Has it already been a week? Where'd the time go?
I passed off the Lesson 2 language assessment this week in Phase 1. It was a little more shaky than the first, but I did pretty well. Elder Chia was my evaluator. For those of you who know Elder Jackson, Elder Chia was one of his old companions. He is from Singapore, and served a year in the army before coming on his mission, where his job was to make different kinds of explosives like mortars and bombs. He's super cool, and really nice. He also has a pretty thick Singaporean accent, but he doesn't use it in front of us. Someday we'll get him to use it...
Elder Hellberg is his companion. One of the most awesome guys ever. He is a super stellar singer, and can play classical guitar. He has a very quick witted sense of humor too. He's only two generations (two move calls) older than me. The other day he was talking with us and a few other Elders at a Zone conference about how his Trainer had kidney stones. When they went to the doctor, the doctor asked him if he had eaten any peanut butter. He then went on to describe how they had this gigantic tub of peanut butter at home that tasted exactly like Nutter Butter filling, which sounded remarkably like a particularly large tub of peanut butter we have at home. Apparently that stuff causes kidney stones. And I've been eating a lot of that peanut butter. I guess I better lay off the stuff for a little while.
Elder Wilson of the Quorum of the Seventy (General Authority/leader of the Church) toured our mission this week. In one of the meetings, he expounded to us the importance of reading the Book of Mormon with investigators. He would tell stories of people that took time to read with others, and as a result both were edified and grew together. As a companionship we are pushing more for this now. We actually got Rich set up to read with the Stake Patriarch twice a week. (A Patriarch is a member with a special responsibility to receive revelation for other individuals in the Stake.)
I forgot to mention that in my first week on island, I found a well-cooked cockroach in my soup. That's just one of those times when you have to scoop it out and keep on eating. I didn't have the heart to tell them, the food was so cheap anyway. Good meals here are literally about 2 US dollars (60 kuai).
One day this lady drove up to me while my companion was talking to someone else, so I started talking with her. She looked about in her 50's, all smiles. She was really interested in our church, and asked me for information about where it was and what time they met. She then asked me my name, which she wrote down on a church tract I had given her. And then she asked me how old I was. I told her I was 19. She gasped, said "I'm 18!" and gave me a high-five. I didn't believe it for a second. And then she asked me where I lived. I said, "Lingya--glad to meet you. Hope you can come to church sometime. Bye!" I grabbed my companion and started riding off. You can't be too careful with girls. Some girls in English class asked me for my phone number so they could practice English. I offered to give them the sister missionaries' number. They said "Never mind."
I've decided I need to give you a quick guide to missionary vocabulary, so that I can use it more in later emails. This includes missionary slang and words particular to our mission due to the language.
Dad = Your trainer, or first companion. He teaches you the ropes of missionary life.
Mom = Your second companion. He goes in and corrects everything your Dad did wrong.
Born = Your first area. I was "born" in Lingya.
Died = Your last area, or someone that has left. Elder Sanford "died" in Lingya. President Bishop understandably doesn't like this terminology because some people will say stuff like, "I 'killed' my last companion."
Larry = To return to your mission and marry someone you met on your mission. By the way, in case you did not know, we do not date on our missions.
Trunky = To be overcome with thinking about home or life outside of missionary life. This is a reference to missionaries that traveled overseas by boat, and when they left they would throw all their possessions inside a trunk.
Babylon songs = Songs that have no relation to the gospel. Not that it isn't okay to sing those songs, but they often have the tendency to make one "trunky".
Chinglish = A mixture of Chinese and English.
"Fang"-ed = A reference to a Chinese phrase: "Fang women de gezi", or "Placed our pidgeon", which means to "stand up" someone. If we set an appointment with an investigator, and they afterwards stood us up, we would say they "'Fang'-ed" us.
"Shuai" = Chinese word for handsome.
"Li Hai" (Pronounced "Lee Hy") = Chinese word for cool or awesome.
"Pei ke" = To sit in with someone and help teach a lesson, or in reference to a person who does this.
"Ba" = Suggestion particle. Tagged on the end of a sentence, it notifies the listener that the speaker is presenting a suggestion or a thought. I could say, "I have 4000 NT in my bank account, ba," which translates to, "I'm pretty sure I have 4000 NT in my bank account."
We found a family this week!!! They are the Deng family, and there is a mother and father and two daughters, ages 9 and 15. We went to their house and taught them about the Plan of Salvation, and afterwards talked about prayer. The mother was gone at work but came home after we had just invited the father to offer the closing prayer. We asked if she could join, but she declined, saying she was really busy. The best part was that the kids all said, "Mom, come on, pray with us!" After a lot of coaxing from the kids, the mom came and joined us. The father then offered a wonderful, spiritual prayer. This past sunday, the father and the younger daughter came to church (the older daughter slept in). He told us afterwards that he wanted his other daughter and his wife to come with him next week. Woohoo! I'm so excited for them!
One of the Sisters' investigators asked me to baptize her. I didn't baptize Rich (he requested Brother Oba to do it), so this will be my first. Here we go!
Friends leaving on missions or in the process of filling out papers: tell me!!! I want to know what's going on! I want to be excited for you! And it always helps to have another pen pal on your mission too.
I love the gospel and the hope that it brings. I am so blessed and privileged to be a part of this great work. On my own, I can't do anything. I'm like a paintbrush. But with the touch of the Master's hand, through me and his other servants he can paint a masterpiece. I am so glad I can be a missionary! I can't wait to take the skills and gospel principles I learn now and be able to continue to use them and build upon them for the rest of my life.
“I didn't know you could take bikes on escalators until now.”
“A good view of Zouying.”
“In the Pagoda.”
“Me, Elder Cox, Elder Hellberg, and Elder Chia.”
“Typical Buddhist Temple. They are everywhere!”
“Names written on a wall outside a Pagoda.”
“Our Apartment complex.”