Thursday, April 12, 2012

Glad Easter tidings from the Orient

I don't even know where to start.

I've now been in Hong Kong for over a week. I serve in an area on Hong Kong Island called Aberdeen. I just got back from a hike my companion and I organized with the Young Men in our ward. I am red as a beet and feel ready to fall over from exhaustion. I seriously love it all.

You may all want a quick description of what I've observed of this place since I've been here. Well, first of all, if any of you didn't catch this before, "Hong Kong" in Cantonese means "Fragrant Harbor." The name is rather perfect, because I have experienced the most diverse variety of stenches as I ever have. Within the time it takes to walk 20 feet in certain areas, one finds himself assaulted by waves of a plethora of fragrant aromas, each individually and uniquely potent in a very personal way. People here are so busy. Even when they aren't busy, they act like it. You practically have to chase people down in order for them to actually stop and listen to you. Interestingly enough, it seems like the punk-rock kids with the purple hair are more likely to actually give you the time of day. A lot of people walk around looking rather depressed or angry, and seem to shut out their surroundings. Also, you might find it interesting that the name of the Book of Mormon has changed in recent years. The direct translation for "Mormons" used to be "Mo Muhn Gaau" which literally means "Evil Party/Group Religion." Perhaps you can see why the name was changed. Some people think we're evil. And not to mention the fact that 70-80% of the schools here are run by some Christian denomination. In certain areas girls literally run from the missionaries because a couple months ago the schools taught that some Mormon missionaries ... did bad stuff. Which didn't happen. Anyway, there's a lot of work to do, yes?

I wish to briefly share an experience I had this week. In our area, we don't yet have very many investigators. In fact, it took me exactly a week to be here before I had an actual lesson with an investigator. We were scheduled earlier that day to have an investigator lesson, but he fong feigei'd us. "Fong feigei" means stood up, or didn't show. Apparently this happens all the time. But that night we had a lesson with a man named Mr. Chan. To be brief, I remember feeling the Spirit testifying through both my words and the words of my companion in a very powerful way. The man said he thought there should only be one bible, and refused to accept a Book of Mormon. It seems as if we tried everything; my heart prayed unceasingly for him throughout the lesson and it was as if for a moment I caught a glimpse of the way Heavenly Father viewed that man, and how much He loved him. Nevertheless, he refused to accept our gift; he refused to even try and experiment the possibility of more truth. When I got home after the lesson, my spirit was so exhausted; I never knew what spiritual disappointment ever meant until then. I do not know him, but I love him, because I know God loves him. I respect his ability to choose.

So my message today is this: Christ suffered for all men. Every single living person. I know, especially now from this experience, that we really are all children of God. My love for Mr. Chan as an imperfect brother is matchless to the love of a perfect Father. May God bless him and all those like him. I ask that you all pray for Mr. Chan, and for all the people in the world either unprepared or unwilling to accept the gift that Christ has already given to us. He gave us the gift, let us all be wise and accept it.

May the good Lord bless you all. God is everywhere. More and more, as my prayers become more heartfelt and sincere and my desire to share this gospel increases, I see God in all people and in all things. If you cannot see it, and beg you all to catch the vision. Because now is the time to prepare to meet God. If you keep the commandments and follow this simple plea, I promise you as a representative of Jesus Christ, that you'll begin to recognize you've already met Him.

Stay strong and never, ever give up!
Elder Hazen

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