Thursday, May 27, 2010

Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:53:32 PM
Subject: Abacabar

I don't really know how to spell that. It means hello in Indonesian.

On Tuesday Elder Ngai and I taught a nineteen year old from northern China. He was good and prepared to receive baptism. I confirmed him, which would be hard in English I think. But my Chinese has definitely improved a lot. After the meeting President Chan asked to speak with Elder Ngai. And so we found out that we will both be going international. That means we will be teaching in English, mostly to domestic helpers from Indonesia and the Philippines. It is pretty scary, and pretty hard for me to understand. President says the Mandarin's numbers aren't good enough to support five companionships in Hong Kong. So I guess I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded. It's no use feeling upset that I have to leave the ward I've served in for seven months now. Most people's missions are full of changes like this. It just so happens mine is not, so this is a new feeling. It's kind of the way I felt the night before my first day of school. It's not so intense, but it's the same feeling of having no idea what to expect, and so assuming I will not enjoy it. That is a weakness of mine. I always assume I will not enjoy change. Often I do. Usually I do. I know in this case I will. People tell me that in international work I will have no time to cook, no time to play music, because all my time will be filled with teaching. I hear that you learn to teach better than you ever can in Chinese work, because you get to use your native tongue. The hard thing is keeping up you Chinese, but they also say that if you study diligently, you can learn just as much.

I think this call came because I prayed for it. I felt I was not doing my best to be diligent, and so I made a commitment to myself to work harder when I was senior companion. But that didn't seem like enough. I felt I needed to do more now, but didn't want to tell my senior companion or other missionaries I work with that we really need to be working harder. So I prayed that the Lord would give me a way to improve myself now. Two days later I got this call.

I really will love it. Everyone does. As a member of the Mandarin branch said, "don't worry, you will come back. And they will feed you a lot! You will come back very fat!" So there you go. All my worries are gone.

Elder Oaks came and talked to us about revelation. He asked us what we had learned about revelation. It was really good. He is so great.

Aunt Gabi asked if I had any favorite scriptures I had found during my mission. My favorite scripture is (I think) 2 Nephi... 4? 5? it's verse 27 and it says "And it came to pass that we did live after the manner of happiness." I testify that this church is the manner of happiness. I love you all!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 10:17:39 PM
Subject: Pie

Pie in Mandarin is said Pai (Pronounced "pie" with a falling tone) and they don't eat it. I don't know why they translated it, because I've never seen it for sale anywhere. I don't understand this, it seems like the kind of dessert they would just eat up (heh). It's not (necessarily) too sweet, it has fruit and could potentially be made with a rice flour crust, as weird as that would be. I guess they do have them in McDonald's, but those ones are deep fried, so it doesn't count. Anyway, I made a small pear pie (tart) for breakfast and it was so good. I really love pie.

Elder Wall is coming back from Macau. My companion thinks he will come to Kwun Tong and be my companion. That would be pretty fun. It's pretty likely I guess. We are both in the middle of our missions (weird huh? I can legitimately say 'in the middle'. I still don't have 'halfway done' though, so don't worry) and neither of us has been senior comp. I would be happy to stay in Kwun Tong. If I stay one more transfer it will total 1/4 of my time in Hong Kong living in The Castle. I would like that.

On Monday we had Mandarin 24 hour exchanges and I went with Elder Wyatt who is in his first transfer. We went and visited a less active member. Of course, I had to do most of the talking (He's naturally a little shy and he just got here) and I did it! I talked to them, I translated for him, I entertained them, and shared a message with them. Of course I didn't understand everything, but I understood the basic idea of almost everything. It was much better than usual. It is amazing to me how much God really can and will help us when we need it. I know I understood them better than I did then last time we visited them.

Well, Mandarin work in Hong Kong is slow right now. None of us have very many investigators. It is easy to become discouraged, but there is no need. As long as I work diligently, not running faster than I have strength, but doing all things in wisdom and order, then I can know that God is pleased with me. And that is all that matters.

Ernest still wants to get baptized, but still hasn't come to church. He was getting rather desperate for a few days. He said he wanted to be baptized quickly before he changed his mind. We tried to explain that if he thought he might change his mind that quickly, he probably needed to prepare a little more. He has calmed down and is reading through the Book of Mormon from the beginning instead of just jumping around which is good. I think he thinks of his life as if it were a movie. When we teach him it feels like a movie. And so I can't help but feel it will work out in the end. And then we get to see what comes next. What about after the conflict is resolved? I'm excited.

Jenny is apparently back from mainland. She still hasn't called us, but a member has been faithfully calling her every morning, and finally got a hold of her. Hopefully she will be able to get her job worked out which is the only really big problem she has. Kwun Tong might be seeing a few new converts in the next month or two. I'm just worried I move next week. Oh well. "I'll go where you want me to go."

I love you all. We will go to Monkey Mountain today. It is my first time. Don't worry mom, there will be plenty of people there. No one here has heard the story Jason told you.
Love you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Zombies and Missionaries in Shorts

Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:11:18 PM
Subject: Cutoffs

I finally made a pair of cutoffs out of one of my pairs of jeans. I am pretty sure the packet we got said not to wear shorts, but I guess it's just too hot here or something. So now I have shorts.

I can't think of much to say. I just talked to you on the phone! It was so great. But now the news is all gone.

I found a phrase I had written down. The cheese is a little more binding. Is that a real saying? What on earth does it mean?

We have a funny investigator named Ernest. He has very good English and is really very smart. He is afraid to tell his parents that he is Christian, and has wanted to join the Catholic church. Last time we met with him I asked him is he still wanted to become a Catholic. He said yes. I asked him if he believed the things we had taught him. He said yes. I asked if he had prayed about them to know if they were true. He said he had, and he felt they were all true. So then I asked him why he wanted to join the Catholic church. He didn't know. I asked him if it was because of the influence his friends and teachers had. He said probably. I encouraged him to pray and try to find the truth for himself. Friends and teachers ultimately can't show him the truth, and neither can missionaries. We must all find out for ourselves. Well, he called yesterday to say he wants to be baptized. Yay! There is still the problem of him being 15 and unwilling to even let his family know he is meeting with missionaries, let alone ask them to sign a permission form. But everyone has their own trails to overcome.

There is a new Cantonese speaking Elder that I want on 24 hour exchanges with the other day. His name is Elder Merrill and he is very very smart. His father teaches religion at BYU. He already speaks French, Russian, Hebrew and Arabic. At least. It was so fun to talk to him because he just knows so much! I miss talking to people who really know a lot about a lot of things. I had to stop him twice to define words for me. He spoke like a BYU Professor. It was really fun.

When I was reading Jacob 5 the other day I had a thought. In that parable the world is likened unto a vineyard. The lord of the vineyard is God. I don't remember who said that we are all Gods in Embryo. So what are our gardens but practice for later on? We have to cultivate and keep clean and organized and efficient our gardens, our houses, our bedrooms, our workrooms, our desks, our closet, our car, all these little worlds that we are in control of and we make the decisions for. I run my desk (and, basically, my life) in a very unorganized, rather chaotic way. Why would that change later without my making the decision and putting forth the effort to change it? What is the difference between a desk and a world? Obviously, a lot. But the way we run things is, probably, usually, the same for different things.
So I am once again making an effort to organize my life.

Someone is watching a zombie movie in Mandarin, and it is just a little distracting.

Love you.