Thursday, September 20, 2012

Out in the Boonies

Welcome to the New Territories.

I've spent all day moving out of my apartment in West Point (Aberdeen area's apt.) and taking a rather long train ride up north off the Island, away from the huge city. We still live on the 23rd floor of an estate as most buildings in Hong Kong are built vertically, but I am shocked at the difference in space around these parts. It's quieter, more peaceful, people seem less uptight, and the escalators have flowerbeds in between them. That's straight up luxury if you ask me, regardless of whether or not the flowers are real.

My new companion is Elder Farnsworth. He's from Amarillo, Texas. He has no Chinese blood in him. I hear he's a hard worker, which is always good news to me. I asked him if he ever went boar hunting, and he replied he almost did once. I told him when we get home we can fix that. 
I guess the biggest news is that we're opening up a new area together. Hung Shui Kiu (Huhng Seui Kiuh), close to Yuen Long in the New Territories. You can look those up, Mom. Apparently they just built a new chapel in Hung Shui Kiu and are splitting up the wards in two other areas and creating a new area, to which E. Farnsworth and I have been assigned. I hear the chapel is just like an American chapel, except two stories high and nicer than any other chapel in Hong Kong. Elder Farnsworth is my senior companion, and he and I are ready to build good relationships with the members up here and start fresh in our new area. It's exciting and a little overwhelming, but I feel God has put a lot of trust in both of us to open up more doorways for church progression in Hong Kong. 

I used my audio recorder a ton this week. I decided to go around to every member or investigator that I'd developed a relationship with over the past 5 and a half months and ask them if they would leave me a message on my recorder. I told them I'd listen to it in ten years, and promised I'd still understand Cantonese. It's a good way to force yourself to remember the language God's prepared you to speak -- there's a lot of promises to keep! I have with me the voices of the lives and the people that I've worked with, and I will cherish that forever. 
It was really sad to leave Aberdeen. Honestly, it's all I really know out here. I've been there for 4 moves, about 5 and 1/2 months, and it's the place that I learned to understand and speak Cantonese, the place that I was welcomed into the mission, the place that I faced my first very trying moments in the field, and the place that I really began to understand what it meant to rely on the Lord in all I do. Just before personal study I knelt to pray for inspiration, and as I began to say that I was thankful to serve in Aberdeen I started to feel pretty emotional. Of course in a manly way, but I realized then that this place has really changed me and moved me in so many ways. 
I feel as if I've started my mission over. I worked as hard as I could til the last moment in Aberdeen, and now I'm in a new place, I know no-one, and everything is different. It's an adventure, and I'm ready to take it on. I know in Whom I have trusted. In Whom I've been taught to trust, one step at a time.

There's so much work to do. Pray for my companion and I to find families to teach. That is a very big focus of our mission right now. Just like every new phase of my mission seems like a new phase of learning, so is life. I feel like I'm living a whole life in these two years, and preparing myself to face any challenge that I'm to face in the future. Something that I've taken to asking on the streets is "What has greater worth than gold?" Everyone knows immediately that it is family. That it is life. That it is choice. It really is. God bless you all!
Elder Hazen

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