Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014 - Transfer to "Cow Head Corner"

Hello family! I have much to share today and not too much time to do it, so apologies to those who were not graced with a personal response from me.

I am no longer in Chai Wan, nor am I a trainer or senior companion. I am now in Ngau Tau Kok (which, interestingly enough directly translates to Cow Head Corner. Go figure. Which is right across the harbor from Chai Wan, and I am with Elder Au! A Bundei, a native! Who speaks perfect Chinese and not that much English! Words cannot describe my joy about this thing.

Ngau Tau Kok is very very different from Chai Wan. Chai Wan, though not central, is still heavily influenced by the Hong Kong Island Money atmosphere, and is a relatively wealthy place. Ngau Tau Kok is not, and is largely comprised of Chuens, which are like giant apartment buildings arranged in groups. Chai Wan was relatively flat, or at least the places we went street finding were. Ngua Tau Kok is the opposite. The area, speaking topographically or geographically, is extremely complicated, and I still have no clue where we are going when we find. Unfortunately, half the time Elder Au doesn't either. More on that later. The finding here is really great, though. The people are poorer and warmer, and weirder. Also, more on that later. We've had some good success. We are next door neighbors to KWUN TONG! which is the promised land, the legend baptizing area. Don't ask me why but about 3 or 4 years ago it went crazy and still is. We aren't that insane but it's a good place.

The reason Elder Au doesn't know either is because he's only been in Ngau Tau Kok for 3 weeks. We are actually a new companionship. Previously, the Assistants and the Office Elders served here but they left about a transfer back. So neither of us really know where we are, and we don't have a teaching pool per se, but I still love it.

Elder Au is on his last transfer right now. He will go back home to Shatin on October 24? I think, right next to Tai Wai where I started. He's a funny guy. His English is okay, but not great. I don't mind one bit, I just want to speak Chinese with him. Which, by the way, I can. I still have times when people don't understand me or I don't understand them, but I live with a native and it's much easier for both of us to use Chinese to speak. It's a very gratifying feeling. I miss Elder Ferrar, yes Mom that was 9 weeks with him. It seems fast to me too. And I sort of miss being senior companion, if only because I feel like I have stricter views of obedience than most and I can't really enforce them as well. But it's all good.

Our apartment is not quite so gratifying. It is a great apartment, really nice, hardwood floors, used to be super comfortable when there were only 4 Elders in it. Now there are 6. We have beds, but no study chairs, desks, no cabinet for clothes. That’s right, I am still not unpacked. I pull one shirt and a pair of socks out each day. Ease into it, sort of. I felt very oppressed by it for a bit, but that's something that I've learned on my mission is that you can choose to still be grateful in situations like this, and the apartment really isn't that bad if you choose to look at it in a kind light. Let that be a lesson for someone. The Elders we live with are really cool. Elder Bus, who is small and new and educated, Elder Osbourne, who laughs like some sort of elf when tickled, Elder Peterson, who is a new Zone Leader and a pretty cool guy, and Elder Pincock who's been zone leader for a while, very leng jai (Chinese) and really interesting guy. They are all pretty tight; honestly Elder Au and I are just a little bit on the outside right now. No complaints, though.

I love this new area, I am happy as a fool, and the gospel is true. More on that later. One last experience before personal responses; before I left Chai Wan we had one day, outside talking to a new investigator as he was about to go running. It had been sprinkling a bit, so Elder Ferrar and I had umbrellas. All of a sudden we saw a wall of water coming towards us, and in an instant it was pouring like it never does in Utah. The investigator fled, we really couldn't responsibly tell him to stay and talk longer, Elder Ferrar's umbrella took the pounding for a few seconds and then promptly resigned, (by which I mean folded, as in THE WIND FOLDED HIS METAL UMBRELLA) and we were suddenly a little damper.


I am not yet District Leader, though I will admit this theory that Elder Yim and I had. Elder Osbourne is our District Leader right now, he's been here for a good long time and will probably leave next move. Elder Au will leave. I have a good chance of being District Leader then, though not for certain. I really feel that I won't be a very high up leader on my mission because it would be very difficult for me to control any pride that might come from that. But we'll see. One way or another it's all service. That is something that I really can say I have learned and understand pretty well right now.

I did a lot of study on the Great Apostasy this week, because I had an insight into it. We talk a lot about the loss of scriptures, revelation, prophets, organization, authority, miracles, truth, etc, and all these things are important. But the real horror and tragedy of the Apostasy is related to the missionary purpose, the Gospel of Christ, which is given to men to help them gain a remission of sins. I suddenly understood that the real thing lost in the Apostasy was the remission of sins. That makes the Apostasy more devastating, and the subsequent Restoration all the more sweet. Just a random insight.


I really find that cool that you can intellectually understand the Book of Mormon as well as spiritually. Our testimony obviously needs to have the real true core of an answer from the spirit, but we are mistaken when we assume that logic will contradict that. Uncle Stan is pretty cool in that regard. I've been reading a bit of a Book of Mormon study guide, the one for the religion class at BYU, and it really has helped me gain a better intellectual understanding of some things. I have a lot of books to read when I get back.

The biggest thing that the study guide did, though, was give me a greater desire to study and receive revelation through the Book of Mormon. I had a feeling that I don't want these insights spoon fed, I don't want to rely on other's insights, I want to have my own experiences with the Book. And I really have. These past few days have been some of the best days in my mission because my personal study has had so much more effect and been so much more, I don't know how to say it, revelatory. I got to share a brief introduction testimony at Church on Sunday, and that was what I exhorted the ward to do, was really drink deeper from the gospel that we have here. I exhort you all as well.

I've had some more thoughts about a package to be sent to me. If you've already sent it, no problem, but if not here are some ideas. Syrup is very expensive and hard to find here. Maple Syrup, or hershey's chocolate. Any food, in fact, will be appreciated. I say that as a hungry person. Because I replaced an Elder who just finished, there was no food left for me. I had no dinner really last night and only watermelon for breakfast. But today we buy groceries. I also need more contact fluid. I'll try and find some today, but I could use some more. That's about it, I think. I love you mom, especially now that I see what it takes to clean up after 6 people.


I know how it is. Compare your work with mine. Then repent and be happy. Sorry, that was prideful.

That is very disturbing about physics. To be fair, electrostatic induction is part of the AP C physics test, not IB, because it requires some intense calculus, but I feel your point. Ask Dad for help? He is a Doctor Doctor Associate Professor.

I saw two old men get into a fist fight on the street last night. Literally, two 50 or 60 year old men, obviously drunk. They were yelling for a bit, then one (blue shirt) just straight out punched Red shirt's head. Red shirt was staggered, it was a real blow. He was carrying a ton of stuff and a backpack, so he started putting stuff down, and blue shirt clocked him in the jaw, punched him once more, then started walking away. Red shirt put everything down but his backpack, walked after blue shirt, tried to hold his shoulder or talk to him or something, then blue shirt punched at his arms for a while, then as blue shirt was walking away red shirt came up again and took a fair sized backpack and just smashed blue shirt in the head with it. Blue shirt was literally down, on the ground, clutching his head, unable to stand for at least 10 or 15 seconds. Some guy came and broke it up, but pretty ridiculous. Reminded me of Ether 15, which I just read, and how if we fall into one sin it gives Satan power over us to lead us to another. And eventually we end up like Red shirt and blue shirt or Coriantumr and Shiz, dead or in jail. Not that you are in danger, but something I noticed.


I look forward to your game. Forgive your sisters, Jesus knew full well that the Romans were crucifying him and he forgave. The above story should please you. Oh, my apartment mates are setting up a sort of Dungeons and Dragons game. I won't participate, but thought you'd like to know.


Don't bug David. The school year will be as good as you make it. Get your father's blessing and go to work. I wish I'd have worked a bit harder.


Because Because Because. I liked Middle School, you could sort of choose your classes, and you start learning some really interesting stuff.

Thank you my awesome family! READ THE BOOK!

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014 - The Doctrine of Christ - Preach My Gospel Ch. 1

Apparently my sisters are now demanding that I ask them questions, because heaven forbid they have to think of something to say on their own. They've got 168 hours in a week, just like me, why not go do something worth reporting in it? I actually had a relatively slow week. Elder Ferrar was a little upset as we added up our numbers at the end, it is the lowest I believe he has ever gotten, which I would take as a compliment if not for my knowledge that the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, praise be the name of the Lord.

We just got canceled a lot this week, disturbingly enough many times it was the members canceling or "fonging" us. I don't know exactly why but the past few weeks we've not had as much luck, but I still feel pretty happy because I don't feel like we've slacked off at all or been disobedient. It's interesting how living decently softens any blow. If you're doing what's right it'll be okay, anything bad that happens is from God not you. Not that I'm perfect, I also view this as a time to crack down on any weaknesses and figure out how to improve.

Only a few things to report. One, Chai Wan is getting sister missionaries. We have 11 sisters coming on Tuesday, and they are creating some new companionships, so they bought an apartment in North Point, stuck the Causeway Bay sisters and moved the TKO (I don't know how to spell it) sisters in. We've been helping them adjust this week. They have no one to tell them about where to find, no investigators except for the ones we're turning over to them, and absolutely nothing in their apartment. No rice, pasta, rice cooker, paperwork, nothing. Fun. As a result of them coming, Chai Wan is likely to lose one set of Elders, so 2 of us are probably leaving. I do not speculate as to who.

Elder Ferrar had his first two visits to member's houses yesterday. I've been a bit lax, and the culture of Hong Kong is not really that of inviting people over to visit, so he's never been before. The first visit was a really nice lady in our ward who loves missionaries and often goes to visit Utah, and who invited her returning to activity friend and her whole family over. Pretty cool. The second was at a fairly young family's house. Their whole house would fit into the antechamber downstairs, and they have a 1 year old son and a border collie dog thing. Pretty nice people, their son is like the ward baby. Literally everyone just picks him up and takes care of him during church.

I've been having a really great time studying chapter 1 of Preach my Gospel recently about what the Doctrine of Christ really is. I challenge all who read this email to the same challenge we gave at the first visit on Sunday; Read 2nd Nephi 31, and 3rd Nephi 11 and 27, ponder on what the gospel really is according to the Savior, then ponder what the gospel really is to you in your life, then pray for how to share it with your friends.


How did you like swim team this year? You mentioned that you were sad to miss is and not work out, did you endure to the end on that? Who are your new teachers? Which class is your favorite? You're taking French, right? I loved German but I think that Mom could help you a lot more than Dad can. No offense, Dad. Has your favorite color changed? If so why? You should just skip school until you hit 104 days. It'd be fun.


I remember really loving Outdoor Youth Adventures (OYA), I felt that OYA helped me really feel that spirit, and it was super fun as well. I think that it's amazing that you have 2 friends with so much potential. Like you said about your friend at camp, she may have started to learn about the gospel because of having a lot of LDS friends and going to camp, but I think the main function of these things is to give her an invitation, a chance. You mentioned the spirit you felt there. I think you're right when you said that the spirit changed her. Social groups and friends can influence people, but only the spirit can really convert them. That being said, PMG teaches that people rarely change without an invitiation. There's already been a lot of success in that she was invited to the camp, invited to read, invited to pray, etc. Now capitalize on the testimony that is starting to grow and invite her to come to church, or see the missionaries. Same with your other friend. I will pray for them, and for you to have success. I am so proud of you!

P.S. Same school questions as I asked Abby


Your emails, they have a certain chronological weakness to them. Nay, weakness does not describe it, for that would imply the need for change and improvement. May I describe it as a sort of chronological and logical freedom? A lack of restrictive times and orders, an unbounded propensity to depart from traditional requirements, a refreshing lunacy...

As I recall, I alone amidst my friends enjoyed A Sand County Almanac. You are not alone in your dislike of the book. (David is reading this in prep for AP English.)


Apparently you seek to eclipse me physically and socially. Dad implies you have stolen the hearts of the elderly women in our ward. But listen to their praise and I doubt not you shall still detect the reverent reference to the one who came before, the progenitor, he who shall return and in a firestorm of rhetoric and righteous invective set aright any confused minds relative to the order of supremacy in the House Morrell. I reference my homecoming talk. Prepare yourself well...

And keep up the work outs. You'll have to show me the Krav maga place, it sounds pretty cool. I've thought occasionally about doing Judo, something about the reliance on flips and holds appeals to me.

I recommend you find some time to go to the temple. I really do understand more how the influence of the temple can stay with you if you attend regularly enough. That remains my largest regret when I think of pre mission time.

Dad and Mom,

Sorry, I have little time. I really am happy to hear about the scripture reading and praying and Family Home Evening. I know that I probably sound a bit presumptuous counseling about that. It's just that I literally spend all my time thinking about how to get people to be doing more of those things. I get a mindset of trying to save people, to get them up to the required level of activity necessary to develop testimonies and get baptized. Then it bleeds over into you guys.

I may still be with Elder Ferrar after this transfer. In our mission we often will be together 4 months. That's probably the short average, though some are shorter and some are longer.

Sometimes people, especially the old ladies, sound really angry when they speak when they really aren't at all. Mandarin might be different; I think it's a bit harsher, at least in my ears. If you hear z or sh or urr sounds, it's probably Mandarin.

I love the story about Joseph and the bread. Pretty hilarious. Sorry, I am out of time. Keep being perfect or you shall all stand condemned. (Joseph had to run home after Sacrament Meeting started yesterday to get a loaf of bread. When he got home there was not a full loaf so he constructed a half a loaf with different bread and then raced back to church.  We had to sing a few extra verses of the Sacrament Hymn, but there was plenty of bread in the end.  He called it a Frankenloaf.)

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014 - One Year Mark, and He's Doing Great!

Hello my loving lovely loveable family. I couldn't see two of the pictures you sent because they linked to Facebook, I think, and wouldn't load, plus as a paragon of exact obedience I do not go to these heathen websites. But in the ones that I saw, I noted that dad looked grizzled and chubby, and Rebecca seems to have grown. A lot. I guess that happens after a year or so. But it shouldn't.

This week was pretty great. We had a mission tour, which sucked up all of our time on Friday. At the beginning of my mission I would have been nothing but happy to have a chance to just sit and listen to people training us for hours. Now my desire to hear them has increased a lot but my desire to go out finding has increased even more. Never enough time in the day. I really have seen that change quite a lot. When I was with Elder Tong, for a while, I really dreaded arriving at our area and starting finding. Now I still feel tired often, but I enjoy finding a lot more, and we have a lot more success in that finding. The last 3 weeks we've managed to get 7 lessons on the street (not quite Elder Bennett's 29 total lessons with 18 new investigators, but hey this ain't the south, y’all).

I have spent a lot of time reading and thinking about the Missionary Purpose in Chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel, which you should all be reading on your own, as per prophetic counsel (see Elder Ballard's last conference address and repent). It has really helped me start to study deeper into the individual lesson points, specifically how do they help invite people to come unto Christ and what is the relevancy of the information to the average Hong Kong person. Why does it matter? This has yielded some great personal studies. I like how in the last Liahona (because I'm abroad) Elder Christofferson (I've spelled that 3 different incorrect ways in the last half hour) talks about the missionary purpose in terms of members, not just full time missionaries. I would encourage you all to read that Chapter 1 as a part of your scripture study. It truly is the key to happiness, as Dad understands.

Nothing else too special. Our investigator Brother Chong is fast approaching his date and needs more faith.


I often have the same problem with not knowing what to say in companionship inventory, where I know that there is something good about my companion, and there are definitely things that are bad, but I can't recall either. It actually was a problem for a bit with Elder Tong and I because neither of us could think of anything and we'd take up all the time trying to think of something. Elder Ferrar and I, despite having the largest teaching pool I've had on my mission, managed to fit our planning into under 2 hours this week. Do you recall at all your weekly planning?

I have noticed a trend with my zone leaders, which is that they always seem to be in some tough area or having a tough time. Usually their example comes from hard work and innovative ideas, not success.

I can't say that I'm really indifferent of my surroundings. I have a definite and fairly specific aesthetic that I enjoy, but I think the biggest thing for me is just that it has to be clean, and hopefully have enough space. My desk often irritates me if I have anything on it.

I sang in a choir at the mission tour, as I mentioned last week. After emails we went to go practice. I have learned a lot more about singing and gained a much greater appreciation for it in the MTC by participating in the choir there, but I still am not really especially talented. So Elder Ferrar, Elder Lee, and I all practiced the bass part of “How Great Thou Art” for a week before the practice last week. Then we got there and found out there was only one more Elder singing, Elder Little, and he didn't know how to sing any parts. But we had enough sisters for a pretty full alto and soprano section, and the song sounded really weird with no tenors, so they made me and Elder Little do the tenor section. All that practice wasted. But I am actually really glad, because I love the tenor part of that song, and I'd assumed that I wouldn't be able to do it. Pretty freaky being in a 13 or 14 person choir as one of two tenors in front of 2 zones, but I'm pretty happy with it.


I haven't much advice to give you for the renovation. Just don't go too crazy. Remember that all us kids are almost grown up and soon you and Dad will be finding some smaller house with a big backyard and all this work will be for naught.

Can you send me any of Caroline's emails? I haven't got any since she started. I might have her email wrong.

Next transfers are next Thursday. Temple day, ngoh jauh mh ji, or I don't know. I did a lot of SYL with the summer missionaries who left today, and one of them last night said he didn't believe I'd only been out 1 year. I said August for my return date and he thought I meant a few days away. As for things that I need, I always like candy, I could use some more deodorant and soap (solid soap).I don't really use much of anything, to be honest. Cooking food is a burden when I could be reading Jesus the Christ. Macaroni. Oh, I made tuna macaroni salad this week again, bought two giant cucumbers just for it. Pretty good. I'm going to need to buy more shirts eventually, mine are getting a bit gross.


I don't have too much to say to you either. I hope the extended essay is going well. I had a thought recently that if I'd done mine on the debate between nuclear power I would have been much happier. I advise you to really throw yourself into the last school year. You won't regret the effort.

I've been having a really great time reading Jesus the Christ and the Book of Mormon recently. I never realized how important that was until I got out here in the field. It's not the first time I've said this, but I really recommend you get really serious in studying the Book of Mormon. It can lead to a lot of happiness and a lot of preparedness. And Jesus the Christ is a great read.

Keep it up with the widows and orphans.


You don't even need to really say anything about your week to make me chuckle. If I could only tell you some of the weird things people do when finding. I don't know if it's Hong Kong, or us, or maybe just that I never really spent that much time out interacting with random people before, but they do funny things. This week some lady, when approached by an affable, tall, blond, blue eyed gentlemen in a white shirt saying hello, raised her umbrella into an unmistakably aggressive stance and shouted "Jau Hoi!" meaning go away. One lady just said, in pretty good English, you don't need to proselyte to me, I know Mormons. I said we wanted to talk as she raced away, she shouted back. "No, I know Mormons, you are all very racist". I finished with a pathetic "No, we aren't." I don't think she heard me. Alma 19. End of the chapter, middle of the left column on the right page.


You really have grown a lot. I'll need to start calling you Miss Morrell. What classes will Miss Morrell begin taking this next year? I presume she will study the art of dance and possibly the flute. But what are her other electives? And for that matter what subjects does she really enjoy? Her esteemed brother recalls that at that time he had never really managed to get an A in math. Fascinating, isn't it?

We saw some girls coming from a ballet camp on the train a bit ago, and I said, "Hey, my sister dances better than you," and they were like "Nuh uh, what's her name?" and I was like, "Rebecca Morrell" and they all got pale and scared and ran away.


Is that not spelled right? It should be in the spell check, it's a Bible name. I really enjoyed Midvale. It was a lovely time in my life. That school is one of the more segregated schools I know. The SALTA crowd has few if any opportunities to interact with the non jumpers (Salta means jump in Spanish). You will have a lot more chances to excel, you will also hear a lot more swearing and bad jokes. I recommend you keep a hymn in your head, put up some good pictures in your locker, and stay with good friends. And rely on your Father's Blessing.

Good luck on the Faith in God thing. That is a really good opportunity to grow that I regret not taking more seriously. Don't give Mom a hard time on it.

I will tell you a secret. It's what I want you to buy (but not send to me) for Christmas. President Hawks wrote a book about engineering principles. Find it. I love you all.

Good bye

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 4, 2014 - "I Know that the Message We Share is True"

Hello my family! We started emails a little earlier today because we are going to go practice music today for an upcoming mission tour/conference with the area presidency. They want us missionaries to sing “How Great Thou Art”, so we've been practicing that in our companion study every day for a week. Mom and Dad will be proud to know that while my voice is not particularly nice, I am not great at playing the piano, and I don't have very perfect pitch, I can at least hear when I'm wrong, I can read music, and I can figure out the bass part to a song if given time. So that'll be fun. It is taking up all our time today, which is a pity, because we have an apartment back in Shau Kei Wan that is in need of serious cleaning.

This past week we've had 2 summer missionaries, Brother Yeung and Brother Geung, ages 17 and 16 respectively, who've been with Elder Yim and Lee, respectively. They've been pretty fun. It tends to shake things up a bit when you have new missionaries, and our apartment now has 3 bundei speakers, which has done wonders for my opportunities to SYL (sorry Elder Ferrar, but I still have to explain everything I say in English). The drawback: 6 people using one too small kitchen to cook meals that have to be finished in one hour. 6 people using one bathroom in the morning. 5 people who take evening showers. Lots of shoes to bring dust in. Lots of food being eaten over the floor because our only table is being used as an office space. Very messy.

The work has gone on pretty well this week. We haven't been quite as crazy as we had been a few weeks ago, because people got baptized or became a bit busier. But we still have had a ton of chances to teach recently, and really think about how to teach better. I feel like my teaching now is definitely more powerful, shorter, more relatable, more sincere, more scriptural, etc than before, and a lot of that is because of training Elder Ferrar. We spend a lot of time going over the fundamentals, which I unsurprisingly still have a lot of room to improve on.

The longer I have been on my mission the more and more apparent the importance of the spirit has become. I have come to realize that in a lesson the most important thing that we can do is not actually teaching the doctrine that we have planned on, but rather helping the investigator feel the spirit, essentially have a spiritual experience, and through commitments and follow up help them to have more spiritual experiences on their own, a full understanding of the gospel is helpful for investigators and eventually essential for salvation, but not the first or most important step of conversion. Take the father of King Lamoni, who was converted pretty thoroughly after the first lesson he heard. He definitely didn't understand all that Aaron and his brethren taught, but he felt the spirit and the spirit that he felt gave him an intense desire to be reconciled to God and put off the natural man, to gain the happiness that Aaron had testified of. It was the spiritual experience that he had and later continued to have that converted him. When we teach, if we are not helping people feel the spirit and calling them to repent and thereby continue to feel the spirit we are going to have a really hard time getting them to progress.

Sorry for how wordy I've become. I started reading Jesus the Christ again, which always seems to have this effect on me.

Your email has just arrived, I shall respond shortly. I know that the message we share is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I have spent a lot of time on my knees asking if it is true. I still haven't seen an angel, but I know it's true. Nothing false could make such an impact in my life. I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ is true. I've felt it work in me to the remission of my sins, and I've been privileged to see it work in others. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and that as we live the gospel unashamedly, unwaveringly, and untiringly, we are walking back to Him.

Your oldest and most handsome Son,

Elder Morrell

I should add a bit about our 65 in July goal. We got 48 people baptized. I am proud to say that I was a bit surprised we didn't make it. I won't go into too much detail, because it's hard to describe how much that goal has meant to our mission and to me individually, but let me say that while we failed, we didn't fail. The average baptisms for August is somewhere around 20 something. We more than doubled it. We set a mission record for people baptized on one day, the 27th of July. 30 people. And there was a great remission of sins. But we still didn't make the number. The thing is that the main miracle of this goal was not the number. It was the desire to be more obedient, to do more; to be better that it gave us, or at least me. They have set a new goal for 65 in December. I was so happy when I heard. Goals have an amazing power. That goal changed me. I am so grateful for it.

Not too much time, other things to write.


I would say that I don't have vacation, but while my hours are actually higher than yours, I get paid directly in eternal progression and happiness, so I think it's in my favor. I think my relation with the ward is pretty good. I always try to be super positive to them, and participate a lot in class, so at the very least they know my Chinese and gospel knowledge is good enough that they can ask me questions when no one is talking and it gets a bit dead.

We go to Ward Council and one of the companionships goes to PEC as well. The members definitely love us, though I really do feel that there is so much untapped potential in the ward that I really haven't started exploiting well enough. I want referrals to come from them and get baptized. That'd get them excited.


I almost typed Barbara for some reason, maybe because that's what Dad would write. Stan sent me one email once about his research, I think about the phrase 'even that to' which I found quite fascinating. I think we could go on some bike rides when we get back. Obviously not mountain biking, but it's nice just to ride around. And by the time I get back people will be getting more independent, you'll have more time. I feel like the mom in our apartment sometimes, I clean a lot. And I'm the go to guy for English advice because I find the grammar really interesting.

I'm almost half way done on my mission but honestly I keep forgetting. Pretty weird. I don't feel bad about what I've done so far, and I feel excited for the future. So you should too!


I know what you mean. After we went running all the time in Ma On Shan I realized that I could actually run and it wasn't too hard. Very surprising for me, to be honest. I hope we'll have a chance to go running or hiking when I get back. You always hated it before but now maybe there's potential. Finding is interesting because it is sort of a mental and physical work out. Obviously you're walking around in the hot sun, but the toughest thing is that you can't let yourself get distracted or go off on conversations. When you do your mission, remember that you only have so much time to think per day, and you can't waste it on daydreaming about games or movies. It's tough.


Your wording has a pleasant twist to it which Joseph also contains but is expressed more ridiculously through you. A career as a writer or other writing related careers is not too far out of it to consider. Alas, I am caught lacking sufficient time to word my thoughts. Perhaps in the future our correspondence will be more effulgent. Repugnant. Once in the Book of Mormon.


What is this, taking breaks from swimming?! You have a legacy to consider. It is clear Joseph will not take up the mantle, and David, though amusing, is rather too wooden to swim. There can be no breaks, my dear sister, for yours is an inheritance of grandeur and liquid. Get too it.

Also, locked doors breed locked hearts.


I love the Artemis Fowl books. Top class. I am glad I have so many likeminded readers in the family. And obviously the missionaries are coming over to see you. Duh. Also, why would I come home now? That question concerns me...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

July 28, 2014 - Another Amazing Week in Paradise

Hello family.

We had another amazing week in paradise. I don't think anything too crazy happened this week, so I won't be too long, but I'll just let you all know that things are still going very well. I think that God is testing me to see if I will become prideful. I will explain why.

Recently we really have been having a lot of success. I thought about it, and since I've been in Chai Wan we've had a baptism that I was involved in almost every month. That is a very high, unheard of number. Granted, Ida was already taught and super prepared, Frankie was only taught by me once while we were in Tri-panionship, and KK, well KK was pretty good. We've been getting a ton of lessons this last month. In Tai Wai a good week was 5 or 6 member presents, and 4 or 5 other lessons, maybe 2 new investigators. This last week we only had 5 member presents, but we've been averaging about 7 or so this month, with a total of 25 MP and 25 other lessons (mostly street lessons). That is pretty good. In district meeting we see our district numbers, and we're doing a pretty large chunk of them. When we find we just happen to find a lot of people, we got 13 new investigators this month. Again, many of them don't really become investigators, and a lot were Ida's friends or family (her son, who is going to Switzerland to study, was with us at church yesterday, and her friends from mainland last week are really cool, one wants to get baptized in August.) but that's still a lot. But, here's the thing. I don't know what we're doing different to have this success. I really don't think that it's me, or us. Before I used to assume that I would become better and then I would have success, but now it's more like the Lord just gives us tons of success. I attribute it to 3 things.

1) Elder Ferrar, because new missionaries always bring magical baptism success dust from them from the MTC (unless they're me, I am too clean for that).

2) The 65 in July Goal (which we still don't know the results on) and a thing President Hawks gave us at the beginning of my mission, "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven" which I have only recently used successfully.

3) We are not perfect, but the 2 of us are very obedient and hard working.

Life is interesting. None of the things that we did directly gave us success, they just got us out of the way to have the Lord do the work. There is a quote on the Powers of Heaven thing, "The elect of God are those who maintain a vision of their dependence on God even when they are not faced with adversity". So that's what I'm trying to do.


Your letter last week was very long, I will give you that. And it sounds like your past week was very stressful. Scraped knees, disgusting Bear poop, and bats/chipmunks/other large and unidentified possibly mammalian animals above you as you sleep in the cabin. I will share a few of my corresponding experiences.

I haven't really been hurt badly on my mission, but one time I tried to play basketball and jammed my finger horribly. Actually I have been remarkably well protected in this regard. I have suffered almost no injury despite falling occasionally.

Once Elder Tong and I entered a bathroom and saw that someone had declined the seated toilet option and opted instead for the squatting over the floor option. Enough (and probably too much) said.

Once in Chai Wan with Elder Ferrar we got in the elevator and some other guy boarded with his dog, which he sort of pinned against the wall a bit. As we were ascending I said "Hey, puppy", at which the Dog began growling and barking furiously. I was relieved to get out. It was a small elevator and a large dog.


Quickwater Girls Camp sounds sort of like Outdoor Youth Adventures (OYA), and also a lot like missionary life, except we do exercise first and then 3 HOURS OF STUDY. And ACTUALLY 4 BECAUSE I HAVE TO TRAIN ELDER FERRAR. And to answer Mom's question every morning we run about 200 yards down to a park next to a basketball field. Elder Lee and Elder Ferrar shoot hoops with a soccer ball, and I do calisthenics while Elder Yim mostly sits on a bench. I have bulked up quite a lot on my mission. Though my weight is still the same...

I think that it's interesting how if we go to church by the time it finishes it feels like we've been there forever, but if you do things like Quickwater or a mission and you're more immersed in the gospel, you start to really enjoy it. It maybe helps that you remove all the useless distractions like TV and video games. Sounds fun, you should keep up the daily study. That's a super useful habit.


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. How are the Books coming along recently? Also what do you plan on doing with all that money? A mission? Be serious. I remember you saying that you bought me a laptop for when I get back. I hope you're keeping it in good condition.

I have been cursed with tons of cool ideas for stories or books or stuff that I don't want to let distract me. I'm going to try to telepathically give them to you this week. Focus. Oh, flash back to Becca. In Hong Kong the old people do Tai Chi every morning. (Rebecca learned how to do Tai Chi at Quickwater.) The Chinese word is taai gihk. Pretty relaxing looking.

I have learned over my mission the value of pondering a bit before you go to bed. I think that evening scripture study, though maybe a bit too easy to fall asleep during, is still pretty useful. Obviously the best is morning and evening. I ponder about questions from my prayers or investigators before I go to bed. I'm not great at it, but it gives God a chance to answer you. You could try that for Brett/Brad?


The sand in your future cannot match jsut. When I get back I'll have to write a book describing what that idea is. JSUT.

You should be warned, I shared about you as an example of the gospel blessing families. I shared about how mom was willing to put in so much effort to help you with school stuff, and now how you've progressed. So better not retrogress or you will make me a liar. Just kidding, I am proud of you. There better be some weird stuff (hopefully games) created by you when I get back.


I initially thought that I wouldn't end up ever feeling like you mentioned in regards to short perfunctory letters. But I will admit I feel slightly perfunctory today.

It is extremely odd to think that next week I'll be 1/2 done. But honestly I don't feel too bad about that at all. I really love all you guys, and I'll be really happy to see you all again, and I really feel excited for the future. But the biggest reason is that I can honestly say that I feel happy with what I've gotten done so far. I have been very far from perfect my whole mission, but I'm not as far now as I was when I started, and I think that's kind of the point. I don't think that I've been lazy too often, I don't feel afraid of being half way done. How did you feel?

One of the Elders in our area (Mandarin speaking, but he helps with our English class) is a big physics guy. Elder Luke, he said he wrote some really cool undergrad paper on magnetism, I think at BYU. He and I have a pretty good time not exactly discussing physics but hinting at it during English class. He tried to test me with some childish bird in a box on a scale question. My first question was to clarify if it was a gravity based scale or some sort of oscillating spring scale.


To Sister Corallo's question, the answer is yes, I do play the piano on my mission, though not too much. The very first evening in the MTC I actually had to play “Ye Elders of Israel”, so that was convenient. Since then, I haven’t played as often as you might think. The problem is that every missionary's mom thinks that her child needs to be able to play as well, so about 1/3 of the missionaries play, most better than me. But at church I occasionally do a single hand for priesthood or Sunday School, if it's one I know I obviously will volunteer. Our ward has some 15 year old girl who can play all the hymns. Pfft. Oddly enough Elder Barker almost always would conduct the music, though his main qualification was bravery and willingness to serve more than musical experience, so with his departure I have donned that mantle. I had to conduct at KK's baptism. That was pretty fun.

My cooking continues to improve. This week I finished off almost all my leftovers (by necessity, I accidentally left a key chicken steak out over night one day, little short on materials) so today I bought 160 something dollars of food. We have been cleaning like demons today, and it will continue on our returning home. You would be proud.

Last thing for the family. I had a weird dream that Elder Bennett, Elder Lee, and I were getting plane tickets to head home from some camp, and when I woke up I seriously thought that I was home. I think that that is about as trunkie as I will get on my mission. I also had a dream that the assistants were bringing a fax machine into our apartment, so I think Elder Yim is going to be zone leader.