Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015 - Hanging out with Apple from Bangladesh

So, this week was super fun, but I have a ridiculous story to tell before anything else.

It started on Friday. We were on the hing tit, which is the light rail system (like TRAX) that they have out here (and is super awesomely convenient, especially since we don't live in our area), and I started talking to some guy from Bangladesh. He is named Apple. He doesn't really speak much English, but he's super nice, and obviously I'm super nice, so we got along nicely, and since it turned out that he was going to the same place as we were, we talked for a while. He had to leave Bangladesh because of some political things, so he's lived in Hong Kong for many years. Randomly (really, randomly,) he said that he would feed us curry. So we exchanged numbers and scheduled for Saturday at 6 at the Jockey Club near our house in Hung Shui Kiu (if you want to understand how weird this story is, you'll need to look a map of Hong Kong, and remember that we live in HSK, and work in Tuen Moon). So on Saturday we met him there.

He was a bit late, arrived at about 6:20, then stood there smoking and looking at the horse races for a moment, then said "We go!" and got on the Hing tit. Somehow I had imagined that either he would bring the food or we would eat at a nearby restaurant, but no. We got on the train to Yuen Long. At this point I called the Zone leaders for permission, which they gave. On the train ride Elder Black was trying to talk to some guy, who went off about nuclear proliferation, which Elder Black did not understand and made me laugh.

We arrived in Yuen Long, which I've never been to before, with basically a stranger named Apple, and wandered around for a bit, before ending up in some ghetto apartment building whose second floor was not clearly commercial restaurant or residential. But there were lots of people from other countries there, who looked at us oddly. This is when I began to pretend to be very comfortable and amused to set Elder Black at ease while simultaneously thinking "Oh man, what have I done, this isn't even my second week as senior and I've brought us here". Apply bought us some super cool Napolese food and some dumplings, very tasty. I want to reemphasize, we can't really communicate very much. Yeah.

After that we left and wandered outside for a while, at least 30 minutes. We sat down and Apple smoked a bit, then he won $200 at a horse race, and we just kept following and smiling and fearing. At this point he asked "you busy?" "No, not really" "9 o'clock okay?" I'd been expecting like 6:45, so I said "uh, 8?" "okay!". We kept walking, smiling, and fearing.

Then we met up with Apple's friend, Current, (like the electrical unit) and his 5 year old daughter Olivia, also from somewhere else. They brought us to some building, where another guy (whose name I still don't know) was waiting. Current told Olivia to go with him, then Apple said "You go, go!" So we followed a random Indian guy into a random house with a 5 year old without the guy who brought us there in a random city I'd never been to. I think I did a good job keeping cool, even asked some names, chatted it up, but like the rest of them the guy didn't really speak English, and Olivia only speaks some weird pidgin English.

We arrive at the house, where we find 2 or three more guys cooking food, all from different places around India. They didn't seem too phased by our presence, which is baffling to me, but I suppose Apple warned them in advance. At this point it's already about 7:45, so I readjusted my goal for leaving to 8:15. Apple arrived later with Current, but before they got there we were just sitting on this sofa, which one of the guys says "you go in room, watch Indian Movie, Indian Music." My pulse doubled. I tried to explain that we didn't watch movies, but he thought I was asking if there were any English ones. So we sat down in a tiny room on a bed as Olivia starts watching some movies and the guy is setting something up. The movies were weird, and I don't think I could watch them even if I wasn't a missionary. So eventually we convinced the guy we had to go back to the main room sofa. Crisis averted.

This was the longest segment of the adventure, sittiing on the sofa while they made dinner. Some highlights. Olivia started watching Donald Duck movies, which added bizarre to baffling. She found them very amusing. I found, of all things, a Jehovah's Witness's pamphlet, which I compared with my pocket KJV bible that I always carry and found to be strange. Not sure how it got there. I kept trying to say that we would leave at 8:15, 8:30, 8:45 in turn, to which I would always get a positive response, but still no food. Our curfew if we have no lesson is 9:30, so I finally entrenched myself at 9:00 and prepared to die. Then the food finished!

It really was very good, shrimp and chicken curry, some cucumber salad, really nice rice. I was shoveling it in because we had to leave ASAP, when I looked to my left and realized that they were all eating with their hands. Then Apple told me that "spoons, not good. Taste not good. Hand, very good!". So I did. There's an idiom in Chinese, when in someone's hometown, eat the hometown congee. When in Rome, do as the Romans. So I shoveled curry into my mouth with my hands. It was good but there was a ton and they kept giving us more and more and it was spicy. Poor Elder Black almost died. 9:15 we left, made it home at 9:40, which was lamentable. Would I do it again? No. Am I glad I have the story? Yes.

Other than that we had a very good week. We volunteered at some place called Crossroads, which is a refugee center. We basically help with the maintenance, some Mongolian guy named Ooyoo told us to replace an air conditioning unit, and though I have no experience doing such I think we did a decent job. Lots of pidgin English this week.

We had a super cool lesson with a new investigator. We found him on Monday, and had a simple but spiritual lesson. He said his family had some arguing or unhappiness, so I shared Moroni 8:25-26 (I think) about baptism bringing the spirit and meekness. We met again on Wednesday, and he said that on Monday, his family felt a lot happier after the lesson. We taught the Restoration, really well I think, and in the end invited him to be baptized. I don't say this often, but the spirit really was strong there. Baptism always does that.

Church was okay, we had some recent converts get callings (as ward missionary, so that's cool) and I stayed at the church for literally 7 hours straight. PEC and correlation before, numbers after. Long time. All in all an awesome week.


We have the guy I just mentioned, A Chung, who didn't come to church but is scheduled for tomorrow and has been reading. There’s some investigator they've had a while named Kelvin who's quitting smoking. And another new guy, who was a former investigator then got turned over to us by the Butterfly Ward Elders, Justin, who's 14 and doing good, but also not at church. His lesson was really spiritual.

I guess it's interesting, because in terms of language and teaching, there's a lot I want to teach Elder Black, but I know that if I just throw it at him, it's not going to help him, it'll just annoy him. And there are, of course, many things that we don't agree on how to do, that I really think we should do a certain way for a real reason, but I don't want him to feel that I'm controlling him. I'm his second companion, I remember when Elder Tong came it was a bit rough at first. But we do get along well, and he's a super brave guy when it comes to talking to people.


Really, thanks for the college help. Elder Black is from Texas, same as our Zone leader Elder Loderup, but neither have a strong accent. We live with 2 other elders, and our apartment is really way bigger than the Kwun Tong one. But it's not nearly as clean...

Being District Leader is super fun. I often complain about how busy I am, but I love it. And I really love being in a position to help other areas and set plans to help us all improve. It's cool.

Could you send a new family picture? Mine's falling apart because I brag about you guys to EVERYONE!


I'll try to write you a letter, if I can stand it. If I don't die. You will be able to go to the temple with Rebecca soon! That'll be so cool. The temple is awesome because it just has a sort of feeling there of peace and happiness. Everyone is nice to each other there. It makes you slow down a bit and think. And when you leave you just want to help everyone around you, you don't want to do anything bad, you just want to go out and serve people. I love the temple. And the sound of people getting baptized is super relaxing. So go.

Mosiah 5: See if you can figure out which verse I'm referencing.


I just want you to know that I sacrificed the brothers in order to write to you. I think that's what I always do in Risk, turn you all against each other. By giving good advice. I read books a lot because I'm addicted, and once I start I can't stop. It's a curse, but at least it's good for car rides. What is a hip flexor? I'm guessing it's the muscle on the outside of your hip, pulls the leg outwards. Elder Black has a work out where we do tons of calisthenics, and it's exhausting.


I can plan out a Starcraft game from start to finish, and it's still a tactics based game. There is no unit creation in this game, there is no resource management, and the whole thing is contained into one round. I'll get back to you on the names of the games.

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