:) Another Week in Hong Kong

Note: Sara's address has changed because they just completed a new mission office. I'm sure if you have sent letters to the old address, they will still get to her, but future letters should go to the address posted on the right.

Sooo its Pday again!! YAY! We also get to go to the temple for the first time today! I am so ooo excited! This week has been amazing. We had some new stuff we learned that the apostles have sent out to every mission everywhere- some areas to work on and some things to change. Like inviting to baptism from the very beginning. We started applying these things in our lessons on tuesday and we have seen so many miracles.

I love this work, even though my language skills aren't amazing and I am obviously facing challenges communicating with people. Its kind of nice sometimes though, because when people start being rude to me on the hingtit I don't understand them, because I don't know any bad words in cantonese! haha! I try to write down the stuff I don't understand and last week I wrote down something that was NOT something I want to learn how to say. Needless to say, elder N who was helping me translate the stuff (he's half chinese and from britain) thought it was hilarious.

I dont know if I mentioned this before, but my district is all really young, my companion has been here for less than a year, and she is the oldest one! So it's really cool because none of us are really set in our ways of "THIS is HOW to Do Missionary WORK the way I WANT". you know? It's really fluid and everything works together really well. I love it.

Today I also am going to go get my ID card! WOOP WOOP! And eat this thing called a gatjaibeng or something like that. its essentially a waffle with peanutbutter and sweetened condensed milk on it or something, but apparently is to die for. This week I ran out of money for 1 day because we are supposed to get $ on the 25th but since it was a sunday the thing went in later, so we didnt get $ till yesterday. It was a bit stressful but now i am going to always save a little bit extra in case. it was only one day but still kind of a pain!

Yesterday was so stormy! I love it when it's stormy because it's not too hot! And there is rain and thunder and lightning all day! We also had service at crossroads again, and our job was to clean out some storm drains before the big rains hit. Unfortunately (or fortunately from my perspective) the rain hit right after we got there and so we were digging mud and debris and roots out while the roads around the compound thing were flooding. SO FUN! haha! except there were a couple of larvae things I found while using my hands to get the mud out. Not my favorite. But it was a little adventure. LOVED it.

Then the guy in charge of us while we volunteer got a call. There was a black rain warning in the area (black rain = worst kind of rain in HK) and i REALLY want to see it. but when its black rain, us missionaries arent allowed to leave our buildings. Schools in HK are closed if there is a black rain warning. So apparently it is pretty legit rainfall. Again, i say i WANT to see it because i never have. :( Where we were, there was no black rain, just heavy rain and lightning and thunder! So we had to leave early and head back to our apartments. And we had to cancel our dinner appointment and spend the evening in studying and making phone calls to check up on our investigators etc.

I talked for a while to this recent convert to the church, and she asked if i spoke any mandarin. I said I know like 2 sentences and then told them to her. "I am a student" "You are a teacher" blabla. SOoooooooo. then she told me I sound better mandarin than cantonese!! WHAT??? oh dear. Cantonese will be the end of me. haha! No but it is hard but the amount I know... there is no way I'm learning this quickly without God's help. I've tried to learn languages before, and this is one of the hardest in the world. I know that He helps me every day.

So my companion and I were working on our message for the family we were going to eat with the other day, and we were reading in Ether about when they were prepping to leave after the tower of babel. The first way God guided the brother of jared was to tell him what he needed to do, and how to do it. The second time, the brother of jared asked for an answer to a specific question and was given a specific answer. The third time, the brother of jared asked for another answer to a specific question and God let him work it out on his own. These three ways of recieving revelation helped the brother of jared grow spiritually. Sometimes God will tell us what we need to do without us even asking, sometimes He'll answer our prayers specifically, but even more difficult are the times where he expects us to use our ability to choose to make good decisions. We have the ability to reason and come to conclusions. Sometimes, that is our act of faith. I know I've sometimes prayed about things and have felt like I got no answer, but then when I move forward trusting in God, that shows Him my willingness to do my best here on earth, I want to be proactive about life. So everyone... be proactive in life! Always move forward! :)

I am loving Hong Kong. Every minute of every day even though it is sometimes hard for me to get out of my comfort zone. Every minute of every day is precious. Use all your minutes and don't waste a second. That is my goal here, and for the rest of my life too!

-- Sister Black! Baahk jimuih!


July 23

So this week in Hong Kong, we had some amazing stuff go down. We had a visit from President Uchtdorf, a member of the first presidency! It was so cool! They're not opening mainland to missionaries yet (which was the big hope) but he did talk about how the temple's location is a miracle, because trains coming in from china go straight to it. He also talked about how his wife is a convert to the church. As he told the story I finally figured out what my motto for my mission is. Harriet, (now sis. uchtdorf) was living on the 4th and last floor of an apartment building with her family when the missionaries found them and taught them. On their way up knocking doors, they had no success. But they didn't quit, they kept going. Fourth Floor, Last Door. I don't care if it seems like I am having no success, I am going to continue pushing forward and sharing my testimony of these things, because I know they are true. I know that this church is the same church Jesus Christ organized when he was on the earth. I know that as people rejected his apostles, God took his priesthood from the earth. I know that this is a pattern that has occured throughout time, and that in 1820 he brought His church back and again gave mankind the authority to act in His name. I know Jesus Christ is my savior and that anyone who wants to know if these things are true can find out by acting in faith and asking him if it is true or not. I am so grateful I get to give up a little bit of my time here to help other people find this out too, I just wish I had been more open with others and understood before the many ways in which this gospel has blessed me in my life. So-- 4th floor, Last door. I won't quit!

On a little bit lighter note, this Preparation Day, our zone and another zone had a soccer match. I was surprised at how well I did, even though I haven't played soccer in forever (minus intramurals which doesnt really count because i hardly played at all!) It was so much fun but SO HOT/HUMID. We've been having typhoon warnings like every day, but its like it will rain for 5 min to an hour, and then stop and then be hot again, then start pouring again. I am still waiting to see "black rain" where you're not even allowed to leave your buildings or something like that because its so heavy.

The food is SO good here (for the most part, its actually more like.. either AMAZINGly good or practically inedible, but there are very few things I've struggled with). We eat rice boxes a lot, and these delicious breads from a bakery by the church. But the other day at FHE they had these whole chicken wings (bones, ligaments, skin, you name it) for the "refreshment" and I almost died. I can't handle chicken skin in the states. So. . . *drumroll* I basically peeled the skin around the meat and stuck it on the bottom when i put the bones down so it looked like I ate it. I'm pretty sure that's their favorite part too. But YEAH go me! I ate it haha! and I eat mushrooms, and bell peppers, and hate every bite but I do it! haha! :) I love trying all the different things.

When we are meeting people contacting, it is usually on the HingTit, which is like this little tram thing. We aren't teaching very many people at the moment, but we are teaching one girl the after baptism lessons, and we are planning an epic activity for the end of the transfer. Hawaiian themed, complete with cakewalk, karaoke, hula hooping, crafts, go-fishing, photobooth, etc etc etc. We really want to update the ward pictures too so this should give us a good opportunity. :) I am so excited. I hope it all goes through.

Mission life isn't exactly what I thought it would be, in some ways better, in some ways not as good. I had these grand visions of meeting thousands of people, but logistically we just can't do that. There is so much planning that goes into everything too. My days are so short but so long. I love it though, I love knowing that I'm doing exactly what the Lord needs me to do right now.

I am trying to learn the language but it's pretty hard. I'm not stressed about it at all, but I wished we could speak it more often. I understand pretty much everything in lessons though.

Stuff that is different in China:
Every time you're in an elevator, the people don't just wait for the door to close, they ALWAYS push the close doors button. without fail. I'll try to come up with another one for next week.

Again, I love getting letters, soo... don't be hesitant about giving people my address! :) I am starting to get absorbed in the work more and more every day and I love it.

probably the best thing i learned to do in the MTC was to just smile. Like.. . . even when it is hard and you don't feel like smiling, just do it because it makes other people happy and it also makes you happy. Studies show it. :) SO I leave you all with a SMILE!! :)

Love, Sister black


Hello again

So this week, my first actual week in Hong Kong, was rather crazy. I've been super busy and such, its really humid here, and I sweat SO much. but its weird sweat because usually its the rest of my body not my armpits that are sweating. like water condenses on me... im sure thats what it is haha! well if that was TMI whatever.

Our mission is different in that our day starts at 7 not at 630, so everything is bumped back a half hour. I eat a lot of fruit, and everything else with chopsticks. Dragonfruit is my favorite fruit here, and then there is this street food, like these grilled fish ball things on skewers, and then they dip them in this peanut sauce. oh yeah. yum.

We are teaching two 7yr olds and then a few other people too. they're so cute but have a hard time focusing. one of them is getting baptized this month. We have a goal to get 26 new investigators this transfer. hmmm...

oh the picture im sending you- for my first week here we had a summer missionary. Her name was sister C (yoyo was her english name) and she was a doll. We were out at the edge of the city the other day and we stopped this pohpoh (grandma... aka old lady) and asked her what she was up to. when she said she was going on a hike, we asked if we could join her. she turned back a ways in but we kept going and contacted all the way up this mountain. when we got to the end of the paved hiking trail we stopped. but we had contacted a few more people the entire way up and Yoyo and I taught this one lady a lesson! she took the picture for us that im sending you. Today we dropped her off back at the mission office by the temple, and then my companion and i had a singing practice. Elder Uchtdorf is coming! and I was lucky enough to get to be in the choir that will sing for him! :) Its funny because i prayed in the MTC that i'd be able to meet him haha! It was nice today to be there too because all the misionaries who had a summer missionary were there. So I got to see sister C, Sister L, Elder D, Elder J, and then all the sisters i know who are in the choir for elder uchtdorf.

I dont remember what i told you last week, but Elder W from my mtc district is in my zone so I see him every couple of days or so, and a sister, Sister M, from the district one transfer above us, is in my apartment and district. I misspelled where im serving last week, im in Tuen Mun, out in the new territories.

We did service yesterday and went to this place called crossroads. its like this charitable compound or something that helps refugees or something. They are really hippy dippy and we helped make this organic sustainable garden thing. you should google it. I donno what exactly it is. But i think ppl can pay to go on vacation and stay there and just like volunteer and stuff.

OK. so I think this is about it. ohhhh and i fasted last sunday with my district. the work is slower in our zone than in other zones numbers wise, so we are going to bring it back. anyways next fast sunday when you're fasting and feeling sorry for yourself, remember that there are people in the world who fast in 80 degree weather with tons of humidity... aka thirstier than heck. and im sure its even worse in places like the philippines than it is in HK.

There are so many miracles going on here, its unbelievable. It's hard being rejected all the time, but so rewarding when someone actually has interest. I am so grateful for my opportunity to serve. seriously. I love you all! have a fantastic week!! :)

oh also its really hard to type because im getting so used to writing things in pingyam phoenetically, that when i write i spell things like "git" instead of get, or tip instead of type. The language is coming, every day i understand more, so.. its all good. I love you lots again, remind ppl to write me!! :) Love you!

Sister black

ps. my first name was changed when i got to china, my new chinese name is Baahk Hyu Tohng. It means like White/brilliant/pure/clear Sunrise/daybreak. and the third character has no meaning as far as i know. cool huh!? I will have to attempt to write it sometime when i write you a letter!! Take care! Be good!

pps. pray that the mosquitos won't like to eat me anymore. Thanks!


Welcome to Hong Kong

Okay so the last 3 days are kind of a blur but I'll try my best to let you know what all has happened. After I talked to you on Monday night, we flew to Taiwan. It was like 14 hours or something on a plane, and I actually was able to sleep quite a bit. When they served breakfast I had the option between an egg omelet or a traditional chinese seafood porridge. Of course I chose the seafood porridge. It wasn't terrible but definitely not the best (1. seafood porridge is what it is called 2. its airplane food).

When we arrived in Taiwan we went to find something to eat. I had a delicious bun with bbq pork in it, and we waited for our next plane. I am always amazed at how simple customs is in other countries. On my way to Hong Kong I met two really nice ladies going there on business. They helped me finish writing my testimony in my chinese book of mormon (in characters. WOOP WOOP) and then I gave it to the one named V as we were leaving the plane.

Then we went to meet the mission president/APs. They were all really nice, and I was on fire! We got outside finally and the heat was insaaaane. Like it isn't even THAT hot but because it is so humid here its almost like you cant breath the air is so wet and your whole body constantly feels sticky. By this time it was 1030am HK time (and 830pm utah time) so I was quite tired. But on we pushed. We had a bit of an orientation and stuff, and then were each given a book of mormon and we headed out to get our residency permits. I met so many awesome people! There was this man from HK whose grandparents were from India who was a hindu and spoke perfect english but was from Hong Kong. We talked a while and he told me a bit more about Hinduism and such, and how he believed it was true but not at the same time. Mostly he just believed in reincarnation. Then my number got called.

After that I met a few more people, a couple of moms and their children. They were so sweet. My cantonese is horrible but they all loved talking to me. I even was able to give one a book of mormon. She and her daughter were really kind. We laughed a lot and I was glad to be able to give it to them. Also everyone kept telling me that my cantonese was so good. but for real i know its not so good, but I'm trying. I really am trying. And then we went street contacting. This was really hard because we had a street display and most people wouldn't even look at us. But all the rejections are worth it when one person will give you even a moment of their time. There was one man, M, from mainland china who i spoke to who i gave a pamphlet on the plan of salvation, which is probably the most amazing thing I know about. I lovvvvvveeeee the plan of salvation! It was all I had on me, and its especially cool because in mainland china you can't preach the gospel, but if they come here they can receive it!

Then we went back and ate dinner, had interviews, and taught the APs one principle from the 1st lesson. We decided to teach about the book of mormon, but like... I was SO tired by this time I pretty much had a breakdown. I started laughing SO hard right as we were about to teach them and we had to go out into the hall until i could get myself under control. I was pretty much dyyying. Afterwards the APs had been taught by everyone they came in and asked everyone if they had any more questions. Me practically dead by this point asked when we could go to sleep. They let us go to bed a bit early (thank goodness) and i was so tired i just brushed my teeth and washed my face even though i hadn't showered in like 3 days by this point. I slept so much but it was so nice. This morning we found out who our trainers are. Mine is named sister E and she's from Washington. I'm in the same apartment as Sister M from the district at the MTC just older than us, and her companion as well. Apparently we have the nicest apartment in the entire mission too! My first area is Tuen Muen (say it toon-moon), which is in the New Territories. The only other person I know in my zone is Elder W. His area borders mainland and is just northeast of mine i think. I really like my companion so far. I think we'll work well together, and I am planning on working hard. today was kind of tough on my though and I think I could do better. It was really nice too because we saw almost everyone from the older district... actually i think i might have seen them all... Yeah. I saw them all!! :) I just love them!

Then we headed to Tuen Muen. We went to meet up with the elders to go shopping and to the library for computers, but ended up watching the best two years for quite a while before heading out of the church. We bought some food and now im on the computer. apparently we are teaching an investigator tonight a first lesson. I am excited about it, and just hope I am able to follow the spirit so I can teach with it and meet this person's needs. I am so blessed to be here in this wonderful country. It is going to be a lot of hard work, but I know that God will help me. I know the people who've gone before me will help me. Thanks for your prayers!

Love, Sister Black


Sara is in Hong Kong!

On Monday, Sara called us from the Salt Lake airport on her way to Hong Kong. She is very excited to be on her way there. We got to hear her share her testimony and tell us about Joseph Smith's first vision in Cantonese. It was really pretty to listen to. She called again from a layover in Los Angeles and told my parents that her group had already placed a few Book of Mormons either on the plane or at the Salt Lake/ LA airports. She should have arrived in Hong Kong after 30 hours of traveling or so some time this morning. All letters should now be mailed to the Hong Kong address listed on the right side of this page.