Discipline is not what you think it should be...week 23

Thursday, January 28, 2016

**Ian attended the temple with his district Monday so his P day was moved to Thursday.

Here's a couple experiences from this week:
On a more comedic note, I was able to go door knocking for the first time ever on my mission, and we met a lot of success (because if Chinese people aren't moving in a rush anywhere, they feel obligation actually to answer the door and entertain their guest, be it a stranger or a friend). We met this lady who looked about 80 years old. She proudly pulled out of the corner of her small house a rat in a cage that she had caught and immediately drowned. She did this immediately after shaking my hand, and I began to start wanting to get to the nearest MTR in order to wash my hands. She was very nice though, and was a machine when it came to telling us about her neighbors and their religious beliefs. She didn't have any interest, being Bai Sahn (she worships her ancestors), but we got many other new/potential investigators because of her.

On a much more serious and personally sacred note...
We went to the edge of our area to surprise visit an old investigator that I hadn't talked to or seen in a month because he wasn't answering his phone.
Chinese culture is definitely different from America. Physical Punishment is much more controlled in America, but it's actually promoted in china in order to have the same order promoted in schools and other organizations. We got to the 24th floor of the building and as soon as the elevator doors opened I recognized the painful shouts of his daughter followed by his harsh shouts. We walked out of the elevator and waited for a second or two, though it felt like an eternity. Both of us were uncomfortable and flinched every time we heard what we found out later was a back scratcher on her. We didn't want to be there, but we turned it to God. As we prayed, that feeling that we both dreaded but desired came into our hearts that we needed to go and ring the doorbell. Mustering my courage, I did so. He opened his door, looked directly in my eyes, and stood still. He was still wielding his back scratcher, his eyes started as a wild and intense stare, but he softened as he realized who we were. He looked down shamefully and let us in. I took my shoes off, took a quick glance at Elder Powell, and sat down. He got us some hot water because it was about 5 degrees celsius outside. We saw his daughter in the corner doing what looked like writing homework. I told her as tenderly as possible that it was good to see her. I tapped her shoulder and she flinched, but immediately relaxed realizing that it wasn't any hostile movement.

Our investigator sat down. We opened immediately went to the scriptures where it was about Lamoni's father taking upon the responsibility to share what he had learned from Aaron. He knew that he had the responsibility to be an example to others. Especially his family. What he didn't get was that we are to act in long-suffering, speaking as the Spirit does with a still small voice, a voice of love, hope and comfort.

He still was confused. I followed a prompting to share a personal experience with the guidance of the spirit as a missionary who's duty is to serve God and be a representative of Christ. He was much more understanding, and we closed up with saying that prayer is the way to invite the spirit into your daily activities. Reading the scriptures is how you learn how the spirit has worked in the lives of others. Going to church is for the purpose of seeing it having been operative in the lives of others as well and sharing your own experiences in order to grow and strengthen each other. He agreed and said that he would be coming to an activity that we have this saturday. That'll be amazing, because we're making what is the chinese equivalent of a cookie, but with twice as much butter.
I forgot the camera this morning because we were up, exercised, ready and out the door this morning for our temple session, which is actually why I didn't have the opportunity until today to get back to everyone until today.

I love the temple. It's so wonderful to go there.
Actually, about that, I got moved. I no longer live in the temple. As of last week today I have been living in Sha Tin New Town Plaza area. It's a lot more convenient and much less expensive to reach our area now that we don't have to spend 11.5 HK$ every day on the MTR (Hong Kong's subway system).

I'll have to send a picture next week, but we also have a new ward mission leader. His name is Jordan Lee. I actually knew him a little bit before my mission! More a friend of a friend, but still super cool because we have quite a few common friends. He actually remembers seeing me at the Provo Rec Center Life Guarding. Super big coincidence! He leaves for his mission in a month to Vancouver Canada speaking Mandarin Chinese (look out Cordon Farris!).

Brother Li, Elder Powell, Elder Taylor

This week is based on my working on the weakness recovery program. Alma 7:23 describes the specific parts that make up the whole essence of humility. I've been working on submissiveness so far, but I'm about ready to start studying the next topic.

I love my mission! I love the people, the place, my companion, district, the mission president, and above all, this Gospel that has provided the way to Eternal Life for all that are willing to have Faith, Repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and then Endure to the End.

Make sure that you are all going to the temple. If you cannot at the time, get ready to do so. That's literally the most important thing that you could ever do for yourself and your family.

I love you all!

P day at the temple

Why did the monkey cross the road? week 22

Monday, January 18, 2016

I am gaining weight, but I'm not sure where it's going. My pants are even slightly looser than they were initially. I think it may be the weight of the spirit.

Ponderize this week is Matthew 26:45. The soul is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Well, this week I officially had one full lesson because of all the rain. No one was able to come and they didn't want us to visit their houses (that's not out of the ordinary because Hong kong houses are about as big as my kitchen back home).

We found 3 new investigators though, and we had quite a few mini lessons. We also increased our english class attendance by quite a lot.

The situation for this week and the coming weeks as well as to do with the Ng family. They are a part member family. Sister Ng is the Relief Society president and is one of the nicest ladies I know here. You also have the 8 year old son who was just baptized a few months before I got here. The dad is not a member though. He's been attending church, meeting with missionaries, and even waits outside the temple for his wife and will talk to her and pray with her in the garden. He is too afraid of committing to something that he won't keep to. He doesn't do anything around his family or even in HK, but if he's traveling, there are word of wisdom issues that will come up that he is too easily beset by. We have set a goal with this family to have them sealed 1.5 years from now and to have him baptized this year. I really love this family. Gabby will call me "Yeti" because when I took my shoes off before entering their home, he realized that they were much larger compared to his dad's. He's going to do that forever now...great.

We also saw a monkey crossing the road. Taxis were getting really angry at it when it finally got out of the way and climbed up this wet light pole (almost slipped when it got up).

I've been working on a new method of study. Does everyone know what the addiction recovery program is from the church? Well, I'm pretty sure that I'm the only worthy Elder who has ever used one. President Lam said that when he did it as a Bishop, he called it the "weakness recovery book". I have gotten to the middle of Step 3. I cannot believe how much I have learned from it though. So much change has happened over the past few weeks of using it, and I am aware that all of the change is coming from increasing the level of thought I have towards my personal improvement as a missionary. Many personal studies have ended in many tears and 15 minute prayers begging for forgiveness. We are all imperfect. That's why we need this perfect gospel and a perfect God and a perfect savior.

I love you all, and I hope that you would take the invitation from me to share your testimony with someone that you care about today. LOVE YOU ALL! Jeunsau Gaaimihng and all that jazz! Hopefully the snow is staying for you all. We just get to revel in the rain and cooler weather:)

P.S. I also got to eat cuttlefish leg soup! Still not sure how to say it in chinese. It's probably the most complex wording I've heard so far. Good thing it's not too important.

Notes from mom:  Owen thought this was some pretty cool information from Elder Walker's blog.
The Cantonese word for Jedi is 長老, which is the same way to say "Elder" so that was cool.

Daak Laaht (how DO you spell this?) follow up...week 21

Monday, January 11, 2016

I don't have as much time today. Definitely spent a lot more time sending personal emails today than I usually do.

One funny incident is that I met a young man named Jordan Lee. He's originally from Hong Kong and speaks fluent Cantonese, but he also speaks english because for 5 years he lived in MAPLETON! He is friends with a guy I graduated with named Hunter Davis, and Jordan actually recognized me from being a lifeguard at the Provo Rec Center. He's going on his mission in a couple months to Vancouver, Canada. I know another guy who just headed to Toronto though (speaking Cantonese though).

Finally got a picture of Elder Tam, though it was by accident. The other elders got a hold of my camera and had a selfie smashdown.
Elder Tam:

We also have a new assistant. Elder Peacock is going home TODAY and I will never see him again, maybe, I hope I will though. 
President and Sister Lam, Elder McSweeney, Elder Peacock:

Elder Dale is from the UK. He's super Leng Jai (That is how people call you pretty boy here) and he's super good at speaking the language. We actaully have the same Chinese name (Daai) and he's a super nice guy (obviously, otherwise I don't think President Lam would want him there).  
Elder Dale:

My Ponderizing scripture this week is D&C 131:7-8. May we all seek to look through Heaven's Eye's. The purer eyes can help us simplify, reason, understand, and clarify for ourselves as well as for others. For my familia, remember the countless times that we have listened to that song and watched the movie that has that song about looking at your life through Heaven's Eyes.

I got a hand me down suit coat from Elder Peacock. "It's a little tight across the chest" (Lord of the Rings) but it's in pretty good condition and I think I can make it last through march when the temperature gets hot and we still have to wear suit coats.
Love you all. I hope you are all doing well and are all healthy.
Keep the Faith everybody!
That one guy in China,
Elder Ian Rane Taylor

P.S. Hong Kong is not only the best place ever, but due to slight warming up in the area, the monkeys are starting to come back to the area near the church at night. Super scary, but cool at the same time. Need to remember to not carry food with me on the way out of the church.

Notes from Mom:  "So Dak Laaht was a terrible idea from the beginning. No accidents, but I definitely was fighting for control when we were visiting the Lee family that night. Never gonna pull a stupid stunt like that again, even for a less active member (Who actually SHOWED UP ON SUNDAY!).

I love you all, and I know that our Father in Heaven is watching over you with eyes more pure than mine, and sometimes I swear I catch a glimpse of all of you kneeling in prayer together.
Keep the Faith, Hold to the Rod. Forbid none to come unto Him, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Elder Taylor
China Hong Kong Missionary and full time soldier in the Army of the Lord.

Daak Laak...week 20

Monday, January 4, 2016

Today I eat the spiciest soup in Hong Kong. It's called Dak Laak. It's described as blood red gorillas punching you in the mouth over and over again. When it's hot, the steam is rising into your eyes so that you can't even look at it when your eating it. Half of the soup is your tears and the other half is meant to be the fury of every single person that you have ever annoyed...I'm in trouble. It's for a less active (Hugo/Handsome). He said that he would come if Elder Powell and I did this. I'll have pictures next week and a video that I'll have to show you when I get home.

Tomorrow I set my record for lessons in a day: 6. All of them I have either never met or met once before on the street. Lot's of Lesson 1. Lot's of new baptismal dates are planned now.

I honestly have no stories except this one:
We had this activity called a Leui Hang (pronounced Loee hung). It's where approximately 100 people got on a couple of buses, traveled to a fishing village in Yun Lung (Fish Dragon) and ate Dau Fu Fa (Raw tofu with can sugar. SUPER good and pretty healthy for being an early dessert). We then had dim sum where I ate: chicken in so many different ways I couldn't begin to describe, abalone, fish with creamed corn, eggplant, pork, lamb, and oranges to finish it off. We then went to a place that they are getting ready for fireworks at new years. It's got a strawberry field and a petting zoo next to it with pigs, goats, turtles, and fish. So many people became referrals and we got to meet and develop relationships with countless members and nonmembers as well as part member families.

My ponderizing scripture is the SMILE scripture. 2 Nephi 9:39. To be Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal. We should avoid sin in it's entirety, but we should also learn from our mistakes that we unfortunately will doubtlessly make.

Happy New Year Everyone! Happy Birthday to Simon, my big little brother, and also to Jacob Blonquist. Hope you like the pictures.

Seahorses (no I didn't eat one. They are super expensive).

 The fish in that tank next to Elder Powell is literally the biggest I have ever seen. It probably weighed 200 pounds. We really hoped it didn't just suddenly decide to get agitated, because that would have been a waste of a suit.

An unpoppable bubble.

Massive turtle,

 the bus that I had the opportunity to share my testimony to,

and Elder Powell with his own kind :)

Brother Lee, Elder Powell, Elder Taylor:

Bishop Mak and his wife, Elder Taylor, Elder Powell:

and Brother Au. All amazing men and woman with so much heart and conversion to the gospel. I'd be the worst missionary ever without these people.
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