Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014 - Gospel of Christ Gives Us the Ability to Change Ourselves

Hello family! Last week, probably due to my Tuesday email, I had about 30 emails to read through and insufficient time to email you. This week I have much less and have put you all first because that is what family is all about, amen, hallelujah.

This honestly wasn't too much of a special week, most things were ordinary. In answer to Mom's question about the 6 guys in one apartment, we are now at 5, because one of the zone leaders is not here. They went to go get a suit on last P-day, and stopped by the mission doctor because one of the zone leaders had some long lasting pain in his left shoulder that bothered him a bit when he exercised; it'd been there for a long time. Pause while Dad guesses what the problem was.

Turns out he had a hole in his lung and the left lung had basically collapsed for a long time, and he'd been somehow living off of 1.25 lungs for at least a couple months. The doctors were confused at how he made it that long, because it should be been excruciatingly painful. Maybe it was and he's just super tough. But in any case he got checked in to the hospital for the week, had surgery. He's fine but might not be back for a few days still, so we've had a loose zone leader floating around, latching on to our companionships occasionally. It was cool to have another set of eyes to give us some feedback.

On Thursday we met a guy, who I almost didn't stop, because he was covered in tattoos and dressed like a gangster, but I take an odd pleasure from trying to stop those people and I did. He was willing to talk, and then we realized he had interest in English class, and then we realized he had interest in any church meeting or activity, and then we realized that he desperately needed the gospel and was really willing to be taught. In the end we just walked right over to the church about 10 minutes away and taught him for a while. His story was pretty interesting. He used to be a really rude, bad, doesn't care about anyone, sometimes beats his son kind of guy, smoker, drinker, maybe drugee. Then he went to jail for a while wherein he heard about Christianity, his wife and son left him, his Dad died, and he got sick to the point where he can't work and is living off government money. He kept saying that he would just sit in his house and think and it was like torture, he said "jan haih hou fui" Really remorseful. He is the best example of someone being humbled to the dust that I've ever seen. I'll admit that we kind of didn't know what to do with such a willing investigator. We taught a lot of random stuff, probably not too clear to him, but after a bit we focused in on the Gospel of Christ cleansing us, giving us peace of conscience and the ability and strength to change ourselves and free us from addiction and sin. He set a goal to be baptized on December 20th. We haven't been able to contact him since Saturday, just because his phone number doesn't call through, so I don't know if we will see him again. But I hope we do, because I know that he needs it. I saw, as we talked with him, the potential for a massive miracle in December. A man like that being baptized a member of the church. I pray that it will happen.

We currently have several other investigators who are doing pretty well. We have a kid named Ben who is about 17/18. The first time we met him was part of the super crazy week (our numbers have normalized a lot, unfortunately) and I thought that his interest was pretty low, but he's progressed a ton. He's read to 1 Nephi 10 and this week said he believes it's true because when he reads it gives him desire to keep reading and change himself. Pretty deep for a 17 year old. His only problem is that he's cripplingly busy. Hong Kong has some weird thing called "tutorial" which is basically teachers who prep students for tests by talking at them for hours. Some are better than others, I'm skeptical of them because number one they're expensive and number two they stop countless masses from being available to meet with us or go to church. More on that later, but I really hope Ben can be available to go to church. He has a baptismal date in November that I think he can make.

We also have Casi, who was also part of the crazy week. We haven't met with her for a while because she was sick and busy, but she's cool. And there's a new investigator whose wife was less active for years and years and suddenly came back. We taught them twice last week and they were at church. He's a bit skeptical about receiving an answer through your feelings, but I think he has potential. And I am really happy to see his wife back at church. It really seems like she's coming back to where she belongs.

That's our status right now. The weather the past two days has actually been a lot cooler. It feels like autumn, but we still have a lot of hot days. Cold showers are becoming a bit more of a test of discipline. We had one day that was super depressing, a ton of unsuccessful finding in the worst quality air pollution. You could see the gray film over anything more than 50 yards away. Gross. It really does feel like fall somehow, the angle of the sun and what not.

Just so you know English names in China are flexible and sometimes ridiculous. There's girl who goes to our English class who changed her name from FIRE to LORETTA randomly. We all told her to go back to FIRE. IT is a lot cooler. And on the subject of English class, last week someone tried to hire me as a private tutor for their kids for English. I said that if she really wanted we could do it as service but felt obliged to warn I had no formal training or experience. Pity, she literally said I could name the price per hour.

I also want to ask really fast, where did Eva live when she lived in Hong Kong? I want to see if I can find any friends of hers.


I don't know what happened to the old man. I'm hoping he at least rested for a while after that. He lived off cardboard boxes for quite a while before us, and presumably he'll live off them until he dies. We left a flyer with our number on it but he didn't call. I do worry a bit for him but there's not much to be done, and he didn't have any interest in the gospel. But since then I've been trying to notice more anyone who has need like him.

I'll probably just sell the Honda Civic when I get home and try to buy some pure electric car. I had some idea about a battery that works but storing energy nuclearly, since nuclear power has a much greater energy density than chemical. I bet there's no way to do it well, if there was it would have been done, but it was interesting to imagine what the world would be like if we had super high energy capacity and light weight batteries. Cars, planes, phones, wheelchairs, mars missions, etc.

There's going to be a kitchen in the basement? That'll be interesting.


I feel like even though the package was from everyone (and I really appreciated the letters) I should thank you for the contents. Lots of comfort food. I already had the rice a roni thing, the others I have to wait to buy milk for. Recently I've been making pancakes in the mornings which have been pretty good. There’s a lot of stuff that I can cook or do that I had no clue about before my mission. And I thought it was horrible doing dishes at the cabin before because there's no dishwasher. 1 year and counting with no dishwasher. I will be much more helpful when I get back.

I especially loved the Resees. I stuck them in the fridge and keep myself to one per day. The nutella is already almost gone. Many thanks indeed.

I think you would like parts of Hong Kong. It stays a lot warmer in the fall and winter and there are flowers at all times in the year, but no room to plant anything. It's cool to think that Nicole will be heading to France soon. Make sure you give her some advice! I'm really looking forward to conference, It's going to be super great. I enjoy stuff like that so much more nowadays. My language is still going well, though people occasionally don't understand me and I don't understand everything that I hear, it's enough to impress most people. I am learning words like proton, neutron, calibre, epidemic disease, and to entertain guests these days.


Hopefully you can do one better than me on that. I really think that I could maybe have gotten some of those real high awards if I'd actually studied at all. Especially when I think back on the IB history test, I didn't really study at all. Don’t follow that example.

I will watch some of the shows, but honestly I've realized that I've got way too many things that I need to do when I get back. There's not going to be time to watch much else besides Planet Earth and Life after People.

Something that I've thought of recently is that you and David right now are in a brief but valuable time in your lives. Remember that this is the only time you have to be a youth, to be a quorum leader, to be a son. I'm still mom and dad's son when I get back but I don't have the same opportunity to really obey their counsel like you two do, or work hard in high school. Remember the worth of time is great.


Today we found a library 3 minutes from our house to replace the one 20 minutes away that we used to go to. Somehow I feel that we owe this victory to you. Many thanks. I give you the same advice as Joseph. Use your youth wisely, go to the temple, magnify your callings, because you only have one chance to be this age.

I highly approve of nightly wandering. Good show, keep it up my beamish boy.


Dance sounds pretty cool. It sounds like you're really stepping up the effort now. As the Chinese say, add oil, ga yau. I would also point out that the only one who didn't seem to get anything out of the temple thing was the one who slept through it. I don't want to make you feel guilty but there it is. Maybe that's why Mom rarely lets you have sleepovers on Saturday night...

If you have parties with the sophomores as a (8 or 9th grader?) what will you do as a senior?


I love your in depth description of life. You have a future as a news reporter. I also noticed that 2 weeks ago when you couldn't email me no one gave me the exact run down on the week's activities, then the package arrived with your 5 strips of paper account. Don't change, little one.

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