Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015: Limbo

This week has been awesome. Though we didn't see success in numbers this week, we met a lot of really amazing people, heard some amazing stories, and had a lot of miracles. Also, I got to eat real Mango Float. AMAZING. filipino food is incredible.

This week we got to meet with Sister MaryBelle for her after baptism lessons. She hasn't been confirmed yet (due to two weeks of Saturday holiday) so I joked that she's in "limbo" which brought about a discussion about what that meant... got to teach my companion a new word. Super fun! Sister MaryBelle's testimony is so strong. She has an amazing knowledge already and I'm just astounded at how much she already understands. She basically taught us back the Restoration, no problems. She's kinda sad to not have Sunday holiday these two weeks because she wants to be confirmed but she's alright. She was excited to get to watch Conference again.

We also saw our Pen3 RC, Sister Blossom. She's doing well, though her life back home is falling apart. We taught her yesterday about the temple. She now has a temple recommend and is going to do baptisms on Friday for the statuatory holiday. She is seriously so so so excited. We explained to her that in the temple she'll feel peace and safety and feel relief from her family problems. She's excited to attend, though she's sad she didn't have time to prepare her own family names. Now that she has a recommend she's more willing to start her family history. We're going to get in touch with Pen3's family history consultant to get her started. Thank goodness to technology, these ladies can do their family history with each other even if it's not their day off.

We also met with a less active from Tuesday family named Sunshine. She's moving to Canada this week, so that was sad, but she was so happy to meet with us. Her sister is very active in Canada so she's excited to go over there and be in that environment. She graciously accepted another copy of the Book of Mormon and promised that she'd start reading daily.

This work is so amazing, but also so hard. I won't go into details, but we met an Indonesian sister on the street that is in a really, really bad situation. We're so grateful to have our branch president out here who is familiar with the laws and what is okay and what isn't. She doesn't have a very good employer and is trying to get out of the situation, but because of restrictions she can't get away. So we talked with president Smith and plan to give her some numbers she can call to geth elp. Though we can't do much as missionaries, we can help her get to the right people who can help her. It breaks my heart to see employers mistreating their domestic helpers. It's so sad, and we see that out here far too often. The most we can do is pray for them.

We did a branch find this week and we brought one of the Senior Missionaries with us. To any of you who are considering being a senior missionary, DO IT. they're the most incredible people ever and we look up to and adore them. so much. Like, that's my ultimate goal in life is to be as cool as all the senior missionaries here. Maybe one day I'll come back. that'd be the BEST.

So my personal miracle for this week was pretty cool. In October or so, Sister Lubeck and I were out shopping on a P-day to buy stuff to make mango float. We were in the Filipino store in the local market. A little Filipino sister came out of nowhere and just started to cry when she saw us. She's a long time member and was so happy to see missionaries. Her son is serving a mission, but because she's been here in Hong Kong for several years she didn't see him off and won't see him come home. She just hugged us and thanked us. Well, about a month or so ago Sister Killpack and I were in the MTR station ona  pday getting ready to leave somewhere. We ran into a Filipino sister who was working and she got all excited and hugged us all and told us how she loved missionaries. Flash forward to yesterday. Sister Fe (Pen3 RS president) has been out of town. I looked at the member sheet we have and noticed she was from Tsing Yi and thought she looked familiar, so when she came back to church yesterday I approached her and tld her I think I'd met her before. She got all teary eyed and said "Oh my goodness, you're the one I met in Tsing Yi- twice!" I had no idea the two sisters I met in Tsing Yi almost 6 months apart were the same person, and that I'd get to serve in her branch. She just hugged me again and thanked me. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to finally see her. I just love her so much. These ladies have the most amazing, strong tesimonies. I just love it here.

This calling is the best. I mean, wherever I am is the best, but... it's awesome. I'm so thankful the Lord trusts me enough to serve here, however long that may be. Our companionship is awesome and we get along so well. We love this work!!

Sister Crook

Also PS: I did not feel the earthquake here. we're all fine. no worries. pray for those in India and Nepal.

Pictures: comp and I with Sister Sunshine (LA who is moving) and comp and I with....some people from another branch that I don't know.

PPS: met a guy from Mongolia. he was cool.

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015: Lessons in Self Reliance

What an adventure of a week. (totally cliche because I think I say that almost every week, but it's true.) I always feel like crazy things are always being thrown out at us, but I love every second of it. We had a cool experience in our finding on Wednesday and another on Friday.

Wednesday we set out for a long day of finding, and it was hoooot. We were tired and getting ready to head up to the WorldWide to do some more finding. On our way there, Sister Arevalo had a thought to go talk to a sister wearing a hat. She was in the middle of a ton of other Filipino sisters and it's always scary to walk up to a ton of them. Turns out she was alone- and looking for a pen. After we let her borrow our pen, we continued to talk and teach her for over an hour! She has so so so many questions and is so humble and willing to learn. She was waiting to meet her friend so she couldn't come to church with us, but we'll definitely see her again this coming week because she wants to know about the Word of Wisdom. How crazy. We were so blessed to meet her!

Friday was awesome as well, as we had planned to meet an investigator's best friend in the WorldWide to help her get to the agency, and we'd teach her afterwards. As soon as we got there though, she said she'd already found someone else to take her to her agency (she's finding a new employer). Well. We decided to make the best of our time and start finding. We were sad this sister cancelled, but she said she'd still come to church afterwards so it was all okay. So we headed up on the roof of the IFC mall and literally the first person we see is a lady named Faith. She said she had nothing to do that day but find peace of mind- so of course we jumped on it and told her we could help her. She was more than willing to come back to the church with us. We ate lunch together and then attended the first part of church. She had to leave early but said she'd come back. When she never did and never answered our calls, we were really sad, but late that night she texted us and said she was so sorry she couldn't make it back in time for the rest of church. She still has interest and wants to come to church with us every Friday. So cool. Sister Robinson once told me that when you're in the right place and the right time but everything seems to be going wrong, look around you and start talking to people. That's exactly what we did and we had an amazing experience. Though we didn't get to actually teach Faith about the gospel (more than what was said in church, anyways) we'll have the chance to this week. So cool! I love the spirit and the Lord's hand in all things.

We had two baptisms this weekend- Sister Dang and Sister Mary Belle. Both shared such wonderful testimonies and I am so grateful to have been here to help them be baptized. I know neither of them really know me or really feel comfortable speaking English with me around (they like to speak Tagalog...) but I just love them so much. They have such incredible stories and I'm truly so blessed to be here serving them. I love the Filipino people. Every day my love for them just grows more and more and more.

I've had to make some adjustments to how I do things. Some things are just a little different- the fact that I only have 20-30 minutes in the evenings to prepare for bed is always hard. I am used to having that much free time to write in my journal and say some really sincere prayers, but I just don't have time to do both anymore. Prayers always take priority. I just love Sister Arevalo. She's hilarious and we make a great team in teaching the gospel. Our sihfaahns in the evening are probably the best thing for us as we learn to teach in English.

This week we had the opportunity to attend at least part of or all of church 3 times! I love that! We had a lovely presentation on Self Reliance this week (three times.) and I learned so so so so so much. Even better was that it's all in English, so I really took it in. We learned a great pattern that I actually used this week in my own life. In regards to problems, we have to first ask ourselves what the *real* problem is, not the problem we think comes from another person. Then we had to analyze our options and then act on our decisions.

I found a way to use what I learned. On Thursday I washed my bedding, and because the dryer was full of lint, it dried slower than normal. So even after 4 hours in the dryer, it wasn't dry. I ended up going to bed with hopes my stuff would be dry by morning, but it wasn't. Even worse, it smelled like wet laundry that had sat in the dryer almost all night. Super lame. By Friday night our whole apartment smelled like wet laundry, even though I'd hung out my blanket to dry. So I decided the real problem was not that I couldn't wash my blanket, but that I just couldn't use the washer. (With 6 of us living there, laundry is a struggle.) But I decided to take the initiative and that evening I washed my giant blanket by hand, rinsed it, and let it dry out over night. I applied all that I learned in self reliance class and felt pretty awesome. Now I have a nice, clean, hand-washed blanket and a sense of satisfaction that I learned something at church. Good stuff. So mom, be proud that I know how to hand wash and dry laundry.

I just love these two branches. The members love me (even though they think it's weird there's an American sister missionary serving there- one sister even told me she hadn't seen an American sister in 3 years, besides the senior missionaries) and I love them even more. Its hard to not speak Tagalog, but it's okay. If anything this is helping me learn how to improve my teaching skills by practicing in English first. I love this opportunity. It's such an adventure.

Love Sister Crook

Questions from mom:

Where do you go to use the computer?
We can use the apple store in Kowloon Tong if we want- it's just busy and noisy and play lots of worldly music. Right now we're in the HK Convention Center. actually just ran into a member from Layton that works for deseret book, so that was cool. I'm in the basement of this massive center and I think we're in a library of sorts/.

I (mom) would make a terrible missionary, I like my worldly music.
it's fun. exhausting. but fun. Also my filipino companion may kill me with the food she makes. it's so good. also I accidentally ate pork liver yesterday. wasn't too bad actually. till I knew what it was. oops.  just never had the desire to eat liver. :P The members cooked for us after Sister MaryBelle's baptism yesterday. most incredible food I've ever eaten. they made some deep fried sticky rice which literalyl tasted like a glazed donut. soooooooo good. if I dont' leave soon I fear I'll gain back all the weight I've lost. haha. just kidding. but really, these ladies cook SO GOOD.

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015 Surprises!

*Note from Mom: Sister Crook has been through lots of changes this week and we had lots of questions for her during out quick 45 minutes of email chat time last night.  So hopefully it won't sound too disjointed.

Okay, so this email contains a TON of surprises. So A) please don't panic, all is well and all are happy! and B) you can't read ahead. It would spoil my fun. (: Enjoy!

Monday night we saw a member and we got to teach her LA friend from another ward. We ate really yummy curry. mmm. I love curry. But no real surprises, sorry.

Tuesday. Mmmm. So after last transfers, a ward member joked that I'd "die in Tsing Yi" or rather never get transferred. As Sis Killpack and I were walking up to start our finding on the mountain, we were also joking about this as transfers are coming up in a few weeks. Literally two minutes after that conversation, I get a call from the Zone Leaders, saying I'm being transferred. That's right, I moved! in the middle of a transfer. Super weird. BUT. The biggest surprise of Tuesday is the fact that they said I'd no longer be a Cantonese speaking missionary. As of Tuesday night my new assignment is to serve in the International branches. Wow, I'm getting chills just thinking about how crazy that night was. At first I was excited. And then devastated, to leave my companion and my area that I hadn't ever left for 8 months. It was literally one of those phone calls where I had to sit down because I was dizzy. Everything just changed so fast!! Wow. Crazy. They told me I'd be in a trio with a Filipino sister and somebody else but they didn't know who.

Wednesday, of course, we crammed to see everybody. It was nuts. I got to see my two RC's one last time, as well as a member that's been amazing to us and an LA. It was a busy day. I also found out that I'm not actually in a trio- just a companionship of two, and my companion would be a Sister Arevalo who just got back from Macau. So I called her and we set up a time to meet. Then I started to pack like a madwoman. I had started Tuesday night but it just wasn't enough. They never give us enough notice...haha. Well. In the process of trying to fold up my blanket, I was shaking it out and whacked my hand on the back of a chair. My finger hurt but I thought nothing of it until I looked at it and saw how distorted and black it was turning... oops. So I asked Sister Robinson who took sports med in high school, and she panicked and told me I totally broke my finger. Surprise! Whoops. All this happened about 5 minutes before lights out, so that was crazy. Luckily, I have eons worth of athletic tape so we taped my fingers together and all was well.

Thursday morning, my finger looked a lot better. Probably not broken. Surprise! Just really badly bruised. Nevertheless we kept it taped up again and I hauled my three massive suitcases to Kowloon Tong with my hand taped. it was great. Met my new companion and headed out to Wan Chi (where the Church HQ is on the island, massively huge city with TONS of people) where I'll be living for who knows how long. Well, yep. I'm an international missionary now! Surprise. I now serve two branches- Victoria 2 (where they hold church every day Tue-Sun) and Peninsula 3, which is an English branch in Kwai Fong, really close to Tsing Yi.

So that means I'm serving with the Filipino sisters here- the ones that come to work as maids. I don't have time to tell you all everything, but this is the most amazing experience of my life. When we meet these people on the streets it's so clear they need the gospel in their lives. They have such hard lives here if their employers aren't good to them, which is often the case. They're incredible people. Also, if we have investigators, I get to go to church every single day! So cool. So I met the group of ladies with Thursdays off on Thursday after church (they just broadcasted conference). Then we ate together and it was great. I love Thursday Family. I met some of Friday family (the day+family is the ladies who have that day off and go to church on that day).

I got to see Conference on Saturday and help teach a lesson to Sister Dang who will be baptized next week on Saturday. She's cute, but doesn't really speak English (speaks some weird dialect of Tagalog, actually) but it was fun. I also taught Sister Baby on Sunday (attached picture with just me and three Filipino sisters) and Sister Marybelle (also attached- the fuzzy one, sorry!) and they're both preparing for baptism as well. Wow, this is just such an incredible work and I love it all so much. These ladies are amazing. So excited to continue to serve them!

So yes, all ends well. My finger is a little sore and bruised but not broken, thank goodness. My birthday was awesome! Got to watch conference and meet tons more sisters whose names I can't remember because there's so many of them. I love my companion Sis Arevalo! She's awesome. She has such a cool story. She was converted while here working in Hong Kong. She'll be 29 tomorrow, so happy birthday to her! Ah. What a week. Sorry that's so scrambled! But it was a crazy week and my thoughts are everywhere. love you all! (:

-Kuk Jimuih

Psych. I'm Sister Crook again now. Weird.

Questions from Mom and Dad (mom is in bold):

So where do you live exactly?  Are you mostly English speaking?
All English. I don't have permission to learn Tagalog.  kamustapo. that means Hi. that's about all I know. I live in Wan Chi. google it. it's NUTs.

Dang you were making such great progress with the language, is that sad?  And your comp is 29?  Wow.
She will be on Tuesday. and she's literally half my size. haha. so tiny. she's so cute.  Pres hawks pulled us back and asked us to keep me learning Cantonese. he said "You could be there anywhere from 3-8 weeks or longer". so who knows. I don't think I'll be here very long (which breaks my heart because I love these people!!!!!!!) but it'll be okay. for now I'm still studying cantonese and jsut not learning tagalog. not too bad.

So were there other transfers or just you this week?  Odd.
Just enough to accommodate those leaving. 5 Filipino sisters went home, and a mandarin sister moved in. so it just caused a ton of weird transfers. Sis Robinson got moved too. another thing is Macau only lets non-chinese people live there for so long. usually just over a month. so there's always weird transfers happening.

So what makes wan Chi nuts?
Do street view on google maps. there are SO many people here. and I'm not the only white person anymore.

You be careful!  I just googled that place and now I'm wholly terrified for your safety.  What are you loving arrangements like?  Your apartment set up?
bahahahahaha. don't be terrified! this is pretty normal. I was just blessed to live in such a quiet place for so long. we literally live right across from the church. the apartment is HUGE. 6 of us live there and it's nice. a little moldy, but nothing some clearing won't fix. I'm pretty settled but not really unpacking an entire suitcase... just not worth it. I have so many clothes.......

What's the street you live on?  Dad is trying to find it on google maps.
Ummm........... obrien? I can't remember actually. I get really lost in Wan Chi haha. if you're facing the church building it's two streets over on the right... so... two streets west of the wan chi chapel

Do you know the name of your building that you live in?  Are you still way up high?
nope, 4th floor and I think our building only has 11 floors. I don't think it has a name... 6/a and 6/b is our address I think.

Just found a picture of the chapel online, crazy, that's a huge church!
yep, it's pretty big. yep that's it. massive, huh.  go to the right two streets and I'm in one of those buildings.

Does the church own that whole building?
Yep, I think so.  I don't htink people live there but not sure... it's like a mini church office building. the asia area presidency does stuff there, we have medical offices and lots of stuff. family history centers, etc. it's massive. I'll be sure to take pics today.  I have one roommate that I was in the MTC with but she's a mandarin sister so I didn't really get to know her very well in the MTC. other than that it's sister yong from malaysia and two Filipino sisters.  my time's about out so I need to head. love you all! thanks for the birthday wishes.

Birthday cake goodies sent from home

Sister Crook is 20!!!

First transfer EVER!

Broken finger?

Just a good sprain

Happy Birthday!  Gotta love those pants!

Leaving the cramped quarters of Tsing Yi

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015 Happy Easter from Hong Kong

Wow, it's hot. 28 degrees celsuis (only 84ish in Fahrenheit) but it's at 80+% humidity so it's sticky and hot as CRAP. only getting worse. but it's okay. somebody on the street said it might rain this week... so that's nice. haha. I got a pretty nice sunburn this week. In my defense, we've had cloud cover literally sitting on us for two straight months. Not a single day of sunshine since february. so I didn't think the clouds would move... good stuff. Someday it'll turn tan. maybe. then people will stop freaking out at how white I am.

It's been a pretty good week. I always have a love/hate relationship with zone training meeting because I walk out so inspired to change my whole life and be a whole lot better, and then reality hits you that a) you can't change yourself all at once, b) the perfect missionary doesn't really exist, no matter how hard you try, and c) it's HARD. but that's okay. I always have lots of new ideas and new things to try. I love our zone plans and actions, especially about focusing on the miracles that we see each day. I've been keeping a gratitude journal (just one line a day) about things I'm grateful for each day, since January 1, 2015 and I love it. It's fun to look back and see the Lord's hand in all things that I do.

We got to see Lau Wan Sau this week- our LA that's willing to meet us weekly. We're working on putting her on her way to reactivation, though she does have some stuff (WoW problems) to work through. But we'll get through it. She's adorable and even brought her own fellowshipper. We do think she opens up to us more and is more willing to ponder questions when we dont' have a fellowshipper, so we may be meeting her without one sometimes, but haven't really decided yet. We also have an LA that's been at  church for several weeks in a row and we're thinking she's getting pretty close to reactivation too, so that's good.

The gift of tongues is real. We taught a lesson to a lady who didn't really speak Cantonese- she spoke Mandarin. She was super nice. Not really interested, but it was cool to see how we could communicate even though we didn't speak eac other's languages.

We had several days of long, hot hours of finding this week and we definitely needed something to keep up our morale. Sister Killpack thought up this brilliant thing where we throw categories of people (male, female, old man, old woman, mom, families, people on benches, people eating food, etc) into a plastic bag. We both drew a paper and that was the next person we needed to try to contact. Though we don't do it for every time we find, it definitely was way more fun. The loser by the end of the night has to buy the other one ice cream. It really got us talking to more people that we'd normally pass by for whatever silly reason. We taught an amazing lesson to a cute little Filipino lady because she was the only one sitting on a bench, and now the Tagalog sisters have her number! She had a lot of interest and it was just so cool to start breaking out of talking to just the people who don't scare us. Though we didn't teach a ton of street lessons this week, there were really great lessons and everyone there could feel the spirit.

Lan Yi and Cherry are still doing great as RC's. We saw them both this week and they're still progressing. Cherry even mentioned she wants a member to read scriptures with her so they can help answer her questions. She found "The Book of Mormon Movie" online somewhere that explains basically all of first Nephi, and now she understands it much more clearly. She's gaining a love for the scriptures!

We didn't get to see Cammy this week. She had to cancel because her kids were sick and we are pretty sure she's in Mainland on vacation for today's holiday. We'll find her again this week and straighten out her expectations.

My exchange to Kowloon City went well. I love exchanges because no matter what the situation is on your exchange or in your home area, you're always so grateful to go back to your area and your companion. (Basically my comp in KLC has some issues with getting out the door on time and that's frustrating...) We taught a girl on the street that is only 18 but has wondered about why her church doesn't have a latter-day prophet... so cool!

While I was on exchanges in Kowloon City, Sister Killpack got a call from a lady named Sophia looking for me- apparently some time ago I gave her a flyer about English class and she'd been trying to come for several weeks but was always too busy. Well, she showed up, and Sister Killpack and her companion taught her! She's now a new investigator. Since meeting with her on Friday, she's already come to church once and reads the scriptures. She struggles praying because she had some past experiences that lead her to think prayer is good, but last night we invited her to just pray and thank God for her blessings and she's totally on board. She is a special case in the fact that she struggles pretty bad with depression and anxiety, and comes off a little crazy, but we love her and are going to keep teaching her with the help of some sisters in our ward that are familiar with that kind of stuff.

I'm so grateful for the Atonement this week. I love my Savior and am so grateful to know He suffered for me and knows my every pain- but I'm even more grateful for his resurrection. I love this wonderful Easter season. I'm also super grateful to spend my birthday this week listening to prophets of the Lord speak to us. LOVE them. Conference is the best. So excited! Thanks for all you do for me! love you all!

PS happy easter.

-Kuk Jimuih
P.S. A cute little personal email to little sister Tessa (too cute not to share): My Easter was pretty typical for a Sunday. We just went to church, went home, studied scriptures, and then taught a lesson after dinner. But the Easter Bunny found our apartment! lots of yummy treats. I'm glad you love piano. it's the best. soccer is fun, I do like it, but I'd rather go swimming instead. I just don't really like running :P

The funniest thing happened this week. We were finding by this big apartment place called a chyun (Cheung Ching Chyun) and we were on the sidewalk by the top (it's on a mountain) and there was a tiny gate on the ground fencing in 7 turtles. Some of them were almost 10 inches across! super big. and then a ton of little ones. I couldn't take a picture because I didn't know where the owner was and we were proselyting, but it was funny. just little turtles running around the streets. turtles are very popular here. love you!

In reference to some conference happenings and the Easter package:  I am a little sad dad didn't squish my peeps before you mailed them to me, so I smashed them for him before I ate them. Problem with hong kong is that peeps don't dry out, so no stale peeps this year. No, we really don't have any chance to see conference till Saturday. Even if they'd translated it to Chinese fast enough it's happening while we're asleep. So Saturday we see Saturdays and the RS session, and then Sunday is Sunday. its okay though.

In reference to the birthday cake she is making for herself today: Yeah, we're making it today. we'll take pictures, I promise. but tis the season for not leng (pretty) missionaries, so bear with the pictures till about... November. Its too hot for makeup or hair to look good, sorry! yeah, I fear I'll forget how to put in my contacts and do my hair... haha. I promise I used to look good. but it's too hot now. and we're too lazy. the heat just zaps you.