I just wanted to drop a couple more lines today since I have time to do so. The laundry is in the tumbler and I've got about 15 minutes before I need to get it and finish packing. I am SO EXCITED to get on that plane! :) These past 12 weeks have been absolutely amazing here! As you can see from the pictures, We said goodbye to our teachers and the rest of our district last night (saturday for the teachers.) It was bittersweet because I feel like I'm leaving some of my best friends here since I spend at least 10 hours a day with my district and even more than that with my companion. But luckily, I will be seeing Elder White probably here in about 6 weeks. He's pretty nervous I think to have me leave because he doesn't feel really comfortable in his language yet, but he will get there! So I talked to my mate from Melbourne, AU yesterday and he was telling me about the "heaps of Huntsmans." Those are the spiders as big as a grown man's hand. He comforted me in letting me know they were everywhere :b I've actually come to grips with it though. I'll love Australia even though it has spiders almost as big as my face haha! I'll give you my address for sending letters so you can put it on the blog in case anyone cares to send me some snail mail :b. I really hope sending mail isn't too spendy though! But I do want to hear from my close friends about their mission calls and their lives, so if you could get that up on the blog ASAP Michelle that'd be great, thanks!!! :)
Last night we had the COOLEST recital. The BYU Men's choir came here and performed a Christmas recital. They are the world's largest men's choir, and all combined, weigh over 16 tons hahaha :b That's just some facts they gave us. Also, one of the people we taught for TRC is in the Men's choir and he gave a little 5 minute personal story of his life. He served in Hong Kong, but unfortunately, his Dad was pretty against the Church and his mom was fine with it, but didn't support him a ton. He talked about when he was a sophomore in High School, he met with the missionaries and gained a knowledge and testimony of Christ and wanted to be baptized but his Dad wouldn't let him. So he waited for over a year and then when his dad asked him what he wanted for Christmas the next year, he said : "Dad, the only gift I really want, is for you to let me be baptised." His Dad honored his request at that point and the rest is history! :) It's so great to hear of other people's conversion stories like that! Makes me so excited to bring others unto Christ so they can experience the same happiness and joy I experience from knowing what He did for me and being able to grow closer to Him.
We also had another really cool experience last night. In saying our goodbyes, we wanted to have a testimony meeting. There is always some time alloted after the Sunday night meetings to share with your district the things you learned and experienced that day, so we all decided to read "The Christmas Orange" story and share a christmas orange. Thanks for that package BTW Mom, I loved it!!! :) But anyways, after reading that story I was just sharing with them how grateful I was to have my family, my friends, my health, my life, and all the other things I have been so blessed to have. Not going to lie, I turned into a wreck talking about how what this little orphan boy wanted most was what I get to experience every single day of my life and how I feel so unworthy of all that I have been blessed with. Then for some reason, the idea came to my mind to talk about my beliefs regarding those who commit suicide. It was a completely random thought that I had no idea why it popped into my head, but I have learned that when the Spirit brings ideas to your mind, to always follow them. So I talked about how I dont believe a loving God and the Savior of the world, that either of them, would not be waiting with open arms of love to welcome those who take their life because of severe unhappiness and distress in this world. I just cant imagine from what I have come to know about Christ and My Father in Heaven, that they would punish those who take their own lives because of this depression and sadness. I didn't know why I had that thought, but later, when Sister Wright spoke up, she said "I didn't know I could have any more respect for you than I already did Elder Shafer, but I do now. I have had 3 really close friends who have commited suicide, and you have helped me receive comfort regarding them." Needless to say, I was really glad I followed that idea and talked about that subject even though it was really random. I want you all to know how much I have loved this experience here! Thank you all for your love, thoughts, and prayers in my behalf. I have seen the blessings that have come from your love and prayers toward me. I am so excited to be able to take this wonderful message of hope and peace to all the world. Sister Tai really touched my heart when she said goodbye and told us "I want to personally thank you for having the desire to learn MY language, and teach MY people. They need and deserve this gospel so much in their lives." She is such a kind person and has really helped me to love the Cantonese/ Chinese people! Can't wait to go out and serve them for 22 months!!!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS SEASON! I dont know when I'll be able to write in AU, but I'll send ya'll a letter when I can!
Elder Kyle Shafer