Hey my loving Family,
How are you? You know I don't think you missing a letter for me isn't allowed either ;) (That's what happens when you change your address without telling the family! :) added by mom) I love you all. This past week has been crazy but great. My new companion Elder Long and I have been slowly cleaning all the space that we are in charge of. Namely, our apartment and our car. We have gone through everything in the apartment and dejunked and organized the whole space. We threw away old stuff that missionaries left behind and has never been used. We cleaned the bathroom thoroughly. We vaccumed and cleaned the spots in the carpet. Also, we organized our areas of study so that everything is in it's proper place and now we have the abilty to maintain clean living :D It feels so great to walk into a house and not have to worry about stubbing your toes, the door not opening all the way, or tripping on cords.
This week we also did a lot of missionary work :) We decided to walk a lot since we are running low on miles in the area and we want to go over as little as possible. While walking we strive to talk with all the people we see on the street and invite them to hear the wonderful message of hope that we bear. We met a chinese woman just a couple of days ago on the street and asked if we might be able to get her information to be able to teach her more. She said yes and we called on Saturday to see if we could set up a time to meet. She said she wouldn't have time but she would try to get out to church. So we hoped and prayed that she would be able to come and to feel of the family, hope, and peace in church. Most of the time when people say this they don't come. So on Sunday we went to church and had our morning meetings we also went to Sacrament meeting and she didn't come. Then, just before the closing hymn of Sacrament in walks Elaine Shi :D Even though she missed the first meeting she stayed for the next two hours and really enjoyed her time in Relief Society. We set up a timid appointment for Friday and we will hopefully be able to have a member come with us :)
This week before church I prayed very hard for each of the members in the branch to be able to learn more of the power of the atonement and the love Jesus Christ has for us. Sacrament meeting went great and the topic of the talks was Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I felt the spirit very strongly as Sister Li from the branch gave a wonderful talk. She shared some powerful experiences and during that time I learned how much I admired her and her family. They have, just like mom and dad, what everyone wants. A perfect family. Not necessarily perfect in actions or words but perfect in construction. A mother, a father, and three great children who are bound eternally by the bonds of love and the covenants they made in the temple of God. This family and many others in the branch are an inspiration to me of what kind of life I want to be able to live. I want to be well educated. Education is what puts us above the rest. If a man gains knowledge in this life "he will have so much the advantage in the life to come" (President Joseph Smith). I want to be worthy of my covenants and the blessings that come from them.
Oh, this week we were able to have a meeting with Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy come along with a few other brethren in the various Quorums of Seventy. It was a wonderful meeting. The biggest thing I learned was of sacrifice as an Elder Shane Bowen gave his remarks. He talked of how everything we do is taken to the altar of God. This made me think back to a talk given by one of the Sisters in the going away fireside for Elder Wang and Elder Lee. She talked about how life is about sacrifice. I thought of how in ancient america and bible times they had sacrifices on the altars. Then I thought of Ether chapter twelve when Heavenly Father says, "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble and if he humbleth himself before me then will I make his weaknesses into strengths." (Paraphrased) When we desire to follow our Heavenly Father we sacrifice our lives on the altar and then God gives us in return all that He has promised us. Elder Bowen stated, "Once we have placed it on the altar we cannot take it back." We are held accountable for what we know. I know that as a missionary I have been asked to live to a higher standard and live according to the way the Saviour did. I sacrificed myself to God when I signed those missionary papers... and I wouldn't take it back for the world. When Jesus Christ saw the kingdoms of the world and was tempted to be able to rule over them if he would give up, he remembered us. He remembered that he had sacrificed himself already in the pre-existence to save us all. In the Garden of Gethsemane He remembered us. He remembered that promise he made and knew he could not go back on his word. Thus he submitted to the Father again and "gave himself a sacrifice for man that man would not die if they should come unto him..." (A scripture) Jesus would not go back on his word even for the world. He knew that what he was doing was far more important and he showed perfect honesty as he said, "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." He fulfilled his promise and we are now able to grow because of it. We sacrificed ourselves to God when we entered the waters of baptism and covenanted with God to live according to the commandments and take upon us the name of Christ. When we are tempted we can remember that we must be true to our word. Be completely honest and fulfill all that we have promised. I know this gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for us in the name of my beloved Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.