Well, it's been a while. Sorry, we have temple today and as usual I forgot to warn anyone.
This week was pretty good. We have been having a bit more success getting people scheduled and taught. It's one of the big challenges here, getting people scheduled. I don't really believe that people are that busy, but there's sort of a culture of "Hong Kong People are Super Busy" that we always have to break down with common sense, daily planners, and backup plans. It doesn't help that our lessons are longer than they really should be. I'd like to teach more simply and quickly, it's something that PMG is very clear about but that is hard to put into practice. Especially because seeing someone more than once a week is abnormal here. If you want to get someone baptized and you only have one meeting a week, it's hard to fit it into 45 minutes.
Brother Chi is probably doing great but you'd have to ask the Chinese consulate to get more info because he's still in mainland. We taught Justin again last week, and it was a great lesson (partially because, like I said before, we got it all taught in 35 minutes.) We were able to really teach out of the scriptures, and our fellowshipper (who's a recent convert) shared a lot of really great experiences that helped him a lot. He just needs to be able to get to church this next month, which is a challenge because of his work schedule. The other main thing we did this week was teach the kid Jacky and his brother Jimmy, a ton. We met them every day from Sunday to Wednesday this week. He could be ready to be baptized, but he's often yaaih, or naughty, and contrary, so it's hard to tell if he actually wants to be baptized or if it's just us trying to manipulate him. 9 year olds. Did you guys ever wonder about that when we were young?
Our planning for Zone Training has been pretty tough. Stumped is an excellent word with no Chinese equivalent, meaning unclear or unable to figure out how to move forward. Elder Boyd included it in his otherwise Chinese prayer ending our 3 hour planning bonanza on Tuesday. But I felt a lot of peace knowing that we'd all prayed, we'd all prepared, and God certainly wouldn't drop us now. And sure enough, on Wednesday we started to un-stump ourselves (would that be a tree growing up, or finally getting the stump pulled out?)
Something I read recently that I loved was King Benjamin's address in Mosiah 2. He spends some time listing all the things he's done and how great a king he'd been, but follows with the statement that he's not doing it to boast, but to serve God. I used to think it a bit odd how that'd not be boasting, but I realized this last read through that Benjamin simply really wants his people to know how worth it is to serve God. He's felt it, and he wants them to feel it. As a missionary we often have people tell us we're "hou san fu", such a tough life. I can say totally honestly, with King Benjamin, that I am only in the service of my God, that He's given me everything I have and am, and that my mission has included no sacrifice at all. In the words of Brigham Young, I've given up one situation for a better one. God is good, he has no obligation to repay us, but pay us he does. He's answered my prayers, he's redeemed my soul, and he's given me my family, for eternity.
That sounds like a pretty idyllic week. I remember at Abby's birthday, you'd often mention that you remembered back before she was at school, you'd have a girl's alone morning. Now you can relive those happy days. You should read Caroline's email about grandmas in Russia; it's almost a perfect description of grandmas in China. Very weird to think of flight plans. All my friends are about to finish and I feel super weird reading their emails, because I really don't feel that old at all.
I ran into a French less active member named Etienne while on exchanges with the Assistants. It was pretty cool. Do you have any contact with any converts or companions from your mission?
It sounds like you and Joseph aren't too excited about this High Adventure Trip. Just remember the truism the more horrible it is at the moment, the better the story later.
You know, every time I meet anyone who likes programming I say something along these lines, "That's cool, I don't know programming much, but my brother actually designed the engine for Counterstrike while he was in elementary school, it's just that they couldn't put his name on it because it'd be underaged labor."
Just so you know I’m almost out of time
I pity you. But it really is cool how much more in shape you are now. At the beginning of my mission I set a goal to run a 6 minute mile, which I've never come close to before. Yesterday, in the rain, we jogged down to the track, and with Elder Boyd and Elder Busby switching off running next to me as pacers I ran. It was horrible, incredibly painful, and I was reminded of why I hated swim meets so much, but when I finished my time was 5:47.5. I literally collapsed in the grass.
That is really really early and diligent. I'm surprised and impressed. Why do you get up so much earlier than swim team? Not that I disapprove, I think early mornings are healthier, but curious. TEMPLE! YES!
I hope you have a fun work-out week with Mom. You should find a time to go to the temple with her. And congrats on the swim meet! As I mentioned, I hated them. But you feel so good after you know you've done your best.
The thought I've really had recently is about a quote by President Hinckley on PMG page 93 about prayer. It's the desire and dream to feel the Spirit working through me to bless the people and help them come unto Christ. In recent days I've really come to realize that that is the truest measure of a successful missionary, and the sweetest privilege I have.