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.