1. Mission Leadership Council: though it caused us to miss an awesome trip to Crossroads where the other Elders were assigned to clear out a house by throwing things out the windows and smashing the larger objects into throw out of window-able objects with sledge hammers (perhaps you can tell, I really missed it) it was a very very cool meeting. We had to spend quite a lot of time preparing, and we got over there more than an hour before it started because everyone's terrified of being late. I wasn't too nervous this time, having done it twice before, Elder Boyd was a little nervous. That was the first time we met President and Sister Lam, who are really interesting and incredibly nice.
2. Zone training meeting, which I was much much more nervous for. Again, lots of time spent preparing that one. We gave a training about goal setting, discipline, and asking yourself "Who am I?" It was not bad, but the feedback we got was that it wasn't sharp or focused enough. We also had a recording that we played intermittently through the training from a Bible video of a Pharisee asking Christ "WHO ART THOU?". We thought it'd be funny and dramatic, but people didn't like it overall. Oh, well, learn something every time.
3. President and Sister Lam: We met them at MLC and again at a 2 hour Meet the President Meeting. They are so nice! Really, incredibly open, very approachable, and humble, and frankly sometimes goofy. He's an obstetrician-gynecologist, and you could tell from the cavalier way he described them having 6 kids. They're both converts, their English is almost perfect. Oddly enough, because they learned the gospel in America, they don't know the Chinese for a lot of gospel vocabulary. They are more relaxed than the Hawks, but also very focused on the same things; exact obedience, and building us as missionaries.
4. Soap boxing: I think every missionary has openly or secretly dreamed of soap-boxing Dan Jones style and just telling the people straight that they need to repent, but they've always been too afraid to do it or admit it. I went on exchanges with Elder Busby on Friday, and I'll be very honest, I arranged it in large part because I knew that he wanted to do soap boxing as well. So we did. We practiced at home during companion study and Elder Chan and his summer missionary Brother Lau came out and mocked us. Even practicing was terrifying, honestly, but we were undeterred. We had a dream to realize. And so we went to the Tuen Mun Park with our fold-able table, 1/2 foot stool, 8 Book of Mormons and a bunch of pamphlets, and a vision in our minds. Then we found out we couldn't set up the table in the park, so we went next to the park. The time came, I stood up on a wall, and we preached the 1st lesson for about 10 minutes. There weren't a ton of people, so we went to a bridge with a better audience, and again I stood up upon the chair and preached to them. We preached the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd lessons, as well as sharing some about families and just general concerns people have, for about an hour. If you've watched the Testaments, it was like the part where Ammoron is standing and preaching to the people and many look at him oddly before walking on, except we mostly didn't have a crowd. An old lady was the first heckler, shouting at us to "put on a hat, it's too hot and sunny today! You'll get sunburned! Drink more water! Silly young people!" We ignored her taunts and derision, and in true Biblical fashion "fear[ed] not what [we] should...drink" And sure enough, some random members came and gave us sports drink. One guy stopped to take a picture with us, and once a group of Pakistani kids came and tried to steal our pamphlets. It was so much fun, because it was terrifying and we did it until our fear was gone. I felt so uninhibited.
I always knew I was an amazing baby.
It sounds like this concert tour has been pretty successful, more in the style of the good ole' European tours. Which piece of music was your favorite?
Our investigator Brother Chi saw a miracle this week. We gave him a paper with a day by day calendar of scriptures to read and some topics to look for, and it helped him a lot. We visited on Friday and he said that he understood more about God, that he had decided that day to quit smoking and was going to go to a doctor to get some quit-smoking drugs (which he ended up not really needing) and he was really determined to keep his commitment to me to be baptized. I think it's for the right reasons as well. He brought his cousin to church, and she became a pretty good new investigator.
We also taught a 9 year old Jacky, but this week was tough because he was sulky about not having as much time to play video games as his brother, so he decided he doesn't want to be baptized. He'll come around, his main concern still seems to be 1. water and 2. people watching him.
Our investigator Kelvin came to church for the first time in a long while, but left after sacrament and thought it was a bit boring. He's on the brink of really progressing, I've been trying to figure out how to help him for a while now.
We also have some less actives we're working with, including one new one named A Chung, who is 30-something, no job, just plays video games all day and lives with his parents, who worry about him a lot. He's living in denial, basically, and told us that the games were him training his reflexes. But I feel a lot of hope for him. It has also made me really afraid to play video games when I get back.
Thanks for all your advice over my mission. I always find it really relevant. You've got a lot of quotes written in my Preach My Gospel. There're some missionaries in our zone who are sort of struggling with attitude, not obedience but just being more faithful and positive. What would you do to help them? And did you do much less active work on your mission?
It's good you gave me the Abby style report because she said almost nothing. I'm not too worried about the credits or the classes anymore. Recently I've been really trying to teach the zone about the principle that you can do whatever you really want to. If you decide to do it, and you spend the effort, you can basically do it. I think having an intense semester will help me focus more and exercise more faith than a relaxed one, and should help me keep a better feel for my priorities.
Do you think you and Dad will ever do a senior mission after us kids are gone? There are some senior missionaries in our mission who are really amazing, and they play an interesting role in MLC. Sister Holbrook, the mission nurse, gave a presentation about foot health, with pictures to give motivation.
The haircut might not be strictly allowed, but no one ever said anything about it, and it's been really comfortable. Have you gone to the temple again with the girls yet?
You don't understand. It's so tight I can't even lift too much or my muscles will tear some seams. The pants are fitted exactly to the legs, the sleeves to the arms in a similar fashion. The guy said Korean pop-star style. Do you hear me? KOREAN.
I always really enjoyed teaching swim team. You need to learn to rejoice in the success of the children. I think the process Joseph Smith himself went through to prepare to have the plates and be the prophet is also interesting. His role was a lot more grand and exalted than we sometimes realize. I love the example of how he had to return to the Hill Cumorah each year on that one day to receive more instruction. I imagine that there's an untold story there about the struggle to be at the hill each year. I'm certain something came up every time. Would he choose to procrastinate until later in the day? Would he endure?
I feel you for the blurry eye thing. It's pretty vital as a missionary that our conduct at church meetings be above reproach and an example to members and non-members, which means you cannot under any circumstances fall asleep. But sometimes it's a mighty challenge. Especially when it's all in Chinese and you have to really focus to understand. Luckily if worst comes to worst I can just make it a language study and write down words I don't know. Yes, that still happens. Regularly.
Congrats on fulfilling the assignment! See, that's a useful thing you've learned. Now you can really tell if people are being intentionally disobedient or accidentally. How goes the game design? And are you willing to go to the temple this week?
Yes, questions!How’s life going for you? Life for me is very good, because I know that I'm doing righteous things, and when I succeed I have a lot of satisfaction.
Are you happier than you were here? Am I happier? I think so, though I think it's very hard to really remember how happy one is. I feel the spirit a lot more. I feel a lot less anger and resentment towards people. I live more honestly because I don't make excuses for myself as much. I know that I'm living the commandments to the best of my ability. Does that answer it? I feel my potential is a lot more unleashed and apparent to me.
Is there super weird food there? Yes, though it's not all Chinese. I’ll eat anything, though. A member gave us some food that had cilantro in it, and it was amazing, made me think of Mexican food. I ate some super spicy noodles this week.
Is there one companion you liked the most? No, I can't pick one.
Is there one type of food you love now? I love curry with rice. It's so satisfying. I really honestly love rice. I don't know how to describe it exactly, but an average nice Chinese family meal is my favorite meal.
When did the chicken start chasing the cat and not the other way around? I think you're just jealous because my hair is so comfortable and awesome. What crazy things did you say? I agree, I think we were very good friends before the mission. You and I are very similar, I think. Do you think you'll do a mission?
I'm also curious for that last question for you. And nice job giving the gift to David. You're very considerate, which is more important than we sometimes realize. I've tried to learn to be more considerate on my mission.
What color is it in Utah right now? What is the best and worst thing you ate last week? (as in from now on) Where are you reading in the Book of Mormon?