Well, usually you guys’ lives are pretty boring but this week really had something to talk about. Impressive. I don't know if I hope they're still there when I get back. (Joseph received a baby chick from the girl he asked to Prom and now we have 3 baby chicks!)
We really had an awesome week this week. Sorry, I once again forgot to say that in a bit we're heading to the temple. I can't send any pictures because we're in the Apple store, sorry,
So, some of the cool stuff. We've had a lot of new investigators recently. Our companionship had been struggling with finding people for a bit, but we set some really high goals during our planning on Thursday for this next week, and we were trying to think of how we could really achieve those goals, what we could do different. We decided to fast for this week, and we decided to tighten up our morning and evening schedule. It's really given me a testimony of the importance of strict discipline and obedience to doing missionary work. I always notice that the great missionaries in the Book of Mormon are described as "having the power of the word within them". I have prayed for that more than anything else these last months, and having an obedient and focused evening and morning are a huge part of that, fasting is also part of that. After that weekly planning we had a lot of cool miracles, finding people on the streets and really teaching good lessons. I've had a ton of cool experiences where we start by just talking and being friends with people and in the end really have great chances to teach them.
Right now in Hong Kong a strange and dark thing is happening. It is called the DSE. It is the university entrance test that all grade 6 (last year) high school students take. So everywhere on the street you see people running around with books, losing hair, crying, bleeding from their eyes, etc. Okay, it's not that bad but they all feel about as stressed as we did with AP and IB tests, so they don't have a lot of time to meet. But despite that Elder Black and I have taught several and scheduled for after the tests are done.
We've bumped into a lot of foreigners recently, like Vietnamese or Nepali. One especially cool experience was we had about 1 hour to find, and just as we were heading to our finding area I felt like going back and talking to some guy on the train station. Turns out he's Vietnamese, Catholic, really nice, and at the end of the lesson said that he felt it was God's will that we bump into him.
On the way to A Chung's lesson, we stopped a guy who looked about 14 but was actually about 22, who was interested in religion but hadn't heard about our church. He's really bright, and very well versed with other churches beliefs, but was really impressed by the idea of modern revelation, new scripture, etc. We almost didn't stop for him because we were in a rush, but in the end he went to church and will probably have a baptismal date by next week.
Basically that's the story of this week. I don't really know how to write it, but we had a ton of little miracles letting us meet new people. It's been a cool week.
Then yesterday we moved. We still are in the same area, but our apartment changed. We used to live in Hung Shui Kiu, which was pretty far away, but now we live in Tai Hing Gardens, which is a lot nicer and closer. The 2 catches are that there are 6 people; the Butterfly Elders, and the Tuen Mun Zone Leaders ( Elder Busby from my MTC group) which I don't mind, 6 people apartments have some good points. The other catch is that it is a new apartment so all 6 of us moved yesterday. It is ridiculously confused right now. But it's an adventure. Our toilet already clogged, and it turns out that the plunger is broken, and the nearby toilet didn't have any toilet paper, and the toilet overflowed after being used, but, you know, it is what it is.
Don't have your letter yet, but we're heading to Kowloon Tong in an hour, so we'll see. If I could chose I would extend another year.
Recently as we've been packing, I've been pretty merciless and thrown a ton of stuff away. I hope it doesn't bother you, but I threw away most of the contacts I had (because I've been told that the plastic actually starts to degrade if they're there too long, and I'm not using them for a while), most of my long sleeve white shirts, most of my old language books, etc. I still feel like I've got too much stuff. But it's hard to get rid of the rest of it. On my mission I've really come to love not having things. I feel before I was very sentimental, but not so any more. I've still got your letters, though.
It's weird to think that if I was a sister missionary I'd be done already. How did you feel by the end of your mission? It's been cold recently but we're getting ready for the summer to begin in earnest. Our study room has no AC, so I'm afraid.
I feel as though you've surpassed me in every way. I never went to prom, never remodeled my room, you probably lift more than I do, I have had not even one chicken thrust upon me, and I don't even know what Apotheosis means. Have you gone to the dance yet? I think if I go to dances back in Utah, I'll just break all the traditions and ask people to their face. Then they don't have time to think of excuses, they have to go.
I think Spartan is best. As I told Mom, I've just been throwing things away indiscriminately. Spartan's knew what was up. I like the idea of the mission prep class. Some advice that I would give you is this (and this is from someone apparently made zone leader, so listen)
1. Get a habit of regular scripture study, not just at night, but preferably in the morning, at least 15 minutes, and focus on Book of Mormon and PMG
2. Learn the order and content of PMG chapter 3, it will do wonders for you in the MTC and on your mission.
3. Ponder about the baptismal interview questions and commitments of each lesson, and figure out why and how people would answer them or keep them
4. Do your own missionary work, because you'll constantly be telling people to give you referrals, and it'll mean more if you've done it yourself
I'd love to see the slow-mo on that Nature kill. It'll really put to the test how much the girls love the cats if they have to pick the feathers of their beloved chicks out of the cat's bloody teeth.
A Chung: I mentioned him 2 weeks ago I think. We thought he had no interest, but it was just that he was busy and got sick. So we taught him again, the plan of salvation, and gave him a baptismal date for the 26th of April, which he can make but will be really close. We haven't been able to contact him for a while (again) but I think he just doesn't answer his phone much.
Kelvin: He is still working on quitting smoking. We had a good review lesson with him about the Plan of Salvation, and he brought his friend Kyle, who is also good. Kelvin's got a really great desire. I've seen him progress since I've been here, but his problem is still that he is not quite disciplined enough. He needs to really start reading, meet more often, and put some real effort into quitting smoking. But I feel his chance is good.
A SIng: He is the university guy I mentioned. He came to church for the first time and loved it. He totally understands the Restoration, and just needs a bit of time to read and pray. I feel really good about him.
We found a kid named Gordon on the street by sharing a story about Captain Moroni that was basically just super cool, and gave him interest to listen to the rest of the Restoration. Last night we were at a place called Saam Sing, buying food, and we talked to the people at the restaurant. They thought it was crazy that I could read, so we talked for a while, and I feel like we really gave them a good chance to start to get to know the church. Right after that we talked to some random guy working at a store who was really impressed by us being missionaries and starting giving us tons of stuff for free. Both he and the restaurant people gave us their info without us ever actually asking for it. It's just been really cool to be a missionary right now.
I gave a training in District meeting about how to teach for the baptismal interview questions and the commitments. You can look over chapter 3 in PMG if you want to see what I mean. I feel like a lot of people can know that the restoration is true a lot quicker than they usually do if they would just understand what they need to do and do it. If you have any insights on that I'd appreciate it.
We've got one investigator who speaks only Mandarin and English, is from Mainland, and has no concept of God at all. She's studying Linguistics, so she's smart, but just doesn't get the idea of Heavenly Father yet. I think things like that take experience more than information.
A relatively recent convert has some friends who we're teaching, and it's a very interesting teaching environment, very casual, because other friends tend to just walk over and join in our lessons randomly.
The chicks sound, uh, interesting. Did they have the names already? Why name the one Arizona? What do they do most of the time? And what do you plan on doing with them when they get big and smell bad? Actually, they probably don't smell great now. Very weird situation.
What's the weather like right now in Utah? You'd think that Hong Kong wouldn't have pets but everyone's got those little tiny puff ball dogs. You'd probably love it. Our whole apartment is about as big as what used to be the playroom in the basement. By the way, don't send me any photos, I want to see it with my own eyes first. The basement, that is.
We do the workout every other day. There are a few different ones, all of them don't require any equipment or anything. Yesterday, we did one that has a ton of single leg exercise, the first time we did it we literally couldn't walk at all the next day, but this time it's fine. So I agree with you. Endure and the pain goes away. The gospel is often like that, isn't it? You need to just go and do stuff now so that you won't hurt later.
Sabbath day has got tons of resources and scriptures to use. I love Isaiah 58, the last two verses. If you really understand what that's saying, the Sabbath can be a great blessing. I feel for people here it's a big test of faith. It's really hard to get work of in Hong Kong, so a lot of investigators have to change jobs, sacrifice money, face exhaustion, etc. But when they exercise their faith like that, they are blessed. Also, I always think it's interesting how many scriptures mention people keeping the Sabbath day. Look in the index for the Book of Mormon.
I agree that most of the names I sent weren't great, but Broken Glass is a cool name. Okay, what does tergiversates mean? I don't know, I admit it. Also, do you want me to buy one of the Chinese vest things for you or anyone? You guys realize that I answer all your questions but you guys never answer mine, right? So much for family being the most important thing.
I learned the Chinese word for Sputum. Thought you'd like to know. It is taahm. This last week I talked to a Muslim guy on the street, which was pretty cool.
I've literally asked you like 3 weeks in a row if you've 1. Gone to the temple 2. Where are you reading. Are you ashamed to answer me? Do you take my words to be hard? Can you feel to sing the song of redeeming love?
So that's my week! I'm sorry I’m not a talented writer for stuff like this, I feel like I'm always just spewing information at you guys. Oh well, at least I still write. The work is true, put your shoulder to the wheel.