Yes, that was Tagalog. Yes, I have been transferred. No, I am not going to be preaching the gospel in the Cantonese language for the rest of my mission.
I've been assigned to the Peninsula 3 International Ward, where the primary focus of our work is the population of Filipena and Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong. Our area is basically all of Hong Kong -- I'll be travelling back up to the New Territories tomorrow for a lesson. We teach all of our lessons in English, but I'm picking up a little Tagalog on the way. And may I just say that I feel like I've just started my mission over again with a completely different people in a completely different place with a completely different way of handling things. I've also been called to be a Zone Leader with my new companion Elder Ford over the International missionaries and certain Chinese companionships on the Hong Kong Island.
My last day in Chai Wan was pretty sad. Elder Parker thought it would be funny to sing "God be with you till we meet again", and as much as that song is overdone in missionary work it still made me really reflective and melancholy and before I knew it, during daily planning Elder Young got to watch water come out of my face as I told him it was hitting me that I was called to preach the gospel in the Cantonese language, and I had just completed my final day of doing so. I will really miss the work that I was privileged to do there, and I really came to love the Chinese people and the members in Chai Wan so much. But the Lord has interesting ways of preparing us for new phases of life.
In this area of International work, virtually all of the members and investigators are women. They all come from pretty hard backgrounds and many have left their young families to Hong Kong to work 2 year contracts as domestic workers. Unlike Chinese work, ALL of them have Christian backgrounds. Many have suffered abuse or are treated very unfairly, yet I swear they have to be the most friendly people I've ever met. Many filipenas remember me from the fireside I sang at last year. It seems like they remember every little thing you do for them and they are so appreciative of it. They feed us all the time, so I'm worried by December I may have gained a little weight. Elder Ford says we get so much food that it isn't any use buying groceries on P Day. Needless to say, being a growing boy, I've been in the best of moods the past few days. Humble, receptive people and food, what more should I ask for?
I don't have a lot of time left today, but there have been big changes for me in the course of my mission. I will be privileged of the Lord to serve two entirely different peoples on my mission. I'm already learning so much from these faithful sisters. In order to accomodate their days off, we attend Sacrament meeting every day except Monday, and bless and pass the Sacrament. You just feel extra clean and holy taking the Sacrament every day! I'm excited to share with you all the perspectives and knowledge I gain from being blessed to serve these wonderful people. I know that I have done all that I can for the Chinese people, and I will not forget them, and I know that one day in the future I will be able to bless them again with the gifts that I've been given on my mission. I know that Christ lives, and that miracles are given to those who believe and obey.