Monday, November 25, 2013

Nov. 24,2013 - Hey!

So another solid week out in SSP and the office. Crazy how fast the week goes when your pday is on Thursday and then again on Monday. Even without that, time straight flies. That's for sure. Sounds like all is well back in the States! Congrats to the mighty mighty Greenwave making it to state! I'm sure the whole town was stoked on that. I have the same expectations for the basketball team. So get to work!

I feel like we had a really successful week. We don't have much when it comes to investigators right now, but we are really helping some Less Actives make it out to church. One is named Tom and he is 17. he was baptized at the beginning of the year, but went la pretty quickly after. So we have been meeting with him and really helping him to get him involved in the ward. I know if it wasn't for Fallon 4th Ward, it would have been hard to be as involved as I was. So we are doing the same with him. Getting him to activities, FHE, everything so he can realize that this stuff is really going to change his course, but he has to let it.

Another Less Active we have been working with is named Penny. This kid is like 6'4" and is straight baller! He is on this All Hong Kong Junior team and has been winning tons of tournaments and stuff. The problem is that the games are all weekend things and so he never goes to church. But we made a break through! Yesterday he was at church before his game started. He decided that he could make it to Sacrament, and there he was! There is still work to do, but this was a huge deal. The ward thought we were miracle workers because they never thought we could get him to church, but there he was! He is a really awesome kid, I look forward to keep helping him realize that church is going to help him in all aspects, he just has to chose to let it. I have really developed a love for less active members and what value they are to the ward and to God. I haven't had a ton of success bringing new people to the knowledge of the gospel, but we have been able to help and remind lots of Less actives the importance of the gospel. god loves us all so much. I have a testimony of that for sure.

A lot of time this week was still working on opening the new apartment that we bought and closing the old one. It is a lot of work! I have really liked working on it though. I am really learning to find the joy in helping other missionaries fulfill their purpose. Even if it is small stuff. 

I wish I had more to report on, but it was a short week! Everyone in the zone is really excited about our Thanksgiving activity this Thursday. We all were assigned a food item to prepare and bring and have a nice thanksgiving with our zone. Our companionship was assigned turkey, so we will see how that goes. We bought one this morning and so it should be good. I wish I had paid more attention all those Thanksgivings. haha. I'm just going to put it in the oven and cross my fingers. haha.

We have had a lot of just little random things come up this week that have taken some time. Elders getting locked out of apartments and needing keys, or other stuff breaking. We have to take care of that stuff. I don't know how other missions take care of stuff like that. One that you cant drive across in an hour or two. But we also had a bible group from mainland come down wanting to know more about our church, so we put together a presentation for them. I thought it went really well. We also had a mainland guy just show up the other day saying he wanted to hear about our church. So we taught him and he will be back to hear more later! Cool, huh? The church situation in China is a little complicated, but I can just say that work there is blowing up, even without full time missionaries there. The work is true!

All in all, just another solid week and I'm looking forward to the one that we have ahead! Lots of opportunities. Lots to learn and apply!

I love you guys. remember to have an attitude of gratitude, not just this week but every week of the year!

Elder Woodburn

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nov. 21, 2013

Another week come and gone! This one felt a little longer because we switched our P-Day to thursday instead of the usual Monday. But no complaints! It makes for a short week this week.

So how goes it back in the states? Im sure you are busy with school and sports and the daily rigors of life! That has how it has been for us here. We have been really busy getting new elders in, buying apartments, moving, and finding.

So this last week we got one new elder in. He is a mandarin speaker, but we were really stoked to have him come and stay with us for a night before he went out to his area. It was so nice to just be getting one elder in stead of 12 or 13 like we usually do. It is a lot less to get ready for. I like seeing the new missionaries come in becuase they are soooooooo jet lagged and culutre shocked, but they are also just stoked to be missionaries and get to talk to everyone in Chinese. He wanted to hear stories from our missions so far and so it was fun telling some good stories and getting him that much more excited to get out there and do what he was sent here to do. I love new missionaries!

We also have a few apartment contracts ending at the end of the year, so we are getting closer to having to renew or find new ones. The Hong Kong housing market is insane, so the prices are pretty high, so it is a lot to think about as we try and find new places. It is kind of fun going around and looking at potential places. We bought a new apartment down on the island at the beginning of last week and spent a lot of money. A LOT of money... haha but it is a nice place and put us to work the rest of the week. 

Since we got that new place down on the island, we spent a whole day just moving apartments. Moving in the states is pretty inconvenient, but try doing it here in Hong Kong. The streets are two small and crowded that we cant use the van to move, so we have this little platform on wheels that we used to move everything. It wasnt to far to move, the new apartment was about 6 or 7 blocks from the old one. It was a long day when wwe moved everything. I love my companion elder Woo, but he is about 5'2" and hardly weighs 100 pounds. So not a ton of man power to get the job done, but we did it and had some fun in the process.

Christmas time is just around the corner and so we are helping Sister Hawks plan the big party and activity. I am really excited for that. I am in charge of putting together a slideshow of pictures of the year, so that has been really fun starting to make.

Here is a funny story you also might enjoy. Just when I thought I was getting a hold of this office thing, something came up. I got a call from President Hawks at 7 in the morning asking me why 16 boxes of chinese BOM are at his house in Orem Ut..... That was a surprise! So I called Salt Lake and had to figure out how in the world our order got sent to his address back in Utah. Something with the computer goofed and they sent it to the wrong place. We were able to get it all figured out, but I dont think I am going to live that down for the rest of my time in the office. I had my fingers crossed that maybe a bus full of chinese people would break down in front of Presidents house, but it never happened. haha

The days really seem to fly. Crazy how that starts to happen. I pray for you and hope that all is well back on the homefront! tommy gets home in 3 weeks?!?! What the?!? He is the man, that will be an awesome day! 

Well, I love you guys, until next week

Elder Woodburn

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

How is everyone??? I'm sure all is well. It was another great week here!

So it was an exciting week for sure. Lots going on, which is always fun. I have a few good stories from this week, so I am hoping that I can do them justice via email.

First, we have been visiting the home of a recent convert in the ward and teaching her son more about the church. He is only 7 so it can be hard to help him stay focused, but I think he has been learning a lot. The real miracle is that her husband hasn't really wanted to hear the lessons or see us at all. Before he would leave once we came, but this week he stayed and heard our message. He said that he wants to know more. So we gave him a book of Mormon and challenged him to read a specific chapter with his wife. It was a huge deal. People really do change, and it is so awesome to have a family to teach the gospel. This is the first full family I have got to visit and share the gospel with. 

Second, in HK we occasionally have people from mainland come to hear the gospel and be baptized. This last week we had a family from Beijing come and hear the lessons. some circumstances arose that we had to teach them for a part, but since I hardly know mandarin, I kept their 6 yr old son occupied. It was so fun playing with him. I didn't have to say a word to him, but I feel like I have an awesome 6 yr old friend who lives in Beijing now.

Another story kinda revolves around Mandarin missionary work. The Mandarins accidentally had two investigators scheduled at the same time, so we went on splits with them so that way we could cover both lessons. It wasn't that bad because they understood Cantonese, but spoke in Mandarin. So it was kinda fun trying to understand what was said in mandarin. They are close, but still totally different languages. 

Finding was also really fun this week. Our wards young men went with us and it was a good experience. We met a guy from the Congo who was really tall and was married to a Chinese lady here in HK. It was fun talking with him. He spoke french, so I asked him if i could go to the bathroom. That's all I really remember from high school. haha. I talked with his wife a bit and he was so suprised we spoke Chinese. Then he spoke some African Chinese that was hilarious and awesome. I love my mission because you never know who you are going to meet.

Things are well. Really well. I love you guys and hope that the Lord keeps you safe. 

Elder Woodburn

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nov. 4, 2013 - Sorry about no letter last week


So all is well in Hong Kong! the weather is cooling down, think the high today is 85 or something so that is really welcome. Things here are going really well, these last two weeks we have kinda slowed down in the office, so we have had more time to go finding and teaching. Well more finding than anything. Sham Shui Po is an awesome area and has an awesome ward. Missionaries here have been doing great, but since the housing elders before us were so busy doing apartment stuff for all the incoming missionaries, our investigator pool is pretty small. So it has been kind of a challenge to try and build it back up again. Starting almost from scratch can be pretty tough, but I like the hard work. So lots of time on the streets this week and had lots of good experiences.

One problem that seems more prevalent in this area though is anti. We had a few times this week where we would be talking with people and others would come up and tell the person we were "che gaau" or a cult. If I have learned anything this week is that you just got to keep smiling and trying. Thats the key. Since Sham Shui Po is a little more on the beaten path than Butterfly was, I dont get as many people amazed that a white guy speaks chinese. Even the old ladies here dont love me like they did out in Butterfly! Jokes, jokes. Its funny, I feel like I have learned a lot on my mission so far, but some lessons I keep on learning. Attitude and that its something that you control is a lesson I am still learning. 

Cool experiences from the week. We have a brother in the ward who is from Nigeria and he is married to a nice lady from our ward. His name is Michael and he was baptized a few months ago. Micheal is awesome! But the only problem is that he doesn't know chinese, but likes to go to church with his family. His english is good, he just speaks with the thickest African accent. So I got to translate church for him yesterday. humbling would be the word I would use to describe it. That experience was good for me though. I have picked up a lot of Chinese, but I dont think i will ever be able to say that I know Chinese, rather I will always say I am learning chinese. Michael was grateful for the help and it was pretty fun. Translating probably wont be a future career of mine though, thats for sure. haha

Nothing really to report about driving, which I guess is a good thing. I drive a toyota Hiace, which I dont think they even have in the US. If I had to describe it, it is kinda like a creeper van. It doesnt have back windows which stinks because it has huge blind spots and turns like a boat. driving is stressful, not fun. But it is kinda fun getting to drive all around HK. 

Like I said, still learning that you can chose to be happy. It really is a choice. circumstances are only as big a part as you let them be. So chose to live above your circumstances. Be happy. There is always something good about the day and there will always be something you want to do better tomorrow. So do it! Recognize those things. Be a better person, because thats why we are here, to all become better. And I promise you that Christ is the best way you are going to do that.

Love you and have a great week!

Elder Woodburn 胡基謙長老