Dear Family and Friends,
Great week it's been, yes indeed! You have no idea the relief that comes from actually having some certainty about your future. We were so excited (we being my district) last Thursday when our Temporary Assignments came. My companions and I were sitting outside on the concrete bench doing companionship study when a sister came running out of the building yelling, "Our calls came! Our calls came!" They knew that because the other zone had their calls, so ours were in the mailbox. And because my companion is the District Leader, he has to go get the mail. So we basically scooped everything up in our arms and started sprinting to the post office, I kept dropping stuff, so that didn't work out too well.
We got all our letters, went outside as a district, and then "opened" them together (they weren't in an envelope, they were just a couple pages stapled together). We all read aloud where we were going. One other Elder from my district is going with me, Elder Casper, and another Elder from the other district who came in at the same time as us, Elder Pincock. We leave tomorrow morning at 4:30 AM, how exciting. Our district has been picked apart one missionary at a time, as if by vultures. We've gone various places; of the 31 missionaries originally going to Taibei who didn't get their visas, we're being divided between the following missions: Vancouver Washington, Omaha Nebraska, Tacoma Washington, South Salt Lake, Ogden, St. George, and Carlsbad California.
Packing has been pretty exciting. Mainly easy, because I packed two weeks ago, thinking I was going to leave for Taiwan. But I'm really stoked to get some extra flights in and visit California on the way. The weather is going to be just beautiful! And the ocean will be, too.
Last night we had a devotional by President Tad R. Callister, the General Sunday School President. He is incredibly knowledgeable; he presented the entire plan of salvation, and explained every concept so eloquently and logically; he explained why every part was necessary, things that I hadn't quite picked up on before, and then he used Scriptures from the Bible to prove every part of it. I don't think he used ANY from the Book of Mormon.
For example, we knew that in the pre-existence, we knew God had a perfect body and a perfect Spirit. But we didn't have a body, or a perfect Spirit; we were still developing (as is the nature of children). So we came to Earth in order to get a body and to develop our Spirit. Why does God have to let us go alone? Because, he used this analogy, think of a mother raising a child, teaching it how to walk, holding its' hand as it learns. But at some point, the mother has to let go, even though she knows the child will fall, but that's how it learns better, how it progresses, from experience. We are the same way; that's why the veil is necessary.
So, I might make a cool little chart from that Devotional. With scriptures and everything. Maybe I'll eventually send it home, too.
The MTC has been a wonderful experience. Today is Day 68. I've learnt so much here, gospel, and especially language. I'm so pumped for my mission; can't wait to get out into the field, and especially use my Chinese to teach other people the gospel. And California is where I'm supposed to be first, even though it might literally only be for two weeks (because my transfer and the next transfer to Taiwan is so large, almost 1/4 of the mission will be brand new missionaries).
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember to always have faith that the Lord will never let you have more trials than you can handle.