November 24, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving this week everyone! I’m grateful for the Rose Bowl!! (ASU beat UCLA this week 38-33 at the Rose Bowl to clinch a place in the PAC-12 Championship game.) Which is where we shall go back!! Not being prideful but…faithful is a better word. I mean that’s a full of hope attitude not a definite attitude. Well things are going good there as well as here! We had our ward Thanksgiving party yesterday and it was definitely well attended. Well over half the people there had never eaten turkey before! It’s amazing! And then they watched “The Testaments” and Stephen Lau (the recent convert) was asked to bear his testimony about the Book of Mormon at the of it. It was awesome! He is doing so well! We also had a Thanksgiving dinner at the Yim’s, a member in our ward. She cooked the best Turkey that I’ve had in Hong Kong. And it was the most American food I’ll ever eat. The ward party was still Chinese food (besides the turkey) and I could’ve seen that one coming from a mile away. Although I must say I wasn’t expecting the rice instead of the stuffing. Where the stuffing is supposed to be, there was the rice. Some things will never change. Anyway, Sister Yim’s dinner was awesome and she invited her neighbor over to hear the gospel! That’s like the first time ever that we have gone to a “cheng-out” at a member’s house and met their friends like that! It was so awesome and so much easier! The dinner was just like a normal Sunday dinner…but I haven’t had one of those for 18 months. It was still Chinese portions though. It was like tempting me to eat more, but I know that I shouldn’t. That’s okay. We have the zone’s Thanksgiving this Thursday. 90% of us are Americans. We’re good. I just hope they don’t expect much out of these mashed potatoes…. (Kyle and his companion are in charge of the mashed potatoes for their zone’s Thanksgiving dinner. He has NO IDEA how to make mashed potatoes. I tried to explain it the best that I could in my email to him this week but I didn’t have precise measurements to give him so I can’t be sure how they will turn out. You can read a little bit about his adventure trying to buy enough and get them cooked and mashed in his next letter.)
This week was a good one. Interesting with the reporters following us around. (If you have been reading Elder Allen’s letters you know that he and his companion have had some reporters following them around to learn exactly what it is that they do all day.) I warned them that the Chinese and Americans have different meaning for the word “hike.” Their meaning is a walk. We mean…climbing to the highest mountain in the New Territories and not wasting any time to do it because we are missionaries and don’t have any time to waste. They were wasted…and then we got to the base of the hike. (We learned a little about this when we had a Chinese girl come and stay with us for a while this summer. She didn’t have a lot of stamina either. We wore her out after about an hour at Disneyland and 15 minutes at the Grand Canyon.) But they did pretty well! I was expecting them to turn around but they stuck with it! Besides that, we did a lot of planning. We are holding a big District Leader Training meeting tomorrow that President Hawks wants to go to so we’ve been working with him and the assistants for that. Then our meeting with the Stake President and President Hawks was this week. Between those things we had a very, very awesome week and you want to know why?
Brother Tong, our Melchizedek Priesthood holder that has been less active for 10 years came to church with his wife and his daughter! It was awesome! I think they were a little scared to come for the first time, so they only came for half of church, but that’s better than none! It made the whole week just seeing their daughter come up to tap me and let us know they were there. We were shocked and it was great. We thought they were coming, but since they didn’t show up for a really long time we weren’t sure but then there they were! It could’ve been better with meeting members, especially since the noise level was pretty loud yesterday and his friend had to miss church for the first time since I have been here. They seem to have liked it though. They left pretty quick but said “Hi” to people and shook people’s hands. They’ll come back. You could just see it in Brother Tong’s eyes that it was all coming back to him. That’s a big step. To come back for the first time in 10 years is an amazing thing.
We also met another family this week! They are a member referral from another ward, and mostly have English class interest, but they liked English class so much they were willing to sit down with us at the end and listen to us and schedule to come back. Another ward member introduced us to her friend too this week at a dinner appointment so things are always good when things like that happen. Miracles.
Besides those two stories, there are many more that time does not permit me to tell. I need to learn how to type faster. A Wing, our baptismal date for the 8th is doing great. Ever since he heard the Word of Wisdom, he hasn’t touched tea or coffee. He couldn’t come to church this week, because it was his week at work, but he still is doing great. I hope in the future he will be able to get all 4 weeks of Sundays off, although this is a big step. Patrick, our new investigator from last week called us after our lesson with him on Tuesday and asked if he could be baptized earlier, as in the end of this year. I was amazed! I had to ask him to repeat it two or three times and then tell it to him to see if I was right because I didn’t think those things happened. He originally couldn’t come to church this week because of work but then texted us on Friday saying that he switched with a co-worker so he could come! He wanted to come so bad, but then he woke up with a sore throat on Sunday. That was a bummer, but just a very small setback. I’m excited to work with Patrick.
The ward’s effort for recent converts and less actives is great. A-Hung has received a calling, Stephen was sustained to receive the Priesthood next week and received a calling as the Sunday School First Counselor yesterday. At the ward party he bore a powerful testimony about the purpose of the Book of Mormon. We visited Or Lan this week. I think she taught us instead of vice versa. She shared an experience about how before baptism, she was just concerned about herself, but luckily has noticed that “when she is only in the service of fellow beings” she is much happier. She in fact went out, sold her wedding jewels to buy her soon-to-be daughter-in-law a gift for her wedding. She said that it wasn’t even hard to part with the $21,000 that she traded in. She said that it would be worth even more than that to see her face. It truly will be! The rest of the recent converts are doing well. On the less-active “front” it is one giant miracle. They just seem to come back to church on their own. Every week someone just comes in, sits down and turns out they haven’t been to church in years. This is the case for 4 out of the 6 that were there yesterday. Over this past month they have just come back at some point. It is an amazing time to be here.
I love you all! I’m most grateful for the Atonement. Teaching it makes me realize how crucial it is not to just our Sunday/religious aspects of life, but literally everything. How we are, how we act, and what our attitudes are. It’s been a fun experience teaching it simply (well trying to) and then seeing how much more I’ve learned. Teaching and learning. I know of no better combination. I love you all! One win away. (The Sun Devils still had to play the U of A) But that’s a scary game. I love you all! Go Devils. ASU!