinese people.
Recently in my personal study I have been reading up on a topic very similar to the problem that many of the Chinese have. Understanding. Sometimes people just do not understand who God is or what he expects of us and because of that it is not possible to fully follow him. In regards to Christianity, the Chinese are especially clueless and so it is our job as missionaries to help them understand what the Gospel is, who God is, and what they need to do to receive the fullness of his help that he is offering. In 1 Ne. 15:7 Laman and Lemuel were murmuring because they could not Understand the teachings of their father which led them to further rebellion. In D&C 78:10 it says that Satan turns hearts away from Understanding to keep them from following the teachings of Christ. And in Alma 17:2 it says that the sons of Mosiah were of sound Understanding and because of that they were stronger in the gospel and had more faith to follow the example of Christ. Understanding is key for our investigators to make the covenants necessary for salvation.
Over the past couple of weeks I have continued to notice the progress that Elder Chan has been able to make in all aspects of his missionary work. His knowledge of the Gospel is stronger, his English and Mandarin have improved and most noticeably he is an urgent missionary seeking to always help the Chinese people Understand and accept the Gospel. He does this by chasing down any Chinese moving object to speak to them, making extra phone calls to potential Chinese or Former Chinese Investigators, and even going the extra mile to find out how the Chinese can continue on in the Gospel even after they have returned to China. I have been extremely impressed and inspired by the example that Elder Chan is setting for me as well as other missionaries. Also Elder Chan is so loving and truly knows how to laugh all the time. I love serving with him!!
My living conditions? Well honestly they are normal living conditions with not much to report. As a missionary there are a number of questions you want answers to regarding the Flat when you are transfered from area to area. On a missionaries mind are usually? How is the shower? Does it work? Is it powerful and does it have hot water? I have experienced the lack of all of those on my mission. :) Is there a dryer? How are the beds? Beds are extremely important. You need all the rest you can get and if you have a bad bed with springs poking you back all night it just makes it hard. How big is the fridge and how big is the flat itself. Also, is it easy to keep clean? These are the questions that pop to my mind when I go to a new flat.
The flats themselves are usually on a busy street on the highest floor possible because no one wants to live there so it costs less. Right now I pretty much live in an apartment building like Grandma Mackleys used to be but smaller. Honestly my diet is not the best. I eat lots of sandwiches and pasta and that is about it. I eat apples and pears and peaches and bananas, but rarely any vegetables. I have stayed about the same weight I believe, but have put on a little fat around my abs. I need to get rid of it. As fars a physical fitness goes, I am not about to run a 5k in 16 minutes but I am not fat. :)
I love you all, keep up the good running and teaching,