Thursday, October 25, 2012

Week 17: in which I cure insults with smiles and chocolate ice cream

Hello family and friends! It's p-day! And today was especially awesome. Want to know why? Because... we saw... the Terracotta Soldiers! Wow, what an incredible opportunity. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time! And wow, was that exhibit cool. They had this room with floor-to-ceiling projection screens where they explained the history of the tomb, how it was made, and various ways that it got partially destroyed. It had the most epic music--practically Lord of the Rings status--and it felt like you were actually there! There were about 20 of the actual figures, including warriors, musicians, acrobats, civil servants, and horses! I think it's amazing how no two figures were alike. The emperor (I think his name was Qin) seemed a little crazy. He was pretty obsessed with living forever--and by pretty obsessed, I mean he was practically on Voldemort's level. But he did some neat things, so it's all good.

We also went to a marketplace where I tried to buy some cardigans, but they wanted $55 for them! Which is like $7 US, but still! They were way overpriced. Just trying to rip off us little white girls, but we weren't letting them win! So we went somewhere else and did some Christmas shopping. So fun!

Speaking of shopping in Hong Kong, I bought a couple dresses a few weeks ago, and I thought they were pretty cute! I wore one to church on Sunday (I'm wearing it in the picture with Kai Jimuih--we match!). In the mornings, we missionaries stand in the doorway saying hello to everyone, and one of the the brothers comes in and I greet him as usual. Let me describe this brother really quick. He's great, I just love him. He reminds me a little of a Sunday School teacher I once had (Sarah, you'll know what I mean). So I say, "Jousahn!" And he looks at me, points at my stomach, and says, "Pregnant!" (Sarah, now do you know who I'm talking about?) And we four missionaries (the elders were there too) DIED. It was so funny. I mean, I suppose it was probably rude too, and in America that would be insulting, but Chinese culture is different. People comment on your appearance all the time, but this man does it especially often. He asked me a few weeks ago (after looking at my family picture) if I was adopted, and then proceeded to tell Sister Taylor that she "looks like James Bond's girlfriend" and me that I have "baby face... but don't worry, it's cute." So I just smile and laugh and agree, because it's just plain funny!

But don't worry, I got this brother back in Sunday School. He's the teacher (what a coincidence!) and he always asks people, even Chinese people, if they understand what he's saying. So yesterday he kept making eye contact with me and saying, "Mihngmhmihnbaahk?" (Understand?) To which I would always, very honestly and unashamedly say, "MHMIHNG." (Don't understand!) It was so funny, and it turned into a little game where he would try to embarrass me but it wouldn't work haha. And then one time I actually did understand! And I told him so! And then (for some reason that I didn't understand) he was drawing a cockroach on the board, and then when we missionaries asked what it was, he told us, "It's a crocodile!" And then we teased him so much for that! We tried to explain the difference between a cockroach and a crocodile... and then I asked him, "Mihngmhmihngbaahk?" And the whole class burst out laughing! It was so funny.

One of the talks from the Relief Society broadcast has been on my mind a lot lately, especially with some of the people we've been teaching. (In case you're curious, we definitely are teaching people haha, I just want to keep their lives private, so I don't really share much about them in these emails). Linda Reeves talked about Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and how Christ showed his love for them. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha were heartbroken. Christ came several days later, and Mary and Martha ran to him, weeping. Now Jesus knew that he was going to heal Lazarus, that it would all be okay. He saw ahead, saw the timeline, and saw the purpose to their suffering. But how did he react? I'll tell you what he didn't do. He didn't say, "Hey, cheer up! It'll be okay!" He wept. He felt their sorrow, felt their pain, and hurt with them. Then he lifted their burden. He loved them so much that he let himself feel that exquisite sorrow even though it wasn't necessary. And he's like that with each of us. He knows our trials, their purposes, and their timelines. He knows they'll soon be over, but he still weeps with us. He weeps with the parents of the wandering child, he weeps with the child whose parents don't understand. He weeps with those who lose loved ones, those who feel alone or inadequate or forgotten. He knows how to help us and wants to help us and asks us every day to give our burdens to him. I know this because he's done it for me, and he continues to do it every day. I see him changing my life and the lives of those we're teaching, helping them come unto him.


Sister Cutler and Sister Taylor

                                                                        Zone Meeting  

                                             Member family who brings us food on Sundays!

                                                                     HONG KONG

                                      Some of our Young Women during General Conference


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