Saturday, June 18, 2011

Last week I got my haircut for the last time on my mission. I asked him to also give me a shave with his strait edge razor, but he said I didn't need it and shaving too much is bad. I guess I missed my chance at a scary shave. I figured it was the most likely time to not get killed, as my companion was there watching, as were lots of other people (it's a big barber shop) and the barbers are all very nice. But no luck.
We also went to Central last week to get some chops. Afterward we went to Gateway, an American store, to look around. I looked at an enormous bag of chocolate chips, but decided I couldn't afford it. Then I picked up a big bag of whole wheat flour to buy, when all of a sudden the owner walked up and asked in English if I was going to make some bread for my brothers. I said yes, I was and he said, what about white bread? He had a damaged bag he would give me for free, because I was here with the church. Then he gave me a slightly damaged bag of whole wheat flour for half price and a very damaged bag of white flour for free. I guess he has some member friends and has investigated before. I was so happy that I bought the huge bag of chocolate chips anyway. I'm not sure I'll eat them all before I leave!

It's been nice to hear people testify of help I have given, members, investigators, and other missionaries. I knew the Spirit could help out when one didn't know what to say or how to help someone, but I never really believed I could do it. Especially these last couple months I've learned a lot more about the spirit and how to not worry about whether I can do it or not. If I need to, then the Spirit can do it. And now I know the Spirit has spoken through me to help others, because I really can't do it actually. There is no way. But He can. So no worries.

Our investigators are still progressing, some faster than others. An example of receiving Divine help cam on Sunday when we had two lessons to teach so we split up and Elder Chung requested I teach Sister Liu. I protested that I didn't know her very well. He said, "Yeah, but I am out of idea with her." I thought to myself at the time that if he couldn't help her, I had no chance. Elder Chung is pretty close to perfect missionary. I am not.
I don't know how, but as Elder Wall and I relied on the spirit, we helped her to see that baptism is an act of faith. An act of faith that will bless her life and her daughter's life for years. I shared about how on my mom's side, six generations back a man name Brigham Young had to make the same decision. He eventually did, and here I am, six generations later, still blessed from it. Then I shared about Janca's family joining the church. They didn't become prophets like Brigham Young, but they did make the same decision to be baptized and join the church of the Lord, and here I am, only three generations later, receiving the same blessings. I had never thought about sharing that before, and only did because the Elders quorum president suggested it. It really helps people to think about how much this will bless their posterity, I think.
So Sister Liu will be baptized on the tenth.

I know the church is true. The Spirit testifies of it to anyone who asks. In his book Jesus The Christ, James E. Talmage logically shows that Christ was resurrected by showing all the problems with any story of how it might not have actually happened, and says something like, the Resurrection is as sound or more so than any other fact we take as historically accurate, but that doesn't matter. The truth of this is not founded on written pages alone. Anyone who asks with sincere heart and real intent can know for themselves.
I have asked, I know that is true.

I love you.

I have a bit of a sore throat lately (I just don't know how to not get those. It's awful) and it reminded me of that nice Greek lady who worked at the gallery in New York telling us she was feeling "a little under the water lately." That's how I feel. I think it has to do with the serious heat and humidity and the powerful AC in all public buildings. Your body is completely damp within five seconds of being outside, which then freezes to your body as soon as you go into any church, mall, restaurant, store, or even bus. I've never imagined such a summertime threat of catching a cold.
About a week ago I started marinading some chicken for dinner. Due to circumstances beyond my control (or desire to avoid) we didn't end up cooking our own food that night, or again until today. The poor chicken was swollen and looked like beef. It tasted and felt like teriyaki stix chicken. I didn't like it. I think that's because I just used a bottle labeled "Chicken Marinade" instead of mixing my own. Lesson learned.
Our investigators are, most of them, experiencing trials of their faith. I wouldn't have it any other way. The gospel is true, so Satan sends trials. If he didn't it probably wouldn't be true. Plus it builds faith. And character. But it's hard right now. Parents unwilling to allow their children to "become christian", having to go back to mainland for family matters, fear, etc. I have no idea what to do about any of them. Good thing it is true and God helps us or this work would be done for.
Would everyone please particularly pray for Dats 李? He feels he needs time to develop more faith and wait for life to be less busy. Please pray for him to overcome his doubts and embrace the gospel and the blessings that are in store.
Another special help needed is for Joyce and Kelvin 陳. Their parents are Buddhist and do not agree.
Coming up on my last transfer. Looks like it will be still on the Island with Elder Chung, but we won't know for sure until next Tuesday. I am happy with that, or anything else I can think of. So far every area and companion has been great, I imagine President Chan will still be inspired this time.
I love you all 啦!

Family, as if speaking with you face to face,

We're at a coffee shop today and I got a berry smoothie which is about 100 times as sweet and creamy as the no sugar added smoothies we've been making at home. It's yummy, but a bit much.

On Sunday a member gave us some fresh unsweetened soy milk. It tasted like liquid soy bean and was not enjoyed. The cakes they make here are all very cute and perfectly done, but the store bought ones aren't very much more that that. Pretty and spongy in a bad way. All air and no good things. But there is a member who makes cakes that are just as beautiful but not at the expense of being enjoyable. So that's nice.

We have some awesome investigators who go to Kwun Tong Ward. That's a Cantonese speaking ward, and their Cantonese is way good, but their mother tongue is Mandarin so we still teach them. When we asked the little brother if he was going to attend his sister's baptism he said, "I think when my sister gets baptised... I will probably also get baptised." Yesterday he called us but we missed the call. Later, when I called back and asked why he had called he said, "I prayed about the Book of Mormon last night. I feel it's true." I guess he was afraid we weren't going to follow up on our commitment so he did.

On Monday we went with him (his name is Kelvin) to the Kwun Tong Family Home Evening activity. It consisted of a spiritual thought that the missionaries didn't know they were supposed to give, a couple of musical performances by members, listening to so very electronic songs on CD one of which was apparently the Miss Hong Kong theme, and then the missionaries singing Nearer My God To Thee. As soon as we were done a man no one knew who had arrived by motorbike jumped up and announced that he had come here from another ward. He then asked who knew what Rockabilly meant. I was the only one who tentatively raised me hand. He asked me to explain it in Chinese. I couldn't. So he did. Then he instructed the missionaries to sing "Onward Christian Soldiers," normally at first, but then to have everyone clap a "Rock Beat" (clap - clap clap - clap - clap clap) and us to sing it like a rockabilly style. "Let's rock." Pretty crazy. Why didn't we have FHE like this?

Our zone originally set a goal for nine baptisms this month, but the President Chan told us he felt we could get ten. Our zone members happily accepted his council. We ended up with 13. We had more baptisms than International! Not to compare or use baptisms as a measure of our awesomeness, but it was a great experience. It shows what a well set goal can do. Nine might not have pushed us as hard. But a goal of ten with everyone excited and working hard for it worked wonders.

Ah, the Beatles. How nice.

Everything is great. Excited to see everyone, but hoping to drag out these precious months.
Love you all

Elder Holland came and talked to us missionaries on Tuesday. He is so cool. When I shook his hand and introduced myself he said "well, you're Brian and Suzanne's boy! Well, I have to give you a hug!" That was a surprise. He knew I was going home soon too. I had asked Heavenly Father to give me a reconfirmation of his apostolic calling, and felt the spirit at the time of asking, later on in another prayer even stronger, and strongest when he hugged me. I just felt the spirit of that servant of the Lord fill me right up to my tiny little spiritual capacity. I know he is called of God and given the authority to teach us as God would, were He here.

We taught Sister 金 (gold) yesterday about prophets right before she got to listen to Elder Bednar answering questions (yeah, Holland and Bednar both came and spoke at the same time to members. Luckily there was a special missionary meeting with Elder Holland so we could hear and see them both). But we pointed out that a big part of what he was doing was teaching us to find our own answers through scripture study. "This book has those kind of answers?" she asked. My companion said he had personally learned that through experience. "Do you know like, which page to find them on?" No, you have to just always read to keep on learning. "Really? Well then I should read this book every single time I have time." So true. It's great when investigators figure stuff out that we don't even mean to say.

We ate delicious western style sandwiches for lunch. I really love the mix of cultures you get here in Hong Kong, especially food. It is so wonderful and yummy. I try to focus on Chinese, as I am in China after all. But mixing it up is such a lovely thing to be able to do.

Elder Chung is still great. I'm just worried he'll get called AP after this move and I won't be able to finish my mission with him. I said this last time I was his companion (interesting side note, this is the third time I've served with the same companion twice), but he is a rare mix of %100 obedient, but still relaxed and fun. It's great to be able to serve with him.

I love you all! I hope all is well.