Friday, July 9, 2010
Date: Thursday, July 08, 2010 5:45:19 AM
Subject: The City of Dreams
Sorry, you'll have to re-adjust to me having Thursday p-day. And I'll tell you why. I am now in Macao; The City of Dreams.
When I very first got my call to Hong Kong I went to my good friend Jason Bahr to find out a little about the mission. He served here several years ago and is still a legendary AP, though his name is beginning to fade, as quickly as most things in a mission. If your name lasts longer than two years after you go home, you know you were either very powerful, or very "apostate" (missionary lingo, translated from the original Cantonese). Bahr was powerful.
He told me that Hong Kong is the best mission in the world, and gave a few reasons for that claim. The one that stood out to me was that Hong Kong missionaries don't go to bed until 11:00 and wake up at 7:00. I said how excited I was about that, and he said, "That's nothing, if you go to Macao [a small city, formerly Portuguese colony an hour's ferry ride from Hong Kong] you sleep from 11:30 to 7:30."
And so I was sold. I wanted to go to Macao. The City of Dreams.
But I was realistic, and when Jason told me that "Everyone wants to go to Macao", I realized that I probably would not get to go. And then I got to Hong Kong and found out that there weren't even Mandarin missionaries here. So all my hopes were gone. I would never serve in Macao. But my Trainer, Elder So, had just come back from Macao, and he, like everyone who has ever served in Macao, was Macao trunky (meaning he missed Macao dreadfully). He often spoke fondly of his time spent in Macao and hopefully of time yet to come that he could return there. On several occasions he even went as far as to say, "Elder Kershisnik, one day I will go back to Macao. You would love it, I know you would. Perhaps we can be companions there!" I would protest that first, he was probably not going back, and second, I was defiantly not going there, as I do not speak Cantonese. "It could happen!" he'd say. But I knew better.
Well, Elder So has a lot of faith. He somehow got himself back to Macao. I admit, I was impressed. He overcame the odds, and went back. I knew that him coming back to Mandarin work wasn't likely, so I said goodbye to serving around my mission trainer for the last time. There were no Mandarins in Macao.
Not too long after that, another Mandarin Elder, Elder Ng went to Macao to open a Cantonese/Mandarin companionship (incidentally, his companion's name was also Ng. Both from Hong Kong). It gave me a slight hope that one day in the future there could be a Mandarin companionship in the City of Dreams. But not in my mission life time.
Then I went International. Mostly going International means you'll stay there at least, at very least, two transfers. I became happy and content there. I hoped to get three or four before going back to Chinese work. Then I got a call to be a district leader. Oh no, that means senior companion and real responsibility. Or so I thought.
Then came moves calls and the biggest shock of my mission. I was headed to Macao to be Elder (Zone Leader) So's junior companion. It was about as likely as me going Cantonese, but it happened. Elder So and I are serving International/Mandarin together in Macao.
Elder So says now he owes a lot to God. He prayed himself back to Macao, he prayed Elder Ng there as the other Zone Leader, and then he prayed me here to be his companion. He's getting a little bit scared, he says.
All would be sunshine and joy, except that this morning as I slipped the Macaopass card from Elder Wall into my wallet, I noticed something was different. My wallet didn't look like it normally did. And then I realized that my mission money credit card was missing. All my cash and my personal card was still there, just the mission one was gone.
So that's annoying.
And also Elder So is already low on money for the month, so even when I get my new card we won't be able to partake of the wonderful food Macao is said to have. Delicious and cheap is all I hear.
It was terribly sad to leave the investigators and members in Hong Kong International. Some even cried when they found out. I almost cried as we taught Sister Gena this morning. She will get baptized on her next holiday, and is very sad I will not be there. She's the first person I've really taught who will be baptized.
But it's ok. The Church is still true. I am still happy to be a missionary. And I am in Macao, the Las Vegas of the Orient, where people are nice and will actually talk to you, blueberry muffin toppers are available at US Mart, Chinese speak fluent Portuguese, and quality buffets are almost affordable on a missionary budget. So there are lots of casinos, but it still feels like people care less about money here than in Hong Kong.
I love you all! I will use some personal money to live until I get a new card. Sorry about the change again.