Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chinese Jokes. Preparation. A New Standard

My first week with Elder Wu has been awesome. It's quite different having this Chinese guy as my companion -- it's decieving because he looks like everybody else but he isn't native in Cantonese. His New Zealand accent is thick and full of flavor. You gotta love it. This week we've worked hard and done a lot more street finding (by the way -- the most ineffective way of contacting people) because we don't have a lot of investigators right now.
Some people we haven't seen in a long time we've been able to meet with again. One investigator, R., met with us this week and said he'd really been wanting to call us but he hadn't because he was just waiting for us. I thought it was so interesting that he told us be believed we were God's servants because we were "more active." I know that when we are actively engaged in a good cause and "always abounding in good works" it really has a profound effect on the hearts of men. It isn't necessarily what we say, but what we do that defines us.
V. is really actively engaged in preparing for baptism. There are still several things we need to make clear to him, but he understands more than any other person I've taught the covenants he is going to make and the responsibility that accompanies coming into the fold of Christ. He asked me yesterday if I'd baptize him. The goal is the 26th. I told him last night that my responsibility as a servant of Jesus Christ extends beyond these short two years in Hong Kong, and that if he ever needed my assistance or someone to rely on even 30 or 40 years from now, I'd be there. I've realized now more than ever that my commission to serve my Heavenly Father and follow the absolute truth that I've witnessed in my heart is an endeavor that must never end, no matter what the future brings.
I told you all a while ago about L.C K. -- he got himself a summer job so we haven't met with him, although we finally have him scheduled for tomorrow. He's kept im touch. Last time I saw him, Elder Ng and I got a little sneaky. You see, LCK has a problem with waking up on time, and therefore has never kept his commitment to come to church. E. Ng and I discussed how in Chinese culture, giving somebody a clock is a way of wishing death onChinese language, "sung jung" either meants "give clock" or "pay last respects," so the culture superstition/bad omen naturally developed. Well, Elder Ng and I devised a plan to have the uncultured American give LCK an alarm clock in a kind gesture to incentivize an earlier morning rise. Elder Ng pretended he didn't have a clue what my gift was. When LCK opened up his gift, his excitement quickly turned into confused, wide-eyed horror. Then he looked at me with an expression that suggested he figured I hadn't the slightest idea of my ignorance. He asked, "You want me to DIE??"
I'd say overal it went pretty smooth. Except for the fact that he didn't come to church the next Sunday.
President Hawks is setting a new standard. I'll just put it in brief: we have 4 stakes in Hong Kong. In the next 8 years, P. Hawks wants 25 stakes. Impossible? Not at all. In fact, when I heard it, I didn't think it was impossible or crazy, but a huge desire to live up to the new standard. I think I haven't believed in people enough, just as I've witnessed people not believe enough in each other. If there is anything I can say, it's that there is a lot to do and I need to destroy my pride, have patience with myself and with these people, and teach with more power and authority. I came not to interrupt God, but to make His voice heard. I came not to play basketball and boardgames, but to preach the restored Gospel. It has been restored. The Book of Mormon changes lives, and it changes mine every day. Every single day. If you don't know this church is true, you're letting doubt be your guide. But how has doubt ever helped a man reach any goal? I say to you all, we have the truth and it is my divine commission to declare it. I love you all. May the Holy Spirit attend you always.
Love Elder Hazen

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