Friday, March 30, 2012

Monkey Mountain

Our hike to Monkey Mountain

 Sister H. and I waiting outside of Kwun Tong Chapel for the Elders to come and unlock it for us. 

Hi Everyone!!

I'm getting transferred next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What? Sister H. got a call from President Chan Wednesday asking her to go to leadership training yesterday because she'll be training! We both kind of knew it would be coming, but I didn't want to admit it. This move has gone by soooooooooo fast!! I feel like we've just started to get the hang of things. I am so grateful I've been able to serve with her, she has taught me a lot of things about being a good missionary, enjoying your mission and being a good companion. I really really hope that I can implement some of these things in my next companionships and especially when I become a senior companion or trainer (ew that's scary!!!) Sorry we're e-mailing a day later because yesterday was leadership training so P-day is today!!!
What does the family have planned for Easter and Spring Break? When is Easter? Are you excited for Conference? When is Conference? hahaha I know it's next week here, but I think it might be this weekend in the US.

Guess what?!!! I heard that Elder Oaks is coming next month!!! Ahhhhh!! I hope it's true! That would be so exciting!
hmmmmm. . . this week has been a bit of a wash, I'm not sure what happened either, so I will start by answering your questions, then I will see what else I can remember!
1 – What have you noticed about the culture? 
They uses bamboo instead of scaffolding! It's pretty cool to see tall skyscrapers (oops! that was redundandt) with bamboo sticks all over.

2 – Do you think that you will get transferred next time? 
hmmmmm I know it! hou gang!!! (so scared!!) excited too!!!!
So our investigators!!!  Y. is still amazing!!!  She is still so happy when we talk to her and she is doing everything she can to change and improve so she can get baptized. I'm so sad I'm going to have to leave her!!!
A. is also doing well.  I'm excited to hear about how she does in the next few weeks.
Last week's ward activity (a healthy back seminar) was great! We had a few less-actives and some former investigators there! I didn't realize how long it's been since we had a ward activity, but I'm so grateful my Cantonese is improving and I felt a lot more comfortable chatting with the members and investigators. I felt like the language wasn't a barrier, I still felt overwhelmed, but it is getting better. During our Zone find last week, Sister K. and I started talking to Mr. L.  He didn't have time to talk about the restoration and the Book of Mormon right then, but when we asked when he was free he was like, "Tomorrow at 5?" What?!!!  The Elders ended up teaching him since we had a lesson and he was at the activity on Saturday. The Elders say he is SOOOO good! He's reading the Book of Mormon and "Can't stop thinking about it" I was excited to see him at the activity and to see him enjoy himself! We also found the cutest girl this week, she just moved from Mainland, and is learning Cantonese, she came to English class on Wednesday and is coming to games night tonight. This is the best thing ever I get to make new friends everyday! It's also so awesome to see them come to church and learn more about Jesus Christ and then let it change their lives. Their happiness just radiates and it's contagious. It just reminds me of how true this gospel is. When we learn to feel the spirit testify to us, and then we also can feel God's love for us and let Jesus Christ's atonement change and support us everyday this joy is amazing! There is no way this isn't true!!! I am so so humbled, blessed, honored and excited to be able to help people have this joy in their lives!
Today for P-day we had a zone Olympics!! It was great! Our Zone has some awesome t-shirts (a bit big, but they look cool) The sisters played a few games of basketball. It was great because we didn't keep score so it was just for fun and good excercise! I didn't get any pictures. . . sorry.
I love you all soooooooo much and hope you have a great Spring break!!!!!!!!!
Sister Nelson
P.S. I had the BEST sandwhich yesterday!!! It was on wheat bread, with chicken bacon, CHEESE!!! MUSTARD!!! tomato and lettuce. It was expensive, but we won't think about that. . . I felt sooooo American!!!! hahaha I also bought cheese this week, that was exciting!!! I still have some left and it's been through a casserole for Zone dinner, omlets for me and Sister H., and a baked potato!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"You know how to read Chinese?!!!!"

Hi Everyone!!!!
I can't believe how warm it is for you guys! People ask me if Illinois is cold, and I have to tell them that right now it's warmer than HK! It is finally starting to warm up, and the weather is sooooo pretty! The sun is out too! A member told me on Sunday she thinks I've gotten tanner!
Ok questions:
1 – What is pig’s blood? Sounds yucky! 
It's gelentanized pig's blood, not as bad as it sounds, but I wouldn't choose to eat it.
2 – Are you learning any Chinese characters yet? How are you doing with passing things off? 
Not yet, but I've forgotten my pinyam hymbook for church the past few Sundays which has probably been for my good because I realized I know more characters than I thought! After the opening hymn in Young Women, Y. (the young woman we are teaching) turned to me and said, "You know how to read Chinese?!!!!" (It was Welcome Welcome Sabbath Morning, so I was able to make up quite a bit.) I had hoped to pass off lesson 4 last week, but I've been a bit scared of all the new vocab and our language study has been cut short this week. I'm hoping that I can pass it off this weekend. (I taught the Word of Wisdom to an investigator yesterday, so I should be fine, I just need to do it!!!) Then I just have to do lesson 5! I really hope I can finish my pass offs by the beginning of the next move. Then I will use next move to really focus more on my speaking and hopefully start characters in June!!!!! yay!!!!!
3 – Have you noticed anything about the culture this week?
Well, I think the fact that I don't notice things about the culture is strange. . . haha we went to Wan Chi on Sunday for Stake Conference. We taught a lesson beforehand, so we just found a room on the 4th floor where the International ward was having Sacrament meeting. That was weird. . . I could see into the chapel and they were all. . . NOT ASIAN!!!!!!!! Mostly white and a few Black people. It was sooooooooo weird. And they were singing in. . . ENGLISH!!!! After the conference we went to the lobby downstairs and I almost fainted seeing so many white people in the lobby. It was sooooo weird and I didn't want any part of talking to them, I was definitely more comfortable speaking Chinese than I would have been trying to speak English. Hsien Ji Muih told me that for General Conference I'll probably be in a room full of foreigners so I can listen to the English broadcast.  I'm not looking forward to it.
Last week I was washing lettuce and Sister B. squealed. There was a snail crawling out of the bowl my lettuce was in! The office elders were helping Sister B. move her luggage in so they were in our apartment (that was weird) and were kind enough to take the snail out for us. Later I asked Sister H. if it was ok to eat the lettuce and she said, "Yes, it actually means it's healthier, if he can live in it, you can eat it!" hahaha
The buses here get super close together. It makes me squirm when we're sitting on the front of the upper deck because the buses are so close that if there were no windows I really wouldn't have trouble climbing into the back of the next bus.
Y. is doing amazing! She eats up everything we say. When I taught her about the law of tithing she was saying she was willing to pay it before I could even finish asking if she was willing. She even explained to her dad about tithing before we had even actually taught it!!! I am so excited for her! A. is also going great is also getting baptized in a few weeks. It is so true what people say about the people I teach becoming our best friends. I love these girls soooooooooooooooooooo much!!! They really are my best friends! I am soooooo excited for them to have this opportunity to have the blessings of the gospel.
Oh and Thank you for the mail!!!!! I got 5 letters yesterday!!! (2 siniging cards!!) you grandma, savanna, Kaitlin Meldrum and Caitlin Rinker.
I love you so much and I hope you have a good week!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I ate pig's blood on Monday.

Sister L. and me when we were on exchanges last week.
The missionary on the left she just finished her mission to Canada and hung out with us last week before she got released.
The sun was out and the sky was blue last Tuesday!!! We were all soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy for those few precious hours!!

1 – Do you have a washer and a dryer in your apartment?
Yes, sooooooo convienent!!! I don't know how we would do laundry without it! P-days are sooooooo busy!!!

2 – Do you have an air conditioner? 
Yes, but we can only use it for 12 hours each day.
3 – Why did Sister K. get transferred to Macau so abruptly? 
Macau has some strange regulations for how long foreiengers can stay. Each time missionaries go there they get a clearance for 10, 30 or 60 days. It's really inconsistent and sometimes just depends on how much that particular guard likes you. So sometimes missionaries have to get transferred at odd times.
4 – What experience did you have with the culture this week? Does that make sense? I know that your focus is missionary work, (as it should be), but what
do you notice about living in a foreign country? 
Hmmmmmmmmm. . . Everyone is Asian!!! I freak out a bit everytime we go to Wan Chi, because there are significantly more international people. Evertime I see a white person in PoLam I'm like "What are you doing here?" Then I have to remind myself I'm just as weird.  I ate pig's blood on Monday.  Our district leader convinced me to try it! It actually wasn't that bad, but it sounds gross!!! I don't know of anything else. . . I've really adjusted pretty fast. . . I'm sorry I'm not more interesting this week. . . I'll try to notice better!
Tuesday was Zone Conference, we were all told to prepare 4 sharings and President Chan invited different companionships during the meeting to give different sharings. Somehow Sister H. and I both felt like we were going to be the ones called to talk about the Doctrine of Christ and sure enough we did! It was really a special experience. The spirit was so strong. I really, really felt that the things I was saying were true. It is really amazing to be albe to testify of Christ everyday. I am truly coming to know my Savior more. He is the heart and soul of our message and I know that if we have faith in Him our lives can change!!!!! It's amazing!!
Friday we had a miracle lesson! We just walked an investigator to the bus stop and we were heading back when Sister H. started talking to a student and we ended up inviting her to have a tour of the chapel. (That never happens!!!!!) She was super excited and willing to talk to us. We sat together in the chapel and taught her about prayer and Sister H. shared her conversion story. She was super excited to pray and said that she had something this Sunday, but wanted to come next Sunday. We talked about baptism and she said if she prays and knows these things are true she also wants to get baptized!! Sister H. asked if we could get her number and it turns out we had actually talked to her briefly on a bus 2 weeks ago!!! We remember thinking she was super nice then too! I'm excited to teach her more!
Y. is getting baptized on April 1!! We moved her date back a bit, and I know she is going to make it. She has faith too which is most important!!! She told me the other day that after high school she really wants to go to BYU and when she is 21 she wants to serve a mission. I love her sooooooo much!! I'm soooooo excited!! She has helped me have a lot more faith in our finding time because some of the people we talk to on the street will end up getting baptized! These people really are our best friends!!
I think I'm going to stop here and send some pictures. We went hiking on Monkey Mountain today!! It was so fun! Tonight we're teaching Y. and have a Chan-out at my favorite place ever!!! A Thai sister in Kwun Tong, it's delicious!!!!!
I love you!!!!!
Sister Nelson

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Summer's Coming!

Happy Thursday! Wow!!!  

1 - How long has Sister H been out? 1 year! 
Where did she go to the MTC? Philipines Since she is from Hong Kong.
2 – Are there both Elder and Sister Missionaries in your ward? 
3 - How does money work each month? How do you get it? How much do you have to spend? 
We get 1800 HK each month on our debit cards. We get 250HK for travel and anything above that we can get reimbursed for (such a blessing.) We really are lucky we get quite a bit, other missions don't get as much. It makes me want to be sure I'm very careful with my money so if I have any extra it can go back to help the church.

Ok first news of the week: Sister K's going to Macau!!!!! In fact she's almost there already!!! Talk about stressful they called her Tuesday and she left today! Yikes!!! Sister B. is coming to Kwun Tong now, she's good friends with a girl who was in my freshman ward. I don't know what that means for running, but Sister H. consoled me saying she is willing to go out Mon, Wed and Friday. That's all I can ask, so I'm happy!

Second News: We had 24 hour exchanges this week and guess who was my companion?!!!! Sister L., one of my MTC companions!!! It was soooooooooo fun!! Can you believe after 3 months in hong Kong we were able to survive together without our "moms" to take care of us?!!! We did some finding and taught a lesson and it all went so well. I have pictures but left my card at home (sorry!) so next week I'll send them. It really was an answer to my prayers. Originally I was supposed to be with a different sister, but Sister H. (who was orginazing the sister's exchange) changed it. It was such a blessing to talk with her and share our expereinces so far from the mission since we had the same MTC experience.

It's starting to get warmish (but some days it's cold) and it's WET!!! It rains A-LOT!!!!! The other day it was pretty stuffy in our apartment, I was pretty uncomfortable and said (sort of half joking) is this what summer's like, only hotter? Sister K. gave me a look like, "Honey your don't even know what you're about to expereince." The older missionaries are starting to say, "Summer's coming!" and they kind of twitch with an evil glint in their eye like they're excited and absolutely dreading it at the same time!!!

Well I've got to go!! I love you sooooooo much!



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stars and Stripes Forever

Hi Everyone!!!
Happy Leap Day and Happy March!!! (Holy Cow it's March already!!!!)  Seriously this mission is flying by so fast it's kind of freaking me out a bit!  Thanks so much for the news.
I actually had quite a bit of money left over this month, so I think I'm finally starting to figure things out here!  (There was granola on sale for 15 HK (that's like $2 US) I bought 3 boxes. I also found a place that sells HUGE bags of raisins for 30HK ($3 US) and almonds for 100 HK ($10 US)!  I'm such a happy camper!
My new companion is awesome!!  We are having such a fun time together.  My language is improving so much!  On Monday she said she could start helping me correct my tones, so I've been talking slower and thinking more about how I say things.  We can't do it for too long or I forget how to talk normal all together (we had a meeting with the Elders right after language study on Monday, I couldn't figure out how to speak Cantonese, or English, it was pretty funny). It is really incredible though.  Sometimes I remind myself that I'm in China.  Wow!  Then I realize I'm speaking CHINESE with a girl FROM HONG KONG!!!  This is really truly a miracle!!!  On the MTR on the way to the language fireside (I'll write more in a bit).  Sister H. would read an English word from her note cards and I would say the Chinese, and then I would read a Chinese word from my notecards and she would say the English.  It was a great way for us both to practice and have feedback on our pronunciation.  I noticed a man watching us and the look on his face seemed to say "What is going on?!"  Hahaha I am often amazed that the sounds coming out of my mouth are actually a language and even more amazed when people understand!!!  Sister H. is so sweet and so willing to serve.  I am already learning so much from her about how to look for every single little opportunity I can serve anyone.  I’m also learning about how to enjoy every moment!  I am so excited to work with her this move!
A few weeks ago a radio station interviewed President Chan and the Assistants to the President (Aps) about how the missionaries learn Cantonese so fast.  This inspired a Language fireside that was held last Sunday.  Several missionaries spoke about the ways we use to learn Cantonese. They specifically focused on prayer and the Book of Mormon, because these are the two methods that are the same for every missionary, the rest (note cards, sounds and tones, and whatever else) change for every missionary.  They also had some of the native Hong Kong missionaries share how they learn English.  It was really cool and I learned a lot!!!  It was a bit of a kick off for the new English class curriculum that will start this month.  I'm excited, but also nervous, because I know how to speak English, but I don't know how to explain it!!  (I wish I remembered more from language structure last fall!!)

Right now Heavenly Father is blessing us a lot.  Just this week, we taught three different people who seem really excited about the gospel and especially the Book of Mormon.  Y. is still doing great!  The biggest barrier for everyone here is coming to church!!!  AH!!!  School and work is really REALLY intense here!!  Students don't usually finish school until 5, and they have tutoring on Saturdays and Sundays.  It's really sad. 
This week things have really been clicking.  I was sad to see Sister C. leave, :( but I know it has been really good for me this week to have to lead the area and show Sister H. around and help her get to know the ward.  I have more confidence in my ability to teach and talk to people and I really feel my love for this work and these people growing.  This is something I've been praying for and it's finally happening!  It is AMAZING!!!  We did three hours of finding yesterday and came home EXAUSTED!!  I didn't realize it was three hours until we finally walked into the chapel and collapsed on the couches and looked at our watches! I also was able to find my way from Tiu Keng Len to Po Lam!  I was happy about that!
While we were finding yesterday, we passed IVY, a college in Tiu Keng Lang (try to find it on google Earth, it's a cool looking building) and all of the sudden I heard a band playing "The Stars and Stripes Forever."  I could kind of see into the court yard and saw a small band playing!!!  Wow!!!  that was a weird collision of worlds and lives.  It was strange to hear a march I associate with 4th of July and pretty much anything musical I've done in my live in the US half way across the world in China!!!  haha
I'm still running!!!  It is still sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good!!! We've also had a goal to finish planning on time so I have a bit more time in the evenings I used some of this time to do Yoga the other night, it felt so incredibly great!!! (except for when I was doing a side plank and sister wan tickled me. . . and when I was doing crow? (I think) and couldn't balance because sister Wan and Kiene were laughing at me) hahaThank you soooooo much for your love and support. and for writing me every week!!
I love you!!!!
Sister Nelson, Kasey or whoever you want to call me!!