February 2, 2014
Well since it’s only the year of the horse once every 12 years you can only say this phrase one every 12 years! It’s literally translated to Dragon Horse Energy but it’s like what you say to old people to have energy and be healthy this year. Ha-ha! It’s just one of the weirdest and the best Chinese traditions! It was a great weekend and today the festivities continue but most people have to go back to work. Since schools have this week off, anyone that can still be in mainland, is in mainland. This is the holiday where the old married people walk around to us non-married folk and give us red-pocket money! (I explained this tradition last year in the “Happy Chinese New Year” post. As Kyle said older married people give the younger unmarried people money contained in a red envelope. The tradition brings good fortune to both the giver and the receiver but the money amount must end in an even digit. Odd digits are associated with funerals.) Whoever invented the holiday where you just give out free money has the right idea for what Zion should be like! Ha-ha…stupid missionary joke…anyway it was very festive fun and the color red everywhere! Everything you could see was red, red, red! Also it’s the year of the horse so I thought for sure the Broncos would win but in mom’s email to me she said they were down 29-0…. what a heartbreaker (He is talking about the Super Bowl game.) I wonder if ESPN knows its the year of the horse… probably not… that is too bad. It would make for a good story line.
Anyway do you want to know another tradition for Chinese New Year’s? Good! On day one of the New Year, you can’t take a shower!!! It has something to do with like cleaning out all the bad things about the old year and then starting over. (I looked this up and actually the tradition is that all cleaning should be completed – including showering and washing your hair – on New Year’s Eve. This is so that you can clean-up all of the bad luck from the old year and get rid of it but you do not clean on New Year’s Day so you can preserve the good luck a new year brings with it. Makes perfect sense to me.) It just doesn’t make sense. Why would you not want to be clean on the first day of the year but wait until the second day? Oh well. We do as we please here! Saturday was our deep clean and for such a small apartment, it took so long to clean! It took about 10 hours! Multiply that by by 4 Elders and the result is a brand new apartment! It looks very nice and very clean! On day 1 of New Year we also cleaned the street that leads to the church. Everyone just throws their garbage away on the street and this time it took 8 missionaries 3 hours each to clean one road. And then the next day the trash started to show up again! Some people! Church was good but only an hour long. In total Elder Welker and I got 360$ of red-pocket money each and the other Elders in the ward got about 200$ each!!! Let’s just say the missionary fund is going to be 360$ richer this week! We tried not accepting it but since it’s like a custom, the mission told us to keep them and well, yay!
This week was a great week for the zone. Despite it being the week of the New Year, almost every companionship had at least one investigator at church and about 4 or 5 more baptismal dates were given out this week! That is awesome and I’m very excited to see it. The reports I got this week were really interesting. Companionships are still trying to apply the principles discussed at the last zone training meeting! I’m not surprised that they are doing this. But they are actively reporting that it is working well for them! I feel extremely blessed to be in this zone and be able to witness miracles that are going on everywhere. This is a great and blessed place!
We went on exchanges with a District Leader we have. He has great understanding and is a very positive missionary. He really cares for the people and is optimistic for the future. That’s exactly what I need to be more like. It was a great exchange this week! We even found a mother and her son who said they would come to church and have been looking for another one to go since their current one switched days and they can’t go to church on Saturday! I’m excited and we’ll see what happens!
This week the work was a little rough because most of the investigators went to Mainland. Between doing service, exchanges, language pass-offs, and deep clean we didn’t have a whole lot of time for finding but it was still a significant amount and we saw great success like the mom and her son! I feel a little burdened down just because the investigator pool isn’t where it needs to be but I am confident it will keep on coming! We were planning on giving Kim a date this past week (for the second week in a row) but at the last minute she couldn’t meet, a member’s sister who we were planning on for church was out of town still and we will invite Brother Wong (an investigator for awhile) to baptism again this week! It’s going to be a great week and even though its busy, it will be fruitful. I am confident. John is doing excellent but not ready for baptism yet. He and Kira started off a good friendship! For the first time teaching a lesson, Kira did amazing!
I love you all! The pictures are of one of THOUSANDS of shops you see out on the streets and how hazy it is at 6 o’clock at night!
I love you all! I can feel the spirit in my teaching more than ever! It’s like a new channel has been opened and it is just so clear to me now! I love you all!