I don't know how I'll survive going back to college one day, my typing ability (as well as my spelling ability) has been degenerating rapidly, especially over the past couple of months. That's life, I suppose.
Also, I recently realized that "That's life" has become my new catchphrase, and I keep saying it after something unfortunate has happened. I guess that shows you what my concept of life is. Pretty sad. So now I'm trying to turn it around by saying, "Now THAT'S life!" every time something good happens.
Well, this week has been a trial of our faith, but I just keep saying, "FEEL THE BURN!" every time that refiner's fire starts licking at our ankles. Lots of cancelled lessons, lots of plans and goals not happening, and then throw in all of those little things that aren't stressful by themselves but added all together it gets a little frustrating... But you know what! I'm feeling pretty calm and faithful and I know it's all going to be okay. I made a new resolve last week to really work on faith, having a more faithful and positive attitude... so naturally something problematic has to happen, otherwise how would I learn to have more faith, right? Some miracles are waiting... just around the riverbend! So I'll just enjoy the heat from this refiner's fire... hey, maybe I'll even get a tan! People here keep telling me that I'm really REALLY white. "Casper!" they call me. Well, I'll show them!
But seriously, I was pondering the whole refiner's fire analogy a lot this week, and it really makes so much sense. Each of us has this innate potential as a spirit child of our Heavenly Father. So just like a chunk of gold fresh from the ground, all that worth is already there. But it takes heat and pressure to get out all the dirt and dross. And when you invest the time, effort, and resources to really make that gold pure, then you have an incredibly valuable product. The value was there all along, but it's the refining process that brings out the worth. And in the same way, Heavenly Father invests time and effort and resources to refine us, because he knows we can be better and purer than we are. So sure we have to endure heat and pressure (I've felt it a lot this week!) but it's so worth it. And Heavenly Father does it because he loves us and wants us to be the best we can be. I'm so grateful for this time I've had on the mission--I'm far from being pure gold, but a lot closer than I was last year!
Elder S's Chinese is so great, as well as his English. But when he jumps back and forth too much, he gets a little confused. Yesterday he was trying to tell me that someone's secret had gotten out, and he said, "They've given the cat away." I wouldn't laugh as hard if I didn't have the same experience sometimes.
T-shirt of the week: "Shoop. It's time to pay. A fun time. I thought you said you want to change?" I love shooping, it's one of my favorite things to do!
A while ago, I suggested that we do a combined branch talent show, all of the Chinese members and the Filipina members together! And so naturally, since it was my idea, I ended up being put in charge of the whole thing haha. It was a blessed way to end this slightly disappointing week, one of the most wonderful church activities I've ever attended. There was so much inter-branch unity and everyone cheered and supported everyone else. Isn't that wonderful--we don't have to speak the same language to love and encourage each other. We had so many different acts: Christmas songs on the saxophone, piano duets, break-dancing, Gangam style (whatever that is and however you spell it)... The 10 full-time missionaries wrote a rap called "It's Easy to be a Missionary" and I don't want to brag, but it was a HUGE hit. So many people told me that I was 'fly' afterwards. And you know what? I think they're right. It was such a warm, loving atmosphere, and I'll definitely remember it as one of my favorite mission moments.
Great news! Next week Elder Wilson of the Quorum of the Seventy is coming on a mission tour, and so that means I get to go to a special leadership meeting in Hong Kong with him and Sister Wilson and President and Sister Hawks! I am so excited, it's going to be some major spiritual revelation time! And then they'll be meeting with all the different zones in the mission. Zones usually consist of about 45 missionaries, but since Macau is small, our zone consists of 12. That means we'll have some real one-on-one time with Elder Wilson! And boy do I have some big questions for him. The meeting will last all day, and I am just so excited. I love being a missionary! I love being here in Macau and goodness gracious do I love my Savior, for making all of this possible!