Mom and Dad,
Okay, so this email is pretty late so it's also going to be short.
NEW YEARS TAIKAI!
So at the start of the new year, the mission has a New Years Taikai. It's a great taikai. It starts at 10 in the morning, but the activities-sports-start at 8am. Have I mentioned that it takes about 2 hours to get from here to the mission home? Well it does. So we had to get up quite a bit earlier than usual to make it by 8. We were a little late but so were all the other elders who came early-- so it all worked out. The sporting activity was dodge ball! I haven't played that in so long. The funny part is we played it inside the church in a smallish assembly hall. There were probably over 2 dozen missionaries there. It was very easy to hit someone at the beginning. I'm amazed at how sore I became, but so were a lot of other elders too. I guess biking up and down mountains day in and day out isn't quite an extreme enough work out. :)
Following dodge ball, Zinke Kaicho made a slide show of all the missionaries in the mission that look like they could be related. I wasn't on there, so I guess I really am a hipster! :) (True to the Portland spirit! :)) Then we watched the end of the year DVD with all the pictures that missionaries sent in. We also watched the slideshow of the baptisms for that year-- 204!
Then we had the spiritual part of Taikai. Zinke Kaicho introduced the new training plan. The theme of the Taikai, and the main doctrinal point in the training plan, is 1 Nephi 3:7, just like you shared with me last week! The training plan is all about relying on the Lord and doing all we can in our own power so the Lord can provide ways to accomplish miracles. Kaicho even said he's impressed how many missionaries had recently written him regarding that scripture and that he's glad so many of us are in-tune with the Spirit. I came out of Taikai with a really great attitude. Other Taikais have left me with a positive attitude too, but a little doubt if I or we could truly accomplish our responsibility. None of those thoughts were there this time. I also felt something really great during Taikai . I felt an absolute confirmation about one of our investigators entering the waters of baptism. I'm planning on giving everything I can and doing all in my power to help him do all in his power, so that the Lord can provide a way for that to happen and bless him. I'm really looking forward to meeting with him again!