So I'm officially 23, and it feels just like 22 except when people call me pohpoh, which in Chinese means grandma. Yeah, thanks guys.
T-shirt of the week: "Honey Buns do what good." AH MAN what does that even mean? The next one: "It thinks about the nature of the earth." I don't know what that means either, but it had a kitten on it.
My birthday was an adventure, to be sure. We had one appointment scheduled, but that fell through, so we did finding all day. I think 'searching' would be a better term, though, because we didn't find much! We were wandering around T Village for hours searching for a few members who haven't been to church in a really long time. We literally spent hours looking for house number 125, and we could NOT find it! We found number 127 and number 130 and number 123, but good grief, I'm pretty sure 125 doesn't exist. Or it's hidden under a giant pile of rubbish or in a bamboo thicket. I wish you could see these places, they're incredible. You get off the light rail train in the middle of some apartment buildings in the city, walk through a random construction site for about 10 minutes, and then take a sharp left-turn down into the banana trees, and then you're there. Some of these houses, honestly, I don't know how they stay up... sheer willpower or magic or something. And the numbering system is ridiculous. We could never find house number one. The first number we could find was 14... then 23... right across the street was 82... turn left and you see 247... And no one knows how the number system works or what their neighbors names are!
We asked so many people for help. Some of them stopped and tried to help (they all said, "Well, why don't you call them?" "Their phone number isn't working." "Oh... have you actually tried it?" "Yes, we have. That's how we know it isn't working." "Oh... have you tried asking someone?" "Yes, that's what we're doing right now."). But quite a few people just completely ignored us. We got to house number 124 (so close!) and I saw someone in the window looking out at us, so I said, "Excuse me, but we need some help, we're trying to find--" and then she just disappeared. Her dog kept barking, but she would not even look at us. So yes, that was a little frustrating. The way many Chinese people here interact with strangers is so cold, and I think a lot of the reason is because they just expect other people to be cold back. They're so suspicious and on edge whenever you talk or smile, and really it is just a cold feeling. And only the gospel, the pure love of Jesus Christ, can ever change that. So we just gotta keep going!
But a couple great miracles happened that day. The first: we met the sweetest girl, S, who is about 16 years old and just adorable. She came with us to a youth BBQ on Saturday, and she was so shy, but I think she would really like to get involved with the youth and make friends in the church. I love her already.
The next miracle: I was so happy. Sure, we spent hours wandering around, getting ignored by people and not having much success, but I felt like I was walking on air. I felt so grateful for everything: the blue sky, the big banana leaves, the way the dogs didn't chase after us in an angry fashion, the escape from the noisy city, the weird old guys on bikes carrying huge random pieces of sheet metal and bamboo... It's such a special place, Hong Kong. I love it. Sure, we might not have made much progress, but I felt at peace. I think that's one of the greatest gifts the gospel gives to me: internal peace. No matter what the outside world brings, I can feel good inside. And one of the other greatest gifts? Hope for a better world, a brighter future. I'm scared to go home and leave missionary life behind, but God's plan isn't to have us peak at the age of 23. No, it gets better, and harder, and more worthwhile each day. So when it's done, it's done, but not until then! I love this place, and I love this work, and I love my Savior, because he's the one that brought me here.