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.