Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy End of October!

Hey everyone! Here we are again, another week gone by. As usual, I'm so glad to read your letters and the great things that have happened to you this week.

Well, this last week we got to have interviews with President Bishop for the first time since I got on island. I really enjoyed it; he's a really great man. I know he's been called of God and he receives revelation for us to help us become the best we can be. We also had a training meeting with our zone in which we focused on the role of prayer in people's conversion. One big thing we have to deal with here is that many people don't really understand that prayer is a literal two-way communication with the creator of the universe. They don't realize the peace and outpouring of love that can come from sincere communication with Heavenly Father. So I've been working hard this week to really help people understand these principles and help them desire to pray.

Sunday was a great day too, because we've now got many people who look promising for baptism! In our mission, the baptismal goal corresponds to a letter, so a week A is being baptized this week, week B is next week, and so on. Week C means they've been to church at least once, because they have to come at least three times to be baptized. Well, we met with a brother on Sunday night who set a week B goal, we have two people in week C, and most exciting for me, a member referred a family of four to us, and they came to church. They're so awesome! The dad kept saying the atmosphere at church was so peaceful and made him feel good, and the mom was socializing with the Relief Society sisters. Our only worry is that they're interested in the church because they want their teenage sons to go to BYU-Hawaii, but I really feel like they could all be baptized this move call. I'm so glad that the Lord is blessing us to know lots of choice souls and help them return to Him.

Well, here's some fun news for me--Donghai is a food paradise. Mostly it's too expensive for any day but preparation day, so last week after emailing you, we went to an all you can eat hot pot place, which also had lots of fruit, free drinks, chocolate fountain...oh, it was good. And I took full advantage of that hot pot this time. There was this family at the table next to us who kept giving me funny looks when I'd come back with yet another plate piled with raw vegetables and meat. :D

We also found out this morning that the Elders in our district have been asked by Sister Bishop to do a musical number at zone conference in a couple weeks. That will be kind of fun to do a quartet, so I'm kind of excited.

I want to bear testimony to you once again that the Lord is ever mindful of you. He is always there to help you overcome any problem or challenge in your way. He will help you find a way to accomplish anything He commands, even if it takes a few tries to find that way. Nephi had to try three times, but he found that way. President Hoer, the one before President Bishop, had a motto-- you ban fa* (sounds like yo bahn fah), which means "there is a way." Christ is that ban fa. His Atonement will heal any wound and make every unfair thing right again.
I love you all so much. I pray for you every night, and I know the Lord is keeping you safe and well. He's certainly keeping me safe and well. Study those scriptures (and Preach My Gospel) and love one another! I'll talk to you next week!

Love, Carter

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Boy, those subject lines are getting more and more boring and redundant. ;) How is everybody?! I'm so glad to read your letter every week and see the good things that are happening to all of you.

Yeah, October 10th is a big holiday, but I don't think it's the Independence Day. They just call it Twin Ten Day (Shuang Shi Jie), and it's a big time for families to all get together and barbecue, stuff like that. It's supposed to be a lucky day to get married as well. But yes, this next Chinese New Year will be enormous, because it will be the year 100 in Taiwan.

It's like the fruit lover's paradise here. Mangoes are out of season now, but I hear oranges start coming in abundance during the winter. Peaches...I am still searching for them. So I'm not jealous, but I am really hungry now. To get my stuff to Donghai we sent it through just a delivery service called T-Join. They were a little rough with my bike. :( And I loved my two move calls with Elder Bickmore! I learned so much from him, and we had a lot of fun. Actually, it was sort of like being around Dillon again, because our personalities were very similar and we even said the same thing simultaneously a couple times. Except it wasn't as fun as being with Dillon, of course. :)

Well, it's been a great week here in Donghai. We've seen a lot of success just in the last few days. This area is basically on a big hill, and we've had to bike to the top of the hill a couple times already. It's a killer going up, but lots of fun coming down! I just basically coast until I break the sound barrier and then start to slow down. :) Just kidding. And the weather is starting to get chillier and more windy. Who'd have thought I could be riding my bike around Taiwan and start to shiver? And not during a typhoon, either. Elder Gardner is from Rexburg, Idaho. This is actually only his seventh move call, so we're kind of both learning together. He's great though. He already has a clear idea of his purpose as a missionary and we're working hard to invite Heavenly Father's children to come back to Him. I'll try to send a picture of the two of us together next week.

We've been working with a couple of men this week, both of whom have a desire for baptism, but both also have an obstacle keeping them from it right now. Brother (name) is a really nice and humble man who wants what's best for his family, but he's addicted to cigarettes and doesn't feel like he'll be ready to be baptized this month. He says by the end of the year he can do it. Brother (name) used to believe YiGuanDao, so although he says he's left it and he wants to join our church, he still doesn't really believe Jesus is his Savior. That, of course, is a prerequisite to passing a baptismal interview.

This week I've had the chance to eat some interesting things, ranging from shark to Subway to tofu noodles. The shark and tofu noodles were at a member's house--a really nice family. The old grandpa kept teasing us, trying to convince us the dumplings had dog meat in them. They didn't. And there's a Subway in our area, so I got to eat a real turkey sandwich for the first time in a long time. It was good, but don't misunderstand me; I love Taiwanese food. The rare American stuff like chicken nuggets or McDonald's are exceptions to the norm. Here's a fun cultural thing for you today: I'm-a gonna teach you some Taiwanese (the language). The word for an old guy or a grandpa is beibei (sounds like bay bay) and the word for an old lady or a grandma is amah. Or you can call your own grandpa Ah-gong (that's a long o, like in Rome). See, TaiYu isn't a written language, so I'm just spelling them how they sound. Next time you see G+G, call them Ah-gong and Amah, see what they say. :o)

Well, my time's getting short. I sure love each and every one of you. I admire how you are so diligent every day in pressing forward, being anxiously engaged in good causes. I love how you take care of each other and love each other. Even amidst the growing persecution, we can have peace in the atonement of Jesus Christ. I love you!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 11, 2010

Hello again...but not from Donggang

Yes, that's right. I am not in Donggang anymore. Elder Bickmore is staying there for his FOURTH move call, and I have moved to Taizhong City! I'm out west in an area called DongHai, which means East Sea. And I'm in the west part of Taiwan. Go figure. Donggang means East Harbor, and that was in the west too. But yeah, here I am in a new internet cafe with my new companion, Elder Gardener. I meant to send you some pictures, but I forgot my cable, so next week will have to do. :) Never mind, Elder Gardener has a card reader he'll let me use. The pictures of the huge statue are at a Buddhist temple (miao) I took last preparation day. The big white statue is Mazu, and the happy fat Buddah is Mi-Le-Fo.

Well, my last week in Donggang was a good one. We continued to work hard and actually got a few of our investigators to come to conference. One lady didn't really like it. She made a beeline for the door right after the closing prayer. I thought it was absolutely amazing. I loved every second of it. Yes, there were bold words spoken against sin, but I loved what President Monson told us on Sunday morning: be grateful for the good in the world! It's a bad place, but there is still a lot of good going on. I realized I sometimes focus too much on what's wrong with the world and society than on what is good and praiseworthy.

And now I'm here in Donghai. See, the funny thing is that I didn't know I'd be moving until Saturday night at around 10pm. Up to that point, we thought for sure it would be Elder Bickmore moving, but the zone leaders called and said I'd be going to Taizhong City on Monday. So far it seems like a great place. There are a lot of good places to eat ( :D ) but more importantly, lots and lots of people who need the gospel. And here's another plus -- I'll get to go to the Taibei Temple this move call! I think it's sometime in November; we'll move our preparation day to Wednesday and go do a session at the temple. I'm excited for that. Excuse me while I go write my letter to President Bishop.

Well, I have about 8 minutes left. What fun things about Taiwan can I tell you? I'm drawing a blank. Here's something: my church building in Donggang was on the 2nd-4th floors of a high-rise that was 5 floors tall. Here in Donghai, our church is on the 19th floor of a big old high-rise. And apparently this area has a famous university, so it's somewhat of a college town.

Well, that's all my time for this week. I love you all so much, and I know Heavenly Father loves you even more! Have another great and fun week, and I'll talk to you again next Monday!



Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 4, 2010

With Love From Donggang

Well, it's been an interesting week. Last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Elder Bickmore had a huge training meeting up in Gaoxiong (Kaohsiung) and I spent the day in Chaozhou (chow joe) with a Taiwanese companion. It was fun--I spoke no English at all. However, his plans for the day consisted basically of 2-3 hours straight of street contacting. It was pretty well exhausting. Then on Friday we planned to meet with (name), that kid I told you about last week. Turns out his school inducted him into some program where he lives at the school and basically cannot leave until February. That was kind of disappointing, but at least I feel confident that he'll be baptized after this is over. I guess the disappointment was for myself not getting to see him be baptized.

Also, this week we've been praying and fasting like crazy for a girl who's been ready for baptism for about a year, but her dad won't let her. Her goal was to ask him last Friday, and on that day he still said no. It seems that sometimes the Lord wants to test our faith by not answering in the way or timeframe we expect, but I know that He will answer. It's just like Nephi getting the plates. He knew the Lord would provide a way for them to accomplish His commandments, but it took three tries to finally find that way.

Yesterday we also got to see one of our less-active members come back to church for the first time in a few years. He's a good man, he was just thinking that he didn't have time for church because he had to look for work. Our zone leader, who at the time was taking my place on exchanges, bore powerful testimony that he needed to switch that order of priority, and that if he started honoring his covenants again the Lord would help him find work. So he came. We're planning to visit him today and discuss how he felt at church. It's great to see people keep their commitments and return to their Savior.

Well, that's about it for my time this week. I love you all so much, and I look forward to reading next week's letter.

I love you!