Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014 - Zone Conference & Parables

Wow. I thought that I had a kind of successful week but my family is blowing me out of the water, apparently. Also, you should know that I judge your love of me off of the length of your emails, so right now Mom and Joseph love me, Dad likes me, and the rest of you 'tolerate' me. I don't mind, I know you were all very young when I left and you probably don't remember me too much. But part of me has died a little bit.

Not too much time right now, but I will endeavor. Our Mission President had Zone Conference this week. Let me just say, President Hawks is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I, and every other missionary in our mission, idolize him (in a not breaking 10 commandments way). He is extremely strict, but helps us see his vision behind why. He is hilarious, but always in a clever dignified way. And he teaches in a way that just makes sense, and makes you really want to listen to what he's saying and do it. Sister Hawks is the same way. They really are amazing. I'm really glad that he'll be going back to work in the engineering department at BYU after his mission is done because hopefully I'll get to see him some more.

Zone Conference was about the First Vision and Joseph Smith experience. It was very good. The Assistants did a very powerful demonstration of how to share the First Vision which really inspired me, and then this week we had 5 or 6 chances to share it in a teaching environment. Very cool.

We met 3 cool people, all very interested, most not Cantonese speaking, and none in our area. A Fung was a really cool guy who we ran into by the Shing Mun River who said he had been praying about whether or not he should change churches. His lesson came after 2 1/2 hours of finding with literally no one talking to us. Tian was a guy we ran into in similar circumstances, who randomly bought us hot ovaltine and was willing to read the Book of Mormon, but he is probably Mandarin speaking and lives in Kowloon. Will was a Korean kid who we taught on Sunday in English (because his English is perfect). Second time I have ever shared the Joseph Smith story for real in English, 1st time giving out a real Book of Mormon. He also is not in our area.

SO we’ve had awesome miracles, but still a very hard time getting investigators, particularly contacting and remeeting the people we talk to. But we press on.


You email shows that you love me the most.

Iliad is a very good book, but yeah too archaic to use as a model. Also gets a bit boring and repetitive after a while, but maybe just me.

The form that mersenne primes are expressed in shows up as a big box. As we would say, chaam (too bad). I would be interested. That's why I was friends with Micah. He knew tons of random stuff like that.

We will see how well that goes when the human race is numbered in the trillions and spread across planets and no one has the space to store the millions of movies made each year.

Hong Kong is surprisingly not crowded at a lot of places. Weird.


No time, but one of the things that I have learned is that you only see miracles after you keep enduring past the point of negative conclusion. Once you've proved that you didn't get any street contacts today, if you keep going, you find them. Once you have experienced the futility of calling potentials and continue, you find success. Very cool.

One of the things that President Hawks recommended as a way to improve teaching is coming up with parables or analogies to explain certain points. This week I was trying to help an investigator who had no real desire to change or find out about our message understand the situation as I saw it. So I compared it to as if there was a free ice cream truck by Tai Wai station. My companion and I had seen it on the way over here, and we had tasted the ice cream. But if he didn't go over and look for it he would miss it. It was free, as long as he would be willing to look for it. You could extend it further by saying that on the way over he might run into people trying to distract him or tell him he was crazy, but if he endured he could get a ton of free ice cream (which is more expensive in Hong Kong). Unfortunately, he was unaffected. Too lazy. But coming up with analogies is a really fun thing, and also really useful.


You seem about as busy as ever. That is something that I feel like I have learned here is the value of time. You don't regret time spent doing things, but time spent doing nothing, or watching TV, or playing games, disappears. I didn't really realize this before but there is always too much to do and not enough time. As long as you’re using all of it, though, you go to bed happy.

You can find a lot of American things here but they will usually be in American stores and more expensive. I really never have time to go looking for them. We never have time to do anything on P-days. I have been to one cultural site, but as Dad said a couple months ago you just don't have time.

We saw no cockroaches after the slaughter for a few days, then last night saw a ton more. They came all at once and were all small, which leads me to believe that they hatched together. I would love to fix it, but almost no time to clean either. Chaam. (Too bad)

Elder Tong, what to say about him. He likes dark chocolate. He worked for a while in Australia before his mission, and has a lot of family that like him, so he has quite a bit of extra money. His view of money is that it should be spent. He lives according to this view. Quite amusing at times. I think my cheapness bothers him at times. I like to think it pricks his conscience, but probably more like the above story about the ice cream. He is also studying mechanical engineering, very smart guy. He is much more practical than I am, though. I enjoy a lot of abstract or basically useless things, he doesn't. We get along pretty well at this point. His greatest desire is to have a native companion, or at least live with a native. That's all that can really help his spoken Chinese at this point. I am still pretty frustrated at my lack of hearing skills, so I've got plenty to improve.

Now that I am a missionary, I am really curious to see how you and Dad were as missionaries. I think that'd be very interesting.


That is pretty cool, David. I am actually quite impressed. Your chess skills seem to have improved in the interim. And having gone to some tournaments myself I happen to know that the lowest level there is quite a lot lower than many of the people at Hillcrest, so that is pretty sad. But you keep it up. I know that thorns sometimes enter our feet. Sometimes they even turn sideways. But when those hard times come, we just need to remember that all thorns dissolve eventually, especially when attacked by our bodies immune system and enzymes, and if we rely on the scriptures we will come to know them better, even though it won't help our foot.


You sound so funny over email. I can imagine you talking with a slightly sarcastic tone. Oh, Becca.

Abravenal Hall, pretty fancy. You play that flute, girl! But remember that the more famous and skilled you are the worse it is when you mess up!

I can see you being a really strict babysitter. You'd just read Harry Potter and shout at them if they tried to talk. Then you'd scare them with ghost stories and tell them that if they tell their parents what you're like they'll be eaten by monsters. Then you'll get all smiley when the parents come home. Yep, I can see that. Maybe you'd force them all to do turns without pointe shoes. I don't know if that would hurt but I bet it would. My feet are sore sometimes, because we walk at least 2 or 3 hours a day.

You need to read with Abby. And don't paint anything else green. I mean it. (Rebecca’s new room is now green, very bright.)

Your letter is very funny, Abby. It looks like you've finally broken down and started outright enjoying violin. About time, about time. And yes, none of the other kids do practice. They don't have super responsible mothers to force them. So you should probably say thank you to mom.

Being CEO sounds stressful. Signing your name all the time, that would be tough. At least you get a nice lunch break.

I don't think you'd like Hong Kong. It is a bit smelly, the food is weird (I made myself Mapo Daufu this week, which was amazing) ( spicy hot tofu with ground beef) and there's a lot of old people with really big moles that have a ton of hair. None of us missionaries know why they don't at least cut the mole hair. They are seriously up to a foot long, like a weird misplaced beard. (Eva says that the long hair is like a fortune and that it means long life.) Read with Becca or you will grow long mole hairs.

Sorry this email doesn't have as much cool spirituality in it. Feeling too disorganized today. Today I read 3 Nephi 11 about the Savior visiting the Americas. Right after he teaches us that contention, and men "striving against one another" is of the devil, he gives us His example of what we should do. He and the Father and the Holy Ghost were one in purpose, one in action, totally united. Life is full of competition, but I hope we can remember that our goal is not to outdo others. It is to be one with God. "What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am."

That might be incorrect, it's from memory and I only have a Chinese Book of Mormon with me.
Our mop hanging out the window on a peg actually designed for this.  In Hong Kong very few people own dryers because they are annoying and take up a lot of space.  So, most buildings have mounts to put long poles out the kitchen window and hang clothes up on them.  Except for the wealthy buildings, which are going for more of an all glass feel.  The problem is they still usually don't have dryers, so you have super rich buildings with laundry hanging out the window.  As we say, hou gau siu (so funny).

Our district in Tai Wai.

And the third picture.  There's one reminder that I feel like shouldn't have to be there..

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014 - Obedience, Small Miracles & Cockroaches

Well that was an interesting email all around.

This week was another week in paradise, EXCEPT IT WAS FREEZING

Actually it never went below 7 Celsius so not too bad, but you must understand that the buildings in Hong Kong are made entirely of concrete, with absolutely no insulation. So our apartment, in the morning, was also about 7 degrees Celsius. And it stayed that cold all morning. Studies were interesting. We said, "Wow, it is really cold!" very often. It didn't make us feel better.

Cold weather also makes finding more difficult, because no one wants to stop. But it's warmer today, not too bad. I bought a hoodie last week so I'm okay.

Couple interesting things happened this week. We had some miracles that occurred because of keeping a rule. President Hawks said that in the pursuit of developing a relationship of trust with the members and using time more wisely, we should not go to a cheng out unless (I didn't move, by the way) there is a missionary purpose, and all cheng outs (dinners) should be under an hour. We had two times this week where we wanted to go to a Family Home Evening being set up by members and couldn't find anyone to go. The first one motivated us to call a less active guy once more than we usually would have, and led to him coming and all of us having an amazing time. The other is today. Our Bishop is having his weekly cheng out and we still don't have anyone. But, during the process of trying to find people to come, we have scheduled half a dozen lessons with people that we've had a hard time contacting. The calls we've made for this cheng out have been more effective than the last month of calls. Miracle. That's what obedience does. It leads you to do things that you wouldn't otherwise do, and then the Lord blesses you.

The second cool thing was that we found and killed 50 or so cockroaches. Saturday night, for some unknown reason, we got back and found a dozen dead cockroaches on the floor and more intermittently appearing in cupboards or from appliances. The past 2 weeks we've seen maybe 5, and in about 30 minutes Elder Ah Mu had killed about 12. We pulled our refrigerator out and found dozens of them. So we killed them all with poison. Then cleaned out the back of the fridge (which was covered in little white eggs) and called it good. Very weird.

Another cool thing was where we had the first miracle cheng out. It was in a place called FESTIVAL CITY, in Tai Wai. I actually really want you guys to Google map this. It is about 8 towers connected by a parking garage and a large wall. The towers are about 50 stories tall, and I think contain about 12 rooms each floor. Each room costs MILLIONS of dollars. The thing they are built on is like a miniature city with stores and schools and club houses, but all in the most ridiculously opulent style imaginable. Crystals embedded in all of the marble and glass doors. Real grass which doesn't grow anywhere in Hong Kong. Finely embroidered furniture in random lobbies. Two levels of security manned by guards with red hats. I have been in richer houses, but never a richer environment. Look it up. Please.

Now quick spiritual thought to combat the Mammon of unrighteousness. Helaman 5 has some amazing advice in it. I know that I have learned recently that his words are true; if we have built on the rock of Christ we will not fall. Our character is not built in times of trial and temptation, it is used in those times. We need to have built it already.

How do we build on His foundation? One is we have to have a knowledge of Him, through scripture study, through fervent prayer, and through living his works and learning the truth of them for ourselves. Another part is we have to develop the habits, lay the foundations, through good habits and good works. This is why I always tell the girls to read together, and why today I encourage you guys to always read together as a family and do family home evening. Our habits define us. The things that I think prepared me the most for my mission were the good habits I had, the things I regret the most were the good habits I never formed. That is why I encourage FHE and reading and going to the temple often. Like financial security, you have to gradually fill up a savings account. You can't just say you'll fill it all at once later. It takes consistent sacrifice every month from money you could use elsewhere. But once it's there, it gains interest, it builds on itself, and when hard times come you have money to rely on. Please listen to this advice. I know it is obvious but the thing that I have learned is how much these little things do. This is what we encourage investigators to do as well. I worry and pray for you all. That is why I always suggest these things.


You make me very jealous. I would give quite a lot to be able to go with you to the cabin in the snow right now. Well, that can wait a year and a half.

Cantonese is still tough. I definitely feel like I have progressed a ton in my speaking and hearing, but I still have a ton of times where I don't know what the heck people are saying, I'm just nodding and saying 'haih'. Which is bad because it's usually when I'm scheduling people. But nothing doing but pressing on. I do feel like my teaching is a little bit better. I am trying very consciously to ask more intelligible and useful questions, to testify more, and to stay simple. You could probably guess, but my biggest weakness is trying to teach too much.

I wish I had followed your advice more often, Dad. You're a great example. And I love telling my companions about your strange emails.


Your week seems to consist of food and large foreheaded boys. Need I remind you that when you were young you too had a large forehead. Ngaahk Tauh. That is how you say forehead.

I ate some pizza with Thousand Island dressing and seafood this week. Very popular in Hong Kong. Also ate something called pork floss. You can Google that.


First, some info. My dermatologist appointment was this morning, so soon there will be another charge on my card. Don't worry, I will have it reimbursed. I will probably be doing acutane (or the generic brand, ocutane) soon. Hopefully moist weather will help.

I haven't gotten any of Elder Perez or Bennett's emails for a while. ?

Could you send my weekly blog letter to as well? I'm too lazy.


My birthday was not the most memorable I've had but very nice. Thank you for all the socks. The Mac 'n Cheese was delicious. Candy also very appreciated. And tell Grandpa that he can keep sending me really cool books. I asked President Hawks and he said that maybe later, when my teaching is better and language is okay, I can start reading some book like that. Right now, I can't but later, probably. Loved all the stuff, it made me happy even though Becca doesn't love me enough to write a letter.

Many of your average daily activities make me a bit jealous. I miss reading a lot. It would be nice to be able to read and not feel guilty about wasting time. And Scrabble would also be very relaxing. One odd thing about missions, you literally have no free time. There is always something else you could be doing more effectively. You can never do those things that you just want to do. Every moment is working. But, the trade-off is remarkable personal growth, saving other people, and you go to bed knowing you did something good that day. And that is worth a lot of books.

Yes, no Russian kidnappers here. Hong Kong actually seems pretty safe to me, though I've really only been in sort of residential areas to far.


What a way with words you have. You don't even really tell me anything, and yet it is so classically and undeniably David. Bound to fester indeed. I would bet this week's groceries that if it was me I could just pull it out and we could all stop worrying about it. You're probably limping heavily. What a ham. Or, as my Australian companion would say, you egg. (David got a thorn in his hand.)


I really am so happy for you about dance. You did it for so long without having people really appreciate the work you put in, and now it is paying off. Probably will keep paying off for a while, too. You better do a mission because you could get some work done. And if you do, you better go to Asia because they think that blond hair blue eyes are beautiful here. Luckily, I have my bad skin to protect me, but you've got nothing to protect you.

See, I love you even though you think that dance is more important than writing me a letter.  (Rebecca was at a dance class when we sent off John's package, so she didn't write anything to him.)


I do understand what you mean about the archaic prose. It is a skill that has largely been lost, I fear. You should really read Jesus the Christ. My favorite part of that book is the history, but the language is really extreme and hilarious to read. Leafy pretender. Umbrageous limbs. Read that yesterday.

You do know that we bought a quite nice copy of The Iliad about 2 or so years ago? Blue cover, has the Odyssey in it as well. Just saying. And don't torture me with references to bookshelves. I get enough of that looking at Doctor Leung's shelf full of medical books that I might be able to understand but have no time to experiment.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) will get worse before you escape, mark my words. The discussions on what is art are still ahead of you. If you are able, don't say anything. If you're like me, try to restrain yourself. It's like hitting a sand bag.

I like your Extended Essay topic a lot. (Film versus Digital Video) Much more than mine. I chose fairly poorly. Sounds very interesting. Though I will say, siding with film is like choosing horses over cars in the early days. Dead end, my friend. Give it 20 years and kids won't know film ever existed.

Love you all. Had a weird dream that Dad and us brothers were fleeing to mainland because Hong Kong was being missile attacked by India. Don't know what the meaning is.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014 - Transfers & Zone Conference Coming Up

Dear Family,

Besides Dad none of you really said a ton that happened. I hate to say it but not a ton happened over here either. We have had a very rough time getting anyone to sit down or meet with us for a lesson recently. It has been a little frustrating, but I have taken comfort in the fact that as long as I'm following the spirit and trying hard, I'm doing my part in God's plan. If I'm functioning properly, God won't waste my efforts. He knows what He's doing and as long as we don't mess up our role, we are working in his vineyard. That is what comforts me as we find for 3 hours in the rain without any lessons and a total of 3 people who stopped to say they were busy and ran off. Woops, little bitterness slipped out. Just kidding, I actually do feel pretty good right now.

I have established a lofty goal of memorizing the entire MTC vocab book, which contains about 2000 words. I worked through is slowly for about a month, then last P-Day (that is Monday for you lay people out there (creepy people who read my family's emails, you know who you are (especially the people who talk to Becca about it making her feel awkward (or Sister Kirkland)))) I bought 200 3 by 5 note cards, and in 2 days folded are ripped them into 800 3/4 by 5/4 cards, at which point I began frantically writing them and studying them. My rate of learning is accelerated by the fact that I have already looked over these cards at least once in the last month, but I am making about 70 or 80 a day. Pretty decent, and that's with all my spare time being used making them. I will finish making them today, and my goal is to learn all of them by the end of my birthday. So wish me luck.

We have a lot of cool things coming up. Zone Conference is next week. I read over the Joseph Smith History in preparation for Zone Conference and found a lot of principles of the gospel very simply and powerfully expressed and demonstrated therein. I think it is inspiring how clearly Joseph's experience follows the process of faith. He began with a witness of the spirit and a desire, then prepared himself and followed on that desire, surpassed a trial of faith, and in the end gained a witness of 'the testimony of James'. His faith was then dormant; he knew the principle of asking the Lord to be true. I think I can learn a lot from more study of Joseph Smith.

Then on the 24 or 25th or something we have ELDER HOLLAND coming to HONG KONG to talk to us all. Anyone who is a missionary right now knows that the most overall popular member of the 12 is Elder Holland, because he's fiery and bold. I personally will not comment on who my favorite is, because that would be childish. But everyone is pretty excited for him to come. It ought to be cool.

I'm also looking forward to my birthday, though here there's not much in the way of celebration. I find out tomorrow if I’m moving the day after my birthday, so if I am leaving Tai Wai I will probably celebrate by eating all the food I can't bring. People get pretty antsy at the end of moves. Pretty antsy. I had a weird dream last night that I was moved with a native from mainland China who spoke perfect Cantonese, Mandarin and English.


Your email was exceedingly strange. You probably will lump this question with the things you can do after your mission that aren't important, but how do you measure the oxygen levels with an MRI machine? (Glen is doing experiments on pigs right now.)

I definitely feel a disconcerting sense of urgency. All the time. Every week slips by faster than I can imagine. I am already 1/4 of the way done. I have definitely grown a lot, but I don't think I could ever do enough to feel like I'd used my time as effectively as I should have. I wish that I could see my efforts helping people, but as I said there's more to missionary work than baptizing people. I definitely feel like I use the phrase 'definitely feel' too much. I have certainly experienced a massive improvement of my understanding of the gospel and my sense of priority. I look back on so many things and feel like I really wasted time. I think more than anything else I am learning how doing things like missionary work, intensive study of the scriptures, and getting rid of worldly things makes your whole life more guided and meaningful. I feel all the time like I'm not measuring up to standards, but before I never even realized that the standards and blessings and potential was so high.

The most frustrating thing right now is teaching. Honestly I have very little practice, and my teaching is just not that powerful. I fall into talking too much very often, and I have felt many times frustrated that I can't get my feelings or intentions across powerfully. I am actually grateful of this, though, because it has helped me really think more about what it is that I want to improve. I have been trying recently to bear testimony a lot more, because I have learned that the only way that lessons are effective is if the investigator feels the spirit. If they could feel the spirit when they talk to us on the street, they would want to meet with us again.

At Zone Conference now I can't help imagine you as an Assistant to President giving trainings, which is a little disconcerting.


Just so you know all the not Dad specific stuff in Dad's email also applies to you, so don't feel bad if yours is shorter. I will probably see something about the Olympics on the trains today. They have TVs that constantly tempt us by playing news and stupid ads. Very difficult to ignore, unless you're trying to talk to people, which is what I always do. :)

They have some weird food here. Lihn Gou, year cake, is like rice goo and sugar made into a sort of stiff jello and put into molds. You fry it up with eggs, for dessert. Pretty good. Turnip cake stuff, which you can also get at dim sum places, is savory but the texture is really mushy, and I personally don't like them. They have a ton of mushrooms that they eat at New Year that are really expensive. And something called Abalone Noodles, which I don't know what they are. And oddly enough, they give out tons of Ferrero Rochers and Butter Cookies, not traditional at all but very intensely marketed. So we have eaten a ton of those from members who don't want to finish them off. And yes, people are still celebrating. Saturday we saw and heard a ton of lion dance things going on. You can google that one. Or ask Eva.

We are going to a mall in about 2 hours, so I will buy one with my credit card. That sentence has some simple dignity to it. (I told him to buy a sweater because we never bought one for his mission and it’s been cold and rainy in Hong Kong lately.)

Love and miss you Mom. I understand now how much cleaning and cooking it takes. I feel for you.


If the time we had had had had hardly enough repetition in it, I would have had to have your head hacked off with high dudgeon.

You really don't deserve any more but I am learning to be generous. Driving is weird and not really that fun unless it's snowy or you break the rules, so don't expect much out of it. But I do support driving much. It is necessary. Sigh. (David is learning how to drive.)

How about happiness? If you were happy when you did something but don't remember it, were you really happy? Does it only have worth in the looking back? And if not, how do you differentiate happiness from pleasure? Talmage wrote something about that.

I am beginning to sound like a certain old man named Septimus, so I will do like the Chinese and wave you off with an mhdaakhaan.


I would point out to you that I got an 800 on a section of the SAT and no one cared about that. Stupid. And does this imply you are watching TV on Sunday? (Joseph was interviewed by FOX 13 News about his 36 on the ACT and it aired tonight.) 

Real missionary life is like that too. There are plenty of movies about missions. They tend to skip almost all of what you actually do and dwell only on the few minutes after nightly planning before you go to bed. If you have a 2 year long mission and you skim out only the best bits, you might have enough for a kind of boring movie.

Oh, to you and David I repeat my plea; go to the temple at least once a month or so. Really, that might be my biggest regret from before my mission. Please do it.

As brethren fighting the abyss, I say, exist on my brother.


We discussed this already. Being sick all week is not productive nor does it result in interesting emails for me to read. I don't know what an 'intensive' is. I also still don't know what a turning board is. Hint hint.

I notice, Rebecca, that most of your email consists of you repeatedly saying that you don't have anything to say. It is probably interfering with the things that you actually do have to say but are too busy obstructing to say. If not, go out and do some crazy stuff. Get up at 3 AM and poor syrup on David while he sleeps in MY ROOM.

Oh, and keep reading with Abby. I request a report next week.


I don't have too much more to say to you than what has already been said. Don't get sick, I've tried it and it's not actually worth it. I don't know what you mean by hiding. I am filled with rage at these cookies being eaten by not me. Read with Becca, or be cursed. Also, your email is not childish or silly enough. Usually you have less punctuation. David's is also like that. hmmmmmm. LOVE YOU.

Your Son, who is named after a pork company but who does not support or enjoy being stuck or having his organs dissolved, even for the sake of science, (Again referring to Glen’s experiments on pigs.)

Elder John Morrell

Red Pocket Money at Chinese New Year

Elder Tong on the train

Rainy weather in Ma On Shan

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014 - Chinese New Year & the Work of Salvation


While things have not instantaneously improved, this week was pretty good. It was the CHINESE NEW YEAR!! Which in China is quite a lot bigger than Christmas. Quite. A. Lot.

I will list some of the traditions, and how they interfered with the work of salvation.

Red Pocket Money: Pretty famous, everyone buys these pretty red envelopes and puts about $20 or so dollars (HK) inside, then gives ‘em out to everyone they know. The envelopes are really very nice looking, usually sold from banks or big companies, very shiny. The members love to give missionaries these envelopes, but obviously they're just doing it to give to missionaries, so we just put them all in fast offerings the next week (fast week was moved because it's THAT BIG).

Baai Sahn: Many Chinese people, prompted by a guilty conscience, a renewed sense of cultural heritage, or the dazzling array of stalls at the location which shall forth with be described, go to large temples and burn incense. The nearest temple to us is Che Kung Miu, which on Sunday had a crowd in the thousands lining up to go in to the fair or to burn incense. Besides poisoning our lungs, we are not allowed to proselyte to them.

Leave: Because many Chinese people have family in Mainland, and because said family usually live in larger houses than exist in Hong Kong, about 1/2 of the population goes to mainland for New Year. That is an exaggeration, but not much. We have few enough investigators as is, and they all left.

Family: Chinese people go with their families on New Year’s, which was good because we got to do banner finding and pass our family cards, but bad because all the people are busy and the ones outside are very unlikely to stop if they're with their families. Still, the challenge is exciting.

Greetings: This one was actually nice. There are a bunch of 4 character phrases that are traditional to say on New Year. I will list some in approximate Romanization.

Gung hei faat choi - Congrats get a fortune

San lihn faai lohk - Happy New Year

San tai gihn hong - Healthy body

Lihn lihn yauh yuh - Every year have surplus

Something something - Have brain energy

Tell them to Eva.

And New Year is at least a 3 day celebration. Cho 1, 2, and 3 are bank holidays, but it continues until the end of the month. No one celebrates that long.

For New Year, we cleaned the outside of the chapel, which had a huge amount of trash built up. That was actually really fun. Then, on Saturday, because it was the least effective day, we 4 apartment mates did a deep clean, as did the whole mission. That was really fun, actually. It took all day long. We bought $110 pizza hut for lunch, cleaned every surface, and now our apartment is super nice. It won't last long.

Missionary wise, we had a few cool things happen. A couple interested people talked to us, we actually managed to teach a street lesson, and one really weird guy came up to us and said that he was a former drug dealer who wanted to repent and was looking for which church was right. Pretty amazing. We talked for a bit, he gave us his number, and disappeared. Unfortunately he didn't show up to church and the number he gave us was wrong, so he may have punked us, but if he wants to find us he can. He was literally the perfect investigator. Already paying tithing to another church because he feels guilty about his drug money, married, already antied and resisted anti, wants to bring his friends, wants to repent and change, ACTUALLY FEELS GUILT. If we contact him again, you will hear about it. He sounds like he should be in Matthew's mission.

Caroline's mission call is amazing! Russia! Almost Ukraine! Tell her congratulations and please send me her email, I don't have it. Russia. Dang.


Your sage words of advice are my favorite part of P-Day. Don't dry up on me now.

Preach My Gospel does have a section about asking questions. Chapter 10, you should check it out. It seems simple, but something like that is so deep you could spend your whole mission studying those 3 or 4 paragraphs and still not master it. I have been trying to improve my question asking, because too often I get into the habit of just asking yes or no questions or going on too long just speaking.

I still am not actually a great teacher. I am better at contacting and talking to people than actually teaching, mostly because of lack of practice, but also lack of effort. In my PMG I have a note about “Inception” (popular American movie) scribbled under the question asking section, talking about how for an investigator to really get excited about something and really want to learn more, to really remember and understand, they have to feel like the teaching came from them, hence you have to just guide them into coming up with the answer themselves. Just like you said, Dad. Christopher Nolan (director of “Inception”) had it right. I just can't quite do it yet.

As I have been learning about teaching and also goal setting, I have come to realize that you have to describe and help your investigator gain a vision for the worth of your lesson. They have to have hope and desire in what you're teaching about.

Met a guy yesterday who lived in Hannover, Germany from 1986 to 1989. Was he there with you at all?

Miss you Dad. Talking to people has become my greatest pleasure since starting my mission. Which is a pretty big change.


You didn't actually tell me anything that happened to you this week. You just commented on things already said. And as we speak the library speaker is telling me we only have 15 minutes. So I will tell you that I miss you and exhort you to put more effort into your letter next time. :)


Miss you a lot. I cooked fried chicken this week, and I make tuna patties most weeks. I also cook a lot of choi, or vegetables. I like them most just fried in oil with garlic salt and pepper, but that kind of feels like defeating the purpose of eating vegetables. I haven't actually boiled chicken yet, just fried it or put it in curry.

Caroline's call sounds amazing. I will have to check it out on the church google earth, but that is so cool. I think she'll love it, but her trainer better get used to driving to the hospital a lot. hehe.

I feel like recently I've learned a lot about how to talk to people and really try to show a real interest in their lives. I think I feel like I am starting to develop a real love for the people. Sometimes it's hard if you just look at them and can't see any way for them to get baptized or enjoy the gospel, but once you start talking them, most of them have such interesting lives. I didn't like talking to people before, and I'm still not great at it, but 3 months of riding the trains every day has given me a talent for overcoming awkwardness and just talking to people. I've had some cool experiences thus.

I think sister missionaries do well because females are intimidated by Elders and males are attracted to sisters. Just a thought, though I'm sure that caring and compassion play in as well. I just need to get my acne cleared up so that my blond hair and blue eyes can give the sisters in our ward a lot of investigators. Ha ha.


Your forays into chess intrigue me. I am pleased at your success (David had a chess tournament on Saturday.  He won 3 games and lost 2.  He lost to last year's State Champion.). Do continue, a hum ha. I would pose a question to you, have you yet had the opportunity to peruse that chess encyclopedia I told you about before, hmm? I do think you would, shall we say, salivate at its contents. I regularly observe many, ahem, elderly men playing Chinese chess. Many.


I don't got nottin’ to say to you then, but that I agree. I think we tend to think of the temple as a nice but not essential place. We cannot be saved without our dead. We cannot be saved without our dead. Go to the temple on your own THIS WEEK. Take David. The temple is something that I regret immensely on under using.


I thought we resolved this issue. If you don't get better, I won't write you anymore. I will see you in about 1 1/2 years, not the other way around.

I like having new pointe shoes, but actually I don't because I don't have new pointe shoes (Becca got new pointe shoes this week). There is frantic classical music playing telling me that the library is about to close and we are all about to be arrested. So I will scribble on the character pad for a bit.

以 点 莫 因 嗎 甲