March 4, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
Why is it that that all my letters start out with what I’ve been eating this week?! Lately it’s been some pretty weird things…and this letter is no exception. Although nothing new appears on the list this week (there would have been a new one but I avoided a few of the items at the member’s house… they were THAT weird) I was reunited with an old friend this week. A friend that will make you want to throw up almost as much as the new Sparky does… but not quite… (ASU changed the look of their Sparky mascot this week and none of us in the family are very pleased to say the least.) OCTOPUS PIZZA! I was beginning to miss it. That 1000 Island dressing and the octopus and then the Chinese vegetables are really a great combination. Oh gosh – I think my nose just grew from lying! So here’s the story. Elder Li is going home on Thursday ( I’m getting a new companion this week.) and so a bunch of the members wanted to cheng us out… I mean have us over for dinner..$$$. Member food is always so good; it really is I’m not joking! So we went to the Leung’s house and we walk in and there is a carton from Pizza Box! That’s like the second biggest pizza place here next to Pi$$a Hut (so expensive). Score, right?! Well after we started drooling, they opened the pizza box and boom! There was octopus all over the thing! Ha-ha, whatever doesn’t kill makes you stronger right?
Well then the next night another member invited us over for dinner…$$. And we walk in to the house. Boom. There’s something from Pizza Box again! It’s like they’ve had American missionaries over there before. But we open up the pizza box and once again 1000 island dressing with many a deep sea creature lurking in it. I must admit the only thing that I’ve had a really hard time putting down was oysters and I think there were oysters on that pizza or something. I’ve been so blessed here! 7 months in Hong Kong and I haven’t thrown up once. Knock on wood! Oh wait, so if I think about it the main thing on the pizza might have been squid…oh well…you get the pallet.
So this week was a really good week for us! Except for one thing…. Elder O’Gara my other companion for 10 days got a new companion this week! That’s all cool right? Well anyway, background info…Hong Kong is a pretty holy place. There isn’t one person here that likes U of A so far. I mean there are only 3 missionaries from Arizona here; someone from Sedona, someone who went to Mt. View and me… so it’s been a pretty safe place. Well Elder O’Gara gets a native Hong Kong person as his new companion and everything is all good until he walks in that night getting ready for bed with U of A shorts on!!! Out of all the people here a Hong Kong person is the one wearing something like that. I don’t think he gets it though… everyday he comes up to me and says “oh you an Arizona fan too? Oh good. Not cool. But besides that the work moves forward.
I am so happy to report this week that the ward here is doing excellent. I can just feel the urgency to do missionary work and the importance and re-dedication to it here in the ward. Every week they are calling new people to help us have the resources we need whether it is to be a ward missionary or calling people and telling them to be focused on working with less actives and such. I’m really excited for what Tai Po is doing right now and I just hope we can keep on pace with them. I trust in the Lord to help us with that.
This week at one point the ward had nine investigators at church! Eight of the nine attended sacrament as well. It was such a rewarding sight to see all these people sitting with members at church. We have made that a goal of ours this move and its going really good right now. We had 4 people who attended Sacrament meeting and another person who came, but couldn’t stay for sacrament meeting. We started to teach the New Territories Stake President’s niece after church. We hear she comes off and on to church but hasn’t really been taught so we were very happy to see her at church yesterday. We also had two more new people come to church as well. Their names are Sandra and Wilson. Not too much to report on them besides that they said they really enjoyed being at church and that they felt happy feelings while there. We didn’t have a long time to talk to them afterwards but we helped them understand that those feelings come from the Holy Ghost. Although they are both new investigators this week I’m excited for their progression.
We also had a less active come to church that we’ve been working with. Her husband is not a member and while he didn’t come to church she did this week so we are happy to see her there. I’ll be sure to keep working with her.
Our two people with baptismal dates were the ones who didn’t come to church so we’re disappointed about that. Both of them had previously told us they wouldn’t be coming this week however. We taught Patrick about the Word of Wisdom and followed up with him this week. His faith is slowing growing and will need some time but his prayers are sincere. He doesn’t have a strong testimony of Jesus Christ as Our Savior yet so we are really focusing Book of Mormon reading and the lessons on Jesus Christ. He’ll need some time but we are still progressing towards April 28th as his goal.
One other person has accepted the invitation to be baptized. His name is Jyu Jung Him. Although he hasn’t agreed to a particular date yet he recognizes the importance of going to church, so that’s good. He’s read up to 1 Nephi 17 in the Book of Mormon and remembers some things about it but doesn’t really see the benefits of reading the entire book. We focused our lesson with him on ‘likening the scriptures to our lives’ and challenged him to pray before he reads and think about how the scriptures apply to him. We were very happy to see him at sacrament meeting yesterday.
I’ve really been focusing and praying for charity lately. Slowly but surely I have seen a change in my heart not only for other missionaries but also for the wonderful Hong Kong people. The members have sacrificed so much to not deny the faith. Hearing their testimonies just makes my testimony of this work’s truthfulness grow. I find joy every single time I see a member and I think at the start of my mission I never had the eyes or the understanding to see that. But now even with the brand-new contacts we make I immediately feel a genuine love for them. Like this one woman we met on the street the other day. She was just telling us how she started to believe in Buddhism and why. My heart dropped a little for her and I didn’t even know her really. I wanted so much to help her, and while I may never see her again, that contact will be one I will never forget. I thank Heavenly Father for answering my prayers and opening my eyes and my heart to these people. I still have a long way to go but I know that the Lord will answer prayers in different ways. We just have to keep our hearts and minds open.
Let me talk about persevering through trials before I go because a pretty cool miracle happened this week. Saturday morning was rainy but not too bad so we decided to play basketball. And well…I think I sprained my ankle – pretty bad actually. I took pictures. (He hasn’t sent them yet.) And well…I couldn’t really walk home on my own power. Basically until lunch I couldn’t put any pressure on it. Anyways, we had some lessons scheduled so the work had to go forward! We had to find new people to teach the gospel to. Well I got the power to walk on it…except with a pretty big limp…and we went and taught those lessons. After that we had 4 hours to go finding. Keep in mind this was in the rain and close to dinnertime. Not a good combination right there. I limped the whole day (I seriously looked like one of those 90-year-olds who refuse to get a cane even though they need one) and we just had no success at all. My leg was killing I could feel a brick sitting on my ankle basically and no one would talk to us. It was the longest 3 hours and 45 minutes ever. But Heavenly Father blessed us, I am sure of it. We stopped this one woman who was heading home with groceries. What was her name? Sandra. The one who came to church! We sat down, taught her a 20 minute lesson and she actually came to church with us! I’ll introduce her more as the weeks go by but she is so nice! So moral of the story is “it isn’t always stupid to walk all day on a – I’m pretty sure it’s sprained – ankle.” In fact it’s bruised so bad right now both on the bottom of the foot and above the ankle, which is like, double the size it normally is. Is it getting better? LETS HOPE! (I’ve toughened it out. I don’t walk with a limp anymore) The Lord blesses you if you just do whatever has to be done…despite your challenges. Mine is a small one comparatively but oh well. Just keep going!
Have a good week! Talk to you next week!! I love you!