Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 12, 2014 - Happy Mother's Day

I won't say too much, because we just talked and I spent more time than usual writing to others, (e.g. Matthew, Stan) but I want to say a bit more because that is just how I am.


Yeah, Japanese has 3 alphabets, I believe, one phonetic, one that I don't know, and one that is basically simplified mandarin. So there are more similarities than you would think. I heard an old missionary from Hong Kong who said when he went to Japan he could get around fine because he could read the signs. All I know is that there are too many characters to learn. I actually have picked up quite a lot recently. Usually, I can at least find a few on any writing that I know. You so skinny man, you got no way you beat me up.

Abby Rebecca,

You two are pretty sweet. Just so you both know, I think it's super funny when you burst into tears. You two are emotional people, and I like bragging about how on the way to the MTC I could make Abby cry by just looking at her.

I miss you two a lot. I show people our family picture all the time because I want to show them how awesome a family can be when they have the gospel. But honestly, I don't think that these people's families will ever be as good as you guys. I am so glad that you two feel so much love. Becca, I understand a bit of what you feel. Sometimes we do things that we just wish we could undo. In time like that, you just need to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and if you choose you can make this a sweet experience. If you feel like you can't forgive, try to repent and say sorry first. God can help us have love and forgive others, and the best way to get that help is to repent and say sorry.


I talked to you and Dad more than anyone else, so not a ton to say. Happy Mother's Day! Tell Joseph, I think he needs to pray about when he should go on mission, but I know that I myself would never want to do college first because I have learned so many essential things. But God knows best.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014 - More pictures

Ida on her baptism day.
Home Dinner with Ida and family.

Elder Morrell & Elder Barker happy to be eating pizza.

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014 - Pictures

Park in Chai Wan with turtles on the rocks.

Average day in my planner.

Tthis is a huge statue back across the bay from Ma On Shan.

Cool view on our hike and Elder Barker.

Ffrom left to right, Joey, ?, Ida, and Elder Barker.  Drinking melon milk.  Pretty hou yam.

​This is my horribly swollen finger.  I tried to play basketball with some old guys in a park.

​China, what else can I say.

May 5, 2014 - God has a plan for things!


I will not forget to email you again. Your letter is kind of interesting to me. One, I don't know who Morgan is so, so much for that.

Two, I think the idea you have of not having the right instincts or habits and not fitting into abnegation is an interesting parallel. You would think that Tris, who grew up in abnegation, would naturally have all the right habits. She'd been practicing being selfless all her life, but just didn't feel like she could do it. You have been in the church all your life but still feel like there are some things that just 'aren't wired right'.

I thought that the hardest thing of my mission would be that I would have to spend all my time discussing gospel things, because previously I had found that by the end of church I was tired of talking about gospel things, and I figured that if I couldn't do it for more than 3 hours, 2 years would be tough. But something that I have learned is that that wasn't a problem at all. As a missionary, you are sort of immersed in the gospel whereas before I was occasionally sprinkled by it (baptismal reference). Because I spent so much more time doing purely church things, I came to love them more. Maybe Tris's problem was that she tried to be selfless herself too much, instead of just really enjoying helping others. She was still thinking about herself. I think that anyone, member or convert, can come to be really well wired for church things by just immersing themselves in it, and doing it not out of duty but out of sincere desire to learn or grow. And if you do, you might accidentally figure out that that is what enduring to the end means.

Becca, I want you to tell Morris Matthews and Nick Harris that their letters are great. I really want to respond to them in person, and still hope to do so, but frankly I never have any time at all. It really is somewhat fantastic, in a sort of unbelievable sense, how little time I have. I try to set goals each week but have learned that I have so little extra time to work with that I am severely limited on what I can do, such as writing letters. Not my fault.

This is the email of the recent convert in our ward, who is just so amazing that we don't really have to teach her anything. She said I could tell you, specifically Mom, and have you email her. Her English is not amazing, but okay. If you use big words or complex grammar she'll have to ask us. But she is super friendly. Don’t put the email on the blog.

Ida is amazing because 1) she loves the gospel and wants to share it, and 2) she is available and loves making friends. If you want to be a more effective member missionary, make some new friends, Becca. Then be super excited about the church. Joseph will be interested to know that Becca. is misspelled but if it is at the beginning of a sentence it is okay.

Well Rebecca, on Friday we had our Zone Training, and afterwards some miracles. Elder Barker and I went finding for about 2 hours, talked to several people, then ran into a lady named Berry, who was super nice and interested in families. So we re-scheduled her, then as we were walking to eat dinner we saw a lady who we had previously scheduled but thought that she canceled, because I called earlier and she said 'too busy, not available tomorrow". Turns out I called the wrong number, and she showed up. We taught her, she took a Book of Mormon, and said she'd read it. If we had known that she would come we wouldn't have met Berry. Because her lesson put us behind schedule we ran into a member from Canada who was in Hong Kong for just 2 days and was probably feeling pretty lonely, invited him to come to our English class on Saturday (because he teaches English in Mainland), which he really enjoyed. Then that night we taught 2 more people. So, Becca, God has a plan for things. You are just a dancer/flutist/can-do-blond right now, but pray to be in the right place in the right time to do miracles. The missionaries would love you.

Thanks a lot, Becca, now I have only 20 minutes for everyone else.


It is a lot more humid here in Chai Wan, we have to have our air conditioning units blowing on fan mode all day long to prevent mold.

I can buy any Campbell's soup thing except the classic tomato soup, which is what all the ads show. I have been eating a lot of curry recently, specifically Japanese curry. Very tasty, and I hope healthy. But not as tasty as the fettuccini you sent! That has been really nice. I felt very proud of myself; I ate only one Reese’s a day. Stretched it out a while.

We are making bread pudding today.

I feel like you'd be a really easy missionary to work with, because you are very considerate about annoying or inconveniencing others. I think that I am pretty good at that. I try not to bother my companions sometimes. But I also try really hard to keep a high obedience standard, which is annoying sometimes, but what choice do we have? I think I'll enjoy being in charge too much, so I probably won't have to train.


I think it's funny how all your letters deal with Saturday. You tend to forget the rest of the week. And I also think it's funny how your letter about Lagoon only says bad things about it, but ends with you saying it was awesome. There is a Disneyland here in Hong Kong. If I want to go totally crazy disobedient I'll just go there during my normal working days. Maybe when Rebecca convinces Mom and Dad to let us all go to Hong Kong we can try it.


I wonder if it was different in your mission how they did training, because usually that is the best remembered missionary. The one who trained you or the one you train. There's an elder who used to serve in Chai Wan who trained a missionary every move after his first move until the 4th or so. I think that would be pretty horrible, but I can't wait till I get a chance to train someone.

I think that your idea about the hard work is definitely true. As it says in PMG, (I think Ezra Taft Benson) If you work, you get the spirit, if you get the spirit you will have success, and you will be happy. I have been trying to break through to that level of real hard work. I think that I'll be able to soon, because we started focusing on planning and goal setting more, and that is basically a way to focus your work.

Elder Barker really liked your water skiing analogy.

Our Zone leaders had us all pick some phrase that we would use to really make ourselves go the extra mile or be that little bit more obedient. I chose "Honor thy Father and thy Mother" because I really feel like you and Mom have given me an amazing example of how to live, and how to be a good missionary. I really wish I could see you two when you were on your missions.


You make me quite jealous with all this talk of mountain biking. I hope you and Dad get really into it because if I was trunkie and thought about going home at all I would say that we would go Mountain biking a ton when I get back. But I'm not. Duh. Funny how bad conversations can get. And funny how food makes everything better.


There is something to essays. Obviously you can pick any answer you want, but the more you write the more you will come to learn that there is an art or skill to expressing how specific evidence supports your claim, why you are right, etc. And structure of essays takes a bit to get the hang of. You will not enjoy English class next year.

IT better be a good trailer. You have watched enough movies and read enough reviews that 'all my directorial powers' should be significant.

Just make sure you

<MyLDSMAil Mail regrets to inform you that this invaluable advice is not fit to be shared with anyone so preoccupied with worldly desires. If you wish to read, please serve a mission.>