Well family and friends its been a fun ride with the Devils this year but I think it’s time to say “next year we’ll have a lot of people back”…sad, sad, day. What if we just hadn’t lost to UCLA and Missouri? What if University…. Yay for next year!!! Well it was a pretty eventful week in Hong Kong and a very busy week, which is always nice. Busy weeks go by quickly. Slow weeks just seem to go on forever!!! But you just have to keep pushing forward through all those long days and then relish the good moments of a mission!!! And let me tell you… one of the hardest things to do out here is remember all the experiences and miracles that happen because there will always be more! As long as you’re looking for them they will come! So anyway… Monday we went to the Hong Kong History Museum of Naval Defense! It was actually pretty cool and the view was super cool except for the fact that it was so foggy! That’s the thing about Hong Kong, sometimes there is just a fog that is just horrible! And it turns out that last Monday was just one of those days where the fog came, and the fog stayed! But it was so cool to see all the stuff that they had from like 600 years ago and what they did to protect Hong Kong back then it was really quite interesting! They talked about the Opium War a lot and it’s really cool to see the different perspectives on wars depending on which side of the war you are on!! The were saying how bravely the people fought but the tyrannical forces were just too overpowering and stuff like that…very interesting…(There were actually two Opium Wars – one from 1839-1842 and the Second Opium War from 1856-1860. These wars were between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China who fought over trade, diplomatic relations and the administration of justice. The Treaty of Nanking, which ended the first war, was not really satisfactory to either side and this led to the second war.) The most one-sided part of the museum was the section on the Japanese and World War II. I never knew this but the Chinese do not like Japanese people at all! Like the pictures they had and the movies they showed were just crazy! And they even had a whole level of the museum dedicated to Japanese propaganda and the disasters that came from that! But there were some really cool stories about how people escaped from the Japanese. I guess they started invading the same day Pearl Harbor was attacked so it’s very interesting to learn more about wars!! I’m collecting quite a lot of pamphlets about museums here!
The “Most Interesting Thing Eaten” award for this week might beat them all. This week we went over to a member’s house, the Lau family, and had dinner with them. They are super cool like all the members here! But they love to just push missionaries to try new things and so they convinced me to try something that in English we would call the “10,000 year egg.” It was very interesting to say the least. I really think this one might take the cake – except cake doesn’t even sound appropriate for this situation since cake and the “10,000 year egg” are two completely different things. It’s this black egg that’s been fermented and such…oh ya just look of this bad boy and you’ll see what I’m talking about for sure! I know I never want to try that again. (Okay so I took the bait and looked up the “10,000 year egg.” I found that it is also called “The Century Egg” and it is a Chinese cuisine ingredient made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. During the processing the yolk becomes a dark green to grey color with a creamy consistency and the odor of sulpher and ammonia. The white becomes a translucent, dark brown jelly with very little flavor. It is the alkaline material that transforms the egg and the process originated because of the need to preserve eggs for a long period of time without refrigeration. The primitive method of preservation is still used but science has discovered that soaking the egg in a brine of salt, calcium hydroxide, and sodium hydroxide for ten days followed by aging for several weeks while wrapped in plastic achieves the same effect. Here are a couple of pictures of the “Century Egg”)
Look up this thing too. It’s called “28 flavor soup.” I tried that this week too…also not good at all! But compared to the”10,000-year egg,” it’s like a nice, ice-cold Dr, Pepper! (I had a much harder time finding information on this soup. I think it is a Vietnamese-inspired fish soup. This might be a picture of it and then again it might not.)
The good news is I found out that China actually has Dr. Pepper!!! I had one for the first time in 5 and a half months (that long?!!!) and man was it ever good! (This IS a picture of Dr. Pepper – apparently they did not change the look of the can for sales in Hong Kong!)
Did I tell you that I’m learning how to play the piano? Well I mean sort of… I just pick it up on my own and the progress is slow but its good! So on Tuesday I actually played the piano for a baptism here!!! The Mandarin missionaries here get what we call “mainland visitors” and it is people who are here for just one day and get taught the gospel and get baptized all in one day and then they go back to mainland China! A lot of them know everything about the gospel before they get here and they just need to come to Hong Kong to get taught by missionaries. So we went to one of these baptisms the other day and yes my friends, I played the piano with no mistakes!!! Definitely a miracle. But mainland baptisms aren’t very well attended. Want to know the attendance? I’ll tell you. The two missionaries being taught and then us two…. ha-ha but it was probably one of the best baptisms I’ll ever attend even though I only understood like 15% of it (did you read that? Cantonese speakers can actually make out some Mandarin words especially gospel words so that’s cool!!!) Then while the new convert was changing clothes a member waiting for institute to start just walked in, we asked him if he knew Mandarin. The answer was of course yes, everyone does here, and so when the just-baptized girl came back in a random guy that hadn’t been there before gave a talk about the Holy Ghost and then she received the Holy Ghost right then and there!! This was a really, really, really amazing thing.
On Thursday I got a new companion!!! Yep, Elder Broderick left to go serve in the International Ward where he will go to church 6 days a week! My new companion is Elder Christensen from Nebraska! This means I’ll be at least a quarter of the way done with my mission without having a companion from Utah! 4 companions, none from Utah! That’s crazy – especially for the Hong Kong mission where probably 90% of the missionaries are from Utah. He is a redhead, which amazes everyone on the street, and it helps us out so much!! Ward members were asking to touch his hair and were just amazed by it. It was really funny. This is his first move being Senior Companion so I take this as a sign that I need to step up to the plate and become a different missionary. It was easy to let the guy who knew more Cantonese than the Cantonese (honestly he does…) (Kyle has always said that Elder Broderick had an incredible knack for the Chinese language.) to do all the talking but now I’m the missionary in the ward that has the most experience in the ward (including the sisters) and it is actually a good feeling. It’s just different not being trained anymore – I can’t wait!!! He seems like a good guy, he’s just different (let’s face it everyone from Nebraska is different) – just kidding, I only say that because all the Elders think it’s crazy he’s from there! Like seriously some people don’t know where Nebraska even is!!!) But I love him! He has really good stories to tell and I can already tell he’s a hard worker who will get things done! We are doing everything we can to have a baptism this move. President Hawks wants 50 baptisms this month and next!
I have to go! But one quick story! I met the Kienes on Saturday! They live in Chris and Jennifer’s ward!!!!! (Chris is my brother and he lives in northeast Mesa. It is a small world!) They came and picked up their daughter, who is actually Taft Peterson’s (Kyle’s friend from high school) cousin or something like that! But ya really cool!!!!! I took a picture with them and told them to say “hi!” I love you all! Cant wait for next week when ASU…uhh plays again… ha-ha. Remember the Lord knows all and wants to help you through trials! I love you!! Keep writing and sending pictures! I love pictures!!!
P.S. I could use hairspray (aerosol hairspray is one of the few things I can’t send!) and any other surprises you want to put in the package!!!