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!