Voting is irritating...week 58

Monday, September 26, 2016

I hope that I don't offend any patriots with that topic of my email. Just a story to tell that gives me reason for why I'm irritated.
So we have a lot of alcohol here in China. Beer is cheaper than water bottles here most of the time, so that's just a natural struggle for people here. There is also a lot of superficial news shared by the government via MTR. The televisions are always just blaring something about America's political standing and missionaries just have to ignore it. With this combination, you get a lot of drunk old men that see a couple of young looking american guys and they just get really angry. Nothing hinders them. We were teaching a lesson a couple days ago. This kid was really feeling the spirit and our amazing Elders Quorum president was describing Nephi's experience in an Angel answering his prayer about his father's vision. We were just about to close very powerfully when a drunk man stands up from his table and begins to storm over to us, almost lozing his pants and running into a waitress on the way. I closed with testimony just before he go there thankfully (because I get very irritated if a lesson is interrupted when there's no closure. It's like a concerto that ends on a half cadence. THAT'S NOT COOL! He came over and I became somewhat frightened when he reached for my Book of Mormon. I didn't want to make any sudden movements so he got to it before I did and kind of waved it in my face and slapped it back on the table. I immediately reached for it and put it in my lap. He went off about every president from Bill Clinton to the Elections soon to be happening. We tried to explain that it's got nothing to do with us, but he couldn't hear. Then we both looked at the Elders Quorum President. He was smiling, and we kind of got a message that he sent to us through his look. We applied what we had just discussed and decided to do our closing prayer right then. The investigator looked a little surprised, but he too bowed his head and the Elders Quorum president offered the prayer. Nothing crazy. He didn't talk to the drunk man or anything. When we lifted our heads though, the man was gone. The investigator then said "well, now I know that it works too!" Brothers and Sisters, God works in mysterious ways.

I cannot tell you the buzz among the missionaries here with conference coming up. I've already been getting ready for a month. Some missionaries have been even longer. Be ready everybody. You never know when china's gonna open, and General Conference is the place for it to happen...
Chinese characters are the worst and best things ever. I'm finally beginning to understand what stuff says! Then I realize that other than the scriptures, I wasn't really missing out on much. Just a bunch of useless advertisements.

Pictures of the bike crew:

Notes from mom:  In my email to Ian for this week I asked him about the missionaries from Korea teaching Korean class, in addition to the English classes the other missionaries teach.  I don't know if these people going to the class like the culture or if it's because they idolize them because they are considered the "pretty-Chinese people". Whatever gets 'em to come though right?:)"

I also told him that we gave the local missionaries a ride home last week.  They were great.  The trainer, Elder Moore, was from Missouri, and his companion he is now training is from North Carolina.  His name is actually Ian Taylor too!  Elder Moore cited a quote from Rex C. Reeve:  
"These are days of great missionary service. Over thirty thousand young men and women, together with faithful, devoted couples, are carrying this message to many nations and lands. [HA!  This number is now over 85,000].  Never before in this dispensation has such a worldwide effort been made to reach every soul in the earth. It is great, and we are mindful of the time and means which you and many others have so willingly given to this purpose.

But as great as our effort has been, it is still far, far from being enough. If we are going to carry this message to every land, every nation, every people, every soul as our great missionary prophet-leader has directed us, there is still one part of this vital missionary force that has not been awakened. It is like a sleeping giant waiting to be aroused. When this sleeping giant is fully awakened, the day of the sickle will have come to an end, and the day of the combine will come in. The harvest will be in millions in place of thousands, as it is today.

The great need today in missionary work is to have all the members, every member—those who bear His name, those who have had a witness—pull aside the curtains of fear and reach out in love to our friends and relatives and neighbors and let them know that we really care about them and warm them with our love, that they may know that we really do care for them as our brothers and sisters, that they too might enjoy these great blessings.” 

Here was Ian's response:  
The Utah missionaries probably understand the same truthfulness of the message that they shared with you as I do. I have used a sickle here. It is NOT effective. It's fun, and you feel like you are some cool guy taking it back to the 19th century and old schooling the field. It's not useful though. The organization of the church is literally a well oiled reaping machine that for the time being is being primed for the starting of it's engine. A sleeping giant...I like that. Have you ever thought that our family is part of that sleeping giant?"

I also asked him about sweet Sister Yeung.  She is doing so well, and he related a story from that Sunday:  
"Funny thing about sister Yeung, she called us on Sunday and said the biggest miracle happened. She prayed the night before that everyone would be nice and that she would be accepted into the ward. What she described seemed nothing out of the ordinary. The Bishop asked her to stand and recognized her recent start on the Lord's path and the other teachers in the classes did likewise. She took this seemingly commonplace occurrence and magnified it though. She was so grateful for the leaders of the church and her testimony of prayer was strengthened. I think that she is an example of a principle of gratitude that I am in dire need of learning. D&C 78:19!"

Confirmation and commandments...week 57

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I have two people to share about today. One is our newest convert Sister Yeung, who just yesterday was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Even in the time between the baptism and yesterday, she became much more relaxed and steady. She was much less nervous, but we all knew that the Spirit testified more powerfully than ever before when we had taught her. The bishop's blessing was beautiful, and she remembers every single detail. She is moving this tuesday to Tuen Mun, where we realized that this miracle home that she found in her poverty is also only a couple minutes walk from the chapel there! She was so happy when she found out this much needed blessing due to her need to repeatedly rest after a short time of walking VERY slowly. This truly is a blessing from God, and there are just more and more being poured out on her daily. We can tell from this that she is keeping the commandments and that she needs the support of her Father in Heaven. The power of the covenants and ordinances that have been performed are unmatched and undeniable.

Another person I would like to mention is Ken. He is a high school student and very talented soccer player who also balances a part time job and meeting with the missionaries 3 or 4 times a week. We were worrying recently about his seeming lack of willingness to attend church. Then, in a lesson just two days ago, a member asked him a question that opened MANY doors. "Why can't you come to church, and how can we use the Gospel to help you?" He opened up explaining that his parents jobs are not enough to pay the expensive rent of their small home and so they need him to have the part time job on sundays as well. We then moved on to talking about the miracles that come from keeping the commandments of God. Experiences were shared and I was almost brought to tears when Ken determinedly requested that we teach him the commandments faster so that he can work towards receiving the promised blessings that his family desperately needs. The look in his eye was unshaken and the light that seemed to be surrounding us was glorious. We testified, and promised in the name of Jesus Christ that if he did according to the will of God, he would be enabled to work miracles.
That promise was powerful. I felt the power of the name of my Savior flow through me, and that power opened our eyes to the truthfulness of those words. I felt the spirit. I hope that you all know that Jesus truly is the Messiah, the undisputed savior and redeemer of our souls. I know He lives. I love Him.

Also, a tid bit of inspiration: Look up on "Lessons from a Milk Jug." This message had a very important effect on me that changed my life. I hope that you enjoy it and feel the spirit even a fraction as strongly as I did when it was read to me by one of my best and longest friends that I have ever known and loved.

Bonus picture post!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Thursday, September 15, Sister Annie Fong (Sister Poon) shared some pictures on facebook.  They depict the Mid Autumn Festival.  Sister Poon is the ward Relief Society president in the Sheung Shui Ward where Ian is currently serving.  Here is what she wrote:

Her translated description says the following:  Mid-Autumn Festival, just turned 19-Year-old preacher leader and he's going to take care of four missionaries (very lively, lovely, and love stealing the spotlight missionary 😂😂😂), feel like much. 2 DAUGHTERS AND 2 sons 😄😄😄. Thank they brought a wonderful message to share!

Though I've never met her, I love her, and I deeply appreciate the love and care she offers my son, his companion, and the sister missionaries there.  She posts pictures regularly.  I just love it.  Here is what she shared:

This was also Steve's birthday and so in addition to all of the food Annie made for Mid-Autumn festival, there was cake!

I also want to add an image that I saw on Sister Emma Terry's blog.  I've never seen this before, but I think it is beautiful and so unique to Hong Kong.  

Conversion is real...and it's beautiful...week 56

Monday, September 12, 2016

Well, after only four weeks of meeting with her, sister Yeung Loy Tai accepted baptism by immersion for a remission of sins. Her preparation by her father in heaven was uncanny. She was forced out of her home due to financial problems six months ago. She was struggling to find a job when Elder Love and I ran into her. Within 2 weeks of meeting her, she miraculously found a solid job AND a very cheap house (according to the members that would teach with us). She will be moving a week after her confirmation. We are working as quickly as we can with both wards to support her.
We had a TON of ward activities this week as well that all went great. The mission president visited the baptism though, and said that it was the strongest he had ever felt the spirit during a convert's testimony. She truly is becoming happy because of the blessings of the gospel. Not everyone gets such immediate blessings, but for those who are willing to wait, they come. I know this, and pray for the valiance that sister Yeung has.

Tomorrow I have to give a zone training for three hours. Hope it goes well.

This is the happiest person ever at her baptism!

Notes from Mom:  Elder Love's mom shared his letter to her, wherein he said some really kind things about Ian.  "So yesterday was Sister Yeung's baptism. It was amazing. Her testimony afterward was one of the most humble I have ever heard. She talked about how she has always believed in Christ but that baptism didn't seem like something she needed to do until she found this church. This entire past week she was so nervous about being baptized but it was a good type of nervous because she understood how serious and sacred baptism really is. She talked about that in her testimony as well and said that as soon as she was raised out of the water all of her fears were gone. She said that she felt something in her chest that she cannot describe with words. There were many wet eyes and full hearts yesterday. Elder Taylor and I also had the opportunity to bare our testimonies and sing "When I am baptized " while she was drying off. We were definitely put together for a reason because music is the best way for both of us to invite the Spirit in. I will remember that day forever."

A few other pictures were posted on the Sheung Shui ward's facebook page.  

Looking back at the good ol' days...and finding friends along the way..week 55

Monday, September 5, 2016

This week we had zone conference...with three different zones worth of missionaries. That's approximately 65. MANY of them were in the MTC with me, including the awesome Elders that I had the great privilege of rooming with in the MTC. AND we were all in our new suits from Cheung Hings! 

Cheap Tailored suits are probably the best thing that ever did happen to a missionary...except...
THIS SUNDAY WE HAVE A BAPTISM COMING UP! Sister Yeung Loy Tai has been prepared by God for about 5 years now...but only meeting with the missionaries for the last 3 weeks. She was already keeping the commandments. Already striving to find God in her life of challenges, begging for relief. She just said yesterday in sacrament meeting that the spirit just felt so strong in her heart. She saw one of our members, a young man named Sunny Yeung who will be going to the MTC this week, bear his powerful testimony. She could only smile the entire day. She even said when we dropped her off at the bus stop that her face was hurting from smiling so much. That's a miracle right there. There is also the miracle of the Relief Society and Young women. They have been helping us so much these past few weeks.  Even with school starting, they let their testimonies burn bright for this person to clearly see the joy of this Gospel.

We also have Elder Harding now. He is from Idaho. He was Elder Farr's companion in the MTC and used to have a hobby of body building before making the great sacrifice of going on a mission. He's very happy and intelligent. He hopes to study radiology in Florida after his mission. I have attached a new picture for the apartment. This will be a good transfer.

Otherwise, I have been thinking a lot about the sacrifices made in relation to the Gospel. The missionaries. The Pioneers. The investigators from all different backgrounds. The Apostles and Prophets. It all comes down to the ones who, every week, are preparing themselves to be more worthy to partake of the blessings brought to their lives by a God whom they are still trying to get to know, but who knows and loves them perfectly. It's confusing and beautiful. I'm sorry I can't write more, but remember that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven.

Notes from Mom:  I asked Ian if there is anything he needs.  His response, "Up to now, I can't think of anything that I need. If I need something, I'll just get it here (except for some things like granola bars and cashews...those are a mouh holahng/no-go).
I sent a post card this last thursday after Zone Conference (that meeting was awesome and I felt the spirit so strongly). Tell me when you get it 好不好嗎?LOVE YOU!"

Also, we asked Ian about going out to eat.  Our dear neighbor and friend/favorite people on the planet, is going to Hong Kong in November to visit her sister.  We wanted to see if he could eat with her or if that is against the rules. His reply prompted some additional questions. "As far as Sister Plater, she is fine to take us out. She isn't direct family, so it would be just as if someone that we ran into on the street just decided to feed us (it happens more than you think here with all the really rich and mildly famous white people)."  We wondered, laughing, what rich and mildly famous white people he eats lunch with?!  He wrote back.  "The owner of the MTR company, Zara, Octopus, and another guy who owns an Aston Martin and is therefore famous to me...only one of them is Mormon."  We asked which one of them is Mormon, and he responded that Wally Lo came to church to see Sunny (the other picture is us with Sunny and the ties that we exchanged) get set apart.  (Sunny is going on his mission to Canada Toronto and goes into the MTC this week.) 
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