Clear ups, Baptisms Next Week, Food Poisoning, Reflections, and Testimony
Turns out that last week I played 2 Truths and a Lie with you all. I swear I didn't mean it.
Ironically enough, missionaries are probably the best at gossip and spreading half-truths like wildfire -- among themselves. Of course we spread full truths, yea, even the fulness of truth like wildfire on the streets, but you gotta love how one person gets some fake news about Taiwanese missionaries getting called to mainland and every missionary in Hong Kong knows about it by the end of the night. Everything I shared about the crazy technological advancements, QR Codes, special online secret missionary companionship, possibility of smart phones, and all that? True. Noob Taiwan-Mainland missionary call? False. My bad.
If I were to give commentary from my personal opinion, I'd say China has a while yet. But I sincerely believe that it will open to missionary work within my lifetime, and sometimes I get the weird feeling inside that tells me when it does, I'm going to be a part of it. I've seen Mainland several times because our area is right along the border -- you just have to look over the harbor and there it is, just looking like a dream in it's cloud of misty pollution. Because we're so close, we run into Mainland people daily, and the difference between them and your typical Hong Konger is like night and day. They're usually more humble, receptive, and willing to listen and hear you out. I'm a firsthand witness that China is ready for us, but we aren't ready for China. Why, you might ask? Because my first baptism next week is going to be a Chinese woman named Sister Yip who still frequents her home across the border.
Sister Yip has been among our most progressing investigators during November. Due to time limits on the computer, I haven't made much mention of her until now -- she's originally from Mainland and lives a mile or two down the road from the new church. Elder Farnsworth found her during a Zone Find in late October as she was walking around looking for her son. He has a mental illness that makes him "especially naughty." He likes to hit us, kiss us, hit us again, bang on things and scream. We love it. Anyway, she ended up coming to church nearly every sunday after she was found, and has met with us during the week to hear the lessons. Like I mentioned before, we are allowed to teach female investigators now on certain conditions -- so we always had at least 2 Relief Society members helping us fellowship her lessons. She passed her baptismal interview this Saturday and asked that I baptize her. She's really been great; one time she snuck a pack of noodles in my backpack, and for my birthday she made some weird chinese cheesy dish. It wasn't that good, but Elder Farnsworth loved it, and the point is, Sister Yip is great. Interesting thing is after the interview we were told that she was married; we had assumed the whole time that she was divorced because she never mentioned her husband... Oops. Apparently he's Buddhist and isn't opposed to her learning and being baptized, but wants nothing to do with us himself. She has had to read the Book of Mormon behind closed doors away in a room by herself. Many of her friends told her that our church is a cult, but she said she always felt so good at church and the members were so nice that she never listened to them. If it hadn't been for the willing and welcoming members or the comforting of the Spirit, I guarantee Sister Yip would have ended up like all the rest who hear one person anti the church and consequently never answer the phone again. It happens way too much out here. She's currently up in Mainland this week, and she says she might not be able to get back in time for her Sunday baptism, but I have faith that she will. If not, next week.
As far as my birthday is concerned, Mom, I woke up that day with food poisoning. Both ends were on fire most of the day, which really added nice touches to the lessons we had scheduled. I thought I'd gotten over it by about noon, so I decided to bring some of the protein shake stuff that you sent with me for lunch as I figured it would go down easy. O fool that I am to think that added amounts of protein sits well with an upset stomach. Soso was blessed to practice answering the baptismal interview questions with Elder Farnsworth as he listened to moanings and flushings from the nearby bathroom. He's doing great by the way -- he has a powerful testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. 9 months ago he was under the pressure of drugs, and a previously much different lifestyle is apparent from the tattoos on his back and hand, and the fist-prints on his bedroom door. Yesterday he filled out and paid a fast-offering to the Bishop, and then picked up several flyers for the Christmas Open-House and waved them saying "Mouh hei!" which means, "weapon". Yeah, while I have anything to say about it, he'll be on a mission soon. Haha!
My Zone Leader and I were talking last night. The MTC is changing a lot now to accomodate the huge waves of missionaries coming in. Apparently the weekly missionary application rate has increased from 700 to 4000. (See if maybe that doesn't contribute to the future of China). The MTC is shortening its time to take in more people, so Chinese missionaries are only going to be in for 9 weeks. That, in turn, is going to be affecting transfers, which indicates two things: 1) We're going to have a TON of white people coming in while all the native missionaries go home within the next few moves. I'm grateful to know that a lot of us have been so blessed with our capabilities in the language, because I get the feeling that I'm going to be teaching a white kid or two how to speak Chinese in the near future. 2) My going home date may change, possibly earlier by a few weeks. As my Zone Leader put it, "You're just about hitting your peak. As far as time is concerned, you're about to head on the downward sloap." I layed in bed and worried about it for a while. I can't believe it's almost been a year. I don't want to leave this place. It just feels like it's not enough time. Part of being patient is learning to control anxiety -- I live under constant pressure wondering if I've been doing enough, finding the right people, doing the right thing, blessing enough people's lives. One day I'll wake up and this experience will be over. I never realized I'd find comfort knowing that a mission is just an orientation for the rest of my life, a stepping stone that prepares me to bless others throughout my entire life. I never want to stop blessing people. There is just too much good to be done, and so many people need it.
I know and testify with all energy of heart that the greatest good you can ever do is to align your will with your Creator, and through so doing learn to continually and tirelessly bless His children throughout the earth. This is the work of God, and it will never cease. We are doing a great work, and we cannot come down. We are always in the middle, because everything we do is a part of something eternal. God Himself answers our prayers. We have what we need given to us, our purpose is to learn how to use it. I stand as another witness with all the prophets and apostles and disciples of old and in the modern day, that Christ lives, the Atonement is real, and that the Gospel that He founded nearly 2000 years ago has been restored in it's fulness. I am here to share it.
May God bless you all with the knowledge of that truth,