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.