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.

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