Hey there, friends!
We just got move calls last night and I will be staying in Hung Shui Kiu with Sister Branch–super excited for this next transfer and we are ready to buckle down and keep working hard!! Also I hope that I never leave this area because I love these people so much! We have been able to visit more members recently and just getting to know them and share with them has helped me love them that much more; I feel like I am so close to these people now!
We have been busy with meetings and a lot of stuff that’s not super fun but still needs to be done, although we did have a little time for finding this week. We were walking around and there was literally no one on the streets–not a single soul! We live in the middle of nowhere pretty much, so sometimes you encounter this problem if you are going to a place a little further out there. But we felt that we really needed to be there, so we did some finding. We had a prompting to try to visit a less-active that we haven’t been able to get ahold of, but she wasn’t there. However, as we were walking out of the place where he lived we talked to a lady behind her and she was super nice and really interested in coming to church with us! And funny enough the name that she’d chosen for herself was “Faith” 🙂 Heavenly Father has a way of testing His children in order to get the message across!
We go to a place called “Crossroads” every week for service and this past Friday they invited us over to do a poverty simulation. In it we were all divided into “families” and had to work as fast as we could to make and sell bags that we made out of paper, otherwise we would get kicked out of our place and our family would die. It was such a mind-opening experience for me because I realized how many people are living in complete destitution and how helpless and hopeless their lives may feel. We only did the simulation for about an hour, but by the end of it I just felt for these people so much and had a greater desire to help them. At the end of it all, the guy conducting us asked, “So what. So what are YOU going to do about all of this now that you know?” I know that we all have the power to make big changes in the lives of others, but only if we are willing to really seek out these opportunities and then work hard to help someone else!
We had another lesson with our investigator Mary and she is doing super well! She has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying and just has such a sincere desire! The only problem is that she works every single Sunday and is really pressed for money and doesn’t think that her boss would let her take it off. But it was super cute because when we committed her to try to find a way to come to church she pretty much started mapping out everything that she had to do to be able to achieve this goal. I think that it will be a slow process for her, but I have faith that if she continues doing the things that she’s doing then she will continue to progress spiritually very quickly!
We did lots of exchanges this past week so I’m kind of blurring together what happened and when, but it was a really good week despite my bad memory! I am actually in a really interesting position right now as I am training a brand new missionary and then helping my other companion to go home in just a few days, but it has given me lots of new insights. These past weeks I have looked for more opportunities to serve and been busier than ever, and what a blessing it has been for me! I know that the Lord places us with whom He does for a reason and that we can always learn something new from others.
So for the past couple of months we missionaries in Hung Shui Kiu have been planning a big activity mainly for parents and kids as a way to find new investigators. Pretty much every spare moment has been spent thinking about this activity and it actually got turned into a stake activity which stressed us even more because we didn’t have any new help in doing it! But this Saturday we finally had it and although things didn’t go exactly the way that we had planned, it was still a success and we had quite a few families there that we were able to meet and exchange info with! If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that things will almost never turn out the way that you plan for them to, but if you work hard and keep the right attitude then they will always work out the way that they need to! After being in a room with a whole bunch of kids running around for a couple of hours we were pretty tired, though it was still worth it and was really fun!
We taught Mary again this week and she is doing so good! The problem that we seem to be having with most of our investigators right now is that they all have really weird schedules and cancel a lot which makes it really hard to see them on a regular basis. But it turns out that she has actually been praying and reading the Book of Mormon (what?!?!) and really has such a big desire to find out the truth of things for herself. We had a simple lesson where we taught about Jesus Christ since she doesn’t have any Christian background and I felt the Spirit so strongly during that lesson as I was able to bear simple testimony of my Savior. At the end of the lesson she herself asked what homework we would be giving her and then asked for more scriptures to read!!!
We also taught Michael and I feel like he is so close, but he’s still missing the desire to really learn things for himself. He mostly just likes meeting with us because we’re nice and help him with English. But every time we teach him, the lesson always goes so well and he has such good questions that we know he is so so close!! It’s so hard when you know how much this gospel can help someone, but they’re not quite ready to put in the effort to take things seriously. One thing that I’ve encountered a lot on my mission is that people like meeting with us because they feel happy, but then we leave and they forget everything and don’t do the things necessary to KEEP feeling those happy feelings!
So here in the New Territories (AKA the middle of nowhere) there aren’t separate Mandarin and Cantonese wards, we all just meet together because there aren’t many members. Church is usually taught in Cantonese since that’s what most of the members speak, but yesterday for some reason pretty much everything was taught in Mandarin which made it kind of difficult for me because I can only understand about 10% of what people say to me, if even that much. It was a good reminder for me of what it was like when I first got to Hong Kong and didn’t understand like any Chinese and I kind of laughed to myself because I felt like a brand new missionary all over again! And then the funny thing was that on the train on the way home the girl that I talked to was from Mainland and so she only spoke Mandarin, although she understood Cantonese. So we had a funny little conversation where I was speaking in Cantonese and trying to guess what she was saying in Mandarin and there was a lot of miscommunication haha! You had better believe that I was relying 100% on the Spirit in that conversation because my Mandarin is terrible and there were times where I just guessed what she was saying and it turned out to be right–blessing from the Spirit for sure!
This week it has been raining cats and dogs and on the way home from service. One day we all forgot our umbrellas and got absolutely soaked, but we laughed and enjoyed the rain anyway! That is until we got home and saw that one of the windows had been left open and it just so happened to be the one right by all of my books, so my journals, scriptures, and everything else made out of paper also got soaked! So I kept laughing and pulled out some hair dryers to make the best of the situation and once again things turned out fine! All my books just look a little more used now 🙂
This experience made me think of a quote that I like by Jenkins Lloyd Jones:
“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed.
Most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise…
Life is like an old-time rail journey–delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.
The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”
We also had a couple of investigators who were able to make it to conference and one of them was a former investigator that I met for the first time there! I have been doing tons of calls each night and scheduled lots of potentials and formers. Sadly, pretty much every single one of them ended up forgetting or cancelling on us and then not picking up their phone again. It was the end of the week and we hadn’t been able to meet with many people, but then one of the people that I had called a few days prior called us and said that she wanted to meet with us, and then she also came to conference! It was such a miracle to see! Hard work always pays off!
Yesterday we went to visit one of our investigators who we haven’t seen in a couple of weeks, but when we showed up at his door we found out that he had forgotten about our appointment and wasn’t home. I was kind of dissapointed especially since we had just gotten done with General Conference and were on such a spiritual high to teach people and had planned so much for this lesson. We were about to head home when I felt impressed that we should find a bench and do some of our language study outside. Kind of random, but our mission president has been encouraging us lately to do more of our studies out in public and we had yet to do much of it. So we sat down and immediately started getting eaten alive by all of the mosquitoes and flies, but I promised my companions that we could leave only after we had been there for at least a few minutes because I felt really strongly about being here. Well, absolutely nothing happened and we got up to leave, but first I again felt that I should wave down a man walking by and start talking to him, so I did. Turns out that he’s super Christian and had actually toured a church building back in my last area a few months ago and was so happy to talk to us that he introduced us to his whole family of 6 that was playing in the nearby park. They were interested to meet with us again and we exchanged information. It was such a miracle and I learned that you must NEVER delay a prompting and if you feel that you should do something, then you had better do it! My companions and I walked away in awe at what had just happened and how perfectly everything had seemed to work out for us to meet them when we did. If our investigator had actually been home, then we never would have gone to that place to study and would have missed the chance to meet those people.
I can testify that God really does have the perfect plan for all of us because He has perfect timing and perfect knowledge. If you feel impressed to do something, don’t question it for a second or you might be just a second too late! Sometimes you may never know why you feel that you should do something or aren’t quite sure if it’s the Spirit talking to you, but if it’s a good thing then just do it anyway! I can promise you that as you strive to be worthy to have the Spirit with you and then listen to His voice, you will always be led down correct paths.
Keep up the faith, listen to the Spirit, and don’t forget to watch General Conference if you haven’t seen it yet! And if you have, then watch it again!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) A “chicken egg” waffle–a Hong Kong classic!
2) some random noodles
3) what buildings look like when they do construction, kind of weird looking
What do you do when you don’t have a recipe for pancakes and your pan isn’t working? Improvise! The theme for this week seemed to be taking what you have and then finding a way to turn it around. We had planned on making pancakes with our investigator, Wendy, but we encountered some difficulties when we got there. All of the YW that were supposed to be with us canceled, but you know, things still turned out really well! We just got to know her a little better and shared a short message with her. She is so sweet and has a strong faith, but she is really shy and doesn’t really like coming to church so we were hoping to make her more comfortable. It was actually super good and a good reminder that there are never really bad circumstances, but a lot of it depends on your own attitude and what you make of it!
We also taught Jacky again this week and gave him a baptismal date for May–yay!!! He still has a long way to go before he is ready and has some things that he needs to overcome, but he is one of the most sincere and humble people that I have met. Every time he prays you can just tell that he is communicating with God–REALLY communicating with God instead of just saying some words for the sake of speaking or pleasing us.
Our funny experience while finding this week would have to be when we stopped and talked to this old little popo who was sitting on a bench and singing some songs (sounded like traditional Chinese opera) to herself. We talked to her and she just kind of kept singing her replies to us and we couldn’t help but to smile. She told us that she had personally taken it upon herself to sing to those around her every day and just seemed so pleased with herself as she sat on that bench. She was so cute hahaha!
Something about the people here is that when it comes to elevators and public transportation, there’s no such thing as trying to fit “too many people.” Sometimes the train doors open and you just see a solid wall of people crammed onto it and instead of waiting for the next train, you just kind of jump on and push yourself into the wall and are eventually absorbed into everything. It’s like I always say, “If you think that you can fit, then you will!”
We watched the Women’s General Broadcast this weekend and during that, and in my personal study as well, all that I have been able to think about is service. I just love how we have so many opportunities to love and help others. I know that there have been many times where my prayers have been answered through the actions or words of someone else, oftentimes they don’t even have any idea. How amazing is it that the Lord lets us be instruments in His hands to love and serve those around us! There have also been so many times I have talked to someone while finding and they have told me that they’ve seen us or other missionaries around before and have appreciated the smiles that we always have. It really is the simple things that make the biggest difference sometimes!! We had a lesson with an RC this week who is really struggling and basically we just testified of the love of our Savior and tried to build him and his faith in the Lord up. By the end of the lesson he was smiling and I think that it really helped him a lot to know that there were people who really did care for him and also a loving Heavenly Father who is always rooting for him.
I love you all!! Have an amazing week!! And as always, remember to always be LOOKING for opportunities to SERVE!!!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) We got matching shirts and realized that we look like the Powerpuff girls haha!
2) McDonalds here is a little classier so we sometimes go there (and it’s cheap, so what else can I say) and I tried their new black burger. It tasted…. like a regular burger haha!
3) some dogs who like to han out around the church building sometimes
4) Pancakes with Wendy!
This past week was quite an adventure because of all of the changes that happened! I picked up my new trainee, Sister Branch, and as it turns out she is from England, so I am keeping up my streak of only training British babies hahaha! She is so amazing already and willing to work hard. There is just something about getting a new missionary that helps you to appreciate things more! She bore her testimony in church on Sunday and did so good even though she’s still working on her Chinese. She just has so much conviction and power in the things that she says. It made me remember what it was like to first get here and struggle and appreciate how far I’ve come, though perfection is still miles away! Also the tripanionship with Sister Malone is going great and we all just take the awkward or less-than-perfect situations that we’re given and laugh it out and move on!
We don’t really have any progressing investigators, or investigators at all for that matter, but that hasn’t changed my resolve to work hard and make the most out of this time that I have been given to serve the Lord. The people that we have met with this week were potentials that we taught English to. Sometimes I get confused with whether I was assigned to speak English or Chinese with how much we teach English to people! But it’s a good way to find new investigators, and we’re just hoping that we are able to actually start teaching some of these potentials. I have also realized that my English is terrible and I don’t know how I have survived with it through to adulthood.
I have been finding every opportunity possible to reach out and talk to others and have realized that missionary work really is about the one. We were on the train headed home after a long day of finding with no success and I’ll admit that I maybe wasn’t in the best of moods. But I realized this and quickly looked around me to see who I could talk to and saw an old man sitting by himself that looked in almost as grumpy and tired of a mood as I felt. So I put on a smile and asked how he was doing to which he responded “lonely old man” My heart broke a little as he told me that he lived alone and had just lost his job which meant that he had no money and no support at all. I bore my testimony of our Savior the best I could because he didn’t have any Christian background and was able to give him a flier just before I had to get off the train. Even though nothing came of the encounter (at least as far as I know), it was a very good reminder to me that if you are focused on yourself and your own needs and wants then you will miss out on so much that is before you and will miss the chance to meet someone who has their own story and their own challenges that they are having to deal with.
I also know that the love of the Savior is real. And I don’t mean that in any sort of a cliche kind of way, but I testify of it with all of the power and emotion which I possess because His love is something as tangible as you and me and is something that I have actually felt. And that is why I am on a mission, to help others feel of the goodness of His love and come unto Him. I am here to reach out to the individual, to the one, just like the Savior himself did while he was on the earth. May all of us continue to find ways to reach out to the one and help them feel of the joy that only Jesus Christ and his infinite atonement can bring.
1) With Sister Percival and Sister Branch (on the left)–my two British trainees together!