Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 - I Can Smell, Feel that it's Autumn!

Oh no, Abby's starting to count down. I can't read her emails anymore.

Well, mine family, it has been a pretty good week. Honestly there's not been too much special, so I'll just mention some of the highlights. One is the weather. It has gotten much cooler recently. We walked the few minutes to church this week in suit coats (usually we go there and then put them on) and even though our chapel is at the top of a really huge staircase, I didn't sweat. The afternoons are now a little warm but really not bad. It's funny because I really can smell, feel, that it's autumn. Strange how people can do that. It's a good thing that it's getting cooler because after conference we are back to suits all the time. I still have the suit I started with, which is really not in too bad condition, and some suit given to me by a member, which was a bit worn to begin with but has held up stoically if not stylishly.

We've been trying to improve our teaching as a zone. We are using some idea given to the zone leaders by a recently returned missionary, which is using pictures to teach. You just use the restoration pamphlet, hold a picture in front of them, and ask them what they think. It's a bit dicey sometimes, maybe a bit awkward, but you really keep the lesson focused on them, the ideas are very relevant to them, and it keeps them talking instead of just us. I've had some cool experiences with that. The whole goal is to make the learner an agent unto themselves. Help them see that this is meaningful to them, let them choose whether or not to learn. Invite, by showing them a picture or sharing a scripture or an experience and then asking them a question, asking them to think. It sounds obvious but so often it is neglected. For example, in church this Sunday some older lady who is a very long term investigator was asked a question, why is the church called the church of Jesus Christ of LATTER DAY saints? As soon as it was asked, the teacher and a friend sitting behind her both started doubting her ability to answer, which was not unreasonable. But their response, instead of giving her time to think and learn something or receive an answer from the spirit, was to start rephrasing the question or whisper the answer in her ear. So a 70 year old woman who has a mind of her own and could have learned something was basically made into a parrot trying desperately to hear the answer and copy it out. That sounds a bit blunt, but it's really not uncommon. Giving people time to think and really inviting them is giving them a chance to learn, to act and not be acted upon.

Today we had some frustrations to our plans. Elder Au, seeing as this is one of his last P-Days, really wants to go to do stuff with missionaries, in this case go to Korean BBQ which is a very popular restaurant. We had planned on going with our apartment and the Kwun Tong sisters, but last night we found out that after we told them this idea, the other elders had invited the TKO elders to go with them to the place. There is a rule that we can't have groups above 8 missionaries at one time, so we lost out. I was a bit hurt, honestly, because they just ignored us, but I understand how it happened and I myself am not such a big go out and do things guy. Elder Au was really hurt, because he really doesn't have much more chance to do things like this. He scrambled to find some other group to go somewhere all last night and this morning, to no avail. But this experience was cool, because it prompted a really great discussion about forgiveness in our comp. study. I myself learned a lot from it. I think that this is why God lets others do things that are bad and hurt us. There are some lessons only to be learned through forgiving when you have been wronged. I love Nephi's example in I Nephi 7. It takes such humility and sincere love to forgive those who do things wrong. We can learn a lot from such experiences.


I'm sorry about the pictures. I took a few, but this computer has no place to plug in the camera. Next week I will hopefully have some. And we do have another native in our apartment, good old Elder Yim! He randomly got moved up to zone leader here, probably for the rest of his mission. I was quite pleased.

I really look forward to General Conference, but now I'm worried that we'll get the dumb voice over thing like you. We watch the English session. It's interesting to hear these things get translated. I can usually understand both sides pretty well, and sometimes stuff gets left out. Elder Gong is in the area presidency, I think that he actually speaks almost perfect English. But I think this is cool. Many people think our church is American, but it really just started in America.

I cooked some delicious curry this week. I have cooked curry many times on my mission but never as well as this. It was Japanese, made from these flavor blocks. I boiled up potatoes, carrots, and chicken, and then added some onion and bell pepper, and then a bit of this ridiculously spicy curry powder I had the misfortune of buying once for a bit of heat. So good.


I want to start by saying that I am really so happy about you going to the temple. I know that this is going to bless you and the rest of the family more than you can imagine. Whatever you do make sure you go again on Friday. I can almost promise that Satan will try to get in your way, things will come up. But work hard, make it the top priority. It'll be worth it. I think that your dedication to the gospel along with your dedication to dance are what have given you this great opportunity in dance right now. Just so you know I love to brag about you to people.

German has some hard pronunciation too, but actually it made learning Cantonese a lot easier, because I already looked at sounds differently. Practice with Mom. I really should have practiced more with Dad. As for math, Matthew once told me his solution was copying all his assignments and when they were marked not done he'd show the teacher the copy.

One more question for you and Abby. I know it's early, and you have no obligation, but I'm curious. Do you plan on serving a mission? Just a thing to think about. That goes for Abby too.


Not too much time, but I really love the idea of the house thing. You could do that with your school too, if you have the time. Then you can see what it'd really be like to fight zombies at school. But on that note, next to me right now there's a guy watching YouTube. I imagine his house has no computer. When some lady came to take her turn, he rudely told her to double check. Computers can make us stupid. Just a thought.

I really want to learn more history now; especially ancient history and Chinese history. Dad's got some good books. Tell me which Conference talk was your favorite.


O do I make crazy noises all day long. I speak more Chinese these days than English, though I'm still not that great. Today I learned how to say a neutral stance, as in towards to protests in Hong Kong, and furlough, as in the holiday. My favorites are when I find things like inertia, electron, prose, etc.

I look forward to the Elder Christofferson talk. Before my mission I would find these things boring, but know my eyes have been sort of opened, and I can see how important this is.

I love bragging about Becca to people. I laughed at the description of the pumpkins. Typical. Sorry, not much else to say, but I love you Dad. (and Mom. Sorry, almost forgot)


Yea, I feel much different now. I wonder every now and then what to do when I go back to the natural world. Lots of stuff won't make the cut, if you know what I mean. You would never guess how many times in the last hour I have misspelled things and wasted time fixing them. Especially that. That. arrgh.

I think before my mission, intellectually I knew that the gospel was the most important but I hadn't really applied that knowledge. I also had a lot of bad habits or things to repent of that being on a mission helped me see and correct. It's been incredibly hard and painful. But great too.

I must say in my experience emotional and spiritual are not always connected. Our emotions are a product of our spirit, but also our physical body. For example, clinical depression is a physical disorder manifesting itself emotionally, but not always spiritually. The real problem comes in looking at what IB could possibly be qualified to teach about spirituality. I teach object lessons about that every day. It's called the Great Apostasy.


I don't have much time, but let’s face it. You are the best out of the family. I can't lie anymore. Keep it up with French. Tell me some sentences in French next email. And think a bit about the mission question. It's not too important right now, but I'm curious. Also, I think that violin is to you what dance is to Rebecca, though Rebecca always loved Dance and you historically have hated violin.

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