Ngoh ge gating!!! Leeeeihhh hou.
Greetings from Tai Po Library. Okay so here's something weird to think about: right this very second you are all just sleeping in your beds & it is merely 7:20 pm here in Hong Kong! How are you all? It was so wonderful to hear all of your voices & spend moments with each of you via telephone connections. What a blessing! I hope you all had a wonderful rest of the day & the merriest Christmas ever. Thank you for all your emails & updates. I am sitting here in the library laughing so hard. By the way feel free to listen to this little tidbit. I will be emailing again on Monday morning (hopefully, if all goes as planned) so if you want to try & be on at the same time as me, keep checking your email Sunday night. Just dropping a line there. Feel free to disregard that. But before I move on I just want to say, I loved the pictures!!!! You all are looking particularly peppy & attractive so good work. Also, glad to see your sense's of humor have been nothing but enhanced. Honestly. You are all downright comedians. Stay in my life forever. K- see you there.
I will have you all know that about 2 hours after I got off the phone with all of you (best present ever!) We were cheng-ed out. (when I understand why it's called that I will tell you) Anyway this member couple took me, my companion, & the 2 Elders in our ward out for brunch. The other 3 missionaries were making me all nervous & saying things like: "good luck Sister Palmer" & "I hope you came hungry" & "sometimes these are really rough." Not exactly comforting or encouraging words before going into dine with ward members. So anyway we go into the restaurant & the Chinese couple who invited us ordered SO MUCH FOOD. It was honestly unreal. There was a small turning table on the table & they ordered everything under the sun. Chicken feet you ask? NAILED IT. Yes everyone. I went ahead & enjoyed my very first chicken feet. I've really had worse. It wasn't too bad. Still the worst thing was last week. The cloudy orange flowery jello still takes the cake. I still gag thinking about it. So check that off of my list of tried foods. Also everyone is mildly impressed that I can actually use chop sticks. So thanks Dad! Buy yourself a Subway sandwich as a reward because it's thanks to you your daughter is not starving here in the Hong Kong.
I have so much to tell you & pictures to email so let me just get started here. We have seen so many miracles every day I am having such a hard time choosing what to tell you.
Here's a good one that I meant to share with you on the phone, but somehow forgot! So there we were, on the MTR (very similar to New York's subway system, but I think even more efficient) with an investigator named Jennifer. She is 11 & we are just chatting it up with her on the way home. There is a man near us in a wheel chair that keeps looking at us but we don't want to be rude & we didn't want to stop talking to her & turn all of our attention to the man. So we keep talking & Sister Nielsen says she said a prayer of how we could have a chance to talk to the man without being rude to Jennifer. Well literally 5 seconds later, a man standing near us completely falls to the ground & passes out-- right on the train! Everyone was freaking out, & emergency services were called. The whole train was quiet until the next stop. Turns out the man passed out because he locked his knees, so he ended up being okay. Sister Nielsen & I checked on him as we got off just to make sure everything was okay, & what do you know, the only other man who came to make sure he was okay was the man we knew we needed to talk to-- The Man in the Wheelchair!!!! We were able to talk to him about what our gospel could offer him. It was such a miracle, & it's just one of those moments when you know that you are right where the Lord wants you to be.
Our ward here in Tai Wai is a straight up dream. I told you about the Christmas Party on the phone already, but I didn't tell you about what happened in Church on Sunday. So we were asked to sing with the Ward Choir. We weren't able to go to any of the practices but the Ward Choir director, Tai Jimuih, (my MTC teacher's Mom) is the director. So naturally its going to be a good time. I wish you could meet her. She is fiesty, funny, & has more energy firing up her little body than anyone else I have ever seen. Anyway she asked the 4 of us missionaries to sing the first verse of Silent Night in English, "oooh" the intro to Away in a Manger-a capella, & sing all the rest of the songs with the Choir in Cantonese. Seems harmless enough right? Well keep in mind we are all trying to make a good impression because one of the members of the 70 is in attendance. (And so the plot thickens.)
Well silent night went great, the ooohing not so great because we sang it in a different key but worse things could have happened, & then came the time to sing the final number, a Christmas favorite & classic: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. We were ready to go when a familiar tune started playing that was not what I had previously been told was going to be sung. My first thought, "I didn't remember this tune being a Christmas song..." but I was trying so hard to keep from laughing that I couldn't remember what the song was to try & turn there. The whole choir was flipping frantically & trying to hum along while trying to figure out what song was actually being played on the piano. Well never fear we figured it out just as the last half of the final verse was being played: Hark All Ye Nations. hahahaha. I was dying! And if you could have only seen Tai Jimuih trying to lead us while this fiasco was going on--Oh my. SO GOOD!
But the Ward is so awesome. The Mahk Gaaujyu & Taai Taai (Bishop Mahk & his wife) are so wonderful, & the ward members are really missionary minded. I love them so much. Sister Mahk makes the most delicious foods & they host family home evening at their house EVERY Monday with more food than should be legal. She even makes Western Comfort foods (lihtsi: Homemade Orange Rolls!!!) & they are so missionary minded, it's such a blessing.
I want to share one final thought, I know God helps me when I open my mouth. Coming to Hong Kong, that's been my biggest obstacle. Fear is something Satan works on me everyday. I actually said that in my last email to my mission president & then when I saw President Hawks this past week he said, "Sister Palmer, so you have some fear huh?" I replied that yes, I in fact did. And he told me that he has fear everyday! He said, "Every morning I wake up afraid." It was incredibly comforting. Today, Sister Nielsen & I made a goal to talk with everyone! And what do you know. We saw miracles. We contacted a girl named Serena on our train ride home & right before we got off the train she asked quietly "Leihdeih gokdak ligo haih Sahn ge gaaiwalk?" MEANING: "DO YOU THINK IT WAS GOD'S PLAN THAT I MET YOU????" We told her that we knew it was. I know that it's okay to be apprehensive & afraid but I also know that Jesus Christ & the Holy Ghost are my companions along with Sister Nielsen & they go before my face. I am using the fact that I barely speak any Cantonese to my advantage & as a conversation starter. The Chinese honestly think I am so weird. I think my big mouth & broken Chinese scare a lot of them. I like it.
But I testify that when I exercise small amounts of faith, God gives me bigger miracles than I deserve. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know this church is God's only true church on the earth today. I know there are prepared people in Hong Kong who are ready to change & come closer to Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ. I know that families are forever & Heavenly Father's plan is perfect & he loves all of his children individually.
I love you all so much. Thank you for all your support & love. Thinking about you all at home gives me so much strength!!!!!
Miss You Already!!!
Ashley didn't explain these pictures too much. The one with the pigs is what her whole mission ate together on Christmas Eve. She is pictured with her companion Sister Nielsen.