Grace is actually doing really well. She does have some pretty serious social anxieties so we're being very careful with how we teach and are working to bring a member into the picture. When she was taught before (about three years ago) they used members her own age and it didn't work out too well. We've got a couple of older sisters in mind and pray that Grace will be accepting of them joining in on our visits. We saw her twice this week. The first time we got her into the Book of Mormon by helping read 1 Nephi with her. She has a very clear understanding of the scriptures. She doesn't really like reading, but if we call her every few days and follow up on her reading she will do it. We pray that as she begins to feel the spirit she'll be willing to read more on her own. The second time we saw her we prepared to share the beginning of lesson two. She got a little sidetracked because she's really stressed about finding a job, but we ended up sharing about how God loves us, and she is His daughter. She really enjoyed that message and you could see a change in her countenance. Then we tied it into the beginning of the plan of salvation and will finish that this week. I personally think she's doing well. She's not ready to commit to church yet because she's really afraid the members will remember her from before, so we're slowly working through that to help her have the faith and courage to come to church. She's come really far from our first meeting and we're grateful to be able to help her. She tells us she loves learning about God and the gospel and the Book of Mormon, so I think she'll continue to progress okay.
We saw Ding Ding (RC) and she is also doing really well! She's come two weeks in a row to church for all three hours, and if she comes for two more the bishop will meet with her about getting a temple recommend. She's doing really well to keep her commitments and the ward is even noticing a change in her. Our ward correlator especially is really proud of the progress she's making. She will share her testimony at the My Conversion Fireside this coming Sunday, and she's really excited.
We met with Sister Poon this week (LA). She's really struggling reading scriptures because she thinks she's too busy. We spent a whole lesson teaching how we can make our scripture study more meaningful, and I think it went well. She's committed to read more scriptures every day.
We met with Kasey this week as well (RC/LA). We walked out of our lesson feeling like she's made tremendous improvement. We read 3 Nephi 18 with her and discussed the sacrament and she really understood the scriptures. She did say that she struggles reading every day but does pray. She promised she'd come to church because she's quit her job, but she didn't come on Sunday. We know we definitely need to start meeting with her more often and pray that we can help her find the faith to come to church.
The elders taught an amazing, super spiritual lesson at scripture class- about the Isaiah chapters. All of those who attended walked away spiritually uplifted and more understanding of the Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon. I am never ceased to be amazed at how well Elders Copley and Tseng teach. They do such a good job at relating everything to real life, and I am so grateful for their example. I definitely want to be more meaningful in my teaching and apply it to my investigators' lives, and I think besides studying and practicing, it'll be awesome to continue to observe them teach every few weeks. I learn something new every time.
We taught a really good lesson at the Welcome Center to a 15 year old kid named Justin. He's Filipino, so it was fun to experience that work again. He brought up a lot of concerns that I wouldn't really know how to answer (or even try!) unless I had served in the International zone, so I am so grateful. By the end he seemed more like he just wanted to convert us to his religion, but he took a ton of materials and was going to compare it all to the Bible. He's willing to meet again as soon as we give him a call. I think he has good potential, if he'll open his heart to the Book of Mormon.
Saturday we took an adventure our to Peng Chau and tried some weekend finding. I'd never been before, but I guess compared to last time there were more people out. We actually taught a man in the stairway of his home after knocking on his door. He was the nicest man, though no interest really because he was a Jehovah's Witness minister or something similar to it. He taught us about their beliefs and we shared about ours, and it was a really nice discussion. I really appreciate those kinds of people. I love when they're willing to be nice and share and be willing to listen, even if they're not interested. We taught a couple that we're pretty sure are a family. They were both so nice and open and so willing to listen, though the whole idea of eternal families was kind of foreign to them. They're from Sham Shui Po so we'll be doing a turnover here soon! We also met with a less active who has some weird ideas about how she's old, so therefore she doesn't have to keep the commandments. She's kind of lonely and hasn't been to church in a long time so we try to visit her if we go all the way out there. She was happy to see us, but no commitment. We'll keep praying for her heart to be softened unto understanding.
Zone training this month was amazing. One of our Zone Leaders shared something with us in a discussion. He said that there are basically three emotions that motivate one to do something- fear, duty, and love. As I thought back on the last year of my mission I can see a time where I would do things out of fear- fear that my trainer would be mad, or that I would disappoint my family, or the mission president, or my companions, or whatever. And then I can see a shift to where I started to serve out of duty- knowing my calling, understanding the importance of it, and knowing that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do. And more recently, I can see a shift to love. I am serving more and more out of true, pure love for the people of Hong Kong than I am of anything else. Sure, there are times when the lesser two feelings take over, but I am coming more and more close to the pure love of Christ every day. I am so truly grateful to be able to serve here. It's such a blessing, and my companion and I comment every day on what a miracle it is that we love in Hong Kong, China and are doing missionary work. It truly is a miracle. Thank you for your prayers for us.
Funnies that happened this week:
-We saw some real jellyfish just chilling in the ocean. So that was fun. In case you're wondering, they're actually really ugly. Haha. Kinda nasty looking, really. Don't know why anybody would want to swim with those.
-We had a really long finding day and had just gotten done talking with a man who told us God was just made up because people need something to blame their problems on. We said hi to this man who proceeded to tell us that he thinks the two of us are wicked people. But then he said "But Jesus. Jesus was a superstar." You're right, crazy man. That he was. the funniest part was that this guy was anciently old and said that in English. Haha. Old people that speak English here are so funny.
-While on Peng Chau (it's a tiny island almost clear up by the airport- about 45 minutes boat ride from Central, HK Island) we stopped to talk with three really old people in front of their houses. (out there there are real houses! I mean, more real than the skyscrapers everywhere else). They were just chilling on their chairs and the old man commented on my mosquito bites, and then all three of them went off about how I could fix them. Then the old man leaps off his chair and comes out with this sketchy looking Chinese medicine and tells me to put it on. So after reading the ingredients (wintergreen, lavender, some other weird natural junk) I rub it all over my arms and legs and went about the rest of the day smelling like old chinese people. It was fun. There was one old lady who was 89 or something, and had these giant sunglasses sliding off her face with the sticker still on the lens. SO funny.
-Sister Chun (she's like my mom here. literally. she adores us and does everything for us. so great.) invited us to the church to discuss less actives, and ended up buying us a GIANT pizza. I'll attach a picture to show the size, compared to a Chinese Book of Mormon (which by the way is bigger than the English one by about an inch on both sides.)
Okay, so the drought. Basically we needed to change our water filters. All three of them. So I taught cute green Sister Escher how to change them, and then we find out the whole filter is totally moldy. So we tore the thing to pieces and cleaned it really well. But for whatever reason it's not filtering water very fast, so we have to run down across the street to the church if we want water that's clean. No clean water for the West Point apartment for a few days. But it's all good. Just makes me glad to live in Good ole AMERICA.