March 23, 2014
It is just crazy what happened this week. Now we all know that Brother Chan is a great guy and the closest thing to perfect as anyone will ever get (did I say how last week in the temple we randomly saw him? He said he had “a little extra time”) and just the perfect example of magnifying your calling. Well this week it was in my mind just a little too far… but that can never happen in missionary work.
So here is the story. The 2nd Counselor in the bishopric and a sister in the ward (the really rich one whose house I took a picture from) got married this week! Congratulations right? (Brother Chan sealed them in the temple.) Anyway, instead of having it be a regular reception and stuff that a normal wedding would have, he turned it into a missionary event! I can’t believe it! I mean of course Brother Au and Sister Tsui were all for it, but he actually decided that the reception should be based around “The Family A Proclamation to the World.” He knew the mission doesn’t really let missionaries go to weddings, funerals etc. but to combat that he had a list of 80 non-members that would go to the reception. Chinese wedding receptions are a little different (or at least this one was). There was a complete program arranged and you came at a certain time, and sat in your seat the entire time until the party was over. Well we called the mission and got their permission then went to the ward activity… I mean wedding. We gave like a 5-minute speech adding our congratulations to the newlyweds and talking about the Family Proclamation. I admit… I didn’t want to do it… but the party was good!!
As a result we met with like 7 or 8 less actives and even more non-members! Actually, two of them came to church the next day for the first time in a long time, and we are meeting with another one tonight! We also met their whole family! It was awesome! And then, Brother and Sister Tsui (now Au) wanted us to be the ones who stayed with their relatives while they were getting sealed. In Hong Kong, you have to get married civilly first (so we were like the shepherds and tour guides, leading their entire family around for the 45 minutes they were gone.) Oh what funny times. A little crazy but overall, if one person was interested in the gospel then it was worth it right? I mean it only took up about 3 or 4 hours! The only problem is…. the interested ones don’t live in Sha Tin. We call those assist baptisms here.
We had our ward conference yesterday. Who knew ward conferences were such a big deal as they are here? There were so many people there! It was remarkable! The whole chapel was filled! Usually it’s about 60 percent filled at best, but this time we brought some investigators in at around 5 minutes before the meeting started and it was packed! We had to sit in the back row (which we weren’t too happy about but at the same time it was a great sight to see.) Usually people are filing in late but when the meeting started, everyone was there! There were some people that came in a little late but the majority of them were even more less-actives and the semi-active members who usually don’t make it to Sacrament! It was so amazing! I think we counted about 17 non-members there and just a ton of less-actives and visitors from the stake. I think the Bishop was about to cry when he stood up for his talk. He was certainly out of breath. He said, “This is what we wanted at the end of the year and look! It’s already happening.” It was an awesome experience for everyone.
The meeting was fine. A good normal meeting, but the whole ward was just excited. We have recently been trying to work with some less-active sisters in the ward. We saw them on Saturday and then it was an, “Oh maybe we’ll come” but the Relief Society was so good that they were both there the next day! We are trying to work as hard as we can but the ward is doing just as much work as us! They are so good! I really love this ward! It has it’s share of really strong, gospel-oriented members. To add fuel to the fire the whole day was centered on the topic that now seems like the topic for every week; hastening the Work of Salvation. What an awesome day! It’s pretty easy to look at the people we had scheduled and see about half not show up, and get down. But yesterday was something special and different. Those feelings were nowhere near our minds. Probably one of the most memorable Sundays of my mission, and I didn’t do anything!
We had a neat experience with another ward’s member this week. Sister Kwong lives very far away from Sha Tin, but goes to school with someone in our area. Bryan is super involved at his other church and has weird views on Latter Day Saints, but she felt like she needed to give him a Book of Mormon. She said this was one of the first times she really ever fasted hard for a missionary experience in her life and his named “popped up.” Well, the day of her fast she went to the cafeteria even though she wouldn’t be eating and was hoping he would be at school that day and going to eat lunch. She sat down at a random table and then to her surprise, 10 minutes later Bryan comes down and sits right next to her! They aren’t friends or anything but he just “randomly” sat by her. She was thankful to have brought her Book of Mormon along and gave it to him! Well he met with us this week (after coming straight from his other church’s services) and it was awesome! He said he’d come to church with us next week! He’s not really interested in joining (yet) but he wants to learn more. That’s a start! Missionary work is just so alive right now!
Karen is doing great right now. She wasn’t able to meet with us this week because of testing, but she came to church early and was wearing a skirt for the first time! It was so awesome! She set a goal to finish reading the Book of Mormon by a certain date (the thing she is lacking on) and she seems committed to it! The ward is doing great things with her! Timothy, the man I had a dream about one night to invite him to church and when I called him the next morning wanted to come, came again and is doing fine! He and his sister Yip Suk Wai almost accepted a baptismal date, but they have both been baptized before and don’t quite understand the need for proper authority. We’ll keep working with them! Yip Suk Wai wanted to come to church too, but she is still recovering from heart surgery so it is too dangerous for her to even leave her house right now.
The zone is just a miracle. Week after week they are just working hard and the blessings of Heavenly Father are being poured around the zone. There are just more and more miracles every week. We just have to work on getting baptismal dates to church! We are bringing an INCREDIBLE amount to church, but we just need all the dates to come now! Everyone is pitching in, doing their part and it’s just one giant miracle. We will see how this last week turns out but we’ve already made about 6 of our 8 goals and are honing in on those other two! It is such a fun time to be in Tolo Harbour! I don’t think I would leave this for anything!!!
I love you all! Go Devils… kinda… oh well. I love every single one of you and am so grateful for you! The work of the Lord brings an indescribable and an otherwise unobtainable happiness that I cant say, certainly can’t type! Have a great week!