This week we had our first zone conference which was really good! The overarching theme was The Atonement and how we can help ourselves and our investigators understand what it is. I am truly so grateful that I have a Savior that was willing to sacrifice his life and go through excruciating amounts of pain so that we could all have the opportunity to be something so much greater than we could ever be on our own. It was a good reminder to make sure that I’m focusing on helping my investigators truly understand as opposed to just teaching it. They also fed us curry and gave us mangoes, so I’m not sure what else I could ask for in life 🙂
This week we also had a new investigator from a self-referral, which like never happens!! It was a different experience because in our lesson with her, we realized that she had absolutely no religious background and didn’t know anything about God or Jesus Christ. Like nothing. Usually people have at least seen pictures or heard a little bit, but with her, we will have to start from the very beginning! It’s kind of nerve-wracking to think about, but hopefully we can help her find the peace and knowledge that she has been missing in her life.
There is a big church building in Wan Chi where missionaries will go do “Welcome Center” every now and again, which is basically where you stand outside the building and try to get people to talk to you so you can give them a tour. Yes, it is kind of awkward, and we had a few strange encounters, but it was overall a good experience! We didn’t give any tours, be we talked to some people and got a couple of numbers, so hopefully something happens. And did I forget to mention that it was absolutely POURING rain while we were outside?! I’m sure most of the reason why people stopped is because they had pity on us as we stood outside under our umbrellas. But hey, if they stop and talk to you that’s all you can ask for!
We also went to Outback Steakhouse last P-day which was pretty nice. I’m not sure a hamburger has ever tasted that good before!
Exchanges with the sister training leaders were this week and it was really fun! While I was with her for the day, we taught a lesson with a member and afterwards asked her some of our language questions that we had. In Hong Kong you have to have an ID card with your Chinese name on it and apparently when I got mine they mixed up my characters! It still sounds the same but has a slightly different meaning now! So apparently my name officially means “frost/blizzard” and “forest”! Haha, I’m not really sure what to make of it!
I read a conference talk this week about how important it is to remember how absolutely amazing this gospel is! Too often we let this knowledge that we have go unnoticed and unappreciated. Don’t let something lose value to you just because you have access to it everyday. Look around and see all of the things that you have to be grateful for but don’t usually take the time to stop and appreciate each day! I promise as you do this you will realize that you have so much more to be grateful for!
Have a great week!
First off, I would like to announce that MY BROTHER EMERSON GOT HIS MISSION CALL!!!! He is called to the Arizona Mesa mission and will leave on June 29th, so soon!! I am so excited for him and know that he will be an amazing missionary!!!
Admittedly, this week hasn’t been that exciting. I know that you all think I’m probably running around fighting dragons and saving kittens from burning trees, but it’s actually not really like that (most of the time). We have been doing a lot of finding lately because some of our investigators haven’t been keeping commitments and our teaching pool has dwindled. But I have faith that we will find those people who are ready to hear the gospel!
Actually, the other day while we were finding in Hong Kong Park, we started talking to a park ranger who was probably in her 50s. I assume she was really nice, I couldn’t really understand much because she was speaking a mixture of Cantonese and Mandarin. But during the course of the conversation she gave us her number and offered to “cheng ngohdeih sihk faahn” (take us out to dinner). She smiled and then she walked away to carry on with whatever it was that she was doing. A little while later, while we were still in the park, she came up to us and handed us each an orange and then left. Quite honestly I’m not sure how she found us again (it’s a decently sized park) or where the oranges come from for that matter (she very conveniently happened to have two with her) but it was still a nice surprise! Later that same day a less-active member called us in the evening so we went down to the lobby of our apartment, expecting to be able to teach her or help her with something. Instead she handed me and my companion each a flower made out of ballons, a scrunchie, and some candy. Again, I’m not quite sure why, but I’ll never complain about being given free stuff.
I also gave a really short talk/testimony in church yesterday which was really scary! I assure you that it was very simple and I probably only used about 30 different words in different combinations. But afterwards members came up to me and told me how good my Cantonese was for only being here about three weeks. Even though most of them were trying to be kind, it was still nice to hear! A small part of me did want to make some funny language mistake in the middle of it, you know, just to make it a little more memorable 😉
I don’t say it nearly enough, but I truly am so grateful to be on a mission right now. I know that the Lord is mindful of all of us individually and will direct our paths even when it seems dark and dreary–especially in those times. Don’t ever hesitate to get down on your knees and ask the Lord to help you. There is nothing too big or too small for Him. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned already, it’s how important it is to have a relationship with the Savior. So if you don’t already have one, start building!
Have an amazing week!
1) A huge basket of fruit some members gave us (did I mention I like free stuff?)
2) Hong Kong at night
3) Me! And the city!
This week was one of the craziest weeks of my life thus far!
On Wednesday we went to Pehng Chau which is a little tiny area in our mission with a less-active member on it that we will visit every now and then. It’s really inconvenient to get there (it is an island after all) and we have to take different buses and then a boat to get there which is a big chunk of the day! Also, it was my first time being on an actual boat and I found out that I do indeed get seasick. It is such a cute island and the people there are so friendly–it just has such a different vibe to it than Hong Kong island which I’m used to! There are no cars because it’s so small and the biggest buildings are like a grocery store and a library. The seasickness was worth it just for the view alone! And the sister that we visited hadn’t been to church in years, like 20+, and when we taught her we invited her to go this Sunday and she did! Hopefully we can find enough time to keep visiting her!
One of the weirdest experiences of my mission also happened this week. We had met an older lady last week (probably in her 70s) and had given her a Restoration pamphlet to read as well as our phone number in case she had any questions. She actually ended up calling us the very next night wanting to meet us in the park to discuss it with her. My companion and I were surprised because not many people actually call us when we give them our number! We met her the next day and then she requested that we walk to a restaurant because she was really hungry, so we did. After we got there she requested that we eat something as well and she would pay for it. Normally this is the opposite of a problem, but we had just gotten done eating a ton of food for dinner right before we met with her so I wasn’t too inclined to accept any more at the moment. My comp and I agreed to share a dish and then went to sit down. When they brought out the food it turned out that she had ordered us each a plate of food as well as a soup! The next little bit was spent with me trying to stuff as much food as I could into myself without looking too sick and trying to catch what she was saying to me in Cantonese, mostly responding with nervous laughs and continued eating. She also kept giving us some of the food from her own plate and insisting that we eat that as well! It was like torture in the kindest way possible! And to top it all off, the only thing that I had to drink was a glass of literally boiling hot water which only added to my uneasiness. After the meal she finally let us discuss the pamphlet but ended up Bible bashing us for the next hour! She literally wouldn’t let me and my companion say a word so we just sat there listening to her as best we could. Needless to say, we won’t be seeing her again.
My companion had been having some pains so we took her to the hospital on Thursday night and it turned out that she had some sort of kidney/bladder problem and had to be admitted immediately! I spent the next day as part of a trio with some other sisters which turned out to be an adventure of its own sort. We got lost on multiple occasions and one of the sisters dropped our phone battery down an elevator shaft. Yeah, it was a pretty weird day. My companion was in the hospital and we no longer had any form of communication! We eventually got it all figured out and that day I went to bed more tired than I’ve ever been! My companion came home from the hospital the next day and is doing well, she luckily just has to take some antibiotics for the next couple weeks!
It was a crazy week, but I learned from so many great experiences! I learned how important it is to have faith and keep moving forward despite the challenges that get in your way. You can either let your trials get the best of you or you can use them as a stepping stone to become someone even greater than you were before!
Have a great week!
1) Me with an egg tart, they are seriously SO delicious!!
2) Pehng Chau- it’s so pretty!
I made it through my first full week in Hong Kong! And I’m still alive!
Happy Mothers Day, everyone (it was technically yesterday for us, but I’m still counting it)! Yesterday in church I definitely got loaded up with all kinds of sweets and then spent the rest of the day regretting my decisions. But would I do it again? Probably.
I also got to Skype my family and it was so good to talk to them!! This is an official reminder to thank your families for all that they have done for you. Families are so amazing and inspired!!! I can never thank my family enough for all that they have done for me. So if you can, give yours a hug!
There has definitely been a lot of adjusting to the culture of everything–it’s definitely different than anything that I’ve experienced before. We live in the second most city-dense district in all of the mission, so it’s pretty crazy and busy!
We have a really nice ward who loves to give us food every once in a while, which I will never complain about! The other day we were going to have a member teach a lesson with us to one of our investigators, but the investigator never showed up :(But the member took us out to lunch at an Indian restaurant instead which was super good, so that made things a little better!)
Also the other day we were at the church doing some planning when a member brought us some Chinese food. One of the things that she brought was some sort of soup with meat in it. Upon further examination, I came to realize that the meat was cow tongue! The next five minutes were spent with everyone pressuring me to eat some of it and I finally broke and took a bite. And it actually wasn’t too bad. It’s really more of a mental thing that’s hard to get past, especially when you can still see the taste buds on the meat….
In Hong Kong, there are no houses and you can’t go knocking on apartment doors because there are security guards in every building, so we have been doing a lot of street contacting. This means going up to random people and just talking to them–definitely one of my weaknesses. I have concluded that there are only two types of people in Hong Kong: those who have absolutely no time or interest in talking to you, and those who would talk to you for 10 hours straight if you gave them the chance. I’m still not quite sure which one I like better. We literally spent 40 minutes talking with a lady in the park yesterday (it was really just her talking at us) about her abhorrence of Western medicine and her recent back pain. I’m really awkward and have no idea how to end conversations so we just kind of listened and talked a little then gave her a Restoration pamphlet and made a run for it!
One of our investigators, Floren, has a baptismal date for the end of May and I’m really hoping that she will be able to make it! She has problems coming to church because she works a lot and is always tired, but I have faith that she will find the strength and willpower through her faith in the Lord to do what she knows is right.
I still don’t understand almost everything that people say to me, but I think that I’ve improved at least a little, and that’s really all I can ask for! And I always make it a point to tell people that I’ve only been out for about a week so that they have a little pity on me and my scanty Cantonese;)
One thing that I tell myself every day is remember to have faith. If you have faith, there truly isn’t anything that you can’t do. Anything. When I feel myself start to doubt, I push away my fears and remember in whom I have put my trust. Because after all, faith and fear cannot exist in the same person at the same time. Go forward with faith in all that you do!
Have a great week, I love you all!
1) My comp and I chillin’ by the water
2) Beautiful Hong Kong!
3) Me eating my first Gai daan jai!
4) Selfie on a Skyscraper (because why not)
Well, I am currently writing this e-mail from a cyber cafe in HONG KONG, CHINA!!! No big deal.
I still can’t believe that the day has come and I am finally here! After 2 months in the MTC and 20 hours of flying and some actually pretty decent airplane food I can say that I made it! Well, at least I’ve made it to the beginning of the next 16 months!
I definitely felt the wall of humidity when I got off of the plane, but I think that I’ve adjusted because it hasn’t been too bad ever since. It is pretty hot though, and the summer hasn’t even really started yet, so we’ll see how long I last! Hong Kong is interesting because it’s a mix of really nice buildings with really old and grungy buildings with tropical plants interspersed throughout the city.
We spend the first couple nights in the patron housing across from the Hong Kong temple which was pretty cool! Me and three other sisters from the MTC shared our room with some middle-aged ladies who were staying there so they could go to the temple the next day. They were really nice, but the only problem was that they didn’t speak any Cantonese! They were from Mainland, so they only spoke Mandarin. Luckily, one of them could understand Cantonese so I had a few interesting conversations where I spoke in my supremely limited Cantonese and tried to understand her hand gestures. I’m still not entirely sure what we talked about. But I must have befriended them because as we were leaving they gave me a bag of beans! 😀
President Lam and his wife are great! We got to spend a little bit of time with them as we did some training. And one morning, we even got to eat breakfast in the temple! (I guess that technically it wasn’t the temple part, but it was like RIGHT NEXT TO IT, in the same building!)
I got my trainer and her name is Sister Curtis, and she is very understanding and patient about the million questions that I ask her every second about everything! We are serving in an area called Sai Wan, or West Point. It’s on Hong Kong island and in a fairly big city, but it’s also close to the ocean which is really cool. And also I saw the ocean for the first time!!! I have never been able to see it, but now I live so close I can walk to it (I am on an island, after all)!!
Hong Kong also has really great bakeries, which is funny because none of the apartments ever have ovens. We have already stopped by the bakeries a millions times, they’re all over and they’re so good!!! I’m pretty sure that I’m going to gain weight on my mission….
We had dinner at a member’s house yesterday after church and it was really fun! I still can’t understand pretty much anything that anyone says, but I have mastered the technique of smiling and nodding, while occasionally joining in the laughter with everyone else. People think that I’m just smiling because I’m always happy (which isn’t wrong), but the truth is I’m just trying to hide the obvious fact that they could be speaking Norwegian and I still wouldn’t be able to understand them. But the language will come!
We have a recent convert that we teach, she was just baptized a few months ago, named Leung Popo (Popo is a term used for older grandmas) and she is the cutest! She is 95 years old and was just baptized!! It just goes to show that it’s NEVER too late! The funny thing is that Cantonese is always evolving and she speaks a slightly different and harder to understand version since she is so old so I can’t understand a thing she says! In our lesson with her, at one point she turned to my companion and said “She doesn’t understand a thing I say and I can’t understand her, too!” A slight language barrier, but my goal is to be able to understand at least two things she says next time and improve my Cantonese so she can understand at least two things that I say!
Hong Kong is great! The people are great! I can’t wait to get more immersed in the culture and language so that I can teach with greater power and ability!
My scripture for the week is Alma 26:11-12
11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
I know that truly all things are possible through the Lord. Were it not so, I would already be home by now if I had to rely on my own strength and understanding. I know that I need to work hard and give it my all, but that the Lord will be with me every step of the way. Through Him, miracles truly are possible, but it’s important to remember to stay humble and remember who it is that truly we owe everything to!
Have a great week!