My dear family,
Today was our temple day, so my time is a bit short. This week has been pretty great, though I say that basically every week. That happens in my journal as well. Basically every day I write "today was a great day" or some joke about the same, so if I ever write "today was okay" it means it was an especially bad day. I tend to be happiest in the evening, and missionary work being what it is, it's very hard to not feel satisfied after a full day's work, even if it was miserable in the moment.
The work keeps rolling along in NTK. We taught a decent amount of lessons this week, and though our finding was not the most productive, we had a lot of chances to talk to some people who have potential. Being on a mission has given me a chance to learn how to talk to random people and to really appreciate the people around you. Especially in Hong Kong, it sometimes seems like there's just tons of faces around you, but when you start talking and listening to them, you see that they've all got lives of their own. Pretty amazing.
This week also had a lot of valuable spiritual learning. In preparation for our upcoming mission conference, we've been reading a talk by Elder Bednar about spiritual patterns and a talk given by President Hawks from when he was at BYU called "Looking towards the Mark". The Elder Bednar talk was really cool, and it confirmed a lot of the things that I think that I've learned on my mission about the importance of little habits and simple things. There are many simple habits that we may not see as being too important, or may not believe can actually help us, but that when consistently applied can wright (is that the present tense of wrought?) great changes and eventually qualify us for Eternal Life.
President Hawks' talk was, to me, even more impactful. In it he talks about the engineering principle of tolerance limits and the Takuchi Loss function, which I have no information about but seems to refer to the little errors that occur in mass production of products, and on the function of tolerance limits, which are basically the limits that can be accepted before a product is rejected. His main idea is that any company that focuses on the limits and not the mark, or the goal, the standard, will not be as effective as a company that strives to match the mark every time. And he talks about how any product that is not in line with the mark, even if it's within the limits, is in error and performs worse.
The application is to our lives, what sin or error we are willing to accept, and whether we are focusing on the limit, or the most wicked thing that we'll accept, or the mark, which obviously is the Savior and his example. I'll leave it to you guys to find the talk and read it, but it's really amazing. It has led me to think back on a lot of the things that I accepted before my mission because by the standards of the world or friends were acceptable, but that I may not have considered the Lord's view towards. Skyrim is a good example. It is a great game, but there are some parts that I wouldn't want to play in front of the prophet, or even Mom and Dad. If I know that those parts are not acceptable, why am I choosing to play it?
Pretty awesome talk, basically.
Our investigators are doing okay today. We had only 2 people at church. Most had a real reason for not coming, but I think that they all could have come if they had the desire. Rachel is doing well, but we found out she still has some word of wisdom problems, so we don't have a baptismal date for her yet. Brother Lo has a date and sort of a plan for quitting, which I hope to make a bit more firm this Wednesday. I think his real problem is just not really reading the scriptures, or at least not getting enough out of them. If you've got any ideas, I'm all eyes (because I can't hear you, so though my ears are fine it'd be useless.) Our investigator Frankie is similar, he's a cool guy but a bit lazy and he hasn't really started reading on his own. Our investigator Stephy has been reading, and should have a date this Wednesday, but sort of skipped church for some party, so, yeah. We had a cool miracle with some investigator who we couldn't schedule but then ran into on the street and taught the Plan of Salvation.
In our ward there's Sister Au, who basically supplies half of the students in our English class, and now has two friends investigating the church. We were teaching one of them and the other Elders the other, but it got too complicated so we turned ours over to them. Sister Lai just has amazing desire to share. It's not easy for her in Hong Kong but she's been really persistent. Almost every time we meet her there's something she's done to help do member missionary work.
In that vein, I honestly think that you know some things that you could do to do missionary work right now. Sister Lai, the Meissners, and all the best missionaries all have one thing in common, which is a desire to do missionary work and a willingness to put that desire above their fear or other desires. You've served a mission, so you know how to do missionary work if you really want to. I've always been inspired by how you described your mission. It was really one of the main reasons that I wanted to serve, because I had heard and could feel how much it meant to you. While you only get one chance to serve full time, you never have to be released and in fact can never be released as a witness of Christ, and I think that blessings are the same after your mission as they were on it.
I was reading in 3 Nephi 28 today, researching about desire (because I've been assigned a District training on how to give people desire, which as you can imagine is about the hardest topic for any missionary) and was impressed by how the 3 Nephites were blessed not because of their calling or their faith, but their desire to bring souls unto Christ. The Savior tells them that the blessing is that they shall become like unto him.
Sorry for the soap boxing, you know how it is on a mission, you tend to think that as far as the gospel goes no one whose not a missionary can understand what you do. Or at least prideful me thinks that.
I will probably just get the battery replaced, there are several watch repair places nearby. That sounds like an impressive lesson. I might try something like that. I've been thinking about how giving people the choice to learn something for themselves is a lot more effective than just telling them to learn.
The cold shower thing. Yes, it is not a requirement for being a good missionary. I don't really brag about it either, because the reason I do it is not just for discipline's sake but because it is sort of an arbitrary way for me to remember the Lord. I don't know why, but I think of it as a way to remember that I put my commitment to him about personal comfort. I got a bit sick this week so I didn't use purely cold water, but I kept it under lukewarm
The keyboard. Very strange and gross. You never think of it until you turn it upside down or pull the keys out. I think that still counts as tactics.
I got sick too, so we are together in suffering. The flu sometimes involves throwing up but often is just achiness, coughing, etc. You should see what it's like when you have literally no free time to rest. It's annoying.
That pool (Midvale Middle School Pool) is such a joke. I remember rival swim teams would refuse to swim in it. Oh well, keep it up.
Joseph, so sleep is more important than blood I guess.
Love you all, sorry I've got no time. Keep it up on the home front. The work is true, the gospel is real, and its blessing and promises are sure to those who wait and are valiant. Don't settle for good enough, remember our goal is to become like the Savior.