Church...week 84

Monday, March 27, 2017

The work has made a very large tremor this week. We had been doing pretty well this month with helping our investigators enjoy the Sabbath by attending the sacrament meetings and classes. We have had between 23 and 26 people zone wide. This week though...WE HAD 46 PEOPLE COME TO CHURCH, and they all stayed for the 3 hours of church and some even stayed afterwards for the baptism of someone they didn't even KNOW! The zone worked hard this month, and Heavenly Father is starting to show us just how much potential this area has.

Otherwise, we have a lot of other miracles as well. One is the upcoming and reliable miracle of General Conference! I won't get to watch it until a week after most of you, but I'M SO READY for this general conference. This is the last one that I will see in the field.

I also have tracked down a friend from a year ago, brother Ng Chun Kuen! He's doing really well, and I am having lunch with him today!

Nothing much else. I'm realizing that I have not been using the Book of Mormon as much as I should in my mission. I am guilty of what the Lord described in D&C 84:54, treating this precious gift lightly. We have to each as individuals remove this cursing from off ourselves so that we can bring forth fruit meet for the Father's kingdom! (D&C 84:58)

It's not just a book. It's not just true. It's the keystone of our religion. Why do you think the Lord required the publishing of the Book of Mormon prior to the organization of the church? BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT! So read it.

Notes from Mom:  Ian forwarded a picture and letter from his companion, Elder Johnson.  I'm so glad he did because it is the picture for the week!  Some great things happening.

"This week has been really really crazy! We have been trying to keep up with all these people that heavenly father is blessing us with and it's been keeping me on my toes.
Just yesterday we had a whole Indian family walk in the church they said we could visit anytime and they want to come back next week. We also had another Indian man named Rakesh walk in and he stayed for the full three hours and he now also wants to be taught by the missionaries. 

This week there was a giant youth conference in Hong Kong with youth from Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and mainland who all came down for a few days. Well, Elder Taylor and I had met this 16 year old Danish kid on the train just a few weeks back and so we invited him to go. Well he only had time to show up for the last bit of it, which was actually perfect because it was the testimony meeting and treats. So he got to hear all these other youth share their testimonies and how Jesus Christ has helped them. Turns out one of the girls their was already his friend and they were in Hong Kong on the same exchange program. hahaha!!! Perfect! So now he wants to come to church next week!"

Not as cool as Simon, but still...week 83

Monday, March 20, 2017

So this week, on a Wednesday morning during an exchange that I was on with Elder Garcia, my best friend from Mexico, I get a call from a sister who was in charge of teaching gospel principles class that day. She reminded me about the story that I told her about "seminary donuts" (I will explain momentarily for those who haven't heard). She asked me if I would be willing to participate. I had just done my arms workout that morning and was actually feeling a little sore (weird feeling in your arms for a missionary). I also knew that I would need to go to a lesson before the class was over, and therefore would have to finish this thing in less than thirty minutes...I wanted to say no, but I thought it would be helpful for the members that day, and besides, there aren't that many people that come to the class anyways (usually 8 or 9). After sacrament I walked in and the lesson began. The stragglers started coming in, which scared me. We now have about 12 people. The example is that the teacher has a treat for everyone in attendance, but the trick is that I had to do 15 pushups for everyone there (she originally wanted me to do 25 per person, but I know my limits...). She went to the first person, and the struggle began. I'm glad that I've been keeping myself in SOMEWHAT good physical condition. More people flooded in during the class to see what was going on, and a total of 16 people were there. The entire time, I'm in a white shirt and tie (I was intelligent enough to wear a long sleeve shirt...). One of the Filipino sisters left because she was crying. People didn't want to eat their treat that I had won for them. Some people didn't even want me to do the pushups for them. The example required that everyone has the chance though, so I ended up doing 240 pushups. For times sake, I will only say that it hurt, and interestingly enough, my thought as I left was gratitude for deodorant. We closed, and even though I was out of breath, I was able to bear testimony of the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The spirit was super strong.

I also realized something with a couple of missionaries that are leaders in the international zone. We are all pretty old in the mission. Elder Johnson and Elder Woolley are leaving in 3 months. I leave two months after them. We talked about how our work just doesn't seem to be as invigorating. Our flame of faith no longer seems to be as bright as before. Our work hasn't slowed down, but the problem was, it WASN'T SPEEDING UP! I met with the District president and the mission president this week to report what we thought was a lot of success. To our dismay and confusion, they were actually very dissatisfied with our results. We are overjoyed at the miracles that are consistently coming, but the leadership of the mission said that they are becoming "impatient with the missionaries and the members." We are preparing to again "lengthen our stride." I love this work, and the fire has once again begun to rage with a "fervent heat" that I know will someday fill the world! Now behold the awkwardness of my impromptu apple store missionary selfie! Love you 

Just sent out the weekly email. Filipino sisters are funny. There are obviously a large range of personalities. Most of them are just the best fellowshippers in the church and just recently had their Relief Society Celebration yesterday/last week. There have been some issues that have arisen from past missionaries supposedly being very flirtatious with some of the members, which is NOT good considering these are many young women who are away from any type of male counterpart for as long as 10 years. Elder Johnson and I have been talking with the Branch Presidents though, and we are in the middle of solving the problems. There is a lot of personal contact from the Elders that will be temporarily eliminated, but we can still minister. I love these sisters. They really do a good job of magnifying their callings.

Notes from Mom:  Ian sends his emails and I get alerts because he is VIP.  ONLY IAN is a VIP emailer; that is until Simon becomes the only other VIP emailer.  This status allows me to know when he emails and then I can send a few messages back and forth.  Ian telling the donut story and relating it to Simon is because Simon did the push ups for Senior primary where he did 340 push ups.  No easy feat.  Ian said, "Love you too momma. Tell Simon that I sometimes daydream of a testimony as big as his. His testimony has always been the stronger part of him."

Notes continued:  Ian has been asking if anyone would like a suit made.  We'd love to have one sent for Simon, whose papers go in this week!  "I'm going to Cheung Hings today. I can get a little sheet and email a photo of it next week." We will get some measurements taken and hopefully Ian can send that home.  We also sent Ian pictures of Simon asking a date to prom, where he had a poster and a tandem bike.  "I like the tandem. Where did he get it? Nice shoes as well!"  It was borrowed from our friends and everyone loved how he asked her.  

I also sent Ian a picture of Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream, which is his favorite winter dirnk.  "I need that sent to me and Elder Garcia...I'm not serious though...sorry, I like joking. I will see Elder Garcia after the mission too. He's going to be at Utah State."  It pleases me to know Ian has met so many wonderful friends on his mission and they will be able to keep in touch.  Then Ian requested a picture of the kids together:  
冇問題. (Translation:  There is a problem.)  Can you get a quick photo of all the kids together. I just want to see them all together. I never see that in the pictures you send because everyone is always off doing something fun or important. 

I told him I could.

 多謝你! (Translation:  Thank you!)

I had to google what he wrote in Chinese:  Thank you acridly and asked him what it means:
What does that mean-thank you bitterly? Google translate doesn't like it.

Ian said, "No. It's just because it's a Cantonese sentence finishing particle. Google doesn't know those." 

Neither does his mom.
So we sent a few photos.  
Ian :  Somebody is not wearing pants...nothing has changed😎

Mom:  How can you tell someone isn’t wearing pants?!  Adam put on a shirt and I was hoping to keep it above the waist!  

Ian:  First photo. I see some nice leg right there:) I also know what underwear he likes, so...

Mom:  Ha!  Yes.  Like I said, he was getting ready for bed.  I had to tell him to put a shirt on.  They were glad to do them for you though!

Ian: They do look genuinely happy. I'm glad I didn't bother anyone. Seems like everyones being better peacemakers. Love them all!

Week 82

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Notes from Mom:  Ian was busy helping someone today so the few emails he had time to send were to me.  I want to post them because they represent Ian's essence.  He is a shepherd to others.  He never worries about himself.  

Ian:  So we had visited a recent convert who is a refugee from India. She is just the nicest lady ever, and she's been having some struggles with her family in Hong Kong. We got her back to her apartment and she realized that she didn't have a key and there was no one inside her house. We helped her calm down (she gets really anxious really easily) and figured out how much it would be to get the lock removed. It was about HK$500. I decided to give her money for it, and I don't think she will ever have the money to pay me back. What is the balance on my card right now?

Mom:  Off hand I know you have over $200 but I'm not sure exactly. Is that enough?

Mom:  Will she get in trouble for removing the lock?
Mom:  HK $500 is about US $65. You should have had enough on your card.

Ian:  K. Thanks mom. I just need to make it through the month, and 500 is already 30% of my funds...

Mom:  That money on your debit card is there for you to use any time. I'm glad you could help her. 

Ian:  Does checking the balance on my card at an ATM take money out of my account?

Mom:  Not sure. I'll look right now.

Ian:  Thank you momma. Sorry to bother.

Mom:  Current balance is $243.37 without any intl fees being taking out if you use it. Consider that balance $230 just in case. Do you need more money? 

Ian:  I don't know. Were you still wanting me to get Simon (or anyone else) a suit?

Mom:  Also, Jen Crook is going to HK with her daughter who was released about a year ago. She's offering to take treats and things for missionaries if we meet her at the airport. I'm planning on sending an Easter box, but I'm wondering if you need anything sent via Sister Crook.

Mom:  I'm a bit wary of sending measurements. I'd like to, but if it doesn't fit then it's not worth it. Would you consider having a tuxedo made?

Ian:  I don't think I need anything. I am wondering about souvenirs for y'all if you are wanting anything. I don't know if I would want a tuxedo made. What for?

Mom:  I'd love some, but we will have to figure out shipping them here. Sister Crook is only delivering because the suitcases they take with stuff for missionaries will be emptied and then filled with souvenirs they buy. I'd love some artwork or prints. You'd need an art tube for that though.

Ian:  In the end, I can always come back here with simon if he wants a suit and pay an extra amount of money for it to be done in a week.

Mom:  After he gets home from his mission? I can do the shipping I use ( if I know details of what you're sending. We can figure it out. I'm very interested in going to HK over Christmas break!

Ian:  Gotta go. I don't have that much that I will be bringing back (I don't think I will want to be in these shirts after my mission. They are kind of gross on the collar, but they work for now. Just have one summer left.

Mom:  Send your weekly email then!

No weekly email and he's off and running to help this sister.  As usual, other people post pictures of Ian even when he doesn't have time.  Elder Walker posted a picture of all of the zone leaders who were in their group at the MTC so many months ago!

Elder Wooley's mom posted a few pictures on Facebook, one of which is this one with Elder Wooley, Ian, and the Sister Training Leaders.  Bonus pictures are the best!

So apple is kind of annoying...week 81

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I can't put any pictures from my camera on this email because I'm using the new MacBook Pro. Super High tech, yet it cannot read a USB...oh well.

I just wanted to use a little bit of time to propose a question:
You are coming close to the end of your mission. You have served well and faithfully. No regrets, obedient all the way through. You go into an interview with your mission president and he says something you definitely didn't see coming. He offers you an option to become just like the three Nephites. You put aside everything to go and preach the gospel. No hunger or thirst. No physical needs. The only pain is the sorrow for the wickedness of the world. Would you do it? Could you do it? Obviously this question has some flaws. I for one am not nearly as spiritually strong or faithful as those disciples of Christ were. It is just something to consider, and to help remind me that 1)full time service is a privilege, and 2)missionary work doesn't end AT ALL when the name tag is taken off. I still have five or six months left. I want to make them good, and I want to do that for Christ and for those who need the Gospel.
Thanks for all your support.

This week has been awesome. A recent convert came up to us and showed us her acceptance email to BYU Hawaii! She is going to be so awesome. She's had a rough go from the start, but she is finally starting to see the blessings of the gospel in her life!

Branch President Hawkins of the Victoria 1 branch will be leaving soon to go live in...SAUDI ARABIA! He's a lawyer, so there's a chance he might live in the same area as my Uncle! I don't know though...

Last thing...Did you read your scriptures today? Did you pray? Trust in the spirit that leadeth one to do these things. They bring blessings of revelation and peace. I know that because I feel them every day! This is the true church of Jesus Christ! I am a called servant to teach repentance to all nations, specifically to the great nation of China! Go CHK mission!

Notes from Mom:  This week we wrote to Ian from Los Angeles where we were on choir tour.  Last year I met a missionary in San Diego who was from Hong Kong.  This year was no different!  I was able to send a picture of Sister Koon from Tsuen Wan and her companion to her parents.  She has been out 8 months.  Simon and Ana's choir were able to perform in a fireside at the Los Angeles temple.  There were lots of visitors and it was a great experience.  While we were gone we received word that Simon was accepted to BYU for Fall of 2017.  He is planning on deferring to go on a mission this summer, but hasn't decided on an availability date.  So many things are happening around here!  Ian sent a picture with Elder Johnson with the depiction "OH MY GOODNESS! I AM A DA SO A EXAHITED! (say that with a Chinese English accent)."  It made Simon's day to see his brother's response to his good news.

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