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.

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