Hello everyone it's been another great week here in Hong Kong! I don't even know where to begin so much has happened this week! This week was definitely way harder than my last but I've learned a lot from it.
First things first, shout out to my parents for making me so racially ambiguous looking haha literally every person that we stop to talk to on the street asks what race I'm from, its a great conversation starter, and helps us talk about why were here. Everyone also seems to think my hair is dyed too, or that Im mexican. Haha the people are so funny about race here. The ward members are also always very curious it's a great conversation starter, although sometimes I get railed for not being able to speak Cantonese despite having a mother from Hong Kong. Oh well, also this guy in the ward I'm in served in SF and knew Popo, small world.
Now on to the week, monday was great. I went to victoria peak where you can see all over the island! Reminded me a lot of when I went there with my family which was a weird tbt feeling, but it was beautiful and cool to see so much of the mission area! Love Hong Kong! Its a beautiful place! Tuesday was probably the hardest day of the mission, it was a classic bad mission day. We went finding all day, and didn't find a single person who spoke Mandarin, and mostly just got ignored throughout the day, and then a bird pooped all over my companion as well, haha so it was just a hard day. I don't think I've ever prayed so hard and relied so hard on God to help me here, especially in finding. If we don't have the Spirit with us we literally find no one. It's been very humbling just knowing I can't do it myself. All throughout my life I've been able to do things mostly myself, and would pray of course, but never had to rely on God and the Spirit like I have here. I also have never had my weaknesses be so apparent as they have here. Its just like Ether says though - our weaknesses are pointed out to us so that we can make them strong, through the Savior's Atonement. We had many hard days like that in a row, and my companion and I spent a lot of time in sincere prayer together, asking the Lord to help us, to guide us to those who would here our message, and who are from the mainland. What I love about my companion so much is that days like that don't get him down! He really truly has faith and believes every morning, and I try my best to wake up positive, ready, believing, and faithful everyday! When we have faith that the Lord will provide, and do everything we need to be doing out here, truly believing, the Lord does provide, in His time. I have never had a more powerful testimony of that than I did this week. It was just a super hard week all week long and then suddenly, by the end of the week, our success just did a total flip flop out of the blue! All of a sudden, we were finding Mandarins on the street, they were talking to us, and wanting to meet with us! All of our phone calls were being answered by dropped investigators, and they showed renewed interest in our message! It was honestly amazing, I feel so blessed to see my prayers answered so directly, and so quickly. Maintaining faith, attitude, and truly believing every day that we will find someone who needs to hear our message has definitely blessed us both, as well as sincere prayer and obedience.
It reminds me of the people of Limhi in the Book of Mormon, something that I studied this week. It says that his people were humbled after being repetitively beaten back and basically enslaved, it says that they were humbled even to the dust. That's a level of humility that I just don't even understand. And that humility caused them to cry unto the Lord with everything they have. The scripture says that the Lord then slowly allowed them to "prosper by degrees." This concept is a lot like what my companion and I had this week. I've never felt so humble in my life, feeling like I really can't do anything, or even talk to anyone without the Lord. I simply can't do this work by myself. All I can control here is my work ethic, attitude, and trying to do what God would have me do. A little later in the Book of Mormon Alma states that through tribulation he was made an instrument in the hands of the Lord. That's definitely what the mission is, tribulation, humility, faith diligence etc etc and finally just living your mission, forgetting about yourself, and becoming an instrument in the Lord. Sometimes it's soo easy to get distracted thinking about home, the past, or the future, but none of that is in my control, focusing on the amazing members here, on our investigators, and just loving the people is so much more effective on helping me become better.
Now our new investigators! We have this man named Ben, we randomly found him and he told us this big story of one of his relatives who converted to our church then also served a mission! He seems super prepared and told us if he attended church and it felt right that he wants to get baptized! I was shocked but so excited! It was so crazy running into him, amongst the huge crowds of people, and to have that background, if that isn't a testament of the power of the Spirit in guiding us to find who we need to find, I don't know what is. We also have this guy named Summers (the english names are so funny, people seem to think they're normal american names) and he is an awesome guy! He loves boxing randomly and loves Mayweather (not a great role model) but he just has a great attitude and is very social. He even decided to go with us to the Bishop's house for dinner! Then we have Wu Wei Jian who is from Beijing and his accent is impossible to understand, so much slurry and r noises. He is great, and was super curious about the Book of Mormon, he asked for a copy and started reading it right away with us during our first lesson! And we have many more appointments next week which just makes me so excited to see the work here prosper by degrees! I really believe every area has so much potential, some people seem to believe that because its Asia, baptisms will be slow and scarce, but I believe any area can prosper! My mandarin is also getting better, sometimes its pretty frustrating bc I hear all Cantonese and it makes me feel like I'll never get it down, but we have been talking to more and more people, and working hard at it, know the Lord is blessing me to learn this language. Im also getting better at understanding Cantonese when I hear it, though it's all still overwhelming. Chinese is so interesting, every word is just like the characters, they can be broken down into all these little pieces and meanings, and then put back together in any order to make different words, and sometimes the words mean what they're parts mean, and sometimes they don't at all haha so i've been working on getting better at recognizing all the new words etc. Its a crazy language but so fun to learn! Different accents are definitely the hardest part for me to understand, bc every mainland area has a distinct and different accent!
The ward here is awesome, the members are seriously so amazing I love getting to know them! So many of them are converts and have cool conversion stories, its so eye opening being in a place where the church is still relatively new, and working with people who have never even heard of the idea of a Savior or a God. The ward had a talent show on Saturday and asked us to come, it was so fun! some of the talents were questionable (like this one old lady made this weird black smoothie that I drank, tasted like dirt haha) but there was just a great ward family feel! I'm working my hardest to gain their trust and then hopefully referrals! When I first got here I just thought everyone here was shy or busy, but Chinese people really aren't shy, you talk to them for like a minute and they don't even know you and start talking about everything haha it's super fun, something someone told me is that everyone is always looking down when they walk because they all have lots of stress and problems from the way the competitive society is set up, and the ones that are truly happy are the ones walking with their heads up, which is like no one haha. The difference between members and non members is so obvious, members are happy, smile, walk with their heads up and are friendly, I love running into them while finding! Their is just a happiness and a purpose they have that everyone else here needs so badly. Im trying my best to give everyone the opportunity to have it! When we brought investigators to events everyone is so welcoming I can just feel the love from them, it's great!
I hope that letter makes sense and isn't too jumbley haha. I feel like I've learned so many lessons and have so much to share but so little time to share it all! Thank you all for the love and support it means a lot!