Thursday, January 17, 2013

Week 29: in which I become MORE than a missionary, and in which I've played I Can Go The Distance about 100 times on my harmonica. It was sorely needed.

Hello everyone! It has been another wonderful, crazy, chaotic, emotional roller coaster in Kwun Tong! I already know that I won't be able to fully convey the magnitude of this week's events, but I'll try my best anyways!

First of all, I realize that I've slacked in the t-shirt of the week area... So to make up for it, this week isn't actually a t-shirt--it's better. PANTS! Yes, on the back of a po-po's (grandma's) pants was written, in beautiful glittery pink words, ROCKET SALAD FOR YOU. Yeah, ponder it for a while. And when you figure out what it means, let me know.

The mission has been pretty crazy for a while, ever since they announced the age change for missionaries. So many new missionaries will be coming in, that they've had to change the MTC schedule, shortening the time each missionary is there. And that means that the moves schedule for the mission has changed too. So starting in April, we'll be moving every 9 weeks instead of every 6! This is an important time in the history of this mission, and I'm here to see it! And thank goodness they changed the moves schedule, because I just found out that, if they didn't, I'd be flying home ON CHRISTMAS DAY. Yeah, how lame is that! But instead, my death date is December 13th! That means I'll be home in time for Christmas!!!

I love speaking English with Cantonese people, because sometimes you hear the funniest things. For example, yesterday during companionship study, Sister Chan said 'disgusting' instead of 'discussing,' which was absolutely adorable. And then H, the woman who is planning on getting baptized next month, told us that it was 'agrazing mace' that brought us together. I was touched, in addition to being greatly amused. Or like the other day when K, one of the young men in our ward, told me that he wanted to become Octopus Price. And it took me only about five seconds to figure out that he meant Optimus Prime. Which actually made me pretty proud, considering I haven't had any sort of contact with such media for about six months.

Of course, I have my difficulties when speaking Cantonese too. Here's a really great example. So every night we send out a scripture text, which Sister Chan always sends, since I don't really know how to text characters. But one evening it was my turn to pick the scripture, and I picked Jacob 3:2, which says, "O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever." It's good, don't you think? but I told Sister Chan in Cantonese which scripture to send, and obviously we had a miscommunication, so she ended up sending Jacob 2:5... Yeah. It says, "But behold, hearken ye unto me, and know that by the help of the all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginning to labor in sin, which sin appeareth very abominable unto me, yea, and very abominable unto God." Yeah. We sent that to about 30 people hahahaha. It was so bad, but SO funny. We sent out another text later, explaining the mistake, and hopefully no one will take it personally, but it was pretty hilarious. And a great learning experience. Maybe I need to keep practicing my numbers in Cantonese?

Actually, I've recently become really addicted to learning Cantonese. Sure, before I liked studying, and I knew that it was important to be able to communicate and whatnot. But with Sister Chan as my companion, I feel like my language has skyrocketed, and I just LOVE it. Cantonese has so many fun phrases and idioms and the way the words are made up of parts with individual meanings, and how the characters are made up of more than one character and when you read you say it differently from when you speak... There are so many linguistic papers that I'm just DYING to write. I suppose it will have to wait for a year or so. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. But here's my favorite phrase I've learned recently: lengjai mhoyih dahng faahn sihk. Meaning literally, "Handsome boys can't fill you like rice." Yeah, there's no chance that I'll use that on my mission, but I just love how idioms so clearly reflect the values and customs of the culture! So cool. I could get my PhD just studying idioms, and I'd be happy forever.

Of course, I'm doing my part and teaching Sister Chan some of my favorite phrases, including, "Bump that!" "Let's bounce!" And I'm teaching her about how sometimes we can combine two words to make a new one. Our newest one? NINJANARY. Yes. A ninja missionary. It's our companionship goal this week to become more ninja-like in our finding. And WOW have we had some interesting finding experiences recently. Honestly, if you add up all the rude people I've ever met in my whole life, including my mission up to this past December, it would not come even close to the number of rude people we've met in the past week haha. But you know what? God has blessed me so much. He's given me a thicker skin, a softer heart, more guts, and a really crummy memory! Before my mission, I struggled with taking things personally, and if someone was rude to me, I had a hard time forgiving them. But here, it just rolls right off my back. I'm like one of those punching dolls, you know the ones that you hit down, but just bounce right back up? I walk up to one person, stick out my hand and introduce myself, get blown off, and walk right up to the next person! And I love each one of them! And at the end of the day, I can't remember the details of any of my encounters with rude people. It's such a blessing. And some days we'll go finding and it will feel like we had no success that day. But then something will always happen that night, like someone will call us out of the blue to schedule us, or we'll meet some really awesome person, and we know it's a blessing from God for working hard. I love it!

We had a really... interesting finding time earlier this week. We talked with a girl named W out by the soccer fields for about 20 minutes, and she seemed GOLDEN. So good. She said she didn't really believe there was a God, but she was really interested in talking with us. She was super sweet, so funny. She asked really good questions, and she seemed like she understood everything we were saying. We taught a lesson, and she even offered a prayer at the end! We gave her our number so that we could schedule to meet with her again, and then she used her phone to call us so that we could have her number. So she called. And the phone rang. And a name came up on the screen of our phone. It said M W. We were very surprised, but played it off like nothing had happened. Then we booked it back to the church and pulled out the member records. And there she was. W. Age 14. Baptized 4 years ago. I ALMOST DIED haha. We got totally played by a 14-year-old! One SMART 14-year-old who hasn't been to church for a few years now. So yeah, for the rest of the night, we'd be doing something, and then we'd turn to each other and say, "What in the WORLD!" And just start laughing again. It was so weird! But one thing I know for sure. God was leading us that day. We only talked to two people while finding (well, only two people who wanted to talk back haha), and one of them just happened to be a member? Yeah, not a coincidence. That's something I've learned, that sometimes we have our plans, how we want to go around doing our Heavenly Father's work. And sure, they're good plans. Like that day, we planned to find someone new to teach, someone with gospel interest. And that's a good plan, right? But it wasn't what God planned for us that day, and it's not what he planned for Winnie. He knows what's going on, and he'll lead us where he needs us to be, even if we don't know that we're being led. I love it! I love seeing miracles! And I know that for every miracle I recognize, there are about three or four or a hundred that happen all around me that I never even notice. It's awesome.

Anyways, a lot of other things happened this week that I don't have time to write down, so I'll write more of them next P-day. The other day, we were walking home from an appointment with a woman who... well, let's just say it was a rough appointment haha. And we saw a cruise ship going by. I turned to Sister Chan and said, "Sister Chan. This has been a rough day. Let me treat you to a cruise around the Pacific. I'll just call President Hawks and let him know that we're taking a P-week. I'm sure he'll be fine with it." We talked with our zone leaders, and they decided that we'd turn it into a district activity, and all eight of us would just go on a cruise for a little bit to recover our strength. But we all knew, deep down, that even if it was an option, we wouldn't take it. Not in a million years. Because as tired as I am (and wow am I tired! People keep telling me I look like a panda because I have black eyes and a white face), I've never been so happy and at peace with where I am. We make mistakes a lot (Jacob 2:5, for example), but we're trying to be better and God knows it. He's infinitely patient with each one of us as we try to improve and overcome our weaknesses. I love this gospel, I love my Heavenly Father, I love Hong Kong! I love all of you! Friends, family, especially Elders Sumrak and Hooper, keep being wonderful! I'm so grateful for your support and examples and letters and love! Onward ever onward!

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