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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Starting from Zero

Well I dont even know where to start for this week's email.

Remember how last week I told you how well my companion and I have been doing? Well It has only gone uphill since then.
Last week we taught 18 lessons just on the street, and got 15 new investigators. All of our other numbers such as investigators at church were also consequentially high.

Well a couple of days ago President Chan came up to me while I was on exchanges and congratulated me and told me how happy he is and how well we have been doing. He asked what our secret is for doing so well and my answer was the Book of Mormon.

When my companion and I have been out finding, we will bring around 6 BoMs with us with these little calendar bookmarks that we made that has everyday up until Christmas and a section in the BoM to read that day. They all have to do with Christ's birth or Christmas in some way. We just go out and ask people a little bit about Christmas then tell them we want to give them a present. We then ask if we can explain it a little bit and sit them down and teach the entire restoration focusing on the Book of Mormon. Sometimes we have had to come back within an hour of going out in order to get more Books of Mormon.

The best part? Most of the people have been reading! That has resulted in us being able to reschedule them and teach them more.

Well one day we were out finding at night on some roof of a random tower in Tsz Wan Shan. I have no idea how we got there because we were trying to find the bus station but somehow ended up on the roof of a tower... Well we were walking around and found two boys and two girls smoking. We went to talk to them and ask them what they were doing. They looked pretty guilty and just said, "smoking".  We kept talking to them and got the two boys' phone numbers then left. They didnt seem super promising. But that was a bad impression.
The next day we called them and they suprisingly rescheduled for that night to teach them. We showed up and they brought another friend. The day after that we taught them again and they brought two more friends. The day after that they invited us to go hiking up monkey mountain with them.
We had a really good time, and saw tons of monkeys. They are EVERYWHERE up there. It is really scary because they are the same Rhesus monkeys from Puerto Rico, and they just stand in the middle of the path and will not move for you so you have to try and walk around them. But if you get too close or look at them in the eyes they will start making noises and opening their mouth and lifting their hand up like they are gonig to hit you. There are a lot of little baby monkeys, but if you look at them the older monkeys will run or swing at you.
Well anyways, we taught these two kids (Lam and Tony) up in the mountains and committed them to be baptized. We told them we would have to teach them a lot of things including commandments before they could be baptized though.
Sunday they came to church and were able to stay after to watch a baptism. That just made them want to be baptized even more. But we knew it would be difficult and we had to bring up the Word of Wisdom in the next lesson. The hard part about Hong Kong is most of the teenagers here smoke and drink. These kids are only 16 but have been smoking since they were like 10.
A few nights ago we met them at a soccer field and were about to teach them but then 2 more of their friends showed up who we had never met before. We talked to them and they were interested in our message so Elder Palfreyman taught them and I went to a different bench with Tony and Lam. I was a little nervous because I was going to teach them the Word of Wisdom all on my own. But it actually went really well. They both said they knew they had to stop drinking and smoking. Tea and coffee were probably the biggest shock to them. Tony's mom makes him homemade tea everyday and he was nervous about telling her he couldnt drink it anymore because of his new religion. But I talked to them about the blessings and in the end we agreed they would stop drinking tea and coffe right away and that next week they would stop smoking and drinking.

They were both pretty down about this, but I think it went okay because they invited us to go fishing with them tomorrow. Well I called last night and they are both not drinking any tea or coffee, but next week will be the real test.
They both have so much faith though. They both say they know the Book of Mormon is true, and they say they know the Word of Wisdom is a commandment from God.
Lam's dad died a little while ago. It makes me so happy to have met him because he is sooo happy to know he can see his dad again, and he prayed once that his dad would accept the gospel in heaven.
I see miracles daily, but these two boys have really stuck out lately. Not only are they awesome investigators, but they have been giving us referalls left and right. It is good too because they are both really popular kids in their school, so nobody judges them at all and everyone respects them a lot.

I found some graffiti on a wall that says "Start from Zero". This is graffitied all over around an area in Lok Fu, and I am not sure what it is supposed to mean, but I took a picture with it. I was thinking about how the times that we have had the most success is often after we have the least. Part of it may be God humbling us, but I think part of it is that we realize we need to work even harder and step it up more. Now that we have had a great week that the entire mission has heard about (everyone is calling us or when they run into us they are mentioning they heard we are on fire and asking how we are doing it), I dont want to just sit back and relax. I want to mentally always be starting from "zero". Always be working and focused as I would if we had no investigators or no lessons that week. Never to stop once we reach our goals, but to keep going.

Well, have a GREAT week! Good luck with finals!
Love you all!

Love, Jordan

Got the Christmas Package. Thanks!

Thanks everyone for the Christmas package! A lot of the things in there will be very useful, and there were a lot of good food that you cant get in Hong Kong. (Like Snickers).

This week so far has been the most successful week I have ever had. We have been meeting really great investigators left and right. Yesterday we taught 7 full lessons on the street. That means 7 new investigators, 7 Books of Mormon passed out, and just in that one day we met the entire Zone's numbers for last week. In total the zone had 7 new investigators, 4 of which were ours and 2 that were the AP's. Tuesday we had 3 lessons and 3 new investigators, Monday we had another 3 with some other lessons with existing investigators. We have the opportunity to work hard from the moment we wake up until we go back at night to make calls.

We have been doing tai chi in the mornings for excersize ( I dont remember how to spell that word so it might be wrong..). I decided that probably tomorrow I am going to bring my camera and take pictures of the place we do it at and stuff so that when I send the memory card home with the package, you can see.

Speaking of the package. I realized there is no way it can get there before Christmas, so maybe it will be more of a Chinese New Year package. But I will send it ASAP so expect it sometime in the future.

We had a really cool experience on Saturday. We were in the chapel and a member came up to me and asked if I could come talk to some random kid that walked in.
I started talking to the kid and found out he is 18 and came down from mainland to take the SAT because he is applying to BYU for next year. He is from Nanjing which is up North and has a friend who is at BYU right now. I asked if he knew a girl I know from Nanjing and it turns out it is the same person. Crazy! But he decided to go to BYU because he says that he does not want to go to a school where everyone just parties all of the time, but he wants to go to one with morals. He already doesnt drink, smoke, drink tea or coffee (which is really rare for a chinese person, they LOVE their tea and cigarrettes.), and wants to go to a schoo lthat has his same personal standards. He looked up a lot about the church at home before coming to Hong Kong and then found where the temple was and wanted to go in and be taught all day Saturday. Unfortunately, he didnt understand that only members could go into the temple, so they sent him across the street to our chapel.
Well he had researched EVERYTHING he could about the church, he even was reciting the Missionary Handbook from memory to us. He told us that his mother did not want him to go on a mission but that he thinks it would be a good idea for him to serve one. He went to the Distribution Center with us and bought every single book there, and left with bags and bags of church books. He had never come into contact with the church at all, not even his friend from Nanjing is a member, but he researched it on his own and said he thinks it is one of the greatest things ever, and that it is right for him.
When he met us he acted like we were celebrities, he kept saying how amazing it is to meet us because he had read about us and knew we were called elder, and everything.
We were shocked, but it was really cool. Then we got in contact with the Mandarin Elders and showed him the Restoration and stuff until they got there. Later that day they told us he had cancelled his plane back to Nanjing so that he could go to church the next day in the Mandarin branch.
It was really random, but really cool to meet this kid. So next fall if you meet a Chinese kid at BYU whose English name is Franklin, tell him you know me.

Along with all of the really prepared people we have been meeting, we have met a lot of... other people as well. My new companion makes fun of me a lot because the first three days we were together, everytime we went finding something weird would happen, usually including a group of girls coming up to me and going on and on and on about how much of a lengjai I am. It is usually really good when people contact missionaries, but in these situations the best thing to do is just run. Just kidding, but we definitely have been avoiding all girls we see, because something about the weight I have gained or something has made me quite the attractive gwailouh (just kidding again). I also learned that Tagalog has a lot of similarities to Spanish. We always talk to Phillipinas because they are always so wililng to listen and come to church in the English branches. 
So now my companion is always giving me a hard time about being a lengjai. But soon I think I am just going to be a feihjai (fat boy). Because after 12 weeks of being in Hong Kong I have gained 15 pounds! (I may have already told you that, I cant remember.)
I think I may have acquired rice cheeks since I got here. People told me before my mission that I would get them, but everyone has been saying my cheeks have been getting fatter since being here. I am just going to come back a little chubby.

My Cantonese is getting pretty good.  And with all the work we have been doing, we have been talking a ton.

Well, I hope that you all have a great time finishing this last stretch of work and school (finals for madi and kylie) before Christmas Break.

Love you all!

Love, Jordan

Friday, December 2, 2011

New comp, new camera, and christmas stuff bought

Wooohooo! Today has been a grrreat day!

First, I got my new companion. I am staying in Sham Shui Po, and am now serving with Elder Palfreyman. He is a really really nice, kind of quieter kid. But I have heard he is willing to work hard. He actually went to BYU the first semester I went there and lived in Heritage Halls! He has only been here a few moves more than me, but he has been in international, so everyone told me i am going to probably have to help him with his Chinese. :S That makes me a little nervous, but I am pretty confident that everything will go well.

This next move will be amazing. I have a companion fresh out of international who is willing to work hard, and I set some personal goals to help myself improve as much as I can. So I have faith that we will see a lot of miracles.

Last Sunday a white guy showed up to sacrament meeting. He is from Suncrest in Draper and is in grandma and grandpa's stake! he said he will be coming to church again on sunday, and then he wants to take us to eat on monday. If he shows up, I will ask his name because I forgot it, but yeah.

It is SO LUCKY that you guys put money on my card. Thanks a TON. I got really sick this past week, and the mission doctor is in Thailand so I went to the hospital doctor. It wound up being really expensive. I had to pull my money out of my personal funds to use for the rest of the week. But now I got a refund from the mission for it. With that money I originally was going to buy an iPod because they are SUPER useful. But unfortunately my camera has been deleting pictures automatically, and although it is amazing for videos and underwater stuff, it doesnt have a flash, and cant really take pictures at night in Hong Kong (which are the coolest pictures). So I decided it was more important that I buy a new camera than an iPod. So I bought a very, very nice camera and Hopefully soon I can send some cool pictures from it. Maybe in the future I will think about getting an iPod. But I also bought some stuff to send home. It wont get home in time for Christmas. But hopefully not too far away. It is nothing special. I think next Christmas will be better because I will have more time to figure out what I want to buy. But I just got some stuff you can put up in the house and some Hong Kong shirts.

This move I have so many plans that will completely change the way missionary work is going in this ward. Before it was considered a relatively hard area. But that will all change soon. 

I have not gotten your package yet, but hopefully I will soon. We actually have been getting mail for a sister that already went home that was sent in May 2010! We think it must have gotten lost in the mail system somewhere.

I got my new suit! It is really really nice, I will have to take a picture with my camera and send it to you next P-day.

I have been really inspired lately to work harder than before. I now have a new companion, and at least 6 (maybe 12) more weeks in my area. So even though I was able to see success before, I want to put everything I have into missionary work now. Because when I am working hard, I have this feeling of happiness, like everyday is Christmas. 

Today has been pretty interesting. I am still sick (it is just a really bad bronchitis and a sinus infection), but me and Elder Palfreyman wanted to go to the market in Mong Kok to go shopping to buy stuff for our families for Christmas. Well he has been serving far away so he has no idea how to get around. I was able to find the market and then somehow by picking a random direction and walking in it, found the mong Kok library to email. I feel pretty confident right now because Mong Kok is super crowded and big, and I somehow have been able to navigate around it. 

I hope you are all doing well. I lately have found a real love for the Book of Mormon. I am noticing things that I never knew existed in it before. I hope you are all reading it daily. I am convinced that whether it is through something you actually read, or by a prompting from the spirit, you can receive an answer to pretty much any question you have if you have a daily habit of opening with a prayer, reading the book of mormon, then closing with a prayer. It just makes your whole day go so much better. Also, I cant believe I rarely used to say morning prayers when I woke up. The first thing I do when I wake up is role onto my knees and pray. This combined with scripture study just makes everything in the day go smoothly and gives me a peace that I dont think would be there otherwise.

The Hong Kong lifestyle is FAST. If you think that you are busy, you need to look at a Hong Kong person's schedule. They kids literally go to school all day, then pay tons of money to do tutoring at night and on weekends all day. When they dont have tutoring, they are working. Adults work work work. However, I have seen people with the BUSIEST lives ever make time to read their scriptures and do these easy things every day. Some of them eat 2 meals a day and only spend 20 minutes doing that because they need to get back to work. But somehow they make it work. I hope I never try to make the excuse that my life is too busy to do these simple things that0 give me peace and daily comfort.

Well, Have a fantastic first week of December! Also, Remember that you are all sons and daughters of a God! You have so much to look forward to in this life and the next if you keep the commandments and repent daily. No matter what situation you are in, the truth of who you really are and what you can someday become never goes away.

Love you all!

Love, Jordan

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
I hope you all eat a lot of turkey, pie, and everything else that is on the table.
Yesterday we had our mission thanksgiving party. It was a lot of fun. I got to hang out with my group from the MTC and eat all of the normal thanksgiving food. It wasnt as good as when mom makes it, and there werent any gluten-free pies, but it was still fun to have thanksgiving on the other side of the world.
The other day I went on exchanges to Tung Chung again. I may have already explained, but Tung Chung is the area that covers the entire Lantau Island and all of the surrounding islands. It is probably the biggest area, but is definitely one of my favorites. It reminds me so much of puerto rico because the little villages arent full of giant skyscrapers.
Elder Creamer and I had a lesson scheduled for pretty early in the morning, but when the investigator got there, our lesson plan changed.
Kelsie is a girl who is getting baptized on Sunday. She is about to graduate in accounting, and is SUPER HYPER. She speaks faster than I ever thought possible, and has more energy and is more random than anyone I have ever met. Well she showed up to the branch meeting house for the lesson then told us to go outside. Luckily Elder Creamer grabbed a Book of Mormon, because we wound up following her up some trail in the mountains in our suit to a place in the river where there is a big, clear pool of water. It turns out she wanted to take her graduation pictures at the Tung Chung baptismal font (nicknamed the waters of mormon). She threw her graduation gown on and procceeded to run around telling us to take pictures in the most random places. Some of the areas included her pretending to be praying on a rock in the middle of the river, then her about to fall off the rock into the river. It was super random, but actually wound up being cool because we were able to read some things from the Book of Mormon to her. We read about Alma and the waters of Mormon, and some other stories that were relevant. It was probably one of my favorite lessons ever.
On the way back from Lantau Island, we got off the bus on Hong Kong island. Elder Creamer told me to prepare myself, and took me into some little alley and down a staircase into a random basement. But in this basement I found THE AMERICAN STORE. It is like a mini costco with random american foods. They have Peanut butter M&Ms, cocoa pebbles, and YOO-HOO! There was one box of Yoo-Hoo and I bought it. The only problem with the store is it is all pretty overpriced. But I did not think it was possible to have Yoo-Hoo in China. I was obviously wrong.
Oh! So I have some pretty exciting news. Remember last week I talked about going to do Tai-Chi? Well we went on Monday morning to a park and were lookign for someone to teach us. We saw a guy under a pagoda who looked pretty good so we went up and asked him. He then set up a schedule for us for which days of the week to come and for how long. It turns out he was actually a legit teacher. The only problem is he wanted to charge us money for it.
But we were still willing to do it. So we returned the next day, only to find that he was not under the pagoda, but instead a different man was. This man walked up to us and said in Cantonese, " I know what you want. You want someone to teach you to do Tai-Chi. My student saw you talking to the other man yesterday, and because you are willing to learn, I will teach you for free." Then a lady showed up and called him Si Fuh. If you remember, the kung fu master thing in kung fu panda is called Master Si Fuh. That is because in chinese, Master is Si Fuh. So this guy was legit.
Well, needless to say, we have gone every morning and are learning how to achieve inner-peace and energy transfer through Tai-Chi under a Pagoda in China with a river looping around us, full of swimming fish and turtles. Pretty cool. I will have to have someone take pictures of us one of these times, because it is unbelievable how legit the entire thing is.
Moves are a week from yesterday, and soon we will find out who is going where. 
Most likely I will stay in Sham Shui Po ( I hope I will at least). But there is also a chance I will go somewhere else. I guess in a week you will find out.
I have SO many pictures I have to send. I think I will hurry up and buy a memory card so I can just send you the one I am using.
Well have a great week, and an amazing thanksgiving!
Also, Congratulations to Kylie for getting into BYU-I!
Love, Elder Jordan Roe Bingham

tai chi, kung fu, dancing, and transfers all coming up

Good morning! Well, I guess it's actually night there, so good night?
Sorry for the wait with the email, we had no time yesterday to really do anything. The APs asked us to watch kung fu panda 2 with them to approve it for everyone. -_-.
One of the greatest parts of this week was seeing Shirley at all of our activities and at church. She asked us where to find the tithing slips so she could pay her tithing, then asked where the bishops office was so she could have her temple recommend interview. It is so cool to see someone who was so prepared for the gospel finally get a chance to have it. She also brought her friend to our activity last night, so we are already getting good referrals from her. :)
While on splits we found a spot in Hung Hom on the waterfront where a bunch of chinese kids go and breakdance and stuff. My companion at the time had heard somehow that back home I liked dancing a lot, so we went and checked it out. Unfortunately, it started raining so there wasnt anyone there,but next time we are on splits in a few weeks, he wants to go back and go dance finding. It should be pretty interesting haha....
For morning exercise we usually do random stuff like running or just push ups or whatever. But one of the APs and I have decided we are going to start learning Tai Chi. All of the old people do it early in the morning in parks and stuff. In the past, missionaries have used their exercise time to go and ask the old people to teach them Tai Chi, and apparetnly it works. In some places you can even find people who will teach you Kung Fu. So when I get home I will be able to say that I learned tai chi and kung fu in china.
I learned early on in the MTC that a mission is NOT easy. But there are things that happen and things that I have been able to witness and learn that have made it already SO worth it. The best part is that I still have so much more time here to continue to learn and have these experiences.
With transfers coming up in a couple of weeks, as always the missionaries have been speculating a lot. Everyone keeps telling me that ANYTHING could happen with me. I could go international (even though they usually wait until later on in the mission because international hurts missionaries chinese), I could go Vic 1 (the international companionship in charge of all foreigners except for philipinas and indonesians), I could go up to the new territories or macau, or I could stay in my area and my companion could go somewhere for two transfers before he goes home. Usually new missionaries stay in their first area for a while, but because my companion only has two transfers left, anything could happen.
I hope everyone has a fantastic week!
Thanks for everything!
Love, Elder Jordan Roe Bingham