It was so strange to see people on Wednesday with orange dots on their name tags and think that I was just like them only 7 short days ago but since then so much has changed! Probably the biggest change this week was having to eat all of our meals in one of the large meeting rooms of one of the new buildings here. Currently there are lots of newly called Mission Presidents being trained here at the MTC by the apostles and they’ve taken over the main building that has the cafeteria in it so we were displaced for meal times during this week. It’s been really nice though because our food is now a lot closer to our classrooms which is always a good thing. I also saw Elder Rasband while Sister Scott and I were studying outside, he even waved in our general direction! It was a very “And I love you, Random Citizen!” kind of moment.
In other news, I learned how to rip a banana in half with my bare hands but the more important new life skills I learned are: how to say “I’m a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” in Cantonese and I memorized the baptismal invite in Cantonese too! I’m progressing!! Tyler our “investigator” is also progressing! He’s been reading the Book of Mormon and praying on his own and he has said the closing prayer for our lessons two times after Sister Scott and I re-taught him how to pray. However, he asked us what “amen” meant which was completely unexpected. My goal is to invite him to be baptized in Cantonese when we meet with him this week. I think I mentioned last time, Tyler is one of our teachers that’s acting as investigator but apparently no one else in my district knew that since he was really good about only talking in Cantonese and he sounds like a native Hong Kong person. I guess I knew only because I cheated and asked another teacher in Cantonese if he served in Hong Kong. Anyway, he came in to our actual class time on Friday and everyone was really surprised. That was probably the most silent and focused class time we’ve ever had. I think everyone was intimidated, but speaking for myself I was definitely intimidated! His Cantonese is so good and he sometimes he says things to me and looks at me like he expects me to understand but I then I don’t understand and it’s kind of awkward…. (insert sad laughter here) I guess I need to work harder but I’m glad to have him as a teacher and a resource to learn from. We are so lucky to have all the teachers we have because they’re all so good at not only teaching Cantonese but teaching us how to love the Hong Kong people, how to study and teach lessons, and they are all wonderful examples of teaching with the Spirit!
Sister Scott and I taught the Relief Society lesson yesterday during church and our assigned topic was “Enduring to the End.” It was such a good topic and what we really tried to convey was that even though enduring is usually thought of as difficult, and it sometimes is difficult to continue on after the example of Jesus Christ, enduring is not drudgery but it is opportunity. In James 5:11 it says: “Behold, we count them happy which endure.” I really believe that if we follow Christ’s example and do our best to keep the commandments of God that we will be happy in the end with our families in eternity. I love that this gospel gives us the opportunity to live with our families forever through the Atonement of Jesus Christ!
Since the MTC campus has also been filled with Mission Presidents we had the opportunity to get special training from them in our districts. Just before writing this I was in my classroom with President and Sister Wong who will soon be serving in Vancouver, Canada. They are from Hong Kong, are both converts, and for those of you who don’t know, President Wong was the first person ever to give a General Conference talk in a language other than English in the October 2014 conference titled “Rescue in Unity.” During our training I loved how he was really able to share the importance of missionary work with my district and me and I think that he was able to make missionary work specifically in Hong Kong more real for my district. He talked about Hong Kong and his love for the missionaries that taught and baptized him and I think that slowly but surely my district is starting to feel a connection and a love for Hong Kong even though none of them have ever been there. I’ve loved Hong Kong my whole life and I’m so excited to share it with the Elders and Sisters in my district and to watch them grow to love that place as much as I do.
I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I’m so grateful I was called to serve in Hong Kong!
(The pictures didn’t come in correctly, so I’ll post then next week.)