Thursday, October 25, 2012

Week 16: In which I feel the happiest I've felt yet and in which I take a shower with the light on for the first time in 4 weeks

Yes! It's true! Our bathroom finally has a functioning light! We've been showering in the dark since I've been here, so it was nice to finally be able to tell the color of the shower tile: light green. Very pleasant. Let me tell you, shaving in the dark is hard. So basically, I also shaved for the first time in four weeks. Too much information? My bad. We missionaries are very open about things. Or maybe that's the Chinese culture? I don't know, but either way, just let me know if it makes you uncomfortable, and maybe I'll stop.

This tidbit of news will only excite about three, maybe four people who read this email, but I find it important enough to include it in this email, and as the second paragraph! Sister Clements (one of the other sisters in our apartment) has seen Dinotopia! And we spent a good hour discussing the implications of having a utopia where talking herbivores and vegetarian humans peacefully cohabitate. And then we pondered how they made their shoes, and we came to the conclusion that they either used some sort of hemp, or perhaps leather from carnivores. Also, why couldn't the carnivores talk? I can't even remember, but I'd really appreciate an answer if anyone knows. I'm completely serious.

So the other day during personal study, we were listening to Oh Holy Night (Yes, in October, don't judge. We have a very limited supply of music, and many hours of studying.) and at the same time I was reading Acts 3. And right when the choir sang, "Fall on your knees" I read the Acts 3:6, where the apostles heal the crippled man and command him to "Rise up and walk." And okay, you can think this is cheesy or whatever you want, but I got the biggest chill and just sat there for about five minutes, staring at the wall, pondering that juxtaposition, those seemingly contradicting messages. How often we are in that transition between kneeling and standing up. We kneel in prayer, and then get up and act. We're humbled as we realize how imperfect and incapable we are, and then we're lifted up as we realize that we aren't alone, and that with Christ we can do all things. We experience a trial, a valley, and then we're blessed, and we've finally reached the top of that mountain. It's always in the transition between kneeling and standing, or standing and kneeling, that we learn and grow. It's like lifting weights. If you just hold the dumbbells, you might get a little stronger? Maybe? I don't know. But it's as you do reps that you get stronger. And the more reps you do, the more you'll be able to do. It's as we go through difficult and uncomfortable changes in our lives that our spiritual muscles grow. Adjusting to mission life is definitely a challenge, but I feel like I'm growing so much more.

In other news, our Preparation Day is finally being changed to Monday! Which means I'll have another p-day in three days haha. This is the greatest week ever! But no, it really is. We finally got to watch General Conference this Sunday, and WOW was that a turning point for me. I learned so much. I loved Elder Uchtdorf, and how he reminded us not to be like "the boy who dipped his toe in the water and claimed he went swimming." This is really how I want to live my entire life. "Whate'er thou art, do well thy part." No matter where we are, we need to just embrace it. C.S. Lewis says to "rub our nose in the quiddity of it all." I don't want to just be in Hong Kong. I want to learn all there is to learn, do all there is to do, see all there is to see. I want to make the best of every day, because as it says in the good ol' Book of Mormon, "Men are that they might have joy!" Life is hard, but so, so good.

And that's a lesson I really want to help those that we teach understand. Because life in Hong Kong is really, really hard. They work all the time. They attend school all the time. It's so expensive to live here, and there are so many cultural expectations. Their definition of success conflicts with their ability to find happiness. They are constantly busy, too busy to listen, too busy to see what else is out there. I feel like I'm holding out this beautiful, delicious chocolate 7-layered cake with walnuts in the icing, and people are walking past saying, "Mouh sihgaan!" (No time!) Seriously. Just take a bite. Just try it. Your life will never be the same. Your life will have purpose. Your schedule can be filled day in and day out, but if you don't have a purpose, then you might as well just sit at home and do nothing. And I want to help. More importantly, Christ wants to help.

Something that I love about Hong Kong is the marketplace. It's crazy, hectic, loud! People yell at you and try to interest you in all sorts of strange meats, weird body parts, and all of it is raw, dangling strangely in the air, blowing gently in the breeze caused by the buses that speed recklessly by. Honestly, it's a miracle that the street isn't covered in corpses, because the drivers here are crazy! But I have yet to see even a fender-bender. I think we need more Chinese drivers in Virginia, because they'd probably really cut back on the number of car accidents, and I-64 would always be clear!

Today we went to a Korean barbeque and I ate ox tongue and fish eggs! And it wasn't that bad! I actually really liked the ox tongue, but I'd take a peanut butter sandwich over fish eggs any day.

Well, it's time to go, but I love you all! Thank you so much for your support and prayers! I am so happy, so content, so busy, so tired, so alive! I love Hong Kong, love the people, love my family (more than I ever have before), and LOVE my Savior!

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