Elder Kyle M. Allen in Hong Kong

Read all about Elder Allen's adventures as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints in Hong Kong

Language Limbo

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January 26, 2014

Before I even begin I just got some crazy news that Jacob Porter is engaged?! Is that true?! (Yes apparently it is true!  One of Kyle’s good friends is engaged!) What the heck!!! That is so crazy!!

Anyway hello everybody!  What a great short week it was. (Remember he wrote just four days ago because of his trip to the temple last week.)  So much has happened in the last few days! But the biggest is just this realization that I’m in a language limbo.  I seriously am.  I can’t write in English anymore.  Well, I mean of course I do but every single sentence has some type of error in it. (Can I get an “Amen?”)  It’s freaking me out. I just am so frustrated with myself how bad my English is.  But then I find myself in a weird situation because Cantonese is just so hard!  Now this story is really embarrassing but you have to know when you “pick up new words” in Chinese you basically just have to hear them and then guess what they mean and then remember them forever.  Well this week I remembered a word I heard that is a special word for the second day of Chinese New Year (which is this week by the way!)  Happy year of 馬 (horse)! I told you a little bit about the Chinese New Year last year so I tough I would write a little bit about the “Year of the Horse.”  People born in the year of the horse are good communicators and enjoy being in the limelight.  They sometimes even talk to much but they are cheerful, talented and perceptive.   They are also independent and rarely listen to advice.  They also have bad tempers.  Some celebrities that are born in the year of the horse are Kobe Bryant,  Paul McCartney, Rembrandt and Oprah Winfrey.)  (馬可 is also the translation for Mark in the Bible ha-ha!)  Anyway back to the story.  So I heard the word once and then after English class, I went to ask an investigator, “What are you going to do for the third day of Chinese New Year?” (As you may remember the Chinese celebrate the new year for at least a week – sometimes closer to two.)  I wanted to see if there would be enough people to have English class this week, but instead of asking how she is going to celebrate, I asked her (this is a rough translation but its something like) “What do you do when you take off your clothes?”  Freak.  They sound just so similar but because of it everyone got the good laugh and blah, blah, blah.  So embarrassing.  So whenever you learn something in Chinese…make sure you KNOW it! Despite that setback, the language is coming along fine – don’t worry.  I don’t even know what language I dream in (supposedly that’s a measurer?)  I don’t even talk in dreams I think…my dreams are in limbo as well.

Well, besides that it was a good week!  We got invited to this awesome Sister’s house to share a message. Her house (or rather apartment) was so nice!  It’s like the 27 stories high on the side of a mountain!  She is an awesome member and is very gung ho about missionary work.  At the activity she hosted and we shared a message at, she had about 4 less-actives attending and one non-member!  And that was basically it (except for President Chan’s wife who is just as cool as he is).  Anyway so that was exciting.  It’s too bad because the air pollution is horrible lately!  This sister is single but after church I noticed her and the 1st counselor who is divorced were talking.  I told Elder Welker about it later as a joke and he just said that both of them are nice so they probably just had a chat.  Anyway, that night he comes and helps us for a lesson and BOOM.  They are engaged.  I’m calling who is getting married now.

What a great week for missionary work in Sha Tin.  The area is really starting to pick up.  You could say that new investigators come out of nowhere, or lessons just pop out randomly but that would be a lie.  Heavenly Father is picking up the work here and taking full steam ahead.  Things with investigators are going great, especially Sunday. Both of those things happened that I just mentioned.  We literally had people show up “out of nowhere.”  It started with Kim who is doing wonderful.  She has started reading the Book of Mormon and came to church for the 3rd time in a row, this time wearing a full on skirt and jacket without anyone asking her to!  And then as we see her walking up to the church, we see that she brought her boyfriend to church as well.  It was a little awkward because that is the boyfriend that she apparently broke up with but now they are good.  Anyway, they enjoyed Sacrament Meeting and such.  We had a plan to confirm a baptismal date with Kim yesterday but since she brought her friend it will have to wait until next time.  She is staying in Hong Kong for the New Year so it will be a good time to do it.  She has already made a couple of great friends and informed them she had to go to school so she couldn’t go to all of church with them.  She was once an “I don’t know how long this is going to go for” type of person and now she is a “Wow, she is super solid and bringing referrals with a baptismal date” girl!  It is amazing and just a miracle what is happening. The only bad thing is that we didn’t get to teach her this week but she already said how she’d come to church this next week.

You just never know what will happen on Sundays here!  Every Sunday morning it truly is Christmas, you just receive some things you do expect but then are blown away by the tender mercies of a loving Heavenly Father and his miracles.  This is especially true here in Sha Tin.  Every week leaves me wondering “What can the ward do this week?” and every week it’s just amazing.  This week a member came up to us and told us that she had called a former investigator last night and that she was going to come to church today!  It’s amazing! And so Karen (the former investigator) came, and the member just came up to her and told her to sit with their family!  The only bad thing was that she had to leave early too, but too many events like what happened at church will make you go crazy!  Things are really starting to get good here!

Kira is doing awesome as well.  She is coming to church every week still.  Her story is she dropped her friends and job so that she could come to church and be baptized.  Then after awhile she picked up new friends. However these friends also didn’t want her to go to church and come out and “party” and “have fun” instead. Kira told us how she doesn’t hang out with them either.  It’s kind of a weird situation because since we remind her of what is right and what is wrong, she gets mad at us when she just stays at home and doesn’t go to the parties with them.  Often times she is mad at all the church members, but every week she is keeping the commandments, doing the “hard things,” and at the end of the week she is friends with all the members and us again.  It sounds like what happens with all my 5 sisters.  (Kyle will make a great husband someday!)  I’ve seen it enough to not to worry, it’s just another day.

We had a great day with John as well.  He shared a powerful story with us.  Background is that he came to church (the Sabbath Day lesson got through to him – YES!) but after church around 5 he called us and said he needed to talk.  We were worried but he’s doing well and in 2nd Nephi so we didn’t know what to expect.  His fellowshipper took away time with his fiancé to come help us teach.  In it he talked about how he was engaged and then she broke it off so he came back to Hong Kong in December.  He was having a really hard time with depression and found himself on the computer a lot looking at pictures of them.  He was walking one day, really depressed, when he met us.  He heard we were a cult in college but wanted something to help cheer him up.  He accepted our offer to give him a church tour and ever since then he has noticed that every time he meets with us all these hard feelings go away.  Sunday night was an especially hard day for him and so he called us.  We had a great lesson and it’s one of those lessons that is a “breakthrough” lesson.  Sitting and listening to him and the former bishop discuss the gospel was awesome.  I’ll never forget that experience! And then he made his decision to stay in Hong Kong for another 6 months and not go back to school yet just so that he could hear the gospel.  It was so scary.  It felt like signing day, and John put on the right hat (do you understand that analogy? It was so intense!!!). The gospel keeps people from going to school- both missionary and non-member!

I love you all! Thanks for everything you do! I’m out of time but I’ll talk to you later. Have a great Chinese New Year!

Elder Allen



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