Monday, August 13, 2012

Week 6, in which I get the smackdown and accidentally revert to my evil ways (those two events are unrelated)

Hello everyone! Jousahn! Can you believe it's already week 6? I can! It feels like I've always been here and like I'll probably never leave. But that's okay! I've finally switched to a new planner because I used up my entire first one! That definitely felt like an accomplishment.

First off, I cannot even express how grateful I am that those four English-speaking sisters are here with us. Sisters Cunningham, Christeinsen, Asay, and Bouldin are awesome! I love having some great girlfriends. Sister Law is great, but it's fun when there is a whole group of us.
Speaking of sisters, we're getting two brand new baby Cantos this week: one elder and one sister! A two person district. So weird. But I am so excited to meet the new sister and I just know we're going to get along swimmingly! Sister Law's visa has yet to arrive, so we're still playing the waiting game. I am so grateful that she hasn't left yet. We had several really great lessons with our "investigators" (teachers pretending to be people that they taught on their missions) this week. Gu Hingdaih left this week for a study abroad in China, so our last lesson with A-Hei was on Monday evening. And guess what! We set a baptismal date with him! The change from our first lesson to this lesson was incredible. He was happy, smiling, and attentive. It felt good, like all of our hard work paid off. And here's the weird (miraculous would also be an appropriate word) thing. After we taught, Gu Hingdaih came back and told us the story about the real A-Hei, whose life was depressing, dreary, and mundane. His wife and father were both dead, his family had practically disowned him, and alll he had in the world was his son and his job at a barber shop. But when he met the missionaries, his life changed. His perspective changed. His whole demeanor changed. And he is so happy now! And as Gu Hingdaih told A-Hei's story, I felt this overwhelming love for a man who I've never met who lives literally on the other side of the planet from me. It felt like my chest was full to bursting, like there was something inside that was too big, like I could just love the whole world. I can't even imagine how the Savior. His love is perfect, and mine is just eh. But goodness gracious, I cannot wait to get out there and start loving and serving those people.

That's what's so beautiful about this gospel: it's not for perfect people. It's for everyone. We never will get that happiness that come from being like Christ through our own efforts. We can only get that through our relationship with the Savior. And that relationship is so real--I can feel it and I'm more sure of it every day. Christ's religion is a religion of hope, a religion that enables us to change. Joseph B. Wirthlin said, "The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a religion of mourning and gloom. the faith of our fathers is one of hope and joy. It is not a gospel of chains but a gospel of wings. To embrace it fully is to be filled with wonder and to walk with an inner fire." I love that. When we dedicate our lives to serving Jesus Christ, we find who we truly are and we find how to be truly happy. But we must take the first steps with faith. Ether 4 talks about how "we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith." That's what we're here to do. As missionaries, we're here to invite people to take that first step, to experiment, to just see if maybe Christ can help them. And once they feel that confirmation, then all they want to do is help Christ. It's the most rewarding thing to do!

My new favorite line from a hymn: I'll cast my burdens at his feet and bear a song away.

In other news, I met an elder from Kent, England, who claims Maidstone as his second home. So we chatted for a while (while he was getting his hair cut, which was only a little awkward) and then I found out that GUESS WHAT! He is serving in Richmond, VIRGINIA! So keep an eye out for him! I didn't actually get his name because his tag was covered by the haircutting... thing... (what do you call those???) But he's the one with a British accent, so he should be pretty easy to spot. And I gave him a piece of paper with our name, ward, and stake, so he'll be on the look-out too. I also met Trent Larsen's (from Sparks) cousin, who I've actually played basketball with a couple of times! He sat down right next to me at a devotional and we didn't even recognize each other at first haha. And today I saw Erin Schmoldt from Sparks!! And it turns out that she's friends with the new Canto missionary!

We've started telling people that we speak "the language of the Canton tongue" instead of Cantonese. Completely unrelated, we've decided that if "Called to Serve" were written specifically about us as a district, the chorus would probably say something like "Awkward, ever awkward" instead of "Onward, ever onward."

So I mentioned earlier that we had a great lesson with "A-Hei" last Monday, but let me tell you, I got off to a rough start. I walked in there and asked how his day was. He told me he'd given himself a haircut. I tried to tell him it looked nice, but instead of saying "hou leng" I said "hou jeng" a word that I'd never actually heard before. They all laughed at me... And later I found out that that's the Cantonese equivalent of, "You look fiiiiiiiiiine." Hahaha, well it was effective I suppose!

Well my email time is up! I love you all! Thank you for the letters and packages and prayers! I feel their effects every day. I love you!!!

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