Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 22 email: in which I almost witness a death, but it was alright, and in which Frodo and Sam are reunited at last

Hello family and friends and acquaintances and enemies and strangers! Or as the crazy ward correlator would say, "Bonjour!" (He really loved French class. Like, really, really loved it. Like, he's considering starting his own French class even though he has the worst accent I've ever heard. It's hilarious.)

So first things first: have I mentioned how crazy Hong Kong transportation is? Well, it's crazy. I've never seen a car wreck, miraculously, but the buses and taxis and ridiculously expensive-looking cars weave in and out so quick, it's like they're being chased by a t-rex or something, and it's every man for himself! And what makes it even scarier are the pedestrians! Seriously, the Hong Kong people walk so slowly on the side walk, like they have all the time in the world. But when it comes to waiting at crossing lights... yeah, like they have time for that! They book it across these streets, standing in one lane while waiting for the bus to pass, hoping that the taxi doesn't try to use their lane to overtake it. It's just plain crazy! We gotta get these people baptized before they kill themselves! So yes, this brings up two adventures. Well the first adventure is a pretty common occurrence actually. I've been designated bus-runner. And you should see me run for buses in a skirt! (I know, I know, that is a very poorly worded, ambiguous sentence. Am I running in a skirt, or are the buses wearing the skirt? I apologize, but give me a break! I'm speaking Cantonese every day of my life!) Anyways, I'm pretty much a skirt-running pro now. Elders just don't understand. And the second transportation adventure involves that death I mentioned earlier. So here's what happened. A little boy was pushing his bike across the street when the very front of the bike got hit by a bus! And it totally messed up the bike and threw the boy on the road, but he survived! And the bus driver got out and freaked out at him, but the boy just stood up and ran away! It was a very startling way to start off the day.

T-shirt of the week: the strangest shade of orange I've ever seen with these words: I yam what I yam. Seriously, I wonder if the people here know what their shirts mean. A girl on the MTR (named Bread, by the way) was wearing a "I mustache you a question" t-shirt, and I asked her if she got the joke, and she had no idea what a mustache even was.

We've been doing a lot of finding recently, which is sometimes fun, and sometimes stressful, but always, guaranteed, no exceptions, AWKWARD. As one of our zone leaders says, "The mission is 90% awkward, 10% miracle." I've been thinking a lot about Jeremiah 16:16, where it talks about how some missionaries are like fishermen: you just pull up nets and nets of fish! And that reminded me a lot of Jesse's experiences in Africa. And then there are other missionaries that are like hunters, searching everywhere for that one person. And wow, do I feel like a hunter! We had such an awesome miracle a couple weeks ago, and her name is Lorna. So we'd been finding for about an hour, and no one wanted to listen. But then I saw a woman sitting on the side of the road, so we went up and talked to her. She was from the Philippines, so we asked her in English if she was waiting for the bus. She said, "No. Where's the nearest LDS church?" And we were shocked! So we told her, and turns out she was baptized 20 years ago in the Philippines, but hasn't been to church in a long time because she doesn't speak Cantonese and didn't know where to find our church! Wow, what a miracle. The Lord is so aware of his children, and I know he arranged our schedule so that we could go finding and so that we could bring back one of his lost sheep. Hers was the only phone number we got that day, and it was so incredibly worth it.

English class is always one of my favorite times of the week, but last week's was more special than most. One of the elders' investigators asked them to give him an English name (many Hong Kong students have them), so after much pondering and praying (or not), they named him Frodo. Yes, I about died. Frodo is hilarious, and not because he means to be. He showed up to church last Sunday 2 hours late... wearing fleece pajamas. Classic Frodo. And he can't speak a lick of English, but he comes to English class every week and tries his best haha. And this week a new kid showed up. He has perfect English. And his name? Samwise Gamgee. No joke. Actually, yes. Kind of a joke. His name is Sam though! We thought it was so funny, so we four missionaries were dying of laughter, and then everyone else thought it was so funny that we thought it was funny, so they laughed too. It was a good day.

Our Thanksgiving day was awesome! We had a zone Thanksgiving meal, including the most delicious turkey I've ever eaten, courtesy of Elder Christensen, our district leader. We four sisters make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, which were incredible, of course. So we stuffed ourselves, rested, and then our elders and we went to the bishop's house for more Thanksgiving! We were so stuffed by the end, but it was such a good day.

This week has been hard. Really really hard. Not that any bad things happened, I'm just emotionally drained, and I feel Satan really trying to get me down on myself. I've learned a lot about forgiveness, particularly forgiving myself for my weaknesses. And I learned this week that weaknesses are NOT the same as sins. No duh, Sister Cutler. But really! But I know that the Lord is watching out for me and helping me grow, and I know that the task ahead of us is never greater than the power behind us. The Lord is in charge, and I love it!

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