LEIH HOU! Gosh I love my family. Thanks for the email mom, it was really wonderful this week.
Yes, I'm singing with a special MTC choir in General Conference on April 1st. Not sure which session yet. When we went to the MTC Choir practice, they passed out a bunch of slips to everyone requiring that their departure date is after April 1st and several years of either high school or college choir experience. Of course I never participated in those choirs, but I wrote in big bold letters, "YOUNG PERFORMING MISSIONARY - NAUVOO. Basically choir singing for 3 and 1/2 months straight." And today I received the notice that I've been selected. WOO! I'll literally be on the stand with the apostles and prophet! Mom, make sure you record General Conference and look for me!
Speaking of April 1st, I will be leaving the very next day to Hong Kong. Things are getting pretty exciting around here -- we are gone 2 weeks from yesterday. I don't speak Cantonese, but hopefully I speak the Spirit. I'm so excited right now and am becoming very anxious. I've been here forever, and it's been so awesome. This week as my companions and I were on our way to teach our "lesson", we walked by an older missionary studying in the hallway and so we gave him a cheerful "Leih hou" and began walking up the stairs. It was strange when we realized that his response was in Cantonese. We turned around and talked to him, and it turns out that he is going to Hong Kong to be our new mission president about a month after we get there! He told us to "work hard, be obedient, and be humble." I liked him a lot. And because his last name is Hawks, (I think), he actually has the same Chinese name as me. He was once a Hah Jeunglouh back in the 70s!
1 Corinthians 14:15 states that we should pray with the spirit and with understanding, but also to sing with the spirit and with understanding. I think it taught me to be a better singer. This past wednesday after auditioning a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sing for the incoming missionaries. I sang "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul." Before I sang I read that scripture, and I asked my accompianist if I could read my lyrics. Even though I had them memorized, I wanted to sing with the Spirit and with understanding. I thought if I was going to use my gift to inspire the spirits of those wonderful new missionaries, I had better do it with understanding and let the Spirit speak. I remember feeling the Spirit so strongly as I sang. Singing will always be one of my favorite things to do, even if I'm not the best. It seems to make more sense every time I sing why concourses of angels lift up the heavens with their voices in song.
This... everything. Whoever is reading this and doesn't think they are happy, I wish I could tell you how simply God provides the path to happiness for all His children. Life will always be hard, this work will always be difficult, and pleasure will always be temporary. But the reason this work never ends is because it is the only thing of eternal worth. I don't write home about the really difficult things, but don't think for a second that I haven't already had moments of intense frustration and discouragement. This is not easy. At all. But I will always be happy. I have not been coerced into believing the things I do, but I have communicated with God countless times, and the Holy Ghost has spoken to me. I promise you that communication with God is and always has been two-way communication. If you want to experience that, you MUST search diligently for it, and hope for the good outcome. I wish I had the ability to eloquently describe what this gospel has done for me in my life, and what it is doing for me right now. I am catching the vision of God, because I am reaching back to take hold of His extended arm. The Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of God! Of God! Our Father in the Heavens. He exists and I know it. There is not a soul on this earth that He does not love. Not a soul. My spirit yearns so much to help people catch this vision; the vision that God is among us, that He can and will speak to us, and that there is always security in a world of suffering, chaos, and sorrow. I am happy because I am learning how to love God, my Savior Jesus Christ, and the calm energy of the Spirit. The Spirit is the great connector in everything, it is the greatest gift we can ever receive in this mortality. It is the peace of God's presence and the security that, regardless of any material or earthly end we achieve, we will be happy. As a representative of our Master and Savior Jesus Christ, I promise this is true. This is happiness. Please, catch the vision. I will do everything I can to help you. That is my purpose.
There is always so much more to say. I love you all, and to my family -- I love you all more than you can imagine.