Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6, 2014 - "Never say finally at the 7 month mark, it makes you seem silly!"

Well, you don't need to wait any more because this week's letter is here!

Well Family,

It has been a pretty good time recently. Though I have not reached Elder Bennett level success yet (by the way, I took a double take at his email. The South, indeed) we have had some pretty cool things happen recently.

Our companionship has been able to find several people on the street recently. The problem is that, as always, they don't live in our area. But, we were able to teach and schedule several turnover lessons, which actually always makes me really happy. It's nice to feel like you're hastening the work without any pressure to teach well. But seriously, it has been pretty good. We had several weeks of completely dakhaahn schedule, which just means tons of finding. Eventually it pays off.

And I guess what goes around comes around because this coming week we have two turnovers coming to us. We also had a guy that we found on the street randomly tell us he wanted to meet us at church on Sunday, another guy who said about the same thing, a guy who after we taught him a lesson said that 'this really changes my view of things', and many other likewise miracles. I think that I am learning something about finding. It is pretty miserable when it's raining and cold and you spend 5 hours without actually talking to anyone. But I would find like that for a week if I could get one chance to teach a street lesson. I love sharing Joseph Smith's experience on the street, it's always my favorite thing. I love getting to know people. Missionary work has got a lot of hard stuff, but the rewards are pretty great.

Our Bishop has a Family Home Evening every week at his house, and invites us and any other people who want to come (usually converts whose families are not members) and eat and have a lesson. It's usually a highlight of our week. This week we couldn't find anyone to bring with us, and we faced some pretty big temptation to just call this slightly less active family a 'strong missionary purpose' and go eat free, amazing food. But, we decided not to. No point in only being obedient when it's convenient. The purpose of commandments is to change us, if they don't inconvenience us then we didn't get anything out of them.

This week I want to get a bit preachy, because I've been thinking a lot of things that I regret from before my mission. I don't dwell on it too much, but I have realized more and more that I was living far below my privilege and duty before I came here. I went to church and read scriptures regularly, of course. But I have learned that there is a higher plane of life that if we want, we can live on. The Temple (which we got to visit today, and was excellent as always) is a great example. I can remember the decision that I regret the most before my mission. It was about April, I had made a goal to go to the temple every week and do baptisms for the dead. I went the first week on a Friday, and had a really great time. The next week, I waited till about 4 or 5 o’ clock to leave, and something came up, I think I had to drive Becca to something. I remember thinking, "No, I have to go. If I don't go I'll drop this goal and I'll regret it." But I'd waited too long, there was no option. So I said I'd go the next morning. That didn't happen. I wasted a massive blessing. That is something that I regret so much it literally almost brings me to tears. We have such privileges. The Lord has given us a blank check on how much effort we can put into his service. If I could go back I would not play any video games, not watch any TV. I'd do more study, I'd go to the temple, and I’d serve around the house. I know that it's easy for me to say this now, being on a mission. I understand. But I feel like I HAVE to help you all see that we can choose to move up to a higher plane. We can choose to have the spirit with us always, to learn, to have joy and peace. Especially to meinen Brudern, video games are fun, but just put them after these other things. Please. I know that you all pray for me, and I'm grateful. Please know that I pray for you, because I have been given a chance to see what life can be like. It can be better than you can imagine. Please sit down, have a Family Home Evening, set some goals for study or prayer or (and this or is actually a mandatory) temple. Go together. I know Abby is only 10 (almost 11), but Mom and Dad are smart. If there is anything wrong in your lives, know that immersing yourself in the more important things, scriptures, etc, spreads into every facet of your life. The temple can help every facet of your life. Set goals. Please.

Okay, I'll relax a bit now.


You'll be happy to know that we had a couple days of almost summer (for Utah) weather. Warm, sunny, lovely. It made me ridiculously happy for those few days. It was a bit absurd. And I think it tricked the plants too. It's cooled down again but there are flowers EVERYWHERE. Utah's got nothing on Hong Kong flowers. They really are everywhere. I know how to say tulip in Cantonese. Wat Gam Heung, all high tone.

We've got almost 150 missionaries total in the China Hong Kong Mission, I don't know how many zones but 7 sounds about right. 5 Chinese stakes, international, and Macau. There are only 10 native Elders, don't know on Sisters. Relatively few. Our ward mission leader is leaving in April on a mission to Canada. Pretty awesome guy.

It is really weird to think of Dad as 50. That is extremely strange. I guess that makes me pretty old too. Well, drink more water, exercise, I guess? Hate to say it but from what I've seen over here people get old and they get weird. Lots of old people whose day's are filled with complaining about body pain and comparing vegetable prices while being wheeled around by Indonesian maids.

I am very happy to hear you are working so much with YW and missionaries. You probably remember, but it means a lot to have good ward leaders. I'd be happy with you guys as quorum leaders. Oh, yeah they wash all the dishes at restaurants as well. They always poor a glass of hot water into a bowl and wash everything. Super weird.

I really do feel like the Lord is arranging things for us. It's always really cool when someone cancels an appointment, and then we suddenly run into some one on the street.

Hey Abby,

I'm a bit short on time too, but here goes. The most stressful movie I ever watched was Secretariat. I felt the whole time like some injury was about to happen or the horse would lose unexpectedly. Falling through Earth's atmosphere would be nothing. I’m proud of you for your Canyons Youth Symphony exploits. I really like music nowadays, so when I get back you better give me a symphony. Just so you know, I have a big picture of you right next to my desk from the calendar. So I haven't forgotten what you look like, yet. READ WITH BECCA. Refer to top message for why.


That is just like IGN giving Mario Planet 2 a 10. I'm telling you, these boards and panels of judges are all in some hipster's hands, and he's playing them all to keep the mainstream away from the cool stuff so that he can keep playing his fun 'indie' games and watching good movies in peace. I say.


You are given advice similar to Joseph. I don't know who it is but someone is up there messing up the job statistics and ratings. Probably a mechanical engineer trying for better job security.


Maybe I'll stop saying that my Dad is a doctor and start saying he's a butcher. All the books that I've read that involve doctors killing things usually turn into some sort of grotesque artificial life thing. Isle of Martinique (don't know how to spell, Jules Verne, on the Kindle), Frankenstein, etc. On the bright side, you're old now, so you can retire soon and get back to model rocket launching.

I hope you guys laugh at this stuff, it's pretty good.

Spiritual thought first, then engineering. I have been learning a lot recently about the value of the Holy Ghost. I never really appreciated it before, but recently I've just been studying it a ton (PMG chap 4) and I think it is really changing my mission. I don't know how to explain it, but I think I have finally realized (or started to realize, never say finally at the 7 month mark, it makes you seem silly) that the attitude I need is to be an instrument for the Holy Ghost, not a user of it. I need to ask to be led, not ask to lead. I don't know how to explain, but my prayers have become much more fervent, much more pleading for the Holy Ghost to guide me, prepare me, and use me. And I think it really has changed things. IT makes me happier, for one, because I know that if I'm working hard (which I feel like I am) and following the Spirit it's all according to God's plan. I think that might be part of what you were saying.

We saw a remote helicopter this week, about the size of a toilet seat, which had a 5 pound battery pack that got drained in 3 minutes, and had servos that could reverse the pitch of the blades. Crazy.

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