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

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