Anyways, IT'S 2013!!!!!!!!!!!! AHH! So exciting!!! And I hit my 6 month mark two days ago! And I totally forgot about it until just now haha. And I'm starting to see the effects of being out so long... meaning, I'm forgetting words of songs and names of friends and quotes from movies. I forgot how to spell Shania Twain the other day, which was a shot to both my cultural knowledge and my spelling skills (which are also going downhill). And you know what. I love it!
Last week I bought a harmonica. It's awesome. It's red and shiny and has a button to change keys from normal to sharp, so I can play in any key, not just in the key of C. So during our lunch time, I always eat as fast as I can and then I serenade Sister Chan. She has one too (she was the one who inspired me to get one) so sometimes we try to play hymns and I'll try the alto line while she does soprano--it's hard! But we have so much fun. I love that girl, she's just the best companion ever. We laugh all the time and we're always so happy, even when times are hard. She teaches me all sorts of Cantonese phrases. The latest one is "gai tuhng ngaap gong" which literally means "chickens with ducks talking." You say it when two people are talking, but neither understands the other. Sometimes I feel that way when we're talking with the elders haha. Actually, our elders are really great. We have a lot of fun, especially at cheng-outs (when people invite us over for dinner). It's awesome to work together with so many amazing missionaries, because we get to hear about all of their successes, and really we're all doing the same work, so their success is our success! One missionary's mission is just one small part of an incredible, epic story, and I love having a role (however small) in this awesome work.
So this week I ate ostrich! It was delicious, just like chicken. And at the past two cheng-outs, members have tried to scare me by saying that next time they'll feed us snake. But you know what? Nothing scares me anymore. No food, no matter how gross, can frighten SISTER CUTLER. No. So I say, Snake? Bring it on! Snails? Mmmmm! Cockroaches? Okay! Ox intestines? Actually... give me another month for the intestines. But everything else, no problem.
So my area right now is Kwun Tong (pronounced 'goontong'), and we're infamous for two things: one, the ridiculously long set of stairs that leads up to our church; and two, the Kwun Tong Grabbers. Some say there's only one grabber, but others say we have three or four. No one really knows. One of them is the dancer, a crazy old guy with a huge smile, who will grab your hand and say, "Puhngyauh!" (friend) and will dance around with you and won't let go. He got me once, but I did a quick wrist-twist and escaped. He's relatively harmless and makes us laugh. But then there's the one who yells "HEY!" whenever we walk past, and one time we were waiting to meet a friend, he came up behind me and grabbed my shoulder, and that was a little scary. But he's pretty skinny looking, so I could probably take him if it came to it haha.
So this week I met Anisha, an awesome girl from BYU Hawaii. She's so fun! She's here to teach English for an internship, and so she helped us out for a few days while everything was getting set up for her job. She's absolutely the sweetest thing, and she helped our investigators so much! She doesn't speak a lick of Cantonese (yet!) but she is still so good at showing her love to the people here.
Speaking of our investigators, they've been having an especially hard time recently, struggling with faith, family, work, health... you name it, they got it. We have no idea how to help them, and I'm really starting to see that this isn't our work--it's God's. And it's so essential that we rely on him and trust him. Because what do I know? Not as much as I thought I did when I started this mission. The more I learn, the more I know I don't know. I just keep thinking that. The more I try to obey the commandments, the more I notice the things I do wrong. But you know what's awesome? Is that I'm not getting disheartened about it. I love what Dad told me in a letter once. He said that as he has gotten older, he hasn't made mistakes less often; in fact, it might be the other way around. But he has learned to repent more quickly, and that's what's important. God doesn't expect us to become perfect in one try--it's a process. So I imagine my mistakes as one line on a graph, and my repentance as another. And as long as my repentance line is constantly getting closer and closer to the mistakes line, then I'm doing okay. The ideal is to not make the mistake anymore, but we must have patience with ourselves.
So a couple weeks ago, I randomly called up Helen, a woman from our English class (we gave her a Book of Mormon a few months ago) to invite her to an activity, and she said, "Oh, by the way, I've been reading the Book of Mormon, and I want to get baptized on February 17th." I was like, "Uh, oh, what? Okay? Yeah! That's great! Sounds good!" Yeah! It's so awesome! Apparently, she has been talking to missionaries every now and then for over a year now, and they kept telling her that she should get baptized, but it wasn't until just recently that she felt ready. It's so awesome! It's the culmination of so many missionaries' effort. I love that I get to see the results of all their effort, because it helps me to realize that none of my effort is ever wasted. I may not be around to see the results of my work, so I just have to have faith that Heavenly Father knows what's going on, and that he'll take care of his children better than I ever could!
I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and support and letters and love! I love Hong Kong, the people, the food, the challenges and the successes and the miracles and the gospel and my Savior!