HALLO! OK! so... this is going to be a crazy as email that I'm going to send to you, and it will be followed up by pictures next time. I left my camera cord at home and so I won't be able to email you pictures or anything. But next week, I'm going to have to send you a few things.
OK, first of all, I got transfered from the city and the heart of brisbane to the most southern area. Known as: the Gold Coast. Cool eh? well. it gets better than that. The area is known as Isle of Capri, and the most southern area in our district is actually outside of Queensland. It's in a state known as New South Wales. Sydney mission territory. SO there are some of the elders in my district that are outside our mission boundaries! crazy eh?! and since we're chinese missionaries, we have no boundaries. hehehe. Don't worry, I don't abuse that power. Most of the time, we just go to the chinese-dense areas, and go and talk to people there. THOUGH if we do have an investigator down south, we have to go down there and teach them.... outside of our mission. YEH! hahaha. SO if I ever leave mission boundaries, I will let you know. and you will think it's really cool. just kidding. It's not that cool... though we expect to send a lot of referrals down to the Sydney mission.
NEXT. My new companion is! *drumroll* ELDERCHEN!!!!!!! HAHAHAHA. SO... Isle of Capri (the name of my area) is ELderChen, and ElderChen. HAHAHA> ElderChen (you don't know which one I'm talking about now bahaha) is from China, guangzhou. So he speaks Cantonese (why do I keep geting these FOB as companions? I don't know) ANyway, he's the man and is really funny. He lived in Sydney before his mission, and went to school in my last area at a university known as Queensland university of technology, or: QUT. It's a pretty good school in australia. One of hte best. He was studying maths, so he'll have to teach me that later. ANyway, I kinda expected to serve with him down here and so... here I am. In the gold coast. Takin names.
Next fun fact. I am in the Australian National Newspaper Today. HAHAHA. SO... if you look up: The Australian (that's the name of the newspaper) there's a really big picture of me on there. :) President Langeland called me and Elder Lam to go to the temple and take some photos, and then yeah. We're in the newspaper! They interviewed us, I'm not sure what the article was about, but the paper mainly interviewed President Langeland. He told us that we should be happy and stuff, and so... we were. :) It was a lot of fun. We contacted the photographer, got his number and told him that we'd call him and share more about the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. hahaha. It's pretty funny. Most of the time, he was asking us about what we did. MISSIONARY MOMENT! hah. It's too easy. :) He had interviewed a person from BYU's museum who is now the director of the museum in the University of Queensland. It left an impresion on him, and now, we're in the newspaper, and he's interested in learning more. Too bad, I got transfered out of hte city :( oh well. SO look up "The Australian" newspaper, and Yeah! for Monday July 3. hahah. I'm going to go out and buy a few and send some home. Maybe trefyn can bring them back for you to see. I'll have to give the elders there a call and let them know. :)
SO yeah, that was basically my week. haha. OH YEAH! I forgot to tell you. The area I used to serve in. River Terrace 2. Is now closed :( It made me really sad. It was my favorite area. We had a lot of success there and baptized a lot of people, but we don't have enough chinese speaking missionaries to maintain all the areas tha we have, so we had to close it. :( But the funny thing is: When it was closed, we gave the other area more baptismal dates than they had, as well as investigators. :P hahaha. And a few of the baptisms were coming up for them. I told them to give me a call when it went through :) THey were really excited.
One of hte coolest stories that we had was this: We had an investigator who had been taught everything. He was ready for baptism and really wanted to be baptized, BUT he wasn't able to because he was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day! that's so many. WHen we started teaching him, he started cutting back, because he told us that he felt like it was the right thing to do. ANyway. Now, he's down to smoking one cigarette per month! Isn't that incredible. I think a lot of the time, we don't understand or expect the spirit to be so strong with all of the investigators that we have, but it really is the most powerful thing I've ever seen. It's pretty crazy. Now, he's ready for baptism, but we had to give him to the other elders there :(. It's ok, they hadn't baptized for a bit, and so they were getting a little depressed. BUT NOW!!! they get to teach all of the investigators we left for htem. TIME TO WORK HARDER!!!!!!!!! :D
getting trasnfered to a new area, I realized that there are a lot of things that I needed to change about myself in order to become a more successful missionary. SO I updated my "Process of Purification". Writing down things tha I would stop doing or thinking about. It's going to be much harder now because I've written down a lot of diuffernt things, but I know that it'll be a really good blessing in the missionary work. I hope that moving to this area will be very good in helping be become a better missionary! Clean slate. Here we go!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Lam (my last companion) moved up to Gold Coast with me as well, but he's in a different area, but I think he's still in my district. Yeh! he's really funny. I realized that I've served with a lot of fobs in my mission. Elder Shi: A chinese man that couldn't speak that much english, ELder Tsai, a taiwanese boy who hadn't had much exposure to english (we spent most all of language study helping him learn english), Elder Lam (Fob from Hong Kong), and now another CHinese man who is not as fob as the others, but his english is still a little bit difficult to understand.
WHICH REMINDS ME! the flat I'm staying at has four people in it: Elder Lee(Korean), ElderTobe(Japanese), ELderCHen(China), and ELderCHen (AMERICA). hahaha. I think president is trying to teach me some kind of lesson. I'm not sure what it is, but It'll defijnitely help me out a lot. I think. haha. I haven't had a chance to meet anybody from my district, but I think I'll like it. ElderChen told me that we have zone meetings on thursday. It'll be interesting.
Oh yeah, I just remembered that one of the missionaries going home: Elder Higham, is the man. He goes home tomorrow and goes to BYU soon! YEH! so if a really tall white guy walks up to verina at BYU, do not get scared. he's the man... I think his first name is Tommy.... I'm not sure though... jokes. I'm sure. Tommy... right now he's elder though... by the time he gets to byu, he'll be tommy... confusing. WHICH reminds me. In the Newspaper. President Langeland told them our full names and so.... my name is published in the newspaper. great. no more secret first names :P
Today, I just realize tjhat I'm really old. I am 20. Old man. Very Old man. They asked me how old I was, and i told them 19 at first, and kept talking, then I remembered, and told ethem, and then they were like, oh, so you're pretty well along your mission! NO. I'm not even a year out. but I"m 20! hahahaha. I don't know what to think........... I"M OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jeff's going to be married, VIcky is on her mission, Verina's killing BYU, and Jon is the man at timpview. I don't know what else could make me feel so old. ah.
Well, I didn't have a chance to do personal study this morning because of Transfers, so I'll have to do that later during P-day, but I read something the other day that make me really happy. When I was reading D&C, I read that God would take care of all the things that we would worry about. Many of the missionaries here have so many problems that happen while they're out here. One of the missionaries had his father die of Leukemia while he was a missionary, another missionary's brother passed away. I had thought about it and didn't know why all those things happened to missionaries when they had devoted so much time to the Lord. One of the returning missionaries bore his testimony, and helped me understand why things happen. He told us that when President told him that his brother had passed away, President didn't give him the option of going home. He didn't even think that it was an option. Then, he called our attention to the Gospel Standard. I think that's what it is called. Even though mobs may fight and disasters strike, the work will not finish until the Lord says the work is done! remember I talked about it before in one of my emails? well that statement came more alive to me when this elder told me how it applied to him. The greatest thing about this work is that no matter how big the oposition, The work is the lord's work. It cannot be stopped. It cannot be deterred. We're out here for a reason ,and that reason in wisdom in God. Not us.
I drew from that a greater motivation to focus on the work, and to work harder than ever before. I never thought that being lazy would make me sad. Whenever I see missionaries slack of or back down, I get a little bit sad. THe work that we're doing now doesn't have space or time to stay home for an extra few minutes. In that time, there could be someone prepared, following the spirit, and going to where you SHOULD have been. That gives us many regrets. I do not want to have any regrets on my mission. I don't want anybody to have the weight of regrets on their mission either, so I'm going to work hard and encourage everybody to work hard. Even the ward members :P hahaha. Sounds crazy, but members do have regrets sometimes.. :P hahaha
Anyway. That's the update for this week. I don't know if you'll be able to read the article online, but I'll try to get trefyn to bring you a copy or two of the newspaper itself. I wish I could get it to you faster, but the mail system here is pretty weird. hahaha.
I love you all and hope you have a WONDERFUL week!
hopefully I have more news for you next week, From... the GOLD COAST. and I'm driving again.. :) In a really nice car this time. much nicer than the last car that we had hahaha.
I don't know how I missed it, but time out in the mission goes SO fast. I've already been in this area since december! WOAH! I've seen three companions come and go, so I think this transfer I'm gone, but I don't want to leave. This is the GREATEST area EVAH. It's so fun because of the ward, people, and all the missionaries in the area. ANyway. That was my little rant for the moment. The moral of the story is: Do your best now and the future will fall in place. The past will never come back! Ok, so fun story about this week: Since I'm in the YSA, we have many unorthodox methods of teaching that occur both in sunday school, and during third hour. FOR EXAMPLE. During Elders quorum this week, the teacher (from England) turned on a movie. Brian Reagan. Somehow tying it into his lesson. I was grateful that all of our investigators were girls and they were in relief society where they were sharing stories of how the book of mormon helped them get along better with their families. (that's what they told us at least... I never know what happens there.... actually I'll tell you another story about that) anyway. SO for elders quorum, we watched brian reagan. I think there was a tie-in into Dallin H. Oaks' talk about sacrifice and changing the focus from "me" to "others". It was a wonderful talk, yet a very difficult talk to give a lesson on. I remember reading through that talk and feeling really happy and bubbly inside because it just told how good the members were at sacrificing. :) there was a little speil on missionaries :D Ok, so the story about Relief Society. Since we are missionaries, the ward really likes to use us in ver strange ways. FOR example. During Relief Society, they wanted a bunch of insights on missionaries to be told. They called on... drumroll....Elderhadfield and I (it sounds likeELderhadfield and I are companions, but we're not... the ward doesn't really know who our companions are sadly... :() Anyway, we went in and taught the relief society. It was really awkward because they were gigggling the WHOLE time and we felt really bad andElderhadfield was blushing the whole time, and I was too dark to blush, but my face was really hot because it was really weird for us. I have never been in relief society before. never again. Anyway. Our investigators didn't understand why we were so emberassed there. It was pretty fun. BUT now we're getting more dinners from the relief society! YEH! RELIEF! Last night, we had to go to Two dinners O.o. One of the members knew about the dragon boat festival and so she fed us and yeah... it was great. Ok... this isEldermalohifo'ou. Sleeping. We were concerned about him. It looks like he got murdered and fell down on the floor, but it's ok. He just sleeps like that sometimes. The reason he had to go to the other room was because he doesn't like people who snore, andElderlam SNORES! it's really bad. It sounds like somebody is sawing logs in the room. hahaha. ElderLi snores too, and it's really bad, but I can't tell which one is which because it combines and I'm always too tired to figure out which one is which. Asian FOBS are REALLY loud sleepers. STORY about FOBS. hahaha. So bothElderlam andElderLi are really Fob chinese boys. ElderLam is from Hong Kong (I've now served with a FOB Chinese, Hong Konger, and Taiwanese person... I must be lucky) It's so funny, because he always looks confused. When we're going out and someone says something to him, he'll look really confused for a few minutes, look at me, I'll have to encourage him and clarify what was said to him, and then he'll look like he just had an epiphany, and then reply. It's SO funny. Especially when we GQ seperatly to cover more people. After I contact someone, I'll look to make sure I can see him, and notice that he's looking into the sky thinking about something ahhahaah. and then it'll be a few seconds before he looks at the person again. ElderLam is famous for saying: "errrrrrrrrrrrrr" whenever you ask him something. ElderLi is such a fob as well. Even though he lived in Canada for most of his life, his english is so funny. The other day, when playing touch,ElderJenkins made an interception and touched down because of it. When he came back, we congratulated him andElderLi said: "Nice Intersection" hahahahahahahaha. We mess around with him and make fun of it, but he still doesn't understand why we laugh. Another funny moment was when he was sharing a spiritual thought at a members home. He was talking about prophecy and when he read: We prophecy of christ, he read it SO funny. the member had to cover his mouth with his hand, but we still heard the snort and he had to turn his head. It was funny. We all bust out laughing, andELderLi was so confused, we tried to explain it to him, but I don't think he got it. Also, There's a girl in our ward, and her name is Andrea. Said how it's spelled. Well, when thanking her for the food, he said Andre, like the man name. She looked really offended for a bit, so we explained to her that His english isn't that good hahahahaha. So I'm still called MamaChen, and it's so funny when our investigators find out. They always ask me to cook for them and stuff, but then i tell them that I can't ook very well. Ok, so I heard a quote that was really good and made me think a lot about missionary work and stuff: "In order to enjoy physical life, you must lose your spiritual life. In order to enjoy spiritual life, you must physically die." it was an interesting quote shared during church, and I don't really agree with it all that much. I've enjoyed my physical life so far. Even on my mission. I think that if we enjoy our spiritual life, we can also enjoy our physical life with family and friends around us. It all depends on our attitude! On my mission so far, I've worked hard and felt tired every day, yet, I am still happy and having the funnest time of my life. I'm still enjoying physical life. Those were my initial thoughts. After a while, I realized that that quote wasn't made in reference to the general Idea. It was teaching us the importance of sacrifice. We must sacrifice some things in our lives in order to be happy! AND THEN I realized that's why I'm so happy out here! I've been able to sacrifice so much for the Lord! I feel like I made a really good trade. Two years of my life, and the Lord gives me SOOO much just because He loves us and wants the best for us! He doesn't HAVE to give us all the blessings we'ver recieved. He WANTS to! and that is the epiphany I reached. We always learn that Heavenly Father is our father in Heaven, but I'm now understanding more and more that it's SO literal that he's our father. He LOVES us. I don't know how else to emphasize it. Love is one of the greatest attributes! Joseph Fielding Smith said that Love is what makes Heavenly Father God. It is something we must practice in this life in order to recieve the greatest gift of God. Without it, we cannot be successful. Because he loves us so much, we need to turn around and help others feel of His love, as wel as our love for them. I can't remember who said this but: "I don't like that man; I must get to know him better" I've never thought of it like that, but the reason we don't "like" people, is because we don't understand them wholly. If we understood them at all, we would understand and Feel God's love for them. This is something that I need to learn out here. There are many situations where i would gladly dislike an individual, but as a representative of Jesus Christ, we must learn to control that, get to know the person, and we'll find what God sees in them. A potential father/mother, and a potential God. Let us not forget the divine potential of every individual in our lives! How lucky we are to be able to be a part of this great work! the gospel standard says it all. Even though people may fight against the work of the Lord, no unhallowed hand can stop the bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, until the master of the vineyard says the work is done. :) It feels like the work is never done. We have a long ways to go before the end, but how great will be our joy, when we can say, at the end of the day: I've done my best, I've fought a good fight. I want to be able to say that EVERY day. I love you all! you're all the best family in the world. Thank you for everything you have done for us! Love, ElderChen
Dear Family, It was Temple day today and it was the greatest! sorry I didn't give you a heads up about that, but... yeah... I forget sometimes. We probably should be more consistent with our emailing, but one out of every three times will not be on a monday. Transfers, holidays, and temple change the day we email :). BUT it's so much fun. I really enjoy going to the temple. Today, at the temple I learned SO many new things. I couldn't believe it. I was more awake than usual today and for some reason, more things started coming out at me. I LOVE the temple. It's such a wonderful place. One of the elders fell asleep during the session. :P hahahaha. Missionaries are always too tired. :) BUT it's good. I love being tired, then falling asleep super fast. and then waking up kinda is not very fun. Thank you Dad for sending me that email!!!! :) That was so great I really enjoyed it. It really sounds like you're having so much fun. I totally forgot about Fathers day :( I'm sorry, But happy fathers day regardless. I love meeting families where the father is so loving to their children. It reminds me of dad :). The other day, there was a dad talking about the morals of the world because I contacted him. He was from guangzhou, and he was sooo funny. When he said "today society is so ridiculous!" it sounded exactly like the way dad says "ridiculous", and I had to stop myself from laughing hahaha. It was awesome. Anyway, I guess that was my tribute to PapaChenfor this email. Love you lots, and thank you so much for your great example. :) I'm glad you put me in gear and got me to work hard. It has helped me so much on my mission. WELL!!!! I got a package in the mail yesterday! it was filled with letters and a letter that I think was sent for sisterChen. I think I'll send that to her as soon as I can. :) haha. but you all sound like you're doing AMAZING :) hahaha. Jonjon sounds like the biggest skux delux EVAH! haha. Skux Delux = Stud Muffin = Kanchinam (korean) = Kingka = Shui ge = Jon. haha. Tearing it up at the dances, winning things. Man, I don't even remember how old you are! I still don't accept the fact that i'm 20. Old people are 20. I'm not old. Thus, I am still 18. :) are you 16 yet? oh no! I'm sorry I forgot. I can tell you the ages of my investigators, but I can't even remember your age Jon! :( NOOOOOOOO. Don't get too good at dancing. You'll beat me and then I'll have to find soemthing else to do. haha Fun fact: Missionaries wear flip-flops in Tonga. :) And Faikangas. JEALOUS This week, we had a lot of stuff to do. We're starting to get more trust from Bishop ( I think It helps that I've been in this area for... I don't know how long) and we've set up weekly updates with bishop in order to increase the available referals and stuff. We baptize very few australian people here sadly.... I think I've taught two that have been baptized.... yep... two :) YEH! One of the people we teach though: Chinese man, was so funny. He was a former from the Eight Mile Plain area and so we just picked him up and strted teaching him because he was in our area. We wanted to get to know him, and so we asked him his religious background to see if he had any belief in god or anything. He said: "No, I am Chinese party" (In reference to Politics) Our fellowship, unfamiliar with the use of the word, wgot really excited all of a sudden, and asked: "So... how is a chinese party different from an Australian party"(refering to party parties :)) hahahaha. we all started laughing and the fellowship didn't get it so we had to explain it to him, and then he was really embarassed, and it was funny. I think you had to be there for it to be funny, now that I think about it. hrm.... oh well, I enjoyed it. ALSO we got blessed by a... ex-muslim anglican priest... who... might have been off his rocker a little bit. I started talking to him in the middle of the QWueen street mall. He responded by saying: "I prayed you here!" and commenced speaking in tongues. It was really awkward, but I didn't want to offend him, but he was attracting undue negative attention, SO I shook his hand, thanked him for his time and started walking away. He followed, unfortunately, and continued to bless me, so I just stopped and acted like I was taking care of a crazy person until his blessing was over. Then he asked me how I felt, and so I I just told him that I felt good, gave him a pamphlet and ran away.... with my companion. He just laughed at me. Evidently this same guy has been praying missionaries to him and blessing them for a while. ElderTito has seen him. OH NOOOO. Well, yep. So these are the good things of serving in the city. YEAH! we get to meet some interesting people. We gave a guy named Tyler a Chinese name: Tai La... TOO SPICY I also met a friendly chinese man named Octavius. :) I thought he was joking, but when I called him, it went to his voice mail, and it told me that his name, truly was octavius gao. fun. SO we are meeting with octavius soon. after his finals are over. GRRRR finals. hahaha. they are so bad for us. it kills me. but it 's a lot of fun finding because they will jump at any chance to speak english. So, I use it as a great finding tool, and WHAM, we have potential investigators. :) hororah. hahaha. Ok, about the pictures. I'm not sure... once again, which pictures I attached. I know one of them isElderMalohifo'ou... Verina's protector. But they're all taken at a zone meeting we had. haha. Interviews training was so much fun. We had this thing where we did a bunch of games after we did a role play about how to do them. We tought them like commandments. I wish I could send you a video, but one of the activities was thatElderLindberg (Swedish man) had to put tights on his head. Down one foot of the tights was a tennis ball. The objective in putting these tights on his head was to use the tennis ball to knock over six bottles. It was really funny. hahaha. He did it, which is really impressive. haha. I promise our zone is doing good work :) we just like to have fun while we're at it :) The mission is the FUNNEST place in the world! YEH! I realized how heavy and serious the title of missionary is this week. We decided to change an appointement to meet at the temple because we wanted to give that investigator a tour, but he didn't show up. As we were about to leave, we recieved a call from one of the members we had met int he city. She was from burpengary (way out of our area) and wanted a blessing. We agreed and she asked us if we could come to the church in a few minutes. Since we were already there, it was perfect timing. We gave her a blessing. As we gave her the blessing, I couldn't understand why she wouldn't call someone from her ward, but then i realized that being missioanries, we hold a big responsibility! and All the members know it. We had a really great miracle story this week. There have been so many miralces, I keep forgetting to tell you about them, but I probably should become much better at it. This week, we were supposed to have basically no lessons because all of our investigators are taking their final exams and don't havee time to meet with us. We kept calling people, and everybody just fell through, so we decided to go through some of the former investigators and old potentials. I was going through my potentials sheets when i came across a girl named Yenni. From Hong Kong. We decided to call her, and she had TIME! it was wonderful. we set up a meeting with her, and got fellowship and everything. When we met with her, she sat down and told us that she really wanted to know! that's all she said. She just really wanted to KNOW. I didn't know what that meant at first, so we started teaching her about God. It was perfect for her because she had really wanted to understand about God. Everything she had researched before didn't make any sense until we brought up the fact that he is our father in Heaven. It was such an amazing moment in the lesson when it clicked with her. I know that there are so many people out there just like her. They're so confused by the many different things they hear about after-livesGod, and other spirital matters. What we have can sate that confusing and that thirst for knowledge. It can fill a hole in their lives! They may not know it, but the gospel can fill anything in our lives. It can comfort us when we are week. It can lift up the heavy hand. Lighten the hearts of the hurt, and encourage the burdened mind. I love being able to see the gospel change the lives of those around me. It is such an amazing and wonderful work! I love you all and hope you all have a wonderful week this week. Keep praying! The Lord knows where we all stand. If we stand with Him, he will be behind us all the way! Love you all! ElderChen
WOW! ok, first, I must apologize for the late email :P Yesterday was the queen's birthday: Diamond Jubilee :) hahaha. and so none of the libraries or poublic facilities were open :P. Unfortunately, we were unable to do anything at all on that day, so now, we are sending you our emails.... I'm talking like I'm reporting on all the missionaries. Our whole district is with us in the library right now emailing their families... so if you know any of their families :D you'll all get the emails at the same time. ANyway.... sorry about that. I totally forgot about the queens birthday. I totally forgot I even had a queen right now. I wasn't sure what everybody was getting all excited about and then they told me that it was the queens birthday, then i realized that there was a queen. So. yep. All hail the queen.... I'm not sure which queen it even is right now. I was actually thinking about that... so here's a bit of food for thought: does the day of celebration change from year to year? and would they also celebrate the king's birthday? what if they had to celebrate several times a year because one queen died, and the other one's birthday was after she became queen. these are unimportant questions that I was curious about hahahaha. anyways. YAY! SO yeah... so here are some pictures... I forget which ones I attached... I don't know if I attached a picture, but I got more shoes from more members :) I got some cleats ( they call them boots here) so I can play touch now. Legitimately! hahaha. I'm still really bad. My hands are like giant bricks. I can't catch the ball so I like to run around in circles and psych everybody out. and laugh. it's really fun to play with poly elders and members.... and even non-members because they just laugh at everything. It's funny because they will laugh at their own team, themselves, everything. Especialy in basketball. If anybody does some crazy move or messes up, they'll all just start laughing together. most of the time we non-poly elders get confused, but they're laughing too hard to explain. so we call them FOBS. Fresh Off the Boat. :) We've actually started picking it up and laughing at everything as well, but that's just because we're around so many. Australia is like a gigantic Island. the polies make it feel like an Island too. Also the fact that all the Elders here are either Polynesian, New Zealander, or Utahn. hahaha. Oh yeah, there's another missionary in our zone who is the FUNNIESTelderever. He's from tonga, AND lehi at the same time... which is kinda weird, because he's the size of atongan, but has the skin tone of a white man, and really big eyes. Anyway, he has a voice that sounds like Optimus Prime from Transformers... hahahaha, it's SOOOO funny. Anyway, we were playing touch rugby( we just call it "touch" so if I say: "touch" it means rugby) and I thought he wouldn't be very fast, but he's REALLY fast. Well... When he runs, he puts on this REALLY scary face called a pukanha (mowry). it's really scary. You know the haka? When people do the haka, they put on a pukhana! GAH! anyway, it looks like he's going to kill you. and he runs really fast for his size. I was playing on the wing, and he was in my lane, but when he got the ball, I was on the wrong side of him and so I had to chase him. He started throwing up MASSIVE clods of dirt from his cleats and they started hitting me, so I slowed down, and so he got at try(touchdown) and when he did, he just dived into the water lining the field( because it was raining) anyway... he acts like a FOB, but that's because he was born in Tonga. There's another Tongan FOBElderhere and he's SO funny. He doesn't really speak much english at all because he was raised in Tonga and had never had the opportunity to leave. So, he doesn't speak english. Anyway, evidently in tonga, they like to climb up coconut trees to grab coconuts, then slide down after they've grabbed the ones they want. Since many of the palm trees here look like coconut trees, he'll randomly drop his bag and climb up a tree. haha, "There are no coconuts in these treesElderVAKA!" so he'll slide down and then look at his shoe, realize that there's a big hole where he slid down the tree and say: "oh no... my shoe is broke." hahahaha. he's the man. And he's built like an Ox... If you ever hear about anotherElderthat Carries massive weights in their bags just to work out... let me know... :) he's so funny. he'll even work out when he's in the car. he can't drive. I don't think there are too many cars in Tonga from what I hear. Oh yeah... the other picture is of us in the car!ElderLi,ElderLam,ElderHadfield, and I all in the car. I'm driving (strangely... wrong side of the car... bleh. well, there's something called green stone... I'm not sure what it is, but i think it's jade. anyways, you can only get it in New Zealand, evidently, so he got some, and that's something I got in a package. :) so we're showng that off... while I drive.... hahaha, jokes. we were stopped. I think... I can't actually remember. So yeah. Well.... the mission slowed down a LOT since all of our investigators are in tests right now :( hahaha. It's ok though because get to spend A LOT of time finding. I love finding. It is SO much fun. Even though a lot of people aren't interested in the message we have for them, we still get to talk to them and hopefully leave an impression on their minds. It's such a great opportunity. I keep having to think about all the parables that jesus tought us in thebible. They have so much application in our lives. It's great. There are so many different parables about finding something that was lost. It shows us how important missionary work is to the Lord. I'm so glad we've continued that emphasis into these times and have SO many missioanries. Elderhadfield and I were talking the other day while were traveling to a meeting, and we thought about how many name tags there are out in the world. Current missionaries, return missionaries, etc. It's such an awe-inspiring thought. There are currently around 55,000 missionaries in the world actively serving right now. That doesn't include past missionaries. Isn't that great?! Our family alone has three! WOW. that's a lot of tags. And missionaries too. Sice we've had a lot of finding time, I haven't really had a chance to teach too much this week, but we were able to talk to a lot of really fun people. One of which was a columbian named Jeff. Figure that. I decided to talk to him, even though he's not asian, just beacuse I kinda felt like he looked like somebody I knew. Which is always a good sign :). When I started talking to him, he was a little bit tentative and I could tell he didn't really trust me too much, so I spent a little more time trying to get to know him. Without me even bringing up church (and I'm sure he couldn't read my tag because it's in chinese) he started talking about church and stuff. :\. He said that he was born a catholic and disagreed with a lot of what they taught! eh said that: "in the bible, we read one thing, and the father teaches different" I was really excited, but I controlled it and asked him a few more questions. He's been looking for the truth for a long time now, since he was 13 (I actually don't know how old he is right now, but he seemed pretty old) and had never found it. When I invited him to learn more about the true church, he told me that he was tired of looking and now does martial arts. I was really sad, but continued talking with him. I wanted to give him a restoration pamphlet to show him that we understood how he felt, but couldn't find one, however, I came across the old "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet. I didn't know why I had stumbled across that one, but I decided to give it to him. When I gave it to him and explained that it contained the moral standards for the youth of our church, he became really excited and told me that since he didn't have a religion, he had been praying for guidelines on how to live a good clean life. It was perfect. I got his number and we'll see where he goes. He is SUCH an amazing guy. I love him! I love doing this work! It's so much fun! It's pretty difficult, but it's SO rewarding to see the fruits of our labor. It's even rewarding even if we don't get to see the fruits of our harvest. It's not as difficult as I thought it would be, but i think that's just because I've been blessed with a lot of fun people to meet, and really fun companions. they're the best. Watch... now I'm going to get a crazy companion :P hahaha. But it'll be fun. I love just waking up and having no doubts or second thoughts about the day. I know that doesn't make too much sense, but I'll try to explain my thoughts. When we wake up, we don't have to worry about anything going wrong as long as we've planned by the spirit, and live worthy of its guidance. Yes, we have to go out and do, and that's how inspiration comes, but as long as we're working hard, living worthy, and praying often, there should be no doubts, and no regrets at the end of the day! It's wonderful to know that our lives are completely in the hands of the Lord. Sometimes, we do something that makes us fee pretty bad or causes regrets, but then, just like Nephi said: all these trials, tribulations, and afflictions shall be for our benefit!!!! As long as we concecrate ourselves to the Lord. and that is exactly what I get to do for the next while :) Oh man, my thoughts are all over the place. I just don't know how to put into words what I want to say. haha :) Well, that's my fantasticly fun week that I had. :) it was pretty crazy. Slow, but crazy. We're having winter festivals down here! They made an ice skating rink in the middle of king george square, which kills our finding there, but that's ok. we go to other places. That's the great thing about the city. No matter WHERE we go, there are asians! I LOVE ASIANS!!! THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!!!!! haha. And columbians too :). They're pretty much the coolest people in the world. Brazilians are really funny too. but I think I'm the most scared of French people... they are SOOOO french. I can't even understand it. I just contacted a french guy the other day and I was SO confused. He used normal words, but they sounded SO weird. it almost sounds like german... but not german, becuase it's french... which makes it.... yeah. ANYWAY! I love you all! :D I had a wonderful 20th birthday!!!! (OH MY GOODNESS... I'm not a teenager anymore... that's alittle bit weird.) I kinda feel really old. I remember when I looked back and saw the old 21 year old return missionaries and thought that they were a menace to society cuz they were too old. But now... I'm that old... fun fact. Love, ElderChen ps. Thanks so much for the great emails... they always make me super happy :) pps. The other elders told me that when they heard mom talking to me on SKYPE they thought she was like a teenager hahahahahaha. YAY!!!! at least they didn't think she was my wife :)
YAY! thank you so much for all the birthday wishes! it made my day :D haha. I love getting such wonderful things from you all! and yes, I am no longer a teenager :*( NOOOO. I'm getting old. Sister langeland called me today to wish me a happy birthday and then started making fun of me because... yeah... I still look like I'm 16.... sad days... but that's ok! :) we all age. it was a fun phone conversation. She's the best :) Sister Langeland is such a wonderful.... mission president's wife! she is so funny. She was a nurse and President Langeland was a Doctor, and I guess that's that. hahaha. It was so funny because they always tell the most awkward stories about working together and stuff. I love them. They are the coolest.
OH WOW!!! YAY! Bro. Mitton is our new bishop?! I LOVE Bro.... Bishop Mitton. He's the best!!!! And he served in Australia. :) Which makes him really cool :) and both of our neighbors are in the bishopric as well! how awesome is that!!! I met Micheal garry's fellow missionary here in Australia... it might've been Jordan Hardy/Harly or Dan Hart... I can't remember. You'll have to ask him or something.
That waterfall pictures looks super awesome! hahaha, jeff! Killing it like a blind man reading. I always look up to Jeff while I'm out here. I've been writing some Elders in hong Kong and they keep updatin gme on evidence of Jeff's(ElderChen)'s pressence in Hong Kong hahaha. You must've left a really big mark on Hong Kong. hahaha :P
Verina!!!! i'm still super upset about your biking accident >:( hahaha, just kidding. But please be more careful! :D I'm glad you're going to have a full recovery though. Missionaries are funny because we know that God is protecting us so we do some really weird things.... anyway. Whenever I get in a biking accident, I never even get hurt or anything, and most of the time, my suit and clothes don't even get scratched hahaha. YEAH!!!!! yay for protection.
Oh yeah! Verina, can you do something for me? I know you'll only have like 10 hrs to do this, but make sure you say thank you LOTS to Meagan for me! She sent me a package and it got to me TODAY! it was awesome! it was perfect timing. So say thanks to her for me. and maybe get me her address :) haha yeah... thanks! I know she's going into the MTC in a bit.
Jon! did you get your wisdom teeth out or what happened to you?! you look like an old woman! :P hahaha jokes, you'r ethe man. Everything mom tells me in her letters to me say such good things about you! you must really be doing super well! keep up the good work! I've found some stuff over here that I really want to get you, but you're going to have to wait till next year when I get it to you :p hahaha
WELL! not too much happened this week... just kidding. :p hahaha a lot always happens out on a mission. We have an elder that almost got into three fights this week, one of the investigators tried to stab some missionaries with a butter knife, after which he tried stabbing himself, we had a baptism, we had a baptism fall through because she drank tea :( and we had an investigator tell us that he loves alcohol too much, but he really wants to get baptized...... hrm.... hahaha. so. story time :D.
There's this really upset man that hangs out in the botanical gardens and always asks us for money. when we don't give him money, he starts swearing a lot and trying to make a big scene, and sometimes he'll try to get physical and everything. well, this elder is Tongan, and... yeah... he's tongan. He's the man. Well, he was asked for money and then the guy started trying to get physical, (ps... side-note, this tongan weighs 140 kg's... I don't know what that is in lbs, but, he's big) and then yeah... one thing lead to another and then the missionary's companion pulled him back and stuff.... that was a close call.
The other time, some people were yelling at us, and the same tongan elder, dropped his bag and started walking towards the guy, and he got really scared, and started running away.... sooo.... funny stories :) We all laughed about it later.
the stabbing one was because the guy was crazy. It was actually his baptismal interview day, but he had been drinking so they told him that they needed to work with him a lot more before they could baptize him, etc, he got really upset and stood up. The same tonganelder (wow....) told him that if he didn't put the knife down, he'd break his arm... so. yeah....
ANYWAY, we're not just teaching crazy people! I promise, and it really is quite safe! :) I love it here. There are just a few crazy people, just like always :)
Well, do you remember Michelle? the one I baptized back in March? well, she is THE BEST! We have a lot of investigators that we bring to church but can't ever find fellowship for. Last week, there was a sister from Thailand that we weren't sure about getting fellowship for, but then Michelle started going CRAZY! It was the best! Michelle's from Vietnam, but can speak a bit of Thai, so they got along really well and started talking. I love seeing those we baptize help others feel the spirit!!!!!!
well, I've gotta go :( sorry, but I'll write more next week, and attach pictures.. I don' tknow how to use this computer too well.