Monday, November 3, 2014

The Galloping Elder - Elder Joshua Avery

Written by Elder Joshua Avery, training at the Provo Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In December he will report to the Singapore Mission, speaking Mandarin Chinese.

Before Elder Wimmer left for Singapore (Elder Avery on right)
Hello Everyone!

This was a good week, but definitely the hardest. Everything was going pretty smoothly until an elder in my district had to go home because of anxiety. I kind of saw signs that he wasn't feeling good, but every time I asked him about it, he just said he was sick. He never ate much, he didn't sleep well, and he would go 5 days at a time without pooping. They are sending him back home for 6 weeks and will let him come back after that if he is doing better. He was definitely the elder I was the closest to, so it was really hard when he left. I love my district, but he was probably the only one that I felt like I was good friends with.

For some reason, that really got my stress level up. During the week my stress climbed to what I would consider an unhealthy level. Learning Chinese is really hard, and I want to push myself, but I've learned there is definitely a limit. Too much stress makes you feel sick and unproductive, but the right amount will push you and cause you to do your best.

On Tuesday my companion drank 14 glasses of apple juice for dinner. He was feeling pretty awful. I told him it wasn't a good idea and that he should stop, but he kept going. It probably didn't help that other elders were cheering him on. I ended up giving him a blessing and he felt better. After that I made it clear to my district that food challenges and food dares are not allowed. The last thing we need is someone else getting sick...or having the kind of gas that only 14 glasses of apple juice can give you!

This summer the Cambodian elders caught a spider and kept it in a jar. The spider was really small when they caught it. Long story short, that spider in the jar has been alive in the jar since the summer, and elders just pass it along before they leave. They would feed it often and it got to be huge! When it got passed down to some Mandarin elders, they let him go outside because in the handbook it says you can't have pets of any kind :)

For our devotional last night Elder Nelson's wife spoke. She shared some of the same stories she shared with you, Mom. I felt the spirit really strong.

At mission conference they spoke about Joseph Smith's first vision. I compared it to my mission. Satan knows that a huge spiritual experience is about to take place, that will bless my life and others. He tries to bind our body and tongue with stress and other tools. When I feel like I can't go further, I cry out for help and a "pillar of light" always comes.

I love you all. God is good. This week was hard, but I know things will get better. Even if they don't, I will still keep going and smile while I am at it.

Love, Feng Zhang Lao (Elder Avery)

P.S. If you Google this (Feng traditional Chinese character) you can see my surname definition. It means to gallop!

Missions Change People  (October 27, 2014)

The Fourth Missionary  (November 10, 2014)

Another photo of these friends. The next time they see each other will be in Singapore!