My last email of 2013. Egads!
I heard a crazy story that happened a few weeks ago out here. There was this old guy in a wheelchair going across the crosswalk. He had barely passed the median and was crossing in front of a large truck when the light turned green. He decided that he needed to turn around and wait in the safety of the median for the next light. However, the truck driver could not see him. As the man was in mid-turn, the truck accelerated, and the handles lodged into the grill of the vehicle, locking the wheelchair in a front-facing position. The truck continued to drive, a now panicked old man having the ride of his life in his front row seat. The truck barreled onto the interstate. All the man could do was hang on as the wind pressed him into the grill behind him. Luckily, a passerby saw the traumatized victim and notified the police, whom 8 km later were able to pull over the vehicle. That was probably better than any roller coaster ride he'd ever been on.
I had a wonderful Christmas! I had a wonderful time talking with my family, and I got a lot of letters and presents from family and friends too. All of you are tremendous blessings in my life, and I am so grateful that I've had the opportunity to know each of you.
I'm happy to say that things are going well out here. My district is doing well. We were sad to see Sister Jarvis and Sister Grigg leave (the first finished her mission and the latter moved to Gaoxiong); they were wonderful additions to our district and they were fantastic examples to all of us. However, despite this loss we are seeing more miracles in the work. Our district now has six investigators with baptismal goals, and they all are progressing very well. Most importantly, the missionaries are feeling a lot happier now, which makes me feel good. Focusing on vision and personal commitment has been helping. It confirms to me that I really am receiving revelation from the Spirit as I prepare for training meetings.
So now my 2013 reflection: If I had to state the biggest thing I learned, I'd say that I have grown in so many ways that I wouldn't be able to pin it to just one thing. But what I can say is that all the things I have learned have helped me to love God more, and understand His love for me. His love is limitless. As Elder Holland states it, "God doesn't care nearly as much as where you have been as He does where you are and with His help, where you are willing to go." No matter who we are or what we've done, God loves us all equally and unfathomably. He knows us perfectly. Sometimes He loves us so much that He lets us suffer, because He knows we need it. I've felt that several times on my mission, and I've come out every time understanding that the trials were for my good. Understanding this makes life purposeful. Understanding this makes life beautiful. I love the simplicity of God's plan.
Now 2014 comes. In the next year, I will work hard, see miracles, see baptisms, see lives change, and then I will be returning home and starting work and schooling. This will be a challenging year. But I plan to trust in God and do my best, and I know He will lift me up when I am weak. I know He loves me.
Have a wonderful new year!