Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014 - "Another week passes by as if it were a dream..."

Dear Rebecca,

I don't know why I always forget to write you, but there it is. I've got some cool stuff to tell you today, though. Apparently, my whole family has become more awesome since I left, especially you. Solo dances in front of the whole middle school, talks in church about sacrifice, flute playing with Canyons Youth Symphony and school band, something about glamour girl, which I don't know what the meaning is. I am afraid when I get back I won't be cool enough for you.

So, Becca, I will tell you about where I live. Right now I live in Shau Kei Wan, on the 7th floor of Ging Fai building. It is right next to the train station, a grocery store, a bread store, and a cha siu faan place (which is basically barbecue pork and rice, but better). It is pretty darn convenient, but the apartment itself could be better. The size is nice. There are 4 of us living here, Me, Elder Barker, Elder Wu (who is not a native, but has some of the best Chinese out of anyone I've met and is super rude and verbally abusive all the time) and Elder Yim (who is a native, but his English is terrible and he is really bad at defining words. Elder Wu is more useful, but he'll insult you viciously if you ask him). Our rooms are nice and big, the bed is nice, but our bathroom is a bit smaller. Our shower randomly has crazy powerful water pressure. I don't know how good the water heating is, because I made a goal to only take cold showers. Our kitchen is a bit of a joke, though Elder Barker tells me I've just been spoiled by Ma On Shan. There is one small sink, about 2 square feet of counter space, no where to put utensils or plates (we just leave them on the drying rack,) no burners, just one portable gas stove and an induction burner thingy. So it's a bit annoying to cook stuff. But fear not, Rebecca. I still manage to make a ton of Curry! And I ate a lot of noodles and tuna for a bit. So we shall overcome.

We had a lot of cool miracles this week, as well. There is a recent convert in our ward who, I think I mentioned last time. She has some crazy hard trials with family and stuff. She is still pretty rough to work with, honestly. She's like you, a small teenager, and gets really irrational. We want to get the ward teaching her but if we try to invite her to ward things she gets all pouty and won't go. Like you. But on Monday, after emailing, we had a lesson with her, asked her to pray and then ponder about what answer to fix some problem in her life. She had been pretty uncooperative in that lesson, and recently she really hadn't been interested in the gospel at all. But after thinking for a bit she remembered some missionary telling her “chi sau dou dai”, which means endure to the end. It was amazing. I know that the Holy Ghost answered her. This week she's been a bit better, came to church for the first time in a bit.

Tell Mom that this morning I went to the face doctor and he charged another ridiculous fee, which I will mail home for insurance to cover. My acne right now is okay.

We had a women get baptized on Sunday! Ida, who is the most well prepared investigator ever. She loves the scriptures, feels the spirit, and has seen tons of miracles already. And best of all, she is super out going, has a lot of friends, and shares the gospel like crazy. So we got to meet and teach 3 of her friends and her husband after her baptism, which was great. NEW INVESTIGATORS! Pray for her husband, he really feels like he won't be able to quit smoking. Becca, don't ever smoke. So many people in Hong Kong do it and it's pointless. And stinks.

I hope this was long enough for you, dancer.


Elder Barker is from Mapleton Utah, has been out about 4 months longer than me, is our district leader, is 6' 4", ran track and did football in high school, went to BYU for a semester, has a brother in law whose last name is Morrell, is a super friendly and funny guy. We teach really differently, so it won't be all easy, but he is really really good at getting to what people care about, getting to know them, making people like him, and then using the gospel to help them. I am learning a ton from him.

Hong Kong is pretty small, so transfers are super easy. We all go to the mission office, meet up, and then go to your area. It takes about an hour. Underwhelming. If I wanted to, I could go over to Tai Wai pretty easily. Just no reason to right now.

The Chapel is in Wan Chai, so in the big building district. Right now we are emailing in Wan Chai, next to a convention center which is ridiculously expensive. There is a woman doing a tour behind me in Mandarin. Hong Kong has a lot of people from Mainland China in it. The chapel is really really nice. It is super comfortable, beautiful, always lots of members (some Chinese, some American, lots of Philipinos) hanging around. Cool place.

That is super cool about Nicole. Her French is probably pretty amazing already, given her dedication to school. I don't think I have her email. I like Dad's comment on the sons of Mosiah. Except I guess I'm Alma and the rest are all the daughters of Mosiah? I assume he had daughters, we just never hear about them. Russia, France, Argentina, and Hong Kong. Pretty good spread.

I got the package, and it has been pretty nice. I loved the music. One of the things that I've been thinking of recently is how having good music playing can really improve your attitude, your mood, spirituality, etc. The BYU Men's Chorus one has a song that I mentioned before, “I love the Lord”, pretty awesome. And “Heavensong” is really nice.

Love you Mom, I will ask soon about the Mother's Day call. I think I can get it changed to call on your Friday night before Dad leaves for Italy.


I think the reason that I sometimes feel self doubt is the big gap that comes from knowing information and teaching it, and the real difficulty to getting people on the street to talk to you. I feel like I knew a lot of things, but I definitely could have had more productive habits and gotten more practice sharing the gospel than I did. The toughest thing recently has been that I changed companions dramatically. Elder Tong is not at all like Elder Barker, they teach totally different. So a lot of times, I feel unconfident because I'm trying to follow Elder Barker's lead and I don't know where he is going. That was tough for a while, and still is sometimes. But it's made me think a lot more about what teaching skills are effective, how to improve, etc. I also think that the stress made me rely more on the Lord, think more about the basic principles behind teaching and being an effective missionary. Love the people. Gain the power of the spirit. Follow the spirit. I think this has helped.

Maybe I should be more confident in myself, but missions have a way of making your weaknesses abundantly clear. Which is good, I think. I didn't realize how many opportunities I had to grow before.

I wanted to ask you and mom, who were your trainers, and did you ever train new missionaries? I know that most missions are different, but President Hawks likes to give everyone at least one chance to train.

I live with a native now, so I am trying to SYL more with him. No better way to learn. Oh, I'm actually really sad I don't get to do jury duty. That would be really interesting. Man...


I am afraid I'll forget you. I totally beleived you about Ginger. Why you do this to me? (Abby told John a long story about how we got a new cat named Ginger and then at the end announced that she was kidding.)

I like Dad's description that you play the violin very nicely even when angry. I can very easily picture you playing angrily. Last week I had a chance to do some mini MTC in our stake, and I did a role play with 2 young women, one 12 the other 10, about how to share the gospel. They did pretty well. You could too. Hint hint. Find some activity and invite a friend. And remember to read with Becca. Tell me if Dad ever went on a ride with you. That lazy chunk of lard...


I feel like I watched the movie, “Captain America, Winter Soldier”, just by seeing the ads over here. Pretty pathetic. Looks like you got to get both ends of the spectrum as far as artistic ability goes. Flying carriers. Honestly. 3 of them? Where did the metal come from? Where is the heat vent? How are they cooling the reactors? Plus if never mind. Too many things. Space is quiet. This is a good thing.

Memorize scriptures. Also, I never heard anything about the book this week...Don't give up on things. I have learned that. Great things can be done.


Power outage my foot. You just get your lazy self to work, and use the bike upstairs to power the house. I like the idea of you making a computer game. I'll come home and beat it for you. Sorry. To you and Joseph, I don't really know what else to say. Sounds like things are pretty cool. Tell me more about the new kid in the neighborhood. Priests are hard to find here too.

I can't send any pictures. Tell Dad I've been thinking about his grants.

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 - Transferred to Chai Wan on Hong Kong Island

Hello my family. I have to be really fast today because of some weird things that happened. But more important than what happened is where it happened, where being...

Chai Wan!

Which is the sort of eastern third of HONG KONG ISLAND! My knew companion is Elder Barker, who I lived with in Ma On Shan for almost 4 months. We are already pretty tight so that saves a lot of useless get to know you time. I have used most of that time to learn my new area instead. It is really interesting to move your first area. I have changed companions once before, which was pretty weird, but here is kind of like starting over for a second. I have to learn where everything is, where the MTR stops are, where to eat, where to go during church, learn the ward, who is a good fellowshipper, which people are crazy on the streets and should be avoided, which streets are sketchy and shouldn't be walked on, which refrigerator is ours, etc. But I love it. Chai Wan covers from Tai Koo to Chai Wan, and is really different from Tai Wai. Though it is a lot more crowded and rich than Tai Wai, it is not at all like Central or Wan Chai. The area is almost entirely residential, with a lot of parks and ocean promenades. Finding my first few days was almost comically lucky, we taught 4 street lessons and got 3 new investigators (though it looks like most of them are not going to become progressing). I really love our ward, too. And we get to go to church in what I think is the church's 2nd most expensive building in the entire world. If you look at the buildings around it you will see why. I know these things are not the most important, but it is pretty nice to have such a comfy building. And everyone knows where it is.

A few notes I took down.

1. There are a lot of people who know Grandpa Carmack (surprise surprise). Luciele Mok is in our ward and was his secretary when he was in the Area Presidency. And there is a family named the Lau family who say that they know him as well, the parents were missionaries when he was here. So Grandpa, you made a big impression. Also, I wanted to throw in that I still have that short story, "The Go-Getter" about Bill Peck, I read it again a bit ago. It really is inspiring. Thank you. Everyone wants to read the books you sent me.

2. Elder Barker has a relative named Morrell, Austin Morrell, lives in Pleasant Grove, married Elder Barker's sister. ?

3. I need pens. I can buy them here, so don't worry about it, but next time you send a package send a lot of high quality pens (seriously, don't send a package just for pens. Just make a note to put them with the next package.). I just go through a lot of them.

It is really weird adjusting to a new area, and Elder Barker's techniques are totally different from mine or Elder Tong's, so it's been pretty hard. It kind of hit my pride and confidence a bit, because with things so different I didn't really know where to go in street lessons or teaching, didn't know where Elder Barker wanted to head. But he's really great. I asked for a lot of evaluation and feedback after lessons, and though it was hard, I feel like I have a ton of potential to grow here.


Only 15 minutes for whole family, so forgive the brevity. I appreciate your sacrifice for the world. I know that you hate seeing yearling lambs in pain, but sometimes it just has to be like this.

I hate to say it, but despite your sacrificial zeal, you are no Prophet. I am still junior companion. I think it is a good thing.

I have really developed a love of music on my mission. I am even beginning to soften towards operatic voices and what not. I hope when I get home we can go to some music things together in between our mountain biking. Get in shape for me.

What was it like for you to move areas on your mission?


That question above applies to you as well. I eagerly await the day when I use our tiny toaster ovens to bake CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSAROLE. I am eating much better than Elder Bennett.

The package you sent is probably here but today we went hiking with the ward and an investigator (who will be baptized on this Sunday!) and a recent convert, who has been struggling. So we had no time at all to go to Kowloon Tong.

I really am so happy to hear about you and the kids going to the Draper Temple to do baptisms for the dead during Spring Break. Really. I am definitely more happy than you expect. That was my favorite part of the email. I also think it's so interesting to think of my parents as the people the missionaries go to if they have young women investigators or need to get the Elder's Quorum. Really interesting. You are doing an important thing.

I had an additional idea for FHE, to add on to the General Conference Talk. Elder Barker and Elder Carrasquillo (who I replaced) made these awesome family mission plans with goals that help introduce friends to the gospel, and we've been sharing them a ton. I encourage you guys to do that as a family.

You outclassed Dad in guessing my move. My mother is a prophetess, my father is no prophet.


I don't know what to say back to you, not a ton of specific things for you, but frankly your emails are always hilarious. I would say keep it up but that would imply some sort of conscious effort to do things different from what you would normally do, and I happen to know that you couldn't be less and more normal if you tried. So don't suddenly become normal. Keep up the biking. We shall go together.


Ice girl. Mom is happy that you are normal. I know the truth. I look forward to hearing it when I get back. In Hong Kong they have these one string violin things, really cool. Look them up.


Don't buy it. It's the Sabbath.

Also when you get back from your mission it will be outdated.

Micah also loved Firefly, he said it was amazing.

I was in a ridiculously expensive place today. Wan Chai Expo Center. I could see the tower Batman jumped off of.

This is an email from the investigator Vincent that I just left in Tai Wai. He is too cool, thought you guys should see this.

How are you getting on? Are you used to life in Chai Wan?
I miss you so much. Although we didn't spend much time together.
Even if we don't know how many days later it would be when we can see each other again.
But we have something in common, which is we both have our own goals to achieve.
I will work hard.I will try to make my English and about Book of Mormon become very good.
I think in this photo, I'm not so stud. Next time we take a new photo.
If you want to meet me, you can date me on your Pre day.

Hope everything works out smoothly for you.

Love your brother,

Vincent Ma

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20, 2014 - Email from the 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency

Dear Brother and Sister Morrell,

This is Brother Kwok from Hong Kong. You do not know me but I thought I would send just you a short message to let you know about my visit with your son. I was visiting the Chai Wan ward yesterday and I met Elder Morrell and his companion Elder Barker. They are wonderful and happy missionaries. They are eager to work and are loved by the members. I can feel of their excitement in the work and I think you should be proud of your son!

Elder Morrell is speaking wonderful Cantonese. I feel that Elder Morrell is doing well with his language skills.

We want to thank you for raising such a righteous son to come and serve here in Hong Kong. We know it is a sacrifice for him as well as for the family! Thank you for your great example and we are grateful for all that you do to support Elder Morrell!

Attached is picture of Elder Morrell and his companion - I think you will enjoy it!


Kam Tim Kwok
Second Councilor
Mission Presidency
Hong Kong Mission

John's new comp. - Elder Barker

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014 - General Conference - One of the most enjoyable experiences of my Life!

Okay mine family, this week I wrote down all the things that I wanted to tell you. So I have a lot of news and not a lot of time.

First, overall report. Frankly, not a very good week missionary work wise. Not sure exactly why but we just didn't find or teach anyone, and only had Elder Tong's grandpa at General Conf. So that could've been a lot better. Most of it was that several people were sick or just busy. People in Hong Kong think they're really busy. They are, of course, because almost every job is a 12 hour job, but they have some time. They just don't realize it. Family and friends, don't be busy. If random people on the street ask to sit down and talk for a few minutes, do it.

I am not really that sad, though, because GENERAL CONFERENCE! It may have been the most enjoyable experience of my life. I loved Conf. in the MTC but apparently I have spiritually matured a bit since then because this was like nectar from the God (no polytheism here). My testimony of the living prophets has been strengthened, and honestly it was just so nice to sit and listen. Dang, I wish that was every day. Though I'd need to buy a nice portable chair. 10 hours sitting on hard church chairs. Makes you really enjoy street finding. My favorite talks were probably Elder Ucthdorf Sunday Morning/afternoon about gratitude and Elder Packer Sunday Afternoon, but literally every talk was great. I especially noticed that while previously I found the 70's talks pretty boring, now I love them. So go figure. Out. How to be a better person. Already.

I got to compound that joy by last night having a very in depth discussion, over the phone, with a potential investigator named Lincoln about what the difference between prophets and say a preacher or teacher is. It all makes so much sense. And to my great joy, I could do it all in Chinese. Over the phone! Progress, slow but sure. I will say now that teaching and testifying is the strongest way to increase one's testimony of anything.

I also loved the music. Will discuss more with Dad, but the guy who directed the Saturday Afternoon session was the guy who directs the MTC choir. So I have sung under his lead, which when combined with my MoTab heritage basically equals singing in Conference.

I feel like I should testify more in these letters. I know the Church is true. I know that the Atonement was done because I have prayed and have felt its power. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet because I have read the Book of Mormon, prayed, and know that it is true.


I like your letter because it is a bit longer. I fasted this last Sunday, which was rough because the ward members all brought food to the General Conference (we watched it at the church with everyone else, because you can't just watch it on TV here.) and I couldn't eat any of the brownies or lasagna or other foods we rarely get.

Sometimes things seem rough, as in with your dance. Keep a good perspective. Also, I think that what I have learned is that what is important is not the outcome per se, but your personal input. If you dance well and you are happy, you will enjoy the recital even if Linda goes mad and rushes on stage with a baseball bat chasing the little kids around. Though now that I reflect on that, it might be more of one of those times that you look back on and enjoy.

I want you and Abby and David to, together, and THIS WEEK BECAUSE YOU HAVE LOTS OF TIME watch again W. Craig Zwick's talk about kind words. I have prayed a lot about how to help you guys, and while I can't exactly council Mom and Dad, I can council you young uns. So watch it and discuss for just a few minutes what that means. Then improve. I know you all want to be nice, so do it. Also I don't know what HJHS is.


I am touched by you being touched for me. I have notice that I have softened a bit on my mission, like butter in a microwave. I am still fairly stoic but have gotten teary once or twice. Shh, don't tell. I think that I'm like you in that music can affect me a lot. I thought about how in conference every session has 4 musical numbers, so they must really think it’s important because you could fit a whole apostle into there. Maybe you should consider that when you play violin. My favorite song I ever played on piano was 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" because it was so emotional. If you learn to play that I will love you forever.

Watch the thingy. I mean it.


I hope you didn't forget that while I live in Ma On Shan I serve in Tai Wai. I would actually be really sad to leave either one. I have gotten to know Tai Wai pretty well, and I really want to see them have some success. And we have a lot of pretty cool investigators right now.

Vincent also might have hope. Apparently, he is such a punk that he was planning on going to General Conf. despite his parents, and has been in contact with us. But, he has been sick with pneumonia for about 2 weeks and is now in the Hospital. So maybe this is a chance to get to his family. We'll try to give him a blessing sometime this week. Pray for him.

I will see if I can do the Mother's Day call. President Hawks is a strict but reasonable guy, and more importantly he listens to Sister Hawks, so she'll probably sympathize.

In Chinese the word for devil is almost the same as the first character in Book of Mormon, and in fact is a radical for it, though you don't know what that means. There's also one particular church, the Syun Douh Wui, that really doesn't like us and is Vincent's school. SO, yeah. Speaking of which, I had the most odd and offensive street experience while on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. Some old man ran up to us and shouted in Chinese, saying (I think) that we, along with Catholic Priests and any other preacher, were child molesters, and then he slapped me on the buttocks. Twice. So that was an experience to record. Oddly, I didn't get angry at all. Too weird to react to, I guess. The irony of his action was not lost on me.

I wonder if they translate the names of the people sustained in Conf into Chinese. Could you ask Eva? Because it's a laborious process. They have to make the name out of pre-existing characters.

I can't counsel you or Dad but there were a few talks that I really loved that I would like to use my missionary power to encourage you to read and study again. Linda S. Reeves, especially the part about FHE, Gary E. Stevens, especially the part about game plans for ordinances. I felt prompted.

Also, I know that Grandpa wrote a book, I think called Tolerance, and gave me a copy. If you could, could you mail it to me? I can't read it yet but later will probably get permission. And I was really inspired by the talks encouraging us to get to know our ancestors better. Only so much I can do right now.


A couple things first; I loved the music in Conf. You stand next to a really big bald guy, in case you didn't notice. It makes you easy to find. Elder Ah Mu has some disc of Mo Tab things with a song called I Love the Lord, the lyrics based on 2 Nephi 4, by the men alone. I love it. If you've heard it, I would be curious to know your feelings towards it. I also love that whole type of men a cappella and intense music. Just so you know.

I remember being impressed by you saying that in Grad. School your heart rate was in the 40s. I have some news that I know you will doubt (I did too at first) but is true and has been retested and confirmed several times. My average heart rate just while sitting or even walking these days is in the 50s or 40s. I don't know why, because we only run for about 20 minutes in the morning. Maybe atmosphere. Also, one night before going to bed I counted it, twice, and for a whole minute as well, at about 36 or 37. I don't know why but I am very pleased. My whole body moves slightly each beat. Pretty cool.

I am going to try not to think about mountain biking because I really want to. We are going normal street biking today for P-Day.

I am not sure that I will be either of those. Part is just that Pres. Hawks is really wise about how and who is assigned to do things, so he should avoid me, and part is that frankly I want it too much. If I was going to train, I would have got a call this morning, but didn't. I am relieved, but at the time was a bit disappointed. Too much pride.

I Loved priesthood session, encourage you to force David and Joseph and you to re-watch President Eyring's talk. Examples like that are important to me know. I try to emulate you when I am unsure or don't want to work.

I would also recommend that in Family Home Evening you make everyone take turns teaching the lessons, or at least points, out of chap. 3 of PMG. That fulfills several Prophet's assignments at once and will prep Joseph and David for missions.


I got the Hong Kong reference. Though it was subtle. Keep it up on the manual transmission. I really wish I knew how to drive it. Just be bold.

That mountain bike trail is pretty freaky for people like us who haven't been biking before, but ask Dad about the other curved and banked one we did. That was dicey.

The main thing I thought for you, David, was that you are going to be very good at doing genealogy work. you are quirky and like odd stories, which genealogy is probably full of, and you know computers, and delight in funny names. Watch Quentin L. Cook's address and at least install all the software for us to do it at home, please. Also, one of my favorite talks was by Donald L. Hallstrom, who is actually one of the people who spoke at our mission tour last month. Read his talk. It is about change. I know that the Atonement enables change.


You don't know what it means to have days blur together yet. I ran this morning, probably about as fast as I ever have in my life. I recommend going outside and running at least sometimes. It's pretty fun. And if you get good enough we can go running together when I get back. I'll be suffering from altitude sickness but maybe that will give you a chance.

I wish I still spoke German. Oh well.

Make sure you finish that story. I have learned quite a lot from the mission about goal accomplishment. But I have some things to fill up your time a bit. Along with the other ones given to other family, I'd counsel (dang it, I wrote the wrong counsel the whole time) you to read Elder Anderson's talk. Like I mentioned, please start teaching FHE out of Preach My Gospel. And for you, a special assignment. I have learned on the street that the scripture mastery scriptures are extremely useful. SO as a challenge I would exhort you to memorize all 50 Book of Mormon ones and if possible all 50 New Testament ones before your mission. So start now. It'll be worth it.

Love you all.  Every one read Elder Ballard's talk.  Enough said.

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014 - The Book of Mormon Makes Me Happy!

Hello my family and other unknown readers of my family's email. You know who you are.

This week has been marked by lots and lots of liquid, usually in the attitude of falling from the sky but sometimes found reclining on the ground, particularly after said heavenly descents. It rained, frequently. As in most days it rained. Monday to Friday it rained at least a few hours a day, sometimes a little and sometimes very very intensely. Let me just say that when Joseph starts buying stuff for his mission whenever he leaves don't buy the umbrella I got. It is fine for normal weather, but Hong Kong rain is not normal. At times it rained hard enough to literally get through the umbrella seams, which I was curious to find possible, and it was too small to keep all of me dry for long periods of time, so I had to settle for 3 of my 4 sides at a time. Rain is also less than helpful when your day is mostly full of walking around finding people who want to stand outside and talk, for reasons which if are not apparent will be quickly and indelibly learned by walking outside and trying to make friendly conversation with people during a storm. Thus, our efforts to go actually finding were not the most effective, but they taught me some valuable lessons. Hard work and the effect of faith. Because even though we found for 6 hours without talking to anyone, I was still willing to keep walking. That doesn't happen without a real belief in why you're doing something.

And we had a good deal of success regardless of dampened pedestrians. Several people we contacted from days or weeks past have all of a sudden become available, which was really cool. We met with one man who has not really learned much about any religion before but is really interested, available every afternoon, and willing to read the Book of Mormon. The only problem is that he works at a restaurant and can't get work off on Sunday, but all things are possible, right? We're just glad we found him before some other religion.

The way we found this guy, as well as several other pretty good contacts recently, is by street baptismal invites, which really just make you feel like a powerful missionary, clear up any confusion about what your purpose is or why you're talking to the people, and get them started on the right track from the beginning. I'm pretty grateful that our mission started encouraging this. We got to see our numbers for the month of March at Zone Training this week, and apparently we haven't had numbers like this for a while. Our New Investigator goal was better than it's been in years. So pray for it to keep going.

I wrote a note to myself reminding me to tell you that I am very happy recently. Things are going really nicely. I'm very happy. I thought that I was happy when I started my mission but really things are just so nice. 1/3 through, though. I need to speed up I guess. One of the big things that has made me happy is the Book of Mormon. I started reading again for the 6th time on my mission (I know, that's slower than once per month, but I've got too many things to study.) and I'm getting more out of it and enjoying it more than ever before. Everyone, go home and read. I read through Jacob a bit ago and I love that book. Even the trees obeyed him. Know what I mean? Picking up what I'm putting down? (as Elder Bennett says,) Dawg?

One last general thing, this Sunday was crazy. We had no time to find at all. We're already limited because Elder Tong is District Leader (I pity Elder Bennett) and has to do numbers while I relax and read the Bible, and we got extra slowed down because some college students interviewed all us missionaries for a World Communications Master Program Culture Class Assignment. So I answered all these questions about how it is to be in Hong Kong, did I feel like there was a culture shock, things about the language, did I have a girlfriend in Hong Kong (that one was funny) did I "feel marginalized?" Very interesting. I don't think that I've ever been in a minority sufficient to be interviewed as its own culture before, but we missionaries definitely are weird.

Last thing, today. We ate Korean BBQ in Kwun Tong for our P-Day activity and to celebrate two other Elder's birthdays. I think I've mentioned KBQ before, but basically you take a ton of raw meat and grill it and eat it. Honestly, it wasn't very fun. Socially it's very cool, but you just get stuffed with mediocre cooked meat and feel sick, then get afraid that you'll get food poisoning later (pray for me). So now I am emailing in Kwun Tong, in some Philipino Restaurant/grocery store/rentable computer place. Super weird.


I need to apologize because I forgot to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Not sure how that slipped my mind. I did receive your letter, the one written in pink, and by the way if my handwriting is hard to read at least I write with a normal pen, not with a pink highlighter. I almost went blind.

I find your letter very funny because I think that there are very, very few people who would say "I can not express how much it was bleeding" at 11 years old. You've definitely been influenced by the oddness of your family, and by your own inherent eccentricities. Also you are probably smarter than most people your age, so that helps.

It has been a long time since I saw one of those weird cloud bug things. Good memories. You would hate Hong Kong. Too many open meat stores and blood. And the food would upset you. Plus a lot of people limp, and I feel like you'd get freaked out.

Mother Dear,

I probably can't get too specific on details about our investigator, but he's only 17, and he just has a ton of pressure from basically every front in his life. His school preachers have interviewed him personally a few times to tell him to stop meeting with us, his friends (especially girl friend (people shouldn't date before they go on missions)) and his family are all convinced we're a cult. We really always get nervous when investigators are about to be baptized. Satan's got a lot of ammunition in Hong Kong. In our ward alone we've had 3 people almost get baptized and then be stopped. I really want to change that, for us, and the people obviously, but also the Bishop. He's super awesome and this is pretty tough on him.

It has been pretty nice to actually be able to teach, though with teaching always comes people not showing up, which is annoying. But we taught 5 member present lessons this week, which is pretty good. I don't think I'm an amazing teacher yet. Honestly I feel like the people who are doing well are doing well because they're just cool and awesome, and I'm kind of just saying things, but that's not too bad. And time does fly when you teach lessons. Finding, not so much. but a day of teaching is over before you know it. We almost always teach in the chapel, but this week we got to teach a guy in his house. I kind of prefer that because they feel more comfortable, but the chapel is nice too.

You are correct. Next Thursday will be moves. 9 weeks apart. Elder Brown, one of our assistants, is really a cool missionary. He just always seems so positive, so happy. He's used his time well. I didn't know him too well but a cool Elder. It is really weird to be 1/3 done. I still feel new all the time. Oh, I want to ask for the recipe for Chicken Broccoli Casserole. I think I might be able to make it. Love you, Mom. Only a month and a bit and you can hear my dulcet Chinese tones again...


That is pretty interesting. I know that I had several friends who really quite liked that game. I find it interesting that something like video games, which often are nothing more that mindless shooters or puzzle games, can have the depth or beauty to really transcend into an art. The problem is filtering out the useless ones and the ones too poisoned by the culture of the world.

I have also thought a lot about this idea on my mission. Every moment you have the agency to choose to do something. One of the blessings of a mission is that you know exactly what you are supposed to do. I had many times before my mission where I felt like I had nothing to do or I would just spend my time watching TV that I'd already seen, or something like that. Let's just say I haven't had many times like that on my mission. You never realize how precious time can be until you really use it well. I have seen how much time can be. The potential of your time, Joseph, is very great. Obviously I'm not going to tell you that you have to start living a mission life right now, but do me a favor and take some time and think about how much time you really spend doing the really obvious things that any primary graduate knows they're supposed to do. I never realized how much scriptures could do for me because I never really studied them. And I read every night. Sometimes I'm tempted to think of home. Even though I'm really busy right now and tired most of the time, I never wish I could be home sleeping or relaxing. I think of things that I want to do. There's more things to do, both purely gospel related and more 'regular' but worthwhile things, than you will ever have time for. Write your book. That's worth time. Get in shape. Worth time. Read the scriptures. Really worth time. Go to the temple. If nothing else, do that. It is worth it.

That's about all the depth I got right now. Now I want to see what this game is. But more important things to do.


As with Abby, I wish you a very happy birthday. We are pretty similar in a lot of ways. Oh, I saw some ad for Divergent movie. Just saying.

That is crazy that you got to do a dance solo for your school concert! You have learned so much dance stuff since I left. Probably my fault. I guess I suppressed your true potential. The Morrell talent pool only has room for one of us in one house. Oh, I like your multitasking (). Pretty classy.

Sorry I don't have more time. I don't miss you guys too much during the day but honestly I have a lot of dreams that involve family. So that's weird. Keep being blond. If you dye your hair I won’t come home.


Sorry for my poor time management, but I'm out of time. I love you, David and Dad, and I especially appreciate your advice on the knackig (German word on the sausage container picture). Dad, that is pretty funny that you missed the Sunday morning broadcast and first session of conference (Glen went to get some food out of a vending machine after his morning rehearsal and mixed up when he needed to be back in his seat by ½ an hour. He realized his mistake when he heard the choir start singing “Gently Raise”). I hate it when that sort of thing happens. David, and Dad actually, you both forgot I haven't seen conference yet. Keep killing pigs, in Minecraft or in real life.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

March 31, 2014 - Photos

10,000 Buddhas!

Banner finding!

What is knackig?  You usually don't respond to my random physics questions but this is serious.  I might buy this and die of Knackig overdose or Knackig poisoning.  Or not buy it and be afflicted with Knackig deficiency.  Dad or Joseph or Evan or (honestly probably) David.  What is Knackig, what is the benefit of Knackig, and what is too much knackig?

And yes, my shoe is starting to fail.  My socks are all wet becasue water is coming in from below.