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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Too Much to Talk About

Wow, well I have a LOT to talk about, but no time because we only have 40 minutes to email.

On Tuesday night I was teaching a lesson and got a call from a random number. I quickly turned my phone off and then afterwards I listened to the message. Apparently it was President Chan calling from inside the temple. He wanted me to call back and so he did. He told me that I have turned the area around after years of no success. I have earned the respect and trust of the ward leaders. I have helped my companion grow and progress a lot, and I have really demonstrated my leadership skills both in leadership situations and by my example. Then he asked me if I could go to Zone Leader council the next day because he would like me to be a Zone Leader. 

I had soooo many thoughts running through my mind (and still do). I honestly dont remember what he said after that because my brain turned off and I was so confused. 

No missionary has gone Zone Leader until like their 10th transfer or something at youngest. I havent even finished my 5th yet and I have no idea what I am doing still I feel like. 

So I went to Zone Leader Council the next morning and sat through a day of discussing and listening to ideas of how to help certain zones. I really felt like I learned a lot, and I was happy that everyone was so supportive of me.

I will be honest. I feel like because I have been put in lucky situations, everyone has an idea of me that is not too accurate. In my first area I was known because president chan told everyone about how many new investigators and stuff I had found, now I broke the tai po curse, but it is not because of me. I feel like I have had great companions and amazing members which I feel like I can attribute to every little bit of success I have had. Well that and God-given miracles.

So it was a relief when all of the Zone Leaders were so loving and welcoming to me at Zone Leader Council. Because I am pretty sure they knew I really dont know what is going on.

Then yesterday I didnt write emails because I had to go to leadership training with all of the leaders. It felt really wrong sitting at the  zone leader table when there were much more experienced missionaries at the other tables. 

Then they called on me to give a sharing about some experiences I have had with using the book of mormon while finding and teaching. That went really well I feel like.

Well now I am just rambling. But I also found out that I am NOT staying in my area :(

My area has 3 baptisms next transfer that are for sure happening, and I have only been here for a little while. I will be a zone leader in the Island Zone and I will be serving in Kwun Tong. 

Apparently Kwun Tong has been having the same struggles as my area right now when I came in. But it is known as the land of miracles.

Also, my new companion will be Elder Ho. He is also a new called zone leader but he ends his mission in 2 transfers. He is a native Hong Kong missionary who is amazing. He is so powerful and known as one of the most loving people ever. He babies his companions a lot and is super humble. I am SO excited to be with him. But I am still really sad to be leaving my area...

I feel like I got lucky breaks in the areas I have been to, and I am confused about being a zone leader (especially since I was never even a district leader). But I know that if I pray a lot and ask God to help me become what I imagine a good Zone Leader to be, learn from not only my companion, but also all of the missionaries on Hong Kong Island, and also be very humble and teachable, then I will be able to do it. 

I am very happy to be leaving my area so well set up for the next person who comes in.

I was NOT expecting to have so much to talk about in this email. I have much more but really have no time. 

I have SOOOOO MUCH to learn still. I know so many missionaries that are much better and more experienced. Our mission is full of them. and I feel bad because some people were expecting to be called to this but they werent. I would let them instead of me if I could. But I am really excited to learn all I am going to in the next little while.

Well I will tell you more next week adn by then I will be in Kwun Tong probably. Or on my way.

Love you all!!

Love, Elder Bingham.

Sick but Happy

Well as the subject line suggests, I am sick. But I am happy. I have been sick for a while but it just got worse so I went out and bought antibiotics to try and get rid of it. It may be worse as a result of last week. We worked VERY hard. While I dont think that numbers matter, they do sometimes show how busy the missionaries were. We have been on fire. We had 12 member present lessons, 9 new investigators, 8 investigators at church. Things have just been going well. 

I feel almost nervous about the things that have happened and the blessings I've received. Everyone keeps finding out about all of the incredible successes, even in very hard areas. But sometimes I feel like I didnt do anything to deserve it. I of course have to credit my companion. He says I taught him how to become the best missionary, but I dont believe that. And more Importantly, I need to credit God. I just know that he is blessing us with this success, and I keep waiting for a really bad week or bad transfer, but luckily its not coming. I am so grateful for all of the great things I have seen and continue to see.

Tomorrow morning we have an interesting lesson. One of our investigators is drawn to the church because of the temple and doing baptisms for the dead. He has some relatives he wants to do this for, and really believes in the Book of Mormon and everything about our church. But he is having trouble quitting smoking. So tomorrow we are waking up at 6 to meet him in the temple courtyard and teach him a lesson there. I called President Chan since none of our members live anywhere near the temple, and he said he is willing to help fellowship the lesson for us. I am really excited because he is so powerful and this lesson should just be a very powerful one. I plan on using the sticker program. Our investigator only smokes about 4 cigarettes a day so we are going to tell him just to stop buying them, and thanks to those stickers you guys sent with pictures of Jesus on them, we are going to put a Jesus sticker inside his wallet. He has good faith in Jesus so when he goes to buy cigarettes,  hopefully the picture will stop him. 

Well Thanks for all that you do. I love you all so much, and pray for you daily. Thank you for all of your prayers, I know that they help me and my investigators and companion so much.


Love, Jordan

An Odd Week

Wow, this week has been quite an adventure. Hugo got the holy ghost, which was awesome :) I told him to write down his feelings so he doesnt forget what it felt like. Because Hong Kong has an insane amount of people who go inactive within the first year of getting baptized. Part of it is because the lifestyle here is so fast and crazy, that they forget to do things like read scriptures and pray, then that leads to not going to church, and so on... Also, in the past they have been pretty well known for not doing their home teaching or anything like that, but all of my recent converts are luckily being home taught consistently, and are as active as ever!

Okay, so now for probably the weirdest thing that has happened to me since I have gotten here. On Sunday we were going to church and there was a 30-ish year old, normal looking man standing outside the chapel with a roll of what looked like big architecture blueprints or something in his hand. He walked up and started introducing himself. He told us that someone had experimented on him with Chinese Black Magic, and that afterwards he received a "revelation" from God. He then explained that he had the building blueprints for New Jerusalem which was to be built over Africa because of Africa's electric fields. I asked if he wanted to go to church or something because I still didnt know why he was talking to us. He said he couldnt because it was the day of the Savior, so he couldnt go inside, but that on Monday he would be back. He then handed us his plans, told us to give them to the prophet, then left. 
We went inside the chapel really confused. One of the members wanted to see the "plans" so we opened them up. They are INSANE. This guy speaks no english at all, but he has all of the plans in english with the chemical compositions of the materials, and it actually looks really professional. Then on the next page, it has an aerial view of Africa. The entire continent is covered by this weird building. It is complete with the bank of China, the world trade center, laser guns, radars, tvs, and everything else. It apparently will save the world someday when we run out of petroleum and natural resources. 

Well the next day we had district meeting. Guess who walked in right after it ended? This crazy man. He brought his "studies" which were books full of weird english phrases and words that he wrote down. Most of which I had never heard before. Then he asked if we had a chance to show the prophet his plans. He said he sent them to all of the world leaders all over the world and when I asked him what they thought about it he told me they thought the plans were really good, but that they were trying to think of how to come up with the funds to build it. Then I read him about how New Jerusalem was going to be in Missouri and he wasnt too happy. He was asking where the location of heaven is and all these weird things. We managed to give him a BoM because he asked for one so that he could study it. Then he said he will come to church sunday. I would normally be thrilled by his enthusiasm, but its kinda hard to when I am worrying about him doing something crazy at church. So yeah, that is my crazy story for the week. I am creeped out by him and I think it is so sad that he is in this situation, but he wasnt even at all open to anything we said and so we cant do much for him. 

Well on a brighter note, things are going well. For ward FHE we watched 17 Miracles. I LOVED it. I am not sure if you have seen it, but it is really good I thought. By the end even though most members and investigators couldnt understand it, they still felt the spirit. Our investigator Wayne (who is a really big, tough, Chinese guy who has one of the most powerful personalities I have ever met) stood up and wanted to say the closing prayer. He almost started crying during it adn afterwards he told everyone he never cries for anything because he just doesnt, but that he hasnt felt like crying that much in forever. And it wasnt a sad feeling, but from the spirit. He has been reading the whole BoM, coming to institute by himself (even though he doesnt have anyone he knows who goes with him), coming to church every week, etc... I am SO excited for him. He is such an awesome guy. 

Well sorry I dont have much time, but I love you all. Thanks for everything!!

Love, Jordan


Well I am happy to report that this last week we broke the Tai Po
curse and had Hugo's baptism.
He was really nervous but really excited. Our correlator is an old guy
who is really funny. During church he went to go fill up the baptismal
font. Hugos biggest fear was that the water would be cold.
Well, when we opened the door that goes into the baptismal font room,
a huge cloud of steam billowed out of it. But I didnt really think
that much of it.
The meeting went well and it came time for Hugo and I to step into the water.
I took a few steps in, then quickly ran right back out. It was SUPER
hot. Everyone was confused at why I ran out so I just started saying,
"Wo, taai yiht, taai yiht." Which just means too hot.

So then we went back and sat down and they turned on the cold water
and we sang hyms for a little while waiting for it to cool off. It
still felt pretty hot when we got in the next time. It was pretty much
like baptizing in a hot tub. But Hugo said he didnt care because he
just wanted to get baptized, so we did it.

After we changed our clothes he was sooo happy. He was saying he just
felt like laughing and couldnt stop smilling because of the feeling in
side of him. He didnt really know how to explain it but he said it was
so strong. He kept asking us, "Why dont you do this more often??" So
hopefully now we can talk to him about inviting all of his friends to
church with him so that we CAN do it more often.

The rest of the meeting went well. A member of the bishopric stood up
and spoke about how it is the result of us missionaries working so
hard, and how he feels like this is the beginning of many baptisms.
I am happy to say that I think he is right. One of our investigators,
Wayne, is so solid. He is 23ish, comes to church every week, goes to
every activity, and last night when we walked by the institute room,
he was in there by himself going to institute. Nobody tells him to,
nobody makes him, he just goes. He has a really powerful personality
and will be one of the most powerful members ever once he is baptised.
He just wants to finish the BoM and be baptised afterwards in May. I
am really excited for him. We also have some other new investigators
that have a lot of potential.

Our area is known for being pretty rough in some ways. Everyone is
antied, and that has been a huge obstacle for us.
We have two new investigators who one day in school approached one of
the young women in our ward and asked if they could meet with us to
learn about the church. She introduced them to us and we gave them
Book of Mormons.
Well the other day this young women was talking to us at the church
and she said that she had a problem. She said that she was eating
lunch and one of the boys approached her and started asking her
questions he had after reading a pamphlet we gave him. She started
answering his questions and then he pulled out the pamphlet. That
attracted a LOT of attention. I guess all of the students started
surrounding them and telling them that we are evil and a cult and
stuff. One of the investigators was telling them he knows we are not
because the things hes been learning have been so good. The other one
brought his Book of Mormon to school and was just busy reading it
during lunch.
The member said she got scared and so she just left. It was really sad
but kind of funny. She said not to worry though because one of them
was sticking up for us and the other one was paying too much attention
to the BoM to notice the kids around them.
Luckily we called them last night and they are still good and will
come to church on Sunday, but it is kind of sad that all of their
friends were attacking everything like that.

I have been trying to read and write in characters lately and it is
HARD. Mandarin missionaries are lucky because they read and write in
their language. In cantonese we read and write different words in a
different order and grammatic structure that we speak. For example, if
you wanted to say "He gave her's that." In spoken we would say "Keuih
bei go go keuih ge." If you were to write that and read it out it
would be "Ta kap Ta dik laah go". It is completely different. Needless
to say, i am struggling a little bit. About half of the mission or
more has iPod touches because they have programs to help learn this
stuff. I have been doing it the hard way. So I am hoping for my
birthday I can maybe finally get money for that so that haha... But it
is pretty fun studying characters. There is so much meaning in some of

Last night I walked in the door from a long day and just said, "It
feels so good to be a missionary." It is so true. I know I am doing
what I am supposed to. I am learning and growing everyday. I am
helping people everyday. I dont have to worry about so many things
that I will have to worry about after my mission. It is really
peaceful. Even if we were to have a long period with no success, as
long as we are worknig hard and being obedient, we know we are doing
all that we can.

Well, I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Jordan

Breaking the Curse

YAYYY!!!! Hugo passed his baptismal interview and has his baptism on Sunday after church. The ward members have been so excited. One of them told us its actually been 4 years since they've had a baptism. So we are finally going to break that curse and in May we have a SOLID investigator that will get baptised. He is one of the most powerful people I have ever met. His girlfriend jsut started her mission today and he comes to church, institute, ward FHE, even cleaning the chapel every single week. He just feels that god wants him to read the whole book of mormon by May then get baptised. At first I wasnt too fond of the idea. But we actually feel really comfortable about it too. I just hope I will still be here by then. 

But there is a really really good chance of that. The sisters went to a leadership meeting and apparently the leaders all just hammered them. The sisters havent had an investigator in Tai Po for the last 3.5 months. The leaders were saying that the missionaries are all failing and we dont do anything for the ward and never have and we dont smile enough, etc...... It was sad to hear, but now we just know we have to focus on really trying to help out the members in that ward. But the good news is, this means I might stay in Tai Po for a long time. Because the trend is that if a ward does something like this, they will try to keep a missionary there for a long time to try and help the ward out a lot. I really want to stay in this area for at least three or more transfers. But we will see.

We were sitting on a mini-bus coming back from some village, and all of the sudden over the radio, we heard the djs mention our church's name. They said, "It's amazing, the missionaries will come to Hong Kong and within one year or even earlier, they will be able to speak Cantonese like a native, and many of them know how to read and write by the end of their two years." 
Apparently really well known radio DJ had a dad who died that was a member. This DJ realized how crazy it is that we are able to speak cantonese so he called up president chan and interviewed him over the radio. Then after that, they got the APs to come in and interviewed them over the radio. So lately we have been getting a lot of publicity for that. Which I hope will really help out. Because now we are really focusing on using teaching english to get new investigators. Hong Kong's school systems are insane. the kids wake up early, go to school, get out of school and go straight to tutoring, then go to sleep. This is an everyday thing, even on saturdays and sundays. So President chan has been pushing us advertising our English class. The big theme is "learn english through study and faith. The same way the missionaries learn Cantonese." 
We have been having lots of people calling us trying to get us to help them learn english because of all of the advertising. So hopefully this will help us continue to find more people to teach.

I am sooo excited to finally have a baptism in Tai Po. Hugo asked me to baptise him. He is really nervous, but knows this is what he needs to do. Last week he still had a lot of concerns about not fully understanding the deeper doctrine and about not knowing for sure, so I just talked to him and told him there are even so many things that I dont know. So many questions I dont have the answer to. But that God has given us the scriptures, prophets, and prayer to help us continue to learn our entire lives. This entire life is a process. We never stop learning or will fully understand every single thing that happens. So now he is ready :)

Well, no news about transfers. My comp and I are both staying the same, which is good because it would be sad if he moved only 3 days before his first baptism. 

Well I am running out of time. But have a great week! Love you!!!

Love, Jordan


Hello everyone!!

I just realized yesterday that a week from today I will have already been in Tai Po/Tai Wo area for a full transfer. Time has FLOWN by. We have also been having a lot of success lately. 
Since I came here, we havent really had that much success finding new investigators because both my companion and I didnt know of very many good places to go finding. So I called every missionary in the mission who has ever served here and asked them where their best spots were and every single one of them said, "Miracle Path". 
Miracle Path is a pathway I had never gone to before that is in the middle of all of the antied schools. But we tried finding there and it quickly became obvious how it got its name. We got three new investigators and taught three lessons in about 45 minutes. We have also found a few other places that have been great for finding new investigators. I am just glad that there have been other missionaries in the past who have served here because they have already faced a lot of the challenges we have and have learned how to get around them.

Tai Po is technically a closed area because they havent had a baptism in over 2 years and really havent had any success at all. That is why we are sort of over both Tai Po and Tai Wo.
But Hopefully we will break the curse. Hugo (our investigator who had the faith problem) will probably have his baptismal interview tomorrow. There is a chance he will need more time, but I am just praying hard that he will know he is prepared for baptism and will pass his interview. 

There have been a lot of rumors around the mission that President Chan wants to reopen Tai Po sometime in the next little while before he ends his time as mission president. If Hugo gets baptized there and breaks the streak of no baptisms, then maybe that will be a sign that Tai Po is ready to be opened. 
It would be really sad if Tai Po was reopened while I am still here because that means I would only serve in one of those wards, but it would also be really good because we could have twice as much going on and we would probably move apartments. :)

I dont really mind either way, but it definitely would be nice to get a new apartment. I bought giant ziploc bags that I put all of my food into so that bugs dont get to it. Even after deep cleaning the apartment and killing tons of bugs, I still have to kill them every night before I go to bed though. But our apartment is better than nothing. I dont really care that much I guess.

One of the blessings that we have of being right up against mainland is that we hear a lot of stories about cool things happening up there. 
There is a lady and her mom who come to church every week from mainland, and their story is one of my favorites. 
Her mother was born and because of laws in mainland, her parents were not allowed to have her. So they had two options: Kill her, or figure out how to keep her safe. They left her on a random doorstep who happened to belong to a famous actress. This actress felt bad so she raised the girl. But then once the girl was about 8 years old, the actress kicked her out of the house, so the girl had nowhere to live. On gravestones in China, people will put fruit as a sacrifice to their ancestors. This girl would go around from graveyard to graveyard to try and steal this fruit and eat it. Then once, she had not eaten in a few days and she fell down to the ground and didnt have the energy to get up. Then she said she saw a glowing white person come out of the sky and give her a white flower to eat. She ate it and this angel told her that God wanted her to live, and that she needed to learn about Jesus Christ. So the girl spent the next few years trying to find a bible or learn anything she could. The Chinese government found out about this and for a while she had a warrant out for her arrest. 
Well this girl eventually had a daughter and grew old. The daughter met missionaries in Hong Kong who gave her the book of mormon. She took the book of mormon to mainland and showed her mom. Her mom was really skeptical at first, but once she started reading it, she just started crying and looked up and told her daughter, "This book has to be true. It is better than even the bible." 

there are so many crazy stories I have heard like that from mainland. That is actually the second one I have heard about an angel coming down and giving someone something. In another one, this lady was beaten and was about to die, but then an angel came down and gave her a glowing white pill and told her that she needed to learn what God had in plan for her.

Its pretty cool that there are 100 missionaries, only about 60 of them american, and only about 45 American Elders in our mission that covers all of China (although we are not allowed to go into mainland), and I happen to be one of them. Elder Holland came to talk to the mission in May and told them that he is not exaggerating at all or just saying it, but that only the missionaries with the highest potential are sent to the China Hong Kong Mission. So we need to reach our highest potential, because this mission is just that important to not only all of the Chinese people now, but also in the future. Because China sees what we do here, and will judge us according to that. 

Well, I hope you all have a great week!!

Love you!!

Love, Jordan


I really wish I had my camera cord with me right now because this week some really cool things happened and we got some good pictures.
First, my companion came across an address another missionary gave him a long time ago for a man in our area. He lives in Saam Muhn Jai which is a little tiny fishing village. The path through the village is right in the middle of everyones' houses because everyones' houses are two parts. the part closest to the water is connected to a little personal pier thing that goes out into the water. There are a lot of boats and stuff, and some people live on them.
Well we went to this guys house and knocked on his door. He is probably in his 50s and lives alone in this village. He has been having really bad back problems and has been in the hospital a lot lately. But whenever he is home and not in the hospital, we have visited him and taught him. He is super humble and just so receptive to everything. I am really excited to see him progress.
This has been good, but it has taken a lot of our time away because we have to take a little mini bus to the village which is pretty far away.
Now at this point in my mission I think I have recognized what I need to try and focus on and try to learn most. Time management. With two large areas and a lot of work to do, we have been really busy, but have not been able to do as much as I have wanted. But I have started to try planning more effectively and talking to people no matter where we are or what we are doing.
Today was a lot of fun. We woke up early and went to a place to rent bikes. We rode all morning up to the mountains and then hiked to a waterfall called Brides Pool. It is super cool and was really fun. But now I am exhausted.
Well I am sorry that I dont have very much time. We are at a place to email where we dont get as much time.
But thanks for all of your prayers!
I got your package with the chocolate cinnamon bears this week!! thanks a ton!!
Things are actually going really well here. We have been having a lot of success and I think that we are going to even be having more pretty soon.
Love you all!!
Love, Jordan

Not Too Much

Well, this week was relatively uneventful. Last week was a lot more exciting with Chinese New Year and all of that stuff. But a lot of the festivities did not stop after Chinese New Year.

Something that we have seen a lot which is pretty cool are the dragon costumes. They usually have 2 or more people inside and a few people following them and playing Chinese drum things. They go to random stores and do an acrobat act. Usually they will jump on each others shoulders and do different things, or dance or something. Then they will go inside the store or business and the dragon will throw up all of this lettuce and vegetables. I am not sure why or how they do it, but it is pretty interesting. Then the business owners sweep it all outside and one guy I saw was pretty annoyed, but they all just let the dragons do it. Some of the dragons will be on stilts and they will jump on and off of them. It is really cool.

Things have been going pretty well this week as far as missionary work goes. We have been able to find some new investigators and we are trying to help an investigator who comes to church every week, follows all the commandments, reads, etc... to be baptized. He says he feels the Holy Ghost, but he wants an answer that lets him know God exists, because he always hears everyone talk about how they KNOW these things are true and how they KNOW God is there. So I have just been talking to him a lot about faith. The more I have learned about faith through this, the more amazing it is to me. But I ran into a roadblock while trying to talk about Faith, Hope, and Works and how they are related. The reason why is because in Chinese the way you say hope is Hei Mohng. But it doesnt actually mean hope, it means to wish for something. For example, if I wanted to say God wishes to communicate with us, I would use it and say, "Sahn heimohng tuhng ngohdeih kautung." So he didnt really quite understand what I meant and how hope was related to faith. But I think that this week or next week we can resolve his concerns and get him interviewed for baptism. 

I have learned a lot this week about how important it is to show people how much we care about them. Part of that is really developing a care for the people, and doing the missionary work for them, not for personal recognition or gain of any kind. 
I realized the other day that we can knock on doors in the villages in our area (It is very rare for missionaries here to ever knock doors their entire mission). So my comp and I decided to try it. The first guy I talked to told us we dont want to look for people there because everyone in that village was Baisahn (the religion where they worship their ancestors, like in mulan.). I told him that I wasnt going to leave because Baisahn people are good too and they believe families are important just like us. Then I asked about his family and just talked to him for a while. I told him about how our message could bless him and his family so much, and even his ancestors who he Baisahns to. He let us share our message and then we exchanged phone numbers. 
I have had so many experiences here where just listening to people and teaching to their interests has opened up doors for them. 

We have one investigator who is an older man that has met with missionaries every sunday night for 3 years just to learn English. Missionaries have had no success with him whatsoever and my companion said they wanted to drop him before I came. Everyone told me before I met him that I would need to cut him off otherwise he will go on and on and on about stories not related to our message at all.
But in the lesson when I met him I just let him talk until he tired himself out. Eventually he just talked and talked and then somehow started talking about how grateful he is for us and how he doesnt understand why we are nice enough to meet with him to help him with English. I told him its because we care about him and love the people here because they are God's children, and that we have an even better way to help him and that is through baptism. We were able to give him a baptismal date and hopefully he will start coming to church and progress towards that.

I went to the temple today and as always, it was fantastic. I am so grateful we have a temple here in Hong Kong. It is obviously my favorite temple in the world because I lived in it for 4 months, but no matter what temple you go to, the spirit felt inside is always the same. It just feels like home. Not meaning Alpine, UT, but even more so than that.

Well, I will try and send some pictures right now, but have a great week!! Cant wait to hear from you next week!

Love you all!

Love, Jordan