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!!

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