Good news! Or bad news! I haven't yet decided. The QUEST gang has struck AGAIN! This time they're right here in ___! Their sphere of influence extends beyond the borders of Macau. Who knows where they could strike next?
One of the sweet pleasures that we enjoy here in the mission are our excessively low-tech cell phones. These beautiful Nokias (we call them "daew dou mh laahn ge," an adjective which means "throw still won't break") have this cool feature where you can make little tunes and then use them as your ring tone. So our current ringtone is "Called to Serve." It's sweet. Every time someone calls, I roll over in my profesh office chair, answer with a classy, "WAIH?!" And wow do I feel like I'm on the latest episode of the 'The District.' I love it.
In other news, my Chinese is coming back at a miraculous rate, although I still have times where I say something like, "This hand sanitizer tastes really good" when I mean to say that it smells good. But hey, that's life!
There are some really elaborately decorated security gates here, and sometimes we just stand there for a few seconds with feelings of awe and frustration. We just KNOW that there are prepared people waiting behind those gates. And we try lots of different ways to get through them. My most recent attempt: speak "friend" and enter. Yeah. Elvish style. But here, we say, "Pahngyauh." It hasn't worked for me yet, but it'll work one day, I have no doubt.
We had a really great lesson with Sister N last week. We talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and I shared about how he has helped me throughout my mission, especially during those times when I felt alone and so useless and helpless. It was a powerful lesson. As I finished sharing my testimony, she was just staring so intently right at my eyes, and I was sure she was about to say something really profound. Then she said, "You shouldn't crinkle your eyebrows like that, it looks really ugly." Haha, it took me aback a little, but it's amazing how much comments like that don't bother me anymore. That's just the way the Chinese people are! I really appreciate her advice, I've been trying my best not to crinkle my eyebrows so much.
I had a really enlightening personal study yesterday after General Conference. I was reading 2 Timothy 3 (which was quoted several times during the conference) and in verse 7 it talks about people who are "always learning but never come to the knowledge of the truth." And then I thought about the verse in John 8 that says, "If you do my will, you are my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." And then I remembered what Christ had once said about himself, that he is "the way, the truth, and the life." He is the truth. That verse might as well say, "You shall know Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ shall set you free." There are so many people in the world that are searching for truth. For thousands of years, philosophers and scientists have debated about the meaning of truth. Some believe that there is no truth, nothing absolute or unchanging. But I've seen and felt the truth and the love and the power of Jesus Christ. As we come to know him, we know the truth and we attain true freedom. We're free from the burden of sin and past trials. We're free from who we were before and we're able to become a new, better person every day. I have met so many intellectual, educated, experienced people here in Hong Kong; they have learned so much and yet they haven't to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
We've experienced a lot of rejection lately, and it's a miracle how much it doesn't hurt me. I love these people and it just makes me sad. I wish I could just stand on a great big box somewhere and shout really loud so that everyone here could understand and feel how important this is. But we just keep on going, one person at a time. That's how Jesus Christ did it anyways. He didn't just stand on the roof of the temple in Jerusalem and holler at all the people at once. He went city to city, door to door, setting people free from physical and spiritual burdens one by one. I love him so much for his example. He is real, I'm so so sure of it.