I think it's great that you got to have that dinner with the Bealls. That other family sounds very confused about their national loyalties. Be nice to them, but don't trust them too much.(Barbara Note: We had a dinner with the missionaries, a nonmember Russian family from our neighborhood, and another family that is living in our Stake for a year. Gilles François works for the Church and is French, his wife is Russian and their kids all speak 4 languages. They live in Frankfurt when they aren't here.) We were all very excited to get our travel papers, but it's going to be a really long flight. We started practicing street contacting this week, so we're all pumped and terrified of the plane ride, because we all have to at least try to save the people who'll be next to us for 18 hours, but we can barely speak. I'll be arriving in LAX at 8:20 am on OCT 7, and I'll buy a phone card to call you guys. Hopefully I'll remember our number. So try to be available. That'd be really pathetic if not.
I saw the Bennetts, but I haven't seen Matthew yet. I was directing traffic, so I couldn't go look for him. If you can, (quickly as possible) send me his P-Day, residence, classroom, etc. I hope I can see him before we leave. I feel kind of weird now that there's only a week left. I wish I could start over, because I've learned a lot in these last two weeks that I wish I could apply from the beginning. I think I can see a little glimpse of how it will be at the end of my mission. For example, temple visit today was by far the best I've ever had. One thing I have found about the temple is that it helps to do initiatories often. It makes the endowment more meaningful.
Cool experience this week. I had prayed one night to be more humble, because as always I'm fairly prideful, even if I don't show it too much. I didn't even realize till days later, but that day I had three humbling experiences. Our teacher, Foong Hingdai, who is by the way an amazing guy (He is the linguistic genius and is incredibly thoughtful about basically every aspect of mission life. Teaches us a ton.), had us read some part of the Book of Mormon together. One of the guys picked the epistle of Moroni to Pahoran, which was cool. We talked about his uncompromising righteousness and his willingness to be an instrument in God's hand. Then we talked about Pahoran's response, which I think is even more significant. Though he's been incredibly insulted and threatened, he calmly and humbly forgives Moroni without any resentment. We talked a lot about that, about how it takes that kind of humility and maturity to respond gracefully to something like that. That night, we were all kind of goofing off because we had 30 min of study after gym, which makes it hard to focus. To be honest, we were watching Johnny Lingo again. Some teacher, who none of us knew, came in and briefly told us that we should probably use the time to study, and then shared that he would have loved to be able to be a missionary again, and that we should cherish the time we'd been given. He was very polite and gentle about it, but it really shook me, made me realize that I'd been wasting a lot of time so far. That same day, when Elder Ah Mu and I were planning for a lesson, we were arguing about what scripture we could share, and he suggested the story of Peter walking on the water. I won't waste time talking about what the lesson was on, but I didn't want to use that scripture, because I thought it just wasn't right. We kind of argued for a while. Then decided to try to think of another scripture. I couldn't think of anything, and after a couple minutes finally realized that that is what they call a stupor of thought, so I told Ah Mu he was probably right and that I was just being stubborn. SO, prayers are answered.
Hong Kong food is supposed to be great, because literally every person who's been to Hong Kong that we meet, and I mean literally EVERYONE, tells us that the food is what they miss the most (except for Sister Cook, she's obliged to say the people). So yeah, we'll be eating really good Chinese food. Hopefully talk to you on Monday!
Your letter was the strangest and definitely the funniest. I too, for some reason, got kind of excited for Christmas on Sunday. Don't know why. Dad probably is smoking, and if he is it's your job to call him to repentance. So get to it. You can read in Preach My Gospel about how to do that. There's a section in Chapter 10 about addiction recovery, try that. I honestly don't know what else to say to that (I guess you could call it) letter. Oh, I have a question. When do you read my emails? Has it become a treasured Family Home Evening thing? I always write them while the laundry's going. You could read them while the laundry's going, have some empathy for me. I still want to go home, so I'm obviously not a great missionary yet. Sigh.
Similar to the temple, “The Phone Call” (a BYU Production from the 70’s) is something you can really only understand after repeated viewing. I recommend watching it once a week or so until you can quote it line for line. That's what we did, until we realized we were wasting time. “Phone Call” quotes can be used in a large variety of situations, such as:
"Scott that's fantastic!" whenever anyone does anything good.
"Scott, I think we should hang up now." whenever anything seems awkward.
"Don't push your luck, Joe." Anytime Joseph does anything.
"It's not." Anytime anyone says "how's it going?"
If you don't recognize those, you obviously haven't watched it enough. Could you guys put those on the blog? There is much to be learned from Marc McLure's acting.
"3 cows is many" Johnny Lingo, also worthwhile (unless you're a missionary).
I hope you didn't miss the CELG implosion. That only happens once a 14 1/2 month CLEGer comet cycle.
I hope you do take another coding class. It'd be cool.
"We love mother"
I'm glad you've decided to stop being depressing, after this letter. How did you manage to be sick 3 Sundays out of the last 4? That's odd. Eat more Red Meat. I think it's typical for you that everything would occur at the same time as dance. Glad to hear you're still the girl who always makes it to the toilet when throwing up. This week, one of the guys in our district tried to drink 10 glasses of chocolate milk in one meal. He made it to 7 then threw up in the bathroom a couple times. I didn't think he'd make it that far. He's not as strong as Becca Boo, obviously.
Don't feel guilty about missing the Bishop's fireside. I know it's really annoying and frustrating when you feel like you should have gone to something, even though you have a really good reason not to. That's kind of how I felt about school dances. Going made me sad, not going made me sad, what can you do. Anyway, just remember that it's all fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things. You should take karate instead of dance. Just saying.
I think this is the first week that you've actually gone to any effort to send me a cool letter, so thanks. I guess.
We're all pretty nervous to leave, actually. Excited of course, but we've talked to a couple Hong Kong people and we can barely understand them. And Hong Kong is mostly street contacting, so that'll be fun. Still, it'll be really cool to feel like I'm helping someone other than myself for a change. I think I've already started learning about that lesson you were talking about. Out of my district, I'm easily the most comfortable with Cantonese (probably because of German) and it was kind of frustrating at first not being able to SYL more. To be honest, it's still kind of frustrating. I'm pretty sure that my Cantonese would be much better if the guys in my district were all really great Cantonese speakers. But I'm kind of realizing that it's probably more important for me to learn that it's not about me than it is for me to learn about Cantonese. I hope I don't have to use that lesson.
I've decided my new favorite chapter is Ether 12. Faith Hope Charity stuff, and a lot of other great stuff. Just felt like saying that. I've read through the Book of Mormon once so far in MTC, and hope to finish again before I leave. We'll see.
Don't let the (wo)Man get you down, even if she is the BIG BOSS WOMAN. If it's not too difficult, I'd be curious about what new responsibility you've been given. Like you said, I have no idea what's going on in here. Very excited for conference, except that you guys get to sit on a sofa in your pajamas, I have to sit in tiny chairs in an auditorium in my suit for 10 hours. So, that'll be fun.
On the note of buying a laptop, I never realized how much time I wasted studying in school when I could have done other things. Your point is very true. I think you could improve your experience significantly by focusing a bit less on school and focusing more on insignificant skills. That's what I probably should have done. And as a famous person once said, “Girls like guys with skills”.
The book you are writing honestly sounds pretty cool. Dear Elder it to me, do not email it. Or do both. I really want to see the massive pile of Dear Elder things filling up the mail box. The message of your book seems a bit too earnest and uplifting. Maybe throw in some depressing views on the futility of life (without the gospel). That would be cool to graduate early. I will say, though, it's easier to stick with people you know if you just suffer through IB and graduate with them. I don't know if I would have loved graduating early, but your choice, not mine. Seriously, don't take my opinion into consideration.
See you in 22 months, Triads willing! Talk to you on Monday, maybe.