Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015: Cheesecake

Well, not too much different has happened since I reported last. Well, a little bit.

Brother Chan is still doing well. We finished teaching his lessons and tonight plan to do a practice interview with him to prepare him for an interview later in the week and a baptism next week. He drives a taxi for work and talks to almost everyone that gets into his taxi about how the gospel is amazing and has changed his life. He mentioned that once, a while ago, in a lesson. Well, he showed up to church yesterday with a guy who's probably a third his age (Mr. Chan is 69, this guy was like... maybe 30. if even.) He told us that this kid got in his taxi and was interested in hearing the gospel. Talk about awesome referral! He lives in Ngau Tau Kok's area though, so we got his information and scheduled a turnover for this coming week. Mr. Chan has the most amazing desire to share how the gospel has changed his life. It is really the coolest thing ever. He is so excited to be baptized, even though he knows he still has so much to learn in the church.

Elizabeth is doing well as well. We really struggled to keep her focused long enough to teach her the first lesson (took us fourish times of meeting her before we could teach it all) and we were really stumped at what to do. We realized we can't drop her if we haven't even told her about baptism yet. So we had a whole lesson just on baptism. Elizabeth really wants to join the church and said she'd be willing to be baptized to do so- but she feels a little guilty because her daily scripture reading has been kind of bad. She said she wants to understand more first, and then she'll be ready. We agree completely- she has a LOT to learn before she'll be ready. But we talked about the sacredness of the opportunity to be baptized and invited her to prepare for October 25th. She said she can't 100% promise us that she will absolutely be baptized on that date, but said for now she's willing to work toward that date as a goal. That is HUGE progress for her. She's a little older and has some memory problems (and she's a little...she has some attention problems) but it's okay. She knows the basics: that God loves her and that if she wants to know the truth and really feel it, she has to read the Book of Mormon. I think it'll be a slow process, but we're going to keep working with her for now.

We met with our LA Kacey this week, after about a month of not being able to contact her at all. Turns out she's been working on an art portfolio (she's very talented) and just finished this week. After we saw her she said she's willing to work to coming back to church. She passed her 1 year- RC mark this week and is now no longer a recent convert- just less active. But she has the desire to come back to church and we're going to get her there. Our member pushed having her get her patriarchal blessing a little too hard in that lesson (Kacey doesn't feel prepared yet) but I think it's a good idea, if we can help her understand a little more about what it is and how to prepare for it. I think if she has real intent, she'll progress really quickly.

We met with Kenson, another less active. The elders had long lost track of him before they closed the area, so it was a miracle that we could meet with him. We had a pretty good discussion about faith in Jesus Christ. He committed to come to church but he didn't show up yesterday and we don't really know why. So we'll get ahold of him again and figure out what is going on.

After English class we taught two younger girls, Chloe and Sum Yin. Chloe was a random number we just called that was in our phone from ages ago and we suspect she is a former but aren't really sure. She came to two hours of church yesterday though and though she was overwhelmed by how many people greeted her and invited her to do stuff (go to class with them, activities, etc) I think she'll stick around. She seemed to enjoy it. She's only 14 so we'll have to get permission from her parents to keep teaching her and help her progress towards baptism. She has a lot of really good questions, so we'll answer them bit by bit. Sum Yin's whole family are actually formers, so we hope to keep building the relationship with her as well and start teaching her family soon.

We met with Brother Kwok yesterday and were just as frustrated at the end of his lesson. He says he knows the church is true and that he wants to return to God's presence and that if he really wants that he has to be baptized. but every time we invite him, he always says "I'll think about it" or "maybe later" and won't really give us a specific answer. We're to the point now where we are considering stopping teaching him because he just doesn't progress. (I guess that's what we get for trying to pick up an eternigator, right?) Someday he'll accept the restored gospel. I know he will. I just don't know if it'll be in this life or the next.

Overall it's been a pretty good week (I mean... a pretty good few days) and we have a good week planned out with lots of lessons. Tomorrow we'll be going out to see how Cheung Chau is, since we have several less actives that live out there and missionaries haven't been out to that island in months. We're taking one of our young women and her recently returned missionary sister with us to do some finding, so it'll be good. I'm excited to see what people the Lord is preparing for us to find tomorrow.

So in English class this week we learned about body parts, and afterwards we all sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and drew bodies part by part on the white board and it was just about the funniest English class I've ever experienced. I just about peed my pants for like an hour straight. So funny. the pictures turned out quite special. I love English class because we always have such a wide variety for people that come. We have Lai Yi, who's like a billion years old but wants to learn English so she can communicate with her family in Canada, and then there's a lot of tiny little kids and it's just fun.

I feel like there have been several moments that I just look around and it just hits me, so overwhelmingly hard, that I live in Hong Kong. I speak Cantonese better than most of the Mainlanders that come to live here, and I know where the best place to find barbecue pork and coconut filled pineapple bread is. I know the train stations like the back of my hands and the ward members truly treat us like family. It's so amazing. Sister Chun walked into church this week with a bag of chocolate (she knows how much me and Sister Tu'Avao love chocolate) and a thing for butter masala (indian food) and spam... haha. She said "I know it's the end of the month." We are really blessed and don't ever have to worry about money because we live in our area, but some missionaries spend up to $500-800 in traveling because they don't, so by the end of the month they're tight on money. But we're good. Then at the end of sacrament the sister sitting in front of us turned around and said "Would you like a cheesecake?" (in english.) us: "huh? umm....... sure?" Yeah, she went home yesterday and baked us a homemade cheesecake. We ate some of it for breakfast today- TO DIE FOR. except there's no crust. just cheesecake in a pan. but it's dang good. We're so blessed! I love this ward.

Well. That's enough rambling for today. Love you all so much! Thanks for the love and support and the prayers. (:

Kuk Jimuih

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 23, 2015: Temple Week

It's been a busy week (or I guess like.... 10 days since I reported last) for us in West Point. We have several investigators now and each of them have their own special problems that we've really been struggling to resolve. (or rather help them resolve).

Mr. Chan is doing awesome. He's still on track for baptism on August 9th and he is really excited. We just finished teaching the commandments and have started with lesson five. This week we'll do a practice interview with him and he should be right on track for his baptism. We realized we need to review a little bit about the first and second lessons, but he is doing really well. He has good relationships with the ward members and we're really proud of his progress.

Mr. Fung is recovering from a recent stroke that has led him to believe that maybe there is a God in his life. He still isn't sure. We taught the Plan of Salvation to him last week and he seemed to enjoy it and seemed to understand it, basically. We started to teach the restoration last night though and he was very distracted. We have a goal to give every investigator a baptismal date and so we brought up baptism and talked about it, but every time we said it he just laughed. Then he'd regain his face and say "Oh, sorry, I was just thinking something funny." but then he'd do it again and again. We think he's probably not ready to hear about baptism. At the end, he told us he thinks we're too young to teach him anything. I was so frustrated at that point. Sometimes (like President Lam told me in interviews today) you just want to shake them till they get it! This is their eternal salvation! Its so important! But most of the time they just don't understand that right away... WE'll try and teach him after church with a member that is closer to his age and see if that helps. All I could do in that moment is just bear testimony that yes, I haven't experienced certain things in my life, but I know by experience that the Atonement is real and that we are called of God.

Mr. Kwok is literally an eternigator. He's been investigating for 10+ years. He wants to be baptized but is afraid his 90+ year old mother will be angry at him for not following the typical chinese tradition and worshipping idols. We gave him a baptismal date and invited him to pray about it, which he willingly agreed to do.

Grace is another struggle we're experiencing these days. Our member helped us fellowship one day and seems to think that Grace only wants to see us because we're friends to her and she doesn't have many. We are actually planning to let her go for some time and hope that she'll realize she misses the spirit she feels when she meets with us. It was a hard decision and I feel sad, but we just don't know what else to do to help her since she's so unwilling to come to church.

Elizabeth is another special case (I feel like that's all we're teaching) and yet another that we are considering dropping and letting her have some time. We haven't brought up baptism with her yet though, so we're going to give her one last chance to accept our invitations to act to improve her life. If she agrees we'll keep teaching her. She does have a real desire to learn the gospel, but seems it isn't too high on her priority list.

I am so grateful for the opportunity we had today to go to the temple. Sister Lam reminded me in our interviews today of the true blessings of the temple. I feel like I often take it far too much too granted. We are so blessed to have a temple in our area and I'm so grateful that it serves so many different countries. That is such a miracle. We always meet such cool people in the temple from all over the world.

So this week has been a little wet. The weather has been more bipolar than Utah's weather. One day it's totally sunny and down pouring at the same time. Another day it's cloudy and hot. But mostly it's been rainy. Actually, on the way back to the mission office after lunch today we got stuck in a downpour that literally was flooding the streets of Kowloon Tong. TONS of water was just rushing everywhere. Several inches just flowing down hills and stairs. It's been fun. This week we've had a couple of days of monsoons. I'm not really sure the difference between monsoon, typhoon, and black rain but I'm pretty sure it's just the level of wind. It's been fun and we've been wet for a long, long time.

Last week we learned how to do crazy animal tai-chi for a relief society activity, and then this week we got to learn how to do really basic massage. Wow, was that a brilliant idea or what.

Well, we don't have a ton of time today (interviews ran late and it was temple day) so that's all for today. I love you all! Thanks for the prayers and the support. (:

-Sister Kuk

(About a prompting mom had): Hmm, definitely don't know what to tell you about your promptings, other than I know we just have to follow them. I've seen too many times to count where we get weird promptings to walk somewhere we hadn't planned and it ends up in miracles. That happened this week- we were out finding before a lesson and hd the thought to go walk down the ugly pier. We found a 13 year old girl who is SO prepared to hear the gospel. We're turning her over to the Sham Shui Po sisters since that's where she lives. So cool.

PS. Mom- put that video of the giant bug we found on my blog for all to see. It was DISGUSTING and that video was so funny. All the sisters in the apartment were FREAKING out. I love when Sister Tu'avao says "It's so gwai now!" (gwai- well behaved) so that was just really funny. that was a DISGUSTINGLY huge bug of an unknown source. good times.

Sister T. an Sister Crook
Plan of Salvation: Cantonese style

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015: Awkward Missionaries are Real

Things are looking good in West Point for this week. We saw some pretty cool miracles and had a busy week , as always.

Mr. Chan is doing well. We are going with him next week out to Ap Lei Chau to visit his daughter in a mental hospital. When we asked if he'd like us to go with him he was so excited and said "Of course!!" This man. He is just so cute. he's like my own little Chinese grandpa, and I want him to receive this gospel so bad! He is still looking good for his baptismal date on August 9th, so we'll keep working with him. WE think his biggest problem may be about tithing (he heard about it before and wasn't too excited) but a member gave an excellent talk yesterday in church about the blessings of tithing and he was listening intently. We're seeing him tomorrow and reteaching tithing, so I think we'll know more after tomorrow's lesson. He just wants the whole world to meet us missionaries and receive the gospel. He always tells everyone "You need to listen to what they say! It's good stuff! The scriptures are good stuff!" It's so funny.

Elizabeth is a different story. The more we meet with her the weirder she seems. This week she walked into our lesson just fine, but about 20 minutes in, she was suddenly insanely tired so we tried to get up and walk around with her as we taught the lesson. We made it through the first lesson (after four times meeting with her) and just aren't sure how much she's retaining. She's keeping her commitments and coming to church though. We didn't think she was ready to hear about baptism yet earlier, but we think that now is the time to invite her to be baptized. If she isn't wiling to commit, I don't know how much longer we will teach her. She's definitely got an interesting personality.

Grace is still doing alright, though she still doesn't want to commit to coming to church. I think it's because she has no friends there, but the ward is  little hard to convince to come help us teach her because she is very defensive and abrupt and many of them remember her from before. We have a plan to ask members when they're available first and then schedule Grace. She's doing really well in her Book of Mormon reading. I am amazed at how much she understands and reads, and she look forward to reading the new assignment we give her each time we see her.

Friday evening we had a wonderful activity. With the help of the ward members, we were able to show the Joseph Smith movie to the missionaries and their investigators from our stake. Kowloon Zone did something like that in December last year and we brought our 1-week RC Cherry with us and it was a HUGE success. So after prayerfully considering it, we decided to give it a shot out here too. I really think it was a success. Though there was some  miscommunications and things about minor details, all in all it turned out well and I know that everyone's investigators and less actives really enjoyed it. The spirit in the room that night was tangible.

Saturday we had a pretty fun day full of strange little miracles. We were planning out a 2 hour block of consecrated finding and both of us had the prompting to go out to Peng Chau- a $50 trip in travel and something you definitely need all day for. We both felt good about it, so after rearranging some lessons we found a way to get out there and stay the whole day. We literally spent the entire day knocking on doors- something I haven't done very much of on my mission. It was a new and different experience. We met some really nice people, including a man that agreed to let us come back and teach him and his wife together (she wasn't home at the time so we couldn't go in) and even found a guy who said he was looking for religion and found us. It was pretty amazing. We were able to place five copies of the Book of Mormon. What a blessing to have so many people on that little island with a copy of the book that will change their lives!

Funny story about that adventure out there. We stopped a guy (the above, looking-for-religion guy) on the street on the way to visit a less active and we had a nice conversation. Suddenly, he just stopped, looked at me, and said "You must be really nearsighted. Your glasses are really thick." (thats a basic translation from Chinese.)I was like "Um, yeah, my vision is pretty bad." Then he proceeds to look at me and says "Hmm. Oh well. They make you look smart." me: "Thanks." "And you're still pretty, so it's okay." Me: "...... so the Gospel of Jesus Christ..." Haha. So awkward. It's hard being a white person in China! And then after we taught him how to pray, he reached out to shake our hands and then goes to awkwardly side hug Sister Tu'avao, but it turns into an awkward tap on the shoulder. Then he turns and goes to hug me but must have seen the absolute panic on my face ( I mean, I just don't even remember how to react to that, and it's mdak [not able? English is hard]) because it turned into this weird wannabe side hug thing that was just so awkward. Wow. I think I understand why missionaries are so awkward when they come home from their missions!

That same day it was SO HOT and I was so tired that at lunch we sat on a  bench and ate peanut butter jelly sandwiches and I curled up in the corner and fell asleep on my bag and a bag of copies of the Book of Mormon. My legs were crossed and when I woke up both of them were dead asleep from the waist down. So that was fun. And apparently some dog was trying to lick my legs while I was asleep and my companion just watched it happen... but I was out cold, so who knows what really happened. Missionary work just DRAINS you!
It's been a busy week and I am beyond exhausted, but I'm so excited to be able to be serving a mission in Hong Kong. I know that the Lord keeps continually preparing people for us to find every day and it is truly such a miracle when we find them.

We got to bake cookies with the young women this week (they made the cookies for our activity friday) and it was SO FUN. There are only 2 girls in town right now and they're sisters, and they are SO cute. They took over my camera and just filled it with goofy pictures and dang, we had so much fun. I love these girls and their leaders! The young women are awesome and just love helping us out.  I wish I had been more of a help to the missionaries before my mission.

Wow. That's a crazy week. love you all! thanks for the support and prayers and stuff! (:

-Kuk Jimuih

pictures: us and our weirdo ward mission leader, Brother Chu (Crook family just imagine Grandpa Crook's goofiness, but worse, haha) who apparently can't smile normal for a picture.
Me, Sister Tu'avao, and the Lock girls, Menorah and Jennifer baking cookies and looking cartoonified because they insisted. So fun!

Monday, July 6, 2015

July 6, 2015: Proud to be an American

What a week! Monday evening we were blessed with the privilege of teaching Mr. Chan. He's doing pretty well and even accepted a baptismal date last week, so we're excited to help him prepare for baptism. He said something pretty funny the second time we saw him this week. "I haven't been a member of the church for very long, but I know it will help my life!" We thought it was funny because he hasn't been baptized yet, so he's not technically a member. But he's already a better missionary than half the ward- he knows when there are new people there and is always one of the first to greet them. He loves telling new people how much the gospel will bless their lives. I think it's hilarious. He has a lot of temporal problems, but as they begin to resolve he'll be more and more prepared for baptism.

Met with Elizabeth this week as well. The first time we saw her, she started to sob when we shared Jacob 4:6 about prophets. That night she was just too focused on her problems that we didn't make it far in the lesson, but the second time we saw her this week she was more focused. We really worked on establishing some solid expectations to help her understand our purpose- and us understand hers. We felt so much better after that lesson. Though I think it'll be slow teaching her, she's making good progress.

Grace is doing alright as well. I think she is progressing in every sense, other than the fact that she still has something against coming to church. I'm not really sure what her problem is though. We had an amazing lesson about the Sabbath Day and she understands the doctrine of why we need to keep it and stuff, and when we invited her to keep the Sabbath Day holy she agreed- but as soon as we invited her to come to church with us she got really defensive and said no. She clearly has some kind of underlying problem but we're just not sure what it is... Missionary work is kind of like detective work sometimes- we just need to ask the right questions at the right time to help our investigators figure out their own problems. We'll get there with her. I believe the Lord will bless us in that way.It's just going to be a work in progress.

We met with RC Ding Mei Kwan this week, after she's been on an adventure vacation to Mainland and Tibet (not a clue where that is). She brought back some amazing pictures and wonderful experiences doing service up there. Now we're just getting her ready to get her temple recommend. I think she's doing alright, but it's been a few weeks since she's been to church because of her trip so I think the bishop wants her to wait on her recommend until she's coming to church more regularly. But she'll get there. She wants an eternal family so bad.

We met with our LA Pon Ka Man and we had a really good lesson. We shared with her the Flecks of Gold Mormon Message and talked about how its the little things we do in our lives that help us to build a testimony. She really enjoyed it. She really likes Sister Tu'avao. She opens up really well to her and I'm glad, because since Sister Tu'avao has been here in West Point, Sister Pon has come to church twice! That's a miracle in and of itself.

It was bittersweet to say goodbye to the mission president and his wife that I've come to love and appreciate so much, but it was so great to have time to get to know President and Sister Lam this week and I am looking forward to serving the next few months with them. I can already tell they have amazing things in mind for this mission, and I know the Lord will bless us as a mission continue to grow and to bring more souls unto Christ. Their testimonies and conversion stories are exactly what the part-member families here in Hong Kong need.

Wednesday I broke my chocolate fast by baking chocolate chunk brownies with Andes Mints in them (apparently those are really cheap here). We gave some to our ward mission leader because he's awesome and when we called him that night he was like "How did you know I like brownies? Also what is IN THEM?" I was confused, and then he was like "they're....leung. (cool)." so then I explained that there was mint in them and he freaked out. Apparently mint brownies are his favorite. haha. Gotta love serving the people here!

So the funny stories for this week. For those of you who don't know or missed it, my companion is Tongan. And she is HILARIOUS. Well, as we passed the 4th of July this week, I literally think she was more excited than anyone else. We dressed up in red, white, and blue together and she even said the pledge of allegiance. And throughout the whole day she was like "Did you know it's America's birthday today?!" and then proceeded to sing happy birthday to America like... 10 times. It was so so so funny. I love her! Our roommates made us incredible french toast for breakfast, and then for lunch we had a picnic in the chapel with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Sister Tu'avao had never tried one so I made her eat one. she loves it.) I'm so grateful to be from such an amazing country and am so blessed for the freedom it offers. Proud to be an American! Woo!!

We went to a members house this week for dinner. We walked in the door and were greeted by a cute wiener dog. I said hi to him and played with him for a second. Then Brother Wong walks in the living room and literally kicks a turtle across the floor. Like, a live turtle. It was about 6 inches in diameter. And then Sister Tu'avao said "WUGWAI!" (Cantonese for turtle) and I see this gigantic turtle just walking across the floor. The thing was literally at least 18 inches in diameter and HUGE for a pet turtle. Just walking around the house like it was nothing. So of course I freaked out and had to take pictures. That was really fun. In case you were wondering, giant turtles are insanely heavy. (Mom, I want a turtle when I come home.)

Also, you know you're in Hong Kong serving a mission when you inspect your glasses and wan cheut (find out) there is mold growing between the frames and lenses in that weird place that you can't clean. Gross. what do you do, though... haha. love the challenges of serving in such a humid place.

Love you all! Hope it's been a good week. Thanks for your prayers! Keep them coming. (: happy 4th!

-Kuk Jimuih