Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 22, 2013 - Funny Week For Sure!

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to hear from you all back at home! It is always a pick me up to hear just how good everyone is doing back in the states. It was a long week, filled with some hardships and even more learning experiences. But what week isn't? haha. We found a ton this week, an exhausting experience for sure. I think it was on Thursday that we didnt have anything but finding.... Got to love those days, but I thought about how the trek is going on back at home. I was never blessed enough to go on a trek (went to Disneyland instead haha) but to think of all the youth pulling handcarts through the mountains. Made me glad I was finding. Perspective is a funny thing. But really, we had a solid week.

So this week, like I said earlier, not a ton of teaching appointments. So we spent the days finding with no real success. When I say success, I mean teaching or making some new friends who are interested in our message. It was rough towards the beginning of the week. My attitude just was all wrong. Nothing seemed to go right, just problem after problem. I struggled to feel like we were making a difference. Then we went on companion exchanges. I ended up being with Elder Bradley, a mandarin speaking elder. It just added to the stress because he doesn't know any cantonese. I had to handle a lot of things solo. I learned a lesson from it though, When the Lord calls (or does companion exchanges), he qualifies. That day, we saw miracles. We found for the whole day, but ran across a guy from Shengzen. Lucky for us, he was fluent in both Cantonese and Mandarin. His name is Mr Wong. It was weird at first, because as we got to know him, he said that he "swam to Hong Kong". I thought that there was no way that I heard that right. But thats what he said! He was a really great guy who ended up buying us lunch. He commended for being so devoted to something so difficult. He was really receptive, so we will continue to teach him. I asked Elder Bradley about the whole swimming thing, and he said that he is probably an illegal immigrant from the mainland and that he probably really did swim here.... haha. Crazy for sure. Later on, we went and visited some less actives from the ward. That can be kind of frustrating when even they don't want to see us. We tried our best, but couldn't really talk with anyone. Again, since I was the only Cantonese speaker, I had to get past the security guards. Talk about intimidating! haha. But they were actually pretty nice. I just acted oblivious to a lot what they said and they just let us go up. I guess that was easier than trying to explain that we couldn't. haha. We were able to find one lady who moved to France and became less active. She was visiting her mom for the summer with her five kids who speak french and chinese fluently! It was so cool. We shared a quick message with them. It was a unique experience for sure. Thanks to madame guisti, I was able to ask them to use the restroom in  french. haha. All those years of french did pay off! haha. But really, that day was a turning point for the week. Nothing really changed, except for my attitude.

I feel like its a lesson I have learned time and time again. you cant control really anything but your attitude. Luckily I have had some reminders of that. Great friends, experiences, and opportunities that continue to teach me that you can only control attitude. Really a lesson we all need to learn at one point or another.

So funny things that happened this week? Not a ton comes to mind, but there is one thing. Since Elder Fong is native, he and other people talk a little quicker than I can pick up sometimes. But we went to a members house for dinner with a less active. The conversation turned to food, and how I am not a huge fan of the chinese food. Elder Fong then said something to the effect of," He doesn't like it because it gives him diarrhea." I just thought to myself,"There is no way that he just said that...." haha but then the member looked at me and said in broken English, "The Chinese food give you diarrhea? What give you diarrhea?" hahahaha. Never thought I would have to answer such a question. Bathroom talk is apparently ok in dinner conversation. haha. We also got caught in a pretty bad thunderstorm while finding. We ran to the church to get out of it, but by the time we made it inside, it looked as if we had went swimming.haha. Weather here is a little different than Nevada.

All is well here in the China. haha. Almost at 6 months since starting as a missionary. Is that not crazy or what? Lots of progress has been made, still lots to go. Things can be hard, but there is no other way to grow. I asked myself a lot this week, "why are you here? This is tough. How are you going to keep this up?" I came to the conclusion that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And if its hard, you just do it. You can do hard things. It was never intended to be simple or easy. Loving the journey so far, but I think most importantly, I'm loving that the journey has hills, bumps, and thorns. Help is there, not if you need or when you need it, but it is always there.

Love you guys!

Elder Woodburn

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