FAmily, HI!!!! I love you.
Today is my 2 month mark here on the mission & 2 TWO TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY I will be on a plane to Hong Kong. Is your mind blown as much as mine?!!!! Ahhhhh I am so excited but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I am a tad nervous. But mostly excited & anticipating going to HONG KONG. Is this real life?!
I want to say something smart to you in Cantonese but I am selfish & just want to tell you everything so let's get right in it here. I am so glad you all had a fun thanksgiving & that my recorder made it in time!!!!! I thought about you all on Thursday & gave repeated prayers of gratitude for my family. When the clock struck 3 & I knew that you all were eating dinner I had a small tinge of missing you that was replaced with a happiness to be right where I am right now. I am so grateful to be where I am & that Heavenly Father trusts me with such sacred work.
Before I tell about how wonderful Thanksgiving was here, let me say something, If i may. Being a missionary is better than I could have ever, EVER imagined. Now don't get me wrong, life is not perfect because I am far from perfect. Some days are so hard & others are so good I am overwhelmed by my blessings and the privelage I have to be a missionary and the opportunity to learn Cantonese. Who would have thought I would like rules & being 100% obedient so much?
On Wednesday, in preparation to really appreciate my Thanksgiving, I went out on a limb (just call me a tree monkey) & I did an English Fast. I know. No English for the whole day. What?! Yes. I didn't want to do it, (in case you've forgotten I like to talk) but when the Lord speaks I am learning to listen. My companions & district were simply angels & translated for me. I thought "This will really help me appreciate English..." but what I didn't expect was how much it made me even more grateful for ALL I have learned & how much I love Cantonese. I felt like it helped me grow so much & the whole next day my first instict was to try to say things in Cantonese. How does God love me so much? I don't even know. But I am doing an English Fast again tomorrow & I know that when we exercise even a little faith God produces huge miracles.
OKAY THANKSGIVING AT THE MTC IS A REAL LIFE DREAM COME TRUE. It is a spiritual party & pure magic. Let me go on a semi-worldly tangent here in an effort to paint an accurate picture. Imagine going to Christmas at Hogwarts. (Do I have Wade's attention?) YES. It was that good, and more. After breakfast we waited in line for 2 hours so we could get a good seat for the Apostle Devotional. I nominated myself to be the entertainment committee (& of course Sister Larson assisted me) so we played all sorts of games while we waited. (drawing game, don't eat the turkey aka don't eat pete, the ABC gratitude game & bouncing a bouncy ball & everytime it bounced you would have to say one thing you were grateful for.) All, at least I would dare to declare, were wild hits & made the time go by fast.
Eventually they opened the flood gates & the 2 thousand missionaries squirmed in a less than orderly & non-quiet-dignity fashion to get good seats. All our waiting paid off & our district got awesome floor seats! As we sang the prelude music & waited to see who was here to speak to us, the door kept opening & I would stretch & squirm to see if I could see who it was. About 10 minutes before 10 I almost had to be revived via smelling salts because I saw the profile of the one & only JEFFREY R. HOLLAND. My prayer of seeing him in person as a missionary had been ansered. He, his wife, & their grandchildren gave us a wonderful Thanksgiving program. Him & his sweet wife were both very emotional as they delivered their addresses. They said we were their adopted children for the day. One of his granddaughters told a funny story about how she called her grandpa (Elder Holland) in September when she had decided to serve her mission. She asked when she would be able to put in her papers. He said "Well you won't be able to until April but I think it wouldn't hurt to get them done & just be prepared..." She was like 8 months early?! but then of course after conference it all made sense:) Haha.
When Elder Holland spoke the spirit that touched me so powerful & electrifying. I know he is an apostle of God. His remarks focuses on how little moments build a testimony, we have a lot of work to do as missionaries, the opportunities we have in this dispensation everyday that some people don't have in a lifetime. He bore such a powerful testimony about Joseph Smith & the Book of Mormon. I need to just copy down my notes & send them to you. It was so good.
The rest of the day was awesome. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime, we were able to help set up & do a fun humanitarian project to benefit people in Mali, Africa, we went on a slightly brisk but delicious temple walk, Sister Larson & I ate our Thanksgving day dinner sack lunches in the cute pajamas her Mom sent us (Thanks again!) & OH MY HECK. Heavenly Father must have known that I wouldn't be able to go to Temple Square this year so HE BROUGHT THEM TO US. The MTC is covered in Christmas lights & they turned them on Thanksgiving night. I about passed out & my eyes were watering! That night they also surprised us with bags of sweet popcorn bigger than our heads & we watched 17 miracles. It was such a fun day. I had a lot of time to reflect on you all, my gratitude for my Heavenly Father, & Jesus Christ's atonement.
Family, I love you all so much. Thank you for ALL your letters, packages (EVERYONE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVED THE CRESCENT ROLLS, I was an obese American & ate 5 of them for dinner instead of my sack dinner), & for all your support. I couldn't be here without you. I know this gospel is true. I know Jesus is the Christ, the Book of Mormon is true & Heavenly Father answers ALL OF OUR PRAYERS. Pray changes things. I know it.
I love you alllllll sooooooooooooooooooooooo much. I pray for you, & I cannot thank you enough for your sacrifices for my behalf!!!
Love, Paahk Jimuih