Okay, this week was fairly poor on the doing of actually missionary work side of things but, I feel, very instructive and useful on the grind my pride into powder and then mix it with some other materials and probably some chemicals and make it into a strong sort of concrete that can be used to construct a bridge in between the heathen nations of the world and baptism. My meaning (or yisi) is that we got very little done this week, BUT I feel l've learned a lot more about humility.
We had our Zone Conference, which is done by having one or two zones all come down to Kowloon Tong and be taught by the AP's and President Hawks. It was a great experience. They talked a lot about planning, planning for lessons and sticking to our plans. That is something that I've found is that we actually very rarely will plan out lessons in much detail, so we've been trying to fix that. I also set a goal from the conference to use the Book of Mormon more. In our 9 week training schedule, this week is about using the Book of Mormon, and it really has been great. I've realized why we need to have such strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon, at least in terms of missionary work. Because the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our testimonies and religion, the main way to get a testimony of Joseph Smith, and the restoration, and priesthood, etc, it is vitally important for investigators to have a very strong testimony of it. Any concern can be worked out if they know the Book of Mormon is true. SO, we as missionaries need to be very active in challenging and inviting investigators to read it. As I talked about last week about faith, having faith means choosing to do things because of our belief in God or the Book of Mormon or anything else. If we as missionaries don't have a very strong knowledge of the Book of Mormon's power, we will not have the confidence to challenge investigators to read it. The same principle goes with prayer, church attendance, bearing testimony, etc. If we don't know that it will help them we won't have the courage to put their interest, their salvation on the line and trust in it. That's why we need to continually read, go to church, pray, bear testimony, etc, to strengthen this knowledge and conviction. You never know when you'll need it.
I also had the opportunity to do two splits this week, with Elder Ah Mu (again) and Elder Barker (his comp). They were very helpful. I realized, especially during the split with Elder Ah Mu, that I need to humble myself not just before God but before other missionaries as well. If I won't accept and apply their advice or if I get annoyed when criticized I can't benefit from them and I won't be able to help the Hong Kong people. That feeling was reconfirmed by some really good comp. studies with E.O'G, where he was giving me advice on how to introduce the Book Of Mormon for a practice thing, and I really just thought he was wrong. Fought against his advice for a while, then finally humbled myself a bit and found out he was right.
This email is late because our P-Day got moved because TODAY WAS TEMPLE DAY! IT was an awesome experience. The first time I went to the temple I really thought that it was strange and didn't get a ton out of it, same as first time doing baptisms for the dead, but I feel like I'm at the point now where I can really take advantage of the sacredness of the temple. It was great. Also, very cool, very weird, very beautiful temple.
1. We do English class for kids and adults every Saturday. Recently we've had very few people there. Honestly, I'd like to put more effort into them, but it's hard because the people aren't there every time. Right now the classes are okay but very awkward and definitely not the most useful. We did get a guy to say he and his daughter would come to church, and even though they didn't they're moving closer, I think.
2. We get about $1800 Kong of Hong dollars per month, which is about 245 US dollars. Each week we spend about $110 on travel, and this week I had to spend an extra $133 on “Sounds and Tones” discs (I left mine at the MTC, as did many in our group, because we never used them, thought they were a waste of weight. President Hawks says every missionary should do 15 min a day for their whole mission, so I kind of needed them.) So money is slightly tight, but we get reimbursed for anything over $250 a month, so if I can make it to the end of the month I'll be fine. I actually like the challenge of spending very little money, though I do daydream about coming back afterwards and buying huge amounts of baked goods. The bread here is tasty.
3. (Mom Question - How often do the missionaries go to the temple?) Every transfer, usually, but it's not a set rule.
4. We are all given a $50 reimbursable budget to buy stuff, and as far as we are able it's going to be a proper zone wide Thanksgiving feast with turkey and everything, thank you very much. E.O'G is cooking a lot of it, which means I'll have to help or feel guilty. Jerk. His family was going to buy us a huge turkey, but they gave it to the Philippines instead. NOTE when you pay my tithing (which I am fine with you doing) throw in an extra $200 for the Philippines. I don't need it that much and they really do.
Just to specify, that is $200 of my money, not yours. Got nervous for a second.
We still haven't had a ton of success, and lots of the people who will stop to talk to us don't actually follow through at all. It's very unlike the romantic missionary portrayal, where you run into someone in the park and 2 weeks later, after several intense lessons in a nice house, their whole family is baptized. No one ever lets us in their house, for one. And in the Hong Kong Mission they have a policy where they really prefer an investigator to have attended at least 4 sacrament meetings in a 6 week period before baptism, so even when they don't drop us it will take a while. But it's a huge growing experience already. I can see why you loved it so much, though I haven't really gotten to the point where I want to do it for the people yet, not quite enough actual teaching interaction, but I feel like I'm slowly getting there.
I probably shouldn't say this, but I'm curious if you've played Rome II. I talked with a guy on the MTR who had a copy in his hand. Actually you probably shouldn't tell me. It'll just distract me. Sigh.
I haven't missed home too much so far, but I have noticed all the cool things I'd love to do when I get back and I finally start using time well. For example, I'll sometimes catch myself daydreaming about doing a personal study on my own when I get back. Very odd. Honestly, I need to focus a bit more on the here and now, but it's better than wishing I could go home and screaming at Chinese people, so we should all remember gratitude.
Also, Joseph probably envies you.
I like the gold fish picture, but I have a little bad news. Since we moved, we're not as close to Lady Street, where you can buy all the stuff, so I might not be able to send any Christmas presents. I'm actually really bummed. I can just imagine you guys anxiously looking at my stuff...sigh.
Anyway, you can change a bit but only if it's to become a little taller and a little skinnier and reading the BOOK OF MORMON WITH BECCA EVERY NIGHT. You must begin. I anxiously await word. Also, you can get a bob and learn French and stop eating goldfish, but that's it. If you change any more I might not come home, so be careful.
Wow, what a waste of time. I've had all sorts of weird dreams since I've come here and you don't see me spraying them all over the world, not when I've got better things to do. And if I feel like dying, I will, and phooey to your lack of forgiveness. Humph
It's nice to see that 5 out of my 6 family members still love me. It's hard sometimes when you don't know how to work really hard. Especially with street contacting, it's just so easy to waste time and not know how to stop. And I have been feeling a lot recently that I need to improve my teaching. I don't know how long it took you to feel like your teaching skills were okay, but right now I am realizing that the ways I always like to teach are almost always not the best way and often not good. But, the nice thing is that that is a problem that I really feel good about pleading for help with. It's not really a sin at all, it just takes humility, faith, and patience to overcome, which I am working on. SO, I hope I can do better this week.
I have 90 minutes at a public library to do emails, so it's plenty of time. I did get some letters from Rachel Kirkland, Morris Matthews, and Grandpa Carmack, all of which were really amazing. If you have time to send letters in the mail, I do enjoy them a lot. I understand that it's hard though. I've written 4 letters and never gotten around to sending them, so yeah. Elder Brown is an Assistant, we usually have 9 week transfers, but natives and Filipino missionaries mess things up a little sometimes.
DON"T SEND THE SUIT
I got really nervous you would, because a member gave me a free really nice suit that fits almost perfectly, and gave E.O'G one, and bought us yam chah, also known as dim sum, which is where members order huge amounts of food which comes in little baskets. You order small amounts at a time but a lot total, ask Eva, and then laugh as the missionaries try to eat it all and be polite without vomiting all over the yam chah place. It was lovely. Ate chicken feet, weird meat balls, weird fermented sausages in rice, weird bread with chicken inside, weird wrapped up rice things, etc.
My acne is fairly bad, sometimes really bad, and sometimes fine. It's bad enough that the members keep asking me if my 'skin is always so angry?' or if it's just Hong Kong. I tell them I don't know. It's funny. Send whatever medication might help.
You sound essential to the ward, and your kids are a majority of the youth program.
Good to hear from you, my kind sir. You account of audio visual antics intrigues me, but I must warn you that your multimedia triumphal money may accompany prophetically warned love of lucre, which would dampen my joy. Actually, it wouldn't, but I need to practice English. Sounds legit, bro. And I like the account of your nasal hemorrhaging. When things get bad, I will reflect on my younger brother’s suffering.
I love hearing about the sacrament thing and Stake Youth Council, I wish I'd done more stuff like that. Honestly. Keep running, I've burned my chronologically metaphorical rope.
You may find this strange or disturbing but I have considered standing on a bench and just screaming that everyone will burn if they don't listen to us. Maybe if I had enough faith I could. Worked for Ether.
It is very hard to get people to understand why they need the gospel. We don't like preaching about destruction, but I find myself tempted. A lot of people think that they just don't need our message. Very sad, honestly.
Don't tell me not to sin. If I feel like it, I will.
Not, I'll pray instead. SO there.
Love you family, I will send you a triad member's fingers for Christmas.