Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Latest from the HK

Ashley's latest email. She has had quite a week.
:Family!!!!! Yooouuuwhhhhoooo! Hello--it is 9:13 am HK time. I am currently attaching photos of the Tai Wai/Sha Tin church that we go to every day. But without another moment's delay, let us take this very important moment to say a big shout out & sing Happy Birthday to the biggest thing to hit the teenage scene--WADE MELVON PALMER. Wade!!!!! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you have the best day and eat 15 Fun dips. (From the looks of the picture you sent me it looks like that is going to be a must ^_^) Wade, I la la love you so much and I miss you so much every day! Also- MCKAY VON PALMER (yes this is a morning of full names and 'caps locks') Congratulations on your admittance to BYU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. (Even more proud of you than Big S is of Brady going on a mission) But really, Congrats, congrats, congrats!!! Also-- might I add that I am so happy you will be getting your mission call realllllllly sooooon. That is so exciting. I tell everyone hear in the HK so I will probably buy an advertisement on one of the billion buses here and put your picture on it with where you are going so all of Hong Kong will know where you are going. (I'm crossing my 10 fingers and 9 toes [I would cross all 10 toes but we all know that my right baby toe is basically broken for life and would be unable to do such a thing...it is doing it in spirit] .....anyway that you WILL COME TO HONG KONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Request it on your mission papers okay? Sweet see you here and we can speak Cantonese and eat chicken feet & Mochi galore together.
Okay family, I love you all so much. I can't even express it. Thank you so much for your support and love. I really just love love love you all. 

Now let me be selfish here and tell you about me really fast.
Sooooo.......... a few weeks ago President Hawks called Sister Nielsen and I with a special assignment. As I told you a member of the 70 and some of the mission department were coming to Hong Kong, along with all the mission presidents in Asia, and the Asia area presidency. Yes... some big spiritual people. Anyway they were going to be having a mission presidents seminar for a few days and one of the things they were going to be talking about was "using time wisely." Where did we fit in to this? Well President Hawks asked us and 1 other Elder companionship to be ready to present our planners as part of the discussion. HA. So needless to say these past few weeks I have been cleaning up my planner (erasing things like "call the troops" and rewriting more professional things like "Call investigators and potentials.") to be ready. We also studied a lot about "using time wisely" in chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel. On Wednesday President Hawks called as we were on the way to a lesson (!!!) and asked if we could be in Wan Chai in an hour. We taught a brief lesson, and then sprinted to the MTR station. We arrived and went into this meeting. The spirit was so strong. There were 10-12 mission presidents with their wives and the Spirit was so strong. (ps Aubrie Tilley met your mission president and wife, they were there!) And they asked us to share what we had learned. It was such a wonderful meeting to be a part of. What a blessing to learn about using time wisely is such a way at the beginning of my mission! I am so blessed! I will continue to use these skills I have obtained and know that every moment here in China is a blessing and I will do my best to use these special moments to the fullest. Also, Mom I met Rebecca Evans' sister! Her and her husband I think are serving as Mission President & Wife in the Cambodia mission? Anyway it was so cool to make that connection. It was really such an honor to attend that meeting, (President Hawks was so nice to invite us!) and it really helped me and it will continue to help me a lot.
-Okay hi my English is going downhill fast. Remember miracle Wong Hingdaih that I have told you about? Okay I made the mistake of saying he is the one that is like Hayden Farr's cousin. Let me clear something up. I met a boy that is Hayden Farr in Chinese form but it was right before we met Wong Hingdaih. hahahahha so sorry. I can't type or communicate effectively. Anwyay, Wong Hingdaih continues to be a miracle. We got to teach him this week and he told us about his rough upbringing in Mainland. OH my heart broke for him as he told us of how he was beaten up and he lived in a really rough neighborhood. But he told us that when he prays he really does feel like he is talking with God. I think his wife has unfortunately read some anti stuff, and he is really nervous to bring his sons to church. He has a lot of obstacles ahead but he is reading the Book of Mormon and always thanks us at the end of our lessons saying he "wants to learn more." What a miracle am I right?!?!? I love him. He is so humble and already gets a lot of things it took me years to understand.
-Friday the whole mission went to Kowloon Tong for the big mission meeting!!! It was so fun. Elder Evans (the same member of the 70 we met during the planner presentation) spoke about the power of the Book of Mormon. I said the opening prayer, (I was so nervous, it was in English, but honestly I can't remember the last time I prayed in English so it was really interesting! haha) and then he spoke for an hour and a half on families and then the power of The Book of Mormon. I loved it!~!!!!!! The thing that stuck out the most to me is the importance of having our investigators read from the beginning to experience conversion. We have already begun to implement his council and I am really excited to see The Book of Mormon change lives.
-Thank you for your prayers on our investigators behalves. Now that New Years is over life is beginning to resume back to normal as we can continue to help Chan Jimuih, Lulu, Coco and her family, Wong Hingdaih, and our other investigators come closer to Christ! It is a huge responsibility but I know Jesus Christ is here with me, every step of the way.

Family--- I love you all so much! I just want you to know that I KNOW this church is true. I know it. I know Heavenly Father loves his children and loves to be merciful. I am so grateful for his love and for answering my prayers. I see miracles every day and I feel so incredibly blessed. I know the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost change and soften hearts. 

I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! 
Love Paahk Jimuih
 Sister Palmer doing the Asian Peace sign in front of her ward building.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chinese New Year Continues

Family!!!!! Greetings!

Listen I realize that I just wrote you like two days ago but good news I am here again! Okay listen I realized that last email I did a poor job of explaining Chinese New Year so let me just try to explain to you what else has been going on here in Hong Kong as the excitement of the New Year is about over.

Chinese New Year is definitely their Christmas. They love love love it. The best part about it is--they don't really do a whole lot for it. They have all this hype for it and then when you ask them what they are going to do they either say go to Mainland or sit at home. Apparently, they just sit around and eat food. hahaha. (And they think American's are the ones who eat a lot of food!) Last Sunday was the first day of the New Year. Married Chinese people hand out these little red envelopes decorated with Chinese splendor with money inside. Now any missionary knows that we can't accept money. But even the Bishop was handing us missionaries red pockets! And you culturally are not allowed to refuse them. So... we are just supposed to use the money for gifts for our investigators. Which I gladly will do! The Chinese people kill me. I just love the Tai Wai ward!!!!! They are so gracious and have given us loads of treats and have even had us over for dinner a midst their holiday.

This past week we had the cleaning day, and then we had the multi-zone conference, and then these last few days just whizzed by! The typical work was a little slow because everyone was (and some still are) in Mainland. So we had some great finding times, but we of course still had miracles and were able to teach a few lessons. We had a huge miracle again yesterday! Ngh Gatihng (Ng Family) Came to Church again yesterday. Cocoa, her husband, and their daughter Lily. Yes, Dad I think the Chinese are the same as the Japanese in the regard that they love American things. Most people choose English names for themselves, which is good because whenever they do tell me their Chinese names I'm like... "huh?" hahaha. But I think my favorite name so far was a girl who had chosen her name to be Swanky. She came to our English class and when asked how she had chosen her name she said she had found it online.... ummmm. Shoot. I didn't have the heart to try to begin and try to explain to her that maybe she should choose a new name? Love her regardless though!

Sorry let me tell you about the miracle of yesterday instead of focusing on Swanky our English class attendee. hahahaha. So Cocoa is just the busiest. I think I told you last week that she is incredibly hard to schedule. She is one of those people that already feels like a church member. She is always serving other people, she takes care of her Mom and she is always worrying about other people than herself. Anyway, we tried scheduling her all week and it just didn't work. But she DID come to church yesterday and she brought her whole family. It was so wonderful!!!! We were even able to teach them a lesson and share briefly about the temple. Heavenly Father truly blesses us more than we deserve.

Well another wonderful week is ahead of us! I am mostly excited for everyone to come back from Mainland! They should be back this weekend. Thank you for your prayers on my and the people I am lucky enough to teach's behalf. This one is a little shorter because I want to try and reply to you all this week! Sorry I fail every week and am unable to give you the replies you so deserve!!!! I love and miss you all so very much! This church is true. Jesus Christ lives and He loves us. I know that Heavenly Father will help us if we will only do our best and turn to him. I love the Book of Mormon and I know that it is changing lives. I have seen it. 

I love you all so very much! I am so grateful that families can be together forever! I was so grateful to share this happy message with Cocoa yesterday! It really is the greatest news. That and the fact that Jesus Christ lives and is coming again! 

Love, Paahk Jimuih
 
 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chinese New Year and Valentines SMASH UP!

Here is the latest from Ashley. It is a little bit late because of Chinese New Year!!
 
Family, hello!
The year of the Snake sends a friendly nod and a warm smile in your direction!

I'm so sorry I haven't been able to write yet. As you may have heard/seen on the news, it's Chinese New Year and so the libraries have been closed for the past few days. I feel like it's been a coons age since I last corresponded with you. First off, HAPPY HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!!! Thank you SO SO SO MUCH for the package. You are so thoughtful. I loved it! And hello "water colors extraordinaire!" Seriously, I thought I was going to pass out. You all read my mind. Anyone who knows me knows I LA LA LOVE Valentine's candy. Especially conversation hearts. SO- thank you thank you thank you. You don't know how much such kind thoughtfulness means. I LOVE YOU PEOPLE SO SOOOOOO MUCH.

Let me quickly give you the update here about our investigators. You remember the man I told you about last week, the miracle father we met while finding? Well we saw and taught him TWICE last week. He's incredible. So humble, and so prepared. Unfortunately as missionaries we all too often meet someone, have a great contact, and never see them again. So last week when Wong Hingdaih (Brother Wong... he's now a brother in my mind! ha) actually came to the church and met with us, I had a distinct impression come to my mind that "God has heard your family's prayers." Awwww. It makes me tear up right now in this humid library. (The crooks in my elbow are even sweating, is that T.M.I.? WHERE IS THE AC?! hahaha but really) I know you prayed for us to see him and I so appreciate the strength and power of your prayers. 

We taught him the first lesson about the Restoration and then taught him about the Plan of Salvation later in the week. At the end of the second lesson he told us how glad he was that he had met us.!!!! Umm. Yes. I'm currently pausing for dramatic effect because let me tell you something. NO ONE SAYS THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AWWWW. What a miracle! His family is having some problems... apparently him & his wife aren't living together right now? so we will have to help him work through that by helping him build his faith in Jesus Christ. But he wants to change and his humble example inspires me. 

Okay other major miracle that I want to be sure and tell you. Sunday was the first day of Chinese New Year. Which means everyone and their dogs and their grandparents and their big smart phones (they seriously love phones the size of iPads here.. it's weird.) ANYWAY all of the people go to Mainland for Chinese New Year to celebrate with their kindred family members. Great for them, and lets just say selfishly not good for us missionaries! haha. So we called everyone to invite them for church on Sunday and it was looking quite sparse. As Sister Nielsen and I sat in the back I witnessed a miracle. The Sacrament had just finished being passed and I looked back and saw Cocoa. Have I talked about Cocoa? Shoot. I can't remember. 

Okay- the story is in the details so let me set the stage really fast. Cocoa was first contacted over 5 years ago. Before I got here Sister Nielsen and her companion found her number in our records somewhere and called her up! Well she brought her family, (16 year old daughter and her husband) to our Christmas party. She is already a Christian and her and her family already go to another church, every week. She has been quite difficult to study as of late but we just call her frequently and try regardless. She likes us a lot and even gave us a referral! Hou sai lae. (Really amazing) But she isn't getting that WE WANT TO SEE HER & HELP HER & HER FAMILY. Well we were out finding & who rides past us on her bike while we are talking to a border line crazy Chinese woman who had literal BAND-AIDS holding her glasses together? If you guessed our friend Cocoa, you're right. We ended up talking to her for a while and she told us that recently her daughter Lily has been acting different and getting really bad grades. Now when she started saying this I realized I was having an "Alma 32:6" moment because I realized that I was happy that she was realizing she needed God's help! (yikes.. who would have thought I would find joy in other's afflictions) Anyway, we told Cocoa that this gospel can help her and her daughter. (Remember Elder Nelson's conference address? The ask the missionaries they can help you one. Well he just needs to add, Kids having bad grades? ASK THE MISSIONARIES THEY CAN HELP YOU!) Haha okay I am just getting sidetracked now.........

Back to the story, Cocoa, Lily, and her husband all came to church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEIR WHOLE FAMILY. OH my goodness. I could have died happy as I sat next to them. After the meeting, Cocoa gave Sister Nielsen & I not 1, not 2, but THREE hugs. Do you understand how rare this is?!?!?!?!? Because it's incredible sahnkeih. (fascinating/unique) Chinese people basically fear physical touch. Pray really hard that we will get to teach them this Saturday! I love this little family so much and am so honored to have even helped them come closer to our Father in Heaven. I have faith that it will only continue.

Here are some other highlights, musings, and thoughts from your's truly as of late:
-One night, not too long ago it was 10:55 pm (critics don't get excited our bedtime is 11 here in Hong Kong) anyway as I was about to climb into bed I had a distinct craving for..... TOFU!!!!! What?!?!?!?!? I know!!!!!!!!!!! Who am I? I don't even know anymore. But I'm going to be honest. It secretly makes me excited and happy. Great now it's not a secret anymore. But I never thought this day would come. Sister Nielsen always gave me the compliment of the century on the MTR the other day. She said that she has seen me turn more Chinese this past week and started implementing some of their humor. My eyes were watering. This makes me so happy.
-Last Pday we went to Victoria's peak!!!! Well first we went and got some dirt cheap earrings. ($5 HK dollars which is less than $1 American!) Then we went to the infamous Victoria's peak. We went with the other sisters we live with (Sister Lier and Sister Clements) and it was soooooo much fun. I'll try and attach some pictures here. Hong Kong is a truly beautiful place!
-Sister Lier (she lived with us in our apt) got emergency transferred to Macau. I was so sad. I love her. She is like my long lost twin. She goes home in March, like Sister Nielsen so I told her she HAS to call you, Mom. You would love her.
-Today we had a multi-zone mission conference. I love President Hawks and Sister Hawks!!!! I can't get enough of them. But oh my heck. Family. I am freaking out. President Hawks announced today that in 2 months all sisters in the mission will be training. I will be training a new missionary. ME. MYSELF. AND I. There is no way around it, and that's the way the numbers fall. I know, I know. I need to increase my faith. But I am sick. I'll admit it. I'm worried. I'm excited but I am so scared. I talked to President Hawks today and he asked (probably sensing my distress) "Sister Palmer are you ready to train?" I mumbled some response weakly like "I have faith that I can" and then he said, "Sister Palmer, you were born to train." HAHAHAHA What?!?! I must admit. A mission has opened my eyes to how truly weak I am. I am not the teacher I want to be yet, my Cantonese is as broken as an old banjo and yet......................... Heavenly Father has placed such faith in me that my Mission President is able to see things in me that I can't. This makes me want to work harder. And humble myself even more. And increase my faith. But the conference was very inspiring. 
-Remember how one of my favorite "Would you rather questions" is would you rather give a talk or pray in General Conference? Let us recall that my answer is give a talk because you can write it down. Well guess what. The AP's gave yours truly a call last week and the mission department is coming next week and the whole mission is getting together. Guess who has been asked to give the opening prayer... In Cantonese? HAHAHAHA YES, Yours truly. Oh the irony! hahahahha

Well family I am so sorry this has been all about me, but I just want you to know how much I love you all. Thank you for your prayers! I know Jesus Christ lives. I am quickly learning that the Chinese people could learn the gospel without me, but I need them. They are quickly shaping me and my salvation. I know The Book of Mormon is true. I know God and Jesus Christ live and love us!

I LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.
Love, Paahk Jimuih

 Here is the view from Victoria's Peak which she hiked last week!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lots of miracles!!

 As always Ashley wrote another funny and touching email. Also, some pictures of where she lives!!

Family!!!!

I just wish I could transport all of you here & share everything!!!!!!!!!!!! But alas, I'm not that lucky. But you really should just drop by and visit because the weather here is outrageously....WONDERFUL. And so are the people of Hong Kong. You would all seriously love them. Also, let me just add that last week I went ahead and neglected to mention that Hong Kong has a Disneyland...so yes. List complete. Happiest place on earth? I know so.

Okay let me just tell you about this emotional roller coaster of a week. Turns out the apostles and prophets of old know what they're talking about. To anyone who has ever doubted or wondered: "Are trials of faith real?" This past week has been a testament to that. Also, a mission is quickly teaching me that I am so small and have a lot of humbling to work on. But it's perfect. 

So we had a lot of finding this past week. REALLY long story(ies) short, the families that Sister Nielsen & I thought FOR SURE "were the ones" weren't, and so we spent a lot of time finding. Square one is an all to familiar square and nothing can really progress in missionary work until you find people to teach. Finding is truly the crucible of missionary work. It's exhausting. And wonderful. Every missionary skill has to be present as you try to stop and talk to people and get them to listen to you. My tongue gets twisted and my head hurts but then you find those people who do want to listen & then everything is perfect. And you feel like you could keep finding for another 2 or so hours.

 It was a week of fasting and lots and lots of prayer and an increase of faith. As we spent hours and hours of finding we knew we were going to find that family this week but we just didn't know where.  I came to understand something about myself this past week though. I was reading in the Book of Mormon, and it talks about in Mosiah 3 how when Jesus Christ would come to the earth that they would say he was "merely a man" and "he hath a devil" so it should be NO SURPRISE to me that 9 times out of 10 in Hong Kong people think I am a straight up lunatic. It's humbling, faith building, and I am so very blessed. There's nothing more wonderful when people do stop to listen to my broken Chinese and even in the end they're not interested, I see light in their eyes that wasn't there before. And then there are those incredible moments when they listen and they are interested. It's in those reverent moments that I am sure to give a prayer of gratitude and I know that I am exactly where the Lord wants me to be.

Anyway, we worked our hardest and it wasn't until we had experienced a few meltdowns, had an increase of patience, and took another trip and rumble through the refiner's fire that miracles occurred. On Saturday, we met Chan Jimuih. (Don't worry 80% of the Hong Kong population has the last name of Chan, don't be alarmed. We have to make little code names up for all the different Chan's so we know who we are specifically talking about.) Anyway, Chan Jimuih was found and was in our Area Book and Sister Nielsen had called her and invited her to our weekly Saturday English Class. Well her and her 3(?) year old daughter Elaine, (it's definitely a sign considering that is Mom's middle NAME.!!!) and then we taught them a lesson after. Chan Jimuih told us that her husband had left her and ran off to mainland and she just sobbed. We taught her the message of restoration and focused on that this church can strengthen her family. We gave her a baptismal invitation and she accepted! After the lesson and her and Elaine had left, Sister Nielsen and I were a beautiful mess. We were so excited!!!!

Chan Jimuih, her daughter Elaine and Ammon all came to church yesterday!!!!  Talk about a huge huge blessing and miracle. Chan Jimuih even called us last night to confirm about FHE at the Bishops house for tonight, and she said, "Thank you for teaching me about Jesus Christ." UMMMM what?!?!?! No one says that!!!! I basically passed out on the floor. I am so happy!!!!! We are so very blessed to teach her. I can't wait to tell you about as she continues to progress. She is so humble and I am so excited to share this gospel with her.

Yesterday we did a couple of hours of finding after church. We met a boy who is Hayden Farr's Chinese twin brother, and as we were trying to contact people we walked past this man gave him the typical Leih-hou and then the most interesting thing happened. A-He was nice and smiled and said Leih-hou back but B-I literally felt the Spirit whip me around and I said "Actually, have you seen missionaries before?" As we talked with him he told us he's been looking for religion and he has two children 10 & an 8 year old. MIRACLE, MIRACLE. He was the sweetest man and we are scheduled to teach him Wednesday morning, please pray that we get to!!! AWWW it is so wonderful to be a missionary.

I just want to share my testimony that I know this church is true. That is one thing that I didn't realize I would learn. Sure some days all your lessons fall through and every time you try to open your mouth the door or the person chooses not to listen, but I am quickly beginning to understand that the Lord is teaching me how much I need this gospel. I know Jesus Christ lives. I know The Book of Mormon is true. I know Joseph Smith saw God, Jesus Christ, and restored the true church on the earth today.

Please keep praying for our investigators!!! 

I love you all so much family, thank you for your support and for all you do for me!!!!!! I miss you and love you more than I can adequately express.

Love, Paahk Jimuih
 
Here is her apartment building along with Sister Palmer getting ready for a workout out in front of it. Notice the cute hoodie. She hasn't lost her sense of fashion. Another Chinese bargain found on her pday. The last picture is the view from her apartment at night. The tiny red light in the distance is mainland China!!