Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 6, 2013 - Another week in the Promised Land

As I sit here, trying to think all about the week and what I have done, I think back to reading all of Elder Tommy Stockard's emails home each week. He always started out by saying how it seems like he was just emailing home, that the weeks were really flying. That is exactly how I feel! Where did the week go? Is it already May? Have I already been in ShaTin for over a month? It really is crazy how quickly time passes, especially when you are busy. And yes, we are very very busy.

So does everybody want a little food update? This week I had the pleasure of eating duck feet. Yup, that's right. Don't get me wrong, duck can be great, but the feet? Unlike the pigeon, I couldn't find a way to enjoy it. But I did eat it, webbings and all! haha. Just thought I would let you all know how different the cuisine is. I guess that isn't normal, most of the older missionaries I live with said that they have never had them. So I am one lucky missionary.

But as for the rest of the week, it was a great one. Peter and Avis are doing awesome! They have their baptism coming up in a little under three weeks. The nice thing is, we meet with them a lot during the week to help their English because next week they have the HKDSE. It is kind of like the SAT back in the states. But we meet and teach English, then see how they are doing spiritually. Both are doing so well. Keeping all the commandments, reading and praying everyday. I felt like a proud parent to hear them say that! haha. At least I think this is how parents feel. Sunday, I was talking with Avis and I asked him what he was doing this week. He said he was going to go buy a suit. I wasn't sure I heard him right, so I asked, "A suit? What do you need a suit for?" He looked and said, "for my baptism! Gema!" Gema is a ending particle in Cantonese that is sort of like "duh!" haha. So they are really excited. It has been neat for me, because I have gotten to teach both of them, and see their progress. They have progressed so much. Truly a miracle. That's what the gospel is, the ability to change. The ShaTin ward is like a family, and they have just added two more with Avis and Peter.

Another awesome investigator is Harry. We met Harry for the first time this week while we were on exchanges. He said he would come to church that Sunday. On the dot, he showed up for church! It was awesome! Since Elder Kho didn't really know him, I talked with him mostly. That was super hard, because I still don't know Cantonese. If I could gauge my fluency, I would probably say less than 1%. The more I learn, the more I understand that I don't understand a thing. haha. But Harry was super awesome, super patient with me. I hope to be telling you all about Harry next week!

One of my least favorite times of the week is sadly church. Can I say that as a missionary? haha. But really, it can be tough because it is a marathon of words and grammar that I don't understand. Usually I would just zone out, try to catch a word or sentence hear or there. But this week I pulled out a little notebook and tried to catch and write down everything I didn't understand. It made things so much more enjoyable. Hopefully it will help me listen as well! Just a thought, I'm not sure that I have truly listened before my time in HK. Here, I need to focus on every single word and tone just to understand basic meanings and sayings. Think about this, have you ever truly listened? My answer is no, and that I am really working on it!

This Saturday, Elder Kho and I had the opportunity to teach English class. It is a great community service and a great way to meet members of the community. It was nice to speak English. haha. The people here catch on really quick. Probably quicker than I do with Cantonese! haha.

I am feeling great. That feeling has really come through struggles though. This is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But with that, I don't know that I have ever truly been this happy. Weird to think that I have never been happier in a place that I can't speak or read or listen in. But I am. I am really happy! One thing that has also contributed to that happiness is work. I don't think I have ever really worked before either. But here and now, I am working my so hard. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am doing it! I'll never get to be Wuh Jeung Louh again. So with that perspective, I have really been able to smile when things seem hard or tough.

The Lord loves all his people. That means me, you, and the people of Hong Kong! They are a special people.

I miss and think of you all often, but for now, I am on the Lord's errand.

Elder Woodburn

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