Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014: Handwritten Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

Thank you so much for your letter, well DearElder, I guess.  I really love getting those.  They're more personal because I can hang them up and reread them when I start missing home.

Things here are going pretty well.  Seeing (hearing about, I guess) Jaiden set back again makes me sad.  I pray for him and the rest of you daily but sometimes I feel like my prayers aren't heard because things only get worse.  I know that's silly to think because I know hears all our prayers - the answer is just not right for the moment.

So far I've taught 4 lessons and as you probably read in my email, one really did not go well.  It's hard to teach a lesson in Cantonese when you don't even know how to teach one in English.  We have two new investigators this week so that will be a nice fresh start to recollect our thoughts and try again.

I love you so much.  Thanks for supporting me while I am here.  I know it's a financial sacrifice and I know there are probably better things for you to do with that money but I also know the Lord needs me out here.  I haven't figured out why  yet but I know I need to here.  I love this gospel so much.

Ngoh ngoi leih!  I love you!

Kuk Jimuih

P.S. There is a place on main street by Nielson's custard that does same-day shipping to the MTC.  I would greatly appreciate some raspberries :)  If I won't die if I eat day old fruit that is.

June 30, 2014: Handwritten Letter to Mom

Dear Mom,

I'm glad you finally decided to get the mail.  You'll be getting a lot of letters from me in the next few weeks since I have so much to say but hardly any time to email.  It's usually just a few minutes here and there.

I am way bummed that Jaiden got set back again.  I just wish he could understand that he's not just hurting himself when he does that.  I'm hurt by it, and I'm not even around.  I do agree that it's better that it happens now than later.  I hope he knows that I'm out here for him.  It's people like him who maybe have heard the gospel but probably don't understand the fullness of Christ's atonement.  Our purpose is to bring people to Christ. If I could bring him to a better understanding of Christ's infinite love for him, I would consider my mission a success.

I wish I could say the language is as easy as I made it look.  The words aren't hard, and the tones aren't too hard either...but the sentence structure kills me.  Everything is all messed up.  The order is subject, time, place, verb, object.  So basically it looks like:  You tomorrow home read scriptures.  There are not "it, and, but, or," or anything like that.  It's totally bizarre.  Though I can usually understand our teacher, it's hard to speak and think your sentences in an order that Chinese people will understand.

I am grateful my testimony is reaching many people.

Kuk Jimuih

A 'Moody' Farewell

This week has been full of adventures! Tuesday was the last day of the new Mission President seminar, so no joke we had all of the Quorum of the 12 apostles here, as well as all of the first presidency, as well as all of the new mission presidents! It was crazy. Anyways, Tuesday morning the gym was closed for devotional setup, so we had our gym time at the field. We were walking up out of the gates when we saw this car go flying through and it turned...but not before it totally ran into the sign that said "Mission President Parking and General Authorities only". All three of us were totally dying... it was so funny! Choir has been amazing and I swear, the only good reason to go is the spirit that music brings...and the director.He's a hoot. Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke to us Tuesday night about the worth of souls. It was a pretty good talk, but it definitely didn't hit me like Sunday's devotional did. But that's okay! Not every message from every person is going to be what I need to hear, and that's totally fine.

Wednesdays are always great, since it's new missionary day! So we get to make all the new missionaries with orange dots on their tags feel awkward when every single person there says "WELCOME TO THE MTC!!!" It's great. Actually, Sister Cochran was the best at greeting those new missionaries and she saw one and yelled "welcome to the MTC" at him. turns out he was Elder Klein (our British missionary who's been here 11 weeks because of an injury) with a highlighter in his pocket above his tag. Needless to say that was pretty awkward...hahahaha. Good times though. Sister Anderson summed up the feeling of our first day in class together with a quote from Finding Nemo. When Marlin is getting ready to exit the EAC, Squirt is trying to give him instructions. Marlin says "You're so cute but I have NO idea what you're talking about!!" That is totally how we felt. Our teacher is adorable, but she speaks literally ONLY Cantonese. So it's hard to understand anything. BUt oh well!

Thursday I ran into my old buddy Elder Wilcox from junior high. I mean, I guess I've seen him like every day since I've been here, but it was good to catch up with an old friend. Then my companions and I went to the main building to go audition for a special musical number. I made it! Sister Nally (president's wife) said she'd be more than happy to use me. I'm playing Paul Cardall's "Redeemer". We don't know when yet since speakers often request certain types of musical numbers, but that's okay. I'm so excited to be able to share the gift of music that the Lord has given me!

Thursday afternoon was rough. My comps and I prepared to go teach our investigator, Stellar. Teaching with our limited vocabulary is really hard, so we brought books with us to help us with what we were trying to say. We planned to invite her to baptism. We explained the blessings of the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation the few visits before. She said no to our invitation and threw all these questions at us like "Why should I be baptized? Why is it by immersion? Why do I have to ask God if it's true?" And the hardest part was we couldn't answer a single question. We just didn't have a clue how to do it. The three of us almost cried as we walked out of that lesson feeling like we'll never make a difference in someone else's life. That night, we went to watch a demonstration of a lesson in English which actually really helped us understand what we were doing wrong and what could've been better. I mean, there's only so much you can do when you can't speak Cantonese well yet, but it was very insightful. We went to dinner feeling a little better about ourselves and then went to class prepared to learn more so we could revamp our previous lesson plans and make them better. We walked into our class and lo and behold, our investigator was standing in front of us with a teacher badge. I knew our investigators were members and often our teachers, but I guess I just didn't put two and two together. She has been teaching our class every day since then. I love having her teach us because she uses English to explain Cantonese's weird grammar rules, so it's easier to understand.

Friday we got to use the TALL lab- Technology Assisted Language Learning. It's basically digital flashcards and practicing pronouncing, but it's really helpful so I don't really care how boring it is. Friday, we also found out that one of our dear Elders is going home- hence the subject of this email. It's been an emotional farewell as we said goodbye to Elder Moody today. He just said he isn't worthy to be here, and he's going to go home and put his life back in order so he can come back out. As much as I hate to see him leave, I know that if you aren't here for the right reasons you won't stay.

Saturday was nice because I had time in the evening to actually relax a bit. Saturdays are awesome. Nothing else really happened that was exciting though...

Sundays. WHOA. that's my favorite day... sorry family! P Day just isn't as awesome as Sunday. In Relief Society, we had a member of the general YW presidency speak to us- Sister Niell Marriot. She gave a wonderful talk and we were all so spiritually uplifted. We also sang the new words to Janice Kapp Perry's As Sisters in Zion. If you haven't had the chance to look them up, here are the words to verses one and three:

The Sisters of Zion are called to God's labor
We Willingly serve him with spirit and might
We go to the nations with truth everlasting
We teach of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
We go forth enlisted in Helaman's army
In numbers much greater than ever before
With power and spirit we'll faithfully witness
The heavens have opened, the truth is restored!

I get so emotional every time I sing those words. Like to the point that I can't sing. It's such an incredible, powerful message. Go look up the other verse. it's all so good!

Our speaker last night was Elder Stephen B Allen, manager of the missionary department. He gave us a wonderful talk with some great one-liners that helped us understand the importance and simplicity of missionary work. I guess if I have to say anything about what I've learned this week, it's that our mission as missionaries of our Lord is not to force the church down people's throats. It isn't to lay out a ton of doctrine and expect every person out there to believe it. It's to invite others to come unto Christ. It's to build up the kingdom of God by sharing with others how much their Heavenly Father loves them. it's to teach that they can repent of their sins and be able to live with their families again. Our message is simple- Come unto Christ. He loves you and wants you to be with Him again. It took me 19 years of my life to understand that that is really what the gospel is centered around. Everything else is just icing on the cake. How amazing is that?

I love you all and love your support! Ngoh jidou Yehsou Geduk ge fuhkyam gamjat. Ngoh jidou Tin Fuh ngoi ngoh, ngoi ngohdeih. I know the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is True. I know Heavenly Father loves me, loves all of us!

It's gonna be a great week! (:

-Kuk Jimuih

Oh the weird things that happen here... Mom please forward on!

The other day, Sisters Cochran and Anderson had to use the bathroom. So they went. And they were confused because when they walked in, there were urinals too. But they figured since they could see a sister's feet under the stall door (or so they say) that it was just a womens' room that had been converted because of the masses of sister missionaries. So then the next day as the sisters from our district walked back from dinner, Sis Cochran said "Huy guys! Do you want to see the urinals?" So of course, we were like "umm........ sure." Because urinals in a women's bathroom make no sense. Anyways, she walks up and looks at the sign and was like "Umm, no way. This is the bathroom we used yesterday. They changed the sign!" turns out she used the men's room...and there was probably a poor elder in that stall being totally horrified at what was going on. Good times.

Sis Cochran got treats from her family in the mail so she offered to share them. Elder Klein is a solo missionary so he isn't always with a comp, so when he walked in a little later she offered him a treat. he said "I'm not a dog" in his hilarious British accent... we totally died. Maybe the lack of sleep is getting to us.,

Saturday night, Elder Klein went off on us about our language and pronounciation. He spent 10 minurtes at the chalk board going off on how Enos is not pronounced "Enis" but rather "Ee-noss" and Enoch is not "Enich" but "E-knock". So then we got after him and said that through doesn't start with an f (since he says it "frough") and it was pretty funny. Thank goodness it's all in good fun, and nobody gets offended!

Also, the spirit speaks every language. Especially Chinglish. Please remember that when I get home and can't speak English! I'm actually having a hard time even now remembering words in English. it's a crazy phenomenon.

This mission is the hardest thing of my whole life. I've never been on my knees praying so hard for the companionship of the spirit, pleading for my family to be blessed at home, praying I can stay awake through 9 more hours of class tomorrow. But every second of it is worth it, and these funny moments make it even more enjoyable.
 Sister Crook and her two companions (companionships of 3 are common)
 She loves this HK flag!

 Sister Crook LOVES mail from everyone!  Including this cute letter from some cousins. 

All the sisters in the district 
 MTC typo.  Banch?  Or Branch?
 Sassy Sister Missionaries
 Work hard, study harder
Beautiful sisters doing the Lord's work.  So proud of all these girls and their decision to serve God for 18 months of their lives.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Leih hou, gantehng and...friends? Sorry, don't know that one yet! but hello, family and friends! Ngoh ngoi leih! I love you! this week has literally been the most incredible week of my life and it's only getting better! I'll try to do a quick rundown of what happened. I don't have a lot of time now, but I'll have about another 45 minutes later this afternoon (3:30ish) to email again and send you pictures.

Wednesday was crazy. After I got whisked away from the fam, I got dumped in a room, had enough time to grab my scriptures, and then got thrown into class. My teacher literally DID NOT SPEAK ENGLISH. LIke, I've heard that's a thing. really. but wow. didn't expect that. so she was trying to tell me to do orientation on the computer (just about schedules and stuff) and I was so lost and confused...thank goodness for the elder next to me.

So my cute companion Chan Ji Muih (Sister chan) was a native speaker, so by friday evening we had a transfer call and she got moved to another branch... Now I'm in a trio with Loh Jimuih and Kiu Jimuih (Sisters Robinson and Killpack) and they're great. I love them to death.

The spirit is SO STRONG here. it's amazing. I haven't ever been really emotional about things spirit-wise, until this week. I swear from the second I got set apart to this very moment, I've hardly had a dry eye...and it's not because I'm sad at all! I am just SO EXCITED to go serve the people of Hong Kong. I've actually already taught two lessons in Cantonese to an investigator!

So Cantonese is not what i expected it to be... It doesn't really sound like Chinese anymore, and I'm not sure if it's because it's just different, or if it's because I'm familiar with it now...but wow, it is beautiful. I can't wait to call home for Christmas so I can speak to you guys! It is a gorgeous language and I am actually really enjoying it, despite how hard it is.

so the cream soda tree. it's a real thing. A couple elders from our zone were telling us about a tree that smelled like cream soda. I totally didn't believe them, until I smelled it. and then I did. No joke, this one tree on campus here smells like cream soda. it really is the weirdest thing.

So a sister in my district, Sister Anderson, is the most sarcastic, hilarius person I've met here so far and I freaking love here, if that's okay to say here...hahaha. When I asked whether or not we should turn out the light behind us as we left a room, she said "Yes of course. It's not just souls we save here." The other day she was talking at dinner about taking jello to space just to see what it does... I guess you'd have to  be here to understsand her humor, but I'm seriuosly dying. It is SO FUNNY. she just says these things with this straight face... it's fantastic.

OH MY GOSH yesterday we had the most incredible devotional. Janice Kapp Perry came and spoke to us. she told us the story of how she and her husband met (he spoke too!) and it was adorable. they were in a pedagogy class together and she was about ready to get up to play her clarinet for the final, when he tapped her shoulder and said "Those lips were made for something much better than playing the clarinet." So of course we all start laughing. Then brother Perry totally walked up and kissed her, right on stage. We were all in tears, it was so funny. Old people....dang they're great. love them. I have never felt the spirit so strong in my whole life. There was not a dry eye as we all sang her music together as a couple thousand missionaries... just wow.

Well, I'll email some more later so if you have your questions ask them now. Also, LOVE the letter, mom. even the awful song. keep sending those, cuz we just love mail time at night! It's like the best time of the day, for reals.

Love you all and hope your week was as awesome as mine!

Ngoh hai chyuhngaausih. Ngoh yauh seunsam. Ngoh jidou ngoh yauh Tin Fuh. Sahn haih leih chihngoi Tin Fuh. Ngoh ngoi ge gauwui!

-Kuk Jimuih

PS. Fun fact. my chinese name means literally "a piece of music"....pretty cool.

 District picture:
Elder Merril, Elder Anderson, Sisters Killpack, Robinson, Me, Chan, Cochran, Anderson, Hadley, Nuttall
and then there's Elder Klein. So basically he's from England and tore his ACL in the last few weeks so he had surgery and is waiting for the OK to go to HK.
 Me and Sis Anderson (so funny...haha) by Macau flag
 Robinson, Cochran, Anderson, Nuttall, Me, Sis Killpack
 ZONE. okay so top to bottom left to right is...
Sis Cochran, Chan, me, Robinson, Killpack (kinda in front) Brown, Cox, Dunbar, Cotton, Hansen, Poulson
Elder Merril, Klein (from England! leftover from the last HK group) Li, and Black is on the end
Elder ANderson (my DL) some guy not in our zone (don't ask...) guy in white I can't remember, then Elder Copley reading scriptures, and then Elder Moody laying on the ground

 First companion: Sister Chan
 Meeting up with BFF Sister Bills!
 "Where's the map?"  Going to the edge of the earth apparently
 All the Canontese pamphlets to learn
SO MUCH learning material!
Cool photography just for mom
More cool photos just for mom

Friday, June 20, 2014

MTC or Bust!

I can't believe MTC has come and gone already!  Where does the time go?  We have had some very remarkable experiences as a family and much healing has occurred over the past few months.  I am so thankful for the blessings we are already seeing from BriAnna's desire to serve. The conversion process is already happening right here in our own home. 

So this week has been crazy.  Monday was "dump everything in the family room and let's see what we have forgotten" day.  Oh what an adventure.  It was a little dicey to see if we could make it all fit into 2 large suitcases and a small carry on but we did it and had about 30 pounds to spare!  Taking an 18 month supply of EVERYTHING is insanity but I think we did it!

 With the help of travel space-bags, it fit and even came in under weight!

 Tuesday morning, our last day here, we got up and went to the temple together.  Before we left I was privileged to hear her play sweet hymns one more time.
 She is truly a gifted musician and plays the piano from her heart.  Her music will truly bless the lives of the Chinese people. 

 Flat BriAnna...maybe a little oddly distorted but she will have to do.  I could either go with a shorter 5 foot version or a gigantic 6 foot version.  We opted to go a little smaller but she is oddly not proportionate.

 This is what our family will look like for the next 18 months.

BriAnna and her sweet BFF Emilee who will be joining her in the MTC in 2 weeks.  Emilee will be serving in Vancouver, WA in an ASL mission.  I am so proud of all these beautiful young women and their examples.

MTC morning:
Of all the most tearful goodbyes, this one was the hardest to watch.  Poor girl is going to miss her puppy.

 Then to Provo for a little pre-MTC breakfast at IHOP as a fam.  We are so thankful that Jaiden has been in a place with his treatment that he has been able to be such a big part of this process.  Tender tender mercies. 
 Then to the temple grounds for some family photos.  It was SO cold outside!  Our little winter visit in June caught us all a bit off guard this week.  I am going to miss seeing these 4 all together even though they don't always get along.
Seriously freezing to death!

 Dad is so so so proud of his oldest daughter.
 Watching a relationship start over from scratch is the most priceless gift I have ever been given as a mom.  I am so thankful for this time these two have had together to reconnect and heal together.  I'm going to miss having them together.
 Everyone was fine until THIS happened.  The minute she hugged her brother the dam broke and the tears didn't stop.  Such a sweet thing to witness. 
 A little teary with Makynlee still.
 As annoying and pesky as the two younger ones can be, she can't doubt she will miss them.  Those are REAL tears!  Who'd have thought?  I am betting Makynlee will be close to BriAnna's same height in 18 months.
 Then there is little Miss Trouble.  All she really cares about is that BriAnna is missing her 9th birthday on Friday (and 10th but we won't remind her yet).
 Full of smiles and excitement for this new adventure.  I am so happy to say that these are truly genuine smiles for the first time in many years.  Priceless.  Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His healing powers, this would never have happened.  How truly thankful and blessed I feel.
 Will she miss her or won't she?
 I love and am so proud of this girl.  She is the greatest example to me and has a testimony that will amaze everyone she comes in contact with.  I could not be more proud of anyone right now.

 And then to the CURB-
Oh what a crazy adventure.  I have now done this 3 times in the past 3 years with my brother and the son of my dear friend.  It never ceases to amaze me at how fast and methodical it is.  BriAnna was a sobbing bundle of nervous energy.  She wasn't really scared just super excited and it resulted in a big wet mess.  We unloaded those suitcases, snapped a few photos and then she was OFF.

 This last good bye with Jaiden was when I was no longer able to contain my tears.  To see this relationship in it's early repairing stages was so priceless and the photo says it all.  Love and admiration for each other.  She knows how hard he has had to work to be where he is at and he knows how hard she has had to work to be at this point too.  So amazing.
 And off she goes...

As we loaded back up into the car we Jaiden was acting odd.  I asked him what was going on and what he thought.  His comment was that the whole experience was "trippy."  I can agree 100%.  That's a pretty good definition of it.  He has a new determination to keep working hard through treatment so that he will be able to manage his health and serve a mission of his own in 2 years.  I pray we can keep that momentum.  He is becoming the most amazing scriptorian and has learned how to find answers to his very personal questions.  I believe his sister's service will be the most beneficial to him.  

As a mother this week has been one of those BIG TIME pay offs we hope we will get someday.  I am so proud of my daughter and her desire to serve the people of China.  She already has a great love for them as she has studied their culture.  I know she will find great success in Hong Kong because she has the testimony to share and the people are so so so ready for the message of a Savior.  

Here's to the next 18 months!  We can't wait for her first email!