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The life of a college student…

The life of a college student, continued. I’ve been really busy with all the stuff I’m trying to do and behind on some things, but I need to just be more diligent. Use time wisely, be efficient, and rest and it’s time to rest. Work when it’s time to work.

This coming up week is also the large Nerf event. A mod party, and HvZ afterwards with a small NiC skirmish following that. I posting more information on homemade Nerf guns on the Utah Nerf Foam Flinger’s Facebook page and I have several people interested in purchasing blasters. Things just got busier. It just means I need to shape up and get off my butt more. I’ll be able to make a few hundred dollars from blasters, but I need to find the money to start up.

Things have been up and down, but overall okay.

One big piece of spiritual assurance today has really been my religion class. With all that’s happening, it’s harder and harder to find time to do what I used to, study the scriptures intently, attend the temple regularly, and have an overall balanced life. In my religion class, we dive deep into the scriptures and our professor has so many great insights into principles from the scriptures and how they apply to our lives. One such principle also came with a BYU talk from this past education week which was just a few weeks ago. It was on the example of Nephi and responsibility. It’s up to us what occurs. When Nephi broke his bow in the wilderness, he didn’t write ‘my bow broke’, he wrote ‘I broke my bow’. Whether or not Nephi was the cause of his bow breaking isn’t the point, but he took responsibility for what happened and then he took responsibility to find a solution. God has given us the ability to choose and to use our agency.
Life is full of ups and downs, but we do not want to be up and down. Don’t be a victim of your environment. It can be compared to a thermostat. A thermostat can sense the temperature and adjust it, while a thermometer can only sense the temperature but is stuck where it is enduring the environment around it. If you want to be happy, stop waiting around for it to hit you. Be happy. Act. Act like a happy person and you will be. It’s these kind of motivational, spiritual moments that really get me through the week.

ROTC isn’t as bad as it seems. I’m starting to kind of like it. We did some land navigation techniques and get to learn more about the military. I’m sure if it’s what I want to do for the years to come, but I am starting to like it a little more.

We’re going to be starting some exams next week, too. I’m super grateful for all the blessings I’ve received. When things seem rough and hard, there always seems to be a way to come out successful. I’m really going to try to keep updating regularly, maybe a few small updates here and there.

Talk to you later!
Derrikk Sun

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It’s been a while, but it’s been a blast too.

It’s been a little over two weeks since my last post, and it’s been chalk full of ups and downs and it’s been a blast. Some of the highlights have been all of the amazing devotionals and spiritual moments. It’s the overall stress and great spiritual uplifting here at BYU that I can remember the most.

We had a regional area multi-stake conference this past Sunday with speakers who gave such great revelation. I’m always amazing at what we take from meetings that may not have been what the speakers talked about, but is always definitely what I need to hear. The Spirit influences our thoughts and feelings and we’re made known the things we need to do. Needless to say there’s a lot that I need to improve, but I’ll try a little at a time. I’ve felt really out of the grove and adjusted to this new semester. Not as bad as coming home from a mission, but there’s a lot to do and worry about. I become even more and more grateful for the Spiritual rest and peace that we can find through the Gospel, the scriptures, and the Sabbath. I just need to work now on keeping the feeling of peace and assurance with me throughout the week. At the priesthood session, there was a talk on becoming real men. It made me think about who I am, who I want to become, and what I need to do to get there. It’s important to have reflection moments and I’m glad I was able to get some.

A second talk was on the principle of work. I rerealized that it’s the problems and challenges in life that make us who we are and we can choose to allow the hard things to make us better or worse. The speaker, our stake president, said that if God wanted to punish us, really make us suffer, He would answer all of our prayers in just the way we wanted. While God does want to help us and answer our prayers, He knows that it’s the challenges and difficults that we face that help us to become what He wants us to become. Often times, we pray for the strength to overcome our trials, so He sends us obstacles that we have to overcome and in so doing we become stronger. He doesn’t always answer as we want or think, but He does answer. The real worthwhile things are not always the easy things to do. It’s really not enough to just put in just enough effort to get by, but in order to become better people and to really progress, it requires a lot of work and effort and always being engaged in a good cause. Sometimes it’s easy to feel very overwhelmed and like there’s too much to do, but by always having something to do and always doing something productive and effective, we’re developing the attributes to be able to become more like our Heavenly Father.

On a similar note, our stake just started a new Self-Reliance class. It’ll be held every Sunday in the afternoon for the next 12 weeks. It’ll focus on the principles and good practices of personal finance and work. I feel excited to be able to continue to try to improve myself and one day I’ll be able to see a change between then and now.

There’s been so many eventful things this past few weeks. I love my Book of Mormon class this semester! It’s by far my favorite class. We go pretty indepth in the Book of Mormon, but our teacher emphasizes that he doesn’t give us all he knows about the book because he wants us to have the motivation and desire to go out and learn it for ourselves. I also realized that this is so true for parenting and how Heavenly Father works too. If we just push everything we know on others as truth, they and we won’t really receive any great benefit. But as we develop the desire to learn, we will seek our knowledge from the source of all truth our selves. As parents with children, it wouldn’t work if we mold children’s lives after how we think they should be because it’s essential that they learn and grow on their own, too. It’s, again, all about becoming and developing.

It really is truly a miracle. The translation of the Book of Mormon was brought by the power of God. Each and every word inspired.

We also watched the worldwide YSA devotional broadcast about becoming strong links for our future families and ancestors before us. It was such a perfect message for new members of the church, too. I’m always impressed with the faith and sacrifice of new member’s of the church.

I’ve started ROTC for the semester. I decided to try it out and see how it is. It’s not looking like I’m going to like it, but it’s a path to consider.

My Y-Serve program, Rural Housing Development, changed its name to Self Help Homes and we’re getting started up again.

The Nerf scene is going well. There are a few large events scheduled for later this month. I’m going to try to balance everything and still have time left over for my hobby.

That’s my rant for the past week or so. Sorry that it’s so very confusing.

Derrikk Sun

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Transitions.

It’s been an interesting week. It’s been busy too. We’re getting moved in and new roommates. New roommates means maybe it’s time for a new room. We’ve rearranged the living room and now it’s much more roomy and ready to receive guests! The kitchen is spruced up, and we’re getting things ready for next semester. It’s going to be a doozie! It’ll be the last semester before I submit my application to the Mechanical Engineering program and be starting all sorts of things.

In other news, it’s been pretty laid back with a lot of free time. With free time comes the issue of filling it. There’s one more week before the semester starts and other than work, there’s not very many activities going on yet. There’s plenty of time to get things settled in and figured out.

This past week I’ve felt very stressed with re-adapting to life before school starts. It’s always a big change and I have a habit of over worrying. I apologize if that has caused anyone any grief. Hopefully I’ll be able to adapt quickly and get back into the swing of things. Sometimes change is hard. Despite the overwhelming feelings of stress and worry, I’m incredibly grateful for the guidance and comfort that God give us access too. He sends help in many ways – often times in the form of people. I’m thankful for the people in my life. Through all that happens, it’s people that really matter. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. I’m going to work on this especially this semester.

I still have so much to learn in the coming future, more than I even realize, and I hope to be able to live up to the potential that has been given me.

I’ve felt so many answers and comfort come from prayer, scripture study, and church. With feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I didn’t know what to do. I came across several talks that were great answers to my questions. We’re here for a specific reason. Now is the time to become the person we want to be. Now. We most certainly WILL fail, at least in the short run. But it’s okay because every time we repent, we have a fresh start. No matter what trials we are faced with or mistakes we have made, God is still with us. If we really desire to have the strength and power into the trials of our lives, we absolutely need the ordinances and covenants from God. When God calls us, He prepares. Along the trail of life, we need to remember why we’re doing it. God’s plan for us is to grow and to become. Not just a list of accomplishments. God seeks to change our hearts and help us to become. Not just change our behaviors/actions, but change ourselves through faith and repentance. And the best time to start is NOW. (The Best Time to Plant a Tree)

Regarding prayer, I was impressed that many times we pray for strength, or courage, or the ability to endure. What would be the change if we prayed to have the Lord with us. We often ask for things, but how often do we ask for the Lord. After all, isn’t the gift giver greater than the gifts?

To add a little about when God calls us: When He calls, He prepares us. I thought of it as He has called us to live on this Earth now. He has called us at this time for a purpose. We may not know it precisely, but He has given us many callings. As Priesthood holders he calls missionaries, church leaders, and fathers. I never thought of it like this before, but hasn’t He called us to become fathers? Isn’t that an essential part of His plan? Then why wouldn’t He enable us and prepare us to become such? He does. He has. He is. This knowledge has brought me great comfort.

We receive so many blessings, but sometimes there comes for a time of trial. May we keep strong and keep the faith to endure optimistically.

Derrikk Sun

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It’s been so great!

The past few weeks have been great! We’ve done several projects from teaching English, teaching health, and working on infrastructure projects.

One special project was the installing of a water pump, tank, and well to provide fresh water to 30 families in a mountain village. The villagers provided a list of equipment and everything else needed. HELP International provided the more expensive equipment such as water tank and water pump, but the villagers provided the labor and expertise in jungle construction. They impressively constructed a platform to place the tank on, and dug a large well to access ground water. Thai construction is extremely simple and straight forward, but effective.

One thing I’ve learned from teaching kids every week, is one, how different they all are, and how innocently loving and bonding they can be. They don’t speak our native language, are from an entirely different country, but they all share one simple thing that connects us: love. They’re able to feel our interest, concern, and love for them and it builds a bond that transcends boundaries. It’s really quite impressive. We’ve been able to see the impact we’ve had in their lives even from just a short visit every week for a limited number of weeks. I feel like giving the children an outlet and an example that they can remember can help shape their lives. Kids come from all kinds of different backgrounds, but they all have similar needs.

We’ve been working with another village to help better their economic situation. A lot of mountain villages of goods or skills that are very unique from mountain to mountain. On such village makes traditional shirts and bags that are unique to their culture. Because these villages are so small, they often only engage in trade with each other. This makes it difficult for the villagers to be able to go out trade with the outside world. We’ve been helping them design and improve their products and find the means to sell their products to a larger customer base by establishing a small business. We’ve let them come up with the plan themselves and give them suggestions, but we leave the sustainability up to them and hope that they will be able to improve and grow in the future.

We’ve had all sorts of adventures and experiences here. It’s been a great opportunity to make a difference and see new things. We only have one more week left, but I’m grateful for all that we’ve been able to do.

We’ve hiked a canyon, ridden a roller coaster in the jungle, climbed to the highest point of Thailand, tried new foods, made new friends, fit 20 people in the back of a truck, swung on a four man Ferris wheel swing, gotten super carsick, raced wooden race cars down a mountain, and have probably avoided more medical issues than I can count.

This past week I had the chance to say good bye to all the friends and members in Chiang Mai. It’s been great to get to see them all again. It’s definitely different n longer being a missionary, but it’s a new chapter in life and like a great new start too. I know that whatever is ahead is even better and where God wants me to go. So often when we’re doubting the path we are on or where we need to go, we can often find our answer through the Gospel, scripture study, prayer, being in-tune with the Spirit, and often in ways and places we don’t expect. Today at church, there were some powerful speakers, testimonies, and lessons. It amazes me that even though it was all in a different language that I would not consider myself super fluent in, I was still able to understand enough to receive my own revelation as well. Last week we weren’t able to attend church because we were not in a province with a church, and I never realized how much of a difference it makes and how much we miss out from not attending. It was probably the first Sunday I’ve missed in over two years and I could really tell a difference between the weeks. Today I felt the Holy Spirit at church. I received revelation. I was uplifted. I was motivated and strengthened. The lessons were mostly on eternal families and it made me reflect on my own life and the people in it. I’m thankful for the many blessings that He has given me and look forward to what He has in store.

Have a great week!!!

Derrikk Sun

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A great week in Thailand!

This past week has been super eventful! It’s great to be busy and be engaged in a good cause! Some of the highlights the past weeks have been getting familiar with the activities of HELP International. They work on several projects to improve the local communities. We teach english, raise awareness for public health practices, and work on infrastructure projects.

We’ve helped build a retention wall to hold back erosion when it rains. It’s interesting because not many people have experience with construction or concrete. However, Thai construction isn’t super exact. The rule of thumb is, if it works, it’s good enough.

We ride around in the back of a truck with a metal cage welded onto it. It’s not the safest or most comfortable way to travel, but it’s pretty efficient and a popular way of travel in Thailand. We weren’t allowed to ride in the back of pick up trucks as missionaries, so it’s a new experience.

We’ve had a lot of great adventures from sight seeing to work projects to fun activities.

We’ve looked at a lot of cool temples here, to the point where we’re almost templed out. There comes to a point where things that are similar start to all look alike. There are some special cool locations though, such as abnormally large Buddha statues, ancient ruins, and large towers, but for the most part, the little ones look the same.

We’re making progress on the wall, a little at a time, but it is coming along. We’re learning a lot which is good because we’re planning on building another retaining wall at another site. I’ve learned that not only do you need to know correct techniques, but efficient team work goes a long way. It would probably fall under the category of specialization, where everyone is given one job and they do that job so they become more proficient at it. If one is too diversified, they’ll likely be unable to perform any job at the same level as someone specialized. When we divide our working team into specific tasks and keep the structure, it seems to run more smoothly. If people try to see a need and work on it, there comes a point where that type of pro-activeness becomes less beneficial.

We also teach English nearly everyday to some pretty cute children. Teaching at a school in classroom is a lot different than at church as a missionary. It seems like as a missionary, we were less stressed and more focused on fun. We would teach grammar, vocabulary, and principles, but the students would come to learn and would be more willing to apply themselves. At the school, the kids are much, much younger, and many, of course, have a hard time paying attention. I feel like in some ways it’s good practice for being a parent as far being patient and understanding kids. I prefer a smaller class and more one-on-one, but sometimes we do team-teach which makes for a little more individual time. We also get the chance to teach some of the teachers at one of our schools. Teaching adults and kids are so different, but you can also see some similarities, too. Sometimes some of the teachers seem as child-like as the kids.

Rainy season is starting up and it’s poured rain just about everyday this past week or so. It’s made traveling and vacation a little difficult, but it’s something else we don’t see very often stateside. When it pours down, the volunteers here aren’t used to it so they get very excited. It reminds me of biking through the rain in the Northeast. Fun times.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities that we have each day to learn and grow. To make decisions and see the out comes. We are the authors of our own lives and I’ve seen all of the help that God gives us everyday too. There’s no lack of trials, challenges, and difficulties that we face, but despite it all, we’re able to overcome it and realize that He loves us, that Christ gives us the ability to overcome it all, and that at the end of the day we can lay down and take confidence and reassurance that if we gave our best, it’ll all work out for our good. I love Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God”. This is so true! I’ve seen it in my life and the lives of so many others. Love God and love others. Bad things happen to good people, to all people, but all things will work out to those who foster charity and love.

See you next week!
Derrikk Sun

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We’ve Arrived in Chiang Mai

This past week was super great too! We flew out of Bangkok on Friday and we’re now in Chiang Mai. We’re staying in a large house with 27 other people in a small place called Fang. It’s a three hour bus ride from Chiang Mai. There’s no air conditioning, only fans, and plenty of insects to go around. My first night I was visited by a few millipedes our first night.

We got here got a little settled in, and visited a few Buddhist temples. We stayed Saturday night in Chiang Mai, walked a marked, visited some other temples, and went to church Sunday morning. It was so great to see the members again. I talked to a bunch of people, but we’ll see them again in the weeks to come. We’ll start work tomorrow and I’m really excited.

My last few days in Bangkok were also very relaxing. We took a break from extensive sight seeing and decided to spend more time resting. I enjoyed being able to slow down, too, and enjoy the time we had instead of worrying where to go or what to do.

That’s about a summary of what we’ve done.

We didn’t have much time to write today, but we’ll make the next ones longer.

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Adventures in a foreign land!

I’ve made it to Thailand safe and sound. I’m not nearly as jet lagged as I though I’d be, but my appetite is still synced to America time. We landed and sight saw a bit, visited a few vacation spots, before finally arriving in Bangkok.

I have to say, I’m super excited to be here. It really is like visiting a second home. Attending church for the first time today was so great! Being able to see a bunch of old friends who were basically like family brought back great memories. It’s different to meet people as a regular person and not a missionary. It’s not a bad or good different, just different. Perhaps it shows more of my mindset as a missionary, but it feels like less pressure or stress going to church and meeting people as not a missionary. Now it’s a lot more like an equal and a friend. It’s a mindset that’s new. I really love the people here. It’s still a bit weird having people who seem so excited to see me, but it’s expected when you haven’t seen a friend in a while. We were able to make a few different appointments for the coming up week and the itinerary looks full. I fly to Chiang Mai on Friday to start my internship. Before then, it looks like a pretty full agenda.

We also called the family today and got to see Levi again. He’s still so cute and chubby! I know babies are a handful to take care of, but it also just seems like such a great experience!

The original plan was to stay with a friend here, but their family wasn’t accustomed to received strangers and other than the one member of the family, I didn’t know them. We changed the plan to stay at the house of a different member who was okay with it, but I knew them even less than the family. After decided to stay with the member I didn’t know instead, the family that I didn’t know changed their minds last minute and said it was okay. It was the day before I flew out too. It was such a crazy, amazing mini miracle of sorts. That the original plan would work out on its own was a much blessing and is looking to be way better than the other plan. I feel even more and more blessed and thankful for the way things just plan out. They say those who obey the commandments, worked hard as missionaries, and are diligent are blessed. I’d definitely agree as well. The family is so welcoming and nice. They prepared a lot to receive me. Fixed up a room that was not in a good state for me, replumbed the bathroom, found a small bed to stay on and made sure that there was plenty of food to eat. They are diligent in taking care of me and pretty much refuse to let me do their dishes which is a bit of a hard thing for me. I’m super grateful for their kindness.

Also, I didn’t even realize how much I’ve missed the food! Every dish we eat is so good!

Next week we’ll write from Chiang Mai and we’ll see how the internship goes.

Have a great week!!!
Derrikk Sun

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Every Week, Every Day

There was no post last week, mainly due to laziness, but the weeks to come will certainly be better.

Every day I find more and more reasons to be grateful. From friends, to family, to all the little blessings that we receive day by day. It just amazes me to realize what all our loving heavenly Father has given us.

I’ve been promoted to pretty much the highest student position I can reach at work on campus. It’s still not the best job and I’ll look around for alternatives for next semester, but I enjoy knowing that I’m contributing to the work I have.

Not much has happened, but I’m most excited to go back to Thailand for my internship and visit my old areas.

There’s actually a lot that happens every week and day, but there’s too much to write!

I’m constantly impressed on how I’ve seen the blessings of the Gospel. For example, I continue to see a pattern of sincere prayer and scripture study with the overall attitude I have. I find that things go better and I’m more optimistic when I consistently put God first.

A member of the bishopric shared a testimony and story of a three month premature baby who was given a very small chance of survival. The premie was only as long as your pinky to thumb. The member of our bishopric said was prompted to give the baby several blessings throughout the process of its growth. There were 5 premature babies in the hospital and the only one that survived was the one that received the blessings. He bore a powerful testimony of the power of the Priesthood and it was a powerful testimony meeting.

Other adventures from the past two weeks:

Machining glass! It cracks very easily and emits a very fine glass powder into the air, but other than that it is possible!

Volunteering to translate for the Church’s Gospel Library app has its rewards.

We adventured in the DI and had an all you can eat pizza buffet!!

Adventured with Thai food again. It tasted pretty good this time!

I’ll keep this one short in preparation for the crazy adventures in Thailand.

See you next week!
Derrikk Sun aka Kittens

“Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now.” Elder Richard G Scott

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Family!!!! Weddings!!! Vacation!!!

This week was good and topped off with the best family time vacation ever! We drove to Boise on Friday and stayed with relatives. My oldest sister’s husband’s family. Their family is so cute and precious! They have a large enough family where everyone does things together, but not too large that it’s hectic. They’re clearly a close knit family and were a great example of what a family looks like!

I finally got to see Levi, our little new nephew, for the first time this weekend. He is literally the cutest and best thing that I think has literally come straight from heaven. They say babies bring a special spirit into your life and I felt a glimpse of this this weekend. I’m also so impressed with Diana and her example. She flew six hours from Wisconsin by her self with a two month old baby and managed okay. I can’t imagine handling it like she did. Thanks for being such a great example!! I’ve never wanted to be a dad so much as I did this week. Everyone we ran into commented on how cute Levi was and wanted to hold him, pinch his cheeks, burp him, or even just change his diaper. I think it takes being around babies to realize how precious they really are. Being at college, you don’t have much expose to babies and families. I miss it.

Diana flew in on Saturday, we spent all day gagging at the baby and playing some games together. We went to the Shelton’s church and then a family friend’s wedding. It was a nice service. It wasn’t too big, but not too small. As we were sitting listening to the priest start the vows, I felt quite impressed. I felt impressed that two people would, as the vows said, we with each other. help one another, hug, and make the decision to spend the rest of their lives together. It was a civil wedding and it also made me ponder on the truths that we know in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Families can be together forever. Not just for this live, but forever. Watching civil weddings kind of made me sad actually. Flashback to teaching investigators, I thought of what we had just learned in Sunday school early that morning. When we know about the plan of salvation, we understand where we’re from and the purpose of why we’re here. We know what’s going to happen to us and those we love when we die. We know that we will be with those we love again and the end of this life isn’t the end of everything. It would pain me to know that, for example looking into the eyes of my little nephew or standing with my family to take family photos, to know that we would be separated in the end.

t of view on the relationship of marriage and family. The priest mentioned how the families had each prepared the bride and groom to this point. They had raised them up in a good family in order for them to have families of their own and begin their own journey together. It helped me to further understand the role of parents. A family completes a large part of their role when the children grow up and begin to start to have families of their own. The role from then on is to support and help these additional families develop. Another instance where I felt this is pretty much every time I walked next to my sister as she held her precious baby. It struck me how amazing it was for my sister to be building a family of her own. Words can’t describe. It’s a step in life that many adults have been through, but looking at it from an outside perspective, it’s incredible.
t in hindsight.

I’ve been contemplating so many different directions that I believe that Lord would have me follow,, and although the path along the way isn’t super clear, I know the end destination and I can see just far enough to take one more step forward. I often feel like I’m living the lyrics to the hymn Lead, Kindly Light.

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene – one stop enough for me

One step is enough for us if we can keep the faith and keep trying. He will lead us.

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A Relaxing Week

On Wednesday, instead of going to institute, our ward had a special activity where we went to the museum of a friend in the ward and got to see a lot of rare books. The owner had Joseph Smith’s own personal copy of the Book of Mormon, several first edition prints of books as well as signatures, and numerous books that belonged to famous people throughout history from George Washington, Marie Antoinette, and King James’ own copy of the first King James Bible. It was really cool to hear the stories behind each book. One such story was of the very first missionary and the very first convert to the church. He had the very book that Samuel Smith used on his mission. You could tell that books such as these had been places and had stories to tell.

The fun outing of the week was watching the LEGO Batman movie. It was as humorous as expected and had a great message too. We all need friends and our families are what’s most important to us. I would definitely recommend watching it.

This past Friday we had another indoor Nerf war in a church. The church we went to this time had a small upper level and basement. It was way cool. The hallways and church in general were smaller than our regular, but it would have been a really fun regular and not advanced war.

I’ve done a lot of 3D printing in attempts to finish a an all 3D printed Nerf blaster. It looked nice, but it wasn’t quite strong enough. I dropped it at the Friday war and it broke into several pieces. We’ll try reprinting it a little stronger next time. But here’s what it looks like:

RHD this week was good, even though we only had 7 people. We split into two groups and I and another project director worked exclusively on the house of a woman who didn’t have any family to help her. It felt good to help someone who really, really needed it.

I’m also officially a volunteer at the MTC.

This weekend, I’ll be able to meet together with my family for the first time since being back from my mission. We’ll also go to a family friend’s wedding. I’m so excited!

See you next week,
Derrikk Sun