Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 - My Velvet Smooth Cranium

This is what the barber decided to do with my hair.  I didn't ask him to, he just took things (my hair) into his own hands (razor).  It's not exactly within missionary standards, and maybe I look like a bit of a punk, but it's might convenient and comfortable.  As I write I'm stroking my velvet smooth cranium.  And I only need as much shampoo as I usually use toothpaste.

This is the day that Elder Little went to International and Elder Halvorsen went home.

Counterclockwise is ME, Elder Chan, Elder Mangrobang, Elder Little, Elder Halvorsen, and Elder Busby.

This is a picture with Pres. & Sis. Hawks I got after our meeting with the Stake President, of which I will mention shortly.  I asked them if we could take it.  It was terrifying.
Pretty funny email from you guys today.

This week was good, but we were really busy and we didn't have a ton of chances to go finding or teaching. Our area is still pretty good, though. Even on a sort of off week like this one, we are able to teach a lot of lessons, get some people to Church, and I really feel like our daily actions are leading towards people being baptized, step by step. We taught Brother Chi twice. The first lesson was really difficult because we couldn't really answer one question before he would start to ask another, so we didn't get much done. The 2nd lesson was nice. We based it off the Book of Mormon, and kept it shorter. The spirit was there, and I think we started dealing with his biggest issue, which is not understanding why we need the read the scriptures and not have a real personal testimony of the book of Mormon. He believes us implicitly, and is willing to keep commitments. But I can just see him being challenged by someone after he's baptized, and not having that foundation of faith to fall back on.

We are also teaching Jacky, who's an awesome 9 year old, and is willing to be baptized but is afraid of water, Mr. Dou, who is extremely nice and humble but doesn't read too well and finds a lot of things confusing, Kelvin, who's a long term investigator but who has a lot of potential right now, because he's begun to really read the scriptures, and Amigo, who's a super cool form 5 student we found over a month ago, and just recently started teaching. This week we taught him the Restoration and asked where he lives, and he said in Tuen Mun area (Tuen Mun ward is right next to us). We were sad, but you just do what's best for them, obviously, so we turned him over. Yesterday we saw him at church and it turns out he has 2 houses, one in Tuen Mun and one right next to our Bishop. Go figure.

As I mentioned, we had the meeting with the Stake President and President Hawks. It's a bit of a high pressure meeting, for obvious reasons. We have a paper we need to fill out (I won't go on a long rant about Chinese paperwork this time, you can look at the last email about this meeting) and despite many reminders, we had to rush to re-write and prepare a ton of sheets from the people in our zone. So much fun! But really, the meeting was cool because it's a chance to learn from real experienced and inspired ministers and administers how to do things better.

Abby of the North,

Maybe I'll just write you this week. I find it ironic that you call Rebecca a liar, and in the next sentence you reference the fact that you lied about why you couldn't go to the swim meet. There's some parable about that in the Bible, if I’m not mistaken. Something about motes and beams...

You can't just say, "Hey, do you wanna play a game?" That's like if I just walk up to people and ask them if they want to be baptized. You have to teach, expound, testify, and then invite according to the spirit. "Rebecca, if we play this game, I know that it will bring peace and happiness to your life, and that you will be less bored and nauseous, and we will have some real things to talk about to Elder Morrell in his email. I know that this game has made me happy. Will you be willing to commit to play this game with me for 45 minutes? And do you have any friends that would benefit from hearing this message and playing this game?" Then you have to get her phone number and email and follow up within 2 days.

Rebecca the Great,

I just still can't believe that we have chickens now. And that they haven't been eaten yet. The big question that's burning within me now is, did you run when it chased you? Because if so, you're just making it more bold for the next time. I remember at the Darryl and Lorrel Morrell house Beth kicked the chickens when they chased.

I think you just get along most with me because you only ever have to interact with me through email. I make no requirements and can't bother you more than once a week. (Though I do require you and Abby and the Brothers and Mom and Dad to go to the temple more) As it says in Robin Hood, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder". But being blond surely does play its part. Recently I've been reading the book of 2 Nephi, at the very end of Nephi's ministry, and I'm struck by how he really felt his own weakness. We look at him as invincible, but he had insecurity and a carnal nature to fight against as well (see 2 Nephi 4). But I love in chapter 33, he talks about how he's able to overcome those weaknesses, and it's through love for his people, consecrated prayers, and pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ. He had faith, he knew what was valuable, and he was exactly obedient.

The Undemonstratable David,

I never really did the lifeguarding during swim team and lessons shift because I was always teaching. Believe me; being in the chair is not as tiring as being within the pool of kids. Here's an idea for what you can do to not be bored.

This week I've been trying to learn more about noticing body language, specifically sitting posture, hands, facial expression, tone of voice, and eye movement. You sit on that chair and you watch people, and look for patterns. After 3 hours, write down what you learned, and apply it the next day. Next week tell me one or two sentences about what you learned. Just do it.

I have seen the ads for that movie, though I honestly don't have any desire to watch it. Is the trunky statement supposed to be about the movie or the dating? You sly dog...

Joseph the Unencumbered,

You better hope you get into that martial arts class, or life will become a endless cycle of fear.

I remember fondly the time I spent coaching the team. My view of life has changed a lot on my mission, because now I just am always focused on chances to teach or lead others to achieve excellence. I think about it a lot, so every time someone mentions something like coaching, teaching, etc I want to do it.

This week at Crossroads Elder Boyd and I moved several pallets of air conditioners. I don't know why it's so fun but it is. We had a moment of super-human strength as we lifted a pallet jack full of air conditioners onto a ramp. Too much fun. I just got my suits refitted; they should be picked up in about 2 weeks. I followed your advice and got a nice charcoal one. Right now it's just half a suit and covered in threads, but it looks real nice. And it's a tight fit. The guy there is an old man who is totally hilarious, and loves missionaries. He always says stuff like "Korean pop-star style, Obama style, ready to see professor now, tight at the tight spots, loose at the loose ones, so clever fit!" You'd love him.


I weighed myself after dinner at a member’s house last night, and I am now about 145 lbs with clothes on. But you can't fatten me up because if you do I won't be able to fit into my super new Obama style suit.

We've actually been very comfortable climate wise. It's been hot, of course, but probably not as hot as Utah, and the set-up with our room right now has got a lot of breeze. The only time I'm hot is after we return home from running, when I usually feel like there's a furnace underneath me. The Chi family really is amazing. Yesterday he had to leave church early because his daughter was really sick. She insisted on coming despite a fever, but had to go home early, and I felt impressed to tell them about priesthood blessings and we found some brothers to give her one before they left. I don't know if anything will come from it but I hope so. I love that family.

My Cantonese is by no means perfect. I record it often and listen, so I know.

We'll meet President Lam at Mission Leadership council on Wednesday, which by the way is his second day. No rest for the weary. Elder Boyd is a cool, sometimes goofy guy, very perceptive and good at noticing strengths and weaknesses, and very focused on Character.


That's really similar to what we want to share in our Zone Training meeting this coming Friday (woah, that's pretty fast). We are going to focus on character and expectations, and the Book of Mormon. Specifically an Idea, which is to challenge all of our investigators and less actives as we teach them to read THE WHOLE BOOK OF MORMON! as inspired by President Hinckley’s famous invitation. Wish us luck! I really think it can help the zone, I just hope we can teach it and apply it in a good way.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 18, 2015 - Letter from Br. Kwok at the Church Institute Program

Elder Little, Elder Morrell, and a recent convert

Elder Little and Elder Morrell with folding chairs (see letter for explanation.)
Dear Brother and Sister Morrell,

This is Brother Kwok from Hong Kong. You do not know me but I am writing to you because I met your son, Elder Morrell, yesterday. He is a wonderful missionary and we were able to visit with a new convert sister and introduce her to the Church Institute program. Attached is a picture of Elder Morrell, his companion and Sister Nicole Li. I thought you might be interested to have a copy of this picture.

Elder Morrell is a very dedicated missionary. He speaks perfect Cantonese! He and his companion are working hard to serve the children of our Heavenly Father. They are great example of the Gospel and I know if you were able to see what they are doing here, you will be very proud of Elder Morrell!

I took the second picture of the two missionaries holding a folding chair - I have never seen missionaries who would bring a folding chair to teach. They told me that they are going to an appointment in a park and the long chair makes it very difficult for them to talk to the investigator face to face, that is why they are bringing a folding chair. I was really impressed. They are determined to teach and they are very focus on what they are doing!

Thank you for your sacrifice in allowing Elder Morrell to come and serve a mission in Hong Kong. We are grateful for his dedication, and we are thankful for the sacrifice that you made! We pray for the success of our missionaries, and if there is anything we can do for you or for Elder Morrell, please feel free to let us know!


Kam Tim Kwok
Hong Kong S&I office

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 - Staying in Castle Peak Bay

So, this week...

We had transfers this week and I stayed in Castle Peak Bay as Zone Leader, but surprise surprise, Elder Little left after only 7 weeks and now I am with Elder Boyd. He's a really cool guy, relatively newer, and he has some amazing faith to see miracles. He understands a lot about attitude and character, and is very perceptive. The mission as a whole had quite a lot of changes, though our zone wasn't too much. Transfers are always pretty interesting, especially when you're the Zone Leader and you know the whole zones moves several hours before they do. But in the end no matter where you serve it's all for the same boss. I am glad to be able to stay in this ward, all the same. I am glad that I have a chance in this last transfer to really work and get some people baptized, and that I can work with the foundation that I've been building here, not in a prideful sense (I hope ) but just that I'm glad that I can have a chance to finish the work I started and was called to do in this ward.

On Wednesday we went to Crossraods to serve and we were loading freight into trucks and shipping crates in the heat of the day, which really was oddly fun. I had to take off my glasses because I was sweating too much and they kept falling off, but for some reason it made me really want to work in a warehouse or at a port loading stuff. Don't worry, on the way home I talked to some electrical/computer engineer and it renewed my desire to be an engineer.

Our missionary work this week went pretty well, but we didn't get anyone really scheduled until the last half of the week, so we were sort of scrambling to teach everyone and achieve our goals. Church was really cool, because we had a relatively new investigator Amigo there (no one knows how to say his name or what it means, including him) and we finally got to see and teach Brother Chi again. He's back from Mainland, but he's still got some struggles. He doesn't understand really how to read the Book of Mormon, and I think because of that he still has a lot of things that he doesn't really understand about the essence of the gospel, but his desire is still good and he's totally trusting of us and willing to be baptized. This week we are going to help him get that testimony and love of the Book of Mormon, and I can see it just turning the key on him getting baptized. I'm pushing for July for his family. They're so cool.

There are a lot of high school kids more available now because testing just finished, like Amigo. I can see some really great things coming this week. This is also President Hawks' last week. We meet with the Stake President and him on Thursday, hopefully I can get a picture with him. He's influenced me so much on my mission.


It's always really weird to be home alone. I didn't buy a blue suit, just a light grey and a dark grey. The place just has too many choices, and the more you look the more they all look bad. I got to choose the inside fabric, which is bright blue and red anti-respectively. I hope you approve...

I saw your schedule and was disturbed that the only science related class was political science...

Today I read a really cool talk by Elder Ballard from when he was a 70 about discipline and goal setting. I think that's a strength you have, and I'm really trying to apply that in my life more now. My biggest problem is usually just focus over a long term, and narrowing down goals to a manageable number. I really want to apply that because I feel really driven to make the best use of the time I've got left.


I think that at this point in my mission I really understand what you meant by the longer you are out the less you want to go home, and also about feeling a bit panicky. I really really wish I had more time to do better or do more. That's actually been a big struggle for me this week, because I realized that up till now my mission has been sort of selfish in that I mostly serve for myself; for what I want to have done on my mission, or what I want to become, or what I think my potential is, and sometimes what I think I appear to other missionaries or how I measure up to them. I'll worry about how well I teach, but the main reason might be because I worry I don't teach as well as some other missionaries or as well as I could have, not because I want to help people more. Now I'm really really trying to turn more to the people. It's not that I haven't cared about people before; I think that over my mission I've really come to care a lot about the people we talk to and how to help them. But maybe the main focus and the goals I set are more for me. So I'm trying to change. I wish I had more time, but I know that regretting things or wishing or worrying is totally useless, so I resist. But it's easy to say I definitely don't want to be home sooner.


Yeah, that's one thing that I think that President Hawks has done an amazing job of, is that he has instilled in the mission an attitude where major disobedience just seems absurd, and being really uptight about small rules is not looked down on but looked up to. I think there are a lot of missionaries who don't fully understand the blessing of obedience, but there are very very few who are blatantly disobedient, and it seems to be less and less as time goes on.

The farming game is a pretty great game. Thanks again for all the work done with my school stuff. It seems like it'll be a pretty smooth transition. The weather recently has been pretty warm, but honestly I quite enjoy it. The days where it doesn't rain, it's super bright, and about 34 Celsius are really quite bright and happy if you're outside and not inside. Chinese people, on the other hand, seem terrified of any weather condition and seem to only desire to have 20 Celsius and cloudy days. Sometimes old people will outragedly shout at us to get under the shade because it’s too bright. They seem personally offended by our standing in the beautiful sunshine. Oh, Hong Kong.


You just need to blow harder. I remember at the beginning of my mission I would try to stop people and literally be terrified. It was the worst thing ever, and I would often hesitate, or sort of half heartedly talk to them, which they would often not hear or ignore. Many people still ignore me, but I feel totally entitled to talk with them, stop them, and share with them. That was one reason why I started talking to people on buses, was to develop that ability.


How could you not want to go on the vacation? It's the cabin, it's like a paradise. Plus everyone knows that it's Dad's future retirement home. You’ll have to get used to visiting when he drags Mom off to live in seclusion after he retires.

I think feeling bored is a product of having an I-Phone. It’s a curse, not a privilege, I tell you.


I'm sorry, I'm almost out of time, but I really really love and appreciate your descriptive letters. It's a really great thing to be able to really hear about how your life actually is. Do you keep a journal? If so how big is it? Because I imagine that you could fill a lot of journals if you started. That'd be pretty cool. There was another 12 year old girl at some activity on Saturday who went out finding with us missionaries (another companionship) and I was with some 12 year old boy, and imagining if you were out finding. It'd be interesting.

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015 - Gospel is True for All People; English, Cantonese, or Sign Language Speaking Alike

Hello Family!

Well, I thought something'd happen...

Anyway, this week was pretty great; though I'm sure you could have guessed that. If I suddenly started an email saying this week was awful I'd be interested to see what the response was. This week started out a little bit slow because we just couldn't get any of our investigators scheduled for the first half of the week. In Hong Kong we usually only meet about once or twice a week, which is tough. As we did weekly planning on Thursday I was feeling that we had no chance for our goals for member presents or full lessons, but in the last 3 days we pulled through.
But I wasn't there for part of it because I went on exchanges with Elder Shipp in Yuen Long, which is about the most rural part of Hong Kong (though still more densely populated than Utah in most parts). That exchange was really cool because Elder Shipp and Elder Buss are specially assigned to cover the deaf investigators in this half of Hong Kong, and they speak sign language. Yes, I learned much sign language. There originally weren't any deaf lessons scheduled, but we sent out a mass text at 10:00 PM and got 2 people scheduled. They were such interesting lessons. Hong Kong sign language is not ASL, it is based off Cantonese words, but there's basically no grammar. Actually a pretty intuitive language, so I was able to pick up a tiny bit and participate in a good part of the last lesson. I love watching deaf people tell stories. It's so much better than speaking, and it's loud because they tend to make little noises without realizing it and a lot of signs involve fist punching and smacking, which gets super awesome if you have an intense story. In conclusion, the gospel is true and the way of living for all people, English, Cantonese, or sign language speaking alike.

Saturday I went back to the world of the hearing, which was fine. We had a good day, taught some lessons, and went LA finding. Sunday was great; we had a really powerful church meeting. A returned missionary spoke and made me all nervous because everyone will be expecting a really good homecoming talk which I may or may not give. Our Bishop was getting pretty intense as well, calling people to repentance Book of Mormon style. We taught a lot of lessons on Sunday, which helped us achieve our goals and really helped some people work towards baptism, and had some great chances to do numbers in the evening. I've really been impressed recently with the importance of love in teaching and leading, and the power that it brings. The Missionary Handbook has a great section on leadership that really inspired me to do a better job during my numbers reports.


I went to EFY once and OYA twice, because OYA is in my mind superior to EFY, but both are good. Sort of like a microcosm for a mission, which is in turn a microcosm of life. It sounds like you may really have found a good direction for your efforts. I like your comment on it taking time, which is very true. President Hawks talked about that in our last MLC, about how the most important and meaningful achievements in our lives cannot be done quickly, it takes a lot of time. Honestly, would you want to be able to learn it all in one day? It'd be easy, but not very meaningful. I'm trying to read through the Book of Mormon in Chinese and it's extremely difficult, because it takes a lot of time and effort. But I have a vision and a really strong desire to achieve that goal. And I'm going to do it no matter how hard it is, even if I have to spend 10 hours on the plane ride home (I will not take that long, hopefully.)

One of the big lesson that my mission has taught me is that with time, you can accomplish really great things. Like Joseph with the film festival, or Rebecca with Dance, or Abby with her end of school party planning, or you with the Mod. In the summer, you've got lots of time and there are a lot of really cool things that you can just do, if you decide to do it. So learn how those codes work, learn it until you are an expert in them, and you'll be able to do a job you love for the rest of your life.

Along with that lesson comes the lesson of what things are really worth spending that time and doing. Scripture study, really applying yourself to prayer, temple worship (see President Monson's address, I just re-read it this morning and it's cool) and service are goals that will make your life so much more rich than you can even imagine it being, if you are willing to apply the time and effort necessary to it.


Our investigators are doing okay this week. Brother Chi is still in Mainland, but we taught Sister Chi before church. It was cool, because recently we feel that she's not been developing the kind of desire for remission of her sins that she needs to really progress. We did a role play with some junior missionaries during language pass offs this week, and I pretended to be her, and had a thought about a possible concern she might be having. Then in the lesson, I was just really really hoping that we could show her that we care about her more and listen, and she shared some really great stuff about how she's feeling about the message, etc. Big progress.

We are teaching a kid Riis who is sort of arrogant, and had a really intense lesson about humbling why we are obedient to God's commandments. He at one point proudly declared that he was not a child and was a "Hong Kong young generation person (sorry, bad translation, it didn't sound so odd when he said it). We'd been reading King Benjamin's address, and so I told him to re-read Mosiah 3:19, which seemed too perfect for the situation. The scriptures really came alive in that lesson.

Kelvin is doing okay; we had another pretty good lesson with him. He has some problems still because his faith still isn't great enough that he's willing to trust God in keeping commandments. It's interesting because you can see a sort of struggle, where part of him wants to find justification and be lazy, and part of him really wants to be a better person and change his life. Two quotes from the lesson, about 5 minutes apart "I think just smoking less and drinking less coffee is probably enough, right?" "My biggest desire is to quit smoking". But he really got the idea that he needs to start reading every day, so I have high hopes for him,

We're teaching a 9 year old named Jacky, who's a bit yaaih (like naughty but less formal) but really clever. I taught him plan of salvation on Sunday, and despite lots of discussion about what color spirits are and the details of outer darkness, he understood really well. He doesn't want to be baptized though, because he's afraid of water.

We had a newish investigator named Andrew at church; he was turned over from the Tuen Mun Elders, and seems really good. He came despite serious family disapproval. I haven't taught him a lesson yet, though, so don't know much else.

Justin is another really cool new investigator. We taught him on Monday, and I felt impressed to ask him to be baptized and give him a date, both of which he accepted. It strengthened my testimony that our purpose is to help these people be baptized, not just teach and find them.

The feeling that I've gained about finding is just how related our faith and our finding are. I really feel in CPB I learned a lot that by really exercising faith when we find, we can see miracles, and help a lot of really needy people. It's changed how I feel about finding. And maybe it helps that we only find for 13 or 14 hours a week instead of 40-50, like at the beginning of my mission.


A diet based of eating vegetables defeated you. I do find that believable, but I've got to say I really enjoy vegetables here. Remember Chard, that weird green stuff that Dad said he really liked eating as a kid? We have a lot of stuff like that here and it's delicious! When we go to cross roads on Wednesday they feed us dinner, and my favorite part is always the vegetables. I'll cook some for you when I get back and you'll love them. Oh, by the way, at cross roads this week I replaced another air conditioner, and in the process drilled holes through a steel bar and a concrete wall. i don't know why they trust us so much there.

I am so happy to hear about the temple trip! Don't let anything stop you from going! And make your brothers go as well. Who are the missionaries in the ward right now? And what was it like having them over? Honestly I feel that when we visit people who have family out on missions they always brag to us about how much better their children are than us, but that might just be insecurity.


The diet reminded me of an interesting experience this week. We were waiting for an investigator, who didn't end up showing up, but we talked to some skinny guy on a bench. He turned out to be from Vietnam. He didn't speak much Chinese or English, but we figured out that he came here to work, but couldn't get a job because he doesn't have an i.d. card, and has no home, no money, hadn't eaten in 3 days, couldn't find his friend because his phone had no power. I don't know if he was exaggerating, but I think he was telling the truth. He said there was a place where you could get free food over in Sham Shui Po but he didn't have any money to get over there. It sounds like he was begging, but we sort of pulled all this information out of him. He was just sitting on a bench, and honestly he seemed like he was just waiting to die. No will, no hope. We're not supposed to give away much money but I gave him some personal money so he could get to Sham Shui Po.

Last week they invited me to play the piano, and I was quite nervous because my practice has been sparse, but I said a prayer and played not flawlessly, but acceptably. So I feel you, Mom.


I'm just going to say, that whole process sounds an awful lot like how we used to play RISK... But you should start in Australia or Germany, not the US.

Why do you throw up so much? Just keep it in, girl! Food belongs in the stomach and the bowels, not the toilet!

But in all seriousness congratulations on the dancing. Like I mentioned in David's email, it's an example of what can happen when you are willing to put in serious time and effort. And have the attitude "First I become a very respected and loved politician, I know that’s going to be hard but I can do it."

Church will always have something new if you look for it.


I like the Martial Arts class, though I fear it will become a regularly scheduled forum where you can beat me and not be punished.

Hopefully that elicited a chuckle.

I think the real principle of the credit hours thing is that every hour there precludes more than an hour of homework later, and the intensity is measurably higher than in High School. So 18 hours sound quite nice to me. Are you doing a language there at all? In fact I'm curious what differences your and my schedules have. Math together should be fun, you can help me out. I feel university is going to be a great period of humbling for me. Especially if we learn Judo in the martial arts class.

The film contest sounds really cool. I've never heard of a "buddy movie" before but I guess it's a bit self explanatory.

How's the study of Preach my Gospel going? Recently I've been researching really in depth about what the real purpose or goal behind each principle in the chapter 3 lessons is, so that I can better understand how to teach them. I just finished lesson 3 today. Teaching the gospel is so interesting; it's such a deep and amazing topic to learn about. Becoming a powerful gospel teacher is the coolest skill to have and the most demanding subject to study. It's so fascinating. You and Dad would really like the Elder Bednar teaching videos I mentioned last week. And you can even watch them on Sunday!

P.S. Props for the Sabbath observance, bro.

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015 - The Revelation Train

Happy Birthday Mom!

We had a really great week this week. There were a couple reasons, but most aspects of our missionary work were really good.

1. Mission Leadership Council and our subsequent zone training meeting. In MLC, as you may remember from last month, we give a report of our zone's numbers and our upcoming goals and actions. We always struggle to think of what we're going to do until we get on the train towards Kowloon Tong, so we call it the Revelation Train. This was President and Sister Hawks' last MLC with us. Elder Little and I will have one more meeting with him there, when we meet with the stake president this month, but it's really weird to think of him being almost done. In true President Hawks style, there was no real difference on the meeting, until the very end when he pointed out that next month as we're meeting with President Lam they'll be getting on the plane. Everyone got a bit choked up.

The following Friday our Zone Training went way better than the first one, which was a real blessing to me, I felt that last time my training and the overall meeting weren't that good, and I was really afraid, honestly, that I'd start my training to the junior companions and choke or fail or something. But it was really good, and I really feel that God answered my (fervent desperate constant) prayers about it. I feel like I'm becoming a lot more comfortable being Zone Leader recently, though there's still a lot to learn.

2. This week was really great in terms of missionary work, specifically in terms of finding new investigators. We had a lot of people who we contacted a while ago and couldn't teach find us again, and had a lot of really cool finding experiences. For example, Saturday evening. We went finding and right at the beginning saw a blind guy in a mall and helped walk him home, which put us in the path of a cool 20ish year old guy who'd met missionaries before and agreed to sit down for 15 minutes and talk. In 15 minutes we were able to really feel that he wants to be more wise in his life and change, shared a scripture from Mosiah 4 (see if you can figure out which one) and felt the spirit strongly. He didn't reschedule, but it was a sweet moment, and literally 1 minute after standing up from the bench we taught on we met Mr. K, who's from Mainland (speaks Cantonese) and is really lonely, stressed, and worried about his family and son in Mainland. Another really sweet, simple lesson to an incredibly humble man, that really helped him. He rescheduled, thus achieving the goal we set for finding that day.

3. Recently I've been spending time during my journal writing each night writing down 10 things I'm thankful for that day, which I've tried before, but not as sincerely as this time, and it's an amazing blessing. I really recommend and invite everyone to try it, do it for a week, and really put some thought into finding something relevant to that day that you're truly grateful for. It's so worth it.


Last week we also had this Sabbath Day meeting, though ours was just held in the combined 3rd hour class. It was a really productive conversation for us as well, and I really like that our bishop did it that way because it gave a good place for everyone to think about what they could be doing better without feeling too condemnatory. Honestly there's a lot that could improve in that aspect in Hong Kong sacrament meetings. Phones go off regularly, and for some reason the culture here is to answer your phone and half whisper to the person "Hey, I can't talk. Yeah, I'm at church. No, I'll get it later. I can't talk, really."

It is definitely something that I've learned about during my mission. If I really concentrate and work hard, I can always get some really important and precious revelation out of church services.

Those classes at BYU sound just about right. I still can't really decide for the Civ class, I think I'd really enjoy both. I've also been thinking recently about a creative writing class, though I'll probably do that later rather than this semester. I'm glad that you're so willing to help me pick these so that I don't have to think too much about them.


Somehow it's hard for me to imagine you and mom on a diet, let alone a wacky one. I usually just imagine you biking or something. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I continue to fake as a bike expert, thanks to my brief stint at mountain biking and my knowledge of the word 'fixie".

The Chi family is still doing okay, but it's really hard to help Brother Chi because he goes to Mainland for so long each month. He's got some complicated questions or misunderstandings about why we have commandments and sometimes we fall into the trap of trying to answer them for him, rather than helping him get his own answer. Sister Chi is doing okay, she hasn't been reading a ton, but she loves church and has a lot of friends, and already wants to be baptized. We're just trying to help her move from a social/practicality reason to a real faith in the atonement and testimony of repentance reason.

Kelvin is doing pretty well, though he didn't come to church yesterday because he woke up late or felt lazy. That's really his only weakness, is keeping his willpower up when things get inconvenient. But he's progressing well, and now has a baptismal date again.

Then there are the tons of new people, but there are too many and I'll just wait till they're really progressing before I say more.

I remember you mentioned a while ago about how you discovered how to ask questions to teach people. That's something that I sort of trained on in Zone Training meeting. I taught all the junior companions how to ask more questions, give the investigator some significant time to speak, and by listening and follow-up questions discover what their real need for the doctrine is so you can promise them blessings and give commitments that are really inspired, from the spirit. There're some really cool videos about gospel teaching on the Mormon channel by Elder Bednar, I think you'd like them a lot.


Which game was this again. the one where you are invisible or the map with an office and courtyard? I hope you have a good time at EFY. President Hawks always juxtaposes (see I still speak English good) a mission with EFY, in regards to intensity and difficulty.

I think the only other thing that you need to know from this week is that on the way to the library I met a mom and her 6 or so year old son, the mom was named Psyche (pronounced psych-ee) and the kid was named Bulgy (after the orange bus in Thomas the train engine). So there.


It's weird to think that I'll have living expenses that I have to work for. I'm sort of used to just doing stuff and having money come to me when I need it, without any real correlation. Though we figured the average hourly wage that we're making once, and it's pretty small. At least I've learned to live and work very very cheaply. This week my grocery bill was about $12.

Honestly I don't think I'll even need a T.V. and I won't need too much of a computer. The list that I told you guys to keep will probably go mostly un-used.


That must be so tough. I do get your reasoning, though. It is important to choose what friends you hang out with because you can't choose to not be influenced by the friends you choose to associate with. I'm glad that at least your standards are high. But here's a cool thought; maybe it wouldn't be good to go with them to their parties, but you could invite them to some things with your friends. That way you can one-by-one give them a better atmosphere and better influence, while simultaneously increasing your circle of influence and preparing yourself for world domination. I imagine that though they may be gold digging, they do really look up to you and care about your opinion and reaction to what they share with you, and maybe they’re secretly disappointed when you decline. I don't know, I was never that popular, but I think it's interesting to think of what you could get done. There's a book by a guy named Clay Christensen called "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" or something like that and it's really interesting.


Stop saying see you soon, it freaks me out. I assume you mean on Minecraft. It's funny to think that you still play Minecraft. I haven't seen it in a while. There's a cool guy who's from the UK and is here every Monday doing something on the computer and walks around in the library without shoes on. He knows how to live. I bet you're looking forward to running around without shoes on. Are you going to try Mom and Dad's wacky diet? Did you go to the temple again? Love you!

Love you all!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June 1, 2015 - The Book of Mormon's Got an Answer for Everything

Sorry it's not much, but this is what I love to eat.  Grapes and fried rice.  The fried rice is delicious, I'll make it when I get back.  You don't need any seasoning powder, that's a lie.  grapes are a bit expensive but so good.  I was totally out of money this month, which is not like me.  But some random couple bought us lunch one day so I was saved.

I want to clarify the one sentence thing last week was pretty funny, I was just a bit surprised.

Well, there's really not a ton that I can report on since last Wednesday. We had a great trip to the temple, as always. I think I've mentioned this to Abby before, but I love the feeling that you have as you leave the temple, like you just have no desire to do anything bad...Mosiah 5:2. The Book of Mormon's got an answer for about everything.

One of the more fun responsibilities that we have as Zone Leaders is language evaluations. I may have mentioned before, but Language Evaluations are when we meet with the newer missionaries and role play with them, and they pass off a sheet with 13 different lessons from Preach My Gospel to ensure that their language and teaching skills are up to snuff. It's been really cool to do because as a Zone Leader, there are a lot of people that we are responsible for, and we don't have a ton of chances to train everyone one by one. But in language pass-offs we can see how all the junior or younger missionaries are teaching and speaking and give some good training. I've really enjoyed that aspect of being a Zone Leader recently, because I don't think I was good at it when I started. In fact, it was a bit terrifying because I felt like I didn't know how to help or train them. But now it's becoming better.

Our Mission Leadership Council and Zone Training are coming up again, so lots of things to plan for. It's tricky sometimes, because I have to learn which ideas are just me wanting to do them, and which are really what the zone needs. There’s a big lesson to be learned in humility and real leadership. Yeah. Translation: there's an idea that I really want to do but I think it'll be replaced so I have to let it go.

The Chi family is still about where they were last week, though we had two pretty good lessons with Brother Chi. He just has a lot of topics where he's confused on or has some misunderstanding, so we've been practicing really listening to him and trying to find ways to resolve his real concerns. This Sunday after church we had a cool lesson with him and a returning less active, and answered some questions about the Book of Mormon, and the whole idea of forgiveness after repentance. I was impressed by two things, 1) the Book of Mormon has soooo many important answers in it, and 2) God is really merciful and will forgive all who will accept the Atonement with real intent. Kelvin is still doing pretty well. We had a lesson with him and he had learned so much from the scriptures that we gave him to read beforehand that we didn't really need to even teach. He seems in a position to really change and be baptized. Found a couple new people, but had a lot of people not show up or cancel for appointments. Such is life.


I think you may be right. I don't think that one Zone Leader would really be able to do it alone. Or if they did they wouldn't get much else done. We started a goal last week of having 5 days a week where we plan out 2 hours of consecrated finding time, and treat it as a non-negotiable appointment, and it's been really cool to see some miracles happen from it. On Saturday we found a guy in the last 10 minutes or so, which is often the case. The biggest things that it's done have been 1) it makes us keep doing finding, which is sometimes hard with zone leader things, and 2) it really makes you work and focus absolutely on the goal you set for that time. Really cool.


The weather has been quite nice recently, about 33 degrees Celsius, and above 70% humidity. It's been funny because the train stations all have sign for when the train will arrive, and if there are weather emergencies like heavy rain or what have you, they will display them. On Thursday it started saying "Very hot weather warning". So Chinese. Honestly it's not even that hot. You have to drink a lot of water and you'll sweat a lot, but in short sleeves it's very bearable. In the apartment it's sometimes rough, but we have AC in the evenings. Chinese people are just very afraid of the weather. Today we're going to Kowloon to get our temple recommends renewed.

That would be nice to be able to hear Stanford Cline’s talk. If it's convenient we could change, but if not I don't care too much. The only sad thing is that he won't be able to hear mine. Ha ha.

I feel like you always get guilt-ed in to things like this.


I recall being less than enthusiastic about Graduation as well. Honestly looking back I think seminary graduation is much more meaningful than high school graduation. At this the end of your illustrious secondary academic career I am confident accolades are being showered upon you by adulatory fans school and state wide.

What classes are you going to be taking? You are generally more expert in this sort of data acquisition and analysis, so your perspective may be of value to me.

Don't say the word crap, we'll be roommates before too long and it won't go down well.


That's a finely written talk, my boy. My favorite part is the line "If you feel unhappy about a commandment, pray for a change of heart to help you obey." That’s a real deep insight on the real reason that we pray, I think. In a talk that I gave in our sacrament meeting a couple weeks ago, I mentioned something similar along the lines of "You can always have faith that a prayer to overcome temptation is a righteous desire, and as the Savior taught in 3 Nephi 18 if you ask for that in faith, and are willing to do your part on it (e.g. pray with real intent) you will see miracles occur."

The jokes, of course, are the real meat of the talk.

I think that's a great insight about half-hearted obedience as well. I can testify as a missionary (and D&C 4 is a great missionary scripture) that if you serve your mission half-heartedly you will miss so many precious blessings. There is so much happiness in store for us if we can but learn to obey and truly seek to do the Lord's will. I know that I was definitely not perfect in this aspect before. I recall my attitude towards collecting fast offerings on summer days as being rather less than inspiring. But all the same I'm really grateful that at that time I was given a chance to serve, and I'm glad I chose to obey then because it helped me prepare to learn the spirit of obedience on my mission.

I don't want to be preachy, but I think a sincere reflection over our own lives, our duties, our motives, the rules we've been given (whether they be from heaven or from parents) and our level of obedience and devotion to them, would be a real valuable chance to be taught by the spirit. If we do it prayerfully and with a real desire to follow Christ more fully, I know that God will help us see how we could more fully obey his law. The sign of a great talk is real growth in the hearers (or the speaker nudge nudge wink wink). Thank you for the taih sing (I don't know how to translate that, it means like reminder but also a sort of recommitting or taih sing-ing of ourselves, leveling up?), David.


Honestly I never thought our family could be considered rich enough to have people gold-dig around us. That’s an odd thought. Oh the trials of being popular and pursued by the many, your life must be so hard, Rebecca.

Just remember that those people all have fears and worries of their own, and though some may be very fake, some might really need a good friend or a good example. Hyrum Smith has a cool quote that goes something like "Charity is separating the man from his actions." Or in other words being able to love people despite what they do. I don't mean to sound judgmental or preachy, it's just I remember feeling the same way as you do towards some people. Sometimes while finding you'll talk to people who seem really sarcastic or cynical or uninterested, and then for some reason, maybe because we're missionaries or maybe the spirit, they just break down into tears and share some really heavy burdens with you. You’re a great example to your peers, Becca. Don't forget or underestimate the good you can do with your example. This last week of school may not be academically productive but I'm sure if you ask God's got some things that you could do.


Thank you for ever detailed exposition of the current events back home. The stalling added nicely to the suspense. Well done. It's really funny to meet 12 year olds, because every time I talk to a kid who's 12 I think of how you are the same age. Very very odd. Usually they don't play violin as well as you or write with nearly the same descriptive power. Also kids in China are really really small, usually. They don't eat enough, sweat too much in the summer, and spend too much time taking tutorial classes, so they all look scrawny and bony. I swear you could take on two average 12 year olds from here in a fight and win.

By the way, now that the summers coming and you're more free, you should use your considerable planning skills and plan a trip to the temple again...

Love you all!