Sunday, April 20, 2014

March 30, 2014

Yes Sister Tong got baptized this week! It was awesome and Brother Tong was able to baptize her. It was definitely the greatest thing on my mission. There is something special about a family getting baptized to really show you that your mission was worth it. It is even cooler that I got to see them from day one too! It was great.
Anna and Billy are still doing well (their kids Adam and Eddie). They couldn't come to church this week, which stinks, because they were in Mainland again. However last week we had a solid lesson and they said if they knew it was true then they would be baptized. They also told us that Anna and Billy are reading together! So they are still doing great, they are just a huge handful... So hectic.
Fanny and Patrick are doing awesome. Last Sunday they basically told us they knew this was all true. Unfortunately in April they have to go to work in Mainland so we will see how we can contact them this month. They said when they come back they will be at church.
We are still teaching some people but its kind of that time were we need to find new people to teach. Sooooo finding WOOOOOOOOOOOO! :)

 So me and Elder Wong went on 24's (meaning we switch companions for 24 hours to train someone younger). It was during the gnarly storm and you can tell by my hair it was humid and gross but it was a lot of fun haha.
This however is probably is the greatest picture from my mission! This is the Tong family. We have been meeting with them since November and Sister Tong got baptized yesterday. Her husband was able to baptized, which was probably the greatest part! Defiantly the greatest part of my mission is seeing a family come together and follow Christ!
(Elder Groesbeck, Me, Katie, Brother Tong and Sister Tong)
 So this week end we had some crazy weather but last night was the craziest. It was raining so hard and lighting so hard! This picture on the left is at 8pm with lighting the one on the right is two seconds later... It was crazy... OH by the way it HAILED last night! People told me it hasn't hailed in like 20 year or something like that... It was crazy...

March 2, 2014

Its been warm here the last couple of days but its cold out right now and has some light rain. Today we aren't doing to much I just measurements done on my suit, emailing, getting a hair cut then playing some soccer with members and missionaries. Busy but fun day.
I'm so anti trunkie haha. We make so many jokes about it but me and Elder Groesbeck talked about it you can be trunkie or you can come to the realization that you are coming home. They are two different things and one of them is okay. I realize I am coming home and that does not affect me (more or less makes me a little sad). Its a mental thing and in the end its whatever you want it to be. I am happy to be here for the next 100 + days I got left and I am going to hold them sacred.

Yeah Elder Holland was freaking intense... That's the best way to explain it. He teaches very well and use D&C's format of "show love, rebuke, then build." He started to talk about our service and how important it is. How much he loves us, how grateful the church is for us, this that and the other thing. It made us all feel great THEN he threw down the way Elder Holland does and man... it was intense. The biggest thing he taught was from 1st Nephi 1. He told us it teaches us the model of the restoration in a simple 20 verses
1. Prophet
2. Prayer
3. Vision
4. Divine Beings
5. A Book
6. Warning
7. Killed, attempted 
Blew my mind... Shows how much of the gospel I really grasp. He taught us a let that we need to know the gospel more and that the reason President Hinkley wanted PMG is because he thought the missionaries didn't know the gospel well enough. (Due to people just memorizing things, it lost passion, application and some missionaries just said things without finding out first). It was crazy.
Three quotes I liked: (I am going off memory at the moment sorry)
1. "God weeps when he see one of his Shepard's leave the fold" (Talking about any missionary going inactive after his mission)
2. "You do not have the right to desecrate that name plaque and leave this church after finishing a mission" (talking of true conversion and committing for life once you have served a mission)
3. "I have come half way around the world, I am authorized to say 'I love you'" (at the beginning when he was building us up before rebuking us)

Alan well we are trying to still me with him. He is a little depressed right now from a work circumstance and he will text us but its been hard to meet with him.
A Yut is still doing okay. She is still very Taoist and doesn't want to switch but she is still willing to talk to us and hear us out for the time being.

Summer is doing awesome, we turned her over to the sisters because she is 24 years old. They taught her the full Restoration and she at the end said she thought Joseph Smith's vision was true. They asked why and she replied, "I don't know just a feeling." I am hoping they keep meeting with her. She is wanna of those people you meet and feel like she would be an awesome member and really needs this in their life. (I mean we feel that for everyone but just a bit extra for her).
Sister Tong was sick this last week, she tends to get really bad migraines therefore she can't come out sometimes. She wants to push back her date, she told her husband who told us at church. I think she is ready and so does Elder Groesbeck so we will see her this week. It might not be on the 9th but it will be in the this month, I have faith.
Then there is Sister Au! She is gotta be one of my favorite people every haha. She is from mainland but fromt he Gwong Xian area so she also speaks Cantonese. She hasn't been to church in a week and we didn't see her the week before because she was busy/sick. However on Saturday we gave her a call and said we were near her home and she told us we could meet her at the park at the base of her home. When we met her she gave us some ice cream haha. We talked to her for a bit then introduced us to two friends and we talked to them for a bit and helped them with English. Then we started to see how she was doing with the Gospel and such. Two Sundays ago I gave her a Book of Mormon and she has already read like the first 50 pages or so! She is so awesome and she talked about how it makes her happy to read it. She says she doesn't understand a lot of it but she still always feels better after reading it. Anyways she is doing awesome and progressing so much soooo coool :D


Feburary 24, 2014

Things in Hong Kong are doing well. Me and my new comp Elder Groesbeck and just having a ton of fun out here in Cheung Sha Wan. Finding and meeting all sorts of new people. We have already made 3 new friends who seem pretty committed.
Alan  was this guy we bumped into on the street when we were trying to find a place. We quickly traded numbers and that was it. That night we called him and he was like "Ya know give me a call when you are in the area and if I am free we can talk." So we tried it the next day and he met with us. He is pretty cool and seem s to have some interested. We talked to him about his religious views and if the church could help him. He thinks so, so we plan to see him this week.
A Yut. I told you about her last week, she was the one that cried when I shared about Grandpa Arrington and how I know I will see him again. Well we saw her again this week and met her daughter Sophia (who by the way is the most adorable thing on earth) and of course her son Ben was there. We talked for a while and she still is fight the Christianity for herself but wants her daughter to go. So we will keep working with her, I hope you heart will soften up and give the church a chance. I think she will!
Finally is Summer Chan. She was a pretty interesting contact. I walked through a park with Elder Groesbeck on like our second day together. She had like a little one year old daughter looking at me and I waved at the little girl and she waved back. Actually she walked towards me (the little girl) so I squatted down to talk to the little girl and so did the mum. She was super young and we talked. I didn't have much time so I told her who I was and why I was here. She seemed kind of interested so I traded numbers. This last week we rescheduled her and brought her to the church and introduced her to our friend Jacqueline  (20 year old member). She told us that she was a single mum and she really just wanted to help her daughter and thought maybe this could be the way. It was a pretty awesome lesson and she was suppose to come to church this week but her baby ended up being sick. We are going to see her again this week though.
So many little blessings coming our way here in Cheung Sha Wan. I love this place!
Sister Tong also got an answer that this church is true.
How is your zone doing?
Zone right now is doing okay.... February in Hong Kong is always a bad month due to Chinese New Year soooo many people leave and some you never see again. Lucky me and Elder Groesbeck didn't get to affected. Zone over all is doing okay as far as teaching goes BUT we got another 4 baptisms in Feb!!! YAYA 4 in Jan and 4 in Feb super stoked for our zone
Where is your from? 
I think you forgot to write comp? MY comp Elder Groesbeck is from Orem Utah. This is his last move, he is pretty awesome. We get along swell!
How r ur investigators doing?
They are doing pretty well. The greatest thing that has happened this week was Sister Tong told us she knows these things are true. She told us back in January there was a weekend she was sick and she didn't want to go to church but they night before she prayed about it. Her husband and daughter went to church without her because she still wasn't feeling hot. However she had a dream of a friend that had passed a way a while back and in the dream she talked about how her friend said she had returned to Heavenly Fathers presence. She woke up and said she got dressed and a immediately went church. She had taken that as her answer. Such a cool story. I love teaching them so much. She is definitely getting baptized on March 9th

I forgot to tell you but these week marks the 65th year of missionary work in Hong Kong and Elder Holland came to Hong Kong to speak and tomorrow he will speak to the missionaries. And let me tell you wow he is freaking intense! When he walked in he shook some peoples hand and he came up to the man sitting in front of us and said "Watch out the missionaries are sitting behind ya!" He shook Elder Groesbeck's and mine hand and he also shook A Wing our recent converts hand! When he walked away he gave Elder Groesbeck a little noogie! Hahah it was pretty funny.

He also shared three points as to why everyone in this dispensation is a Pioneer!
1. This is the first dispensation told not to run - We are to stand our ground against Babylon!
2. This is the greatest and the last dispensation - We have ALL of the gospel restored and it will NEVER be taken from us again
3. WE must prepare the world for the coming of the Lamb - No dispensation has had such a great and challenging invitation in all of history of man.
I took a ton of notes it was intense but this was my favorite

"I know this church to be true more certainly than I know I stand here at the pulpit and you sitting there in front of me."
If that is not a testimony, I am not sure what is...

It was pretty awesome. I am excited and a little scared for tomorrow when he speaks to us missionaries haha.

Feburary 10, 2014

How were your meetings this last week? training meeting etc.
They went pretty well, was just super busy this week getting everything together. Last Wednesday we had Mission Leadership council (MLC). Were we talk about our zone and whats been going on. Report back to president Hawks and the other Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. That went fine, learned a lot of things again. Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) went super well. We did a lot of stuff to get people stoked and it worked pretty well. I got most of it on video (sorry but I can't send it, the file is to big). So that was great too. Finally the meeting with President Lee and President Hawks went well, nothing to report really. Just talked about the wards and their missionaries, the LA's we are working with as well as the RC's too and then we talked about what can be done to hasten the work here. Always interesting to attend those.

Is Hong Kong just one big stake? 
Hong Kong Mission currently has four stakes: Hong Kong Island, New Territories, Kowloon and Tolo Harbor (as well as international branch on the island and the district in Macau).
Does anyone serve on all those little islands?
They fall under certain missionaries areas but most people don't go out to them because the population is low and normally annoying/hard to re-meet with those people. For example when I served in Aberdeen, Llama Island was in my area but I never went there for finding because it just wasn't worth it.
Why do you think you will stay in your present area the rest of you mission? That is a long time to be in one area - about 8 months. 
Well President Hawks' goal is to have an AVG of 7 months in an area (as recommend by Elder Anderson when he came last year). So I figured I would just stay here. I love this area so I don't really want to move any ways.
Do you think you will train again? 
Weird you should ask... So last night I met with President Hawks and he asked me to train (side note I had a dream about this last Monday). I accepted the call to train. However this morning he said the Spirit told him otherwise and I was to say Zone Leader and not train... Soooo no I am not training at the moment. (I was just told I wasn't training like an hour ago.... so crazy).
Do you like going on splits?
Yeah its alright. Kind of depends on the situation. If you are going to help someone train it can be up lifting and enjoyable but if you are going because someone is struggling it can be pretty depressing. So I like it 50% of the time haha.
and do you think the other missionaries like the change?
I think its about the same for them too.
How are your sisters? When I served they were either whiners or hard workers - no in between. Mine are pretty good. Sister Wilcox and Sister Tidwell. Not much to complain about, pretty normal sisters. haha not sure what to say to that.
How was the baptism? did your other investigator come to see and feel of the spirit there? The baptism was AWESOME. A Wing was super nervous but Fantasy (the Sisters RC from like 2 weeks ago) helped him out. He was so happy, I will send the pictures later. We were able to get the whole Tong Family to come. It was awesome and they are all doing awesome as well. I LOVE THEM <3
Here is the story of the week, its pretty cute actually.
So we were teaching Tong family after the baptism, A Wing was there to share a little too. So we planned to teach keeping the Sabbath day holy to help Sister Tong prepare for baptism and such! So we were getting towards the end of the lesson and I was sharing my personal experience about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. Letting them know that not matter the sacrifice its worth it but in the middle of my testimony I look over to Katie (the 7 year old) and she makes a weird face then I hear this ppffffffffffffffffffffffft pft.... (she farted) I look at Brother Tong then Sister Tong... They both kind of have a blank look... Then I try to keep going like nothing happened but I snickered and everyone died.... Just we all started laughing sooooo freaking hard. Oh my goodness it was the funniest thing to ever happen, I swear! The lesson ended well and they committed to it. But aw man that was sooo funny.

As far as visiting Hong Kong. If you can come that is fine. You don't need to bring everyone that is just unreasonable of me to request that. I would like you to meet my friends I've made and I... may have told everyone you are coming already ha :D

 Hey everyone check out my gang!! Ha this is the Kowloon West side Zone! We currently got 24 missionaries got some Americans, Australians and Hong Kong people!

 One of the greatest blessings of this week has got to be seeing A Wing get baptized. He has been meeting with us for quite a while and he was very excited to finally be baptized.

This is the Tong Family! They are like my favorite people in the world. Brother Tong is an RM (served in Hong Kong) and his wife/daughter are not members. Everyone at church loves Sister Tong and Katie. Actually Katie wants to get baptized when she turns 8 in Sept! Her mum is setting a pretty great example by deciding to get baptized in March!
Katie is basically like my sister in Hong Kong! She is nuts and probably the funniest thing in Hong Kong.

Feburary 2, 2014

So how many elder and sisters are in your zone?
We have a total of 24 missionaries (including my companionship)
6 Sisters and 18 Elders (we also cover the Assistants and the office elders in our zone)
Do you over see all the languages? 
I only oversee English and Chinese (Cantonese). We currently have no Mandarins in our zone. If you are a foreigner I have to pass them off in Cantonese and if they are a local Hong Kong person they do the same pass offs in English. (PMG talks a lot about if you serve in your country but you have a English speaking companion this is a good opportunity to learn English, so we will help them too).
Do you meet with the President monthly ? 
Yes, roughly ever month. Ever month we have mission leadership council which beings all the missionary leaders of Hong Kong (ie the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders) together and we discuss how each month went, how numbers look, issues we ran into, success we had and the President Hawks will also expound more for the mission. (That is actually Feb 5th). Then like every month to every other month we meet with President Hawks and President Lee (the stake president and sometimes his assistants come) and discuss how Kowloon Stake is doing as far as missionary work, ward relationships and other things on their agenda. (That is on Feb 7th). Takes a lot of our time to prepare and do these meetings but WOW I've learned a lot of how the church is ran and how much this work is looked upon. So interesting.
Are you still enjoying being a zone leader? 
Yes I still enjoy it, I hope I stay here in Cheung Sha Wan and as Zone Leader for the rest of my mission (and there is a pretty good chance of that). I like seeing the mission more as a whole rather than just my area, which I think a lot of missionaries don't see until the become a leader. It also gives me a lot of chance to serve which is nice, between language pass offs to exchanges I get a lot of time to help people grow and its been pretty rewarding. However I can say it can give you a little more stress because before I just had to worry about my junior comp and my area. Now I have to worry about 22 other missionaries, there areas, etc etc. I like it though.

Do you think you will have that problem or do you speak enough English that it is easy for you to separate and you remember English words?
My English sucks but I can speak fine. Writing on the other hand, well you can see from my letters my grammar has gone to poop. haha. I should have that big of an issue, Hong Kong is pretty international. Especially the island (which was like half my mission). I do struggle some times in my English to explain things because I can't remember words or common phrases but I should be fine.
So when is exactly Chinese New years? 
Well its like a week long celebration. It started last Saturday.
is it a day or a time period?
Like six days or so
Why do they go to the mainland during this time?
Well a lot of people have family up there soooo they go see their family. That's really all I hear from them at least. Plus Mainland seems like a pretty legit place to party... haha I really don't know sorry.
 what did you do? As I recall your first Chinese New Year you were in your apartment doing a heavy duty cleaning - waxing the floors.
Well because no one is out on the first day of Chinese New Years (CNY) the mission will have a deep clean of their flat... you literally clean freaking everything all day... it's soooo intense and can take for ever if your flat is dirty like ours. We started at 10 am and finished at 10:24pm... It sucked BUT this year I didn't have to wax YAYA d(^_^)b
What mps and rclas? It sounds like you are still being able to teach a lot . 
Mp's = Member present lessons RCLA's = Recent convert or Less active lessons
Any news on any of your investigators. You should be having a baptism coming up this next week.
Investigators are doing great. CNY makes things a little hard because a lot of people are going for like a week and half in mainland sooo we can't contact them BUT we still had a decent amount of success. A Wing is having his baptismal interview this week and he is so ready. He is totally getting baptized next Sunday and we are all super stoked! Sis Tong is doing great too! She needs to read a little bit more but she is really starting to pick up interest and she came to church all dressed up this week too! Normally she has come in like jeans and a sweater but she came in a dress. It was cool. All of our other investigators are doing okay, we didn't seem them this week due to CNY.

So in Hong Kong during Chinese New Years (last Saturday) all missionaries must do a very DEEP clean of their flat. It took us all day from 10am to 10pm but I was reward with the most beautiful sunset I've seen in a long time. The whole sky was purple, pink and blue with the moon right in the middle. Wish you all could have seen it.
 At the Bishop's home A Wing brought some chocolate moose and Cheese cake moose! By the way he is a trained chef! He made this by hand, his specialty is in cakes, pies and dessert breads. IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD AND SOOO FULL OF SUGAR!!! :D
 Yesterday (still Chinese New Years) we went to our bishop's home to eat dinner and to celebrate a little! (Bishop Kwok is in the red) We also brought Edward (back left corner) a member preparing to leave for his mission to Seattle on Feb 10, our investigator A Wing (he is getting baptized on Feb 9th! He is in the middle back with the glasses), the sisters came with their investigator Cherie (I think that's how you spell is it haha). It was pretty awesome!