Friday, May 4, 2012

Creativity in the Work of the Lord‏

So many crazy things.

Everyone else -- thank you so much to all that take the time to write me. It's very uplifting and exciting for a missionary to hear from people on the outside world. I feel like a whiner, I know I've barely got here, but after all the work we do I feel like I've been here forever.

Speaking of, letters from my friends on their missions puts a smile on my face faster than anything. I screamlaughed at Bryce's letter that he drenched with nasty cologne, and Elder Tyler Sorenson is among one of the most hilarious people on the planet. GAah, we need more missionaries out in the world.

It's been a crazy week, and more engaged than last week. Elder Dallin H. Oaks is coming to visit our mission on the 22nd, and I've been asked to accompany a small choir with my violin, playing "I Need Thee Every Hour." I'm excited for yet another opportunity to share my talents to invite the Spirit and propel forward the work of the Lord. I remember when I was younger I was somewhat apprehensive about playing my violin for people, or acting like I was too cool to just share with people the gifts I've been able to develop. I was so dumb! Use what God gives you! Nauvoo really taught me how to use my gifts and talents as a method of building the Kingdom of God, and to love doing it. I think back often to that experience and the way my testimony was tried and magnified as I served there. Being creative in our work is essential. God gives us talents, interests, ideas, and gifts because they are meant to be magnified and pursued. So, I'm doing what I can to translate that into my work as a missionary here in Hong Kong.

A few days ago we were teaching a recent convert about the gift of the Holy Ghost, so we set up an obstacle course of folding chairs throughout the chapel (there aren't any pews in our chapel). We blindfolded him, and Elder Ng began to try and explain how to get through the obstacles. As something symbolic, I pulled out my violin, got in his face, and started jamming out some serious "Turkey in the Straw." There's nothing quite like trying to overcome the challenges and obstacles of life through the Spirit's guidance when you have hot licks of Satan pounding through your ears. The devil went down to Hong Kong, as they say. I have a feeling there's a lot more where that came from. Besides, it made for a delicious hands-on lesson. Yes I filmed it.

Cantonese is so hard. It took me till this week to realize I have no idea how to speak this language at all. I thought I did, but that's because I was still in the process of completing level 1. All of the sudden it feels like a thousand new doors flew wide open and there are so many other things I could be saying, and every time I attempt to say one of them I realize I can't. YEES! Elder Ng was telling me that my tones are really good and way above average, but my grammar and vocabulary needs a boost. I asked him what grammar concept I should focus on, and he said, "Everything."

Here's another good story. There's a 70-year old woman in our ward. She learned that I like to try new
Snake Soup
 food, so sometimes we get calls out of nowhere that she's traveling to our part of the city to bring me some kind of obscure dinner or food. So far I've eaten black jelly (it's like herbal jell-O), durian (an expensive luxury fruit that smells like barf), and my personal favorite -- snake soup.
 That my friends, is some serious good eats. It tastes like chicken gumbo.

I wish to share with you something I wrote in my notebook last week, because it inspired me and it gives you a taste of what it can feel like to be a missionary. It was at first meant to be a diatribe of frustration, but it ended up being an ode to rejection: "If you aren't being rejected, persecuted, and refused, if you aren't being turned away, laughed at, and mocked, if you don't have doors slammed in your face, fingers pointed at you, and the jaws of hell opened at your feet, then you have great cause to ask yourself the question, 'Am I doing enough?' People can't reject you if you aren't extemding some offer or invitation. People aren't given the opportunity to respond if you aren't reaching out to them and sharing the good news. The more people that reject you, therefore, the more evident your diligence as God's servant. Every time someone rejects you, say in your heart, (or out loud if circumstances appear favorable), 'YES. I'm so diligent.'"

Congratulations if you read all that, I know it's huge. I hope to God you're all doing well, and you're all individually magnifying your responsibilities as children of God. Share it with everyone! If you don't feel like you have something to share, then study it! This is everlasting security, happiness, and joy. I don't go to sleep at night until I know what I've done for God and what God has given me that day. Everyone can be better; we can always improve. And that's the joy of eternity.
Love, Elder Hazen
P.S. The Hong Kong Temple is so awesome. So Chinese. First time today.

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