It's been a really wonderful week (as it always is!) and I'm just always so happy to be serving in Hong Kong. This week has been pretty hot, so that's always hard, but I feel like the Lord is always strengthening us and helping us to endure the changing weather. What a blessing.
The ward members this week have prayed for us several times. "Please bless the missionaries to speak better Cantonese." and "Please bless the missionaries to be able to endure the heat." I think it's adorable. It's been over 30 degrees all week (about 90 degrees in America) but the humidity has been SUPER high and it's been INSANELY hot. everything is always wet. But its raining a bit today s that's nice.
Wednesday evening we had the opportunity to meet with a member for dinner and to share a message to practice our teaching. Neither of us really new her very well and were more than happy to have the chance to get to know her. When we got there, it was just her and her daughter that were there, and it gave us such a wonderful opportunity to build a relationship with her. It's so hard when the members don't trust you, so we're been working really hard and praying that the Lord will continually bless this ward that we serve in. Our lesson went awesome and she helped us learn a lot. I always love teaching people who are returned missionaries from other missions because they always have such different insights and things to help with how we can improve. Also she cooked really good food- real Caesar salad and salmon and bell pepper spaghetti. SO GOOD.
Thursday we had the chance to see Sister Mak (LA) again. We've seen her almost every week since I've been here in West Point. She understands the doctrine quite clearly, but she just has a hard time applying it to herself. If you have any suggestions on ways that we could help her understand how to apply the gospel principles to herself, that'd be awesome. But we understand that you're super busy, so no worries if not. We have been really focusing on teaching really simply and clearly and our last lesson with her about sincere prayer was really good. We walked out of there feeling like it helped her understand her relationship with Heavenly Father better. We've really been focusing on spirit focused lessons with her and I think she's progressing- it's just slow. She did come to church though, which is good. She comes pretty regularly- every other week. This coming week we plan to talk with the ward council about what we can do to be helping her prepare for reactivation.
Our scripture class is still a wonderful success. I am never ceased to be amazed at the comments that our recent converts and less actives bring up when we study the scriptures together. It's fun to learn from each other and help each other build our testimonies. It also gives us missionaries a wonderful opportunity to practice teaching straight from the scriptures, as we are assigned to teach once every three weeks.
Friday was pretty busy. We met with Sister Chu (LA) and it went well. She also has a marvelous understanding of the doctrine and a huge desire to change...just no motivation. Her son has a weird sleep schedule and she's always so exhausted. We had a really good lesson focused on family prayer and the example she needs to set for her children, and she very clearly understands what she needs to do- just lacks the motivation to do it. Her son comes with her to the lessons and is pretty distracting, so we're going to have to try to find ways to keep him entertained. This week he ended up playing on the piano for several minutes straight and poor Sister Chu just doesn't really know what to do with him. it definitely helps when we can get a member with us- Sister Chu just thought we were meeting at 3 rather than 2 when the member showed up (even though we confirmed). We're working on finding some people to help us help her out.
Friday we also saw Grace. She is our newish investigator and has a really, really hard time focusing in the lesson. We didn't have a member the first couple of times meeting with her because she has some social anxieties, but that lesson just showed we definitely need to have someone with us. Grace seems to have a little ADD to me, so we are going to find her a steady fellowship that can help us control the lesson in a loving way. She had a really clear understanding of what we taught last time though, so that was good.
Friday after English class we saw Vicky (RC). I wasn't there last time, but I guess she told the sisters that she doesn't feel confident in her testimony of Joseph Smith, so they taught the restoration last time, and this time we focused on temples. She really wants to go to the temple but doesn't feel prepared yet, so we shared the story from last conference about the 10 virgins and how everything we do in the church helps add oil to our lamps. She set a goal to make it to the temple in the next six months. She promised she would come to church too, but she didn't. I feel like she also has a motivation problem, so we're going to continue to support her and help her build her testimony. I feel like as she builds her faith and testimony by doing little things, she'll be able to better understand what that means for her in the long run.
Friday I also got to take a picture with the infamous "Lai Yi" who is this adorable old lady who is an English junkie and literally goes to almost all the English classes in Hong Kong. Her English is AWESOME and she says the funniest prayers. "Dear Heavenly father. I am Chinese, and my English is not very good, but we are grateful to be here to learn English." and then more random stuff about how she's Chinese and please forgive her English. it's hilarious and adorable. So I'm attaching a pic with her.
Saturday we met with Nancy (and it truly was the most awful 30 minutes of my whole life. Almost. We met her at a park in Admiralty (the ward asked us not to meet with her alone at the church for safety reasons) and she got upset when we wouldn't let her go eat lunch first. We sat down on a bench and retaught the importance of the Book of Mormon and where it came from, and she went off about her thoughts about Christ. She believes a lot of really crazy stuff and I won't repeat it because it's not respectful in the least. We told her if she wanted to see us again she has to read the Book of Mormon. Start to finish. She was upset about that too, but we really laid it down. She swore several times in the lesson and the spirit just truly wasn't there. We're grateful to be free of that for now. If she has a mighty change of heart, somebody can teach her someday but I feel like she has no interest or true desire right now, so it's all good. We gave her the opportunity to hear the gospel and she rejected it, so it's okay. She'll have another chance someday.
We met a really amazing lady from Mainland while doing the Welcome Center on Saturday. She told us "I am amazed. My eyes have been opened- I had no idea there was more than the Bible!" She subscribed to the email program within a few hours and she is set to head back to mainland with two copies of the Book of Mormon and several pamphlets. She didn't give us a phone number but said she would go to church on Sunday. We don't know if she did or not, but it was a miracle to even meet her. We even had a member present while we taught her to help us translate, because she doesn't know hardly any Cantonese. members are so great.
It's always amazing to look back at how much as happened each week. I'm so grateful to be serving here! It's such a wonderful experience. I love Hong Kong! and I love you all. Happy June! (:
(About the weather): I can't imagine what no humidity feels like. because you say 90 degrees and I want to cry because you walk outside and almost can't breathe, the air is so hot and sticky. The buildings have AC, but it takes a while to turn on (like in the chapel) but most of the day we're outside. it's expensive so we don't run the AC in our apartment unless it's nighttime, otherwise sleeping is impossible. we're outside for several hours every day. You're just wet and hot all the time. yeah, the natives feel hot too and they stink worse since they don't believe in deodorant. haven't had to change clothes yet, yeah, the rain helps a TON but it has to rain a bunch to let it cool down. it's cooler out here in central than it is in Kennedy town. so that's nice.
My companion and I are sacrificing eating chocolate for a month so the Lord will bless us with more investigators since all of ours disappeared when I got here. so no chocolate for a long time. but it'll be okay.
(About Aunt Tam's new puppy): I want a puppy. Every time we walk past the pet stores here Sister Jackson and I just look at each other and say "we should get a puppy." but nothing ever comes of it. Someday, la. someday.
(Random conversation): Everything here happens so insanely fast that the days just fly by. I can't believe it's June. I'm trying not to think about it. I remember feeling like March would never end, and then April and may just flew by because that's what happens in a new area. Sorry I don't have more pictures this week, but we've been pretty busy and to be honest, I don't look very good in any pictures we take these days because my hair is a mess and my makeup is always melting. I've given up trying to look good. Maybe someday in the future, but not for now.