Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We went to the temple today. We get to go once a transfer. I am so glad I can go at all, and feel so bad for missions without a temple in them. I noticed an old old man who was a nearly every session I have been to in Hong Kong. I have thought before "oh, nine a.m. on Thursday must be his weekly temple time, what a good thing for this man who can barely walk to be able to do each week." Today he was in our session. On the way out, I noticed him sitting in the room, waiting for the next session. Then I overheard someone who is visiting Hong Kong say that they have done a session every day this week and that man was in every single one of them. What an amazing man. I imagine that because of the condition of his old body he cannot be a temple worker, and so he found another way to take all or at least most of his time and give it to the Lord. It is so amazing to me.

We have an investigator named Sister 金 which means gold. And she is. We met her today for the second time and talked about coming to church. She says she thinks her boss might give her at most two Sundays a month off. We talked about it for a while and why it is important and asked if she thought she could at least get every Sunday morning off so she could go to church. She said, "well, I've been thinking maybe I should just quit, that way I could come to church every week and find a better job. Is that ok?" She is so humble and awesome.

We went to a museum that has an exhibit about Pixar today. It was pretty cool. Lots of artwork goes into those movies. And lots of other work too. But there is so much awesome concept art etc. that is unseen. Years of sketches, paintings, paper cut outs, sculptures, all kinds of stuff. It was way cool.

I'm out of time, but things are good. I am happy. It is hot.

I love you.

So Much Food

My companion Elder Pope flies home tomorrow. It is very weird. He was a young missionary when I was. Very young. Now he is "dead." That makes me almost dead. That is weird. In missionary slang, we say I have killed Elder Pope, which is only fitting, because he "killed" my "father" (trainer). So now I guess I have to look out for Elder Wyatt, Elder Pope's "son."

But killing a missionary has a lot of advantages. Especially one as outgoing as Elder Pope. [I'm sure Noah didn't intend that pun, but I think it's funny!] Everyone in the branch wants to chang us out (chinglish for feed us). So we haven't had to pay for a meal in at least a week, and they are all super yummy Chinese food, and always so much of it! I love it. Today was the first time I paid for my lunch in a while, but it was also a very large meal, as we went to a Mexican buffet to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. So yummy. And now it's about as exotic as 叉燒飯 seemed when I first got here.

One of the people who bought us such delicious food was Sister 施. She is a recent convert of ours who went back to mainland right after baptism. She had been a member of another christian church for over twenty years, and struggled with the concept of authority. We were especially worried because in her home town there were only two other members, no branch, not even a small group. I remember Elder Pope saying, "I hope one day to find out what happens to her." Well, she went back and was unable to find one of the members, so she and the one elder she did find met several times to hold a two person sacrament meeting. When the Jehovah's Witness she met in Hong Kong calls her each weekend (very illegal), she listens politely,and then tells him he is very smart, but doesn't have authority. Even when her son found anti material online and told her about it it didn't shake her testimony. Now she lives in Guang Zhou where she attends the Guang Zhou second branch. She is still very powerful and brought her son and his girlfriend down to meet us and say goodbye to Elder Pope. I am so happy I could be a part of helping her.

I love you. 五月五號快樂! (happy cinco de mayo)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I got a haircut today. We went to the usual place. A bunch of old guys, most from Guang Dong, who came to Hong Kong before my parents were born and started cutting hair. I can imagine the excitement they must have felt, coming to this big city and starting work as barbers, so much opportunity here. And then, sixty years later, they cut my hair. Talked a little about their life in thickly accented Mandarin so I could barely understand. Each one has his own personal style, and no matter what you tell him will pretty much just cut your hair the way he's going to do it. I just say, "quite short" and let them go. The general style they all have is longer on the top, maybe 1-1.5 inches with the sides shaved to only a few mm's if you're not careful, and no sideburns. It ends up looking rather like an onion, and seems to be designed for Chinese people as it looks much better on them. But the atmosphere is great and it's pretty cheap. I am getting better at touching up my own hair.
This is my companion's last P-day so we will go buy some cheap things on the street tonight. He wasn't going to do it, but then one of the international elders we live with who is also going home next week came back with his cheap stuff, and my comp was done for. We also eat out a lot lately, because he wants to try new things and eat old favorites one more time. It's ok, but I'm running out of money for the month. But still am happy.
I saw an ad for Pirates of the Caribbean. I wonder if it will be saved.
We have quite a few investigators getting close to baptism. But it seems that all of them have problems arise at every possible stage. As the Elder's Quorum president pointed out, this is a very good thing. Without having to overcome trials, how can they be expected to develop the faith to overcome trials in the future? But it's hard right now. And I can't honestly say I'm glad they have trials. That sounds awful. But God knows what He's doing.
The Elder's Quorum president is so amazing. He loves his family so much. He is so humble and willing to change. He listens to us, reads the scriptures, reads every bit of church literature available in Chinese, and tries so hard to help everyone else. I cannot think of any way he can improve as a person. It is a testimony to me that this church is for the world, not just Westerners.
I love you.


We had to move again. I was hoping I would not have to, as I dislike moving. But they decided to close an apartment, so we moved out and closed our apartment. It is a taxing ordeal. But not nearly as bad as it is for the housing elder, so I'm pretty OK.

When I first moved here I tried Vita Flower Tea, a popular brand of herbal tea. I thought it had a nice, light flavor. Then I switched to Yeo brand, because it had less sugar. Now the original kind I thought was so light seems way too sweet for me. I am so Chinese.

Thanks to Aunt Gabbi and family for the package. It is lovely. I have not been able to try any of the soy milk cupcakes yet, but I will soon. I am especially grateful for the dried fruit. Also very grateful to the V's for all the pictures. I always show them to the other elders and say, pointing to Corryn, "She's married now." Although none of them know who she is, they all understand the strangeness of that statement, usually expressed by by them thus, "Weeeird." Just the same as when I say, "all of these guys are back from their missions already." "Weeeird." Somehow we all seem to understand each other in this respect. Not a bond that any other group than missionaries have, I imagine.

We are a unique group, missionaries. I'm so glad I came.

We've just been finding and teaching all over the place. Elder Pope is a very good, very enthusiastic finder. It is easy to be more excited about finding when I'm with him. It is mostly easiest to follow my companion's attitude toward everything. I need to work harder on having a great attitude, no matter what other people are feeling. It makes a better person.

We're still plodding along, trying to help a few people make their May 1st baptismal date, just before Elder Pope goes home. It's fun and exciting to see people who want it so badly and are trying so hard to overcome all the obstacles in their path, as well as to see people who don't want it too badly, but start to understand why they need it slowly. It's just great.

I may have broken my toe playing soccer. At any rate I hurt it.

I will miss dumplings. I hope I can find some good ones. I love them so.

And I love you.

It's Taken So Long

I always assumed, early on in my mission, that eventually talking to people on the bus or MTR would eventually become more natural and easy. It never did. After a year and a half when I still sometimes would go a whole string of MTR stops without opening my mouth once I just gave up. And now, suddenly, it's so much easier. Just like that. Of course I don't like it anymore now than I did before, but as soon as I stopped relying on my own inadequate self and let God help, it became very doable to try, at least try. If it makes me uncomfortable and them uncomfortable for a few seconds at most, at that it is well worth someone's salvation. Thanks for everyone's help through prayers and other things.
We have an investigator whose only problem is work. She is here to find work so that she can put her son through college, and does her very best for him (I hope he is a wonderful boy), but the only kind of job she can get is dish washing, which means it is almost impossible for her to not work on Sunday. She has a desire to keep all the commandments, it's just this one that gets in her way. I think it's so sad, because I've seen so many people who don't have a job get baptized because they say it's no problem to keep the commandments, and then as soon as they need to get a job they just stop coming to church. They weren't tested on it, so they didn't develop that desire. Now, because of her situation, Sister Chen knows she wants and needs to go to church and does everything she can to do it, but as of now still isn't sure if she'll be able to come to church much at all. That makes it hard to baptize her, but she is so much more prepared than so many other people who can be baptized. We will keep praying for her. She needs the gospel so much.
We actually have quite a few dish washer investigators. One walked into the church, and then they all started coming together. Humility is so essential to feeling the truth of this gospel. Pride is such a problem. Especially amongst people who are having moderate to great success in their lives. They don't see the need for God. Blessed are the dishwashers who have been compelled to be humble. I am reminded of my first week here when a businessman told me that reading the Book of Mormon was not practical. "I want to read this book" he said, holding up something written by Warren Buffet (is it really spelled Buffet?) "Why would I want to become like God if I can become like Warren Buffet? It's just not practical." Being successful is good, but being Humble is better. It is practical in a sense that most of us won't really understand for a long time, I imagine.
I am a little sick right now, so I am tired and can't think of any funny experiences. I am excited for conference (we get it a week late here). I love you.