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.

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