Sunday, November 30, 2014

December 1, 2014 - 8 People at Church, and Ben was Baptized!

Elder Tse standing in front of the Kwun Tong chapel, which is in a somewhat remote area, next to a bunch of car garages and a sort of rough highschool.  There may be a brothel right down the stairs, I try not to look too closely.

This is our thanksgiving feast, featuring:
Turkey, potatoes, really sweet sweet potatoes, carrots, Malaysian Curry Balls, hot dog pineapple finger food, rice crispy treats, jello, brownies, and a bunch of other stuff, including stuffing (which I don't hate so much anymore).

Those are the flash cards the mission provides.  I have to cut them out myself, it is very tedious.  I have learned over 600 by now.  I can actually read a decent amount, because I can sometimes guess what it's saying based on the characters I know.  Super fun.

I drew that hand.  I still know how to draw.

The smaller one is Ben Fok, who was baptized, the older one is Erik, who is a recent convert who just became a priest this Sunday about 1.5 hours before he baptized Ben.  The missionary to my right is Elder Tse, my companion, the former missionary to my left is Brother Au, who was with me when we found Ben.  (Note from Barbara: look at the little girl peering between Elder Morrell & Elder Tse. Adorable)

We go through a bag of rice that big (8 kg) in about 2 weeks at our apartment.

Sorry, I had to manage some other emails that were piling up and send all those awesome photos so my time is not too long. But this week was amazing! We had a great time teaching throughout the week, got a lot of investigators with members together. We have some guy named Peter who Elder Tse and I found 2.5 weeks ago, scheduled for church, and then were unable to recontact. His number was incorrect, and he didn't show up at church. We marked it off as a normal fong (missionary slang). At the same time, the Kwun Tong elders suddenly found a new investigator who just randomly showed up at church but left before they could teach him. Named Peter... We didn't put the dots together for a while, and in fact while on exchanges in Kwun Tong I called the guy and scheduled him for the Kwun Tong elders to teach. Then on Thanksgiving we ran into him again, rescheduled him, then when we got home found out he was the same guy. Turns out he lives on the border of NTK and Kwun Tong, but he is ours. He's an amazing guy; he pays really close attention in lessons, has a lot of great insights, has a lot of faith and patience towards the Lord, and seems pretty golden. Apparently God really wants him taught now, because he has guided so many missionaries to find him recently.

This week we were teaching Mr. Lo, and our fellowshipper (set up by the ward mission leader) was super old. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation, and every time we asked the fellowshipper any questions he would say some almost indecipherable stuff that I am afraid was about the temple. We will not be finding him again to help us teach. On the bright side it all went over Mr. Lo's head and he continues to do well.

Then on Sunday we had an amazing day. 8 people at church. It was stressful but awesome, and I really am happy that the ward can see so much success. I hope it will get them excited. And best of all, Ben was baptized. I was so happy to see that. The former Elder Au came to watch, a recent convert did the baptism, and it all went amazingly. Ben is an incredibly humble, earnest, and sincerely motivated 17 year old. I have no doubts that he can Endure to the End. This is the purpose of missionary work, to help people like him find the happiness that can only come through the gospel.


Mr. Lo is doing pretty great. The reason why is because he is incredibly humble. Very few men his age are, to be honest. But he has a very sincere, childlike desire to learn the gospel and do well. He reads really slowly, but you can just see that he takes it really seriously and he really wants to keep the commitments we give him. And he loves church. I love seeing him at church; he is just totally fitting in and enjoying the familial spirit there and being converted. He has a lot he needs to learn, so it may be a while for his baptism, and he needs to quit smoking and tea, but I have a lot of faith in him.

Maybe the flesh is the rest of your hand that fell into the machine when you cut yourself and has been adapting to the new environment. It may be you.

No, you failed to mention the Bast worship. Believe it or not I am in a place where that is an actual thing. Though, most of the investigators we teach don't believe in ancestor worship or look at it as only a tradition that their grandparents make them do. How blessed I am that my grandparents only ever made me eat with proper form.


You and Joseph next to each other is interesting. I think that Joseph looks short because in my mind you aren't that tall. So strange.

There is a famous old Lady in Hong Kong named Lai Yi, which means aunt Lai. She is about 94 ish years old, if I recall correctly, goes to every English class that we teach, and apparently cheated her family out of a ton of money, which is how she lives now.

How is the programming coming? I recall before you planned on modeling the house and surrounding environs...


Thanksgiving was pretty great. We all got authorized to spend $40 per person to make a zone meal, so we met in Wan Chai on Thursday to eat for 3 hours. We were supposed to be in charge of vegetables, but we didn't have any really good ideas, and we were delayed because we taught a lesson and then had to call the police to get some high school kids who were fighting outside the chapel to leave, so we got there late and our contribution became a plate of chopped up carrots. Pretty sad. I took the rest of the stuff we'd bought home and decided that I'd just pay for it all, because I'm super rich right now for some reason. I have a description of the food in the picture email. Then on Sunday our ward had a family home evening (FHE are rarely on Monday here, people are too busy) that had at least half our ward there plus an investigator and some non-members, and they had a lot of good food. Some pies and a real American style spiral cut ham. Made me think of Grandma Carmack. So I ate well this year.

I have really grown to appreciate the meaning behind the phrase, families can give us more happiness than anything else". I can understand that feeling that you had at Thanksgiving.


Ahh, it's nice to have the full report. Even as a little girl your memory was the most accurate of us all (e.g. the memory game story), and now it is you who faithfully sends me the report of any special occurrences. Yes, your package is on its way. How about mine? And why don't you and Becca ever answer my questions? I met some little girl (daughter of potential investigator) who plays the Yee U, like a Chinese violin.


There was some little girl in our English class who was in a ballet class, so I showed her your photo and said, "My sister is prettier and a better dancer than you." Then she cried and ran away.

Just kidding, but I did show her your photo. I will miss Nutcracker. Sorry, little time. Answer my questions from last time.


4x the resolution. That movie must be pretty good to warrant a 4th expensive watching. Poor you, 2 weeks no laptop. I find myself not being bothered too much by no computer, though I do still miss Starcraft at times. But I know that this is worth more than any game. Though it sometimes is hard to see, some things in life are impermanent and others make a real lasting effect.

Love you all!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 24, 2014 - Heroes Succeed Because of Effort and Preparation

I want to start this email by announcing a great triumph for me. I just sent you all several pictures! They will come from Elder Jeffery Buss (who loves you) but they are actually from me! The library accidentally locked the USB port on my computer.

I want to follow up that success with another success. I have sent you all a package! I, Elder Morrell, bought things, then physically walked to a post office and put them in a box and even filled in all those annoying forms and sent it to you! It should arrive on about December 9th to 11th, about. Don't open it, there is no wrapping inside. I am very fearful for the wellbeing of the presents. I was deciding between Hung Yauh and Syuhn Yauh and picked HUng Yauh because as expensive as it is to yuhng fei gei leih gei di seung, ngoh ngoi leihdeih and I hope that you can get the stuff before Christmas. NO one but missionaries could read that, because Chinese people don't read the Romanization. So too bad for yall.

We had a pretty great week this week. I have continued to be inspired by Moroni's example in the Book of Mormon. Captain Moroni understood a lot about how to get things done that I hope that I can learn. He prayed with faith and then worked diligently. He was a master of planning and preparation. I think that we always underlook the amount of preparation that went into that man's success. He was always building defenses and eliminating weaknesses. He had firm moral principles that he stuck with and lived by, even if it meant war, inconvenience, personal danger, or unpopularity. He devoted his life to the preservation of the freedom of his people, he rejoiced in their safety and in their agency to choose to worship God. He had faith in God, and he knew that he had to be personally and unconditionally righteous to succeed. He lifted those around him. I think that it's no coincidence that Mormon, the historian who abridged the entire Nephite history wrote of Moroni that if all men were like him, the Devil would never have power over the children of men. When Mormon had to name his son, he chose Moroni out of all the hero's of his people's history.

I have learned over this study that the people who we idolize as heroes in the Book of Mormon, the Bible, our pioneer history, or our modern lives, are not impeccable. In other words, they weren't just born with no desire to sin, and they didn't just do the right thing by accident all their lives. The heroes we admire succeeded because of effort and preparation. As I mentioned, Moroni prepared his people diligently. Nephi the first grew as a child by scripture study and prayer. Even Jesus "learned obedience" and progressed "from grace to grace". In other words, the success of these people was not automatic, but it was also not surprising because they consistently did the things that lead to success. One who studies improves his grades. If we have a determination to pray and read scriptures and faithfully go to church and fulfill our callings with enthusiasm, it is not surprising when we are able to overcome temptation and become great. I love Rebecca's goal of going to the temple. That is preparation for a successful life.

I know that God wants us to succeed, but he won't force us. Not at the moment of crisis, nor at the months of preparation before. I know that God lives and that the Atonement of Christ can sanctify us and make us holy, resistant to sin. I can testify of the virtue of prayer, scripture study, and church attendance. I can witness of the ennobling spirit that temple worship brings. I have been blessed to learn these things on my mission, and I thank God for that chance, and I thank Mom and Dad for their example that gave me such a desire to serve. I pray for you all every night, and hope that you will have success as you all do these things.


I think it funny that you, who are always very level headed and rarely seem emotional, are one of the more susceptible to being choked up. I think that Abby gets it from you. Our new, young Elder's Quorum president Shiu Wuih Jeung and his niece gave a performance in Sacrament meeting this week, singing “Savior Redeemer of My Soul”, and I thought, "Yeah, that's nice, but my Dad's in the MoTab."

I have never seen a temple sealing. I remember you mentioning before I left that it was worth while seeing one so that I could testify more sincerely of it. Oh well. That is really weird to think of Valerie on a honeymoon.

We have an investigator, Ben, who should be baptized next week. He is super great, awesome example of how reading scriptures can let the Spirit prepare someone. There is another newer investigator, Mr. Lo, who makes me so happy because every Sunday he just seems to love church. He's about 60 but somehow very humble and sincere. I love seeing him talk with the members.

I'm doing great; I try not to think of how much time I have left because it's getting to be less than I feel comfortable with. But I feel good knowing that I haven't been lazy. I attribute that to family example.


I will explain the photos. One is of the protein shake that someone left behind and that was found by me a bit ago. No one wanted it because it's kind of gross, but I drink it if I have a really intense morning run because I hope that somehow I will become super buff. Like Joseph. I found Frosted Mini Wheats, which while expensive is very worth it, and real milk from the Swiss Alps. Quality of milk has improved since the powdered milk of your memory. I write Chinese on my daily planner now. I have learned 1-600 characters as of this morning. It is way too fun. I hope the temple photo is okay, honestly it's hard to find a place where you can see the whole building and not have tons of construction teams in the photo.

I really am grateful for your example to me of Church service. I also brag about you to all of our investigators who are Moms and think that they are too busy to bring their 2 kids to church. We had some lady and her 3 year old son who was in a stroller come to our English Class (which has been improving recently), and I realized how monumental your efforts to get us to church must have been. Last night we ran into a former investigator who had almost gotten baptized a couple years ago. He had quit smoking and everything but couldn't do law of tithing. I want you and Dad to know that I am so grateful that you two kept the law of tithing during Dad's schooling. I have shared that story and your testimony of it dozens of times on my mission. The former investigator regrets not getting baptized then, and he may be working towards a date in February soon. Thank you.


Just curious, do you plan on picking up the Book writing when things slow down again? Also, pretty big milestone that you can actually worry about working off holiday weight gain. Last year that wasn't too relevant. Times change. I hope my gifts go well with your fancy suit. I am going to buy one here before I leave, I will probably ask you and Mom to pick some style for me because I don't trust myself.

Stiff like a... Mormon in Los Vegas? Dead body? Really stiff toothbrush?

Are we going to be roommates in BYU? Also, you should go to the temple more. And read more scriptures.


I think that you will be very very pleased with my gift. Very very pleased. Very. Very Very. Yes, quite pleased. Very pleased.

Honestly what else is there to say after that? I don't know if you were involved in the sending of the giant box of pens but they've been pretty nice. Honestly, the quality control on the pens is low, about 1/3 don't write, but quantity has a quality all its own. I'm sorry, I've got nothing else.


I've never had someone tell me that they can't wait for me to be married before. Is there any reason why? I will say, there are a lot of missionaries who will talk about how they want at least a year single after their missions, or don't want to be married before 25, etc, but honestly I'll just get married as soon as I find a wife. I don't think that it'll be safe for me to be too picky or let any good opportunities go by. I'm not handsome like Joseph.

I won't lie, I will miss Nutcracker. It is a pretty awesome tradition in our family, thanks to you. Remind me what part you're in this year.


I may say that Dad is emotional, but you are the only one that I can consistently depend on bringing to tears. Good old Abby.

You and Becca's gifts were both easy and tricky to get. I don't know exactly what you'd want, nor do I know what you would prefer or what Becca prefers, but on the other hand Lady Street has a ton more stuff that girls would like than boys. I think that you'll like it. Honestly all the stuff is pretty cheap. The gifts all together were about $100 US, and the shipping about $60. So not crazy, but not too light.

I don't see you doing too well in a Hunger Games scenario, but then again you are full of surprises. Who knows?

I also don't want to neglect my other Grandmother, who according to my Calendar will celebrate her birthday soon. I love Grandma Morrell, because she has such a cheerful and humble disposition. I think that she is the perfect type for a happy grandma who takes care of the kids while the parents are enjoying Hawaii. I love her quilts, I love her applesauce. I think it's impressive that she survived rearing the Morrell family. She is awesome.

Love you all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nov. 18, 2014 - Hovering on the Edge of Crazy Success

Well, family, things have been pretty great recently. The work continues to roll on as fast as we can be worthy to participate in it (that goes for y'all too, in fact). NTK is still doing quite well. In fact, today as we were walking to the temple my former companion, the now Brother Au, called to check how our investigators that we'd had together were doing. I was happy to tell him that most were still progressing, and happy to realize that we have a significant number of new investigators in the few weeks since he finished. The weather turned a lot colder all the sudden over here and that apparently makes Chinese people get sick. Several of our investigators were sick, which was a bit annoying, but Ben came to church anyway. I asked him how he felt, he said he felt a bit rough because his medicine made him super tired and he didn't want to sleep through church. That's a simple but powerful example of faith there.

The temple today was pretty awesome, as always. There were 5 or 6 Mongolians receiving their endowments today (p.s. usually we go to the temple sessions in English but Hong Kong serves a ton of languages, so today was Mongolian with English translation. I've been to a Chinese session before) and it was super cool to see the result of missionary work across the globe. There's always a great spirit that sticks with you after the temple. I wish I'd gone to the temple more before my mission, I really feel that it would have led me to be better prepared. That's probably why I'm always bugging you all to go to the temple more.

We've been hovering on the edge of crazy success for a bit. This last Sunday we had 2 people at church, but we had a potential of 7 people. Next week is about the same. If we can get them all to church, it'll really be awesome. I can see the ward getting really fired up by success like that. Pray for Ben and Mr. Lo and Zero and A Wing and A Wing's mom and A Sam and Mrs. Wong and John and Richie and Brother Wong and others. This is why I don't spend too much time reporting on how they're doing, there are a lot of them. We still have a bit of struggle with getting time in their schedule to meet with us. Most people are available on Saturday, but we can only teach one at a time and finding is the best on Saturday, so we prefer to be out on that day. And it's rough sometimes finding members for all the lessons, and then there are many lessons that fall through. But the work marches on.

I know that the church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true because I read it every day and I am constantly being taught and uplifted by it. I know that God is real because I feel him answering my prayers. I know the Atonement of Christ is true and powerful because I have felt myself changed by it, and I have felt my guilt be eased and taken away. I know that the gospel is not easy, but it is the only way we can be saved, and the more we put into it, the more we will be changed, and the more confident we can be in returning to God's presence.


We were invited to two dinners this week, and I am reminded that Chinese food doesn't resemble too closely the Chinese food that American's think of. They eat a lot of vegetables here. Every meal has at least one bowl of choi, or greens, with oyster sauce or soy sauce. They usually give everyone a bowl of rice and then you just freely pull stuff out of the middle dishes. Pretty great. I'll cook some when I get home.

I agree about the Duty to God thing. I really do regret a lot of laziness before my mission. I probably agonize over it a lot more than I should have, and I know that we really didn't make it easy for you before, but I consider those things a lot more important now than I did before.

Remember when I said that I went to the Indian Restaurant a little bit ago? They had naan, and it was super good. Keep it up with the cooking. You can do it!

Do you ever wonder what you and Dad will do when all we kids are gone? Just a thought... I love you and miss you!


Congrats on the calling, I think (Joseph was just called to be a Family History Consultant). It is all done by computers now a days, so you should be pretty good at it. I really hope that you'll take this opportunity to magnify your calling. That was probably super surprising, for you and the ward. Usually family history is the realm of the, um, mature, members. But remember that any calling is a chance to be built by the Lord. I also feel that doing temple work for people you found would be really meaningful.

I accept that answer for the movie. I've been pretty kahn lihk, or diligent, recently on running. Hopefully I can still beat you when I get home, but I no longer have confidence in that.


It means Ding Chaam (Abby posted a random Chinese character in her letter). Ding is a surname, chaam means to participate like in a competition or something. So maybe it could mean that you're yelling at someone named Ding to get working or participating? You're lucky that the 2 random Characters you picked are 2 that I know. I now know about 500, enough to read and guess through about 70% of simple stuff. Characters are super fun. How is French going? Would you rather have a fan or a picture of horses? You should ask Joseph about what he did to get so skinny, even I feel jealous of him now.


I like how you always act like nothing happens and then everyone tells me about the new adventures of the future president of the United States. Everyone else always comments on your participation in church or dance, you just say, school is fine, dance is fine, church is fine. I really want to congratulate you on your going to the temple. That is a habit that will bless your life more than you can realize right now.

2 questions. If I named my first daughter Artemis would it offend my future wife? And do you think that you will serve a mission?


I had an idea a while ago that you could make a computer model of a school, house, or neighborhood, then fill it with Zombies and see what our daydreams would really be like. OR make yourself super small in it to see what it'd be like. I think that indoor theaters are a much better investment of space than having a random family room that the family never uses. By the way the Chinese confirms that the English is backwards of what it should be. Family room in Chinese is haak fong, visitor room.

I recently have been expending great effort in studying scriptures during my study time. I really have been doing everything that I can to focus. I know that it'll pay off. Do you feel that your study is really diligent? How often do you read? How hard do you read? Do you feel that you've gained the promised blessings of study? Because if not you can. This is not condemning you, you just happened to be the vehicle for everyone else to hear.


Tell Mom this picture was the only one I got off before some guy told me to unplug my camera. We are in a public Apple store using the demo lap tops. I will send them next week. Forgive me.

Recently I've had several dreams that don't really have any of you in them, per se, but have the sort of suggesting of you guys there, especially you and the Brothers.

Church attendance is pretty tough for them here. I don't know how much of a test of faith it is, because they all live pretty close, and Chinese people are decently social, but they're so busy that making time for church is a big sifter of elect and goats. And it can really help them if they have the desire to be helped by it. That is true of myself, as I have recently learned.

I really hope that your job has success. I know that you'd love that. But I can't argue with the President Klein wisdom. I've thought that as well. Besides, you've got a bike; money doesn't really have too much value after that.

I feel that President Hawks is to me what President Klein was to you. I really admire him.

I have been reading recently about some of the early leaders of the church and the miracle they wrought and the power in their teaching. I occurred to me, finally, the concept that every church leader tries to share every Priesthood session in conference. Power in the priesthood comes from righteousness. The thing that really motivated my increased effort in study was a desire to have the power and ability that Ammon, Alma, Joseph Smith, John Taylor, etc had. Thank you for your example to me, Dad. I love you.

I always imagine that my letters consistently bring everyone to tears, but it probably only does that to Abby.

Stay truer to the Faith

Elder Morrell

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014 - Investigators Reading the Book of Mormon Show a Real Commitment

It's good to read that at least my mother still thinks of me as a person.

I had a pretty great week, yall. Our investigators recently have been doing pretty well. I will recap them all briefly. Ben is a 17 year old kid (who seems younger than 17) who is remarkably mature in relation to gospel things. He's been reading the Book of Mormon like a champ and is now up to 2 Nephi 10ish. Just so you know, people who make it to 2 Nephi often get baptized because it shows a real commitment to read regularly, and anyone who reads the Book of Mormon regularly has a very good chance of overcoming any other issues and being baptized. He had some cool miracles because originally he was too busy to ever come to church, but after a lot of prayer he became available and now has gone to church and had a good experience 4 times in a row. And recently he started wearing a tie.

A Wing is a 20'ish girl who is doing okay, is still very willing to meet with us and has introduced her Mom to us, but is just too busy. We haven't taught her in a while but last week (not yesterday) she did come to church and she still likes us. Her Mom is a professional masseuse (massager?) who apparently is on call 24/7 so is also in the same situation.

Mr. Lo is a new investigator, we bumped into him a couple days ago, didn't teach a lesson but exchanged numbers, and then he came to church. When he first said he would come I was very skeptical, but he's great. He's semi retired (in other words available to be taught) and has a desire to change himself.

Zero is an interesting 17 year old kid who is a bit philosophical (philosophy is bad for you, just ask Joseph) but likes us and is "searching for the truth". He would have come to church but was busy with school.

Brother Wong is a really cool guy, wife of a recently returned less active, and would be progressing but he's still busy with the protests. Grrr.

I think that that's about it, but really we've been blessed with a lot of people who are willing and prepared to hear the gospel. I've been very happy with the work here recently, especially because 4 months ago this companionship didn't exist.

I want to send out a little thank you to some people who have really been helpful to me. One is Grandpa and Grandma Carmack. Their letters are always great. I realized that I didn't really know too much about Grandpa's mission before my own, but his example from the first months of his mission has really been great to me. I especially loved the letter I just got from him, and I hope that I can learn to study like he did. It is evident in both Grandma and Grandpa's lives the value of really studying the gospel. I also want to thank Morris Matthews, who has been the most consistent in sending letters to me out of everyone except my own family. I know that he is a righteous man because his letters always contain specific counsel or advice that applies to my life right at the moment when I need it, and I can feel that he is guided by the spirit when he writes them. Also congrats to Bob Furstenau (I know the last name is wrong but we always just called him Bob anyway), and thank you for the great leadership you gave me as a youth.

Last but not least is Jan Corallo. I haven't always had a need to play the piano on my mission, but every now and then I do, and I am so grateful for her patience in teaching me, even though I was such a lazy student. This Sunday I was the chorister in the priesthood meeting, and I think it's because of Jan and Mom that I can do that. Thank you.


In Hong Kong they don't have the candy Whoppers, they have some weird copy cat thing called Malteasers, which are almost the same but a bit suspicious. Still, they taste pretty good, especially when made into Lo Mai Chi, which is like glutinous rice (I don't know how to describe what glutinous rice is like, vaguely like really chewy rice pudding?) with stuff inside and cocoa powder on the outside. The ward made some for us recently.

I think that you'd be grossed out by a lot of stuff in Hong Kong. Under our apartment is a street market that sells pork and beef. One time I saw a pig eye staring out of a box of organs, and once saw a guy squeezing pig urine out of a bladder into the gutter. Seriously.


I always like to ask where have you been reading recently. Do you like camping? Do you like Chinese characters, because I now know almost 400 Chinese characters. Did you know that if I randomly open up the Mo Yih Muhn Ging, Book of Mormon, and read a couple random verses in Chinese, I can guess what chapter and book I'm in? You should read the Book of Mormon until you are that familiar with it because the more you know how to use it, the more the power of that book can be manifest in your life.

I don't know what else to say. I don't look forward to coming home, though I do miss you. In China the stores are often small and owned by individual families, so there are often cats or dogs just hanging around, sleeping amidst the merchandise.


You seem like the kind of guy who would learn a ton of obscure grammar rules just to correct prominent public figures when they try to give speeches. I ran into some German lady this week and helped her find her bus, and had to use English, because the only German I could say was Ich habe meine Duetch vergessen. I don't even remember if Duetch is a mein or meinen or meine or meiner or meinem. So schade.

I've been reading a lot about Moroni, Captain, recently, and I'm really inspired by his example. I think that there are a lot of attributes that he has that qualified him for the statement that if all men were like unto him the Devil would have no power over the children of men. I invite you to investigate why.


Might I just say that David replaced your date. Also in retrospect I don't think I really ever went on any dates besides double dates. I'm clearly not as cool as you. I saw some ads for the movie, “Interstellar”. I have one complaint. I saw a shuttle lifting off from earth in a big cloud of flames, like it took a ton of energy, and then some little ship that seems to be able to escape planetoid gravity easily. If that was the case why use the big inefficient shuttle in the first place?

I invite you to look at the Moroni thing as well. I've really gotten a lot out of it. What were the talks that President Kezarian gave you about?


I had some dream this week that you were here in Hong Kong and we both went to some street market in Lok Wah Estate to buy groceries. Prophetic? Perhaps...

Most of the domestic helpers are Philipinas or Indonesians, and there are many of them. This area isn't as high income so you don't see as many, but in Chai Wan on Sundays the parks would be full of helpers having picnics together or having religious meetings. Yesterday we visited some less active on a list given to us by the bishop. Turns out she's super old and speaks some weird mix of Cantonese and 2 other regional Chinese dialects (because there's actually more than just Cantonese and Mandarin, they're just the most common) that is almost totally unintelligible. Her helper (gung yahn or je je) is from the Philippines and speaks decent Mandarin, and said she can understand a little bit of the lady. I think that their lives are pretty tough, but the pay here is much better than they get back home, so a lot will support their family from here for a few years and then go back. You don't see many men from those countries.

I have realized just how much of a good influence you can make on the world through a calling, like Stake President or Young Women's president or Primary teacher or just home teacher. Send the letters with haste if possible. I think you're doing a great thing back home with the Young Women. I love you.


I would love that sort of bike ride. (Glen did a 50 mile ride in Yellowstone Park over the weekend.)  I think I'd have to get in shape muscle and buttocks wise first, but it sounds super cool. Some investigator recently said something very interesting. He's a dad of 2 girls who married a bit later, and he was talking about how before he married he had a ton of common vices, like gambling or drinking or going to dance clubs, etc. But after he married he had less time for that stuff, less extra money to waste, and I think less desire. It taught me yet another reason why God has given us families. Being a father kept him away from a lot of evil. I don't think bike riding counts as evil, but I'm sure that you're a better person today because you spend so much time supporting us kids.

Love you all, but I don't know if I love you enough to send pictures.

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014 - Pray About What Might Be Under the Bar in Your Life

Hello my dear family. I realize that for 2 weeks in a row (I think) I have not sent any personal responses, so maybe I'll just do that now and fit all the news into them.


Thank you for the requested data.

We had a pretty great week this week. We are finally officially supposed to wear suits all the time, but it was still a bit to warm so we haven't so far. But today it's pretty chilly outside, a welcome change. We still have the AC on at night, but not for long, I think. I have been eating pretty well recently. I found an international store nearby that sells Mac n Cheese, so you don't need to send any. I make a lot of fried rice, and I think I've become quite adept at cooking it. Curry, Mapo Tofu, pancakes, etc. Today I bought $300 HKD of groceries. So your little boy is eating well.

I always love having chances to serve people randomly on the street. There are a lot of old people around, so we get chances to help them carry boxes up and down stairs occasionally. Yesterday after church we were about to get on the train to go finding and we heard someone shout "Elders!" which doesn't happen often. Turns out it was a group of Utah members from Bountiful on a cruise who couldn't find the shuttle back to the ship. We had actually run into some of their group at church that day because one of them was a returned missionary from HK. His accent was thick but he bore a nice testimony. It was really cool to serve them and help them out. Plus I felt cool because I'd ask them something and then turn to Elder Tse and discuss for a bit, then ask them stuff again. Language felt pretty cool.

I think that that's the important part of missionary work, is being there to do what the Lord wants, and obviously He knows what our talents are. So I think whether you're outgoing or quiet, the Lord will find some people for you to help if you're listening and ready.


There is no daylight savings here. I have gotten into a good habit of getting directly out of bed in the morning, and getting up at 6:45, but recently it's been a bit tough because my companion snores and grinds his teeth, so I need to use the earplugs that sat useless in my bag for over a year. Then I can't hear my alarm clock.

I agree with your sentiment. I had a cool experience on Sunday. A recent RM was called to be the Elder's Quorum President in our ward. He is a really cool guy, awesome fellowshipper, and very obviously was a great missionary. I realized when he was sharing a testimony in sacrament meeting, that being truly great does not mean your calling is higher than the next guy, but accepting and faithfully and diligently fulfilling whatever calling you are given, and doing so to the very best of your efforts. The scriptural precedent is in 1 Nephi 2 when the Lord calls Nephi to be a teacher and leader of his brethren. It's not the call that made Nephi great, it was his unflinching and unflagging efforts to fulfill and even magnify that call.

I am really loving my time here. I am the only missionary I know who would even consider going finding on a P-Day when we have extra time. Everyone thinks it's horrible. I think that I basically have unlimited P-days when I finish my mission but limited time to find or teach now.

The Chinese is actually pretty easy at this point. I just speak too fast so sometimes people don't understand me.


I've seen ads for that movie and really wanted to see it, (in a non-distracted, detached sort of way) but didn't know that it was a Christopher Nolan film (Interstellar). That would increase my desire if I wasn't totally focused. You might tell me how it is, but, you know, I don't really care.

I really am impressed with the self discipline you've showed, and I think that you're reaping the benefits now. I encourage you to take that same self discipline and apply it to the gospel. The biggest thing that you can do to prepare for your mission is just to keep the commandments that you hope others will keep, like prayer, reading, church attendance (which is more than just showing up), going to the temple (extra important), and keeping your standards high. I know that you like video games and movies, which I share with you, but since coming on my mission I've realized a lot of stuff that we very commonly allow is not really up to the standards that we should expect of ourselves. Think of the hundreds of Sunday school lessons and talks and scriptures and seminary classes where you talk about avoiding swearing, immorality, or crude or violent media, and then really think about the stuff that you watch. This is not just at you, of course, this is to everyone, myself included. I really have been thinking on my mission about what I will allow, what I want my bar to be set at. And I can tell you, I feel that my bar wasn't high enough. I invite you all, and anyone else who reads this, to think and say a simple prayer about what in your life might be under the bar. Then just try to cut it out for a month and see what happens. One that I've decided is the Game of Thrones Books. I loved those books but there was a lot of stuff that is very inappropriate in them, so even though I would love to see how the series finishes, I am not going to read them. I know that this idea excludes a lot of things that really are high quality, but if it wasn't a sacrifice it wouldn't bring blessings. Sorry for being all preachy, but I literally spend all my time doing this, so, yeah.


Your emails always make me smile but leave me confused. It is very hard to imagine the context that these isolated statements come out of, the bizarre and fantastic world of Name'n Dave. Keep it up, I guess. At the international store I go to I see a lot of German stuff. I actually buy some German brand of long storage milk, Amity. Very cute, has a bunny on the front. One time on a train I tried to talk to some white guy. I said, “Hi”, and he said, “Hi”, I said "Where are you headed?" and he was "Why?" in a slightly gravelly voice. I thought I misheard, asked again and he responded in a German or Russian accent that spoke of garrotes and large guns "Why you care?" I did not press the issue.

We had a cool experience this week. We went out finding for a while, not much success, and then as we were headed home I suddenly decided to walk some other direction and we found a lady who was interested in learning about Christ, has never really had much religion, and said that we could visit her and her husband on Tuesday. That never happens. Pray for her, my brother.


No, I just checked the pictures again, you all look about the same except that Joseph is skinnier and more handsome and David is way taller. But don't worry, I already know what you will look like when you grow up. Remember, the makeup model in the mall that one time.

What do you mean nothing happens at school? You just sleep or what?

Be careful about the attitude there, little sister. You are starting to sound teenagery. Yeah, Halloween here is not that big. There were a few little kids with costumes, and some haunted houses, but they don't do trick or treat and without that there's not much. I actually almost didn't notice Halloween.

Where are you reading in the Book of Mormon recently?

I had a really great Sunday this last week. We had a lot of investigators at church, about 5, and 1 less active member. And the testimonies in the sacrament meeting were great. I can testify that if you really go to some efforts to keep the Sabbath day holy, you will get a reward. It might not be immediately, I've been trying for a month or two, but it comes.


I don't know if I can believe that you are actually stressed or not, because it sounds like you just spend your time dreaming about snow and making hats or sacks. Do the sack. It neeeeeds you.

I don't get any snow here at all, which is a bit rough. But oh well. I do miss you too, but I know that this is the most important and best thing I could be doing now. It's important to know that, see Alma 46. After I'm at college I can visit you guys all the time. Maybe you can write some stuff for the phone call and have Becca read it.

Tell mom that we're going to the temple on the 18th, and our P-Day will be accordingly changed. I will get a picture then and send it, though I can't send very high res. stuff.

Love you all more than you think!