Monday, April 22, 2013

April 21, 2013 - We had a baptism!!

Family and Friends,

How is it going back in the states? You never really realize how great something is until it is gone. That includes America. haha. Ward members here always ask me what I think about Hong Kong and I respond in my broken Cantonese and say, " It's different..." Mainly because I can't expand on anything else and that it is so true. It is so different here. That being said, I do love it here. A love that I'm sure will continue to grow.

So about my week here. It all starts on Monday. We went to Mong Kok. It was the craziest, busiest, smelliest, places I have ever been in my life. I don't think there is anywhere in the world that could top it. We went down ladies street and just browsed around. They have so much fake designer stuff, Its ridiculous. Of course I couldn't not participate, so I bought a fake Versace belt for about $10 bucks American. Everything here is super cheap. It was a fun experience. We also went to a suit tailor with the other elders we live with. He goes home in a transfer so of course he had to stop in and get one! Monday was a fun day. I just really enjoyed seeing more of Hong Kong and it's people. Super fun, indescribable really. This place is just so different!

Tuesday we had a super important dinner appointment at our Stake Presidents house with our investigators Calla and Avis, along with their mom. Getting her mom to come was a big deal because she is a really intense Buddhist and is really not for her kids investigating the church. But she came, everyone had a great experience. I haven't the slightest clue what I ate and then we gave a short lesson. I wasn't sure how it went, but it's never a bad idea to have a Stake President at a lesson. We went home and as we got into bed, we got a text from Calla. She said that her mom was going to allow her to be baptized! This was a huge blessing. Calla is 24, but still wanted permission from her mom. So dinner was a success.

The rest of the week, all of our appointments fell through. So that means all day finding. I think that I have easily walked a marathon this week. Trying to talk with everyone. My approach is to be very direct as a we find new people to teach. Not out of choice, but because I can't say anything else. Sample conversation would be like this, translated of course,

"Hello! How is your day? Wow great! (regardless of what they said because I don't know what they said) Where are you heading (shake my head as if I understand)? Well, I am Elder Woodburn and I am a missionary! Ever seen us before?" By this point, most people have just put up their hand and ran off. Finding is hard work, but we do it a lot. So I'm sure by the end of my time here, I will be great at it. Practice, practice, practice. Nothing to do but try, right?

So that is how our week went. Saw a couple of really crazy people on the streets though. There was one guy who looked a lot like Buddha in a wheel chair who didn't have any legs. He rode up to us and just yelled, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!" Then he rode away. Sort of weird. Finding is fun, because you never know what you will come across during the day.

Sunday was one of my favorite days yet. It was Calla's baptism. So we had everything set up and ready for the baptism with the help of the ward. Her mom even came, another little miracle. The service was great. There is something special about a baptism. Our Stake President did the ordinance, he has sort of been another family to Call and her little brother Avis. It was the first baptism our stake has had this year, and hopefully there will be many more to come!

Things are really starting to pick up for me I feel like. Things here are difficult, don't get me wrong, but it is all about attitude. Control what you can, forget about the rest. I still struggle to understand most of what is said. In the MTC, you develop a church centered vocabulary, but the world is not church centered. So I have been trying my best to learn "regular" vocabulary and phrases. Immersion does help to learn. There is nothing more frustrating than to not be able to read or write. Sometimes I feel trapped in my own head, but you don't always need words to show you care. That has what I have been focusing on. A smile goes a long way.

I love you all and I am doing so well. I wouldn't be able to do it without you and your support. A cool little quote from the D&C stands out, "Stand still and see the works of the Lord" His hand is in everything. I know that is true.

Elder Woodburn

Food with cooked with the head so you know what you are eating.

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