For me it was yesterday, but for everyone else–MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
The best time of the year! We have been so busy doing so many different things these past few weeks. We had our zone Christmas party this past week and it was so fun! One of the senior missionaries that works in the office, Elder James, acted out the entire Grinch story and it was the most amazing thing that I have ever seen haha! We all sat around him and watched on the floor just like we were his grandchildren and it was such a nice break and relaxer!
We did some member visits and one of the families that we had dinner with unexpectedly invited some friends over to listen to us share a message! We shared about Jesus Christ and the true meaning of Christmas and the Spirit was so strong as we were sitting there with them that I thought I might cry. As I was speaking, I just felt such a gratitude wash over me and I thought about my family and how far away from them I am, but how I hope that I can be here setting a good example for them, because I know that they have already set a good example for me and helped me in so many ways. You never know the good that you can do in the lives of others. I was reading a conference talk the other day and there was a quote that went something along the lines of “the greatest pity of love is that it is felt so often, but so seldom expressed.” Don’t ever let your love for others go unsaid, let them know how much you appreciate them!
Also, our two recent converts Floren and Leung Popo have become best friends and it is the cutest thing! Leung Popo always forgets to come to church, so Floren has started going to her apartment every Sunday to pick her up and bring her. That’s what service is all about!
We also had our ward Christmas party and it was such a success! Our members did such a great job bringing their friends, so Sister Percival and I spent the evening running around trying to talk to everyone and introduce ourselves. That, and there was so much food that I felt pretty sick after everything was said and done! They had an entire separate room that just had food in it! There were quite a few families that came to the activity that we are hoping to get back into contact with these next couple weeks! Our ward is also so fun and in the talent show I kind of started wondering what I was doing with my life because there were these little 8 and 9 year old boys that were jumping around doing crazy martial arts and I was still feeling pretty weighed down from all of the food that I had eaten… 😉
We also did caroling–lots of it!! I don’t know if I’ve ever sung so much in my life before or if I ever will again, but it was actually really fun! We went with another set of sisters’ ward to go caroling one time and got a nice place in a mall and it was kind of scary, but everything turned out fine! And after all, the easiest way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!! 🙂
This time of year brings our thoughts back towards our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the life that He lived. He healed the sick, lifted the weary, comforted the hopeless, and His light dispelled the darkness of the world. When I think upon His life and service, I can’t help but to feel deep gratitude for the selfless service that He preformed for everyone which includes you and me. But more importantly than all of these things, He came to do the will of our Heavenly Father which we learn is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”(Moses 1:39). So His purpose is to bring us all happiness in this life and in the life to come after this one. Essentially, His purpose is for us to be happy, to have joy! It’s easy for things to get complicated or to get caught up in all of the things that need to be done, but when I think about it my purpose as a missionary really is just the same as our Savor’s. I am here to help people come to this knowledge that really can change lives. And whether or not people want to be baptized, the very least that I can do is hopefully to help them become just a little happier. So what is my new declaration not only in the holiday season but also for the rest of my mission and life? Joy to the world!
I love you! Have a very merry Christmas, tell your friends and family you love them, and spread some joy into the lives of others!!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) Sweet potato milk- it’s actually really delicious
2) One of the performances at the Christmas party
3) Caroling with the comp!
We just went to Lamma Island, this island that’s actually in our area but we never go to because there are no members who live there, and really very little missionary purpose to be there. But it was a fun time and we went by the beach and got to see some wild dogs! It was so gorgeous and the perfect break from the fast-paced city life that I’m used to! The boat ride itself was also gorgeous and worth it alone!
One of our investigators, Dicky, seems to be doing pretty well, but he’s still not ready to commit to baptism quite yet. He has been reading though, and the last time that we saw him we asked if he’d prayed yet and he said that he had said his first ever prayer by himself! No miracles happened, but he said it was good and he felt happy afterwards. He is a little bit lazier, so sometimes it’s harder to meet with him, but things are looking pretty good as of right now!
Sister Yuen is still doing good and keeps talking about how much we have helped her since we started teaching her! She has a couple of very young and not surprisingly very energetic kids who love to run around while we teach. But she was telling us how much they look forward to seeing Sister Percival and me, and how they got so excited to come over and see us! We had the little boy say the prayer at the end of the lesson and it was so cute and he actually did a really good job! She just kept talking about how important family is to her and how she already has felt the gospel bless her family and loves hearing from us. It was such a testifier to me that the basis of all that we do really is family and to help other people drawer nearer to God.
While finding on the street the other day, I waved to this lady decked out in her Buddha beads that was walking the opposite direction as me. She actually stopped, grabbed my hand they way you would if you were about to arm wrestle someone, and then happily patted me on the cheek and then was back on her way before I even had time to react to what had just happened haha. My companion was just standing off the the side staring and laughing at me! The funny part is that it’s really not too uncommon to have encounters like that here! We also ran into a kind of crazy old lady wearing an old fur coat complemented very nicely by a bright Hello Kitty hat. She was speaking half Mandarin with bits of Cantonese and gibberish mixed in, so I understood just a little bit of what she said and it was all very interesting!
We visited an elderly member with the relief society last week and it was such a touching experience. He had had a stroke about 20 years before so he was really incapable of doing much and was confined to a wheelchair in the elderly center. He can’t ever make it to church because he lives far away so it’s really expensive to get him there. As soon as we walked in, he was just so excited to see us and the biggest smile stretched over his face. I couldn’t really understand what he was saying because his speech was very impaired, but we shared a little Christmas message with him and sang a song as well. I just remember how happy he looked!
With Christmas day slowly getting closer and closer, I have appreciated this time to think about the Savior and all of the gifts that His birth and life have given us. There is new Christmas video that I really like that you should check out if you haven’t already seen it (I’ll put the link below). Jesus Christ set the perfect example for us all to follow, one full of love and that truly lighted the lives of those around Him. It can be hard sometimes to think about all of the things that we still need to do in order to become like Him, but it really is so much easier than we make it out to be sometimes. Being a light to others can be as simple as helping someone carry groceries, calling a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while, or sharing a message of hope and encouragement to someone having a hard time. There are so many ways to serve! I know that if you will make an effort to find these small but powerful opportunities to serve, you will also feel more peace and happiness come into your life- and you can also really get into the spirit of giving!
I love you all! Find ways to serve and lift others!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) Just doing some grocery shopping.. buying oil!
2) The island we went to!
3) also the island…
4) view from the boat as we took off
Jooousahn! Daaihgaa hou!
Went to Ten Thousand Buddhas last week and man were there, well, a lot of buddhas! You walk up this train and there are just statues of Buddhas everywhere on either side of you. If I had to guess, I would probably say that there are somewhere around 10,000 of them! A lot of them also have very interesting faces or poses. I’ll include some 😉
What a week, what a week! With the Christmas season coming up, my first one as a missionary, everyone told me that missionary work would pick up so much and I guess that it has in some aspects, but we have also had a lot of our investigators say that they are too busy to meet with us until next year…. But that’s just more opportunities to find new investigators!
Speaking of which, we found a couple people this week who really seem to have interest! We met this guy, Dicky, while we were out finding on the streets, and he let us schedule him and we got to meet with him early this week. We were teaching a simple lesson, trying to get to know him more and set expectations when he picks up he phone in the middle of the lesson and says that his friend was on the way. We were like, “that’s awesome”, and sure enough a few minutes later his friend popped over and joined us. They were really interested in our message and what exactly this Book of Mormon was that we showed them. It was kind of hard teaching both of them at the same time, so we taught a simple lesson and then scheduled to see them again that week and give them a church tour and share more of the message of the Restoration. And it went so well! The friend, Leo, thought that it was all so interesting and couldn’t stop flipping through the Book of Mormon as we were teaching them!
Our investigator, Sister Yuen, is still doing well, but we have hit some road blocks with her. We invited her to be baptized and she said that she would have to think about it first before she could commit to anything, which is understandable. But in our next lesson when we followed up with her, she told us about some dreams she had had about Jesus coming and visiting her and then she started talking about spiders and rats and bugs and I got kind of lost. Turns out that she thinks that God can only communicate with her through dreams and omens, and still doesn’t quite understand that prayer is a form of 2-way communication. And in order for her to be baptized, she thinks that God has to visit her and tell her that baptism is correct. So we’re still working on the whole faith and prayer aspect of things! But we have great member support with her and she still loves meeting with us to learn more!
We haven’t been able to get in contact with Ron for the past week and a half, and he leaves for America tomorrow 😦 I am so worried about what will happen with him, because we never got his contact information for where he’s going to be in America! I am still praying that we will be able to talk to him one last time today before he leaves!
We have some English class junkies who come every week, and one of them is a 90-something year old lady who travels around Hong Kong trying to go to every single free missionary English class. If you tell her that her English is good, she scowls a little and says, “No. It is poor. I must keep learning.” She is so dedicated, I love it! There is also a guy who works in our building who sees us come in from exercise in the mornings and says, “You just got done exercising? Great! Studies show exercise daily promotes health.” And then he gives us a big smile and 2 thumbs up!
Taught a less-active this past week who we have been trying to get hold of for the past 3 months and the lesson went really well! Sister Percival also did such a good job in the lesson and even cracked a joke that made everyone laugh, I was so proud! We talked about sacrifice and read the story of Abraham and Isaac with her and how Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son simply because God asked him to. Things seemed to really click a little more with her and we talked about how we aren’t usually asked to make big sacrifices like that, but are asked to make little ones each day. Sacrifice is a necessary part in growth and faith. I’ve been working this week on not only looking for more things to sacrifice to the Lord, but also doing it with a happy and willing heart. Someone needs my help or I’m asked to do something that I might not want to? Great! I’d love to! I am realizing more and more each day that we really can choose to become the kind of person that we want to be.
Love you all! Hope that you’re getting in the Christmas spirit!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
Pictures are all from Ten Thousand Buddhas- enjoy!