November 18 2010

I don't even know where to start with this last week. On saturday we hiked Lion Rock. It was awesome! We went with the young men and women. So anyways on the way up we met this mormon-hater man who was yelling at us that we were evil and stuff like that, but we kept going, and then when we got to the top, it was AWESOME. So a few min after we reached the top, all of the sudden we see this monkey. Now it wasn't like a cute cuddly looking monkey this monkey was scary. Like mangy evil came out of the depths of not-a-happy-place scary. Anyways, not really that bad, but still not nice looking. So I decide I'm going to take a picture with him when he comes walking around me. and as I sit down with my hand out kind of like woah there's a monkey. i'm sitting aways away from him, you can't tell much in the picture, but he's behind me and back and to the side a bit. So RIGHT after this picture was taken the monkey like springs out at me and scratches my arm. I didn't bleed, just had some bright red lines down my arm thank goodness. But I never would have thought I'd get attacked by a monkey. The hike was good, there are also a few more pictures attached from it.

Last week I also recieved a letter from my portuguese class friend, EJ. he gave me an international contact- his cousin's girlfriend is here studying at law school. So since our appointment had canceled we decided to pay her a visit. We had a fireside at 630 so we had to make it pretty quick and really hope that 1. the guards would let us up to her apt, and 2. she would be home and willing to see us. Anyways, it all worked out and we visited her.She's so nice!! She knows it's all true and stuff i think she just doesn't want to get baptized yet. I don't know what is stopping her, but I hope that we can help her in some small way. The fireside was also really good. I was able to see a lot of my MTC district and sister E before she goes home. I am really sad to see her go because she was such an awesome missionary!!

Then monday night sister A and I went on splits. it was sister h's birthday and kwai chung ward was celebrating for her so she stayed while sis a and i went to Tsuen wan. We went and knocked some doors (very rare because most people live in huge buildings we don't go into) up in this area called sam shing or something like that. Anwyays, as we were making our way, everyone we met had the same last name- fu. eventually we asked someone, and come to find out that whole row of houses is one gigantic family! they were all super nice. On our way down though, there was a man walkign up but to one of the different levels right there- after talking to him briefly i was like "so are you a Fu too?" and he just stood and looked at me like i was crazy "i'm a chan. we don't like the fu's" and left it at that and kept walking up the hill. So just thought that was interesting- i can just imagine some modern day romeo and juliet stuff going down on the hillside in sam shing.

tuesday was moves calls, and we had this game where we had clues and then had to go find the paper with picture clues to our new companions/areas. My clue directed me to a map book for the primary kids, and My clue, well hard to explain but one of the pictures was of vegetables (Choi means vegetable in chinese, and my new sr companion is sister choi). I am now in ANOTHER tri-panionship, which makes this my 5th on my mission. I lived with sister choi before, but not my other companion, her trainee from last move, sister C. Sis Choi is from Hong Kong, she speaks english, cantonese, mandarin, and hakawa. Sister C's mom is a native cantonese speaker but she is from Tahiti. So I am now with a native and a half. It is going to be tough for sure, but I know I'm going to be able to learn a lot from them. My language is going to skyrocket if I put in the effort.

yesterday I got to climb bamboo scaffolding and paint a building for service at crossroads and got white paint in my hair. It was sunny and beautiful and we had a delicious dinner in tuen mun with some members and sister h's trainee who came a day early. We all came home, packed, and today I moved. I know there are a lot of possibilities for this move, with three of us, but still it is kind of frustrating to constantly have 3 of us together and having to work with three people's personalities instead of just two. The mission president came up to me while we were all sitting in the office and started telling me that with 3 you can do so much and its so good, etc etc etc. but personally to be honest I'm not much excited for this move except for the fact that sister choi is amazing, I'm living in the same apartment as my mtc companion, and I know i'll learn a lot.

I loved my last move/area/companions and am sad to have to go. just trying to look forward instead of back, and keep working hard. Thanks for all the love, letters and support!

Sister Black/Baahk jimuih


November 11 2010

Hello Again Everybody!

I hope things are going well. I really enjoyed this week. Last friday we had 24's exchanges, where our companionships change from noon-noon the next day. So sister m, from my older group in the MTC joined sister S and I in Kwai Chung and Tsuen Wan. It was so much fun! We went and visited two less-active members and made a few new appointments, then made vegetable soup and apple pie (in the huge toaster oven we just found under the sink last week!). Then saturday and sunday were super busy again, we found out that our zone needed to come up with a musical number for the mission tour on tuesday. Elder M headed it up and we performed "if you could hie to kolob" by michael mc-something or something like that. its actually a piano piece but we sang to it with the music. Its a beautiful piano arrangement though, you should look it up. SO GOOD. President Perkins, the asia area president and member of the 1st quorum of the 70 spoke to us. I learned a ton about faith, and how to develop it. He made this set of stairs- 1. no faith 2. belief, 3. faith 4.witness/testimony 5. power I think thats the order. but the thing I wanted to point out, is that faith is a principle of power, and you have to walk forward testing out different principles until you can gain a testimony, and once you have faith and a testimony, if you can cast out doubt and fear, that is when the power comes. And I know that through faith miracles can occur.

Ok so mission tour was amazing. but also some funny things happened. So in the middle they fed us lunch, and as I was helping set up the table the AP elder A was walking behind me and i stepped back on accident on his foot, which made me completely lose my balance and essentially i fell back onto him and it was SO embarassing. then as I was getting my food a few minutes later, i gave our mission president a flat tire. yes. I am clumsy and it is awesome. Then that night we had english class. the elders taught about making phone calls and gave people HILARIOUS situations to talk on the phone in, but the best part of the night was seeing C and V. We've been teaching this mom and her daughter for a couple of weeks (but we've known them for about a month and a half), and at first it was liek their relationship was terrible. C was always on v's case about being stupid and v thought she was ugly etc. not happy. But since becoming more involved in stuff even now with just a short amount of time I can really see a change. They are talking more, smiling more, you can tell they care about each other and it isn't as cold of a relationship. its really cool to see.

OH OTHER STUFF I CAN"T FORGET! So sister s just found out that she is moving to macau on friday (tomorrow) and she'll be going with sister t speakign chinese for a week and then going International! She's going to get to work in english with the philippinas and indonesians nepalese etc. No doubt her chinese will suffer but it is so cool to serve in international I've heard. That means sister a is coming here for a week to be our companion!! So i'll have been companions with sister a, s, and l from my MTC's older group! so cool! Then we also heard that sister h will be training! there are three native cantonese speakers coming in 1 from macau and 2 from HK. Sister h's trainee will be a week late though. SO- this is my speculation. There has to be a three-some somewhere in the mission. I wonder if they will keep me in kwai chung/tsuen wan with her while she trains! it'd be really nice to be here for the holiday season since i already kind of know people. but we shall see. The chances are pretty slim to train in a tripanionship, but because she'll be a week late, someone has to be with sister h for a week... .. . . . anyways, it'd be really cool. plus i'd get a native companion which would help with the cantonese A LOT. and A LOT is the amount of help my language needs. I know learning any language is hard, and will push you etc, but because of the difficulty of cantonese, I'm going to probably come home not understanding a lot of stuff still, whereas people who go spanish/portuguese/other languages can come home really with a huge vocabulary and a much better ability to communicate in that language. My language is still progressing, but I am still amazed that after 6 months of working on it, i understand so little of what people say. especially compared to when i was in holland, not trying super hard, after six months i could understand a lot more.

but the difficulty of the language is not really getting me down luckily. I know that as long as I'm putting in my effort and trying hard that its ok. I still have 11 months left to keep working at it and my listening skills will improve I know.

anyways I am out of time, but I love you all and its so nice to hear that you had a good halloween and guy fawkes day :)

I hope you are all doing fantastic! I love you so much! keep smiling, keep being good and serving others. The lord lives, Jesus is the Christ, and they restored their church through Joseph Smith. I know this is true because I've read the Book of Mormon and asked God if the things it contains are true and from Him. And the answer I got was a yes. I love this gospel and I love serving others and sharing this message with them. Thanks for all the support!

Sister Black/Baahk jimuih


November 4 2010

Well this week was so good, like almost every other week. But special in a few ways too. We had two days where we had so many appointments and stuff that we didn't have any time to eat lunch. So we were teaching lessons, in meetings, etc. from 10:30am-7:30pm on saturday, and from 7:30am-7pm on sunday. It was a huge miracle because we just had people show up at the church or people bringing friends to activities that they wanted us to meet. It was amazing but at the same time really really incredibly exhausting. Because when I'm teaching I have to work my brain SO hard to follow what's been said, and be in tune with the spirit and also stay awake haha. So physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausting when you have that many lessons in a row. It is interesting to hear what goes on in other missions because we rarely travel to people's houses for appointments with them, 90 percent of the time our lessons are at the church because peoples' houses are really small here and its like "their space" I think, even more than we would think of in the US. like stopping by and saying hi is pretty much an absolute no-no here. 1. they have guards at all the buildings so half the time you wouldn't be able to get up without an appointment, and 2. even the best members or people you have a close relationship with would be upset if you came by on a whim.

Another thing I really have noticed here especially this week, is how focused hong kong is on money. Hearing from like elder calder or elder moss about the humble people they are meeting because they are poor is not what my typical experience is. A lot of time here people think the point of life is to make money. If you don't have money, life is unfair and I've seen a lot of very bitter poorer people. Of course this is not always the case, but we were talking to our recent convert D this week, and he is in his late 40's and still unmarried. We were talking about marriage and stuff and he told us about the pressures of Hong Kong. Women will literally ask if they can afford an apartment and a car and how much money they have to decide whether they are in the least bit interested or not. They are taught from birth to work hard in school and in life so they can make money. So D's point was, that in Hong Kong because of the social pressures to make money, people either get married really late or not at all. That is why there are tons and tons of older people living with their parents still in their 40's or 50's, that have never moved out. So that is one thing I learned this week.

On tuesday we had a 2 hour chunk of finding time, where we go out and talk to people. Usually I don't really like finding, but I decided I needed an attitude adjustment. Even though it is tough to go start conversations with people when you still hardly understand their language, it can also be a lot of fun. I decided to think positively about the afternoon's finding time all day, keep a smile on my face, talk to everyone, and have faith that my efforts will help people come unto christ. We see thousands of people each day and even if i can't talk to them all, they can see my face and feel heavenly father's love for them through me. Anyways, since there is no way to literally talk to them all, you have to pay attention to the spirit and work hard. We were talking to people around this chyuhn (like a bunch of buildings probably like 30ish stories high all together make up one chyuhn... like an apartment complex only MASSIVE) and sis hancock was talking to this lady on a bench. I was just kind of twiddling my thumbs waiting for her to finish so we could move on, when this other lady came and sat down right in front of me while her daughter went to play in the park right there. So sis s and I started to talk to her. We taught her all about joseph smith and the restoration and why there needed to be a restoration- she took a book of mormon and we may be able to see her again on saturday. It was so cool because you could just tell she was prepared to meet us then. And sometimes the lord will just put people into your path to help when you aren't expecting it, and that is really cool. Ok so then we kept walking and walked all the way to tsuen wan from kwai fong (usually we take a bus or the metro) and as we were walking past bunches of people waiting in lines to get on busses, there was a husband and wife and a little baby that just stuck out to me. Soooo going along with my goals for the day I stopped and talked to them as well. Turns out they were from mainland and hadn't ever had a chance to hear about jesus christ or even much about God really. I am really excited for the day that China opens and missionaries are able to spread the gospel to those wonderful people, because they need it so much! I feel really privaledged to be serving here and now because I know we are helping the people here prepare for that day, which eventually will come.

Other than that, I don't think there's much more to report on. I am amazed at the blessings the Lord is pouring out upon me and on these people. I am just going to keep moving forward and try to do my best. That's all I want to do and every day it's a struggle, but when I work hard and rely on the Lord, everything ALWAYS works out in the end. I know that's true. its like in philippians soemthing: through Christ I can do all things. He's my savior and he's with me every step of the way. He is guiding His work, and will never leave us alone. :) Thanks for the love, prayers and support!!

-sister black

October 28 2010

Hello Again!

This week's weather was a complete disappointment. The huge storm that was coming our way apparently turned at the last minute and didn't even touch hong kong one bit! In fact, the time when it would have hit, it was beautiful and sunny and clear skies!

But in other news.. I passed off another language pass off this week which means I only have 2 more left out of the 8 total until I can start studying characters. yeah! We went on a bike ride last week for pday which was super fun. And the week before that I don't remember if i told you about the ward trip we went on. In fact i just checked my sent emails, and i didnt! I can't believe it haha! So a week and a half ago we had this ward trip because it was a holiday. We went out to the boonies of the boonies of hong kong. First to this wildlife reserve/botanical garden out in the northeastern New Territories, (there are a bunch of pictures from that) and then to this "dairy" it was so cool because there aren't many places like that in hong kong, and the ward members just LOVED it. loveeeed it. They were super excited to feed the cow some long grass stuff (more pictures) and they insisted that us missionaries do it too. At first when we got to the dairy I was just thinking.. hmmm this is kind of reeeally funny how exciting it is for hong kong people to see livestock, but then i remembered going to petting zoos at the fair and stuff when I was little and how exciting that was.

on our way out of the "dairy" there was the biggest spider I've ever seen (picture) the elder's hand in the picture is. . . 6'4'' probably maybe even a little taller, and so if you just compare the size of his hand to the spider.. well you'll get an idea of how gynormous it was. and apparently they can jump too. . scary.

Then the rest of the pictures are from our bike trip out in the Tai Po area. This was the day before the typhoon was supposed to hit so it was pretty windy, and so fun. Unfortunately though, like i said before, the typhoon turned and that little bit of wind was all we got.

We are teaching this less-active woman from thailand who doesn;t read chinese so when we teach we just explain things then we have to somehow figure out how to find the book/chapter/verse in her thai scriptures so we can use the scriptures. When she was baptized she didn't speak cantonese very well so she didnt quite understand what was being taught. It is cool to teach someone who already has a testimony but needs to understand things more clearly, especially when we are having to use two languages to teach. she also has the CUTEST 2 year old daughter EVER. her name is CC and she's so smart. her parents are teaching her thai and chinese, and she also knows a little bit of english. Last time we saw them she brought out a book she wanted me to read, which was old mcdonald had a farm... and then she just starts singing it. she's still 2 so can't really communicate well but it is the funniest cutest thing ever.

Sorry this is so all over the place, but. . . last night we went to visit a family waaay far away in our tsuen wan area. So far, in fact, it doesn't even show on the wall map that we have in the apartment. We had to take the metro and then a small bus out up into the mountains above tsuen wan for about 30ish min. It took an hour to get there total. Then the bus got to the end of its route and we had to walk about a quarter of a mile, continuing up the mountain until we see a road with a few spots to park cars. At first we missed the road, and had to turn back to find it. So that was where the directions ended. We had three options for little paths to take, one veered to the right and continuted through some banana trees, one was straightish and the last was to the left and went uphill. So it was dark, a couple of street lamps and house lights were farther down . (the paths were like 2-3 feet wide maybe at most? and we couldnt see anything really) so we prayed and decided to go down the middle one, and after passing a few gates, we found their house finally. It was quite the adventure. On the way back sis hancock actually slipped off the path because there wasn't enough light at that part and fell off the edge a bit. Luckily it was only a few feet because other parts of the path had like a 5-6 foot drop off. yeah. so much fun!

we also taught one of the girls who was baptized a little over a month ago, and she is soooo awesome! she plays the harmonica! in a harmonica choir!! i've never met someone who played the harmonica before. and its so legit. she says shes not even very good at all but she uses like two at the same time. I'll attach a video cause its so cool. in the next email actually because its too big otherwise.

Love you all!! Thanks for the support, prayers, letters and love!

Sis Black/Baahk jimuih