Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

Lots of change this week. So I am now serving in Victoria 1st and 2nd Branch. Both are English speaking branches. Vic 1 is on Sunday and is for all the foreigners that live in Hong Kong. Vic 2 is an everyday branch for sisters from the philippines that only get one day off a week from their job as domestic helpers. My companion is Elder Lau from Malaysia and we are the international zone's zone leaders. This assignment is much different than any thing I have done before. I am really excited to help in these branches though.

In the mornings we wake up and go finding. Loooking to get a "pull back" for church. Which means we find a philippino sister willing to come to church, then we turn her over to the tagalog speaking sisters. Then we do studies planning and use the night time to go finding for people in Vic 1. Sp[eaking English is so different, but it has been so fun. Ahuge blessing. I have met so many people all with very different backgrounds. We Have a few investigators from Germany, Japan, India, Nepal, and even Pakistan. Its insane. Loving every minute of it.

One of our investigators i will tell you about is Tomo. We just met him yesterday. He is a relative of a member and he is living in Hk for the year. he speaks a little english so we are tutoring him and using his family to help him learn about the gospel. He plays bass for a Japanese Metal band. haha crazy huh? He is really nice and is really interested in learning more about the gospel. It could be a struggle since we need his family to translate into Japanese, but it should go well.

Another awesome story is about Yousef. He is from Pakistan and is Muslim, but is interested in our church. We got permission to teach him since his family doesn't mind him learning about Christ. He is a deep guy who loves to talk about the Old Testament. So we are looking forward to continuing to teach him as well.

Happy Easter Everyone. Remember that life is good. Enjoy it! I know that Christ lives and He is always there for us.

Love, Elder Woodburn

April 14, 2014 - I'm out!

We had another busy week this week, probably the most busy of any week in the office for multiple reasons. Monday we moved, Tuesday we looked at apartments, Wednesday we moved, Thursday we moved, Friday we moved, Saturday and Sunday we had conference. I couldn't fit time in to breathe even if I wanted to!

So I will start from the beginning. Monday we finished moving out of an apartment up in Gam Tin. I was happy to get all out of there because It was on the third story of a building without an elevator. That made moving fun... haha.  But we got it all done and that's what matters. Tuesday we continued to look at apartments in Tai Po. We finally found one that worked for our needs and budget. We managed to get the contract signed and ready to go. Wednesday we hopped on a boat early to head out to Macau. It took us two days to move into the two new apartments that we had out there. It was work! The problem was that we had so much stuff to move, but no car of our own, so we had to rent a huge truck if we wanted to move anything. It was fun, but like I said, it was work. We were able to grab a boat back late Thursday night. Friday we moved into the apartment in Tai Po. It was relatively simple to do, compared to the move out in Macau. Saturday was conference as was Sunday. And on top of all that, President gave the news that i will be leaving the office this transfer! So Elder Young came in on Saturday and I have been using any spare time we have to train him on office elder duties. It made for a busy week.

I will know tomorrow my new area and companion. I am excited to be back out in the thick of things, where I don't have to worry about moving, driving, parking, or staring at a computer again! i learned a lot in the office and am so thankful for the opportunity. I feel like I made the most of the time and opportunity.

Conference was awesome! I think I say this every time, but I am pretty sure that was the best one to date. Personally I enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf's talk about Gratitude as well as the presiding bishop's talk about our "4 seconds" Both seemed so applicable to me at this time. I know that there is something in conference for everyone. Not to mention Elder Bednar's talk about trucks and their loads. It will continue to change the way I look at life and its struggles.

I am excited. I am doing great. Loving life, excited to get back to the daily grind of a normal missionary.

Make the most of what comes your way. Do something for someone else. Be happy.

Love you all,
Elder Woodburn 

April 6, 2014

We had another great week this week. It was a bit of a struggle for me though. We have had a lot of housing contracts end the past weeks and it we need to find new apartments. When a contract ends, the landlord can adjust the rent and it seems that each time a contract ends, they bump it up way too much. So we spent our entire week moving out of old apartments, finding new ones, signing new contracts, and moving in. The transfer is in a week and a half so we need to have 3 apartments open before then that we have yet to sign the contracts on. It is going to be a crazy week and a half.

The one day of the week that we really got to get out and be normal missionaries was on Sunday. We were able to get two less actives at church. Both seemed to have a great experience. It can be hard at times finding ways to motivate members and these less actives to build friendships, but i would say overall that our ward is really good at welcoming everyone. There were less people at church overall this week. Saturday was Ching Ming festival. It is a chinese holiday that I am struggling to find a way to explain so that it will make sense. So on Ching Ming, you usually go and visit your ancestors graves and burn them food and money in the afterlife. It is a common religion here in Hong Kong to do this normally, but this is a special public holiday. So a lot of the members of our ward went to their ancestors home towns in Mainland for the holiday.

Sunday night we were able to visit another less active at his home and share about the blessings of church. His brother was also there to hear the lesson. It went really well. We hope to see both Brother Lee's at church this upcoming week.

Since the time change, we didnt watch conference, so we will be watching it this next weekend. It is really awesome time as a missionary. You are doing all you can to help others while trying to stay strong yourself. Nothing helps more than hearing conference and working as hard as you can to apply all that was taught. I am learning to welcome chances to grow and learn.

Wish I had more to talk about, but that was the week.

Learning lots on the mission, maybe even some things most Elders dont get to learn. I am pretty sure that I could open up my own moving company here in Hong Kong. Or be a Realtor. Or a truck driver. I have also learned that moving in Hong Kong is 100x more frustrating than in the US. So I will happy to help anyone move when I go home. As long as there are no stairs or elevators involved, any dyou have a giant truck that can get everything in one trip, and you have a garage that we can easily store all the extra stuff in... haha the list goes on and on.

I am loving the time here, as well as this added assignement of the office.

Have a great week.

Elder Woodburn

Sunday, April 6, 2014

March 31, 2014 - We saved the temple from flooding!

Ok so there has been so many awesome things about this week, so I am going to try and give an adequate update.

So everyone remembers Avis Loi? One of the converts that i taught back when I served Shatin? Well he got his mission call early this week. He has been called to serve in the China Hong Kong mission! Starts in June! Is this not the coolest thing that can happen to a missionary? i get to serve with one of my converts! It doesnt get better than that. Elder Kho and I called and talked to him. He is really excited, stoked really! So awesome.

Another huge miracle that we had this week was on Thursday we walked out the the temple and saw a foreigner sitting at the temple. We said hello, but he didnt say anything so we just continued on our way. He followed us a little ways and then asked us if we were missionaries. We said yes and he told us how he is a less active member of about 6 years and that he wants to come back to church. We were able to meet with him twice in the last two days. Those lessons with him were some of the most powerful teaching experiences I have had on my mission. He lives in China now and after talking with him, he is not sure he wants to go back. He went to an english branch yesterday and talked with the branch president. Im not sure what he is going to do, but i am so grateful I could teach him and help him start to rediscover that testimony that he had, and still does have.

Last story from the week is that yesterday HK got hit with black rain. that just means that it rained ridiculously hard that the city had to shut down basically. Subway stations were beginning to flood, the mall we live near by's roof broke and started to flood. It was crazy. So President Hawks had us go home early. We were a little worried that the temple might flood a bit as well, so we went down to the basement parking lot to see if it was ok. Turns out that there was water coming down into the temple basement parking lot and so we helped put up sandbags and sweep the water out. It was a little crazy! We managed to get everything sealed up and taken care of. The storm is still going, but it slowed down a lot. So everything it fine now, especially the temple basement parking lot. 

Such a great week this week. I cant wait to be telling these stories for the rest of my life.

love you all,
Elder Woodburn