Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015 - Colors of Hong Kong are Gray and Red

This is Durian flavored ice cream.  They also have taro and black sesame flavored ice cream.

The top and bottom are my language study for the past couple days.  I spend 30 minutes learning to write characters and 30 minutes transcribing the text from the Restoration movie in Cantonese

Two of these are some beautiful skies that we saw right before going out for work outs in the morning.  Hong Kong has got some really beautiful weather when it's not yellow and smoggy.

The last is our investigator Rachel on the left and Sister Kwan, who is an awesome fellowshipper for Rachel, on the right.
Hello family!

This was a pretty good week. I really feel blessed to be serving in NTK. It is one of the easiest places to go finding in our zone, I think. Though I hear that Chai Wan is doing pretty well right now as well.

We've still been having a bit of a hard time finding recently, we usually only get one or two new investigators a week, but those investigators are pretty solid, and we've had some good success with them recently. This week we started with 2 baptismal dates and ended with 5. We had 3 investigators at church and one Less Active (more on him later). So all in all, despite slightly difficult finding, it was a good week.

I want to mention really fast two things before I forget them. One is thanks for all the Christmas cards I received from people, including the Kenners, the Wilsons, and unexpectedly the White family. It means a lot to a missionary in a strange land.

The second is a shout out to Grandpa Carmack, whom I name defender of Truth, because I finally got a chance to use his impeccable explanation of Nephi killing Laban to answer that one investigator's question. She was stumped. Though I think that I still detect a good deal of skepticism in her comments, there has entered a little thread of real interest. Thank you.

As you may have seen from the pictures, I've been learning tons of Chinese characters recently. I want to learn to write characters for 2 reasons, 1. I want to be able to text investigators and schedule them if they don't speak English, and 2. There are tons of characters that are just almost the same and that are really hard to tell apart without learning how to write. Like leuhng and mahn.

The less active (LA) story. We visited a LA family of a mom and son 2 weeks ago, and found them both very nice and willing to be active, but the mom has some chronic disease and is too tired in the morning to go to church. The son is 17, went less active with his mom when he was still very young, and doesn't know too much about the church. We visited them this week with Brother Ho from the YM presidency and Ben, the Recent Convert, and had an awesome visit, then got Ben to pick up the LA for church on Sunday. It was amazing to see a new convert of 2 months already magnifying the priesthood he'd barely received. I hope that he serves a mission. That would make me about as happy as all git out.


Oh, when will you learn wisdom. Strategy has to do with the management of resources, the supplying of armies, the decision of what and where to attack on the scale of months or years, not just single matches. Strategy is deciding to destroy the infrastructure and railroads of a country instead of military installations, etc. Tactics is the effective use of resources and force to win a battle or series of battles.

Homeworld. Hiigara, our home. Torment me not with this tantalizing devilry, but if you have an option to preorder it, do so.

Congrats on doing baptisms for your Joint Youth Activity. It is really true in the grand scheme of things that missionary work and temple work are just two sides of the same coin, and they can bring the same wonderful blessings to those who really consecrate themselves and do the Lord's work.


You should eat more vitamin C. I would never have pegged you as a sickly child, yet of all the family you are definitely the most oft infected. And now you've spread it to your own mother. Tsk tsk. Perhaps it is my absence that thus afflicts you. Is this why you eagerly await my return, hmm? Well, too bad. I've still got months ahead, and you can't stop me.

P.S. In the absence of a 2nd party's opinion, I have empowered you to decide the conditions of my collegiate abode. Ask mom.


PROCESSED?! NOOOOOOOO! (Abby told John that the cheese in one of his pictures was from Poland and the words meant it was processed cheese.)

How long did it take to find out that Polish was the language?

I like your question. (Abby’s Question for John: Most places have one color that they mostly are like, here it is mostly green and brown. What is it like in Hong Kong?) It made me think. Honestly, I would say that the answer would have to be either gray or red. Gray because all the buildings are made of cement. Literally, all of them. Unless they're painted (in which case they are usually a horrible spread of green, pink, and blue) they are gray. Red is because red is a lucky color in China, especially approaching the Chinese New Year.

I have a question for you; What is the sky usually like when you wake up? Can you record it each day and tell me? I think that the mornings here are really beautiful. We had the lesson on the creation at church on Sunday, and I was reminded how the beauty of the earth is evidence that God really loves us.


I feel much better already. I was worried because I, like Dad, always seem to have a cough that hangs around for weeks after getting sick, but after a couple days I was better. I sort of half lost my voice for a while, which was annoying because Cantonese has a lot of low tones that were hard to pronounce.

I think that it'd be fun to live with Joseph if he's going to BYU. Assuming he's willing, I'd enjoy that. It'd be fun to live with some of the other friends on missions right now, Matthew or Evan or Spencer, but I don't really know what plans they've got. I honestly have no opinion either way on the dorm or apartment thing. I've thought about it for a full 45 seconds now, and I just don't really know what the difference would be like. I feel like either one would be fine. If I'm rooming with someone else who has an opinion, they can choose, if not Rebecca can decide for me.

I've really come to love talking to people on the trains. I remember that was super hard for me at first. I wouldn't say it's effortless now but much easier, and often very rewarding. I wish that I could be a bit more natural about teaching people on the street, though. When you go tracting, you just sort of tell them up front that you're missionaries, that you want to come in and share a message about the gospel, so if they let you in or talk, you know that they are choosing to listen to you about that topic. On the street a lot of the lessons we teach come from people who just stopped but never really formally agreed to "hear a lesson" so you sometimes feel like you're walking on egg shells, trying to balance between talking and getting their interest, and sharing a message.

I honestly really hope I don't leave NTK. We have 5 baptismal dates right now, all for after this move, and a lot of those are really solid. I'd love to stay, but I'm worried my chances are low because based on our recent interviews with President Hawks I might be going back to senior companion, which would mean either I or Elder Tse leaves.


I feel like a considerable chunk of my family just sleeps once their pressing physical needs have been met. What lazy bums. Honestly, Elder Tse is an impressive example of how much time you have to sleep if you really want it. He doesn't like having to deal with 6 people in one kitchen, so he often just buys food or eats bread and sweetened condensed milk, then sleeps. And he goes to bed early in the eveneing. And on P-Day he sleeps. He sleeps a lot.

I think that observation is very true, not just for fatness, but for a lot of things. I have come to realize on my mission that I talk way too much. I've had a couple moments where I realized that "Whoa, I'm that guy who talks way too much. How did that happen? I always identified myself as an introvert." I think that the gospel really is designed to eliminate the common condition of people who say that they want to be one thing but whose actual desires lead them to be something else. Everyone says that they want to be in shape, but most don't really make the daily decisions needed to be in shape, nor do they really desire to go through the hard work that makes them in shape. Every member of the church knows that they should be righteous, and I think they'll all say that they want to be righteous, but when it comes down to it not all actually have the desire to do righteous things, nor do they make the choices that would make them righteous and help them develop that desire. Alma 41 talks about that, I don't have an English Book of Mormon so I can't remember which verse, but it's a predominant theme in the Book of Mormon that we are rewarded according to our desires.

Our investigators are doing okay right now. Rachel and I fasted to help her quit smoking. She was expecting to be able to quit cold turkey, but I'm planning on maybe a week or so of reduction first. Brother Lo is also going on that goal. It's really cool to see him become happier just by attending church. Very visible. Our investigator Wong wasn't at church, and we don't know why yet. We challenged him to tell his wife that he's been meeting us and has a baptismal date, so maybe they had some argument about that. Pray for him. Our investigator Zero once again couldn't muster the will to get to church on Sunday, but he is slowly progressing. We met a new investigator named Ken. He's in his 60's. I thought he was just another drunk old man shouting at us but felt like stopping and talking to him for a while, and he's pretty great. He was really touched by us meeting with him, and extremely grateful for church. His only problem is that his understanding is very low and he doesn't really read. And he smokes. So much smoking.

Love you all! Except for Joseph! Just kidding! (Joseph wasn't awake when it was time to write and send John's email.)

"Subject, did not survive interrogation."

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