I can’t really say that before I got here I knew what a moon cake was, but I can fully assure you that within the past few weeks I have eaten enough for a lifetime! The Mid-Autumn Festival was just this past week which is just a holiday where people get together to eat, look at the full moon, eat some moon cakes, and light up some lanterns. I’m not really sure where the moon cake part of it came from, but people sure love to give them out! A moon cake is like a small little cake, usually made out of lotus paste and has a salted duck egg cooked into the middle of it. Also, they are extremely bad for you- like 800 calories each! It also turns out that most people don’t even really like them that much, including the people who live here, it’s just kind of a tradition that they carry on doing each year. I enjoy them a decent amount, but after you have too many the charm wears off a little bit, haha! It has been fun these past few weeks seeing the different decorations and lanterns that people have put up for the holiday.
I don’t know if I have said it before, but we really have the best ward ever! One of our members took us out to Pizza Hut to eat this week and it was really good! Now now, I know what you’re thinking. Pizza Hut doesn’t really sound that exciting. But let me tell you, in Hong Kong it’s a whole different story. We got there and it was a sit-down restaurant, and a pretty nice one at that. We of course ordered some pizza, but also got some soup, spare ribs, fries, and some peach ice cream crumble thing! It was all so good and the member just kept ordering more and more things to eat that by the time we finally made it out I was more than just a little bit full!
Something interesting that happened this week: I met a guy in the MTR a couple of weeks ago and we’ll just say that he was a little crazy, but wanted to meet with us so we scheduled him to turn over to the Elders in the ward. We all got to the church and gave him a tour and tried to have the Elders teach him and share a lesson, but he was not having it. He kept saying that all he wanted to do was learn English so they scheduled him for next week with the promise that they would teach him English if they could also share a message. He called like 5 minutes after he left to cancel and ask if there were any foreign women he knew that he could marry! Haha, I don’t think that we’ll be seeing him again!
People LOVE to take pictures with white people. It’s usually people from Mainland that ask to take our picture, but the other day when I was riding the subway a man from Indonesia tapped me on the shoulder and asked to take a picture with me, too. My goal by the end of my mission is to have my picture in every country in the world! There are probably so many pictures of missionaries on random people’s phones throughout the world!
There is this less-active popo that we try to visit once every few weeks when she lets us come over. She is in her 80s and is just always so sad, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen her smile. She just wants to die and talks about how bad her life has been and how there isn’t really anything good left. We visited her on Friday and read some scriptures with her about hope and what it will be like when we get to see Jesus again. She started talking about her sad past again and all of the poverty and abuse that she had encountered throughout her years and me and my companion just sat there listening. She was telling stories that we had already heard before, but this time I was trying to listen to her, really listen to her, and feel the love that God has for her. After listening to her for quite some time, I expressed my love to her and asked to take a picture with her. I don’t know why, but this made her so happy and I saw her smile for what must have been the first time! By the time that we left, she was asking for our addresses so she could come visit us in America! It was such a blessing to see this renewal in her and to be able to help her feel just a little happier by doing something as simple as just listening to her. You never know how much you can help someone by just being there for them.
I know that we all have a Heavenly Father, a perfect friend who is always waiting to listen to us. He is there to listen to all of your worries, all of your successes, all of your frustrations. And more than that, He is here to help you and to give you the strength that you need.
Gaa yauh! Carry on!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) a float for the festival in the park
2) some food we made at a relief society activity
4) the inside of a moon cake- can you see the egg? 😉
5) just a sampling of some of the moon cakes we got!
I’m not really sure where to start, so I’ll take about the most exciting part first! Hong Kong has the Asia area headquarters, so this past week all of the mission presidents and their wives from Asia came here for a Mission Presidents Seminar. My mission president selected 12 sets of missionaries to help with the seminar for a few days and he picked me and my companion as one of them! We were pretty nervous when we heard that we would be practicing teaching with these mission presidents from all of these different countries from India to Singapore to Taiwan. We got there and each companionship got put with a different president and his wife and we got put with…. our own mission president here in Hong Kong!! Talk about being nervous! I love President Lam and his wife though, so it was all just fine and I ended up learning so much from them. They practiced teaching us the Restoration and I learned so many things that I could be doing better in my own teaching and missionary work. And it was also kind of fun to have them be in the teaching position with me and my companions playing the role of investigators–not many people get to say that they have done that before!
And speaking of the Restoration, we taught a new investigator for the first time yesterday and it actually went really well. He was a man in his 70s that we met on the street about a month ago and hadn’t been able to schedule until a few days ago. Our first lessons with people never seem to go as well as we would like, so we were kind of nervous to teach him. But it ended up being the best Restoration that we have taught yet! When I was reciting the first vision and bore my testimony, I could feel the Spirit so strongly. It just washed over me and I felt such a love for this person that I didn’t even know that well. I felt our Heavenly Father’s love for him and knew that this message could help him if only he would give it a chance. He accepted our commitment to read The Book of Mormon and pray and we should be able to see him again in the next week or so!
I have been having to go on exchanges a lot lately with another sister in the zone because of a lot of meetings that we’ve had lately. She actually just got to Hong Kong a little over a week ago so it was so fun to be able to spend some of her first moments here with her. It reminded me of where I was just a few months ago and just how far I’ve come since then. Sometimes, actually most of the time, change is too slow for you to notice until you look back and see just how much land you’ve covered! She also had such a fire and desire to share the Gospel that it gave me a spark again and we got so many numbers while finding on the streets! We actually had a funny experience where we stopped a guy on the side of the street to talk to him and had been talking for about a minute when he kind of started walking a way a little and said that he didn’t feel well. I was kind of thinking to myself, “yeah, yeah, if you don’t want to listen to us you can just say something”, but then he bent over and started throwing up on the side of the street. We just kind of stood there for a minute, and then ran to a store to buy some water or something to help him out. When we got back, he was gone, but we tracked him down and ran up to him and gave him a water bottle and asked if he was okay and then kind of ran away…. It was kind of a weird situation and I’m not sure that we actually helped him, but hopefully if he sees missionaries on the streets again he’ll remember our kindness and want to hear the Gospel 🙂
An emphasis that I got from the meetings that I’ve been to is just how important it is the have the Spirit with you in anything that you do. It really is the only way that we can know truth and the way that our loving Father in Heaven is able to communicate with us. Are there any distractions or things in your life that you need to change so that you can hear the quiet whispering that are oh so subtle but oh so important? I have seen the difference in the days where I have this companionship and gift with me and the days that I don’t. I know that it is so important to be receptive to these promptings and to put yourself in a position to be able to hear and act upon them!
Keep being amazing! Keep serving and loving others! Keep positive!
Feel free to send me letters 😉
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) some stomach at the grocery store
2) My area ❤
3) one of those cool boats that I finally got a picture of!!
This week was so so good! We were able to meet up with a lot of our less-active members that we have been trying to schedule for forever which was a miracle in it of itself. We are starting to see some progress with some of them which is really encouraging. It is so sad how many less active members there are here in Hong Kong, but I am so lucky to get to be a missionary and help them feel the joys that this message brings again! It really is such a special experience to get to meet with and teach them.
Transfers were this past week and I’m…. staying in West Point with Sister Curtis 🙂 I am happy to stay here for the next two months and help this work keep on moving!!! We have really been building up our relationship with the ward lately and I love it here so so much!! We were in a tripanionship with Sister Yost from Causeway Bay for a day this past week just with the way things worked out and it was so fun! We also got a new roommate who just barely got to Hong Kong and it is so fun to have her! It reminds me of what it was like when I first got here a couple of weeks ago and how far I’ve come since then!
We picked up a new investigator, Grace, from the formers (past investigators) book and she’s doing well. Her problem is she is super lazy and refuses to read or pray. We would spend a whole lesson reading the Book of Mormon with her and trying to help her understand it and by the end of it there was no progress. I was a little frustrated, but when we woke up the next morning we got a text from her saying that she had started reading it and knew that it was good! What?! Heavenly Father really does work miracles. I am so grateful!
So a few weeks ago we decided to go to ward choir practice after church to check it out and got roped into performing in a stake music concert a couple of weeks later. It was actually super stressful because Chinese choirs sound a lot different than you would think possible and also I don’t know how to sing, like at all. And also I was singing alto which I have never sung before and also my companion was the only other alto out of the whole choir. And did I forget to mention that the music was in characters which I don’t know how to read? But we somehow pulled through and this past Friday we had the concert and got lots of compliments. I can’t really promise you that legible sounds were coming out of my mouth or that they were the right notes, but I gave it my all!! It was such a fun event!
This past week was also zone conference and it was all so stinking good! One of the senior missionary couples talked about the importance of sacrifice in our lives. It is only when we sacrifice that we are able to have an increase in faith. Sometimes we think that if we have enough faith THEN we’ll be able to sacrifice, but that’s not how it works! We see blessings a lot of time when we have one foot in the darkness and keep pressing forward. Faith is built on sacrifice. We also learn to appreciate things so much more when we give some things up and push through our hardships. “Sunshine all the time makes the world a desert.” How will you show your faith through your sacrifices this week?
Thank you all for your support and love and encouragement, I love hearing from you! As always, keep moving forward!
1) some cute kids dressed as prophets at the music concert
2) got some authentic Chinese food, does it look good? 😉
3) one of our ward member’s shops- it’s so crazy there!
Let me just start off by saying that I love the mornings here! We usually go to a park across the street from our apartment to exercise in the mornings. Throughout the day there will be people there that go to exercise or do whatever, but in the mornings is when all of the old people take over the streets and parks! They all get up early to exercise and the playground is full of old grandmas and grandpas hitting themselves and doing other exercises that are supposed to keep you healthy. Sometimes you see them hanging from the monkey bars swinging around a little bit! There are also groups of them that get together and do Tai Chi and sometimes we join in and they all just smile and cheer us on! Another reason I love the mornings is because you can say jou sahn (good morning) to people and they automatically light up at you as if you were an old friend and then wave and shout it back to you. It’s the old people that mostly like saying it, but everyone always gets a kick when they see two white girls saying it, too. Mostly people don’t like to talk to strangers that much, but morning times are the exception!
We have been working with the Elders in our ward to put on a ward pizza making activity and it all finally pulled through! And what’s more, we had tons of investigators and less-active members show up to it! The only frustrating thing was that a lot of the members didn’t ever show up so we were running around doing a million things and trying to chat and schedule people and make them all happy at the same time. But a lot of good things came from it and we might have some new people to teach! Also, we made WAY too much pizza dough and now have a ton of it sitting in our fridge, but we also don’t have an oven in our apartment so I’m not really quite sure what we’re going to do with it all.
I learned this week that rooster in Chinese is literally just “fire chicken” and to me that is inspirational.
This week we also got a new investigator from calling up the formers in our area book! We have already met with her a couple of times and are hoping that we can help her progress. She has met with the missionaries a lot of times in the past but hasn’t ever really had a desire to do anything or come to church. But we will keep working with her and see how things go!
Something kind of hard also happened this week. We had been working with this 8 year old investigator for a few months now and trying really hard to prepare her for baptism. Her family is all Buddhist and not really interested in Christianity, but have allowed her to keep meeting with the missionaries and going to church. They didn’t show up to English class this week which was weird because they have come pretty much every single week that I’ve been here so I called to see where she and her cousin were. She was acting kind of weird and said that they wouldn’t be able to make it and that we also wouldn’t be able to teach them this week. They also wouldn’t be going to the pizza making activity which they had been so excited about just a few days before when we talked to them. She hung up the phone and I was so crushed. She had a baptismal date for the next Sunday, the 4th, and today was supposed to be the day that we get her ready for her baptismal interview. It was really hard to be so close and then have things just kind of crumble right under your feet when you thought you were on stable ground. But I know better than to let things get you too down or to dwell on the negative and we got back to work and figuring what we could do to help them and where we could improve. If there is one thing that I have learned on my mission so far is that sometimes people are ready to hear the gospel and be baptized, and sometimes they just aren’t. You keep working hard and trusting in the Lord and everything will turn out how it’s supposed to! My faith is in the Lord and I know that he will direct those who give heed to His word and keep following down the path that he has set. Keep following Him and remember who you have put your trust in!
Keep on pressing forward! Work hard and have a great week!
1) My companion and I!
2) A member’s store that we visited. He as everything–including baby turtles!
3) A traditional mooncake that a member gave us
4) The pizza activity!!