Saturday, January 29, 2011
The biggest festival in China is here! It's Chinese new year. So what does that mean for a missionary in Hong Kong? All of our investigators have gone home for at least a few weeks. Deep clean time is here. We have tons of meetings to give us something to do while no one is here.
Deep clean is what we did today and it is very nice to have done. Now our apt. is so nice and I feel comfortable walking around barefoot. Everything left there by old missionaries has been taken care of. All the food no one wanted to eat is gone. We can move around and know where everything is. yeah.
We get to go to Big Buddha again next week. I guess that is the mission activity every year. I am much more excited this time, because I have a better coat (last year was by far the coldest I've been in Hong Kong and I was not prepared) and because I understand the culture here so much better that I did last time. I will appreciate the paintings and calligraphy and carvings so much more, although there is still so much I don't know. Our correlator always tells me about Chinese history and culture (he loves history so much) but it is really hard to understand everything he says because it's weird vocab and he as pretty strong southern accent.
Our best investigators right now are Sister Wang, Sister Liu, and Mentor. Sister Wang works on Sunday and is still trying to figure that out. She doesn't think she can get every Sunday off and is worried that she would not be able to find another job and would have to go back to Mainland. Sister Liu is willing to come to church and read the scriptures and pray and everything, but just doesn't feel she knows whether God exists or not. Mentor is was cool. He's tall and handsome and stylish. Our correlator said, "oh him. I'm afraid to talk to him, he's too cool." I think a big part of why he started coming to church is his friend Emily, but he is doing everything he needs to do and seems to believe it.
I am happy. I love you all.
Xin Nian KwaiLe (Happy New Year)
GongXi FaCai (Congratulations, may money come to you [another new years greeting])
Sunday, January 16, 2011
It is getting close to Chinese New Year, so everyone is going home for the holidays. For most, Hong Kong is not really home. Even if they were born and raised here, their ancestral home is the holiday place. Even the ones who have been here long enough to not remember where they came from or know any people there close up shop and stay inside. Although that won't happen until the actual week of the new year, it's still rough on missionary work. We're still ok at this point, but I know that lots of people have less and less investigators as time goes on. But it's still a fun cultural time.
Two days ago while on splits two twenty-something girls followed us off the MTR and, at a safe distance, all the way to the church. "Should we go contact them?" asked Elder Reber. "I don't want to, but this is your area so it's up to you." "Ok, um... uh...ok... I just prayed and I don't think we should do it."
Safe from sketchiness.
And then next day on the way to the same church we got a call from an Elder to say that there was a Chinese girl looking for me at that church. It was them. It was way too scary to my poor missionary mind. Those Elders taught them the first lesson. They said they were willing to be baptised when they knew it was true. They got the number of the Elders who cover this area and started texting, inviting them to go out and play at 10:00. Oh dear. Luckily they are just visiting and will leave soon. I hope they can find a real testimony from this experience. But it was traumatizing for us.
On Sunday we baptised Sister Shi. She is so cool and powerful. She told us we needed to get over our fear and go preach this in Mainland! Now she understands the law more I think. She will help her son to join the church though. She is so cool.
Sister Wang really wants to be baptised, but she has to work on Sunday. It's really too bad. She is also really cool and is building a strong testimony, though at this point she is afraid of losing her job. But with faith she can overcome that and work out this problem. I know it.
I love you all.
A member found out that I like art and got really excited. She lent me a book about Chinese brush painting (written by a white woman, which seems slightly lame, but means it is good englich. I think I'll leave that typo). In it it gives "The Six Cannons" one of which is Copying other's work, so I started doing a bit of painting. It's super fun, and makes me feel so Chinese. As an apartment we set another goal to be more Chinese. We are all Mandarin Speakers, so we can speak Chinese together and eat Chinese food and steam Chinese buns and play Chinese games and paint Chinese pictures. So fun. Englich.
Since last Monday there have been seven baptisms of visitors from Mainland China, five of which were men. I love helping anyone to receive the restored gospel, of course, but it makes me so happy to know we are strengthening the priesthood in Mainland. I love this work. Pray for them.
We have some good investigators here. Sister Shi will be baptised on Sunday. She is so cool. Such a strong christian woman. Took her a little while to understand authority, but she always talks about how she has never been so happy before ever and loves meeting with us and wants her son in Beijing to find this Church so much. She always thanks God for helping her meet us. She came here in order to keep her Hong Kong ID Card active, so is only here for about a month. Her brother-in-law knew she was christian so he set her up in a hotel near a big church he had seen and told her how to get to it. Despite things getting in the way, she found it and came Sunday morning a few weeks ago. Now she will be baptised so that she can attend church when she goes back to Mainland. It's so exciting.
I love you all. Happy New Year.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
It was so wonderful to talk to you all. I miss you, but it isn't too long before I see you. It's strange. I've already been out here so long. Two Christmases. It doesn't seem possible.
Monday night I got a call from President Chan to be a Zone Leader. Yes, it is a proper noun. That means I have to lead a whole zone and be a good example. Help them to work hard and be happy. I feel I can do a good job with the 'be happy' part, but I'm the one who will probably be learning the most in the other aspect. Do I run as fast as I have strength? No faster, but still diligent? I hope so.
I am replacing my 'Father' (trainer) Elder So who is going home. One or two MTR stops home. I really respect the Hong Kong people who serve here. It can't be easy. Just like everyone else who has ever met him, I love him. He is just so loving to others. He's great and I'll miss him as a missionary.
I don't know what to say. We've had a hard time with the holiday season as far as teaching people goes, although there have been more visitors from mainland than usual. There was one who came with her American boyfriend and stayed for a while. We were able to teach her for a few days instead of just one. She has been learning about the church online for several months now and so understood everything and asked lots of really deep questions. 'What about people who don't go to those kingdoms? What about Satan? Is he going there?' It was great.
Elder Welling's mother bought us all dinner yesterday (not in person of course. A thin piece of plastic represented her) and it was really really good. I don't imagine she will read this, but thank you Kathy Welling. It was so so good.
In the bathroom of the mall where we ate was a sign that read:
Mess easy to use
I say we get one.
I love you all. The church is true.
I'm lucky people think that my way of doing things is at least interesting. Everyone calls me indie, so when I wrap all the presents in solid colors and simple designs and newspaper, they just say "it's so indie" and like it as a change from the normal flashy Christmas. It's the Christmas I grew up with, even though I often wished for the colored lights and four in the morning fits of mad present opening that my friends and cousins had. I'm afraid I don't know how to do that Christmas. I don't imagine it would be hard to learn, but now I feel ours is the right way. Slow and paced. Bridling the appetites. Thanks Mom and Dad.
In China, Christmas is known as Silent Night. So today we're having our mission Silent Night activity. Food, skits, gift exchange. I got a Chinese piggy bank and filled it with M&M's for Elder Fogt. I don't know him at all, and those who do just told me to do something crazy. I'm afraid the bank was maybe still a bit wet from washing it, so the M&M's might be all stuck together. It will be an engineering challenge for him.
Sister Ruan's husband is opening up a bit, though he still has a lot of doubts about "the Mormons." He actually came to a few activities though. But he doesn't want her to be baptised into a church that he is not a member of. He says that can lead to problems later on. He is right, so he needs to join too. The problems would not come from her baptism, but from his not being baptised. He believes that no church on the earth has authority from God. So close, but as of now unwilling to find out for himself. But he's nice. Just stubborn.
On Sunday at a caroling zone find we met a man from mainland who is here staying with his daughter for several months. He had no Hong Kong Cell phone, so we just scheduled him for Tuesday. We had no way of contacting him, so we were afraid he would forget, but he came, and accepted a baptismal date for next month, and is going to church with us Sunday, and got a cell phone so we can contact him. Yay! It's a Christmas Miracle! Or just a miracle. A regular old one.
I love you all! Happy Silent Night and Merry Christmas. Talk to you tomorrow!