Hello! This week has once again been a week of miracles! We have some sweet people that we're working with, and we've found a lot of people searching for the truth this week.
First off, just so everyone at home knows, there's a running joke between me and Elder Earley. There's a place in China named Nan Jing in Jiang Su province, and I'm not kidding when I say that this must be the most prepared place in all of China. Not saying that other areas aren't cool too, but so many of the interested people we meet come from there. We'll usually ask them where they're from, and if they say Nan Jing... baptism. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but they're just sweet people.
Honestly, that's one of the coolest things about working in such a diverse mission. You start to see regions of the world that have been prepared and flock to the same region to get baptized. Kurdish people definitely belong in this group. Kurds are a group of people from the middle east who have been heavily persecuted and are fighting for independence back home, and I can honestly say that every Kurd I've met has made my day. You knock on their door, and they just let you in and offer you all kinds of food. They're sweet. I feel like Nigerians are this way too. A ton of the really prepared investigators that I've seen have been from Nigeria. I don't really know why it's like that, but I've definitely seen God's hand move in mysterious ways.
The work has been going wonderfully here in Kitchener. I don't think I have time to talk about everyone, so I'll just mention a few of the people that have been really progressing.
We've been meeting with a sweet friend named Nan who's a university student at Waterloo (the town's main university). He hasn't been able to come to church for the past couple weeks, but this week he was finally able to make it out and he loved it. We've taught him a ton of the lessons, and he's really excited to get baptized. Right now we've set a date for July 2nd. In Elder's Quorum we talked about Elder Uchtdorf's talk about the destruction and rebuilding of the Dresden Cathedral, and it just so happened that at the time I was holding a Chinese Ensign in my hand. Nan asked about the talk, and I realized I had it and said "Actually, it's in here. Do you want to read it?" That was pretty funny.
Another really cool guy is Jeega. Jeega loves to volunteer and serve other people, and he's a really smart guy. He really enjoys learning about Christianity and he's been eating up the Book of Mormon. He's also got a date set for July 2nd, and he has quite a few member friends, which is really cool.
Also, there's Owen, who I talked about last week. He had to go back to China for a few days, but he'll be back this week or next week. We taught him about the restoration, and he basically said he believes it all. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and I wouldn't have been surprised if he had started crying. He just told us how grateful he was that we would entrust him with a book of such importance, and even though we assured him that we give a lot of them out every day, he promised to never let the book leave his person while he was in China. Honestly, how does God prepare people this well?
Random side note before I forget. Remember a while back when I was in North York and I was talking about Xiao lin? He got baptized!!! YAAA!
Mom - Ya, it was pretty hot this week. The hats are definitely a bonus, although a lot of people think we're Mennonites (basically Amish people). Haha, Emi's the best. I just worry that one day she's going to catch a real animal. Ahh, you're too sweet. You can absolutely take credit for anything good I've done. You're the best.
The BEAST - Yes, believe it or not, they do actually experience warm temperatures here in Canada. Crazy, right? A Hover board? Is that that the thing with two wheels and a platform in between that you stand on and it moves? Those are actually pretty commonly seen in Ontario. I don't know how much they have caught on in the States, but I probably see one every other day or so. Then again, Kitchener is kind of like that. Lots of really smart people and big technology companies. I think Blackberry was founded here.
Hadley - Haha, I'll do my best not to eat anything else gross :) So swim team is going well? Have you started growing flippers yet? Just kidding, that sounds really fun though. Love you!
Ellie Kate - Yes, I did get transferred to a town called Kitchener. It's a really fun place with a TON of college students. Waterloo university is one of the more prestigious universities in Canada, so all the people we're teaching are super smart PHD students and engineering majors. It's a really cool town.
Ashleigh - So when are you going to start studying Chinese? I need someone to speak it with when I get home :) Just kidding, you don't have to. How's lacrosse going? Are you still killing it?
Dad - Ya, Elder Earley is definitely a runner. We've been running every morning. Honestly, I missed it so much. All of my companions have been Asian, and if you know anything about them, you'll learn that they don't really like running in their culture. It has been good. Kitchener is about an hour west of Toronto, and it's basically the tech town of Ontario. Lots of buildings owned by Google, Blackberry, Samsung, etc. Also, Waterloo University is basically the best school in the country for engineering, math, and computer science, so there's a ton of smart people here. The University is interesting, because its about 75 percent male, and about 50 percent Chinese international students. We don't have a ton of problems finding Chinese people to talk to over there. I love the branch :) Thanks so much for the cool thoughts about Jacob 4. He's a pretty cool writer. I really love how straightforward and blunt he is. They teach us a lot out here about being bold and loving, and I think he really sums up that quality well.
Friends and family, I love you all so much. You're support and your love never go unappreciated. You're influences on me are so much a part of who I am, and I am forever grateful for the service you have given to me in my times of need.
I've been studying a lot about service lately, and I've learned that it is so much more than something that we should do to be good Christians. Service is a way of life. It is an action that requires the heart and soul of the giver and will help one to store up those "blessing in heaven" that we hear so much about. I love service, and in my life I have honestly seen it change lives - both the life of the giver and the life of the receiver.
As you know, I am a fan of quotes. Here's one more for you guys - "The more we serve our fellow man, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more substantive as we serve others. Indeed, it is easier to find ourselves because there is so much more of us to find."
I know that's true. For many years the saying "lose yourself to find yourself" confused me a bit, but I think I'm starting to realize what it means. There's too many people today focused on themselves, asking "what do I need?" and "how do I accomplish this?" type of questions. These are not wrong or evil in any way, but they are unproductive. You are not meant to be a selfish creature. You were not born to worry about yourself. You will never find the true, original, complete "you" unless you start striving to do what you were born to accomplish. You are a co-heir with Christ, and that means that you are to be like him in every way - including serving your fellow man. As we do this, we will find that our very souls are changing, and our motive for service is no longer a desire to be a good person. It will become a desire to change lives. It will no longer focus us on ourselves, but instead it will take every bit of our heart, might, mind, and strength and point it to our fellow man. As Christ set the example, let us follow him, and be concerned only with loving God and loving our neighbor.
Conquer the natural man, and together we can truly change the world. Let us "find ourselves" and together change the way we look at life. "Lose yourself" or forget worrying about your own life and "find yourself" or find the man or woman that God has always meant for you to be.
Let no one ever come to you without expressing to them the love of God. Let them leave you feeling better then they were when they arrived, and I promise you all that you will be more satisfied with life. Like Peter be ready to "always give a reason of the hope that is in you."
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
Xiao Lin, Elder Carroll, Me, Anna, Anna's Friend
Sister Tsui, the Relief Society President at Bayview. She is awesome!
Me and Brother Wang (Bayview)
I saw Elder Lemon!
Me and Elder Flake:
Me, Elder Anderson, Elder Hernandez. I stayed with these guys for a couple of days after Elder Carroll left:
Elder Wehi and I:
I saw Elder Mak at a zone conference!:
Elder Earley and I emailing you at the library: