Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Mid Autumn Festival

Today is the Mid Autumn Festival. It's a big one for China. A long time ago the Mongolians took over China (like in Mulan they try). They turned all the Chinese into slaves. Every Mongolian had ten Chinese slaves. The Chinese weren't happy about any of this. They far out numbered their oppressors (they almost always have that going for them), so all they needed to do was get organized. During this festival, all the Chinese people exchange mooncakes, but no one else does (mostly because they really aren't that good). So they put messages inside all the mooncakes that said "Kill the Mongolians on such and such a day". So they did. And it worked out. If you ask for "the story about the mooncakes" that is what people tell you. I guess the real origin is too old to be known or something.
A traditional mooncake has thin later of cake as the outermost layer with lotus seed paste inside it and several whole duck egg yokes inside that. Most missionaries hate it. I don't mind it, but after maybe 1/4 of one I'm already full. But that is not satisfactory to the host, who often isn't eating any. The ice cream ones are more yummy, though I have not tried the Haagan-Daas version which is apparently the best. They are expensive I suppose. In addition to ice cream and traditional mooncakes, you can call anything a mooncake that has something on the outside and something else on the inside as long as it's the right shape. We made some with the Cantonese ward with sweet coconuty dough on the outside and then fruit gelatin on the inside that were really good. The important thing is that after forming it is a ball, you smash it into the mold so that it looks right. They are pretty little cakes. The molds we used mostly had little cartoon characters like Winnie the Pooh (they love him), but there was one traditional looking one, so it wasn't too much of a shame.
We have some really good investigators right now. Three baptismal dates that are pretty solid. I'm very excited. I love helping people who want to be helped. Sometimes it feels like I'm a doctor trying to convince someone they're dying and need treatment while they tell me they don't need it but thanks, or maybe later they'll be interested in life, but right now they're too busy for all that. So it's nice when one of them actually opens the scriptures and feels the spirit and calls to say actually she would like, how long does it have to take before she can be baptised? That's really a nice thing.
I did my first baptismal interview in Chinese yesterday. It went quite well. Not as well as I hoped though. Just before it I was wondering how it would go, and decided I had gotten a lot better, so it would go just fine. Whenever I think things like that I think God has a harder time blessing me. When I'm more humble it comes so much easier and more naturally. In this situation it went just well enough to not be a problem. She likes to talk, sister Chen, and she was telling me all kinds of stories. So, be humble ya'll. It's nicer in the end.
We will go to a cool little island today. Our whole zone. I've been once before, but it was a long time ago. It's weird to think of things in my mission that happened a long time ago. But I'm an old missionary now. Middle aged, more like. In my prime. It's exciting. Elder Gunderson and I are both District Leaders (I was not released), the only companionship with two district leaders in the world, we imagine. So one of us will probably leave next week. I have no idea what will happen. But I'm excited for it.
Love you all! Try a mooncake!

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