Monday, August 17, 2015

Aug. 17, 2015 - Last Week

Well, this week was super cool.

If you're ever feeling hungry and poor and unwanted and you really wish that you could have people show some love to you, try serving a mission for 2 years and then finishing. The ward will open the windows of heaven and poor out food and love upon you even that you have not room to receive it. I can testify of that. We've been fed by so many people this last week. Bishop Chan announced in PEC last week and in sacrament meeting this week that I'm leaving. If only there were more evening in the week. Or lunches. Or Breakfasts. People have been trying to get me for everyone. Honestly, it's not so much a reflection of me as it is a reflection of how the people feel about missionaries. Many are converts here, and they truly love the missionaries. It's been an honor to serve with them.

We saw a lot of miracles this week. One of them is the sudden addition of 2 mandarin Elders living in our apartment, one brand new. Another was the confirmation of Jacky Ho, the 9 year old who was baptized last week. I was able to do the confirmation and it was really a sweet moment. His older Brother has been changing a lot too, and will be baptized on the 30th. Then there's Mr. Dou, a cool old guy who we met with twice and who came to church on Sunday, and a Fung who was a former investigator. We taught him while on exchanges on Friday, and it was such a simple powerful lesson. The spirit was just there. He also came to church on Sunday and seemed to like it (there was a returned missionary who's a super powerful speaker.). And the best miracle of all was Mr. Chi, 池超! This is an excerpt from my report this week:

We saw a miracle this week. Our investigator Mr. Chi has been working in Mainland and was supposed to be there until the 20th. The last time we saw him he was considering just focusing on his work and being baptized maybe in December. I prayed like Alma the Elder that he would be "brought to a knowledge of the power of God" every night for 2 weeks. No angel appeared to him. But he appeared at the start of Sacrament meeting on Sunday, and now has a firm date for the 30th. The spirit taught him as he prayed, and though he still has some challenges, he's determined, he has faith, he has a penitent heart, and the ward is so supportive of him. I know the Lord answers our prayers. I am so grateful to have been able to serve in his vineyard here, nothing could compare in value with what God has given me these 2 years.

I know the Lord Jesus Christ lives; I know he was sent to this Earth by our Father in Heaven, for the salvation of all mankind from death and sin. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore to the Earth the powers of Heaven, the Priesthood of God, so that all who desire might be baptized and gain a remission of their sins. I know the atonement is real, because its power is living and has healed me. I know that the Book of Mormon is true because I have read it and I know of God that it is his Word, and because I have shared it and seen it change the lives of the people of Hong Kong. I bear witness of the reality of the Holy Ghost, for I know that I have felt it testify through me to others, and this is the greatest joy of a missionary. All you still serving, endure to the end. Every trial strengthens our testimony, if we trust the Lord and endure.


Thanks for all your prayers and advice. I'd love to go to the cabin, honestly. It'd be great, though I think all the kids might rebel. I'm pretty excited for these next couple days. I've got a lot of lessons and people scheduled, it should be pretty cool. One thing you can pray for for me. I have a goal to find 2 families before Friday, and we haven't gotten them yet. I'll be finding as much as possible, but please pray for us to be guided to them. Oh, by the way, we did an exchange on Friday and I recalled you talking about trying to schedule a lot of lessons to teach. We did and it went very well.


As I said, I'd love to go to the Cabin. My only fear is that I'll be bored because there's not enough stuff to do. Honestly it feels really weird thinking about having free time. I agree with the sentiment that Dad said before, most of the stuff that you miss on your mission doesn't seem that cool in comparison. Maybe we can go finding in Island Park. The only two things that I'd like to do that I can think of now would be hiking Mount Washburn and cooking Mapo-tofu for you guys. And grocery shopping.


I thought about it, and I think you were incorrect about the grammar principle last week. I explained when to use 'the' and when to use 'a' to Elder Chan, pretty good stuff. Are you prepping the calculus refresher course for me? I feel a little bad, because I know I instructed y'all to keep a list of good movies, but really honestly I'm not going to watch many of them. But thanks for the hard work.


You should start prepping a German refresher course for me as well. It's nice to know that you're making waves. I guess being infamous is better than being not-famous. That's a cool little English quirk there.

I'm just saying I've been doing cool sabbatical things; you've just been sitting on a hot chair waiting for school to start. So really, who's been wasting their time now, eh?


I have another funny story for you. So, This morning at about 6:00 I was happily dreaming that I was in some weird mock medieval war game thing, and most of the people were either school mates or people in the mission. As a zone leader, naturally I was the leader of one team, and we were battling about 150 other people in some weird school building. My team was losing and all our horses and cavalry were already dead, so I thought up a scheme to even things out (stratagem, as the Book of Mormon would call it, though this was more the Amalakiah type stratagem then the Moroni type) I called a truce to discuss a peace treaty and met with about 20 or 30 of the other team, and as a show of friendship we had some 2o odd guys from my team and we met together in some room. I had instructed my 2nd in command to ready the troops, and on my signal we'd suddenly rise up and kill all the people at the treaty meeting. So at about 6:07 I randomly woke everyone in the apartment up by shouting "STAB THEM!" I kid you not.

Abby, the pale duchess of the North.
I think that a gradual loss of weight is the best. People who do diets and lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks very often get fat again afterwards. Why? Because they cheated, they found some way to get rid of the fat but they never developed the mental discipline or the healthy eating and exercise habits necessary to maintain it. Your habit of eating healthier is the big success. It's worth more than any weight that you lose. So congratulations, and keep it up. Have a good high goal in mind and make it!

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015 - Jacky was Baptized!

Well, dear family (and anonymous tackers on) this week has been pretty busy. But in my last email I felt that I was just too long winded, especially when compared to Elder Perez, so I'm going to do my best to deliver the information succinctly.

Recently in our mission, and especially our zone, we've been practicing something called the 4 minute restoration. It's essentially just teaching the Restoration, or other lessons, in the simplest way, as you would the first time visiting someone, or on a train, etc. This morning as we practiced teaching the Plan of Salvation that way, and I learned that teaching that lesson, the knowledge of the plan of Salvation, is essential because it tells people why the Savior matters in their lives. Seems obvious, but I think that's what the spirit does, is make obvious things precious.

This week we had a mission tour with Elder Gong, the Asia area president. Did you know that the Asia area includes about half of the world's population? And currently there are like 4 temples in it? But it's growing a lot right now.

They focused on 1) finding and 2) the meaning of the sacrament and 3) the reality of our call as missionaries. It was really cool, especially the Wednesday evening devotional. And on Saturday when we met they had me translate for the natives and summer missionaries. That was actually super fun. Apparently my Chinese is pretty good. No, it's just prayers being answered.

Because of that we were really busy this week. But we still had some cool success. Jacky Ho, a 9 year old, got baptized on Sunday! We had his interview on Friday, which I was slightly nervous for, but it all went well! Hopefully his mom will send the pictures next week, and if all goes well his bother will be baptized on the 23rd.

Brother Chi has been in mainland again this week, so we didn't get to meet him. That's been really tough for me, but I feel okay about it now. I'm just working to get him baptized as soon as possible now. Other than that, we were able to meet with Mr. To this week, whom we haven't met for a while because he was sick. We taught the restoration, and it was simple and awesome.

Other than that, nothing too special.


I always really love hearing you guys go to the temple. They have a whole-Hong Kong Youth Conference every year, and it's basically the topic of every youth talk for the next several months. It might seem simple but I know that here at least it has a great influence on the people who attend.

It's been very odd here. I sometimes feel stressed at not having enough time, but today I had the exit interview with President Lam and did some studying before hand, and I basically feel content.

Looking forward to see you all again, though I wish it would come a bit slower!

The White Sovereign of the North

I like that idea of the diet. It seems like it's focused not on restricting your eating but on training you to eat more healthily. We actually did something really similar in our zone training about the 4 minute restoration. We gave people one minute to teach, then 2, then 4. They learned to teach really simply at the beginning, so that by the end it seemed like they had tons of time.

I made an amazing meal this week. I took a rice cooker, and threw rice, chicken broth, chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions, pepper, and salt into it then cooked it like normal rice. It was delicious!

How's the weather been in Utah recently? What are the cats doing? Do you feel different after doing the diet? Are you in the room that the boys used to live in?


It sounds like your life is just dominated by dancing. There’s a girl in our ward who's a big ballet dancer and the way she runs around always reminds me of you, because she sort of skips and relevee's and prances.

I have to tell you a story that occurred this week in church. The Cheng family gave a musical performance in Sacrament meeting. Brother and Sister Cheng are in their 30's, and their kids are 3 and 4. They sang “I am a Child of God”, and the kids were singing the first verse. It started very well and cute, with the 4 year old girl's head barely poking over the pulpit and the little boy just showing a bit of hair, but right at the chorus the girl just broke down and started sobbing as she sang. The words of the beloved song became more and more garbled by the crying as her mom tried to sing with her to comfort her. Heading into the second verse it seemed for a moment that the Dad and Mom's powerful beautiful singing voices might be able to save it, but the little boy, still very well composed, seemed to decide that the mic was too high and his sister couldn't be heard well enough, so he began to contend with his father for the microphone. Then the climax came when all the babies in the congregation joined with the little sister in sobbing for the finale. Somehow it just got the idea of eternal families across in a way that the music alone never could.


I wish we had more time for finding. Recently we only get a couple hours a week to find. If I could stay here and see all these people get baptized, I'd obviously be happy, but I'd also really love to open up an area. That'd just be so much fun, to have 4 or 5 months to go from nothing to baptisms. But I guess there's no rule that you can't do missionary work if you're not a missionary.

It's interesting talking to President Lam, because as a doctor he's got a lot of things very similar to you. He also like physics and dislikes Chemistry, especially organic chemistry. Oddly enough, one of the members over here who I'm friends with was a chemistry major, and he also hated organic chemistry.


Maybe I'll give you one or two more letters as well. Something cool that happened this week was we went to a meeting on Sunday evening, a devotional, and on the way home we got literally drenched. Luckily I wasn't wearing my Korean pop-star suit, but still we literally were drenched. It just turned on the water and we had no umbrellas. The funny thing was on the way home, literally with water dripping down my face, these people around us felt to inform us that "It's raining! You should have an umbrella!" Thank you, I hadn't noticed.

Then we got home and realized that we hadn't closed any windows and our books were all wet...


Congrats on the patriarchal blessing, and welcome to the tribe of Ephraim! That sounds so odd. I recall being a bit disappointed at my blessing, because I felt it didn't have anything specific and I didn't see how it would be very helpful. Even for a good chunk of my mission, I didn't really appreciate it, but especially the last third of my mission, I was really able to experience and know that it's true, it's from God, and what it says is important to me. Study it, and don't discount it if it doesn't seem useful yet.

I forget, where are we living in BYU?

Love you all! Stop counting days!

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015 - Greatest Joy in Missionary Work, Knowing You Were Meant to Go to that One Person

This week has been very demanding in a good way. We've been so busy lately that this week I think we only got about 2 or 3 hours of finding total. That's probably a good thing for me because I really think that I have a bad tendency to just go finding all the time, when there are much more useful things to do, like diligently calling through all the numbers you get from people during finding. I've been pretty well weaned off intense finding since coming here.

We attended our mission leadership council and later held our Zone Training meeting this week. The planning required for those takes up way too much time, to be honest, because we always get stuck on the brainstorming stage all the way until a day before the meeting, and then we end up with like a million ideas. But it went pretty well, not perfect of course, but people seemed to really learn from it. We were mostly sharing about attitude this month, and confidence. We've also been practicing teaching a restoration lesson in 4 minutes, which I love because it makes you really think about what the key points are. The spirit really comes when you are able to teach simply and testify of Joseph Smith.

We saw a lot of success this week in contacting part member families in our ward. We have been teaching 3 families this week, which I will give more detail on next week when they have a chance to progress. But all have come from persistence and consistency in contacting them, particularly the Fung family, whom I bothered at least 3 or 4 months before finally getting to regularly teach the husband Erik.

Jacky and Jimmy are doing well. They are some of the most curious and hard to focus children I know. Teaching them is always a challenge, but a welcome one. It helps me think of more object lessons and creative ways to teach, and their whole family is really awesome (including the Dad, who's one of the aforementioned part-member families. They invited us to a BBQ at their house (I know what you're thinking, how is it done? How do you BBQ within the confines of a tiny Chinese apartment? The answer is a magical little grill stove deployed on the table. Genius) and we started teaching him.). I have a great love of double (and even triple) parentheses. Jacky was sick this week but next week may well be baptized!

Mr. Chi is back from Mainland and we visited him a couple times, rushing to teach all the lessons before his interview this Sunday. He asks so many questions and gets so confused sometimes that I thought teaching him a short lesson would be impossible. I was right, until Sunday where we taught an awesome lesson after church which included most of the 5th lesson and was finished in 20 minutes. After that he met with Elder McEwan (also in my group) for the interview, but didn't pass because he still doesn't have enough of a personal testimony of Joseph Smith, he mostly just really believes us. Despite this I'm really really happy with this week. He enjoyed church so much and learned so much, and it was just so apparent that he felt the spirit and was enlightened by it. We're struggling now to see when he'll be able to be baptized and resolve a very foundational concern about if he should focus on his job or baptism, but I know the Lord loves him and will help him.

Sorry for writing so much, but you know that I am a rather long-winded fellow. I know the gospel is true. I know Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God, the Book of Mormon to be His word, and I know the Priesthood has been restored. I know that God answers our prayers and in an enduring, grand, and ennobling way loves us. I know these things not only because I have prayed and searched, but because I have taught them to others and seen them change the lives of others. The greatest joy of missionary work is feeling the spirit testify through you of the truth of the Gospel to another, and knowing that you were meant to go to that one person, to speak that word, and to help that soul.


I'll have to learn at the feet of my younger brother in this aspect. I definitely have to put more effort into learning how to go on dates well. I think a lot about how you described your attitude at the end of your mission and I think that maybe we are very similar. My biggest challenge is just to enjoy the time I've got rather than stress about whether or not I've done well enough, and turn more towards the people rather than myself. Honestly I think it'd be so fun to be put into a brand new area and just spend 5 months building it up.

I notice that in your every letter you spend most of the time describing other people in our family. I think that reflects on what you really value in life. Thanks for being such a great Dad!


I love that feeling of just doing something that you always sort of meant to do but never got around to doing. A couple weeks ago I had an idea to make a hanger for my towel that had sort of been puttering around in my mind for a bit, and then on P-Day I just did it! And it felt good!

Jan Corallo was one of the most positive and happy people I knew, and a true teacher. She always had so much faith and love for us. She could have gone through the motions and taught us our technique and passed songs off, but I know she really desired us to play music, to really reach and play better than we thought we could. She believed that even a lazy and reluctant student like me could play Deux Arabesques. I think that is her most Christlike attribute, because truly, that's how Christ felt for us. I loved her, and I'll miss her.

I think that Facebook has its origins in Heaven. Though it's a major challenge to many people, and is often over-used and abused, it's definitely one of those inventions designed to help us stay more together. Love you Mom! Don't remind me of the time!


I think you'd appreciate this perhaps more than most, seeing as you pride yourself on having proper grammar. So I live with Elder Chan, who's a relatively newer native missionary, and who has an intense desire to learn more English. This week I've been teaching him Grammar, and really setting up a foundation for him to understand the real why of the complicated and twisted rules of English. I'm going places most English speakers never dared to dream of. I found and graphed out 12 different verb tenses, and defined the use and explained the serpentine loop-holes of the monstrous 'to'. I don't know if the terminology I'm using is correct but man he's going to get the why of the what.


I like the idea. I could see that coming into play with a lot of products. Non-radioactive: cereal, milk, clothing, dentures, teddy bears (prey on their love of their children, you know?)

I guess one difficulty would be if you really want to make that product work you've got to get the radioactivity down really low, and you'll have a very awkward fine-print label

"This product contains some radioactive materials." The best you could do would be "Relatively non-radioactive vanilla" which might not be as catchy.

There's a really cool Mormon message called LIFT.

Ghengis Rebecca,

Look it up.

Sounds like the dance camp was awesome, though I have to agree with you I don't entirely understand why. I'll just say that I've been sleeping in twin bunk beds for the last 2 years and I'm a bit taller than you are. We'll totally have to work out together. I've realized that as far as physique goes, being skinny and puny before your mission is much preferable to being huge, because I’ve actually been able to become more muscled than I was before.

Abby of the North,

I'm so happy to hear about the weight loss. 5 pounds is a lot in one week. Usually that's what people get by the end of a couple weeks. I don't know what I'm supposed to be getting ready for right now; I'm plenty busy as is. I have three questions for you: 1. Stop counting the days! It makes my blood pressure go up 2. What does your diet consist of, and how's it been so far? 3. Do you think you will serve a mission?

Love you all!