Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014 - First major Hong Kong Storm & Baptism Disappointment

Well, my family, today I have some interesting things to share. One is very bad, the others are okay. Bad one first.

Last week I mentioned that we had an investigator who might be baptized by today. He is not, nor will he be in the near future. He passed his baptismal interview (which was funny, because he got really nervous, worried that he wouldn't be able to speak clearly, and that the zone leaders would flunk him, so he brought chocolate to bribe us) and was looking awesome. Then, on Friday his girlfriend's sister, who is Christian, anti-d his girlfriend, who stole his phone and blocked all the missionaries' numbers, and told his Dad about stuff, which caused his Dad to get upset and forbid him from ever seeing us, going to church, or being baptized. He still wants to, and is still doing fine, but obviously a major problem. We were pretty devastated. He's changed a ton and loves the gospel, super fun to hang out with, but because of the anti-Mormon sentiment that is really strong in Hong Kong, can't be baptized. It was rough on Sunday, because at that point we didn't know any of this had happened, he just randomly didn't show up, wouldn't answer the phone. We don't really know what else to do, but we have his address. We're thinking of trying to visit his family and convince them, but it's going to take some preparation and faith to even get that to happen. So right now just praying for guidance. He is the first investigator I have really taught a lot or helped progress, and it is hard to see this happen.

But on the bright side, miracles. I did exchanges with a missionary younger than me in Sha Tin, right next door, and it was pretty cool being the daaih tuhng buhn, or senior companion. Previously I felt like I wouldn't have been able to do it at all. Now, if I had to train I could (though I wouldn't like it). Elder Tong and I also learned from this exchange how to do really powerful street baptismal invites, so we invited 5 or 6 people on the street to be baptized. Most refused, but 3 gave us their numbers to meet again and one actually has interest. It makes you feel really cool to go at things with such boldness and faith. Obviously not appropriate for every investigator, and we still need to refine things a lot, but very cool. You feel the spirit.

We had a sort of consolation prize for the other investigator not being at church, in the form of a random kid who showed up for sacrament. We didn't even know who it was, but apparently he had talked to missionaries a couple months ago and came to church, and rescheduled. New Investigator! For all you in other missions, we don't get a lot of new investigators. So this was quite a miracle. While Elder Tong was teaching the kid, I was on splits teaching another investigator who is just ridiculously progressing. His only problem is that he is a bit shy, doesn't know our ward very well at all. But he goes to Institute, reads the Book of Mormon a ton every day, and has already been taught and understands most of the lessons. So start filling the font.

Our zone set some fairly optimistic goals this month. We have not had nearly as many baptisms as we were hoping for, because of things like I previously mentioned, but in almost every other measure we are blowing things out of some sort of fluid. I can't wait for Zone Training this week, it'll be funny.

I also saw (and heard (and am still hearing and seeing)) my first real Hong Kong storm. It's rained before, but on Sunday it started pouring at around 6 o’clock (poor Ma On Shan Elders got drenched) and hasn't really stopped since then. And the thunder. Lightning Lake (in the Uintas) was still definitely the most intense thunder and lightning I've experienced, but last night you could look out at the bay out our window and it seemed like there was a light just flickering on and off, nonstop, for an hour. Crazy. Last night at about 12:00 am, the rain picked up like mad and slammed all our windows and doors until Elder Ah Mu shoved his flip flops under them as jams, at which point it just started whistling through all our air conditioning machines. Crazy.


All that jumping takes a ton of body energy and turns it into heat in your muscles and blood, heat in the trampoline tarp as it warps and stretches, heat in the springs as they expand and contract, and heat in the air as the breezes off you disperse and even out. So all that jumping is basically just heating up the universe a tiny bit and giving that much more entropy to the big entropy monster in the sky. Congrats.


If only all games could just dial in to the appropriate comedy level. Oh well, I told myself I'd stop thinking at all about books, movies, or games, so so much for that. Frau Adams tends to be a bit nice, because she loves her students too much, but still sounds very good. Now go for a 7on your IB German test (a 7 is the highest grade in IB & Joseph’s teacher told him he has a 6), lazy bum. I have realized on my mission how much better my German could have been if I did language study like I do now. I can learn like 30 or 40 new words a day right now, with only about 40 minutes. Imagine what you could do. And German dictionaries are a lot better than Chinese ones.


Abigail. If only she enjoyed violin she'd be amazing at it. I recommend you not let her quit at 16. Just make her keep doing it until she moves out or enjoys it. She's got some talent.

St. George sounds nice. I bet you loved the weather. It really is weird here right now. Humidity is at about 97% so nothing dries unless it's in the dryer. You take a shower and never actually end up all the way dry. You walk for a couple minutes and start sweating. You turn on a fan and immediately are freezing because everything is damp. Weird. We had one day where we went running, and literally water was just condensing on our faces. When we got back to the apartment I had water droplets all over my face and eyelashes.

I also feel like goal setting is extremely important. You already know that, I wrote about it before. I still haven't really gotten a hang of it. But I was reading today in Galatians and Paul talks about the worth of working for righteous things, same as in 2 Nephi I think 17 or 16, talks about wo unto those who take wickedness for righteousness, which I take to mean put things like video games or movies above service. Goals help us use our time more wisely and actually accomplish things. Grandpa Carmack sent me something about that from a friend of his, which talked about how recording accomplished goals is important.

Just so you know, I am a very frugal budget-er. Even with very high travel costs I have $300 left over (which admittedly is only about $40 USD) won through frugality. Very cool.

Weird to think of General Conference again, so fast. There is a guy in our ward who is going to the MTC on the 8th, and I don't know when he'll watch it. It takes a week for it to show up to the Kong, and by that time they'll have already seen it in the MTC. I am looking forward to it. A couple times this week we listened to the 2010 (which we randomly have CD’s for) and it is great. I didn't appreciate it before.


Just like the violin already. It's a wonderful instrument (though not a viola).

I am swimming in a suit coat right now. Through the air.

I am tired all the time these days. If I sit down without something to do I fall asleep. Luckily I always have something to do.

I've seen that movie. (The girls watched "The Other Side of Heaven" on our ride back from St. George this morning).We saw a dead rat being eaten by flies and ants a couple days ago.

Sorry so short, it's because I need time to send pictures.


I know that Dad is first but you always get shortchanged. Rebecca, Rebecca, we discussed this. You can't get sick every weekend. I haven't gotten sick once yet, though gastrointestinal problems are common here. Most missionaries complain about it a lot, but I've been lucky. It's usually not really food poisoning, just that the food is all sort of sketchy and randomly it punishes people. But I eat oatmeal every morning so I'm nice and regular.

I am disturbed that being "in a missionary mood" leads you only to say go convert people. Did you invite anyone to go to General conference with you? Not yet? Repent.


I didn't kill anyone this week, though the parents of a certain investigator should be careful. Honestly, I don't resent them. They obviously think they're helping him. But there are going to be an awful lot of parents or friends who feel really bad when all's said and done. When they look back, they'll feel bad. I hope I can prevent it. Maybe they'll all get baptized. Who knows. I think there's a chance...

Did you ever have something like this happen? Mom?

That is all. I will now send pictures of my shoes falling apart and 10,000 Buddhas.

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