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.