Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our apartment is having a "healthy transfer", so we set some rules to try to improve our health, like don't buy unhealthy things, etc. The problem is we threw in a disclaimer that if someone else buys in for you you can eat it. I think our health has improved, but I don't know that you could actually say we are healthy.
I really like to play Chinese Chess, which is similar to western chess in that you have to put the king in checkmate to win, but there are other rules like a river in the middle of the board, elephants, and jumbers or canons. I find it more interesting that western chess, possibly just because it's new to me. But I recently purchased a set of Japanese chess which is, again, new and so interesting. It is played on a 9x9 grid, most of the pieces are different (jade general vs king general, gold generals, silver generals, knights, lances, bishop, rook, pawns), but the two most fun new rules are promotion and dropping. When a piece gets to the far three rows of the board it can be promoted, giving it better (or different) moves. Both teams are the same color, so who owns a piece is determined by it's orientation, which allows you to "drop" or place one of your opponents pieces that your have eaten (that is what they call it when you take a piece) anywhere on the board for your turn. It makes it very difficult to guess your opponent's moves. It's rather complicated, but so much fun. I'm sorry to have gone on and on about that.
We have a lot of people to teach right now. As we hoped and prayed, after New Years things started to pick up again. On Sunday we got a great referral who is the first person I've ever met that seems to just get it. The gospel, I mean. To me it seems so obvious. Of course this is God's church, it has to be. Nothing else makes sense. And that's how she is too. We are still making sure she has a good strong spiritual foundation as well, as that is the most important part, but she already feels it is true, at very least in her head. She also says "tell me the hard commandments, I hear there are hard ones. Coffee, tea, chastity, weekly church attendance, that is all easy. Tell me the hard ones." No, that's it. Those are the ones.
We also met an awesome little family. Right now just the grandma and little girl live in Hong Kong, but the Dad works in ZhuHai and seems to be able to come at least close to often. We met the two on the street and pulled them back to the church and got their number. Then, the next day we ran in to them in the exact same place, but the dad was there. They said, "Oh good, we were hoping to see you again, we told him all about you two and were hoping to see you here!" The little girl calls us (in English) little uncle kong and little uncle pu. They invited us to go play ping pong with them at four. The grandma claimed to be a pretty good player. So we went. And she was. She owned everyone. She is just an older, stout woman, but she can play some table tennis. Apparently she has represented China at international competitions. At the place we played there was a 72 year old lady who could beat everyone, but she didn't stand a chance against our old lady. Yeah!
The dad trusts us completely and wants us to teach his daughter English and about religion. He feels most of the problems in China are because of a lack of religion. So good.
I love you all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still Here

So I will stay on Hong Kong Island as the fearless leader at least six more weeks with Elder Pope. That means I could easily stay here with him for next transfer as well, his last, and then easily train a new Zone Leader the transfer after that, and then easily just finish off my mission here in Wan Chai. I wouldn't mind that, although I would like to go serve in Tolo (north New Territories). But it's really great here, and no one can say the church is too far. And we have a lot of people to teach right now. Sister 王 (Wang) brought two friends with her to different lessons, both named 陳 (Chen, the same as my mission president, a very common surname). They are both very nice, but the second one is pretty amazing. She doesn't know anything about Christianity, but she knows she needs God's help in her life, and the first time she came to church she felt the spirit so strongly she cried. She is so happy to meet with us and learn about this. She already has a baptismal date and wants her son to be able to learn about the church, but he is in Mainland studying. And we have an investigator who is half Taiwanese, half Danish. He is way cool and willing to find out if this is true. He has perfect English (I don't know about Danish, anything I could say to him dad?) and is a bit surprised that Mormons don't reject modern technology. Now that he knows that, he will read and pray to know if it's true.
After a year and a half of spending a lot of time in Wan Chai chapel, the guard finally heard my English name and asked if my dad came here on his mission. I told him it was my uncle, and he said that Elder Kershisnik was his AP. His name is Sunny Wen and he asked how Elder Kershisnik and Sister Lambert (is that right? sorry, I forgot Aunt Virginia's maiden name) are doing. He says he remembers them both very well and though it was a good match and to say hello from him. That's the fourth person who has known Uncle Paul, and the first who seemed to know he had married "Sister Lambert." It was funny because I've seen him almost every week since I came to Hong Kong and he never saw my last name.
Well, I'm out of time.
櫳馬精神! ([Wishing you]dragon horse energy)


It is now the year of the Rabbit. There are strange little cloth monkeys wearing rabbit costumes at Big Buddha which confuses me profoundly.

Missionary work getting slower and slower as this holiday goes on. Hopefully it will start picking up from here on out. This week I have attended about 22 hours of meetings in under three days time. It was rough. But it's over now and we're all feeling trained and ready for the new year.

Just a suggestion, no matter who it's for, try to avoid holding a nine hour meeting. Ever. And two in a row is right out.

We went to Big Buddha today who is still sitting right where we left him last year. Still big. Not cold this year though. Lots of missionaries carrying big heavy coats today. We saw "walking with Buddha," the twenty minute cartoon about the big guy on the hill. He was pretty cool, but whatever it is he actually taught has been changed a lot. That's why we need authority.

We went inside him and saw the paintings done in blood. I don't know whose blood, probably not animal blood, they don't even eat those.

There is some absolutely beautiful calligraphy in there. I can't read it, but I stared at it longer than any of the Chinese people there. Wonderful. Really.

Pretty slow. Lots of meetings. Been thinking about humility lately. I like what Elder Uchtdorf said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking less about yourself." I hope I can do that. Oops...
I love you