Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Almost June!!!

Hi Everyone!!!

Rabbit!!! (I think it's safe to say because I'm closer to tomorrow than ya'll are!!)

Guess what?!! Yesterday was my 6 months in Hong Kong Birthday!!!! The funny thing is I didn't even know until Sister F., one of my roommates dropped a Maxims Cakes box on my desk and said, "Happy 6 months in Hong Kong Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Considering I was getting a bit down on myself and had a bit of a break down earlier, it was probably the best thing she could have done. The cheesecake tasted American too!!! As in cream cheese with a graham cracker crust, not a sponge-type cake that tastes like cheese (the Chinese style).

I had an interview with President Chan on Monday, this time it wasn't a surprise, and it was at the church, not our apartment. It was really good to be able to talk to him and ask some of my questions. He reminded me that every missionary is assigned to their area by inspiration for a specific purpose and there is someone I need to bless here. That helped me a lot. Honestly, it is hard serving three areas and I get tired and I don't want to do it, but that really puts perspective on things, I think with that attitude I can do a lot more.

I've started choosing one Christ-like attribute to work on each move. This has been good because I can try to build longer-lasting habits. I have a "Mission Plan" with my goals for each of my moves written out. When I decide on an attribute I write it on my plan. It has been amazing to see how Heavenly Father has blessed me with opportunities and experiences to teach me this attribute without a whole lot of special effort on my part besides a few personal studies to study that attribute. My Second move I focused on Faith, during that time I had a lot of special experiences with prayer, our apartment was such that I could find time to pray alone in the bedroom or office.  My third move, I focused on Charity and I was companions with Sister H. who is the most charitable and serving person I have ever met, I was constantly looking for ways to serve and help her and other missionaries. Then I decided even before moves calls that last move I would work on diligence. Then I got called to an area with 3 wards and we live in a 4th area. That taught me diligence FAST!!! because now every minute means soooooo much more. This move I've decided to focus on Humility.  That scares me every time I pray for it, but at the same time I'm excited to see what I can learn this move and how I can improve and come closer to Christ.


1 - Did Y. from your previous area get baptized?
No, but I talked to her the other day and she said her plan was: Get baptized, go to BYU Hawaii, go on a mission (to Chicago so she can serve in our ward), come home, finish college, get married to a priesthood holder (I said in the temple? and she was like YES!!!!). That made me soooooooooooo happy!!! She is just waiting for her parents to come around, but they are changing. Her aunt commented the other day on how well behaved she was and her mom said it was because she was going to church. Pray for her.

2 – You mentioned Park & Shop and Mannings in a letter what kind of stores are they?
Park and Shop is a grocery store. It's all over Hong Kong!!  The Super Park and Shop is smaller than Kroger though.. . funny huh? Mannings is like a Walgreens.

3 - What is Gai sih?
The Gai Sih is the Wet market. We go there for our veggis and fruit. It's sooooo fun. There are soooo many different kinds of fruits I don't know the names of all of what I've tried, but when I have money I try to branch out from the easy apple orange and banana options and try the pink fruits with green hair, the things that look like plums with oranges on the inside and dragon fruit!!

4 - What is a bundae?
Bundae is pinyam for the Cantonese word for "Native" so someone from Hong Kong. Obviously very valuable when it comes to reading writing and speaking Chinese, but we don't have one in our area, Heavenly Father is blessing us!!

5 - Have your Communication Disorders classes helped you with Cantonese? I just wonder if knowing the anatomy of the mouth has helped you with the new sounds that you need to make.
Well. . . I think it would it I remembered more, it took Sister K. and I a good half hour to remember what Alveolar meant, so it's not great. . . If I remembered the part of speech anatomy where we talked about sounds in different languages it would help a lot. It will definitely be interesting after my mission!
6 – In several pictures, you and the other missionaries are holding two fingers up by your cheeks, like a peace sign. Does that have any special meaning?
Just an Asian thing.. . I'm not actually sure other than they all do it.

Oh no!! Time's up!!! I love you!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Miracles are happening everyday here!

Hi Everyone!!!!

Congratulations on school being over!!!!

Yes, Elder Oaks came to visit this week!!!  It was really cool, but over in a blink of an eye! When I shook his hand he asked where I was from and he knew where Ottawa was!!!  Did you know he studied in Chicago a while ago?  I didn't!!  Sister Oaks said she had a very nice time in Joliet.  She is so cute isn't she?  Did you notice he uses an iPad?  He talked about when he was studying in Chicago, they crowded around a small black and white TV (about the size of his iPad hahaha) he said one of his friends said, "One day technology will be used to spread the gospel in ways you can't even imagine."  It's true isn't it!!!  As he said this, he was reading his iPad in Wan Chi, while I was in Kowloon Tong watching it on a broadcast, and texting one of our investigators on a cell phone so she could find us!  Crazy isn't it!!!  They encouraged us to think of questions before the devotional, not to ask Elder Oaks, but so that we could be in tune with revelation as he spoke.  I really felt my questions were answered through his talk and the other speakers.

A.H. got baptized on Sunday!!!!  That's 2 baptisms in 2 weeks in our Tai Wai ward!

Miracles are happening everyday here! We've been particularly worried about 3 of our investigators who have a lot of belief in the Church, but not a lot of "faith that leads to action." On Sunday we decided to fast particularly for them and this week we've been able to schedule all three of them and all three lessons have been really special and exactly what the investigator needed!!  Wow!!!  AM (our recent convert) helped us fellowship today.  She is AMAZING!!! Our investigator is having trouble sacrificing some things so she can come to church and AM shared how she is studying for a HUGE test that she will take in July.  She had the choice between attending a class on Sunday with a Chinese teacher, or an online class with an English teacher.  She took the online class even though her English is not very good. She said it's been hard, but her English has improved A LOT! and she knows that Heavenly Father is blessing her for keeping the commandments!

Ok Questions:

1 - How do you compare in age to the other sister missionaries?
I'm average, most come when they're 21

2 - Did any of the other sisters in your apartment get transferred?

I heard a talk by Elder Bednar in the MTC that said that we don't always know when we're receiving revelation, but "if you be a good boy or a good girl" and try to keep the commandments you will be in a position to receive and act on revelation and you might not realize until years down the road that it was revelation.  It's soooooo true!!!  I really hope that I am in tune enough with the spirit to allow this to happen for me and my companions!
Exciting news!!!  Our Tai Wai ward is having a musical night on June 9 and gave missionaries 20 minutes to perform!!  Yikes!!!  President Chan talked to us (on 2 different occasions) about how he really wants us to seize this opportunity.  We were thinking about it last night and we decided to tell about the restoration in 20 minutes through song and recitations (kind of like music and the spoken word).  I'm sooooooooo excited!!  Especially since it's the kind of thing where we only really have to practice it once or twice all together because we already know how to sing hymns.  I started writing a script this morning, I'm soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited!!  I think it will be really special if we can do it right!

On that note, I plan to buy a Chinese primary songbook so I can write in the pingyam? I figure it's the kind of thing I'll use for the rest of my life.

Ok I better go so that I can send pictures!!! I love you!!!!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Mother's Day from Hong Kong

Kasey called from Hong Kong on Mother's Day. We got 2 short audio recordings of her speaking Cantonese. Technically, they are video recordings, but we were just talking to her on the phone, not by video.1 -
2 - (audio starts at about 30 seconds)


Ahhhhhhh Best P-day ever!!! Sister H. and I hiked a BEAUTIFUL mountain this morning, It took about 2 hours to get to the top and when we got there it was beautiful but too foggy to really see anything. We were singing a song for Sister H.'s video camera when the fog started to clear, I can't wait to re-watch it! It was beautiful!!!!!! I took a few pictures, but unfortunately I forgot my card reader.  Sorry!!!!! Next week, I will send them for sure. We stopped at the American store near the trail head and bought pomegranate and aloe juice and none other than WHOLE WHEAT PASTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We got on the bus with shaky legs from hiking so much, super happy and totally and completely in love with HONG KONG!!!!!!!!!!!!

After that a member chang’d us out at this Spaghetti Restaurant that also sells Japanese food.  I had fish curry and rice and a red-bean shake.  It was delicious. That makes Chang-out number 5 for the week and 1 of 2 today. Speaking of Chang Outs, Heavenly Father is blessing us! Monday I knew we had a Family Home Morning at 10 and then Yam Cha at 2.  We didn't even start eating at the FHM until 11:30 or 12 because she taught us how to make these Chinese rice roll refreshment things. I have the recipe and a sort of translation, so hopefully I can make them at home. Anyway, we had to leave for district meeting before they could feed us TOO much. Then Yam Cha at 2.  I was getting nervous because they ordered a TON of food, and the members didn't seem to be eating that much and one of the Elders was sick. Well, we started eating and it was like the loaves and the fishes in reverse! All of the sudden the food was gone!!!! I was full but not bursting at the seams! Our Chang Out on Tuesday had to cancel and we were able to have a rest and the Chang Outs yesterday were actually pretty pleasant. I'm learning new ways to be polite and build relationships with the members without eating everything they put in front of us. It sounds silly, but this week was just a simple testimony to me that Heavenly Father is really taking care of us, in every way.

Actually to tell you honestly, I was a bit stressed out Sunday night. We had been running around all day and I knew that this week was going to be super busy and that people were going to want to feed us A LOT! We got back late from the My Conversion Fireside that they have at the end of each move (transfer period) and had just enough time to plan and get ready for bed. We hadn't had much time to talk about the week. As I was praying I pretty much "dumped" (as Nathanael would say it) on Heavenly Father and told Him how stressed I was about the week and I wasn't sure how we were going to do everything and eat everything we needed to. I don't know why I was freaking out so much, but as I prayed "I am a Child of God" and "Walk Tall You’re A Daughter" came into my head. It was just a great reminder to me that Heavenly Father loves me, He is behind me and if I rely on Him everything will work out. It also reminded me again that these are His children here in Hong Kong.  Whatever trials I face don't matter as long as I am trying to help them know mine and Heavenly Father's love for them and to serve them as best as I can. It's so simple, but I slept peacefully after that, and it really has helped me have fire and happiness this week.


1 - Do they celebrate Mother's Day in Hong Kong?

Yes! Actually it was pretty funny, we had an investigator come to church in Sha Tin.  During Sacrament they gave all of the sisters gifts, when they gave me one, our investigator looked at me with huge eyes, "You too?!!!!" I was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO No way!!! I'm just unfortunately over 18 so I get thrown into this group. Sister H. fought her gift a bit more, but I got a sweet grocery bag out of the deal, so I'm not too ashamed. Our Ma On Shan ward gave us body wash. It was pretty funny to have the Elders give it to us the other day!  Haha!

Oh I forgot the most important news of the week! Sister H. and I are staying together for another move!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wahoooooo!!! I'm so excited! I've seriously been praying for it! I have learned so much from her this move. She is just such an incredible missionary with an amazing fire and desire to serve, and yet we have a blast!!! There have been numerous times where she says something and then we both just laugh uncontrollably.  It's usually on the MTR or a busy street which is even worse because we have to try to contain it!!!  Hahaha!  There's always the Macau wild card and Sister D. comes out in two weeks, so who knows one of us might be booted out, but for now we're safe!  (Barbara’s note:  Macau is unique because a missionary can only stay in Macau for as long as their Visa is approved.  The time period often depends on how the officials feel that day.  Sister D. is currently serving in Macau, but is expected to be required to leave in two weeks which means that another sister will need to be transferred in to replace her.)

We went to visit Chan Baat in the Hospital on Monday, it was really neat, he can't hear well, so it's really hard to communicate with our broken Chinese. He can't read either, but Sister Fe. gave him a pamphlet just so he could look at the pictures. We sang “I am a Child of God” in English, (we couldn't remember the Chinese) and he just looked so happy!  Sister Fa. is starting to record his stories when they go to meet with him, and as she was talking about this we realized we have a sister in our Ma On Shan ward who just has an incredible conversion story and story about being a member of the church in Hong Kong. We're going to meet with her and ask her to record some of her stories for us too. Sister Fa. is just amazing to realize these people have such great stories but they're not recorded yet! We're still working on how we can get them written down and translated, and of course all in our "free time" hahaha but I'm so excited!

I'm so happy you had a good Mother's Day, it was so great to be able to talk to you. I really look forward to your e-mails every week and hearing how you are all doing. Good luck finishing school and starting the summer!

I love you!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Umbrellas are maufaans!!!!!!!!

 A grave cite, I think for ancestor worship

 A village that we visited
 A stove in an abandoned house

Hi Everyone!

Wow, a rare P-day! I got to sleep and write a letter to one of my friends serving a mission! I also cleaned the bathroom a little. These things never happen on a P-day! It was sooooo great!
I ran into a group of about 8 deaf people traveling back from mainland the other day. They were spread out over the car of the MTR, but still talking!!! I got up the courage to ask one of them if they knew ASL, he didn't, but directed me to another man. His first question was "are you deaf?" When I answered no, and he saw that I was a missionary he said, "I have my church, that's enough Thank You," and obviously didn't want to use his pationce on a girl whose ASL is slow, tedious and "sounds" like Cantonese. But it was fun to try!!! There's a deaf ward somewhere here, hopefully I'll get to serve there!!
This morning we went to visit Chun Baak, he is a 102 year old that lives in an abandoned villiage on the top of a mountain in our roommate's area. One day some elders "tracked" (I'm not sure how, it's a half hour hike) into this villiage. Chun Baak has believed in Christ, but wasn't baptized. Well, the missionaries taught him and he was baptized at 99! He has this car/bicycle thing he made to ride down the mountain for food and stuff, except it's broken right now.  He has 2 phones; they're broke too; there's a tv in front of his house and a washer next too it, apparently they're broken as well. So we can't get in contact with him, we just climbed the mountain and at his house yelled, "Chun Baak, leih haih mh haih dou a? (Are you there?) Sadly, he wasn't today, people are starting to remodel the village so he has neighbors now.  They think he's in the hospital, the other sisters are going to try and visit him today, I hope he's alright.
Miracle!!! Last night I was calling some of the people that we've contacted this week. One lady answered and started speaking English because she wants to practice, she said one of her friends said that our church was evil and that we have "another Bible" well, I luckily was able to switch back to Cantonese (I don't know how to do this in English anymore) and explain about the Book of Mormon and invite her to read it and find out for herself (she already has one).  She really wants her daughter to have a church to guide her and help her make good decisions and she's coming to church with us on Sunday to see what it's like!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got off the phone and squealed because we really have no investigators in one of our wards right now, ahhhh!!!! I'm so excited to see her!!!
Talking about her daughter just made me remember, have you seen the new For the Strength of Youth pamphlets?!!!! Sooooooo cool!! I didn't realize how out dated and unappealing the old ones were until I saw the new ones.
1 - Did you get a straightener and hair dryer? 
Yes, together both were $40! Thank you!!! I was proud of us for finding them.  There's enough hair salons in Won Kok and they were all pointing to the same little store so we just kept asking in different salons until we found it! We couldn't even remember the word for straightener! hahaha
2 - Culture this week? 
Umbrellas are maufaans!!!!!!!! Everyone uses them in the summer so they don't get dark, but that makes the streets a ton more crowded!!!
3 - How is the healthy eating project going? 
Not so good, some one has fed me cake every day this week. . . but I've also been slaking off a bit on my own too, I've got to start keeping up again. But on the other hand, on my own time I'm eating healthier than I ever have in my life!!!   I can't be doing too bad, I'm almost halfway through my mission and Iive stayed aroung the same weight. There's enough AMAZING fruits and vegetables here that you can experience exotic food and be healthy at the same time.  This week should be interesting, tomorrow we have a chang-out then Monday we have 3!!! including Yam Cha, (they feed us TONS of refreshment type egg rolly foods, yummy but not healthy) and one on Tuesday. I'm pretty much only buying fruit and veggies today!! hahaha Other sisters tell me Heavenly Father answers prayers for good appetites so we can build a relationship with the people, and I am praying hard!!!
4 - How's the weather?
It's getting HOT!!!!! Whooooooo!!! I hope I'm ready!!
Ok, I'm going to send pictures. I love you all sooooo much!! I am so excited to talk to you!! I pray for you and hope that everything continues to go well. Thank you so much for your love and support this is really the best BEST thing I could be doing ever! The Gospel is true! I know it! Jesus Christ Lives and He can help us everyday to overcome our weaknesses and trials. Heavenly Father loves each of you so much and He is more involved in our lives than we'll ever realize! He hears and answers our prayers.

I love you!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Brother Fred

Hi Everyone!!!

The English fast doesn't include e-mails or phone calls home, but we kind of died at district meeting on Monday, we had a testimony meeting and one of the Elders in our district just got to HK and then the toliet overflowed Monday night, and our fast died there.  Not to mention, a lot of our members and investigators speak to us in English and we don't want to deny them the opportunity to practice because they don't get to speak English with an American very often.  It turned into us speaking Cantonese to each other and English to everyone else sometimes.  A little backwards I know, but I thought it was funny.  Now that we know what an English fast is like, we're going to try it again starting tomorrow.  
1 – Anything new about the culture this week?  
Well, we found a gecko in our apartment the other night!!!!  I was a bit jumpy that night, but after talking to the natives we've realized it's a choice of 1-2 geckos or 2 inch long cockroaches and mosquitoes. . . . that wasn't a hard choice.  His name is Brother Fred. . .

The Chinese don't like the sun!  There are so many umbrellas out in the summer!  it's hilarious!!

– I always hear that Hong Kong is pretty safe.  Have you seen that is true?  Have you had any problems?  
It seems pretty safe to me, we're obviously careful, but we went contacting at about 8 the other night and I didn't feel any safer or less safe than any other time of the day.  There's crazies like everywhere else, but there's also a TON of people.
Well, AM is baptized!!!!!!  It rained like crazy on Sunday morning.  It was a "Red Rain"  and they even canceled church for a bit until almost everyone showed up anyway and they decided to have it.  By the time church was over it was cloudy and beautiful.  AM said she got up that morning and saw the rain and was worried if she would be able to get baptized.  She said she prayed and felt peaceful and knew she needed to get her daughter ready and go to church.  The baptism was so nice, it started a half hour late because her husband couldn't find the chapel, but he eventually found it, and all was well. Of course, you can never have a baptism with out at least a little opposition.  We hope her husband comes around soon so that their family can go to the temple next year!!!
Tuesday we went to a wetlands park with our Sha TIn ward.  Ward activities are pretty different here.  First of all we had a bus like a double decker street kind reserved for our ward.  Second, we all went to this wetlands park which is like an arboretum/zoo about the wet lands in Hong Kong.  Third, we had several tour guides that took our ward around and the whole ward had lunch at the "Cafe de Coral" inside the park.  Crazy huh?  Our tour guide was pretty funny.  Of course we didn't understand much of what he was saying, but we did understand a little.  Regardless, he would stop every few minutes and shout a synopsis in English to us!! hahaha he apologized at the end of the tour for not doing better, but I thought it was great because I got the main idea and didn't have to listen to the whole presentation.  We actually saw him while we were out finding the other day!

They're considering increasing the amount of money missionaries are given each month so we will have a bit more money to spend on healthier foods.  Well they've asked for one person from each zone to keep track of their expenses for the month and I've been asked to do it for my zone!!!  It is funny because I get "made fun of" a lot for eating so healthy and because I actually use the budget that is written on the back of our reimbursement slips for travel.  Hahaha!
We've been teaching R's new wife English (she's the one from Vietnam)  It's is soooo fun!  Her English has gotten so much better just from when we first met her.  She is 23, so just around our age!  We gave her a Vietnamese Book of Mormon.  Even before we started meeting she started reading it with her English one to help her learn.  We taught her Wednesday and she said, "When I read this I feel. . . Happy!"  "Sometimes I think Vietnam and I sad, then I read and I'm happy!  Don't miss home!"  Wow!! She also said she knows that if she's good and listens to God's word she will go to Heaven.  That was probably the highlight of my week just hearing her simple testimony and feeling the spirit so strong even though she couldn't speak much English.  We taught her to pray in English the other day and she was sooooooooo excited to learn!!! 
The other not so spiritual highlight of my week:  AM left her stroller in Sha Tin after her baptizm on Sunday, so we offered to bring it back to Ma On Shan for her, because we were going from Sha TIn to Ma Oh Shan on  Wednesday.  Well, after we finished teaching R's wife Elder M. was intent on buying us sisters ice cream, but we had to take the stroller because we didn't have time to go back to the chapel.  Of course the Elders wouldn't let us just pull the stroller either.  Elder M. unfolded it and put his backpack in it, until a popoh was like "It's too early to have a baby isn't it?"  After that we convinced him to fold it up PLEASE!!!!  hahaha we were sooooo happy to get rid of the Elders and just pull the stroller on our own, it was so much less sketchy.  hahahaha
This week I've been studying the Atonement in my scripture study, I've spent three days on it so far and I still have a ton to learn!  I'm focusing a lot right now on the Law of Moses and how they represented Christ's Atonement with animal sacrifices and how that can apply to me now.  I'm really excited!
Well, I better go, I'll include a few pictures today!
I love you!!!