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Monday, August 22, 2011

Words From a Veteran to the New Guys...Hang in There!

I only have 3 weeks left here which is crazy.

I feel like I have been here forever and not long at all at the same time. But regardless, I feel ready and more excited than ever to go to Heung Gong. I have learned how to say hello and things like that in like 15 different languages since I have been here because I hear lots of different missionaries speaking.

Also, Cantonese is not that different than Mandarin. A lot of words are, but lots of words are also really similar. I know how to bear my testimony in Mandarin from hearing the Mandarin elders speak in it and being able to pick up some of the words and learn the others from context. But Cantonese is a lot harder.

I was reading my journal a few nights ago and it was weird to read the first few days I was here how my days were. They seem way easier and like I am used to it now. Also, I rarely feel homesick or sad at all. I still pray every Wednesday for the new missionaries coming in. Because I thought I was prepared and that it'd be a breeze. But then it really hit me that I am in this for the next two years. It wasnt until a few days later that I think I was fully not only okay with it, but excited about it. Then after about week 4, I stopped feeling like I wanted to be outside the MTC fence every Friday night when I was going to bed at 10 30. Haha :) it is crazy how different I feel now.

Today we wanted to switch things up a little when we went to the temple. So we decided to do initiatories. As one of the Cantonese Elders said, "I feel like I could be superman after coming out of that." Pretty cool stuff.

well thanks for everything!

Love ya!

Love, Jordan

No More You-Tube! Now it's General Conference Cantonese!

I have started listening to General Conference talks in Cantonese because it is fun to try and see what I understand out of them. This one I understand most of. Here is the link to a video of it.

8 Weeks Down, 4 To Go!

Leih hou, ligo sinke haih feihseung keihgwai.

This last week has been pretty interesting. Well, as interesting as the MTC gets. I am sure and I hope that my weeks are more eventful when I get to Hong Kong. But I guess I´ll have to wait 4 weeks to find out.

I guess I´ll start off with kind of a depressing, but really not that depressing at all message (if that makes any sense). Most of the letters I got in this past week have been kind of sad. Most of them relate to unfortunate things that have happened or are happening to people, and none of these things really seem fair at all. I remember back in January and February wondering what I had done to deserve my anxiety, and I really did not think it was fair that I was experiencing that. In the end I was able to learn a lot from it and come out a better person, but not all sad stories have happy endings. Or at least not from what we can see.

I thought about that a lot this week. Why are certain people plagued by things like mental illness, not having self worth, and other things like that while others (like me) have been able to get out of those situations. You may say it is faith related or something else, but often things happen that really are just plain not fair.

After I first got to the MTC, one thing I tried figuring out through reading the scriptures and stuff is what happens to those people who have mental illnesses that cloud their judgement and make their lives miserable if they do something drastic. I know we cant judge people because only God has that right and ability. However, it really bothered me because my friend who this happened to was on my mind. I remembered something I had heard about the people involved with 9 11. For some reason, after the planes crashed into the towers, people were jumping out of windows from high up with no chance of survival. Nobody understood why they did this. The people did not think it was sure death for them if they stayed inside the buildings, so people didnt understand why they jumped out of the windows. After 9 11 happened, scientists discovered that the inside of the towers had become incredibly hot. So staying inside of the buildings was incredibly painful. So were these people who jumped out of the towers wrong to do so. (sorry for some reason this keyboard´s question mark doesnt work.)  I read 1 Nephi that the Lord will have mercy upon his afflicted. I dont know if the context applies to the same thing I was looking for, but for some reason this scripture gave me comfort and since then I really havent worried about it. God is merciful. That is why he gave us the atonement and gives us so much.

Anyways, like I was saying, there is so much in life that just isnt fair. We can try to think of reasons why these things happen, but we wont always be able to come up with the answer. It is kind of the sad truth of life. But that is not what is important. Whats important is that this life is only a small point on our eternal timeline. God is all powerful. He could stop every unfair thing from happening. But He doesnt. Life doesnt have to be fair, because there is so much more that God is offering us than just this short mortal life.

So when unfair things happen, try not to sweat it. Just keep doing the best you can do, and whether you are rewarded in this life or not, you will be blessed for the good you do here in the life to come.

Sorry if that was a downer at all. It actually makes me really really happy. Because it makes me realize how real the life after this is, and the happiness I can have if I continue to do the right things.

Well moving on past that, we were talking in class this week about Hong Kong again, and some of the things our teacher did there. She told us about giant spiders that are all over. Supposedly their webs are really strong and dont break like normal spider webs. But the worst part is the spiders are HUGE. A kid in our class told about when he was there how a spider was on his friends shoulder so he screamed and ran to his friend and hit it off as hard as he could. He said the only thing he could compare it to is hitting a baseball. It was so big and just solid. Then they talked about the huge bees in the forest and all of the other freakishly big bugs and weird things there.

The new district came in a week ago. There is an elder from Australia, one from Salt Lake, and a sister from Idaho somewhere. They are all pretty nice, but it is kind of obvious they are still kind of in shock. They are all pretty quiet. The one from Salt Lake is going to Toronto Cantonese speaking, but the other two are going to Heung Gong. Right now I am kind of in the awkward limbo between being super excited to get out of here, but also worried because I really dont know as much of the language as I would like to.

Everyone, with school, work, sports, etc... starting up again, dont get too caught up in it all to let it distract you from what is most important, and from just having peaceful moments when you can think and not worry about anything. That doesnt mean all of those things arent important because they are, it is more about taking time from the least important things to do this, or finding time to do it when you dont have to be doing anything else.

Sorry I dont have time to write more responding to the dearelders. Hopefully I get time tonight to reply to all of your letters. But if not, know I love you all and really appreciate all the letters.

Love, Elder Bingham
Ngoi, Bik Jeung Louh

Elder Bingham on "The Outside World"

Leih hou ngohge gatihng tungmaih pongyauh!

Wow, well this has been quite the week. So a lot of the missionaries in our zone have been getting sick, and I thought I was going to be okay until two Fridays ago I started getting the usual cold symptoms. Then last Thursday I could tell it was only getting worse and it went down into my chest. I was up all night Thursday and Friday night. Then Saturday my branch president said I should probably go to the front desk and call the on call doctor. On top of it all, something about me being sick made my kidney stones hurt a lot. So anyways, I went and called the doctor and told him my symptoms and also that I have kidney stones which have been bothering me. He told me I should go to the instacare at the Utah Valley Hospital and then on Tuesday he wanted to meet with me regarding the kidney stones.
So some really boring guy drove us to the hospital and I saw the doctor. He just prescribed some antibiotics. Then we went over to some store that had a pharmacy in it. It was the weirdest thing ever. It was the first time I was anywhere except the MTC surrounded by missionaries while wearing my nametag. It was kind of a shock. While waiting for my prescription to be filled, there were lots of people talking to us. I realized we arent just normal people anymore and it is impossible to blend in with the crowd while wearing a white shirt, tie, and nametags.
Something else I noticed while in the "outside world" was that it's no wonder I had problems with anxiety. In fact, I am really suprised that everyone else is doesnt have the same anxiety problems I had. Everything out in the world is loud, bright, and obnoxious on purpose. There is so much going on at once. Everyone has their own problems they are thinking about and trying to work out. Then you throw in everything else: Advertisements, TV, Music, and everything in stores designed for the sole purpose of grabbing your attention and distracting you from everything else you are thinking about.
I realized for the first time in my life how chaotic the world really is. I also realized one of the reasons I have done well in the MTC and I have not only had a lower level of anxiety, but I have also been able to figure a lot of things out and think about things more clearly. It is because with everything going on in the world, it is rare to get a quiet moment where you dont have to worry about anything and when a billion things are not trying to grab your attention. There is a whole industry with the sole purpose of figuring out how to get your attention and influence what you think about. (The advertisement industry, and the entertainment industry if you want to include it.)
So my personal advice to you this week is to slow down, not think about all of the many things that are constantly trying to grab your attention, and just have time where you can either think about something you should focus on or just nothing at all.
Anyways, today as dad knows, I went to see the MTC doctor like he requested. I have been having kidney pain on and off ever since I got here. But this morning it was really bad. He wants me to get another CT scan so that they can just track what is going on. So tomorrow I get to go into the outside world once more and then on Wednesday I should find out the results. I will save my handwritten letter this week for when I get the results. But it's not like they're going to find out something we dont already know. All I can do is put my trust in God and keep on learning and working.
It was really, really weird sitting in the office today when the secretary called dad. I could hear his voice on the phone and although I am pretty much just down the street from you all, I feel like I am on a different planet where we have no contact with Earth at all.
When I was writing my farewell talk, I thought a lot about how I could make my topic come to life for people. Although I was very personal and a lot of people were surprised by that, I was kind of hoping I would be able to in a way give people the type of hope I talked about. I am glad to hear that I may have done just that with different people in the ward and some of my friends. Anxiety is worse than any kidney pain or any other type of pain I have ever felt, so my prayers go out to everyone who struggles with it.
Thanks for all the prayers and letters! I will keep you updated on everything. But you may just have to wait until next week to hear from me again because you will all be in NC.
Love, Bik Jeung Louh