White people are so weird...week 80

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Howdy Yall! We have got some powerful movements here in Hong Kong. Three people that I have taught for an extended period of time were baptized this week. One is in Victoria 1 branch (I'm serving here right now). A man from Bangladesh who has put a lot aside for the gospel. The next is from Sheung Shui. I taught him for about 4 months and he was just about ready when I left. The last one is a man from Fanling that I never taught a formal lesson, but he loved sharing his testimony whenever I saw him, and I would just have nice conversations with him about the gospel and it's blessings. He was also baptized after being taught by none other than the legendary Springville-ite Sister Emma Terry! Powerful people live in Springville!

Sometimes it can be tough in areas like this. I am feeling at times like a new missionary again. I don't understand Tagalog or Indonesian, but I can still understand how much people love and need the gospel of Jesus Christ in their life.

I love my companion very much. He and I get along just swell! It's nice to have someone who I can look straight at. My neck has been going through significant changes.

The Branch Mission leader is so powerful here. He is just the most friendly and powerful guy, and he takes time out of his busy family life to help us SO much. He really loves the Lord, and it shows in his countenance. He is the one who baptized the man from Bangladesh (I am told not to send his name home because of security reasons related to Bangladesh). You can tell the difference in the work when you have powerful members who know what they're doing working with you in a common goal. It takes a lot of time and work, but IT'S WORTH IT!
Something that was said at the baptism though: " I have only felt like this twice in my life: When I was married and NOW..." It is true when said that it is by the ordinances of the Gospel that the power of Godliness is made manifest (see D&C 84:19-20)

I am grateful for the priesthood in my home. Even more than physical protection, I am grateful for the Spiritual protection and support that is provided by the priesthood in my life. The faithful men and women that I have met in the church have become my heroes, showing their faith in a Savior whom they have never seen. Instead, we just feel his love and power. It's the most important part of our lives.

Just random pictures at emails with some of the guys from the apartment. Not all of them though.

Notes from Mom:  I asked Ian how how training meeting went.  "The training meeting went really well...I think. We will have to see how they all took it and what changes will be made. Our branch is on fire though. We had 2 people get baptized yesterday. One is from Bangladesh, the other is a domestic worker from the Filipines. The Branch Mission Leader and Branch President are awesome. President Hawkins is actually going to move in a few weeks to Saudi Arabia. He's a lawyer. He may get the chance to meet Jared and Ange! I will have to ask."  I am not sure if President Hawkins is the Branch President or the Branch Mission Leader, but this was a great week for missionary work in Victoria 1!

Notes from Mom continued:  I also told him that Simon is almost done with his mission papers.  He just needs to do his physical and his appointment is set for Wednesday so they can be submitted vey soon.  Ian commented, "I hope he feels good about his decision, because it's the best decision I have ever made in my own life and I would not want him to miss something like this. Has he picked a date for availability yet?"  Simon doesn't have an availability date picked yet, but this summer he will have his own mission experience start and I am so glad Ian has had the experience he has and can encourage Simon.  

Bonus Bonus Post!...week 79

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tuesday night we got a call from a Brian Cook who had something from Ian to drop off!  He is from Spanish Fork, but recently returned from Hong Kong and had met Ian.  It felt like Christmas!  He dropped off a sweetly decorated envelope with Hong Kong money and a small photo inside.  It's such a small world.  He is actually the brother of a friend who lives nearby.  He said he loved Hong Kong and even gave me a picture he took with Ian.  This is a member of the Church that visited Ian's ward, took the time to meet him and took a picture, then brought both to me out of the kindness of his heart.  Amazing!  So thoughtful!

The bill is 10 HK dollars.  It may be hard to see, but it has a clear plastic portion so you can see through it.  Really interesting!  

Bonus post...week 79

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Notes from Mom:  I find it uncanny that on the weeks Ian doesn't have time to send pictures, someone else does!  Sister Clara Bryant Hollet sent me a text via Facebook messenger early Monday morning, from their Monday night.  She said, "Hi, just sending you a couple pictures of your missionary.  He came over for dinner tonight and helped teach us how to use chopsticks properly (he's got it down!) and taught us some Cantonese phrases (he speaks like a local!) and then shared a beautiful message with our family including a story about President Monson from the Liahona about his exhortation to the brethren to be member missionaries because 'we need you.'  You should be so proud of him.  Pics are of him with his companion and with his empty salad bowl to show you he's eating his vegetables."  What a gem, that Clara!  I told her that there is a part of me that will always see him as a precocious 2 year old.  When did he learn how to use chopsticks?! How is he on a mission?!  She said, "My heart is so cracked open lately.  I don't know why.  I look at my 19 month old and think 'Is this gonna be you someday way too soon?' Anyway, you raised a good one.  And I forgot to say he's got a lovely singing voice too!"  These members who take care of my boy.

...week 79

Monday, February 20, 2017

Notes from Mom:  Ana and Simon got their wisdom teeth out.  It wasn't quite the personal revelation experience Ian had (ha), but we are glad they are healing nicely.  Ian seemed to think that since Simon revealed that he's been to Argentina 3 times that he will serve in the vicinity:  "So according to the gift of prophecy, Simon will be sent to a mission RIGHT NEXT to Argentina. Maybe Chile or Uruguay! I don't know though. I will be asking my Mexican friend in the zone for Spanish tips since we now have a couple of investigators from Columbia. FUN STUFF!" Ian hasn't lost his sense of humor.  He asked if Simon had any favorite foods from Argentina and answered himself with "coconut:)"  This is a nod to Ian's recovery.  He got a kick out of saying coconut.  

Ian was pleased to find out that he will be rooming with his dear friend Enrique Cahua when they start up at BYU in the fall.  Lots of questions were answered in trying to negotiate school, but they are solved and everything fell right into place.  Ian was appreciative of my efforts, but I was so glad to help. 

 "Mom, I am so grateful for all the things that you do for me. It's helping me a lot to focus on the work here, which is moving faster than ever. I have been working with my companion Elder Johnson to fix the records that are completely empty in this area as well as working with my Zone Leader companion who I will be with this Tuesday when we help the district president present a training for all of the branch presidencies. Pretty excited, but I hope that we will be able to say the right things and help to have a more cooperative understanding. I love you momma!我愛你到死!"  Owen was able to tell me that Ian wrote in Chinese "I love you to death."  I appreciate the sentiment;)

Continued notes from Mom:  I asked Ian if he got to spend any more time with the Deckers while they were there.
"Yes I saw the Deckers. They are so awesome. They both came to a special member-missionary class and made some really good comments."  I also asked him what his responsibilities are as a zone leader, aside from reports, as well as how many zones there are.
"Zone Leaders, as President Lam says, are responsible to MINISTER and ADMINISTER. That means you are working with missionaries, their investigators, and A LOT of records. We also have to train other missionaries on exchanges every month or so. I have a zone of 22 missionaries. There are 8 zones. Less missionaries than that now (a lot of people have been going home for various reasons).

A lot of people have been asking me how Chance is doing. If you see him, tell him to email me. We really love him and miss him. I will have to answer other questions next week. Almost out of time. I have to record some stuff online."  

He didn't write his usual letter for the week due to the planning for the district meeting. I always think that a busy missionary is a happy missionary!

Release Date...week 78

Monday, February 13, 2017

Notes from Mom:  No pictures this week, and actually not a regular letter sent to everyone, but I have plenty of information to share!

This is the official date...I GET MY FULL TWO YEARS!!!!(almost, off by one day, but I'll be on the plane for a while, so...)
Here is a copy of the letter:  

Dear Elder Taylor,

Due to the schedule of starting dates for colleges in the fall, your release date has been adjusted to 18 August 2017.  Any questions can be directed to President Lam.

Please let your family know about this change.

Thank you for all you do to make the China Hong Kong Mission the best mission on the earth! Your dedication and devotion does not go unnoticed.

Warmest Regards

Sister Pett

Notes from Mom:  we were glad to see this.  It also means that Ian and Simon will likely not see each other this summer, unless Simon goes in later into the MTC and Ian gets permission to visit him there.  It's okay.  Simon's mission is just his, and he has been doing his own fasting and praying in preparation.  That will become another blog!

In response to some other questions I got another email from Ian.  Things sound great!  The most pertinent question was about his toe.  Sister Decker said he was on crutches when she saw him at Island 2 sacrament meeting.  She said that she has heard Ian bless the sacrament in Springville and Hong Kong, but lives in neither of those places! Another one of the sister missionaries from his MTC district went home, but I wasn't sure if it was her.  I asked who the mission doctor is, or is it President Lam since he is a medical doctor. 

"I didn't know sister Lo left, but I guess it's almost about time for her to be going. President Lam isn't allowed to practice medicine as the mission president (which he sometimes gets frustrated with). I broke the big left toe playing soccer in morning exercises. Elder Orton looked at it and said I just need to tape it for a few days and then it should be fine (though it will still be bruised for a while). I'm actually good today. Nothing too crazy, but I'm off the crutches. Definitely frustrating having to use a crutch though to get around. It gave me a bubble in the MTR that was unusually spacious though, so that was nice.

Sister Cahua knows. Enrique actually wanted to on campus housing as well, so it would be SUPER nice if you talked with her about that and got it figured out together."

Ana and Simon both get their wisdom teeth out this week.  It reminded me of the hilarity that was Ian's wisdom teeth extraction and his "return from his mission to China where he taught Ninja basketball.
"I am excited to hear about the upcoming half-prophecies that will be shared."

I asked about how things are with his new companion.  Elder Aldridge was at the end of his mission when Ian went into that area.  That can be really hard and combining that with all of the details we have had to hammer out regarding Ian and school makes for an especially trunky time.  Now he is with Elder Johnson.  

"Elder Aldridge was alright. A strength that he had was his memory of people and situations, but that was also difficult because that meant that he wasn't very willing to update records, so Elder Johnson and I are doing those tonight. Elder Johnson is just the nicest guy ever. He is going to be studying Engineering, but he doesn't know if he wants to go to BYU or USU. He said "I have no life and no idea what I am doing," but that's just him saying that cuz he's funny. I FINALLY HAVE A COMPANION AS TALL AS ME! It's strange, but actually kind of nice."

Bonus post...week 77

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Yoshi Yu is at it again!  He took Ian and Elder Aldridge out.  Elder Aldridge goes home this week so it is another of many kind gestures by Yoshi.  He posted them on Facebook and I'm copying and pasting them here.

I'M SORRY!...week 77

Monday, February 6, 2017

Notes from Mom:  I wrote Ian and got a variety of information this week.  Here is what he wrote regarding the Worldwide Mission Training when I asked if it changed his day to day work/mission. "Yes. Everything. I do planning the day of instead of the day before (weirdest feeling ever to wake up and not be sure of what you're doing that day...). We also only have to do 30 minutes of Companionship study. Only have 30 minutes for lunch (unless it's with a member, then it's 1 hour).
The training was amazing. I'll be emailing some stuff home next week about what I learned.
Also, I got moves calls. I will be here as zone leader. My new companion is Elder Johnson (he originally was a Mandarin speaking missionary and has been out a month longer than I have). He will be district leader. I'm senior companion. Elder Wolley (formerly the assistant to the president) will be my co-zone leader. Going to be a VERY good transfer. We're gonna get some WORK done!"  

Notes from Mom regarding other big and small things:  

I got the bag from a grocery store called Wellcome. I got it for free because I saved up about 200 stickers over 6 months of shopping there every p-day. Aren't you so proud of me! It's otherwise a really expensive bag and I could get you something almost as good for 10 percent of the cost here, no doubt in my mind. Elder Chen is going to BYU this fall. Yeah, a LOT of people are leaving soon...it's insane to think about, so I won't. Enrique actually asked me this week what my plans were for housing. I told him that I am going on campus housing, but I wanted to ask you if there are any specifics yet so that I can try to room with him, cuz that would be my preference.

As far as what helped me change my mind, it definitely wasn't you. If anything, I was wanting to not listen to you and push it more towards the unsuccessful side. It was after seminary that I chatted with my teacher about it, and he just told me to look up D&C 6:36 when I got home. I did, and that's what helped me make up my mind. I also Like Philippians 4:13. The language will be one of the first stumbling blocks to be removed, or rather used as a stepping stone (I loved that conference talk by Elder Cook!).

When we focus on the love of our Savior, and daily beg on our knees for the gift of charity to soak into the fibers of our souls, we are empowered beyond all temptation or trial. I have seen this realized in my life.

Mom, I was reading the talk from General Conference "No Greater Joy than to know that they know." Even though I have never seen the savior in person, I know who He is. Even though I don't know everything about Him, I know that He loves me. Even though I don't love Him perfectly yet, I KNOW that I can repent and be better. I have had the beautiful experience of not only putting it into my own life for my own sake, but to strive to exemplify the Doctrine of Christ in my own life. We all come like a broken vessel to Him, and he heals us. Mom, I have seen so many gifts given to me by the power of the Holy Ghost. My eyes have been blinded by tears and opened by the light of the Gospel as I continually ask the question of WHY the gospel is so important in my life. Why do we need to be baptized? Why do we need the priesthood? Why must we obey ALL the commandments? Even if we don't have that understanding, I know this: Some questions are answered by answers, but many can and will only be answered by our own faith. That is enough. I have felt the love of God and trust Him. I falter sometimes, but like you said, we should be quick to observe all things, be they strengths or weaknesses, and seek to provide comfort, support, and yes, even healing. I am learning the healers art. I am taking His yoke upon me. His burden truly is light because it's not meant to be equal or easy. It's only meant to be sincere. We only need a Full purpose of heart (D&C 18:28). I love you, Mom. Tell Dad I love him. Tell Simon that if he has desires to serve God, he is called to the work. Tell Ana that she is an amazing example to me of patience. Adam is a miracle worker. Owen has been a tool in the hands of God to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men. We should always remember two things. God's purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. OUR purpose on the other hand, is simply to Keep the Commandments (See Moses1:39 and D&C 11:20).

Notes from Mom:  I guess he spent most of his time writing to me so here was his weekly letter.  No pictures this time:
I almost have to leave now. Sorry, I spent too much time emailing my mom. Love you all. Work is good. Should have two baptisms this week, but we'll se how it goes! The church is true!

Bonus post...week 76!

Friday, February 3, 2017

I received a text last night with pictures from Sister Annie Fong!  She ran into Ian and Elder Aldridge in Kowloon Tong and sent them to me.   She said, "Just see Elder Taylor in Kowloon Tong.  Happy to see him again!"  She is an angel.

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