Hello, dear family. I've written a lot of email to you over the course of my mission; do I really need to keep sending them? You could re-read some of my old ones. I'm sure that there's lots of good stuff there. I used to complain a lot more consistently about you guys reading scriptures and going to the temple.
This week was super awesome, or, as we say in China, chiu kap sai leih. Obviously it was nice to talk to all of you on the phone, and later that day we had a miracle member present lesson that scheduled itself at the end of our P-Day. On Tuesday we had 6 lessons scheduled, though they didn't all come through. 6 lessons in one day is a lot of lessons. Recently we've not had a lot of time to go finding, which stands in stark contrast to the start of my mission. I remember back then most of our days were just finding, for at least 3 or 4 hours. If we get 2 hours straight now we count it long and blessed. Honestly if we actually spend an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner we call it a slow day. On Wednesday, for example, we did language evaluations for every new missionary in our zone, which took about 3 hours. I feel super weird doing language pass offs because I don't really look at myself as being qualified. It’s interesting.
This Thursday we had our Zone Conference, where President and Sister Hawks train us. It is President Hawks’ last Zone Conference. He's an amazing guy. I've never met anyone so passionate about obedience. To call him strict is really not an accurate description. He's not nitpicky, he's not Pharisaical, he's just really really passionate about obedience and powerful teaching. I think it's really been a blessing being in this tri-panionship, because there's a lot of power in Elder Busby and Little, and we're really able to teach powerfully, though there's obviously still room to improve.
Saturday we had a really cool experience. We went to visit a member, and on the way out suddenly decided to go to a restaurant called Tuen Mun Curry House (a delicious Indian curry house, I got the ox tongue. Yum.) Then on the way out, while walking home, Elder Little suddenly turned off the sidewalk and talked to some guy. We spoke for a moment and in 10-15 minutes taught about the Restoration and got a new investigator. The Spirit really is active, especially if you are willing to set high goals and let them be the focus of your day.
On Sunday that principle was again demonstrated. We had a goal to have 2 member present lessons and 1 new investigator, which we had all scheduled. We went to the Lord and promised we would do this if he would help us. If you recall we have two wards to attend right now, so we had absolutely no time to go finding. Well, at 9:00 the first lesson fell through, and at 12:40 the second one did as well. But we were doing what we were supposed to be doing that day, you could say perfect in our Sunday morning sphere. Randomly a member brought a referral to church who we taught between our ward correlation and sacrament, and Mr. Chi (who's been in mainland) felt impressed (or as he said "called by God") to come back to Hong Kong a day early on the high speed rail and attend church so that he could be baptized on his date. We started teaching them after church and couldn't find a member, and suddenly I felt prompted to ask a certain guy who was still there after church ended. We achieved the goal.
It's interesting to think of you and Dad doing companionship inventory. In this tripanionship we have pretty good ones. I think I mentioned it before but the nicest thing about being will relatively experienced missionaries is that meetings, study time, comp inventories are all very edifying. I imagine you and Dad are the same, seeing as you’re a lot more experienced than the 3 of us in my companionship put together. By the way, we found out at Zone Conference that Elder Busby will train a native on Wednesday, so we will be split up again. Very sad.
We had a recently returned missionary speak in both our wards this Sunday. He was really good, the thing that impressed me the most about him was that he seemed to have really figured out how to effectively research and study out questions, and from that had a lot of really cool insights. I learned over the past couple Sundays the importance of being willing to learn, grateful, and humble, especially in church. Because we had to listen to so many talks and lessons, sometimes it would seem a bit boring. I've also noticed that I have a bad tendency to think that as a missionary I am more spiritually mature or knowledgeable than others, which obviously is false. It's hard to learn from Church if you're mentally criticizing others for poor speaking skills or other defects. But this last Sunday I did my best to humble myself and learn, and had an amazing Sunday. I got 2 full pages of notes from it.
Our Bishop called us up in the middle of sacrament meeting to speak, which was unexpected, but actually sort of fun. I hope my talk was okay, it felt decent. Maybe I just won't prepare anything for my homecoming talk, I'll just wing it.
That sounds like a well planned out party. We have an activity coming up in August that I'm partially responsible for planning. I think you're better at planning than I am. It's a weakness of mine. Our P-days are usually pretty boring as well, because we just never do anything. We wanted to go get suits today, but couldn't because we're going to tea (ha ha, that's how they say dim sum in Chinese, it's literal translation is "drink tea") with a less active member.
2 questions. Would something go wrong if all the people went out to see the chickens at once? Would they be panicked or something? Also, I don't remember what “Minute to Win It” is.
Because you play violin I pretend to be a violin expert as a way to get people to start talking to me. Anytime I see anyone with a violin I tell them that my little sister plays violin. This week I stopped some guy and his daughter in the middle of the sidewalk, totally randomly, by saying that.
How the heck did school finish so quickly? That's weird. Do you know that your voice literally sounded the most different on the phone? Not only the pitch of voice but the inflections, speech patterns, everything. It must have something to do with all the dancing. No one else's voice changed that much, and no one else dances as much as you do.
I remember Abby said you went to the temple recently. Have you gone again? Will you? Why wouldn't you? Hmm? Hmm?
I have to agree, I don't think you can explain ballet in writing.
I do feel that a solid hour of piano is a lot more useful and productive than 5 12 minute slots. I did the same thing before, but in retrospect, and especially now that I've spent some time learning a new language, it's clear that learning for at least 30 or 40 minutes at a time is a lot more useful. How's the German going? I feel a lot more empowered in regard to learning languages now, I'm excited to learn me some German when I get a chance. This Wednesday on the way back from Zone Conference I talked to a guy from Mainland. My Mandarin is almost good enough to hold a real conversation with a reasonably patient person. It's super fun.
and as to the question about the smiley face, yes.
Recently because Elder Busby's knee has some problems we haven't gone running at all, aside from the many many times that we seem to run out of time in the evening and have to sprint back home to make it in on time. I have an odd proclivity to schedule things just close enough together that we have to rush, or manage to talk to one too many people while finding and almost be late. There's a hill under our apartment called the hill of dreams. We ran it 2 or 3 times this week. I love it.
The Hong Kong DSE test is finally done, so lots of people your age just don't have to go to school at all anymore. Today in companion study we were studying how to teach Lesson 5 with more power, because it often becomes a sort of rote presentation of information. But today as we practiced teaching about priesthood, I could really feel the power of it. The priesthood is an amazing gift. It is a chance to stand in the Lord's place and do what he would do. I really believe that it has power to do miracles, but that doesn't happen without preparation.
As I said, an awesome week this week. Our investigator who mystically came to church is Mr. C, who, with his wife, is super awesome and they are preparing to be baptized. I'm just worried because he feels really strongly about his baptismal date, and we might have to move it back because he hasn't quite quit smoking yet. But he's got such amazing faith that I'm not too worried. Kelvin, from a while back, randomly called us and said that he wanted to meet again. He seems to have really changed a lot and is way more humble, is preparing much more intently than last time we met him. We have an investigator, A Lai, who used to be named A Chung but randomly changed his name. He's great, and every time we teach him I feel the spirit, and he seems really willing and ready to learn, but he stands us up consistently 50% of the time. I don't know if you ever had anyone like that. It’s annoying, but he's cool.
Love you all. Be grateful for all you have. You have a lot. I am so grateful I get to be a missionary. It's so worth it. Man, I wish I had more time.