Salutations & 2013 Greetings!
Hey there you little cutie cutesters! It's me just writing here from the magical world of Hong Kong. So good to hear from you & see via the pictures what you are up to. Okay, I am not going to sugar coat it. This week was hard. Hmm. No one is surprised? Well it was hard but of course Heavenly Father blessed me far more than I deserve. He answers prayers in ways that you never expect but are better than you could ever imagine. Shall I elaborate? Okay. Fasten your seat belts!
I think the hardest thing for me is my inability to express myself the way I want. I am just so impatient & want to know the language now. Dad, do you know what I'm talking about? I just want to understand, relate to, & talk to these people instead of having them give me blank stares because I mess up on words or the tones. I do have faith however, that it will come. I just get so easily frustrated with myself because I feel like I'm not reaching my potential because of the language barrier. I know, I know, I've only been here one month but things just aren't clicking & I don't know why. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions? But thank you so much for your love & prayers on my behalf. I'm sorry to complain! I just don't want to let the Lord down! I have never felt so humbled & I know that's why I am learning Chinese. I pray that I can learn it as quickly as the Lord sees fit just because I want to help & love these people. If the Lord needs to, He can take it all away from me after the mission. I know sometimes it's easy to think "It will be so cool to be able to use Chinese after my mission..." But I honestly don't care about that. I just want to be able to communicate with these wonderful people as quickly as possible. They need this message!
Tuesday we went on a Loih Hahng. The Chinese people love them. LOOOOOOVVVVEEEEE them. ha. There isn't really a literal English translation but what they are is like a little day trip. Tai Wai ward planned it & about 200 people came. Sooooo many ward members brought their friends (non-member friends, BOOOYAA) So they 4 buses (like unto the buses we use for Choir Tour) except for since people here are Chinese & small by nature they squeeze a whole extra row of seats on one side.. yep. It makes for a cozy time!
Anyway the first thing we did was go to a Strawberry Patch. Hahahaha. Talk about getting away you know what I mean? Young & old alike were just loving picking all the berries, & then basically paying a small fortune to buy them. They were way expensive! Which is strange because fruits & vegetables (actually food in general) in Hong Kong is SO CHEAP. For example, a huge bag of carrots is $5. Which is less than $1 in American dollars. Anyways back to the Loih Hahng.
After everyone had had their fill of strawberries, we went & ate Chinese vegetarian food at a Buddhist temple. Sure this was a ward activity so it only makes sense to go & eat & a Buddhist temple, right? Okay I don't know if you knew this but the Chinese love love love Tofu. I'm working on loving it because right now the texture & mystery of it makes me feel a little queasy. But I think happy thoughts whenever I'm having a hard time getting anything down. The food wasn't too bad & the Buddhist temple was really cool. We actually didn't eat inside the temple, but in this shack pavilion thing right next to it. This one non-member man said I was using my chopsticks like the Japanese do & tried to teach me the Chinese way. haha! I couldn't get it. Aww well. As long as I can get food into my mouth using them they should just be proud of me, right?!
After the mystery veggies, soups, & tofu at the Buddhist temple we went to.... you guessed it, a Tofu factory. HAHAHA. I just told everyone I was way full & tried to meander from table to table so I wouldn't have to, I mean get to eat any. Then we went to some specialty food shops. I didn't buy anything but some parents were going WILD. People kept offering (forcing) their snacks on me. Dad, I don't know if it was this way in Japan but did people love like little fishy crackers & eating seaweed for snacks? Because they LOVE that stuff here & offer it to me constantly! Haha. We ended our day at a noodle shop & felt successful as missionaries because we got lots of member's friends phone numbers. It was awesome. But I was completely exhausted!
Our investigator Lulu finally came back from visiting her family in Mainland. (also side note, New Years wasn't really a huge deal here. Their big New Years celebration is next month & I think lasts 10 days. I will keep you posted because apparently it is quite the fun/wild time) ANYWAY Lulu... have I told you about her? Talk about a prepared girl. We started teaching her my second day here in Tai Wai & I love her so much. On Saturday we taught her the Plan of Salvation & I had the idea to take her to different rooms in the Church to help give her a more visual as we explained this lesson to her. I think it really helped & I of course love anything that spurs creative thinking. I gave her the invitation to be baptized & she accepted!!!!! She accepted her goal date of February 10th. She is coming with us to Family Home Evening at the Bishop's house tonight so I will get a picture with her. You would love her.
Our other main progressing investigator Ammon, needs some prayers. He is so funny. Yesterday he told us how he loves stretching. hahaha what?!?! he kills me. Anyways I think he has received an answer that this IS the true church but he is just having a hard time wanting to change. And I feel him. Change is so hard. But his conversion will take time, & that's okay. I'm happy to be apart of this process & teach him why he needs this gospel. I know once he gains his own testimony he will be one fire cracker member!
We are having a hard time finding people to teach & I don't know why. We contacted this man on the train the other day & he was literally glowing. It's so fascinating & humbling how many times when I get on the train the Spirit literally makes some people glow to me & I know I need to talk to them. We shared a brief message with him before we had to get off. When we called him to schedule him this past week he turned us right down! This happens time & time again. Which is so hard because you know they felt something but then they deny it for whatever reason. Anyway, pray that we can find more people to teach this week. I really want to. So bad. I have never wanted anything more. So even though it is a little slow, I have faith & KNOW we will find some more prepared people this week.
Final miracle that I will share this week. I have a testimony that there is at least one verse in the Book of Mormon that is written specifically for our potentials, progressing investigators, and less actives that will convert them because it answers the question of their soul & then the Spirit testifies to them. This week we visited to elderly women in the ward who was experiencing health challenges. In Personal study I read Alma 14:13. It is a pretty bold scripture & at first Sister Nielsen was a little (understandably) nervous about sharing it but as we testified to her that her life does have meaning & a purpose I saw her whole countenance change. It was incredible. That wasn't us. It was the Spirit answering the question her soul longed to know. She started crying. (Which is huge because Chinese people do NOT show emotion like that) and she even came to church yesterday. I love being apart of missionary work!
Okay family, I love you allllllllllll sooooooooooo much! I hope you are happy to be back in school & just loving all the many things you are involved in.
I testify that this work is God's work & I am nothing. I am simply very lucky to have the opportunity to wear Jesus Christ's name on my name tag & proclaim this gospel. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know Joseph Smith restored this true church on the earth today. I know God hears & answers prayers.
I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Paahk Jimuih