Monday, August 26, 2013

To the Macau Cultural Center

Family!!!! Oh my goodness. How is it time for you to all be in school? Mind blown. Sometimes I think I get confused and think that time will just have stood still while I've been preaching the good word and then I look at your pictures and realize that is not the case. WADE. You have gotten so big... Don't get me wrong. Not fat just tall in stature. How tall are you? How many calories are you consuming per day? Should I start calling you Wade Michael Phelpmer? (trying to mash up yours and Micheal's names) Spencer. Going to homecoming. MY MY MY. Why didn't THAT make your email?! I find that sort of thing a little more interesting than your constant BYU shout outs... Thank goodness Mom is keeping me up to date you little cutie cutester. You're looking very toned and tan. Who's the lucky mystery woman? details please. Thanks. Rachel, You are as cute as ever! Are those red toms on your feet? Should I buy some matching ones here in HK? []yes or []no. Mom, you're the cutest beehive advisor ever! they don't have cinnamon rolls (the chinese don't like cinnamon) here in Hong Kong so I am more than a little jealous. Also I'm glad you're putting PeaAshleyRose to good use. Dad, How are you doing being back in room 103? How's Amy Smithson doing? I have a letter for her, but I need her address!  I am so impressed buy the yard, you really have made it in into quite the project. You're a class act Dad. Thanks for being you. MCKAY PAAK JEUNGLOUH AKA ELDER PALMER. I interrupt this email before I turn selfish and make it about me to tell you HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. You are such an inspiration of a missionary and I love love love your emails.

Here's my week in a bulleted list:
-I just got back from a trip to America. We have two wonderful senior couples that are currently serving in Macau. The Seow's just got here in April and they're from Orem and the Wellings are from Moab and have been here for 18 months. Anyway I am sitting in the email dungeon as happy as ever because we had the most delicious American breakfast. Sister Seow had us all over and it was an American feast and we talked about American things... like voting and skittles commercials. It was great. Good news the computer I'm on is faster today so I can send some of the pictures I wanted to send last week :) I'll send a picture of Sister Seow and I too.
-I felt so loved this week. I got so many birthday cards! I didn't deserve the kindness. Thanks to one & all it was like Christmas, the fourth of July, and my birthday all aligned this week. Thank you everyone!
-Our investigators are doing so well. Mimi is just the cutest and has such a testimony of the Book of Mormon. She reads everyday... and just feels the church is true. She is such a testimony to me. Rosa Leung (the one with the two twins) is doing well even if Mainland sucks her away all the time we saw her again this week and she just needs the gospel. I pray that she will have the faith to accept it. We taught the cutest kids this week, a brother and sister A-Yu and Sin Jaahk. They are just the cutest. Sister Yeung had to tell them to stop speaking Mandarin because "Paak Jimuih doesn't understand" hahahaha. I love them. I think they have a really rough home life but they came to church and Sin Jaahk, even though he is 9 just wants to come to church. He brought his Book of Mormon and was just clenching it the whole time. Their parents are naturally super buddhist but I hope we can somehow meet them and that the gospel can change their lives. It's so hard to teach families here because it seems like it's always just some of them are ready and willing to listen, etc. But they're out there. And Sister Yeung and I are looking, seeking, and searching. We also found some really great new investigators this week, one of them I'm pictured with is named Sue. We found her on Saturday and she came to a baptismal service yesterday and we taught her afterwards. I love her already. I love that Heavenly Father made it possible for us to love so many people all in one instant.
-President Hawks did quarterly interviews this past week and I just love Sister Hawks and him so much. I talked to him about my desire to teach a family. He told me that he has of course been pushing for us to teach families but he said that we just don't know the Lord's timing. He also counseled me not to overlook the potential families like the Single adults. President Hawks is so wise and I just admire him. He told me I don't know if you'll find that family today or 6 months from nowbut you'll find them. I have faith in that promise.
-Okay is the world just full of crazy people or do I just find all of them while I'm a missionary? I am fairly certain I've met enough of them in the past 2.5 weeks in Macau to start a small branch and enough of them back in Hong Kong to create a new Stake. I'm sorry I'll repent and be Christlike but it is seriously funny and slightly alarming how many of them we meet. Let me give you a prime example from this past week. So there I was, sitting at a desk near the front of our church waiting for an investigator and doing language study. Well this man (probably 40+) just bursts in and Sister Yeung is like "Paak Jimuih he's here for you." I'm sorry, what? She said it like it was nothing but I was more than a little confused. Well he comes up to me and is like "this is for you" and gives me this cake. And (speaking in broken English says) "Can I go down to the collateral hall? I need to write a letter to your Elder brother." Turns out by collateral he meant cultural and before I said yes he dashed down stairs. He came back up later and Sister Cutler had arrived by this point. We were the only white ones in the room and he said the cake was for us to split, only us, and he gave us a letter for our "Elder brother" that was strictly confidential addressed to the Macau Cultural Hall. Then he left. I was dying. Pictures were in order and Sister Yeung explained that he loves white missionaries and ignores all the Chinese ones. So funny. Does this even make sense? Another lady I unfortuantely found in finding kept asking me if the reason I was so happy was because I had a boyfriend. I told her I didn't and she said, only people with boyfriends are as happy as you. I wish I could say it to you in Chinese because it's 10 times more creepy and funny.
-Sometimes I wonder how I could be so blessed to be born into such a righteous family and to be having such an incredible mission experience. Heavenly Father is too good to me and to allow me to share my testimony with his precious Chinese children. We had some great lessons this past week with our investigators and Less-Actives and I don't understand how Heavenly Father could be so good to let me become so deeply converted. I promise to never let my testimony ever become rooted out of my bones! I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves everyone. I love sharing the best news that He is coming again! 
-I love this branch of Macau. The young women are on fire and we're working with the Relief Society to help them catch the vision... Macau is going to go from a little branch to a Stake one day.

Okay I'm out of time... I don't know how that happened. Thank you so much for all your emails and love. I don't deserve it! Sometimes when I'm hot, and tired I sometimes will have a little thought that "my family is praying for me" and that gives me so much strength. I love you all so much. Good luck at school this week!!!! Study hard and hug all the Asians in your classes. I love them! Thank you for everything you do for me. 
Love you for eternity! 
Love, Paak Jimuih

Monday, August 19, 2013

I'm Still 21 somewhere. #its5oclocksomewhere

No need to fret because I'm still 21. I realized this as my head was hitting the pillow last night because I'm an American so in America I'm still young and 21. Ha! Listen okay this week.......INCREDIBLE. I love Macau. President and Sister Hawks called me this morning to wish me a happy birthday (how nice is that?) and he asked how I'm liking Macau. I told him that he was exactly right and I'm obsessed with it. This past week when by the time Thursday hit we didn't have time to barely eat meals. My motto; "If the people want to meet I have no need to eat." Seriously we are seeing such miracles in Macau and I can't say enough good things and give enough thanks to Heavenly Father.
Here's a list of my latest from this past week:
-Alright so yes you heard right, Typhoon 8 hit and it made for a noisy, stormy night. But I slept fine because I'm so tired all the time. The next day we woke up and we were told to stay in doors until it moved down to a category 3. (Fun fact- Wade and Spencer feel free to debate about this over dinner! Typhoons go from Thunderstorms to Category 3, then to Category 8 and then to Category 10... I'm not sure where the logic lies in that soooo.. yeah. Turns out that fact wasn't that fun. Anyways...) Category 8 means stay inside. And that we did. We did morning studies. ate lunch, and the storm was still raging. So we opened up our books and started calling the people. I had the less-active book and so I called probably 75+ people but I talked to (or was hung up on) most of them. I even taught 2 lessons over the phone! And then one of those who I taught the lesson to  less actives came to church yesterday!!!! I was so happy. She even brought her daughter for the first time so thank goodness for Typhoon aka Miracle Season. Later the Typhoon turned into a category 3 but the rain seemed to be getting worse. All of us were laughing at it in the apartment but out we went. Because rain time is miracle time. Sure enough Sister Yeung and I were knocking doors (it's not against the law in Macau!!!!.... at least i think?) and we found a new investigator! Heavenly Father is too good to us.
-Okay our cute investigator Mimi, (attached picture!) Is such a dream come true! She was the one we taught for the first time on my first day in Macau. I love her. She wants to be baptized and has the sweetest and most pure desire to find out if this is true or not.I love her. She came to all of church yesterday and stayed for the baptismal service (an 8 year old girl in the ward and the elder's investigator) and then she stayed after because she wanted to help the young women clean the bathrooms! Who does that? She prays and feels it's true and is reading the Book of Mormon. AWWWWW. Actually do want to hear the miracle of young womens? Usually there's only 1 young women that attends regularly and then another one who is sort of less active. But this past week we taught 9 (!!!) Less Active lessons & young women's was literally bursting at the seams! It was so happy that so many of these young women came and that 2 of our investigators could also add to the happiness and joy.
-Speaking of the young women, in Macau every week (sometimes every 2) they do these things called expositions (I like to call them expeditions!) where we get all these displays, usually go to this place called Taap Sec (some of the branch members come) and we do street contacting for 3 hours. One of the young women who is recently being activated named Hoi Kei came with me and we seriously had so much fun contacting and teaching people about the plan of Salvation. I LOVE IT.
-The Book of Mormon is now published in Cantonese pinyam!!!!!!!!! This is huge!!!!! In preach my gospel under the "learn your language" chapter it tells you to read the standard works. Well don't worry we're not allowed to start learning characters during language study time until you've been out a year so when you reading the book of mormon wasn't really a possibility. But now everything has changed because it's published and now the center of my language study. I love it. I love Cantonese and even though sometimes my tones are wrong and my sounds are bad I'm doing my best and learning a lot from Sister Yeung, in the language and how to be a better teacher in general :) I love her a lot.
-Alright so i'm always working on increasing my faith and this past week we had a special experience in finding. We decided before we went finding to pray to find a woman, who would listen to our message of the restoration and would be sitting down in the park and would have an umbrella. So out we went and sure enough we found and taught a woman in the park about the Restoration and Heavenly Father's love for her. It was such a faith promoting experience. Heavenly Father isn't far at all and is just waiting to answer our prayers!
-Last piece of spiritual goodness before I overload you all, last night I had the sweetest experience. I was praying and I asked that we might find new investigators. Then a feeling and not an audible voice but the internal voice of the Spirit told me that is not what I should be praying for. I'm to build this branch and that Heavenly Father wants me to continue focusing on the hundreds of less-actives. It was so humbling and such an answer to my prayers. Sister Yeung and I are working so hard but this just isn't about me, but I'm so glad Heavenly Father corrected my course last night and I'm going to follow his advice.

Well, that's about a wrap. I'm going to try to send more pictures but this connection is so slow. I sent my other memory card today, so I hope you get it so soon! I love you so much. Thank you for all the birthday greetings. Today I'm getting ice cream from Dairy Queen (!!!!!!!!!), doing other Pday necesstities, taking pictures, and mostly just relaxing. Tell Grandpa and Grandma thank you for their sweet card, I got it last week! Really thank you for all your birthday greetings and love, it means so much.

I love you all and miss you all, but I am so happy to be a missionary. We got to teach another Less-Active lesson this morning and I just felt the Spirit so strong and I never want to stop being on the Lord's errand.

Love you all! I know this church is true!
Love, Paak Jimuih

I sent Ashley a package with a cake mix, frosting, candles and a cute party hat hairband!! Here she is looking so cute at 22! (Sorry this picture is sideways I can't figure out how to turn it.)

Ashley with her new investigator, Mimi.

Monday, August 12, 2013

From Ma On Shan to the island pennisula of Macau

Ashley has had what I think is a hard but wonderful week. Goodbyes are always hard and she had to do a lot of them. She has a great attitude though. As much as I miss her I am so grateful she is able to teach, love, and serve the people in her mission. She inspires ME!!! I also found out more about Ashley's mission extension. With all the new missionaries coming, they get new ones every nine weeks, so that is when some go home as well. August 8th was the last transfer date, and they continue every nine weeks from there. So, her dates to come home would be either February 14 (too early) or April 18th. (Just 3 weeks longer.) Thanks to Ashley's MTC companion's mom for clearing that up for me. I thought it was so random when Ashley told me about it , but it makes sense now. Anywho, Ashley is happy.She loves her mission and that is what is most important!!!!!!!! Here's her latest email!!!

Transfers have officially brought the biggest change yet in my mission. So.... this whole move I kept telling my sweet companion Sister Olsen that she was going to train. Well.. Monday after emails that was confirmed as President Hawks called her and told her she would be training in the paradise land of Ma On Shan. That meant I was hitting the road and heading to a new area. On Tuesday at district meeting in moves calls I was told that I was going to Macau. Along with telling Sister Olsen that she was going to be training for the next 3 months, I also expressed my concern/fears/worries that I would be going to Macau. Macau seemed like such a mystery to me and I feared it. Sister Olsen said that I wasn't going to go there... but Heavenly Father has a different take on it. Also hilarious but relevent side note, every moves calls the big joke is "so and so... YOU'RE GOING TO MACAU." So when Elder Yim announced it, no one believed him. But he said "no really" at least 30+ times we finally believed him and then shock took over my body. I was going to the Island of Macau and leaving all the people I loved so much in my home sweet home of Ma On Shan. I still get emotional thinking about it. The good-byes were really hard and I felt so numb. President Hawks texted me on Wednesday and told me something along the lines of "He was excited for my new assignment in Macau and that I was going to love Macau and the people. It's a special place. He told me that one of the main reasons for going to Macau was that my new companion Sister Yeung (more on her in two shakes) had been asked to train after only 3 weeks into her mission (the same time I started training Sister Olsen) and so she had missed out on some opportunities that others had had. So I was going to finish up on her training, so to speak. Due to Visa restrictions I was only going to go for about 2 months..." etc. So HERE I AM. IN MACAU. In a whole new country (they have their own flag so I think it counts!) and it is just a dream. It was settled by the Portugese back in.... (use your smart phone to fill in the year) but it is beautiful and there is SO MUCH WORK TO DO HERE.
Sorry I just wanted to fill you in on where I was... and initial thoughts and the pathway that led me to Macau. Alright so everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge giant weirdo when it comes to good-byes so I couldn't do them very well in Ma On Shan. OH MY HECK PAUSE THE GOOD-BYE BLUES. Before I forget to tell you of the miracles. So... we hadn't seen Wong Jimuih in over a month. Her phone numbers had changed and she was always in Mainland for her company. But! On Monday we were waiting to go to a cheng out at a members and we're just chatting with the Elders in our district and I hear a hello from behind me and who is it? WONG JIMUIH. I want to sob like a new born babe or a teenage drama queen just thinking about it. We were able to hug her, I was careful not to squeeze her to tight, and we talked to her. That may have been the last time I see her for a long time, but it was such a tender mercy from Heavenly Father and it is a miracle I will never forget. I did say good-bye to Jessie and Ann and Danny. So hard. My heart broke a little (lot) inside. Of course probably the hardest person to say good-bye to was Sister Olsen.... That was rough. She was crying and my heart was breaking inside. I felt like I was saying good-bye to family members all over again. But I did get my birthday package before I hit up Macau!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM!!!!! SO BIG AND SO THOUGHTFUL. You are tooooooo nice. Also they don't have frosting here so I can't wait to just eat that all up. It's tempting to just eat the frosting by it's self. I'm a sicko. Also little did you know that you were saving my life via the candy you included. I may or may not (but mostly may) have eaten it all these past few days save only a few reese's pieces due to the fact that we were too busy to go to the store.... so I mean I treated the treats and sweets like food storage, and I'm going to go buy some real food today. Oh the life of a missionary.
Alright so yes on Thursday I arrived in Macau. The ferry ride was a tad rough and people were throwing up in barf bags left and right. ALSO I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HECK I PUT IN MY SUITCASE but i think it weighed at least 200-300 pounds. I know you think I'm joking but I'm not. I have a blister on my hands and my arms are still sore. I"m pathetic. I had to stuff all my stuff I needed into one suitcase and leave the other one for storage in the temple so yes... I get sweaty just thinking about that suitcase. I'll have to rethink things when I go back to Hong Kong. Anyways on the ferry I practiced Cantonese with one of the sisters going with us and then stepped off the ferry in Macau. I am with Sister Yeung from Hong Kong!!!! My first true native companion!!! I am so excited. We are very different, but she is a great missionary and an exceptional teacher. She's a convert and only her little sister is a member. She is the real deal. I love her a lot. We are having a great time and we speak English in the apt and Cantonese when we go out. I tell her to correct me, and I teach her English words. It's great. I know it's probably hard for her because most of her mission she's been senior and then this white girl (me) comes in and now I'm senior but I'm trying to make sure she knows that there are no seniors and that we're a team. I just have to call the numbers in on Sunday nights. She is so great though. She also thinks that Mom and Dad look like my siblings. So-- can't wait for you to meet her someday!
Let me paint a picture for you of what Macau is like. It's hard to decide what theres more of scooters vs people and cockroachs vs casinos. Yep. But the roads are beautiful pebbled and tiled walkways and the walls of the buildings and gates are painted in the most enchanting pastel colors. I took a few pictures thus far that I will send to you in 3 seconds. The Church here is very small. Only 1% activity but we're working on changing that. I am in the Cantonese branch (yes!) but there's also an English branch for all the phillipinos. We have 500-600 Less-actives and lost sheep so the missionary's spend a lot of time working with them here. We had two new investigators this week which is incredible! One girl named Mimi, super young, but super good! and A mom named Rosa who is just the cutest and has 5 year old twins. In the ward there is the cutest grandma named Gou Mama and I just look up to her every way. She came less active finding with on Friday night and just held and rubbed my hand as we walked around the streets of Macau. I'm in good hands here... literally. We need to spend a lot of time finding new investigators but I'm ready to get hot and sweaty and get right down to it.
Okay I have a million other things to tell you but the most important is thank you for everything. I love you all so much. I know this church is true. I love being a missionary and spreading this good news that Jesus Christ lives. Thank you for being such a support and strength to me. I know that families are forever. I know that prayer works and that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration.
 I hope you are all having a wonderful week! I am so happy that McKay and I are serving simulatenously. I pray for you all and love you to forever!
Love, Paak Jimuih

ps I'm turning 22 soon. How did I get to be so old?

Ashley with Sister Olsen, she really loves her!!!

Ashley with her new companion!!

These are some shots just outside Ashley's apartment building.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Week of Crazy and all Miracles Broke loose

Here is Ashley's latest. She also informed me that her mission has been extended by a month!!! Needless to say I was less excited than she was!!!!!!She will do great!!! I just miss her!!!

Family!!!! I don't deserve to be this happy. I'm serious! Wo I don't understand how this happens every time I get on to email you all. Every day is so perfect and sometimes I hit rock bottom and then Heavenly Father just helps me remember why I am really here and that it just isn't about me. And it's a whole perfect world of Chinese wonderful. I love being here. Sometimes (every day) I wish I was Chinese. But serving here is as close as I'm ever going to get and I'm so grateful.

I'm glad you are all safe, cute and happy. I pray for you always and count my blerssings (and my blessings) everyday that McKay and I get to serve together! Its such a miracle. I wish I could write like I used to be able to but my fingers are failing me and my brain is in a constant whirl the second I open myldsmail. soooooo........................

-So last Monday we leave email and Sister Olsen's Dad had  asked about our first investigator of Ma On Shan (MOS)-- Louis. So Sister O being the inspired missionary and lady leader she is just picks up the phone and gives him a call. (We call him on a weekly basis but he never really answers or replies) He didn't answer and this was the result that we were accustomed to. We headed back to our apt at City One and then the unexpected happened. He shoots us a little text to our faithful NOKIA that says he wants to have lunch with us! So our feet catch lightening and we jump up and down in the road and hitch the next 810 bus to Ma On Shan. Can you believe it?!!!!! The Lunch was great and he is just the best! Three Cheers for Louis and all the credit goes to Heavenly Father. Louis is just so busy and in Mainland (it eats people) ALL. THE TIME. So we ate and talked and shared a message with him, and he tells us he prays when he's sad and reads the Book of Mormon on his phone. Heavenly Father doesn't forget about these people and that's why we are here. We minister to the one and testify to many. He's going to get it and we will just keep inviting and praying for him.

-So Jessie. Sweet miracle Jessie. Okay so her phone died and we didn't talk to her all week. Which was frightening. I made like a crazy person and called her house. Her mom was way nice and said that she was in Kowloon Bay still visiting her relatives and she would call me when she could. Sooooo I exercised and worked on acquiring more patience. Then Saturday morning rolls around and we get done teaching with an investigator that schedules us--THAT NEVER HAPPENS (remember Taahm SinSaang.. check the archives of old emails..found him on the train) anyways after that lesson our phone rings and it's Jessie. Now because we haven't seen her all week we had planned on pushing her baptism back to the 11th. So she calls and she says "I'm back and ready to be baptizedtomorrow!" hahahahaha what. My eyeballs were as big as dragonfruits! Jessie met with Elder Yim but then there was a little problem that sweet Jessie brought up and that has to do with Chinese culture... and shoot what is it called in English? In Chinese it's called Baaisahn. I'll get back to you. Ancestor worship. What is it called? Anyways Jessie's mom was really worried if she got baptized she wouldn't be able to do those things anymore. So she couldn't get baptized yesterday. We taught her a lesson after and she was on the verge of tears. We told her that in the temple we learn how we can be together forever with our families forever! She said she just felt so confused in her heart. I asked her if she could choose what she would want to do. She said she would want to be baptized... but she didn't want to disrespect her mom. I didn't know what to say and I prayed a lot. Then the whole Zone is in a tutter and after lots of phone calls we found out that Jessie could be baptized. Our cute little district leader Elder Yim is so new and hadn't had to deal with this issue before, so Jessie is receiving baptism either next Sunday or the week after!!!!!! So many prayers and fasts were for her yesterday. I haven't really had a chance to talk to her yesterday or today so I hope all the drama hasn't pushed her away! Pray for her. I can't wait for you to meet her someday!!!!! ps I remember the word it's Buddhism.
-we've experienced 3 Typhoon category 3's this week. I'm constantly wet. Whether it be sweat or rain I'm constantly a mess. I love it.

-One time we're walking to the church and Sister Olsen says, "Hey can we go this way?" I say sweet, yes, of course la (la is an ending particle in Cantonese and when overused is wildly annoying but it is addicting) and then we're walking and I say hi to this woman and then the Spirit hits me with force and I realize I've seen a much younger version of her before. I grab Sister Olsen and tell her that I'm almost positive that she is a less-active and Sister Olsen says, "you're probably right!" So in a moment of desperation we look at each other and take off running. Not knowing what we're going to say. Or how to not freak her out and make her think we're mobbing her. We say hello, ask where she's going, and then not knowing what else to say I ask her if she's ever seen missionaries like us before? (the classic!) Anyways she tells us her name is Yonna and she's a less active member! I tried to schedule her right then and there but she wasn't too keen on it, but she said she was going to a fireside on Sunday so yes I'm going to be calling her this week. This story is a testimony to me that the Lord loves his children!

-Speaking of less actives while we're working to double the attendance at the ward (!!!!!) we have been doing lots of less active finding. This particular day we went to this one group of chuyn's and  Lots of doors were getting  slammed before we can even finish Leih-hou. Then after floors of no real immediate or tangible success, Heavenly Father provided us with a miracle. It was, of course at the very last door. The man who we went to his house and let us in without question. We taught him and his probable 80+ Mother. Brother Sam had completely forgotten how to pray and we gave him a new Book of Mormon and we taught him and his mom. I love this work!

-Last but not least, is Ho Family. (attached pictures) OH my!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. The mandarins are teaching their parents because the Dad can understand Cantonese but he can't speak it. But they are doing so good! Their 12 year old daughter Anne is reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and she even fasted yesterday! The four of us missionaries went over there yesterday and they taught the parents and we taught (wrestled and fed brownies) to the children. I love this sweet family! They embody humility and I want to be like them. They are scheduled to be baptized together on the 18th!!!!!!! The Lord is invovled in this work. I wish I could express my love of this place and people better.

I know that this church is true! I know God cares and is involved in the details of our lives. I know times are hard because if it were easy it simply wouldn't be worth it. I know that the gift of tongues is real and that the gifts of the spirit can only come after our exact obedience. I know that Jesus is the Christ. 

I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for everything!!!!! I am blessed beyond measure for your love, letters and examples. 
Love, Paak Jimuih