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.

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