Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

I am doing alright, still not sleeping to well. I wake up all the time at night .... Also my bed has bugs again.... Yayyyyy... I got 7 bites on my left foot, 6 on my right foot, some on my legs and some on my arms... I am going to as Sister Hawks about getting a new bed cause my feet hurt right now... Also I get my suit today!!! Finally... They didn't finish it last week, I am super stoked because my current suit is ugly and WAY, WAY to big for me now. I can fit a fist (maybe more) between my waste and the pants.... They are too big...
So there isn't to much going on right now. Wayne was supposed to get baptized this Sunday but  his parents have asked him to wait until he is 18 (he turns 18 this Feb) because they are afraid the church will distract him... Haha sometimes the excuses people make are really lame here. He still comes to church every week so it's not like anything will change... It's okay; his parents aren't against the church at all so that's good. We are still working with him to try and get baptized sooner but we will see. 

Felix is doing great! He is such a great kid; he comes and meets with us almost every other day I think. He asks a TON of deep doctrine questions like in 2nd Nephi and some of the Abinadi parts when he quotes Isaiah .. It's good though because it also helps me and Elder Ward. His parents still haven't said he could get baptized but he hasn't lost faith which is good! 

We also have this newish kid... I called him two weeks ago; he met with the missionaries once then went to mainland for break (this happens A LOT in Hong Kong) then the missionaries couldn't get a hold of him since July but he answered me. We finally met him this last Sunday and he stayed for all three hours of church; he super shy (like most Chinese people at first) but he seems like a great kid. Then there is David. He is a super nice kid but sooooooooooo quite. He actually didn't have an English name so I gave him David because he seemed awesome like my friend David Belnap. He is a very brave kid with his living circumstances; he has shared a lot with me and Ward. We just asked him to prepare to be baptized and he agreed. He still has a long way to go but he is at least willing to try and change. He is pretty awesome!
The area I am serving is where a lot of the businesses are. I serve in Causeway Bay (which it has Wan Chai (where I currently live), North Point, Quarry Bay and one more place). By the way you should just google it, it would be much easier. I spend most my time in Wan Chai because that's where I live but when we go finding it's normally in North Point or Causeway Bay. It's really pretty here. We are on the Island, we have a mountain to the back of us, a bay then we can see Kowloon across the sea. It's a really pretty place I like it a lot. The weather right now is super nice, around 65 F but it has been raining a lot lately which blows because it halts almost all finding possibilities for us in Hong Kong.

(Here is my full Chinese name)
ngaaih suih leuhn
Surname - Billion/Trillion/Infinite - Relationships
That's kind of the translation? lol

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 18, 2012

Elder Arrington did not include a blog post in his last letter but here are a few answers to general questions we asked.

How is you language? Do you dream in Cantonese yet? what about reading...has that been any easier?
Language is okay, I am getting better but I still have long way to go until I am good. No dreams yet honestly I have had only had two dreams my entire mission. One in the MTC and one here... So no dreams. Reading... Interesting you ask that. They just gave a couple missionaries the new pin-yum (Romanized Cantonese)  Book of Mormon to a couple of  people (2 sets of elders) and its not published yet but we get to use it. So I will start reading the BOM in Chinese soon-ish....

In your letter you said this was your "second move" what did you mean?
A move is a transfer. Every move is 6 weeks. I am on my second move in Causeway Bay (I've been here 9 weeks- so 1 move and 3 weeks).

You never mention much about the other missionaries you live with. Do you battle it out Cantonese or Mandarin is better? What is the primary language there? 
The other elders are pretty cool. They are still Mandarin  We got a new one Elder Burwiser and still elder Bradley. I'm close to Bradley since we are both babies and we both are really good at soccer. We play together and just dominate the pitch haha. The primary language is Cantonese but most people can speak Mandarin because Mandarin is a lot easier than Cantonese.

Were Coco and Silence able to be baptized? How is Felix coming along? You mentioned Wayne as a resurrected investigator- how did you come about him?
Coco Silence and Felix are still working with their parents. Felix is doing great he has such a strong testimony about the church; he is just trying to get his parents to understand why he wants to join. Coco and Silence mum lives in Mainland soooo we can't really help them it's kind of up to them at this point; but they are both great kids and have a ton of faith. Wayne is an old investigator who wants to wait to be baptized on his birthday in Feb but we talked to him and explained waiting to sign your own papers (cause that's why he wants to wait) doesn't make your baptism any more significant. He understood and said he wants to get baptized as soon as possible so next Sunday!

So when you teach discussions you you have an order you go in?
Uhmmm we teach to people's needs soooo if that means by going in order of the lessons we will but often times it isn't  We almost always start by teaching about prayer, who God is, why we need to pray, how to build a relationship with him and kind of go from there.

Where should I have a package sent to? Do you know how long it takes?
The package should be sent to the mission home and it should take like 10 days if you send it by air mail (i think?)

Okay explain how the money thing much do you get a month and what do you have to pay for? How much is a good pizza? you said your suit was 880HK) much is that in America money? 
Money... ahhh ... We get HK$1780 a month (like $235 ish) and that's for food travel and other stuff. Sooo just use a converted things are pretty similar in price we missionaries just don't have a lot of money so we don't get nice food hahah:)

What do you do on Pday? Do you go sight seeing? Will you get the chance to go to Disney Hong Kong? (In Anaheim they let us go to Disneyland once a year).
We don't really do much right now on pday. We travel all over Hong Kong and just do little stuff. Shopping on Ladies street (really famous place you buy fake things), Golden Computer Shop (world famous computer shop) and going to the dirty mall today haha. We can go hiking but with the new rules of always wearing long jeans no one wants to do anything that takes effort... President Hawks is really strict soooo no on the Dinsey thing haha.

November 11, 2012

So Coco and Silence were not able to be baptized this week; we are hoping we can prepare them for the end of the month. They are still super faithful but they haven't talked to their mum about it and their older sister is super anti to the church! So we will see. We also are still teaching Felix, trying to over come the issues with his parents. We also have Wayne a "resurrected" investigator, he wants to wait to be baptized when he is 18 (Feb something) but we are trying to see he needs it now and not to wait. We also have a couple other new investigators but we are waiting to meet with them and see how we progress from there.
The mission right now is going pretty well, my language is getting better but it still sucks. I can't speak well or listen well... Yeah Cantonese... but I have natives helping me a lot so hopefully I can improve quickly. So this is my second move and things are going okay. We have 4 good investigators Felix, Coco, Silence and Wayne. We also have a couple great potentials right now Lohk family, David (and his friends), and a couple others. So overall it's going great. I am getting better at street contacting and phone calls. I hate them both but I am having some success now.
About my food... I make oat meal for breakfast and buy lunch and dinner everyday but Sunday .. Members probably take us out to eat at least once a week. So I'm content with food I guess...

November 4, 2012

This Sunday was my first baptism! Melody was able to be baptized with her parents permission, it was pretty awesome. We had some members of the ward give talks and Elder Ward was able to baptize her. She will receive the Holy Ghost this up coming Sunday at church, it's all been pretty fun here. The work here is still absolutely hard though, I think out of all of the people Ward and I talk to in a day probably 10-15 will give us phone numbers, 2 of those will meet with us again, and 1 will probably actually show up (maybe...). So it's cool to see an actually baptism in my mission already. Elder Ward found her in Fortress Hill, taught for 2 weeks then I came and taught her for the last 6, this is Elder Wards first full find/teach/baptism. He was pretty happy about that.
Things I miss from America... Well, my Family, my friends and diary products... They seem like such a trivial thing but in China/HK there aren't many dairy farms just chillen. Milk, yogurt, cheese and pizza are all pretty expensive. You can't really find REAL milk here but except at a few place but even then it's not even good; so I drink a lot of soy milk (which sucks). Just to show you how expensive dairy product are; a thing of 4 Greek yogurts is like HK$120 so about $15... It's not that bad but for a missionary it's to much. The weather here beats America's at the moment (the summer here sucks) it's only like 69 F to 73 F with a breeze so it's not to bad. I kind of just miss food and music really... I miss Mexican food sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much but apparently there is a Mexican buffet here for HK$60 so we might try that out today!
My language is coming along but it's not very good. I don't have a lot of time to study because we are always out so I just talk to people and don't understand anything... Not much help there. Being immersed helps but at the same time it doesn't; it's pretty intimidating at times. I really hope it starts changing because a lot of the time I just feel like a I waste peoples time because I take forever to talk.
In our mission we make a lot of phone calls (and texting) because that's the only way to reach people. It's to inconvenient to go to someones house; plus everyone's house is small so it's uncomfortable to have everyone there. We basically contact people on the street try to teach a lesson or get a real phone number to call them back at. The biggest frustration here is the people always act like they are sooooo busy. They have school and tutoring; most kids don't have jobs or play on sports teams. They always make excuse about how busy they are and Americans don't understand... I had college classes, 2 soccer teams, a job (for a while), church, friends and I still had time to do stuff... These kids need to make better excuses because they are just getting stupider and stupider -___-''

October 28, 2012

So about the baptism. Melody had to delay hers to Nov 4th because the bishop said so. She got her parents to sign the slip (because she is 16) but he found out they know nothing about our church and wants her to go back and educate them. Bishop Sihk is a super strong leader and is an amazing guy so we trust him. Felix was suppose to get baptized Oct 28 but last Wednesday he told us his mum said no (he is 21 so technically he doesn't need their permission  but we wanted to wait). We didn't want to cause a rift in the family this last Sunday Elder Ward got the impression he will be able to get baptized this next Sunday Nov 4th (the same as Melody) so hopefully he is right. Melody and Felix have such a strong testimony its unbelievable. When Felix told us he couldn't get baptized he almost broke down in front of us it was crazy, he really knows this is true and wants to be apart of it. Coco and Silence (suppose to be baptized Nov 11th) are progressing just find and shouldn't have any problems; they still haven't talked to their mum so we are trying to get them to do it now instead of the last minute like Melody and Felix.
Two things about the mission... I absolutely HATE finding (street contacting) and phone calls. I hate talking to random people because I CAN'T SAY ANYTHING... I'm like "how are you" "did you just get out of school?" "have you seen missionaries before"....blah blah its sooo awkward and I feel like I scare them off because I am a weird white guy  or they laugh at me and its all chill. Then phone calls (like calling potential investigators back) its terrible. Phone service in Hong Kong is not great so it's hard to hear them and they talk SO FREAKING FAST and I talk so then they hang up... A lot of the time when they hear hello I am a missionary the line instantly cuts dead haha. It's funny but super frustrating to go find and make phone calls. Elder Ward is soooooooooooooooo freaking good at both its ridiculousness  He can stop anyone and he can talk on the phone with anyone forever! He talked to a less active for 2 hours and really built a connection with her. I can't even talk for 10 minutes.... Eh it's all good just two things I have to get use to because that's the majority of my mission.
Our ward is cool. There are roughly 60 - 70 active people (technically a branch, 100 active is a ward but for some reason we are called a ward right now) we have about 100 inactive members in our ward. In our ward we have 4 young men, 5 young women, 5 - 6 high priest, and I think 10 -18 elders (and all their wives and children). Our ward loves the missionaries they bring food for us to church every Sunday  like this last Sunday we got cereal (which I miss), milk (I miss American milk soooooo much), candy, snacks and some ramen <3. Our ward is pretty great we still need to get a bit closer with them though.
My language is just hard and I have to accept it. I am starting to improve a lot in this last week more then this whole move. We have sister missionaries in our ward and they are native and told me that this last week I have improved a lot. So hopefully by Christmas I can understand fully and speak 50%; because around January to late December time I should get a new companion.

October 21, 2012

Things are going fine in Causeway Bay. We have our first baptism coming up this Sunday and his name is Felix. He is my first "real" investigator who I have helped teach from the very beginning. We also are having Melody's baptism the week after that Nov 4th and then Coco + Silence (Sister and brother) getting baptized Nov 11th. So there is a lot of good work going on in Hong Kong. It's really exciting except when they all get baptized we will have to go find new investigators; which really sucks in Hong Kong. I think I have already talked to 3000+ people and all we have are these four progressing investigators.
Missionary work is an interesting life style. I tend to be happy all day when I am out working, studying, teaching and everything else but as soon as Pday email comes or I think about home at night I get a sick feeling in my stomach. I don't know if that is home sickness or fear of being here for two years... I realized I have almost hit 5 months on my mission; Dec 5th is my 1/4 mark and I feel as if I haven't done anything and have seen no progression in my life. I mean small things have changed like I never cuss, I don't say words like retard or gay that often, or get caught up in sports but over all I don't feel a change in my person. I try very hard to get lost in studying in the scriptures (in the last week I read Nephi to Mosiah and Alma 40 to end of the book) and doing my best in my work here but at the end of the day I don't feel like much has changed with in me or my life. I don't know. This mission isn't really what I expected it to be either; no one can really prepare you for this. I have never worked so hard in my life for nothing in return; I could work as hard as I could from when I wake up at 6:30 am until I go to bed at 10:30 pm and have absolutely no success. Then at the end of the day all I can think about is "What did I do wrong?" "Why can't I speak well?" "Do I even have the spirit when I taught?" or stuff like that. I think a lot about the quote, "Do your duty, that is the best, leave unto the Lord the rest." I know I am trying my hardest and I need to be patient with myself but I feel as if this is completely pointless 98% of the time. No one cares here and just to show you: 1/4 members here are inactive; there are 20,000 members in Hong Kong but only 5,3XX are active. How can you help someone who doesn't care? Although I am currently seeing a lot of success in my area, it's due to Elder Ward and Elder Liu (his old companion) not me. I haven't found anyone willing to listen and I have been here 5 weeks. I will talk to a 200 people a day when I go finding and no really cares, they put a fake smile on and nod nicely to me.
A mission is a great opportunity to grow and I see how with all the issues you face but I also see how it can crush some people. I tend to be stubborn so I don't think I will be one who gets crushed but I know this mission is going to be very hard for me.
I love you all very much and didn't realize what I had back home. College was a pointless experience as far as making me a man and seeing the importance of life. I have seen and heard things that could crush a man's heart. The fear and doubt people have in Hong Kong is no different than America, people can't afford things and can't help their families, some people leave their families when it gets hard, suicide is high here, everyone wants a future they can't have especially for their children, and no one really has hope anymore. Life is depressing, hard and strenuous but I know it can be happy from what I have seen in our home. I thank you for that and should have known that sooner than now being almost 20 years old.

October 17, 2012

My ward is super amazing. There is about 60 active members (maybe more?) and they are all super awesome. They all love to help with the missionary work, we have members almost always present at every single lesson, they go finding with us and they give us a lot of food! Bishop Sihk is super great he is an amazing leader and helps plan with us on how to use our ward better to find new investigators and to befriend our current ones. His family also is one of the key members who helps us with our missionary work he has four kids (girl 16 Celeste, son 14 Enoch, girl 12, girl 10) they are super cool.
So about the food situation here in Hong Kong... I almost never cook food, I think I have cooked maybe 5 to 8 times since I been here. We are WAY to busy to stop and cook; so we either eat out, eat with investigators/members or we just don't eat (and that tends to happen a lot... Actually I didn't have dinner last night or breakfast today hahaha). I like a lot of the food here cha-seui-faan [HK$ 26] (chAW-sew-fon) its like BBQ/fried pork; missionaries tend to eat it a lot because its cheap, taste good and fills you up! We also eat a lot of noodles [HK$15], McDonald's (ew, a big mac combo is HK$21), these bread donut things [HK$12 - 17] and some other foods. I have had some weird stuff since I have been here. I have eaten chicken feet, pig's knuckles and a lot of other stuff I'm not sure what it is... So normally I just close my eyes and eat it and hope it's good... Normally it's good... Normally. (The Mandarins that live with us tend to eat out with us because we study, work, and live with each other. It's a lot of fun, we are all really close friends already.)
Elder Ward and I have four AMAZING investigators. Felix (21 college student been teaching him 4 weeks), Melody (16 Form 5 student been teaching her for 6 weeks), Coco (19 Form 6 Student been teaching for 3 weeks) and Silence (Coco's younger brother 18 form 5 student). Felix and Melody are getting baptized Oct 28th and Coco and Silence are getting baptized Nov 4th or 11th. They all are progressing so quickly they all went to general conference with us last Sunday and Felix went to EVERY SINGLE SESSION.... My investigators are sooo cool. They also are all best friends; me and Ward got them to hang out with us during some lessons/activities and now they are all hang out. It's super crazy how much success we are having in Causeway Bay. Hopefully it continues this way.
Last thing before I go; I had a cool experience. In Hong Kong you don't go door to door obviously so to find people you do pull-in's, finding on the street or receive referrals. I absolutely hate doing findings because my Chinese is pretty poor. However this week we had exchanges/Zone Finding. I had known about this so I prayed all day asking for help to teach one person by myself (because normally I just say hi then let Elder Ward take over). So I found my temp companion was my ZL Elder Parry... We were to go find in TKO and the first hour I tried my hardest to stop people on the street in the middle of a huge city. I had some success, I handed out a couple of flyers and got some numbers but I still hadn't taught a lesson after the first hour. I had almost 30 to 40 minutes left and neither me or Parry had a lesson yet. (You have lesson when you teach someone something and it starts with an opening prayer and ends with prayer.) So I prayed in my heart to find ANYONE who would just listen to me and Parry. I saw kid and decided to talk to him, he had just walked out of his school building. I came up to him and did our little introduction. Asked him his name (Keith), introduced ourselves, asked if he had seen missionaries, told him our purpose is to help people and teach about Jesus Christ and a couple other things. Right as I finished that two of his friends showed up, so I did it again and another kid came up... I was teaching four 16/15 year old at once, and this was my first street lesson by myself... I look at Parry kind of giving him a look of "you can take over, I don't wanna screw up." He just smiles and looks into the distance... Leaving the lesson to me. By this time Keith's brother shows up and now I am up to five people listening to me half speak Chinese... Most of them didn't seem to interested but Keith so I really focused on him, I taught him why we needed to pray, how and asked him if he was willing to try to pray right now on the street. He actually did... So I began a quick lesson of why we pray and how it can strengthen our relationship with God and some other things. Then I asked Keith who he wanted to pray me, Parry or one of his friends. He chose me... So I said an awkward little Chinese prayer. I got all their numbers and instead of just teaching one person as my goal, I some how managed to teach 5... So that is probably one of the coolest experiences I've had here, with God giving me a small little blessing. 

October 10, 2012

So about Pday its on Thursday Hong Kong time BUT as of Oct 22nd (HK time) pdays will be on Mondays. So look for that change. 

Everyone in my apartment is white so we normally speak English because they can't really speak Cantonese and we can't really speak Mandarin. Although Elder Ward actually can speak some Mandarin but he has a Cantonese accent when he speaks. I don't know any Mandarin anymore - I can remember words but I can't speaks soooo I don't use it. When I teach with the Mandarin missionaries we both just speak our Chinese language so they speak Mandarin and we speak Cantonese because most people in Hong Kong can speak Cantonese, Mandarin and know English pretty well. I do use English a lot but not really when I teach.

We taught during the festival but most of the town was shut down but that means most people are free, so we visited less actives, members and some investigators during the entire festival. It was pretty hectic.

We have 5 progressing investigators now and we lost some due to their personal choices. We have Coco, Silence (Coco's brother), Melody, Felix and Dung Hingdaih.

I have done some soccer finding where I play with kids but normally we play from 7 to 7:30 in the morning but its normally Elders with a few kids so its pretty fun.

The only thing we aren't allowed to eat on our mission is raw food like sushi and some other fish food but everything else is find. It really more depends on what you can handle because some people just loose their stomachs with certain stuff soooo yeah. 

That's about it for the mission, I am not really sure on what else to say. Not much has changed but I get caught up with the fact I can't speak or understand Chinese, or no one will listen or people just bash our church and I can't defend because I don't know Chinese. This mission is an interesting one. There is a lot of success but there is also a lot more failure. Hopefully I see change soon because sometimes I feel like a lot of the work done here is pointless because no one does anything with our message. Just have to keep a smile on my face and enjoy it for what it is.

October 4, 2012

A typical day here in Hong Kong is waking up at 6:45 and playing soccer from 7 to 7:40 every morning. Then we study scriptures with our investigator Horace from 7:40 to 8:00 (ish). Then we run home and shower, hopefully we get back by 8:30 then we have personal study from 8:30 (ish) to 9:30 (ish) then we have companionship study from 10:00 to 12:00pm. We normally get lunch then come back to the church building and do language study from 12:00 to 1:00. After that the schedule can be about anything; normally we do a lot of teaching here because we have 6 progressing investigators (16 total investigators) but we also do a lot of finding and pull-backs. We teach, find, do pull backs, make calls, work with members until about 10pm everyday. There is a lot of work here in Hong Kong and we travel a lot here. I am on the MTR (light rail here), riding a bus or walking all the time from 1pm to 10pm; its amazing. One thing I do love about the living in the city/island is the shade from the tall buildings and the breeze from the ocean/canal! Its hot and humid but not to terrible.
This last weekend was the Mid-Autumn Festival, it was freaking crazy.... It was more packed then Washington DC during the 4th of July fireworks 3 years ago! Last Saturday we met with an investigator named Roodey for dinner (during the festival) at the most amazing Thai restaurant. Then we went to his flat taught him and his friend a quick lesson and then watched the festival from his flat. I saw fireworks, ate a TON of moon cake, ate tradition fruit (star fruit, dragon fruit, pomanelo, and a couple others), watched the dragon dance (has a boy made of incense and was 100 meters long!) and got to see some other stuff. It was pretty awesome, I came at a good time! I cant even imagine Chinese New Years.
A little more about my living situation. Its the size of two of my dorm rooms from college... so really small. We have four missionaries sleeping in one room, a nonexistent kitchen, a small toilet/shower and a small living room. Even though there is no room its not that bad because everyone in my apartment is pretty awesome. Elder Ward my companion as I have said before is awesome, we his pretty relaxed but organized so its fun living with him. The other companionship we live with are Mandarin Elders named Wright and Bradley. Wright has been out 14 months, he is a trainer and he is from Utah. He is super fun, really good at basket ball and pretty chill; he also is an amazing teacher. I have taught with him a couple times it was a lot of fun. Elder Bradley is also a baby like me but he has been in training for 7 weeks so he was the district that left right before me. He is really smart, he knows a ton of Mandarin already, he is pretty awesome at soccer (we do soccer finding all the time and bring kids in with our awesome skills haha), and has an amazing comprehension of the Book of Mormon and Bible. Over all I think I came into a really good group of friends for my first move here in the mission!
My Chinese is coming a little faster, I am starting to understand a bit more of the conversations but I am still a long ways off from being fluent. I really hope it comes sooner than later because it is really frustrating having something to share but not being able to express it or not having a comprehension of what they are trying to say to you. Meeting new people on the streets is one of the hardest things for me not because I have a problem with being bold but rather I don't know what to say or I can't express what I want to say. It's really demoralizing but I know I can get it, I just got to forget about it for right now and realize I still have 18 months(ish) to become perfect at this.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 28, 2012 First Full Week!

Yeah, my mission really isn't like any mission probably around the world. We do things like "pull-in's" which is similar to finding but we take people off the street to tour our massive TWELVE STORY CHURCH BUILDING. We have English Class (Saturday night), Basketball Night (Thursday night), Game Night (Wednesday), FHE (Saturday/Monday night), Guitar/Piano Class (Friday night) and Soccer (every morning Monday - Saturday). Yeah, its pretty sweet. We also have a rule here that you have to know/teach your investigator for 6 weeks before they can be baptized so we become really good friends with our investigators. We spend a lot of time with them playing games (cards or whatever), sports, music or whatever it's pretty interesting.
My area is pretty small, about 4 train stops east - west but it is extremely hard/busy here because it is one of the biggest business areas. However we currently have 5 baptismal dates for October (I gave two of them recently actually haha). It's crazy the success that is going on here but it's because of a lot of effort by older companionships; Elder Ward and I are trying our hardest to keep that up. The investigators we are really teaching right now are Melody (16), Horace (20's), Felix (21), Duhng Hingdaih (29?) and Jason (14). We have a couple other people that are really close but these 5 have dates set and should meet their goals by the way the are progressing. They are all so awesome; most of them can speak a little English (or a lot) so I use Chinglish right now (I try my hardest to avoid using English though).
Let me tell you a little about my house... it's small. Like REAL small. There is a tiny bedroom, a tiny living room, a bathroom and a "kitchen" (a stove and a sink with a half a wall). We have four people living in the bedroom Me, Elder Ward, Elder Wright and Elder Bradley (they are Mandarin missionaries). There isn't a lot of space here haha (I will send pictures next week I forgot my camera). Also if you are curious about what I eat, I hardly ever cook because I never have any time. I normally only cook on Saturday or Sunday nights. Other than that we are hitting up street vendors, McDonald's, Ramen, Members or some Chinese place on the corner of the block. Haha I have already had some weird food like Chicken feet and Tofu-Squid thing. I haven't got sick yet soooo I am enjoying the food!
So that's really all that's going on in the field right now, I am learning a lot of words but I still need to keep working.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20, 2012 First REAL days in HONG KONG

The flight was pretty crazy, wont really talk all that much about it cause it was long and boring. All our flights were on time, we made them all with a lot of time to spare and the flight to Hong Kong was crazy long. Beats any road trip I've really ever had.
So I've been in Hong Kong 2 days and 3 nights (I arrived around 6pm-ish Hong Kong time). The first night I met President/Sister Hawks and the AP's (Elder Smith and Wong). Then I went to bed, they told us we wouldn't sleep but I told them that I should sleep pretty well because I didn't sleep hardly at all on the plane, but I was wrong. I got around 4 hours of sleep my first night... That sucked. I got some nice french toast from Sister Hawks, then I got some training for the mission; like money stuff, food and the AP's reviewed some teaching stuff. After that we had some sweet/sour pork for lunch and went out to do finding in Lee Chi Park. I was on splits with Elder Wong (a Hong Kong native) we talked to people for about 2 hours. We handed out flyers and pamphlets but there wasn't much success. Elder Wong and I began to wonder a bit and found this man named Issac. We actually taught him a full lesson in the park about praying to our Heavenly Father and what the Book of Mormon was; he was very interested, he asked a lot of questions. Elder Wong had me teach him how to pray and showed him how to do it, it was pretty awesome. After that we talked about the Book of Mormon and some other things. When we finished he had two question, I remember one and it was about the trinity. (Which some how I was never taught about at the MTC....) Elder Wong looked at me and said, "Well Ai Jeunglouh?" Hahah He made me teach him about it to him, it went pretty well I got my point across. He accepted to meet with us again, we gave him two pamphlets, and a Book of Mormon. When we gave it to him he asked where to read, so suggested Alma 30 (or 32 I forgot) and invited him church. He said he couldn't this Sunday because he had family stuff but he would next week. It was pretty amazing, I am pretty happy with my first day! After that we went back to our "home" (the mission house next to the Temple, which is also a church) and taught English class to some people. It was pretty crazy and hectic but it was awesome!
Today was the day of knowing, I guess is the best way to explain it? I got my new name tag with my Chinese name, I got my Hong Kong ID, and I got my Trainer and Mission area. So I am serving in Causeway Bay with my trainer Elder Ward (Wohng Jeunglouh), that's on Hong Kong Island on the west side. Elder Ward has been out just under his year mark and I am his "baby" (in our mission your trainer is your father and his trainer is your grandpa, and when your companion leaves to go home you "kill" him. I don't know if that make sense in how I wrote it but it's a HK tradition haha) and he seem pretty awesome. I only have been with him since this morning so I don't know him to well yet; he is really nice, pretty relaxed and has very good Chinese; so I think we should do pretty well together.
So a little about our area (from what I have picked from Elder Ward), we have 15 progressing investigators, 5 - 6 with baptismal dates, and an amazing area. He told me its growing super fast right now and is having a lot of success! So I think this will be a great place to start my mission! This area is really, really busy and rich. Its were all the businesses are so its pretty crazy. Our chapel is 12 stories and is all red brick in downtown Hong Kong. Its super awesome, I got to see it today. Elder Ward said I have to make a really good impression this Sunday when I bare my testimony in front of everyone so he is helping me get ready for that haha, it's kind of funny to me but I know I will try my hardest and pray that they like me!
I haven't actually seen my apartment yet but I heard it's small... Like one of the smallest in the mission... With no air conditioning, but its clean from bugs and stuff haha. So this should be really interesting. Oh by the way I am always sweating here, it's nice hahah!
I really don't know what else to write but if you could all pray for me it would be much appreciated! I got some serious jet lag, my Chinese is a joke to these people and I am pretty nervous about being here haha. Yeah, well I love everyone back home and hope everyone is having fun doing what ever you are doing. Write me!
Okay so I guess that's it for the blog, I hope everyone is doing great. I am pretty tired, I passed out on a couch yesterday with Elder Morton during our personal study before English class, it was pretty funny. Oh by the way Elder Morton is going to New Territories (by the China boarder) and his companion is a native, Elder Leung. He was pretty happy about that. 

I forgot two things:
We got Issac to pray in the park, that was like the biggest park I dont know how I forgot that haha. So that was pretty sweet! The second thing is my Pdays are now Hong Kong Thursdays (so your wednesday (?) you will have to figure the time thing out lol) so write me before that!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18, 2012 - Arrived in Hong Kong!!!

                                      Elder Arrington with Mission President and Sister Hawks.
                 Sister Hawks sent a short email informing us Sam arrived safely and is ready to work!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pictures from the MTC

These pictures are in no particular order. However, they are all from the Elder Sam Arrington's MTC stay.
                    My district and the old HK district, with our fancy leg crossing. This was at the Provo temple.
                        The Elders I played soccer with Poland, Bulgaria, Phillipines and a few other places.
 Elder Godwin and I, he gave a me a matching tie he found in the free tie rack haha they have epic elephants on them!
                                                            Me and Elder (Josh) Clason

                                                            Outside the temple on a temple walk.

Got my companion Elder Morton to do a karate kick across the room and caught it with my camera. 

                                        Me and my district, awkwardly in front of the famous MTC map.

 Picture with the old HK district (Top row: Parker, Allen, Sibach, Morton, Kimball, me. Bottom: Cutler, Law, Lin, Heaton).
                               Me and my teacher Gu hingdaih (it has a weird color or something to it).
                                       Me and Taylor Haymen (college buddy), we missed each other...
                                                              Me and Taylor posting up.
                                     Awkward hands with Elder Weire (Poland), Elder I play soccer with.
 Elder Weire, me and Elder Harris (both Poland) I played soccer for 6 weeks with them I was super close with them.
                                          Elder Hoy, my Candian friend I played soccer with (Bulgria).
  Elder Greenacre, I played soccer with him. We were pretty tight, he left 4 weeks ago. He is from the London, him and I dominated the pitch. haha
 Elder Heui and I, he is from Hong Kong (lives in Canada) helped me a bit with my Cantonese and told me a lot about it. He is pretty sick, I think he is in Cali for a bit because his mission is full?
                                                                A great picture of me Price Jeff and Jordan. haha

September 15, 2012

I have 2 days left in them MTC, I am so stoked to finally be getting out of the MTC! I basically packed everything but some clothes that I am washing right now. First bag is at 35lb and I doubt my second one breaks 45 lbs so I should be all good for travels. I fly American Airlines to LA then Cathey Airway to Hong Kong (which I was told is one of the nicest airlines in the world?). It's going to be a long trip, we get up at 6am ride to SLC, get there around 7am ish and wait around until my flight at 9:30am. Then we fly to LA (2 hours ish) land around 10:35am [California Time], I have a layover for 2 hours there then it's an 18 -17 hour flight to Hong Kong! Its going to be one long trip since I can't watch the movie, listen to music or play on my smart phone... So this should test my sanity a little bit.

All I have left is a little good bye party with my teachers tonight, church tomorrow and my flight. So there isn't much else going on here. Actually I forgot me and Elder Morton are having a first baptism (with one of our "progressing investigators") with Vincent. It's today at 6:20 pm, so that's about all the exciting news for the MTC. I think it's time for me to get out of this place haha.
Well my next update will be in Hong Kong! Bye!
So yeah my last week or so here has been pretty bad. I have been getting sick (food poisoning and migraines), lessons have slowed down, and I have feel like my learning in Cantonese hasn't been progressing as it use to be so I am so done with the MTC. This place isn't as great as I imagined it but that maybe because I have been here 12 weeks... Regardless I have made a ton of friends and it was still worth it. I know the field is only going to be that much harder when I get out there.

September 9, 2012

So its finally come down to my last week at the MTC... Its weird because I've been here so long its hard to imagine leaving; haha just kidding I am so ready to get out! Although I know I am no where prepared enough to teach I am ready to go. My teacher Fu Hingdaih (FOOH Hing-die) told me a lot about what I first day will be like in the Field and it honestly sounds pretty intense. I just got to make the last 7 days and 20 hours or so in an airplane! Sooooo ready to go. Fly out at 9:30 at SLC!
I will defiantly miss Elder Morton and Kimball, I would say we have become good friends and developed a decent understanding of each other. Spend every living movement with someone for almost three months can really make love or hate them but luckily for us it came out pretty well and we haven't killed each other yet. I just really hope my new companion in Hong Kong is a really good missionary, like my companions, because I am going to need all the help I can get when I go into the field and teach my first lesson... I can't wait to write about that haha.
As for the MTC life, not much has changed since basically week three. I go to breakfast, gym, shower, class, lunch, personal study, language study, class, dinner, and finish the day with some good ol' TALL Lab. (Anyone who goes on a foreign mission will LOVE TALL haha.) Yeah sooo I am seriously ready to get out this rut of the MTC.
So that's basically it for my MTC stay the next time I write you will be in Hong Kong! So everyone should email because letter in Hong Kong will expensive and a massive wait. 

September 3, 2012

So last Tuesday the Mandarin and Cantonese Missionaries got told a general authority was going to talk to specifically us for like an hour (from 4 to 5pm) before the devotional. So of course the only reason he was coming was to tell us China was opening, right? Haha Well we met Elder Anthony Perkins last Tuesday (8/28) and he basically (like I thought) gave us a pep talk and prepared us for our missions. Elder Perkins was mission president in Taiwan, some other stuff and the last five years he was a the area president of Asia. At the end he let us have a cool little Q and A. Of course the first question asked was about China being opened (it's still Communist I don't know why people kept asking) but he gave a very interesting response. (I don't have perfectly written down but this is what he basically said.) "China is open, but in a special and new way unlike any place before. We have Elder/Sister all over the world teaching native people from China. People in Hong Kong, TaiwanThailand, America and so many other places. When these native Chinese people receive this gospel they are allowed to take it home to their family and share it with only them (that's the law about religion in China) but they almost ALWAYS accept it. So even though China is not open officially, it is and work is being done. God has allowed us a special way to teach his beloved people from China and it works but hopefully soon we can teach them in China but even now we are still teaching the people of China." Thought the way he explained was pretty amazing and never really thought about it but its true. Pretty inspired words if I do say so myself!
Not much else has happened. Still studying Cantonese and the scriptures everyday; I have read the Book of Mormon once already here. The language learning has kinda of slowed a lot compared to the first couple of weeks so I think it's time for us to head out (which happens in FOURTEEN DAYS). So excited for the 22 hour flight! haha

August 27, 2012

So Elder Anderson of the quorum of the twelve came last Tuesday and it was pretty amazing. He spoke on 8/21 which is President Monson''s birthday soooo he spoke on 10 things president Monson said. I left my notes at my room so I will give you more in detailed information at 4pm today or write you a copy in a letter or something. The two things that I remember best is Monson's favorite quote, "Do your duty that is best, leave unto the Lord the rest." Which I honestly feel describes my mission pretty well... Although it is relatively successful compared to the rest of Asian missions, I feel a lot of my future lessons will be planting seeds for other elders. I just have to do my best and leave unto the Lord the rest. The other thing that really talked to me was Elder Anderson''s closing line when he bore his testimony, it reminded me a lot of Joseph Smith's line (don't remember it perfectly), "I cannot deny what I know, for I know its true, God knows I know and therefore I cannot deny the things which I speak." Or something like that, Elder Anderson said, "I know this church is true, I know the book Mormon is another testament and I am here as another testament of Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ amen." The firmness behind his voice was so strong the room was in complete and utter silence, I don't think I have ever been in a room with 2000 people and it be so quite. It was amazing, If I could have a even a 1/3 of the power that he spoke with that night I know I could be a great missionary. That's all I really want, his the firmness of the truth that he had when he spoke, the smile he talked with and the love that he shared with us. If I had those three things I know I can be a great missionary, even with such a tremendous language barrier that I will have for a while.
So now I have my own companionship because the new Canto is with Elder Kimball. Elder Morton and I have been getting along great and seeing decent amount of progression in our "progressing investigators." One is truly considering baptism (we have date set in about 2 weeks ish) and we just started a new investigator but she is pretty stubborn about things so we will see how that goes.
The language is pretty tough, obviously, but I can still see progression although it is slow. This language is very tough and at some times relatively depressing. I could spend 2 hours learning new words for a lesson and when it comes time to teach only remember a few of them. I know Hong Kong is going to be really hard speaking there but I think I have learned as much as I can from the MTC. I still have 22 more days here so hopefully I can keep progressing but it definitely has slowed down.

August 20, 2012

The language is coming along pretty well. Me and my companions can now do a 50 minute lesson without notes so there is a lot of progression but we still have A LOT of room to improve before we hit HK. My sounds and tones are correct like 85% time so that's awesome. 
SO the new canto group is one elder and one sister, neither are natives so they will be here for the full 12 weeks. 

Questions from from parents:
Couple questions about the MTC:
1)      Are you teaching real investigators? I thought it was just practice in first few letters…but you last one made it sound like they were real…sorry for being unaware…but real investigators you teach in mtc? How does that work…bring them from BYU? Educate me please
2)      I talked to some one and then there was new family in church today about scriptures in Cantonese…they said Mandarin and Cantonese both have same written language but different spoken language…how does that work?
3)      When do you leave for Hong Kong…I think you said 17 Sept.
4)      Have you had any Apostles speak at the MTC? Do you have devotionals or speakers come talk to you guys? How often?
5)      Is church “wars” or there are 2500 that go to one meeting? How does it work?

Elder Arrington's responses:
 1. We teach our teachers ACTING as investigators they taught out in the field, so we are teaching "real people" from Hong Kong to prepare us for our mission.
2. Okay so Cantonese doesn't have their OWN written language so they barrow Mandarin's characters. Cantonese also has 7 tones (9 technically) and Mandarin only has like 4 I think. So our language is completely different (words may sound the same but it is essentially another language) so to learn how to read I have to basically learn 1.5 languages on my mission. I don't actually learn to read characters until about 6 - 8 months in the field in HK. Soooo it should interesting.
3. I leave Sept 17th, I get on a bus at 5am drive to SLC then fly to LA have a lay over there for 2 hours I think and I get to call you while I am there by the way. Then I fly to HK which is like a 16 - 18 flight...
4. I missed the Mission president training that is late May, early June. So I haven't seen an apostle yet. We have MTC leaders speak on Sundays and Apostles/70's speak on Tuesday nights every week.
5. Your zone is your ward. My zone has like 40 people or so. Oh Josh Clason my Summer roommate was in my zone he leaves tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 13, 2012

So the MTC is still as fun as ever. Constantly in a classroom learning something new, getting way to excited to play futbol everyday, and being just as excited to get to bed. The MTC is pretty exhausting like I said before. You see so many people come and go it kind of makes you sad. The language can be very difficult on certain days and it feels like you aren't learning anything. Teaching our "investigator" and seeing no progression is so frustrating. It seems like there is a lot more failure than success here. Then on the other hand the moment when you have those little successes like your investigator going to church, understanding the language or getting that little nap in feels SO amazing. It really is the small things that keep you a live here.

I only have 35 more days left in the MTC. It feels so close but I know its pretty far away. I am really stoked to go but at the same time I know I am NO where ready to teach in Hong Kong due to the my level of language skills. So it will really be interesting to see where I will be at in the next couple of weeks! On a side note we get some new baby Canto's this Wednesday, one elder and one sister. So that should be a confidence boost to see how much I have improved since getting here hahah.

My favorite things at the MTC are playing futbol when ever I can, learning grammar for Cantonese, wearing shorts on Pdays and not getting food poisoning :)!

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6, 2012

I will share the small bits of information about my mission that I've learned since being there. There are 6 zones in my mission, about 100 missionaries, 3 languages are spoken in my mission Mandrin, Cantonese and English and it has the highest baptismal rate in Asia (the Phillipense are not included). There is an area in Hong Kong called the International Zone/District and that part of the mission is in pure English! The Hong Kong Mission gets to stay out later than everyone else, we can be out until 11:00pm! Our name tags are cooler than everyone elses because no one has one like ours. They are a little bit bigger than a normal tag, it has the church and my name in english on the right side and in Chinese on the left side. As a bonus we get to have our favorite scripture engraved into the back of it! So by the end of my mission I will have four different tags!

The MTC life is hard and not just because I speak another language. I think its because I finally hit the rut of the MTC. I do everything over and over again and its starting to take a toll. It also doesnt help seeing so many friends I have made here and friends from BYU come and go while I still have 42 more days... Although I know being here is worth it, it still can be hard. I am not homesick, I'm not depressed, I am not scared but I am constantly exhausted. Honestly the only thing that holds me up are quick naps when people arent looking and seeing the small successes everyday. That moment when you teach a lesson and you can just talk without pauses in full Cantonese is what really keeps my "alive" here. I now understand why people dont like the MTC. It is not because it is a bad place because trust me it is an amazing place but you get stuck in a rut and see A LOT more failure than success here. I honestly do apprietate my time here so far but I am so ready to go to Hong Kong and teach there.
As for the language I can really see a change in it from where I have come from. I am starting to slow converting from writing lines to read in lessons to just speaking to them from my head. Although those lines may not be long or complicated I can deffinetly see an improvement. My reading and writing skills in romanized Cantonese is improving as well, writing statements or learning new words is much easier now since I can "sound out" what I am trying to say. I am really thankful for my amazing teachers Fu Hingdiah (Hingdiah means brother) and Gu Hingdiah who are really patient with me and the entire class. Although they arent school teachers I honestly learn more from them than any "professional" teacher I have met. I am really thankful for their work and efforts.

The older group of Hong Kong missionaries left and I hung out with them a lot during study time and gym so its kind of sad to see them go.

In Hong Kong I get to go to the temple every transfer since the mission is so small. Also I found out on Hong Kong Island (pretty sure its there) there is a church building its three church buildings built on top of each other. It is the second most expensive property the church owns because its in the city and its so hard to get a good spot there and apparently they did. (The most expensive is the conference center.)

July 20, 2012

So today 23/7/2012 is the beginning of my 4th week at the MTC and a pretty popular quote at the MTC comes to mind, "Days may feel like weeks but weeks begin to feel like days." Its weird to say but that quote really is true here at the MTC, each day feels like FOREVER but then you look back at the end of the week and I'm like "Where did all the time go?" Its crazy. The food here isnt that bad but its exactly like the Cannon Center by Helaman halls soooo I basically know all of the food they serve here. AlsoSTAY AWAY FROM THE ORANGE JUICE! Seriously people have been like DYING from this drink hahah, just a warning to the next group of MTC goers.
The weird thing for me so far is to see so many people come and go. I have seen tons of friends here from BYU and made some close ones to but I have already said goodbye to 3 districts here, I have come to know in my 4 weeks of being here. Its weird to see kids come in and complain about being here for three weeks or eight weeks while I sit there and realize I still have eight more weeks to go and I have been here 4 already... Its funny just to see how people live here at the MTC and complain about the different things. One thing I noticed (and I went through) was for a while most forgien speaking missionaries are jealous of English speaking missionaries. They get to be here for three weeks and leave! They don't have to worry about going to the mission Field and not understanding a thing, they dont have to worry about new cultures and they dont have to work about having to stay here for 12 whole weeks... I literally have never been more tired in my whole entire life, its like a battle everyday to stay awake around 1 or 2pm. I spend anywhere from 3 to 10 hours a day just working on Cantonese, it is beyond exhausting... Im brain dead by the end of everyday.
On a positive note my Cantonese is improving. I can now construct my own sentences and read romanzied Cantonese with about 80% accuracy. Also just to let everyone know I wont learn ANY characters in the MTC I learn them on the streets of HK and an average missionary learns anywhere between 1500 to 3000 characters (you need like 1800 to literate in HK). I also am teaching two investigators (returned missionaries acting as people they taught from their mission) one man named Ahei he is 41 witha 5 year old boy and a 18 yearold teenager named Vincent. They are both reading the Book of Mormon right now and Vincent just went to church. We have been teaching them every other day for the last two weeks. Vincent is really considering baptism and might actually receive it soon and AHei is still thinking about it. All our lessons have been in 100% Cantonese since day one and its finally starting to get a little bit easier. We are now teaching full 30 - 40minute lessons instead of out 10 - 15minute lessons from the first weeks. Hopefully I can keep progressing at such a quick pace and ask for everyone to pray for me to understand this langauge because it is really intense. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 9, 2012

So the MTC has been extremely crazy for me. Wishing to go on a foregien mission changes once you come here and realize what you are in for (Especially with my language)! My teacher for Cantonese is not allowed to speak ANY ENGLISH at all when teaching us... So its pretty intense and hard but its coming. I can say a prayer about 9 lines long, share a short testimony, introductions, where are you from, invite investgators and some other small stuff. It's WAY WAY WAY harder and exhuasting than anything I've ever done before.

Ngoh hiah  -  My name is
Laih hair mingbin le gei -- where are you from?
Ngoh kuhkauh lieh jukfuk ngoh ge giating -- Please bless my family (for prayer)

That's some basic stuff I've learned in the last 5 days

I have two companions. Elder Morton (Mohk is his cantonese name) and Elder Kimboll (Gam is his cantonese name). I like Kimboll a lot but he is really quite but when he does talk he is pretty funny and really smart!