Well this week has probably been the most rewarding week yet. Let me just start off with an entry from my journal from Tuesday night.
"I am sitting in my apartment looking out the front windows of the Hong Kong temple at the distant laser show over the bay. It is just foggy enough to see the lasers perfectly, but not so foggy that it keeps me from seeing that far. Tonight Shirley (the girl who approached me on the street a few weeks ago) had her baptismal interview by President Chan, and he came out happily exclaiming that she is very "jeunbeihou" (prepared) for baptism.
Monday night we met with her and she said that after General Conference she wanted to be baptized on the 30 of this month like we asked her the first time we taught her. We were very happy and asked her if there was another time that she could meet with us this week because in order for that to work, she would need her baptismal interview this week. She said that she didnt becuase her work is crazy this week, and asked if she could be interviewed that night. We ran out of the room and called the nearest DLs ZLs and APs but nobody was in the area. They told us we could jsut have the bishop do his interview first. So Shirley left and we called the bishop. This was when things started to go wrong. Elder Jolley got off the phone with a distraught look on his face and said that the bishop had heard that Shirley had a mental illness and that he didnt know if she even needed to be baptized. He wanted President Chan to do her interview.
Now here is a little background. More than 25 percent of people in Hong Kong have a mental illness. Shirley had expressed to us before that she takes medication for depression. But she is completely normal and would never know. Also, Chinese people overreact to mental illnesses because there are so many crazy people.
We were very frustrated at this point, and called presdient Chan. He told us that if he says she is ready, then he is the one who has the authority to approve her to be baptized, so just for the bishop's sake, if we could get her in for an interview with him, that would just solve everything.
We called Shirley and told her that she needed to meet with us again this week. She was just barely able to get work off for Tuesday night to help her dad teach social dance. But she said that she was willing to do the interview instead.
Tuesday night she came in and was so happy. She went into the interview and as I already wrote, President Chan said she was very prepared. She came out with a huge smile on her face and as we were filling out the records, asked if I would be the one to baptize her. So I am pretty excited about that."
So that was a pretty good night. But the night before (monday) was also very good. As we were talking to Shirley, she told us about how all of her friends and family try to tell her bad things about our church but that she knows they arent true because of the feelings she gets when she meets with us and reads the book of mormon and prays. Also, her medicine makes it super hard for her to wake up in the mornings, and that is why she had to get a new job that was later at night. But that even though she feels really sick on Sundays when she goes to church, it is so worth it to her.
She is like many others here. She faces so many challenges and things that could easily keep her from the church, but she makes sacrifices and has the courage to fight through them.
Because many people are a mix of buddhist, daoist, and confucianist, they view christianity as an evil western thing. So there are so many members and investigators who have to take so much ridicule and things for what they know is true.
There is a man who is 100 years old that missionaries found two years ago when he was 98 in the mountains in a little hut. He has to walk a crazy distance to get to church, so he made an electric wheelbarrow thing that he rides to church every Sunday. There is an investigator in Prison that has been meeting with the missionaries for the past 4 years in prison and has the strongest testimony ever. He writes the missionaries who visit him and tells everyone the first thing he is doing when he gets out is going straight to an LDS chapel and getting baptized. The things that people are going through and the reasons they have not to accept this gospel or live it are so overwhelming sometimes, but they are great examples of truly converted people.
This week we have a baptism. Hoh Hingdaih is his name. He is soooo great. He knows everythihng is true. He has been coming to church for 2 years now but the missionaries dropped him about 1.5 year ago because he would not get baptized. We started meeting with him and he said he was just waiting for someone to invite him to baptism. Then next week is stake conference but the week after we have Shirley's baptism. Things are going so well here.
In other news, I caught a little tiny gecko in the temple right outside our hallway. Also, I have gained 10 pounds in the 5 weeks I have been here. 5 WEEKS?! I just realized thats how long its been. Time is FLYING here. But anyways, the weight gain can be attributed to the great food and members who are convinced it is their calling in life to make all of the missionaries here obese. General conference was crazy. In between sessions all of the members pull out big things of food. Chicken, soup, rice of course, and whatever else they have made. They all just sit in a big cultural hall and walk around giving their food to people. It was convenient because our investigators hadnt eaten yet and were very hungry. So they were able to get to know the members very easily.
I took some cool pictures and videos, but I left my cord in the Wan Chai chapel so I will have to send them next week.
Thanks for all of the prayers, letters, and other things. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!