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.

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