Today I had the opportunity to attend the Temple, and it's amazing the peace you feel there. Missionaries go once a month on P-day. Sometimes you forget how chaotic the world is, especially in Hong Kong. When all of the sudden you're surrounded by nothing but good, quiet peace, the world just seems a little better and your spirit feels that much more renewed and ready to get back into the action. I love how prophets would go into the solitude of a mountain to communicate with God. I'll have to take up a more serious hiking hobby when I get home.
Trevor, I give you permission to write me more. I also give you permission to tell me 35 reasons why being a hipster is valid and worth it, and then you'll have my approval. If it's just the new glasses, I really have no objection to thick rims. They're pretty cool. Brian, I love you -- I need to write you soon. I'm sorry that lately I haven't had a ton of time. Katie and the kids -- you guys are so awesome, know that I pray for you often. By the way all of you -- I should throw it out there. I'm well aware of the fact that Batman came out today. Do me a favor and don't tell me how it was. Better yet, just tell me it was anticlimatic and a ruination of pure masterpiece. 70% of the buses in Hong Kong (double-decker mind you) are basically one huge advertisement for that movie. Like, the entire bus is one advertisement. That leads me to explain how materialistic this place is -- it is literally part of the Hong Kong culture to buy something at least once a day. When you ask someone what they normally do for fun or they're regular schedule, it almost always includes "maaih yeh" (buy stuff). People in Hong Kong are so trendy, and because they're so caught up in the latest technology or newest item, the treasures of eternity have little importance to them. Not to mention Buddhism is rampant -- the all encompassing belief that everything is good and fine, everybody is right, truth isn't necessarily constant, and everything is subjective. That may not be what Buddhism is exactly, but that's what every Buddhist guy says to us.
Well, yesterday was my 6 month mark. Including the MTC -- I've been on my mission for half a year. It's really hard to believe, for me. You can bet I had some moments of self-reflection -- what have I accomplished? What have I become? Have I been influencing anyone for good? I haven't baptized anyone, is that a failure? What does my future out here have in store for me? Have I been using my time wisely? Am I being effective? Am I serving God to the greatest of my capacity?
Such questions have filled my mind as I've awoken every morning, as I've planned for future activities, and as I've done my studies. One thing is for certain that has frequently reoccurred to me the past few weeks: I have so much to improve. It really takes a lot of work to personally realize that you're really not perfect, that you've got a lot of pride to extract, and that all you're really here to do is learn. I can't even begin to express how grateful I am to be on my mission, to really awaken to the fact that there is always another step, there is always something that can be better, and that I really need to trust in God, and stop trying to do it all myself. It can't be done alone, and it was never meant to be done alone.
Honestly said, as far as numbers are concerned, well, I'm not in Bolivia. But I know I've had success. It has been measured by my commitment to do what is right for my Father who is in Heaven. It has been measured by the constantly renewed and resolidified desire to serve Him, and to steadily increase my capacity to do so. It's been measured by the slowly but surely realized revelation that my Savior Jesus Christ descended below every man, and that I will never be greater than that, and no sacrifice I could possibly give could amount to my Master. I have loved to call Christ my Master, for that is exactly what He is. I don't simply talk about Him, but I strive to do what He did. I strive to do what he does. I know that He lives, for the Spirit speaks His words. His words are provocative; they not only invite and compel me to do what is right and to say what I should, but they enable me to do the things that I could and would not do if He were not there. Jesus Christ is my Savior, and my Master. I know this work is true. There is success in every footstep, and I follow His.
I love you all and pray for your successes. Don't you dare ever give up.