Yes, I realize that last week I wrote week 44 by accident. I'm just trying really hard to go back in time, because I'm feeling how fast time is flying and I just can't accept it. (this is her mom, I fixed it, so you did not notice...am leaving this week as 50 so no week 49 I guess.)
T-shirt of the week: "Don't blink everyone's watching. Hey'll think you're up to something. They ned for you to be everything that they cannot be themselves." I don't really know what it means, but it kind of creeped me out.
I'm writing you from the Apple store in HONG KONG! I will be catching the ferry later today to go back to Macau, but not before we hit up MONG KOK for some serious shopping. This week has been incredible, miraculous, stressful beyond belief, and unforgettable. Sister J, Sister P, Sister W, and I stayed in Kwun Tong this week, waiting to go over to Macau, so we just went finding like crazy, trying to do everything we can to help the Kwun Tong missionaries out. When I first walked back into the church, it felt like I'd never left. Everything was so natural, it was almost like Macau had never happened! I spent a while going through the area book and member book with the new Kwun Tong sisters (neither have been here for very long) and tried to tell them everything I could about the area, the people, the tricks of Kwun Tong, and so on, and wow did I get so frustrated with myself. I felt like I wasn't telling them anything useful, and I couldn't figure out why, but as I was out finding afterwards, I realized. The most important things about an area can only be learned from experience: how lovable the people are, how many miracles are waiting behind every corner, how huge the area's potential is. Yes, we had a LOT of rejection and disappointment in Kwun Tong, but it was NOTHING compared to the miracles and the joy that I had there.
I went out finding with Sister W a lot. She just got here and she'll be trained in the Macau Chinese branch by my sweet former companion, Sister L. And WOW is Sister L lucky! Sister W is an awesome, fearless missionary, and so full of love and a desire to serve. Our first time out finding, we had one hour, and prayed that we could teach one lesson during that hour. So we walked over to a little park, and a woman named C was sitting there on the bench, so we started talking to her, and it was miraculous how much she changed as we talked to her. She started out super suspicious and hostile, but as we shared more about Heavenly Father, she relaxed, and eventually we sat down and taught her how to pray. Then she said a prayer for herself for the first time in her life. No matter how many times I teach someone how to pray, I never get over how blessed I am to be there for that special moment--the first time that they talk directly to their Heavenly Father! I love it. And the rest of the night, Sister Wilcox and I were just so in awe, so happy.
We were in Kwun Tong for a pretty momentous week! They got another set of missionaries and became their own district--there were 13 missionaries at church on Sunday (including Elder Parry, who just finished his mission). On Sunday mornings before church, all the missionaries wait out in the lobby to greet people and shake hands, but yesterday there were so many missionaries that I suggested we just make a tunnel with our arms and let all the members run through, like what the parents did after rec soccer games! I thought it was a pretty genius idea, but it didn't really catch on.
It was so wonderful to come back to Kwun Tong and to see that some people had missed me as much as I missed them! Lots of smiles, hugs, pictures, laughing, etc. Brother Y, our mission correlator, was secretly happy to see me, although he told me right away that I'd gotten fatter since Macau. Didn't faze me one bit. I was very touched though, because he said, "Do you know why I am happy to see you? Because when you first got here, you didn't know a thing. But now you know so much, you are the Kwun Tong Master! You are here to represent Elder Parry!" That was a very big compliment, because Elder Parry was here for a year and pretty much owned Kwun Tong. I graciously accepted the title of the Kwun Tong Master, and I will bear it proudly.
Did I mention how tired I am? I am so tired. Sometimes I just lie on the floor in the apartment and wonder how in the world I will get up again. But then I do and I go out and own Kwun Tong and it's sweet. Heavenly Father gives us what he needs us to have, I know that for a fact! I keep thinking about this quote from Elder D. Todd Christofferson: "[Referring to Exodus 16, the Israelites and the manna] By providing daily sustenance one day at a time, Jehovah was trying to teach faith to a nation that over a period of 400 years had lost much of the faith of their fathers. He was teaching them to trust Him. In essence, the children of Israel had to walk with Him each day and trust that He would grant a sufficient amount of food for the next day ON the next day and so on." Sometimes my faith waivers like those children of Israel, and I see how Heavenly Father is helping me to develop firmer faith and a deeper, abiding trust in him. It's hard, but good.
This week has taught me so much. It's been a refiner's fire. As much as I've loved being back here, I've also had a lot to work through, lots of disappointment in people who I worked SO HARD with who have fallen through the cracks or who have decided that Heavenly Father exists, but that they're not interested in what he has to say. It takes a lot of faith to just let them go, but Heavenly Father knows them infinitely better than I do and he will care for them exactly how they need it. I just need to chill out a little and realize that he's in control! The bottom line is that these were HIS children way before they were my friends and loved ones, so he's got it covered. I just have to do my best, and that's what I'm trying every day to do! Did I mention how much I LOVE THIS MISSION! I do.