Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Other Side

As of today I am a senior companion. Oh boy. It feels like the beginning of a new phase of my mission. Now I am, in earnest, an old missionary. I'm not ready for that. Not old in the sense of "not much time left". Old like, mature. Ward members ask me what I think the missionaries most need help with. Old like I am expected to know what to do when someone walks into the chapel. Old like I am given responsibility. Old like there are Zone Leaders who are younger than me.
My junior companion is great. Elder Chung, and ABC from California. I'm glad to be his companion because he will stretch me to work hard and be more exactly obedient than any of my companions have. I am worried that I am not focused or organized enough to be his senior companion. But that is good, those are areas I need to work on.

Last Sunday an Indonesian I taught in Macao was Baptised. This Sunday our investigator sister Zhang will be baptised (if all goes according to plan). After the training we've gotten lately we have seen a lot more success as far as numbers go. As everyone knows, success as a missionary does not have to do with numbers, but numbers sure as heck feel good. At any rate its nice to receive training that actually shows statistical improvement in performance.

I am a district leader. My district includes the zone leaders, Sister Hancock (friend of the Taylors) and her two companions Sister Smith and Sister Black (they organize our sisters by how outlandish the last name is). I cover a vast area. One and a half zones worth of residential Hong Kong. Should be fun.

Hong Kong is really so international. The westernization everywhere is at once comforting and disappointing. It's so easy to resort to comforting American food and environment, but that means that learning about this culture isn't as easy. I'm afraid that if I were not a missionary I would come and go and all I'd have done was see a new big city like New York or London. It's so nice that I am forced to do my best to talk to the people here and be their friend so that I can actually learn a little bit about these people. Our Zone focus this transfer is on working with members, especially less active members, so I look forward to being able to get to know more of the people of this great ancient country. I'm glad I am now able to carry on a conversation at least, but I need so much more in order to really learn the stories and ideas and history of this people. Of course I can do that later, but it's so much fun to hear it from a real Chinese person. Like reading about George Washington in a textbook versus listening to a real, old, patriotic American talk about him. Sure, it might not be 100% true, but it's the feeling and the culture and the minds and circumstances of the people.

The minds of the youth here tend to be more focused on America or Japan. Chinese culture isn't really trendy here. Elder So is annoyed by the Japan lovers among his peers, but he himself loves Western things. It makes it a little harder to learn about, because old people are hard to understand.

I asked another person why they give moon cakes on mid Autumn festival. She said, "I guess it's because a long time ago people missed their families so they sent them moon cakes." So there you have it.

Well, I've got to go. This email is slightly weird. Time in retrospect has gone very fast. I'm sure it will continue to pass just as unnervingly quickly.
Love you much,

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