Hello family. I think I'll just say some stuff that happened separate and then answer emails after.
So, surprising news. On Friday, we got a call that said we are moving to Ma On Shan, which is near the mountains, very far away from Tai Wai, which we are still serving, and that Elder O'Gara is going to be District Leader. We had to pack and move by Monday morning. That was surprising, and at first very annoying. I had finally gotten really comfortable in the Mong Kok apartment, and then had to move. Plus, I really like the guys in our apartment, though the two Mandarins (Mandarin speaking, not Chinese bundeis) are really weird. They cook gross food, come home after 10 o’clock, and Elder Henrichs is a big endearingly naive. Anyway, so we packed up and lived on minimum stuff for two days, which was actually very nice, moved this morning, and found out that the Ma On Shan apartment is AMAZING. Everyone said it was small, but it seems to me to be about the same size as the Mong Kok but with 2 less people living in it, has an ocean view, amazing surroundings, etc. The only bad part is the guys who left were kind of slobs, so we need to deep clean the fridge and freezer tonight. Still, I think it's a good deal.
Still very little success, no new investigators, only one street lesson. I don't feel discouraged most of the time though, because at least I've gotten better at initiating conversations. I try to talk to many more people now, actually a lot more than E.O'G, because he's old and jaded and gets really bitter when people don't listen (though I told him to try to improve and he's done an amazing job). My main problem now is figuring out what to say after dang yat jang, (wait one second). I've tried talking about families a lot, but they usually don't listen. No big deal, we just need to find somewhere where the people are already relaxing and are a bit more willing to listen.
Hong Kong is still full of surprises. This week we had two times where we saw tons of monkeys. They were pretty small, about the size of large cats. The first time was right next to the Tai Wai chapel, and about 30 monkeys crossed a street via tree tops. The second was when we were wandering over around the mountains at the edge of Tai Wai trying to find some villages. Pretty crazy.
We've had 3 cheng outs, (member dinners, tell Eva it’s the chang as in invite to eat). Two at the Fu Family’s house and one at the Bishop’s house. The Bishop, Mak Jyu Gaau, is amazing. He played around admirably at the Halloween Party on Saturday, and every Monday he does a Family Home Evening thing where he invites missionaries and anyone available over to his house, feeds them dinner, and has one of us missionaries teach a lesson. The Fu Family is more interesting. The Mom is a saint, fairly recent convert, moved from mainland a long time ago, so still has a weird accent, but just as nice as you can imagine. Her kids are insane. Yuki is 13 or 14, not too crazy but sometimes very annoying. We see her at church a lot, she's okay though. She helps out her mom a lot. Her younger brothers are 9 and like 6, both completely out of control. The dinner is fine, lesson afterwards usually not so much. Both times we've gone with the sisters (there is one sister companionship in Tai Wai, they're great), and the first time they got mooned by the younger one. This time they were talking about how we all make sacrifices for our religion, like Abinadi. Mentioned how discouraging it could be when people call us cheh gau (cheh gau literally means evil church, fairly common, since there's a lot of misconception and prejudice against Mormons, and to say it right you have to say it in a very low, breathy, old person voice, and imagine you're sitting with no shoes on a bench smoking), so the two little boys spent the next 5 minutes saying we were all cheh gau, they were cheh gau, their mom was cheh gau, etc. Sister Fu was not pleased. Still hangin’ in, enjoying things immensely, having a good hard time.
Today as a P Day treat we had Korean BBQ, which is basically an all you can eat cook it yourself buffet. 120 Hong Kong dollars, which is enough to eat really really cheap dinners for a week, and you get to go over to these buffet lines full of raw meat, load up a plate, then bring it to your table where there's a little burner and grill, and cook to your heart’s content. Very good. If we ever get to go to Hong Kong together, we'll go do it. It's not even that pricey in US dollars, less than $20.
Thanks for the advice, I actually really enjoyed reading it. I like what you said about comfort zone, I feel like that happens to older missionaries a lot. They get jaded, experienced, and then they don't want to try to talk to anyone who doesn't fit the demographic they've found to be most likely to listen. I am still clueless, so I have an advantage.
I think the main hard thing about the finding is that it's so easy to go finding and not actually DO anything but walk around for three hours. If I was tracting, we'd be forced to at least have contact with everyone in the houses, or at the very least know that you tried to. If you're not careful, you can go finding and never even try to talk to anyone. Or you'll get unlucky and try a place with no people, or a place where there are just crowds and you can't try to talk to anyone. It makes it hard, but I also think it forces me to have more faith, because I have to choose to initiate conversations, to stop for people, or stop them. As long as you're willing to try to work hard, and you really go at it with that attitude, the success is kind of up to the Lord. So it's not too bad.
Oh, the Fu family had some Tabasco sauce, gave it to us, reminds me of you. Very funny. Also, I've eaten so much weird food here that my taste has expanded a lot.
I will write you now because time is short and you got gypped last time. I love your description of YCC. It warms my heart to hear the youth of today working to serve that great metropolis, that paradigm of cleanliness and community involvement, that monument to human goodness and suburban life that is Cottonwood Heights.
That is insane that it's already been a quarter of school. Woah. Church for me was hard too, because I CAN’T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING. SO DEAL WITH IT.
Also, we got up at 5 every day this week to call a less active named Billy and pray with him, because he works from 7 am to 7pm, and he hasn't been praying. We were exhausted. On Sunday, after we crawled back into bed, E.O'G was sneezing, and Elder Henrichs for some reason thought he was vomiting and got up, at 5:20 am, to see if he was okay. He's crazy. Even if E.O'G was vomiting I would have maybe felt bad for him and gone back to bed. E.H is a good kid, very big heart.
If you're going to do running instead of swimming, I highly recommend doing track or cross country or something. At least practice with them if you can, it makes working out hard a lot easier. I am sad, but that's your choice. Please send me the story. Actually, don't until it's done, then send me a box of chocolate, some GOSSNER'S MILK (I have to talk about this for a bit. Gossner's milk is my favorite thing in Hong Kong. It's probably actually gross, but I love it. Vitamin D fortified whole fat goodness in a super pasteurized no refrigeration needed, friendly red box, shipped from LOGAN, UTAH TO THE KONG. I love it) and my priesthood authority line thing, 4 generation chart (it should be down in my used to be room) and a small family photo, wallet sized. I actually could use those last ones.
Love ya Joe. Keep happy, talk to people, don't become a reclusive writer (awesome as that would be).
I am proud you have followed in my legacy. Books are the only friends you need. When I was younger I read mostly books like you do, the bookshelves downstairs have some really good books. Try reading Artemis Fowl, or the Redwall books. They're both great. When you're older, Bartimaeus trilogy is amazing, classic books are great. One of the guys in our apartment had read Crime and Punishment, so we talked about it for a while. Nice job winging it in Relief Society, I feel like I could do that too now a days.
Love you, miss you.
You are going to turn into a crazy artist violinist girl. This pleases me. One of the sister missionaries is a music major, apparently her violin skills are amazing. It does end up being worth it. I wish I'd stuck with piano. I like music a lot more now. Sorry so little, not much time.
Things sound good on the home front. I only have 5 minutes, so excuse my briefness. I love the restoration lesson. I used to think it made no sense, wasn't very important, but having taught it in brief lesson form once or twice, I love it now. I think I would have enjoyed your talk, feel free to send it. Right now the thing I want is a stronger testimony of the Plan of Happiness, so I've been praying about that. LIke it says in Alma 43 I think. He prayed and fasted intently to understand.
I think one time I went on vacation, got back, and you had done the lining of the pond and landscaped it. I'm imagining that happening again. We do emails in a YMCA library about 15 min. from our apartment. There's not a ton of Christians, but a ton of Christian schools and stuff here. You sound very busy, but you're already down to 4 kids to deal with, so you'll be fine. Sorry I send so few pictures. It is really hard for me to remember, don't know why. I'll try to send some of the new apartment. Glad E.O'G had some on his blog.
JSUT leave me alone. I jsut want to preach some true gospels stuff, ya know? I jsut can;t take all theese deestractions, you jsut drivign me OVER THE EDGE. that will be enough, you jsut stop right away. Oh, I jsut remembered, I know what your Christmas present will be. I'm gonna buy all o' yall nice ladystreet things for christmas, so be ready. And send me some stuff. Oh, ask Mom if she's okay with me occasionally jsut using that card/debit card, and if I am able to withdraw money. jsut curious.
Peace out fam.