First Week in Hong Kong!
Wow, what a blur! I'm almost certain that in the MTC I learned more than ten words in Cantonese but so far, my Cantonese is limited to "Nice to meet you" and bearing my testimony (which I guess is all that really matters). My trainers name is Sister Takahashi. She's half Japanese and from Australia. She's been in Hong Kong for a little over a year and her cantonese is amazing. I'm VERY blessed to have her. She's been a really big help for my tones already and I've only been with her for less than a week. We have a lot of laughs together and we've already had some really amazing things happen.
All I remember about the first day was that I fell asleep during my first lesson, my cantonese was AWFUL (because my brain was so fried that I couldn't translate what I wanted to say in my brain into cantonese.), and the clothing that I had on did not match in the slightest (my companion told me that she was concerned that was actually how my style was and that she was have to help me with that too). I honestly couldn't have told you what we taught that day or how i made it to the apartment that night. I also almost got hit by a bus within like three minutes of leaving the chapel with my trainer (crazy asian drivers ;) ).
The rest of the week went by SO much better and I've been having so much fun. I already love these people and I'm super excited to learn about them and understand them better. The area I'm in is called Sham Shui Po. It's the area that includes the temple and the Kowloon Tong chapel (the one across the street from the chapel). I'll send some pictures of the temple and Hong Kong next week. (We're in the apple store emailing today and I actually haven't taken any pictures yet. Oops. Sorry Mom.) The ward is very welcoming, kind and supportive. I bore my testimony on Sunday and didn't throw up all over so that's a different plus.
Sunday was honestly one of the hardest days I've had so far. The second I stepped foot in the chapel, it felt like the MTC all over again with someone chattering at you in Cantonese and you struggling to figure out what in the world they want from you. I'm pretty sure that I only understood like twenty words that were said in the whole five hours I was at the church (We had meetings before and a baptism after). But, the members were really patient and helpful to me. Every once in a while someone would lean over and whisper to me in English about what the joke was about or what the topic of the lesson is (which was very helpful because then I could at least try to pick out key words in that topic). I actually still have no idea what the topic for Sunday school is...
My area has a LOT of less-actives. My trainer and I spend a lot of time visiting them and trying to serve them the best that we can. It makes my heart hurt thinking about the wonderful gift that they are throwing away when they reject the teachings that are true and right. It's hard for me, knowing the happiness that comes from living faithfully and the joy I feel every time I think about the life I'll get to have with my family and heavenly Father in the celestial kingdom. I can't help but think of the Richard G. Scott tribute that I think came with the November Ensign (?). Elder Scott lost a son, and instead of blaming God for taking his precious baby from him, he turned it around and said "Now, I have EVEN MORE of a reason to live faithfully because I have a son who is in the celestial kingdom and I need to get there to him." I just love that. I hope that in some small way I'm able to help these members come even just a little bit closer to Christ so that they can make the choice to follow Him again.
My trainer and I try to talk to everybody we can while we are on our way to visit less-actives. We've had some really cool miracles happen where the Lord has definitely put people in our path. Yesterday we were on our way to visit a less-active that hadn't been heard from or contacted in months (we randomly picked a name off the this huge list), on our way we ran into this young mom and her son. As we started talking to them, we found out that they were looking for a church because the church they were going to was too far away from their new apartment. So, we (or course!) introduced ourselves and told her about the Christmas activity we are having at our church this week. We're praying she shows up! When we got to the less-actives' apartment it turned out that she had moved sometime before February and there was a different dude living there. He was really confused to see us standing outside of his door. We left him with a pass-along card, apologized and wished him a Merry Christmas. I don't know what will happen with that but a seed has been planted.
Anyway, I really need to get off and get going on some others things but I hope that you are all doing well. I just want to encourage you all to remember what this Christmas season is about and to read 2 Nephi 22:2. "...I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song...". Never forget in whom your trust is ALWAYS safe and who will lead you to being the happiest you can be. There's nothing more satisfying than doing your best to become like Christ.
I love you all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!