Monday, October 29, 2012

"Hong Kong Style Fishing"

Hi Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna,

Yikes! Time is flying sooooooo fast! Can you believe it's already November. Hahaha I don't worry about running out of money for food by the end of the month anymore because the end of the month always seems to be "next week" It's good to hear so many good things are going on at home! I'm glad Savanna's recital went well! and that the football team is doing well! hahaha And Dylan's home! That's so weird!

This week was a good week. I just realized how good it was last night. President Hawks talks a lot about "assists," like in basketball the person who hands the ball to the one who makes the shot is just as important as the one who shoots it. Their job to find the one who can shoot the ball is as hard if not harder than shooting it. He said that the same things applies to missionary work, sometimes we have "assists" meaning we find someone, but another set of missionaries end up teaching and baptizing them. Those are just as important because our pupose is to bring others to Christ, not to have a list of people we baptized. Anyway, so yesterday I was thinking a lot at church about how we could do more to strenghten the area, because we were busy all week, but somehow still, no one was at church. Thinking about what more to do is always hard because there's always the question, "is it me that's keeping the area from progressing? Do I not have enough faith?" and obviously we need to be humble enough to let the Lord turn our weaknesses into strengths, but Satan will do everything he can to make us get discouraged and feel like bologna, which isn't good either. Well, I was thinking last night as I was writing in my journal and realized we've had at least 6 good assists in the past few weeks!!! Miracles that either lived in other areas or for other reasons we felt it would be better for the Elders to teach them. Whenever we're finding or studying or planning, I've never felt like what we were doing was in vain, but I wasn't exactly sure what Heavenly Father had in mind, now I know!!

Saturday night we had a Book of Mormon Fireside with the stake. It was kind of like a roadshow. Each ward was given an assignment, dancing, singing, a movie, acting and one ward did a backdrop for picture taking. The missionaries in our zone also did a skit. It was so fun! We pretended we had a zone find focusing on sharing the Book of Mormon, and then as we were finding we had a lot of people reject us. For example people answering their phone while we were talking, Sister Lier and Law tried to help an old man carry some bigs bags, but he wouldn't let them. Sister Lin and I found someone doing Tai Chi and while we were trying to do it with them, we gave them a Book of Mormon, but she tried to give it back. Then 2 elders finally found someone willing to listen and started singing Book of Mormon Stories, when we finally finished singing we found out he only speaks Mandarin!! Of course all of us Cantonese speaking missionaries were devastated!! The Mandarins however were excited and took the person and started re-singing Book of Mormon stories, but in Mandarin this time!! hahaha the funny thing is, most people from Hong Kong know both Mandarin and Cantonese so it's really only missionaires who have this language problem!

A cute sister in Ma On Shan, paints shoes as a hobby, when I was with Sister Kelly, we complimented her on her shoes and then she asked our shoe sizes. Yesterday I got an adorable pair of shoes with blue flowers painted on them!!! And a note saying, "may God bless you in your missionary work" I'll send pictures! I love them! and it's so nice to wear fun shoe, not running or dress shoes!

Last Tuesday we had an Elders Quorum activity in our Sha Tin ward. (I know, Elders Quorum is for the men, but one of the member's girlfriend and the other's daughter would be there, so they invited the sisters) It was a lot of fun! We went to Hong Kong University of Technology in Sai Kung (you should try to find it on Google it's a cool campus!) and went fishing and had a BBQ! It was "Hong Kong Style Fishing" or maybe just "cheap style fishing," but it was fun. Instead of poles, we used plastic handles like the ones used for flying kites, but instead of kite string it was fishing line with a hook at the end. Then we'd throw it into the water and wait. . . unfortunately the Elders weren't very good and kept losing the bait, so the fish weren't that hungry. haha
Questions -
1 - Once Thursday rolled around, did it feel odd not to have Pday? 
It was a bit weird because we don't have regular activities during the day on Thursday, but other than that it was great! I really like the new arrangement.
2 - Have you received your absentee ballot?
I haven't yet, but I'll let you know!!!

I think that's it for now! I love you all sooooo much and hope you have a great week!



Monday, October 22, 2012

"When I'm free I pray"

Hi Everyone!!!
Sister Hinzte called last night and we realized that I'm now what we call "The Tolo Harbor Queen!" There is also what we call "The Tolo Harbor Curse," which means there tends to be a few missionaries who are called to serve in Tolo harbor and then stick around for a long time or are called back later. Hahaha so I've been in the Zone longer than any of the sisters (or Elders even I think!) haha so I'm wearing the crown!

Saturday night we had a Halloween party with our Tai Wai ward! I think I included a few pictures! It was a lot of fun! We played a lot of games and we had some investigators there!

Friday we went to visit A-l and A-y. It was so fun! They are the cutest! We talked again about prayer because they were still treating the prayers a bit like the prayers used to worship Chinese gods (that's how Sister Lin described it, they were concerned about saying everything they had written down while we were teaching them) So we explained again that they could pray about anything and that they were praying to Heavenly Father. A-l said she has been praying all week "Dong ngoh dak hahn jouh keih touh" "When I'm free I pray." I asked her if it was everyday and she said, "haih-ah! hou do chi!" "Yes! Lots of times!" We asked if she had ever prayed before and she said no because no one had taught her! Wow! I'm excited to keep meeting with them! We hope to watch Finding Faith in Christ with them on Wednesday!

We went with our coorelation brother to visit a twelve year old girl whose mom is a member. She is so sweet and smart! It was really fun to teach her!

Sunday the Tai Wai elders had a baptism. It's this cute 8 year old boy, who smiled and said hello to to Elder Farnsworth on the street last move. He and his mom came to English class that week and came to church at every opportunity after that! Amazing right? The boy and his sister were baptized on Sunday! It was so awesome!

So I've heard of seedless watermelon, seedless grapes, pitted prunes, boneless chicken and boneless fish, but did you know that there are also boneless chicken feet?!!!! Sister Lin made one for me today, it was sure interesting!  I think I like them better with the bones! (It makes the cartilage not as prominent and crunchy!) Usually I'll try to eat one if they have them at chang outs because unless it's a really good and tender foot, it takes me a while to eat it (thus, I don't have to eat as much!) If it's tender, then it tastes good and it's still enjoyable!
1 - Have you received the Absentee ballot application?
Yes and I sent it back on Thursday.
2 - Have you been able to run lately?
We get out about 3 days a week, which has been just enough. I've gotten pretty good at indoor cardio as well and I've been holding up which is a blessing!

hmmmm.. . I think that's it for this week!! I love you all!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

It smelled like a good old American Linger Longer!!! yummy!!!

Hello Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna!!!

Happy middle of October! (Already!! Can you believe it?!!!!)  Time is flying so fast!

General Conference was so nice.  I love that we HAVE to attend all the sessions we don't have any other option so we had lots of time to learn and receive personal revelation.  I don't think I've gotten that much out of conference before!  It is amazing I had several questions that I was praying about before conference and ALL of them were answered several times throughout conference.  I thought it was really cool how many talks on Sunday (afternoon I think) talked about following the Savior.  Of course that's who I've always tried to follow in my life, but it reminded me of the importance of serving with all my heart might mind and strength not only as a missionary, but for the rest of my life.  However, my favorite talk was by Elder Nelson.  Of course because it's about missionary work!! Actually, can you post it on my blog for me?  I have never heard missionary work described better.  I feel like this is the best way to describe what I am doing right now (second only to experiencing it).

1 - Will the change for P-days affect your departure date?  New date? 
No and No
2 - How did it go with the 2 girls from China? 
It was sooooooo awesome!! They got here Friday morning and left Sunday evening and we taught them 3 times!!!!  They readily accepted everything, and it's like it's kind of their plan already to get baptized because they've seen how it's blessed their aunt's and their families already!  The only problem is because when they were not meeting with us they were doing vacation stuff with their family, they "didn't have time" to pray and read the Book of Mormon!!!!! That's DISATEROUS!!! These are the two most important parts of conversion!!!!  Well, I'm praying they used their time on the bus home wisely :)  We set them up with pamphlets about the last two lessons and instructions for how to find the church in mainland and how to go about finishing the lessons and getting baptized when they can get a visa to come down to HK again.  It was interesting because their Aunt who helped us fellowship is from HK, but lives in DC with her husband now.  Her Husband is from CA and served his mission speaking Cantonese in Toronto!  Crazy?  So we had this tall white American guy help us teach!! It was kind of weird!!!

Yesterday we had a special sister's meeting!  It was really neat to have all the sisters together for a few hours.  President Hawks is looking at rearranging some of the areas so we only serve in 1 ward and wanted our feedback. We also got to have a Q&A session with him and Sister Hawks which was great!  We got to hear how they met and all the fun girl questions that we never have time to ask!!!  They are both such great examples not only as missionaries but as people who devote their lives to serving God.  I really hope that I can learn to develop that faith and dedication in my life.  Lunch yesterday was great!  We had. . . . . . . drum roll please. . . . . .  . a SALAD BAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  complete with CHEESE!!!!  salad dressing, TACO MEAT!!!  and all the other toppings you could imagine and rolls with cheese cake for dessert!! It smelled like a good old American Linger Longer!!!  yummy!!!  

We had soooooooo many miracles last week!! 2 weeks ago we had 2 older ladies show up at English class and then come to church on Sunday.  We couldn't figure out  how they found out about English class, but 3 years ago one of them met the sisters.  Then, last Friday we were meeting with one of our members's mother who the ward wants us to start visiting and she was talking about a woman who would take her daughter to church.  I thought she was talking about a member and could not figure out which woman she was talking about.  Then we realized it was one of the 2 ladies who came to English class!!! How cool?!!!  They came again on Saturday, and afterward one of them was talking about a picture of Christ in the for Strength of Youth pamphlet we used for our spiritual thought in the class.  Then I said something like, "do you think we could teach you a little more about Jesus Christ and teach you how to pray?"  She agreed!  There were just 2 other young women at English class so we all sat down and had a lesson about prayer.  Their names are A-l and A-y.  They are both from Tailand, but can speak Cantonese.  A-l was so excited to learn to pray and write it down in Tai so she could read it later.  A-y was having trouble understanding, but one of the Young Women that was with us spoke another countryside dialect of Chinese that A-y also knew!!! Perfect!!! We are supposed to meet with them again tomorrow!!  I feel like things are starting to move forward with the work!  I'm sooooo excited that we can have more people to teach and help learn about Jesus Christ!!!  

Thank you sooooo much!  I love and miss you all and hope you have a great week!!! 


PS, just a reminder, I have P-day on Monday the 22 now!!! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tomorrow we get to teach two girls from mainland!

Hi Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna!

General Conference hasn't happened in Hong Kong yet!! It's this weekend at more normal times! Not to worry I did hear the announcement!! Crazy huh?!! Actually I didn't believe it at first because I heard about it through a text from an elder. Then later I heard it from President and Sister Hawks (I believed it that time!!) That's soooooooooooooo exciting!!! I've been thinking about Kelli and Nathanael all week! I might have to get a job at the MTC just so I can "happen" to see them on a regular basis! At the very least I won't be far away!!  Missionary work is going to EXPLODE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was wondering what's going to happen with the freshman dorms at BYU without as many 18 and 19 year olds to live there? Maybe it'll become an MTC extension the MTC was already bursting at the seams when I was there! The excitement is the same here! Already several young women names came to mind. Some can't get into college so they are working until their missions. Hong Kong needs more sisters so I would imagine the rest of the world is the same too!

(Barbara's note:  At our church's worldwide General Conference on October 6, President Thomas S. Monson announced that the minimum age for our youth to serve mission has changed from 19 for men and 21 for women to 18 for men and 19 for women.  This gives our young men and young women greater flexibility as they decide when to serve a mission.)
1 - When and where did you watch conference? Did you get to watch in English? 
Uhhh. . . haven't watched it yet, but yes, we'll get to see it in Enlgish!
2 - How are your clothes and shoes holding up?
Good! I finally threw out a shirt the other day.  I realized that I was not representing the church well because it really was in bad shape. I'm not sick of my clothes yet, I'm trying to wear through what I have well so I can justify leaving as many of my mission clothes here as possible and bring back the cute stylish things that I wear for baptisms, mission meetings and that I want to wear after my mission too.

So last P-day Sister Lin bought a bag of something at the ga sih. That night I saw her pop a few in her mouth as we were planning. I said, "What is that?" she looked at me sheepishly, "uh. . . pig ear. . . " me: "WHAT?!!!!! You can eat that?!!!" Her: "Sure!" and handed me one. I'll send pictures. It was pretty gross honestly I would rather eat cow stomach or chicken foot. I don't remember how it compares to intestines! hahaha

Tomorrow we get to teach two girls from mainland! They are the nieces of one of the sisters in our Sha Tin ward and have interest in the gospel! Their native language is Cantonese so we can't turn them over to the Mandarin Elders!!!!!! Yay! I'm so excited we're meeting them tomorrow and just introducing ourselves and teaching a little about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and prayer.  We are meeting again on Saturday to teach the first lesson! They are in Hong Kong for 3 days! This is such a cool opportunity!!

Wednesday we have a "Sister Counsel" it should be really neat !  Just the sisters get to meet with President and Sister Hawks. 
Starting on October 22, P-day will be on Mondays! Crazy right?! It should be really good though it makes so much more sense! It will be that way except for when we go to the temple and then it will be on another day. I'm not sure how often that will be or if I will know beforehand.

Ok I think I better go so I can send you pig ear pictures!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

"It's not healthy to eat too much!"

Hello Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna!!!!

Happy Mid Autumn Festival!!!! It was great here and we have more food than we can ever imagine!!! 
This week has been busy!!! We went to a wedding Saturday morning for one of our ward members. It was fun to see. They have to get married civilly in the chapel before they go to the temple here, so we attended the ceremony in the Kowloon Tong Chapel and the reception afterwards. They had a lot of family and friends there so we were able to talk to some new people. After that we went to a cooking activity and we made donuts and lemon bars. The Elders are really good about having cooking activities regularly and are nice enough to invite us! Then we went to English Class and that night we celebrated Mid Autumn festival with one of our Tai Wai members and her family. It was really fun and they didn't feed us too much!! One sister even said, "tell me when you're full.  It's not healthy to eat too much!"  Hahaha Sunday we got to visit the Primary President and Bishopric Counselor and their family in our Sha Tin ward. It was really fun!! We already had a dinner appointment, but she wanted to feed us so they fed us dessert soup, AND cinnamon rolls AND ice cream mooncakes! They are a super sweet family and it was so great to visit with them! That night we had dinner with the Mission Leader in our Tai Wai ward. Their house is really cool!! Their bed pulls down from the wall in their living room so it's a living room with a couch and TV in the day and a bedroom at night. Also, they have an office, but can pull out beds from two places and move the desk around to make another bed. The desk also rolls out of the room and expands to become an extra dining table! The Hong Kong people really know how to be economical with their space!!! They have to be, these apartments are TINY!!!!!
Questions -
1 - There was a ferry and tugboat collision in Hong Kong that made it in the news here in the States. Over 30 people were killed. CNN reported that the people on the ferry were employees of Hong Kong Electric that rented the ferry so that the employees could watch evening fireworks. The ferry was heading from Hong Kong Island to Lamma. It sounds like it was pretty bad. Did you hear anything about it? I hope that you didn't know anyone that was involved. 
I just did! We were walking into the library and saw a group of people in black listening to sad music facing a flag at half mast. We were like. . . that's weird. Then we walked in to the library to see all the workers frozen like a Improv Everywhere dealio. Then we saw a sign that said they were observing a moment of silence for the people who died in the crash. So we observed it too. Thanks for the extra details. I hope I don't know anyone who was involved either. 
2 - Does P-day feel like a day off? 
Never. . . haha studies, e-mails, groceries and then it's over!! hahaha
Well, I've got to go!! I love you all sooooo much and I'm excited to see you all sort of soon! (I get to call you even sooner!!!)