My Beast Trainee, Chai Wan and a Ton of Work to do!
Hey all --
Turns out P. Hawks kicked me out of my favorite area into Chai Wan. What's special about this place is that there are two companionships of Elders -- one Elder Siebach who's been here for 4 moves, his new native companion, then me and and my new NATIVE companion and trainee, Elder Woo. He is incredible. In odd ways I kind of feel like a real father, because he reminds me a lot of myself when I first came into the mission -- ridiculously energetic, talking to everyone he sees, determined to do well but slightly undirected. He's already 50,000 times more capable than I am because his Cantonese is perfect, he's well-versed in the scriptures and the functionings of the church, and has tons of ideas. He naturally knows how to relate to Chinese people while I'm still frequently cracking jokes to people in Cantonese that don't get my American humor. It reminds me of when President Hawks came to speak in the Hung Shui Kiu Ward and he made an American wise-crack in Chinese and I was the only one who laughed. Needless to say, I love Elder Woo. There are definitely things we'll work on together, but I think in the end I'll be the one being trained, and not to mention having another awesome opportunity to get wicked good in the language because it's hard for him to frequently speak English.
President has a lot of high expectations for Chai Wan. It has a history of little progress. The Ward only had 30-40 members, and almost all of them were either unmarried, their family members are Less-Active, or are apart of Part-Member families. Almost zero full families at church. But as far as I can tell, the people who do come to church are strong members. They have to make somewhat of a commute to go to church in the 13 story Wan Chai building.
Long story short, the Stake President here set a fixed goal of having 100 baptisms this year on the Hong Kong Island. To put that into perspective, 2012 had 30 something baptisms. Further, President Hawks stood up in the Island Zone and said with a calculating, furrowed brow, "You know, honestly, I don't think we're going to get 100 baptisms this year. I think we're going to get 113." I don't know, he was a Manufacturing Engeneering Professor at BYU. Ask him.
Coming from all the miracles that I saw in Hung Shui Kiu, I've come back to the Island with renewed faith that God is a God of miracles. I don't doubt that the goal of 100 can be surpassed. And Elder Woo and I will, through faith, unity, humility, diligence, and exact obedience, contribute to that number. "May we all put our hands to the plough and never look back."