Family, Hello! Okay sorry I am so vain & sent a thousand globs of pictures of basically myself. (Notice the views from my window in my apartment. Can you say hello Cement Jungle?!!! Also the other picture is from the inside of our church building. Notice the picture in Hui Jimuih's house. She is the Relief Society President, she had us & the Elder's over for FHE... Check out her house. Yes yes I know!!! No words.) Anyways. I need help. But there you have it. Yes yes I know I need to get a new camera (these pictures just aren't that great of quality) but let me add my witness to anything every missionary has ever said, there is no time on P-day! And today is no different. Aw well. Actually could you help a sister out? I think I want to get a Canon camera but I have no idea which model. Mom could you do a little research before Sunday (your time) & figure out maybe what a good model to get that could still do some good effects would be? That's not too bulky, reasonably priced, etc. I will try to get one this coming Pday. You're right Mom, pictures are so important!!! (The boy's eyes are rolling hahaaha)
Okay!!! What a week & some odd days it has been. I love missionary work but it is the hardest thing I have ever done mentally! Bahhhh. I love it though. I love the miracles that I am lucky enough to witness every single day. it is so incredibly humbling to be a missionary in Hong Kong speaking Chinese & just loving my life. I've said it once & I will say it again, I'm scared every day but I have never been involved in something where there is just so much at stake! Salvation is no small matter!!!!
The Hong Kong Temple is absolutely beautiful. It is pretty small but I loved it there. It was so quiet and peaceful and perfect. The session was actually in English. I wasn't expecting that. There were only 40 seats for the whole session (went ahead & counted because I knew Mom would want to know & we all know the stories are found within the details!!) & the Celestial room was breathtaking. This church is so true!!! Please pray for Sister Nielsen & I to find & be able to teach a family. I had an interview with President Hawks today & he said that he has been praying for us specifically to be able to find & bring a family unto Christ before Sister Nielsen goes home. Which is no small statement of faith because she leaves in 7 weeks. I have faith that we can find them. I know they are out there. I can't wait to find them & tell them that they can be together forever. Which brings me to my next point. Thank you for your support. It's so comforting to know that even though we are thousands of miles apart we are still united in the same purpose & that we through Heavenly Father's plan can be together forever. Thank you for your prayers. I hope you know I pray for your happiness & success every day too. Families are just so hard to find & teach in Hong Kong because typically the dad of the family is really opposed to religion aka Change. But with God, nothing is impossible! We will find them.
Okay so due to Chinese New Year we had to move Lulu's baptismal date to Feb 17 but she is still good with that. There's a lot at stake though because our lesson tomorrow is about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. She will need to come to church every week for the next 4 weeks if she wants to be baptized on the 17th. She usually has work on Sundays (huge problem for lots of Hong Kong people) so we need to teach her why this is so important. AHHHH. For anyone who has seen "The District Season 2) PMG training DVD's (McKay just you wait you little pre-missionary, you're going to LOVE them. And no this is not sarcastic I am 1,000% serious) Lulu is our German. Aka the Golden investigator. Has a heart of gold. Tells me to speak to her more so I can practice my Cantonese. Prays sincerely. Reads the Book of Mormon. Has questions. Service oriented. Yes she is basically Mary Poppins. I have faith we can help her see that coming to church isn't about sacrificing work, it's about receiving answers, developing faith, and coming closer to Christ.
My biggest miracle of the week came during a 2-3 hour finding session. Tai Wai is less "city" but not as country as the New Terroritories. But it's nice because the air is clear & we honestly couldn't ask for better weather. Sorry about all your inversions!!! That sounds awful. Also, I hope you all get well soon! Being sick is miserable. Okay what was I saying? Ok yes. Miracle. So I'm sure last week you were all like "sweet, same old Ashley complaining about her lack of skills/ability to speak Cantonese..." but it's on my mind a lot. I'm used to being a good communicator & it's hard not to get frustrated. I just love these people so much!
Anyway during our finding session we chose to go knocking doors! YES! I know. How fun right? I didn't know I was going to be able to do this in Hong Kong. They have these little villages (I don't know what other word to use for them!) that we can do it in. I need to take a picture. Some of them ARE QUITE THE SIGHT to behold. Anyways, there we were just going about & there was this girl leaving one of the homes & we stop & talk to her. Her name is Karita. She's 19 & we end up teaching her the first lesson on a bench right outside a big Buddhist temple. Family, I witnessed a miracle. When I spoke to her & shared my parts, no matter how small & pitiful they were, her eyes lit up. Not in an "about to laugh" sort of way (because trust me I see that every day!) but in a way that the Spirit was speaking through me & teaching her something that my words, even someone with perfect sounds & tones Cantonese could never do. The Spirit bore witness to her & I saw it. There are so many times when I try to talk to people & I am met with blank & sometimes even cold stares. But not with Karita. I was so humbled to be the Lord's instrument & tell her that God's Church has been established on the earth today by Joseph Smith & teach her the first vision. I love teaching! I want to do more of it!!!
Here are some tid bits that are floating in my mind that I find humorous & would love to share:
-Uncle Fritz would love the shoes here!!! Every where I go people are wearing the craziest things! My favorite thus far was a woman who was wearing basically a toboggan on each foot. Not just a sled. Yes a wooden toboggan. Can't wait to see those hit the American shelves.
-The Chinese love waffles! They have these ones that have peanut butter & sweetened condensed milk in the middle. I think I need one right now actually. Also- they have these dangerously delicious bakeries that are so so cheap! (we're talking less than $2 for two huge rolls/buns, the waffle is like $1.20 in American dollars) They are so good. They have these coconut flaky things that just make my mouth sing!
-I love teaching English Class. We have it every Saturday and we rotate with 2 other companionship's for who teaches it but it is honestly the life of the party. Great missionary tool as well.
-You may have noticed I have used my Christmas money & put it to my wardrobe. You're not surprised. Everything is just so cheap compared to America. The shirt I wore to the temple today? Less than $7. NAILED IT. hahaha.
-I love our ward here in Tai Wai but they crack me up. Lot's of women in the ward (like probably 75% or more) do not wear skirts to church. We have jeans, sweats & leopard pants aplenty. hahaha I don't get it. But it's just kind of strange.
Family I am so blessed to have you & your emails. Thank you for your support! I will be better at replying to you on Monday. Just an FYI I don't know if it will be in the Morning or afternoon yet... I kind of hope I do it in the morning so it can be when you are all awake & we can have a little online chit chat. Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for your uplifting emails & inspiring messages. You make me want to work harder & be better. I know this church is true. I know Joseph Smith restored it on the earth today & that the Book of Mormon is true. I know Heavenly Father knows, loves, & hears our prayers. Can't wait to talk to & hear about you on Monday!!! Send more pictures!!!!!
Love you so much!!!!!
The view outside their apartment.