Thursday, January 21, 2010

All the Fallen Elders

Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 9:07:55 PM
Subject: "All the Fallen Elders"

There is an old woman who comes to every English class in every chapel on the Island. Her accent makes 'foreign' sound exactly like 'fallen'. She wants to learn English so she can speak with all the fallen people. When she prays, she gives the exact same prayer each time, which includes a request for forgiveness that she is Chinese and cannot speak English well, as well as gratitude for all the fallen Elders to teach her English. She is very sweet.

Since coming on a mission I realize how true that is, all the fallen Elders. In my childish mind, Elders were so perfect. Now I realize we are just people. 19-26 year old males, mostly. We are far from perfect. And that is the miracle of missionary work.

There is a strange thing going on in our ward. A lady joined a while ago who actually shared the gospel with her friends. Consequently, Sister Deng joined our branch, even though she speaks Cantonese. Sister Deng is even more of a member missionary, and so Elder So and I (not really me, actually, she speaks Cantonese) have been teaching her friend Sister Chen. Sometimes it is hard to believe that there are any prepared people, but let me testify that there are.
Sister Chen has come to church every week since before we started teaching her. When she returns to work though, she will not be able to continue. Before teaching her one day, Elder So said he was going to bring up that issue. Turns out she has already been praying to find a new job. As soon as she learned about fasting she began to fast for a new job, without our even suggesting it. On Tuesday she changed us out (Chinglish for bought us food) to Yum Cha (drink tea, which actually means eat DimSum. Dim Sum is like, dumplings and buns and stuff like that and it's wonderful). Turns out she already doesn't drink tea. We had decided that the restaurant was too noisy a place to commit her to baptism, we would wait and do it at church. But instead she informed us that she had a very strong feeling that she should be baptized. Ok. She's prepared. Let me also testify of member missionary work. It works.

We also have a new investigator who seems to be prepared. We brought up church the first time we met with him, and before we could ask him to come he said, "See you Sunday then." And he came. Early. Really early. Most people don't even want to come at 9:00, but he came before anyone else. And God provided a business man from New Mexico who speaks Mandarin to fly into Hong Kong at 4:00 am so that he would be at church very early too so that our investigator would have someone to talk to. Wow.
When we taught him the restoration he said, "This seems right, and if it is, it's hugely important." Yes! That is soo right! No one ever realizes that! Ok, it's hard to believe, but what if it's true? Isn't it more important that anything else in your life to find out whether or not this really happened? If it didn't, fine, you don't have to come to church at 9:00. But what if it did? And why is it not worth it to wake up earlier than you would like once a week to come find out if it's true or not? And once you do find out, share that with your friends. It's funny, my companion said that before his mission he thought missionaries were the ones who should do all the missionary work. Now he realizes that actually members are the ones that can really make the difference, because they are actual friends, and they won't go home in two years.

Now that I feel the work here is really going well, I'm moving. I'm getting a new companion and a new house. I hear it's the best apartment in the mission. I don't know yet though. More on that next week. Also I'll let you know how Elder Gundderson is. I'm not sure if that spelling is correct. He's from Spanish Fork. He seems pretty cool.

As too Uncle Paul's question, actually the Hong Kong people are not very receptive. The mainlanders are very much more willing to listen than most Hong Kong people. I think it's because missionaries aren't new anymore for the people here, but we still are new to those from Mainland. I don't know.

My mission President suggested I teach a drawing class to get new investigators, any ideas? I don't know how to draw.

Finally I end with a poem I read in the park.

As the matter of fact there are too many roads and directions,
But confronted by all these,
We do not necessarily walk with an embarrassing gesture.

Kwan Wai Cho

I love you all.

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