Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 39: in which I'm just going through the week as usual, doing my thing, nothing speci--MACAU!

That's right everyone! I'M IN MACAU, BABY!!!!! So last Tuesday morning, the APs called me and told me, "Pack your bags. You're leaving for Macau on Thursday." So now I'm here! And wow is it different from Hong Kong. In case you aren't familiar with Macau (because I'd never heard of it before my mission), it used to be Portuguese colony on an island near Mainland China, and it's filled with people from all over the world! There's English, Portuguese, Chinese written everywhere. I just had a feeling that I'd be coming to Macau--I really did! I told the elders on Sunday night, "I don't know, I just feel like I'm going to Macau..." And a week later, well, here I am!

My junior companion is Sister Fernelius! (That's right, I'm senior! Oh how I miss being junior companion haha, it stinks having to call the shots, especially because my companion has been out longer than me! It's just President Hawks giving me some practice before I start training, so I suppose I appreciate it...) Seriously, she just can't get rid of me, no matter how hard she tries. We both lived in Robison Hall freshman year, we both got called to Hong Kong, we lived together while she was in TKO and I was in Kwun Tong, and now we're companions in Macau! It's so fun to be serving together, although it will only be for two weeks, until all the new sister missionaries come. Then we're all training, crazy!

Katie and Sister Fernelius
So now on to the t-shirts of the week: the first one says, "WHO cat?" and has a giant picture of a bunny rabbit across the back. I don't really get it, but it was actually pretty cute. The next one might be a erroneous quote from Shakespeare or something? I'm not sure. It says, "But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd." I'm still debating whether I'll buy it or not... after all, it is hot pink.

Oh, and here's the store name of the week: "Underwaist Swimsuits." From what I could tell, it seemed like a normal swimsuit store to me. But why did it say underwaist. What does that mean?

And now it's time to discuss the week's adventures! So last Monday in Kwun Tong, Sister Chan and I were crossing the street when we hear a thud and a grunt of pain. And we look around to see the most alarming sight: this old, very hunched-over, grungy old man, bleeding from his mouth because he'd just ran into a handrail on the side of the road. He was panting and looked to be ready to collapse at any second. My heart immediately started to race, and I had no idea what to do, because he needed some serious help, and I couldn't tell what was even wrong with him. There were so many people around just watching him, and no one was doing anything, and he started walking again, but I just knew he was going to fall over right there in the middle of the road. He was grasping the handrail to just stay standing, and then he started crossing the street, and it seemed like the only thing that was keeping him standing was his inertia from walking forward. He ran until he made it to the opposite handrail, and just stood there for a second. And no one was doing anything, so we just booked it over there as he started to walk again, and each one of us grabbed his arm and started running with him. So there I am, trying my best to hold my McDonalds ice cream cone in one hand, this incredibly heavy, nearly fainting man in another, while poor little Sister Chan can hardly him up on the other side. Finally we got to the health clinic that he was headed to, and he flung himself into a chair, scaring the woman next to him half to death. Then he thanked us and shooed us away. And afterwards we just stood there for five minutes or so, resting, eating our ice cream, and trying to wrap our head around what had just happened. What if we hadn't been there? I've learned about the bystander phenomenon (or whatever it's called) in my psychology classes--how people frequently don't do anything to help someone in need if there are too many people around. And I just decided right then to never be a bystander, never debate whether or not to help someone like that. I mean honestly, what was the reason for my hesitation in the first place?

So the APs told me I was moving Tuesday morning, and on Tuesday evening we had ward council. I wasn't sure whether or not to tell them that I was leaving... I kind of wanted to just disappear haha, but I figured it would be better to let them know. Usually the missionaries leave early so that we can get home on time, so I decided to mention it right before I left, because I thought that would be the least disruptive way to do it. CUE awkward-Sister-Cutler theme song. I stand up and start to say, "Oh, and just to let you know, I'll be leaving on Thursday to go to Macau." At the same time, I try to start packing my things so that I don't have to make eye contact with anyone (I was kind of afraid of crying, actually). So right as I say 'leaving on Thursday,' I'm reaching for my water bottle, I knock it over, scramble to save it, knock it over again, while simultaneously trying to grab my backpack on the ground. And everyone is just looking at me, the elders are laughing because I was being so awkward, and then Brother Wong stands up and says, "Let's take a picture!" So without hesitation, everyone stands up, gathers around me, and smiles for the greatest, most awkward group picture ever. My face was bright red and I was just trying not to let any emotion out because I wasn't sure if it would be laughter or tears or what! But wow do I miss Kwun Tong! That is such a special place, nowhere else like it.

Last Ward Council in Kwun Tong

Tuesday was full of flurried preparations so that I could be free on Wednesday to meet with as many investigators as possible. And wow was it a crazy day! So many unexpected miracles, one of them being H. So a couple of months ago, one of our investigators cancelled on us last minute, and it was pretty late, so we were on our way home. I was feeling pretty bummed out because we hadn't done as much missionary work as I'd wanted to that day. And I'm praying so hard for something, when all the sudden, I see this girl walking toward us. I say hello, and we start talking, and turns out she likes to sit outside our church all the time when she's sad. She seemed really interested in meeting with us, and we were super excited for the rest of the night because finding her really was a miracle. But then we could never schedule her, and I was starting to just give up. But then she called us about an hour before English class and said, "I just saw your elders, and they said you have English class tonight. Can I come? Then afterwards we can talk about your church." I was ecstatic! When she got to the church, she told us that she'd actually just dumped her boyfriend, because he kept telling her not to come to the church. She was a little upset, but she seemed happier to just be in the church with all of us. I know that the timing was not coincidence; there's no way. That was Heavenly Father's way of helping me leave the area feeling like I'd done something good, like I'd made a difference.
English class was hilarious, absolutely awesome. I was inspired by a Mutual activity that we had forever ago. The theme of the class was TRAVEL, so we set up the classroom like an airplane, putting all the seats in rows with two aisles on either side. The captain and co-captain (Elders Parry and Brown) sat at the front, facing the whiteboard, and on the whiteboard we drew the control panel, dashboard, steering wheels, and a view of the sky out the "windows." So we taught them all different words about traveling on the plane, we told them to fasten their seatbelts, and we passed out snacks! Then our plane "crashed," so we went outside to see where we were. In the next classroom, we'd drawn pictures to represent France! So we taught them a few new words there, and proceeded on to the next classrooms: Italy, Australia, and the good ol' US of A. It was so fun! Then we went back to the airplane (which we'd magically fixed), and flew for a few more minutes... and then we crashed again! And this time all of us died. CUE the spiritual thought. We taught about the Plan of Salvation, the purpose of this life, and what happens after we die. It was such a fun lesson, and I think people really understood what we were teaching too! It was definitely the best English class we'd had.

But now I'm in Macau! I'm in the international branch, which means all our meetings are in English! And some Tagalog, because most of the members here are from the Philippines. And wow, the Philippinas are such sweethearts! They immediately welcomed me, gave me hugs, fed me food, and made me feel like a member of their family. And they're incredible missionaries. They make new friends so quickly, and then immediately bring them to church and tell us, "You need to teach them right now!" It's so amazing. They actually remind me of when I was a kid. You know, you go to Chick-fil-a, and after eating, you go to the playground, meet some random kid, and they become your new best friend for the next twenty minutes. These sisters are immediately best friends with anyone we bring in the door. It's awesome. Unfortunately, it's a real challenge to actually see people, because they are worked so hard for such long hours. It has been a rollercoaster! One day we'll meet four new people, teach them lessons, reschedule them. Then on Sunday, we had five lessons scheduled around church, and all of them got cancelled. The only lesson we taught was on the street to three sweet women, all of them named Joy. I think Heavenly Father was trying to make up for all the other people cancelling haha, it worked pretty well!

Anyways, we're headed out to do some sightseeing and shopping, but I hope you all know how much I love you! Mom, Dad, Rebecca, Rachel, Rowan, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins (especially Jesse and Drew!), friends, random people, you are all in my prayers! I miss you, but can you believe how fast the time is flying! I'll be home in less than 9 months, yikes! I'd better stop emailing so that I can get out of here and start converting some more people. Time is ticking!

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