Thursday, April 26, 2012

Elevators, International and an English Fast

 Pictures from a Zone activity a couple weeks ago.  It was raining pretty hard.

On the ferry from splits in International area of the mission back to Kowloon Tong

My mission is flying! I'll hit 8 months in a few weeks!!!

Thank you for the encourangement on the hair straightener, I just might do it, I guess I was being a bit selfish just thinking that I wouldn't put a whole lot of use into it, but if I share it with my companion and roommates, I'm sure we can wear it out!!!! Thank you!!!

As far as the ipod goes, the office can upload everything I'll need, but I'm going to do a bit more searching before I ask you to send it. As I've thought about this past week, I don't know when I would have had time to use it! I haven't figured out what resources we have available.  I'll keep looking. Maybe you can give it to Elder Oaks and he can bring it to Hong Kong for me? hahaha

This week we had mission wide sister splits and I went to INTERNATIONAL!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh it was sooooooo fun!!! The international stake has church everyday but Monday because the philipinas have different days off. These women are AMAZING!!!! They have sacrificed so much to be here so they can work and support their families back home, they work hard all week and sometimes their employers aren't the best, and they spend their day off at church!!! Church is from 1 to 4 then they have Family Home Evening (FHE) they play games, eat dinner together and have a spiritual message! It is so great! In the morning, we went finding from 10 until 12. The international missionaries go to worldwide everyday becase that is where all of the philipinas go on their day off to send money back home. The space we were finding in was no more than a block long. We just smiled and talk to everybody. We found one lady who was interested in learning more so we took her back to the Wan Chi Chapel and introduced her to the wonderful Sisters who already there cooking for FHE that night. A few of them joined us and we taught a lesson. It was in Tagalog, but my companion for the day would use more English and then turn to me when she wanted me to speak. After that the sisters invited her to stay for church and FHE!!! They are such good missionaries too!!! It really is a different mission, but I enjoyed it!!! We took the ferry back to Kowloon Tong!

After that, since we were in Kowloon Anyway, we took AM to walk around the temple.  AM has 3 children. She is getting baptized on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm only a little excited!!!! She is amazing!!! She has really studied about the church and really knows it's true. She has such an amazing desire and excitement to have this be a part of her life. She talks about her daughter doing Personal Progress when she gets older and her sons going to Young Men activities and going on missions.  She already has such a strong desire and excitement to go to the temple and hopes she can be sealed to her family. It is a miracle to see how much this gospel can change people.

Ok Your questions:

1 – Nathanael wants to know if any of your neighbors have pets?
Not that I know of, we don't see our neighbors very often, except for the cute popoh who exercises att he same time as us every morning.
2 – Are all the sisters in the mission in apartments with 4 sisters? 
Yes, I think Macau has 6

3 – Do your roommates work in different wards than you? 
Yes, they work in Tai Bo, Seurn Sui and Tai Wo

4 – Do Elders work in the same 3 wards as you? 
No, there is a different set of elders for each ward, which is Super fun, but also crazy because sometimes we have to do things 3 different times!!

5 – What meetings do you go to on Sunday? Sacrament Meeting for all 3 wards? 
We will split when we go to Tai Wai/ Sha Tin since they're in the same chapel, but In Ma On Shan we stay together because it's in a different chapel. We usually rotate Sundays, once in a crazy while we'll split, but that's super Maufan (inconvenient) because we need members from each ward to help us and be our companions.
6 – What have you noticed about the culture or city lately? 
Normally in the US if an elevator is full, we'll just wait for the next one. Since they're so many people here, they'll just push their way in because who knows when the next one's coming it could be 20 floors away, and it could be full too!!!

The US
 manners I am accustom to don't exist, people talk with their mouth full, reach into the center dish with their chopsticks, stand up to get the food they want, slurp, lift their bowls to their mouth and shovel the rice in. . . . When we go to the Chan's for correlation, we use plates and forks, I honestly have no idea how to act!!!! I will definitely need remedial lessons when I get back.

I read a talk the other day about being a more consecrated missionary. It is so hard, but I've made a goal to be more diligent in talking with everyone, especially on the trains. It wasn't as hard as I thought, and once we've started making a better effort, Heavenly Father is putting tons of people in our path!!!! It's amazing! and makes traveling more fun!! We had a lady run up to us today and ask about our English Class!!!
I have no idea what else I should write except that I love you!!!! This church is true!!! If you ever think you can't do something, the truth is you can't!! But the other truth is Heavenly Father absolutely can, and that is amazing. Turn to Him in everything, pray, read the scriptures and things will always work out for your good.
Oh one more exciting thing, we started a 2-week English fast today!!!! Yikes!!! It is sooooo hard and I've broken a few times, but we're bound to figure it out soon, and it's already helping our Cantonese sooooo much!!!

I love you all!!!
Have a good week!!!!

Sister Nelson

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I've been learning characters for a week now!!!

 The sister on the right is serving at the Hong Kong temple and sent these pictures to us.

Hi Everyone!

Happy Middle of April!!! Yikes!!! Can you believe I've already been a missionary for 7 months!!!!  I was talking with SIster H. the other day. We realized that we don't have much of a desire to go back to our old life, school and such, if our family could come on our missions with us we'd be good for the rest of our lives!! haha maybe you and dad will get called to HK!!! That would be awesome!
I'm so excited you get to see Elder Oaks too!!! We get to see him in the same month! I think I get to sing in a choir when he comes!!! We were talking today about what we're going to wear, I think Sister F. is going to ask one of the girls in her ward if we can borrow a straightener, I'm soooo excited! I really hope she does. It will be nice to look nice and fashionable for a day.

A. got baptized on Sunday!!!! She and F. came to visit us on Saturday! I'm so happy for her! Y. called me the other night and we talked for awhile. She said she is already seeing changes in her life, and her mom is starting to notice too! She's started helping more around the house and trying to get along with her sister. She said she is , "hou hoi saam!!" "Soooo Happy!"
One of our investigators here, Ay. is getting baptized on the 29th!!! We talked to her about setting a day on Saturday and she came up to us on Sunday and said, "I think the 29th is good." She is sooooo good and her faith is amazing!

I've been learning charcters for a week now!!! Already I feel like my world is opening up as I begin to understand signs, but I'm also a bit overwhelmed, I have NO idea how to write it!! One of the ladies in our ward spent a good 10 minutes teaching me how to write "gwok" the sign for country the other day. It's sooo hard!!! On the speaking note, I've had a lot of comments from people lately saying, "Woah your Cantonese is very good" and some have even said especailly for being here only 5 months. At first it made me feel good, but now I'm a bit confused because I have no idea what I did or why it's good!!!  I just don't want to loose it, so that's putting the pressure on me to be sure I do "Study Your Language" and keep studying the spoken portion. I've been praying a lot lately to know what I need to do to improve. I'm at the point that I can get by, but now I want to progress.
Today for P-day we did a photo scavenger hunt. It was really fun. We decided to e-mail right after, so my converter is back at the church with the rest of my stuff, I'll have to send them next week.
1 - Is there anything in particular that you miss these days? 
Talking to my family of course!!! As for silly unimportant things: Fixing my hair, dressing in normal clothes, milk, whole wheat pasta, hearty bread and nuts hahaha but I've found decent subtitutes for all of them and will splurge once in a while and it's totally worth it!!!!!!!!! hahaha!!!! This is the only time in my life that I get to live with out all of these things!!
2 – What do you think that you will miss from Hong Kong when you come home? 
1) The people, 2) the language 3) the gaaisih with tons of super cheap and exotic fruit. 4) Hong Kong 5) Not having to look "normal" because I already stick out.
3 – What American restaurants have you been to? How do they compare to what you have had here?
McDonalds, is about the same. . . boring. Pizza Hut is SOOOOOOOOOO good here!!!  They serve so much more than pizza and it's a lot fancier. I also went to Subway, it was the same and that's about it I think.
4 – Do you go door-to-door in your new area? If not, what do you do instead to find people? 
I think there is one area where we can "pach muhn" (knock doors) but we haven't done that yet. Typically we'll talk to people while we're on the train, or we'll find a park or street and walk around talking to people. I'm strarting to really like finding, I just get to go out and make new friends in the sunshine!!! and explore HK at the same time!!!!
5 – How is the weather? 
It's getting hot!! The past few days have been cooler and rainy.
6 – Do you have an air conditioner in your new apartment? 
Yes, Hallelujah!!!!
Something I've really realized on my mission is that we're all inadequate, but that's OK, because Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to be perfect. That's something I've been thinking about lately. I'm realizing more and more that Heavenly Father doesn't need us at all. If he wanted these people to recieve the gospel, He could do it, but the amazing thing is He asks us to help Him do it! I've heard it related to setting the table. When kids are little, the parents will have them do the silverware or plastic plates, then they will let them try the bigger more fragile dishes.  Whether the kid knows it or not, their parents are right there to catch the dishes if they fall. Heavenly Father knows we're inadequate, but He blesses us with these opportunities to learn and improve. I am so grateful for that.
Ahh!!! Time's up!!! I've got to go!!! I love you and hope you have a great week!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Ma On Shan chapel is in a shopping mall!!

My previous companion
 Decorating Easter Eggs
This is me and my new comp (probably the tallest companionship in HK!!!)

Hi Everyone!!

Happy Easter! Can you believe April is almost halfway over?!! 
The other night I wrote in my journal a list of reasons why I'm excited to serve in my new area, I thought I would share it with you (This is coming from memory, but it should be similar.) Afterward I'll answer your questions that aren't answered already.
1) We live on the 27th floor
2) We live in a neigborhood of apartment buildings
3) This neighborhood is on TOP of a mall and a MTR station!!!!!
4) The grocery store is in the mall, and the gai sih is a 5 minute walk!!! so convenient!!
5) There are AWESOME places to run!!! We've been  to a different place every day!!
6) My companion likes to run. A LOT!!!
7) There are tons of cool hiking places
8) My companion likes to hike
9) My ward is going hiking on Monday!!!
10) We went to a wedding on Tuesday (He is from Hong Kong and speaks Chinese and a little English, she's from Vietnam and speaks a little English and even less Chinese. I don't know how it worked, but we're starting to teach her either English or Chinese or both on Monday, I'm excited!!!!!)                                                       
11) We have a blender
12) We serve 3 wards, Sha Tin, Tai Wai and Ma On Shan.
13) The Ma On Shan chapel is in a shopping mall!!
14) We ride trains, not subways, so they are above ground and sooooooo much prettier.
15) The buildings are shorter, we're closer to the mountains and there are more trees and open space it's soooooo pretty! We saw stars and a sunset yesterday!!!
16) Every Thursday night we have a coorelation meeting for the Sha Tin Ward. Our ward correlator is President Chan's son, so correlation is in the Chan's apartment in the TEMPLE!!! Sister Chan makes us dinner. I'm sooooooooo excited for tonight!  (Barbara's note:  President Chan is the mission president.)
17) Our members (that I've met so far) are really nice, lots of them speak English and are excited about missionary work!
18) There is a lady in one of our areas who only speaks Woo Lam Wa (I don't know what it is in English, but it's a dialect of Chinese.) She comes to church (and even General Conference) because she loves Christ, but she doesn't understand a thing, and we can't teach her because we don't speak Woo Lam Wa!!! (we hope to find a member who does and can help us!)
19) We have tons of investigators!!! The ones I have met are awesome!!! I am so excited to keep teaching them
20) My companion is Amazing! She has soooo much fire! She really loves the work and wants to work hard and be obedient.  I am so incredibly happy to work with her.  She is soooo fun and so ready to work!!  I'm learning so much from her everyday.  I feel super unified and I feel like the move is going to be great.  We both have the feeling this move is going to be awesome!!!
21) You can see Mainland from our apartment window (well, one mountain)
22) Our apartment has 2 couches, 3 awesome views and a big red fan.
I'm running out of things, but in short, I'm sooooo excited to be in this area! Sister H. LOVES the area so much and it's contagious! So many of the members have neat stories. Somehow I feel like my mission is finally just starting! I'm so excited!! There's a chance I could be here for a good part of my mission (or the rest of it!) and right now, I'm totally fine with that!!
The girls I taught in my previous area, A. and Y. both went to General Conference this past week.   A. had her baptismal inverview and is getting baptized this SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And she's coming to visit on Saturday!!!  I'm soooo excited!!!  Y. was supposed to come visit yesterday, but had to do things with her family. I am soooooo sooooooooo happy that we're allowed to stay in contact with our converts to strengthen them. I really truly love these girls soooooo much. I've heard people say you meet your best friends on your mission and it is so true!!   When I got my call a year ago I had no idea what I was getting myself into, a mission is really the most amazing experience ever and it really is nothing like the way people describe it, but that's because you can't really describe it well enough to do it justice. Even on hard days or when I feel homesick and think, "what on earth did I get myself into?" I realize that I really am truly happy and I become happier and happier each day as I learn to better do the work and put my focus on the Lord. I don't know what Heavenly Father has in store for us in Tolo Harbor, but I am so excited for find out. I'm excited to learn to rely on the Lord and let Him bless his children. We can't speak Cantonese, but with Heavenly Father's help we can, and I am so excited to see miracles this move!!! I really hope that I can always be doing my best so my companion and I can always do what Heavenly Father wants us to do.
1 - Had you transferred when you wrote last week?  
2 - How did you get to your new area? 
MTR. . . That was an adventure with 2 suitcases. The Elders helped us get to the mission office, I was grateful for that.
3 - Do you have roommates? 
Sister F. and Sister F.  I love them!! It is really weird not have Hong Kong natives in the apartment.  It was actually Sister F. in the picture last week.

4 - What are your roommates and companion like? 

5 - How is missionary work the same and how is it different? 
I feel like we will get to teach more since we cover 3 areas, it is pretty busy, we typically try to schedule to be in one area on a given day, but usually we're in one area in the morning and another in the afternoon. It keeps us busy.
I am almost officially a Cantonese language scholar.  I just need to do my pinyam pass-off and then I can start learning characters!!!  Actually, since I just have to find a time when Sister F. is free to do my pass-off, I'm going to start learning characters tonight when we pick up our flash cards in Kowloon Tong (The mission office) I'm soooo happy to be done with pass-offs, but scared that my spoken language is going to deteriorate as I start learning to read, but I can fight it!!!  Sister H. just finished her scholar too, so we're going to learn characters together!!!! and do a 2 week English Fast at the beginning of May!!! ok I've got to go, I want to e-mail you some pictures and they kick us off at the hour here!!
Sister Nelson
PS, I read Romans 8:31 - the end today I really like it. "If God is with us, then who can stand against us?"

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tolo Harbour!!!

Hello Everyone!
So move calls were this week! Our Zone leaders had us go to the 46th floor of a building in Wan Chi it was really pretty and we could over look the harbor and the city!! Then Elder D. had us each guess where we were going and who our new companions were, it was really neat!  I am moving to Tolo Harbor. I'm so excited! I've heard the wards are really great (we're serving three wards!) and it's more open and the air is fresher! Haha President Chan is from there too! and my companion is. . . Sister H.!!!!!!  I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited I can't even contain it!  She was in our younger group in the MTC!  She is an incredible missionary and so fun! We're going to have a blast!  I didn't expect it at all becuase we're both so young, but it's happening!
We haven't watched conference yet.  It's a week later hear because they need time to translate.  So this weekend we should watch it!  Good news!  Since I didn't move, I don't have to go to Wan Chi and watch it with a room full of white people!  I hope I can still watch it in English my sik teng (know hear) is not that great for large meetings.
Last Friday was really good.  We taught A. and she brought her friend.  Since I told A. I was leaving, she glued herself to me after the lesson and we had a really good conversation.  She and her friend left, but her friend, F. came back because she scraped her knee.  As we were trying to find a first aid kit, this adorable girl from Mainland, M., (we met her last week) came for games night.  She and F. hit it off and scheduled each other to come to church together (and did!!!!)  They stayed and talked to us for a while after, it was great!  The three of them are awesome!!!  For some reason they call me "Nelson," it reminded me of my days working at McKinley school when the kids and teachers called me "Nelson."  I love it!
A. came all the way to Kowloon Tong to say good-bye to me this morning!  It was great to see her!  I remember six week ago I thought she didn't like me!!  hahaha!!  She made an adorable card!
Oh we dyed Easter eggs with S., Y. and Y's friend yesterday.  Neither they nor Sister H., my companion, had done it before so it was fun to share some American culture!!!
Hmmm...I'm out of things to write I think.  I love you all!!!
Sister Nelson