Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chinese New Year Week

Hi Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna!!
San Lihn Fai Lohk (The pinyam is spelled wrong I'm sure, but Happy New Year!!!)
I hope you all had a great week and I'm so happy you got some more snow!!  
So a lot happened this week, I'm just going to give you a day by day summary so I can keep my thoughts straight!
Last Thursday:  Korean BBQ!! Sooooo yummy!!!! There are grills in the middle of the tables so we just picked different kinds of meat and vegetables from the buffet and cooked them ourselves.  Sister H. was there, so it was soooo fun to catch up with her since I haven't seen her since the MTC.
Friday:  Miracle!!! We had a pull back!!! That means we are out finding and we "pull-back" someone to the chapel and teach a lesson.  It's easy in Wan Chi where the chapel is on a busy street, but ours is in the boonies by a construction place (kind of sketchy looking)  so it never happens.  But we had an hour to do some finding in PoLam Estate (it's right next to our chapel) and we had barely entered the estate when we ran into a lady and her three kids.  We started talking to her and the kids and next thing I knew we had invited her to have a tour of our chapel and I was talking to K., the 5-year old girl as we walked to our church!!!  The woman's name is Sister W., we taught her about prayer and she seemed really excited and even invited her kids to pray with us at the end of the lesson.  Even more perfect, the recent convert the Elders were teaching showed up early to his lesson, so he joined our lesson for a bit.  He did a great job of explaining how prayer and baptism have blessed his life, and helped occupy the kids while we taught.  It was soooo perfect!  Unfortunately, I called her last night to schedule another appointment with her and she said her family told her she can't meet with us any more.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  She also hasn't had a chance to pray on her own yet.  I told her that if she prays and feels that this is good and wants to learn more, Heavenly Father will provide a way.  I'm praying so hard for her!! It's amazing how much I love her and her three kids even after talking for an hour.  I know how much the gospel can bless her life.
Saturday:  BBQ Hong Kong Style!!  They cook all of their food over a bonfire;  bacon, chicken wings, hot dogs, sausage, corn, bread.  The bishop had to keep instructng me on how to do it. Like don't cook chicken and bacon together because chicken cooks really slow, and telling me how to squewer the sausage so it would stay.  I felt like a 4-year-old, but I was really grateful for his help.  About the time I was feeling full, the leaders left and came back with corn on the cob, slabs of chicken and beef and HUGE Shrimp (with legs, eyes, and antenna. . .  I didn't eat those) all of which they cooked over the fires.  Crazy!!
Sunday:  1 hour of church for the New Year.  We went finding as a district.  We knew it would be difficult because it was cold and everyone was rushing places for the New Year, but we've been praying all week that we would have success and we had several miracle lessons!!! It was awesome!
Monday:  Deep Cleaning!!! Alll day!! About halfway through we ran out to get more cleaning supplies, we expected it to be deserted because of the holiday. . . nope!!!  Here were 4 sister missionaries in sweats and old coats that we got from a member, walking to the grocery store while everyone else was in their nice holiday clothes. . .  whoops!!  I'll remember that next year.
Tuesday:  Big Buddah!!! It was freezing and Foggy, but soooooo cool!!!  After we walked around we had a traditional vegetarian lunch at the monastary.  It was actually pretty good.  Elder and Sister K., the office missionaries, sat with us.  It was really funny because all of us missionaries have adapted to the HK table manners (all the food is in the middle and we just reach for it with chopsticks, and for things like rice, one person serves for everyone)  The Elder and Sister K. haven't had the same opportunity and seemed a bit confused and appaled that we weren't passing all the dishes clockwise like in the US. Haha!  P-day was all day because of the New Year.  Luckily, we had dinner with a member that night so we got to proselyte a bit.  Thank goodness!!! 
Wednesday:  We went hiking with our ward in Sai Kwun.  We hiked up a road to a dam, then it started it raining.  .  luckily there was another ward there, and they had just taken buses to the dam, and offered the missionaries a ride back since we had things to do in the evening.  It was soooo fun to hike.  There were a ton of runners and cyclists, I was a bit jealous. . . haha  Dad and Nathanael, I think you might be interested in how they built the dam.  When I send a picture, the big blue cement thing is the shape of the blocks they used to build it, it looked really cool!!!
Questions -
1 - Are a lot of young people joining the church? 
Yes, we love talking to students!!! They are more willing to listen and change and really are awesome!!

2 - Last week you mentioned that your DLs dad was taking you all to lunch. Do native HK missionaries get to see their families sometimes?  
He just sent money for us to go to lunch, but Elder H.'s dad does work in the chapel where we have Zone meetings, so they run into each other on a regular basis, I was with them once and we happened to ride the same elevator as his Dad.  Elder H. barely did anything, I didn't even know it was his dad except another Elder mentioned it.  It was right after he hurt his knee though and I don't think he wanted his dad to know right then what was going on. 
I love you all soooooo much!!! I'm out of time, so I'll send pictures next week.  
Love you!!!
Sister Nelson

Thursday, January 19, 2012

EFY Medley

It is amazing how fast the weeks go by!  Although I do look forward to reading your e-mails every week, so by the time Thursday gets here it feels like it's been forever!!!

You didn't tell me Savanna is doing swimming, but she did!!!  Hahaha she'll have to give me remedial swimming lessons when I get back!!

Wow!  You've been teaching seminary for 9 years?  That's amazing!  Think of how many lives you've been able to touch in those 9 years and how many people you've prepared for missions I can count at least 10 people who have been in your class and have or are serving missions!! That's amazing!!!  Seriously, Seminary is the best thing that happened to me in high school as crazy as it sounds for high school students to get up early and go to a scripture study class it is definitely an inspired program.  I am so grateful for the foundation seminary has been for building my testimony and helping me to know how to teach the gospel.  You can tell your class, that I have such a testimony of Scripture Mastery verses!!! USE THEM!!!! 

We had the coolest experience on Sunday.  Our ward has a tradition of having a "Welcoming Party" for newly converted members.  The new members share their testimonies, there are lots of musical numbers from the ward member, and FOOD!!  We had to leave early, but it seemed like a really good opportunity for the ward to build a relationship with these new members and for investigators to come and see the blessings of baptism.  Three of the people that we taught were there and President Chan was there as well.  The ward asked the missionaries to sing the EFY medley.  Since we had to leave to teach a lesson, we sang it as the opening song.  What a powerful song to be able to sing to our ward!  As we sang the chorus "We are as the army of Helaman, We have been taught in our youth and we will be (or as we sang in the MTC "are now") the Lord's missionaries to bring the World His truth."  I realized what we were telling our ward as we sang.  I have been preparing my whole life for this, whether I always knew it or not.  You and dad taught me about the gospel and as I grew up I started deciding to read the scriptures and pray on my own to gain my own testimony.  Now I am here in Hong Kong to share this joy with others.  As we sang, we were telling our ward, that we are the army of Helaman and we are here to help them and their friends receive the blessings of this gospel, and we want to do everything we can to serve them. It didn't help that President Chan was there and looked like he was about to cry. . . I really just felt an overwhelming love for these people and for this work.  This gospel is so true and can change our lives if we will let it!!!

(Barbara's note:  This is a video with the song that Kasey mentioned.  It is a beautiful song!)
On another note, I passed my first pass off yesterday.  Our new district leader, Elder H., told me to focus on sharing my experiences and bringing the spirit into the lesson instead of just teaching the principles.  It helped me a ton, and I really truly enjoyed doing the pass off.  Now I can start working toward teaching the Plan of Salvation better and passing that lesson!

This week we've been doing a lot of finding, we've had to drop some of our investigators and others will be busy until after the New Year, but we have three lessons scheduled tonight and several more this weekend.  I am so excited to be able to start teaching at our chapel again!
Answers to your questions:
1 - What are Popohs?   
Oh sorry, old women/grandmas.  So stubborn, some are crazy, but I love them!!

2 - What is a SYL missionary? 
SYL stands for speak your language, it means speaking Cantonese as often as possible, it's so hard, but I want to do it!! Sister C. is helping me a lot, we've started doing our Companion study in Cantonese.  Honestly sometimes I'm not happy to have to think that hard early in the morning, but I'm surprised at how much I understand, and I know it's helping me!!!

3 - What is pinyam?  
The written format of Cantonese using Romanized letters.  That way I can read and write Cantonese even though I don't know characters yet.

4 – How often do you write to your Mission President? Do you use your emailing time to do so? 
We write every week, and we have an hour of time set aside on Monday to do that.  I am so grateful because I know that these letters will be a valuable journal at the end of my mission.

I love you!!! Happy Chinese New Year!!!


Sister Nelson/ Kasey   

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm still running!!

Hi Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna!

Wow!! I've made it through my first move in Hong Kong!  Can you believe it?!!  That also means I'm not the youngest of the babies (new missionaries) anymore!  Wow!! I'm pleased to say my first moves calls were thankfully uneventful.  Sister C. and I are still together, which we expected since I'm still a "baby" for another move.  She leaves to go home after this move.  I also still have my running buddy!!  Sister K. and I have been getting up at 6:40 a.m. to go running since neither of our companions want to.  I was so afraid she was going to leave just in time for the coldest move!! Plus since Sister C. is leaving, we're probably going to get changed out A LOT!!!  I'm so glad I'll be able to work out every day this move!!!

1 - How are you enjoying the Hong Kong weather? The forecast always looks rather nice, although, it looks like you are in for some rain this week.
It's really nice!  Some days it can be really cold, but it's not as cold as Illinois!! Sister K. and I usually wear shorts and t-shirts running in the morning and we get lots of funny looks.  People say, "Dong mh Dong?!!!!”  (Are you cold?!!!)  We would get funny looks anyway… 2  5'9" white girls in shorts and t-shirts running around speaking Chinese.  Running isn't as common here as it is in the US, so we stick out even more.  Although there are a lot more people out exercising in the mornings.  There are 2 old men always playing soccer at one of the soccer fields we run around.  There are usually 2 groups of popohs doing Tai Chi, or some other types of dancing/stretching exercise.  It's quite a site!!  Someday I want to join them... we'll see

2 - Do you have to do any sort of qualification process for your mission?
Yes, we have to do pass-offs.  That is, teach all of the lessons to our district leader, and then one of the first 3 lessons and lesson 4 to our Zone leader.  If we do that, and "demonstrate ability to write pinyam, use correct sounds and tones, and be an SYL missionary," we are a "Language Scholar."  After that, we can move on to become a "Langauge Master" by learning to read characters, and scriptures.  I've tried to pass of the first lesson twice already, and haven't passed yet, but that's normal, especially with our district leader.  I'm hoping to try again this week.  I'm hoping to finish my pass-offs in the next two moves or so.  We just got a new district leader, and I am so excited to be able to do pass-offs for him because he's a native and a really good teacher.  I'm excited to have his feedback on my teaching too. 

3 - How many sister missionaries are in the mission? How many missionaries total? 
I think 30 sisters and I don't know how many elders.  

4 - Nathanael asked about Chinese New Year.
It is the week of January 24, and apparently EVERYONE leaves!!!  It's like Christmas is in the US.  So it's difficult to do missionary work that week.  Not to worry, the mission has provided.  One day we get to go to the temple, one day we get to see Big Buddah, another we will do deep cleaning, and another day our ward has a hiking activity.  The hike itself is 4-5 hours.  Ward members are encouraged to bring friends so we can meet them (I'm so excited for that!!!)  Hahaha!  I'm sure we'll still get to do some proselyting.  (I sure hope so!! That many days without being able to do missionary work will drive us CRAZY!!!!)  It will be fun to have a change of pace.

This week we had to drop a lot of our investigators because they won't answer their phones, or really don't have interest.  I'm learning what mh dak- a (Not free) and mouh hing cheui (Not interested mean.)  The other people we are teaching have tests at school, left for mainland, or are busy for the New Year.  It's been more difficult to schedule lessons.  But even though we didn't have as many lessons, Heavenly Father is still doing miracles!!!  We were able to teach two lessons while we were out finding yesterday (That's exactly how many we were hoping to be able to teach.) and Elder O. just called us this morning to give us some numbers of ladies they've talked to this week.  In spite of some logistical challenges, the young woman who got baptized last week was able to come to Sacrament meeting.  She was late, but had barely sat down when the Bishop called her up to the front to be confirmed.  I was sooooo happy!!!  Plus I'm learning to talk to people and share the gospel wherever we are. It's still super intimidating, but I'm doing better. 

I love you all so much!!!

Sister Nelson/Kasey 

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year!!!  I slept right through it!  Hahaha!  It's been really fun to wish everyone Happy New Year!  I'm glad you got a copy of the picture with President and Sister Chan!  I was wondering what they were going to do with it!  Speaking of pictures, I have my camera cord today!  I have TONS of pictures!! So, my e-mail will be a bit shorter so I have time to send them all to you. 

Can you believe it?  I've been in Hong Kong almost 1 move!!! Moves calls are next Tuesday!  I'm most likely staying here unless President Chan wants me to have a different trainer (I hope not!!!) and then Sister C. dies.  (Barbara's note:  When a missionary “dies,” it means that they are in the last area of their mission before they go home.)  Elder H. has been in this area for 3 moves and thinks he'll probably stay another since Elder O. is being made Zone Leader, but will probably get moved after that.  That means I'll probably stay at least another move after Sister C. leaves, and I'll be the one who's been in this area the longest!!! Ahhhh!!! We're starting a missionary class for church members in February and the other missionaries informed me that I better listen because I'll be the one that knows what's going on when they leave!  AAIya!!! 

Thank you so much for sending me the mission calls from my BYU ward!  Wow!!! I'm soooo excited for those girls!  They're all going to be great missionaries!  It's so fun how many of us are going to Asia!!! If you think of it please keep me updated, it's so fun to hear about my fellow sister missionaries!!!!

The new district comes in next week!!! I can't wait to see them!!
1 – Let me know when you get your brown shoe back.
 I will for sure.  I'm guessing she'll probably be in Mainland until the Chinese New Year.  Keep praying.

2 – Have you eaten anything new/unusual/weird this week? 
No, but we had an awesome Chang out with the Relief Society president's family.  I could identify all of the meat, the seasoning was slightly more American than normal, and they did say Sihk Dodi (Eat More) but it was when they were feeding us tangerines!!!  Sooooo good!  Tuesday a lady in the other ward made us Tahitian food.  It was yummy!!

3 - Do you have to pay to use the computers? 
Yes, it's about 7HK, not bad!!!

Miracles of the week!!! Yesterday we planned to do some finding with Sister A., but we had a lesson with a newer member of the church, Sister PM, right before so she came along too.  We decided to split so I went with Sister PM while Sister C. went with Sister A.  I was nervous, because I don't understand Sister PM very well, and I'm terrible at contacting.  But it worked!!! We had such a good time together and we talked to a lot of people!!  It is amazing how Heavenly Father helps fill in the gaps at times like that.  Remember the Filipino lady I told you about last week?  We ran into her again!! She was like "Oh Hi!  Remember me?"  She hadn't read the pamphlet we gave her yet, but I was able to explain a little more about the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon and ask her again to read it the pamphlet.  She seemed excited to learn more.  I also wrote down her number again so we can make sure the international sisters contact her!

I understand more and more each day.  We had correlation meeting for the first time in two weeks on Monday, and I was amazed at how much I could understand!  I'm finishing phone calls a lot now, and I can keep up more in the lessons!! This is soooo exciting!  I still have a LOOOOOONG way to go, but the gift of tongues is real!! Heavenly Father is doing miracles in Hong Kong!!

Ok I'm going to send the pictures now!!!

Good luck this week as you go back to school and work and everything.  I'm praying for you!

Sister Nelson
On a bus! with Sister C.
At Central in front of a crazy barbie Christmas display park thing
Our HK temple gingerbread house!!
Mission Christmas party with my MTC companions
Sister C. and I at the Mission Christmas party
Mission Christmas Party
Our Christmas "Morning" at 8 PM
A cooking activity at the chapel
At the Hong Kong Temple
A Baptism!
A street car with carolers on the top deck, they sounded terrible, but made my day!!!
The Wanchi chapel!  Isn't it pretty?  They hold church here every day!!!
Me in Mon Kok on my 2nd P-day

Me and the mission president and his wife, in front of the Hong Kong temple