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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Miracles (from 2/14/13)

Happy Chinese New Year and Valentines Day!
I totally forgot about not being able to email up until now. But here I am.
Last week was really awesome. We had Rency's baptism (which I believe you can see pictures of on my facebook as some of the members have informed me.)
I was really happy when after the baptism that night we got a text from her that said, "Oh elders I am so sorry! I forgot to pay my tithing today! Is it okay if I pay it next week?" I am very glad she is so committed to the gospel and also to keeping the commandments. She also apologized she didnt get Chinese New Year off so she couldnt help us go finding for new investigators. It is amazing how committed the Filipinas here are to the gospel.
This week, Marilyn will get baptized. A few days ago when we taught her, I realized we had never asked about her family to make sure her husband is okay with her baptism. When I asked her, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she has been talking to them the entire time she has been investigating and that they are meeting with missionaries and going to church now in the Philippines. Also, she was able to get a five day holiday next month so she is going to fly back to the Philippines to help the missionaries teach her family there.
There are so many great miracles this last week, but one that definitely stands out happened on Sunday. We got a new investigator and were preparing to teach her. Right when she saw the pamphlets, she started crying and told us that her son drowned a year ago at the age of 19. She said that after he died, they found all of our pamphlets along with the Book of Mormon in his school bag. She asked us who Jesus Christ is, and when we told her that he is the Son of God, she got very happy and told us the last time she had talked to her son on the phone, he had been trying to teach her about the church and that he told her Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but not our Heavenly Father. She was immediately super receptive, and our lesson quickly changed from the Restoration to the Plan of Salvation. We arent sure if he was baptized yet or if he was just a really good investigator, but his mother was SHOCKED when she saw the same things in our church that they found in her son's bag. She right away said she wants to be baptized, and we are very excited for her.
We have SO MANY baptisms coming up. I really hope I get to stay here for a while. We already have had a lot of success, but there is so much more still coming.
I dont remember if I told you or not but we have a really good Indonesian investigator who finally started reading the Book of Mormon, and ever since then, she has had a problem with lack of sleep because she cant stop reading it at night and wakes up in the morning to read it some more.
Oh! Something really cool happened. We pulled back a Muslim man who is from Northern India and speaks Urdu. He was telling us that he believes every religion has some truths but that they have been changed by men too much, even his own religion. As we shared the Restoration he really loved it. Then he told us something really cool. We talked about Jesus Christ visiting the Americas and he told us his problem with other Chrsitian churches is that they have all told him Jesus Christ didnt go anywhere after he was Resurrected, just back to heaven. But in a village near where this man lives, there are hieroglyphics and an ancient tradition that Jesus Christ went there and to other places after he was Resurrected so that he could establish his church there and visit the people.
So he was very happy about the Book of Mormon and about the idea of Jesus Christ visiting other places.
Holidays are always so crazy here in International. I understand what "religious excitement" Joseph Smith was talking about. As we went finding the other day, we got to worldwide and on one side there was a preacher over loudspeakers yelling out scriptures and things, then on the other a live band from some other church was playing. In the middle of it all there were JWs and other churches' missionaries everywhere. We decided to go to a park a little walk away and on the way the streets were all roped off and there were THOUSANDS of Filipinas in the streets all screaming and singing and dancing while El Shaddai (another church) was having some big huge street service or something. Along the edges were JIL (Jesus Is Christ) missionaries in green shirts trying to pull the Filipinas away from it and trying to give out "Vote for Brother Eddie" cards and flyers so that their church leader could be a senator in the Philippines. Then deeper in the park were tons of Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) members and missionaries trying to invite people to some big giant "anti-other churches" meeting. 

But in the middle of all of it, we were able to get a few pull-backs and when we taught them the restoration, it just clicked in their minds.
This is one of the most challenging and rewarding places and things to do in the world. I feel sometimes like we are placed right in the middle of the Palmyra it shows in the Restoration DVD and sent to bring everyone out of all the craziness and confusion.
Well I guess thats all the stories I have time for. But as you can see, I am very busy lately. But I am also so grateful for everything that is happening here as well as the great things I have heard about regarding my school stuff back home.
Love you all!
Love ,Jordan

Lots of Lessons (from 2/4/13)

Some weeks as a missionary, you feel like you are just planting lots of seeds in peoples' hearts. Other weeks (these weeks are better) you feel like you are harvesting the success. This last week was definitely a harvesting week. This last week we had almost 20 referrals, and had 15 investigators stay for all three hours of church. The investigators have all been very good, and I wouldnt be surprised if all of them get baptized some day. 
One of the comments I heard one night while walking past a group of them that was talking to the members was, "Wow! This is the best Holiday I have ever had!" 

Also, it has been amazing to see how the members have turned into really good missionaries and have really gone to town inviting everyone they can to come to church with them. 

Another great thing that happened this week is Rency passed her baptismal interview and wants me to baptize her this Saturday. She is the one who we found that said she had been praying to meet someone that would change her life, and when she saw our name tags she knew right away we were the answer to her prayers. 

International is pretty well known for having people trying to bible bash us a lot. Because we show up to places where there are usually hordes of other missionaries and preachers from other churches. Some of them are complete with live bands playing their hymns and preachers yelling on loudspeakers. 
For the most part they leave us alone, but sometimes when they try to anti our members who are helping us, we have a hard time just standing there letting it happen. And my companion happens to have the best scripture knoweledge in the mission. I am convinced he has the entire quad memorized. So I dont have to do any of the arguing most of the time, I just let him do it. 
But I have become quite familiar with the doctrine of the other big churches in the Phillipines, and it has been interesting to see them all fighting against each other. We have collected pamphlets and things attacking tons of churches, and while none of them are right themselves, it is sad to see them be so malicious to each other. However, it has really been a blessing to us. I have been so grateful for the restoration, because when we meet with our investigators, they understand Joseph Smith's situation perfectly and they all start crying when we share the first vision, because it is like they have been waiting to hear it their whole lives. 

One more cool story! Last night we were really far away in Discovery Bay at the Victoria 1 (white people) branch's branch president's house helping him give his daughters blessings. Well when we left we knew we were going to be late because we had to take a long ferry ride back, but I saw a Filipina lady walking on the sidewalk and crossed the street to talk to her anyways. She right away got excited and started saying, "Elder! Elder! I am so happy to see you!". She started crying before I even said anything. But I found out she is a member that my MTC teacher baptized while he was here, but she shortly after went less active. She told me about how her trials kept her from going to the church, and how when she moved she didnt know how to get back to the church. She also told me about her conversion story and about how amazing she felt when she went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. She even has continued to read the Book of Mormon! 
But she had started praying that she would be able to find a way to get back to church, and when I started talking to her, her prayer was answered and now she is excited to go back. 

It is crazy how often we are put in the right place at the right time. 

Well I gotta go, but thanks for everything!

Love you!

Love, Jordan

Still Here (from 1/27/13)

It has been another great week here in Hong Kong.
The most exciting news is that transfers came and went and I am still here in international. Also my companion goes home in about three weeks so something weird is going to happen because it is in the middle of a transfer. Most likely someone will just be surprised and told to move randomly. But hopefully this means that I will be able to stay for one more transfer after this one. the transfer schedule will be weird until I go home. This transfer is a normal 6 weeks, then the next one is 4 weeks and my last one is 9 weeks. The reason why is because they want to change the transfer lengths to 9 weeks permanently, but before they do that, theyhave to align it with the MTC so that is the reason for the 4 week transfer.
We had some really great miracles this week. 
Well, we had another cool Word of Wisdom lesson this week. One of our miracle investigators who was the one we found that had been praying for us asked us this week what she has to do to prepare for her baptism. We taught her all of the commandments and the only one she was worried about was the Word of Wisdom and drinking coffee. (so many Filipinas love their coffee). But she told us that the morning before we taught her, she had already made her coffee then thought about it and decided she didnt want to rely on it so much, so she dumped it down the sink and drank water instead. She saw that as a confirmation from the spirit that this commandment is true, even before she learned about it. To her, this was a miracle.
We have a lot of investigators that are doing so well. I am very excited for all of them. they are so accepting of everything.
We have an investigator who came this week and last, and both times the whole church meeting has been on temple endowments and things like that. She told us how she really doesnt understand any of it, but that she knows it is true because the Holy Ghost has confirmed it in her heart. She also helped us go finding yesterday and get a pull-back, even though she is not a member. Pretty cool.
Thanks for everything!!
I lvoe you all!
Love, Jordan

Miracles (from 1/20/13)

Hello again!
I think this week has been one of the best weeks of my entire mission. We had a great baptism on Saturday. I baptized the super golden investigator I had been telling you about. Her name is Remy and I am so excited for her and for her family as she has been trying to work with them so that they will meet missionaries in the Phillipines.
We had so many miracles this week, I dont even know where to begin. We had one of our investigators from before that had to go back to Phillipines come back and call us saying she wanted to go to church. After sacrament meeting the members came up and told us she had been asking them about how to get baptized because she has been prayinga bout it and feels like she needs to be baptized in this church. Then on Saturday we were worried because we have an investigator who is really good but two Saturdays ago when we challenged her to baptism, she said she wants to, except she isnt sure all the way if she should. We thought it was a miracle because this last Saturday we knew we were going to have a baptism, so we invited her to it and told her she would get her answer during the baptism.
She called us Friday night and told us she had something she needed to tell us, but then Saturday morning to our dismay, she didnt show up for the baptism. But before sacrament meeting started, she showed up with some of her friends. She told us that she was sorry but she really wanted to bring her friends to chruch and thats why she was late.
After we taught her friends (who were all very golden), she took us aside and told us she needed to tell us that she prayed about it and felt very strongly that God told her she is supposed to join the church and be baptized.
Yesterday, we went to go finding for a pull-back and the members with us had someone I didnt recognize. It turned out to be someone who had met one of the members in an elevator on Friday. Well this member is so good and always being a missionary everywhere she goes, and she asked this Filipina to come to church with her. Well then on Sunday morning the Filipina also wanted to go finding with us, and she did. It was so funny because I was really confused at who she was and I thought she was just a member who had been gone or something, then was back.
During sacrament meeting, the whole meeting was on things like temple ordinances and stuff, so we thought it would be way over her head. But when we looked back at the end of the meeting, she was the only person in the meeting who was crying. So we pulled her aside and she told us she has been looking for God's church her whole life and today during the sacrament meeting she felt a very strong impression that she had found it. Later on, we got a text from her telling us that Sister Mary Jane (the member who invited her) has been God's stepping stone to find a better life, the true church, an eternal family, and eventually into the holy temple someday. I was shocked, but elated that this person who had only met with us once already had a goal to go to the temple.
We also had someone who I pulled back that was really funny. She was a midwife in the Phillipines before she came here. I wasnt too excited about the fact that she kept telling stories about delivering babies while we were waiting for members to get to the church to help us teach. She told me, "Well you have to know these things because someday it is going to happen to your wife." yeah...
But anyways, the lesson was really powerful and afterwards, I felt that I needed to talk about temples even though this is the first time we have taught her. She started crying and told me that her dad died ten years ago and that last month she had a dream that she found out her dad was still around, and she needed to help him. Well when she eventually got to him, he looked very sad and told her that she couldnt help him where she was right now, but that she had to choose the right path so that someday in the future she could. Apparently this has been on her mind a lot lately and when I shared about the temple, it answered all of her questions.
Being a missionary is great. But sometimes the things we experience and see and hear about are just so incredible. It has been such a blessing for me to be working here with these people who are so open to the spirit and have so much faith.
Well thank you all for everything!!
Love you!
Love, Jordan

Too Much (from 1/13/13)

Well as the title suggests, I have just too much to write about and I think I will tell most of the things when I get home because some of the stories will be better that way anyways.
But one short thing that I will mention is about the investigator I told you about who is super golden and was really prepared. She is the one who was already living the word of wisdom before we taught it to her, because she had overheard some members talking about it. She also is the one who the first time we brought her to the church, on the way we passed by some Jehovahs witnesses and she told us that that is where she had been going to church and was going to get baptized. Well anyways, she had her baptismal interview and unsurprisingly passed. She is so excited to get baptized next week.
Also, there are so many miracles that we keep seeing. The investigator that I told you about who was praying that someone would change her life, then we met her - she has a baptismal date and has been so excited for it. She even has asked to sit in with the Filipina sister missionaries and helped them teach the first lesson, and bore her testimony to the investigator. It has been incredible to see how the gospel changes the lives of these people here.
One thing that has been difficult has been working with the Indonesians. Before it was ignored, but now we have been reminded that when teaching Muslims, the church has very strict guidelines. This was brought to light because of some recent converts who either have been killed by their family, or disowned and threatened because of their conversion. Indonesia is a mostly Muslim country and the sisters from there are pretty interesting. But a lot of them are really good. Luckily this week we have been blessed and have been able to find some already-christian Indonesians.
When I get back home remind me to tell you of the story of us rescuing Jinky and of how the part of my blessing that talks about my chinese aiding the work has happened in a way I never would have imagined. It is a long story and probably a better one for me to tell back home.
There is a recent convert who has the coolest conversion story.
A year ago she was in a coma in the Phillipines and when she woke up, her husband told her about how a white man in a white robe with a beard had walked into the room and told her that his name was Alpha and Omega and that she would have another chance at life, but that in one year from now, she would be given a blue book. She was to accept the book and use it to know what to do with her life and to help those around her. Well then she came to Hong Kong to work and when missionaries met her and gave her the blue book, she right away knew what it was for and was baptized along with her relatives back home.
Most of the stories that come from working with these people sound absurd, but another missionary who served here a long time ago put it well. He said, "Filipinas are blessed with a lot of faith as well as sometimes crazy-sounding visions or dreams. Indonesians are blessed with the gift of tongues. Because usually they cant speak English or Chinese but the moment they are baptized they somehow have almost perfect English." Crazy, but true.
Well thank you all for everythign. I love you so mcuh!
Love, jordan

Time Flies By (from 1/7/13)

I always have heard from other missionaries and RMs who say that their missions progressively get faster and faster. And it is definitely true. I remember going through the MTC and it felt like years before we left for Hong Kong. Then my first couple of transfers also went by really slowly. But wow time is moving so fast. 
This week was cold but really good. We were able to get 13 pull-backs. A pull-back is someone who we meet in Central and are able to take them back on the train with us to Wan Chai and have them go to church.
On Saturday we had some really cool miracles. While trying to convince one Filipina to come back to church with us, another one approached us and asked if we were missionaries and if we could take her to our church. We were able to get both, and when we took them down the escalator to buy tickets, another one came up and told us her niece was a mormon and that she used to drive past the temple in Manila everyday. We were able to pull back all three of them, and right when we got in the church, all three of them started crying and two of them ran into the bathroom because they were embarrassed.  Then after we dropped them off at the church with some members, we went back and started talking to another Filipina. She right away agreed to go to church with us.
After testimony meeting, we had to teach a few lessons, but when we came out, the last Filipina ran up and was thanking us for helping her come. We sat down to teach her a lesson, and she told us that it was a miracle because she has been really sad in Hong Kong and she hasnt known what to do because she has no friends and her employer is really bad to her. She told us that the nigth before, she was planning on staying in her room all day during her holiday, but then she had a feeling she had to go out. She knelt down and prayed to God asking him specifically to allow her to meet someone the next day who would be able to help her. She said that when she saw "Jesus Christ" on my nametag, she right away knew she was supposed to go with us.
The other three pullbacks were also really good. They all are actually really golden even though one of them's parents are preachers in some "born-again" church, and another one's dad is a Catholic priest or something. But they are very accepting of the Gospel and loved church.
I just have been thinking about how grateful I am for serving a mission. It  has helped me to learn and grow so much, as well as to witness so many miracles.
Well I love you all! Have a great week!
Love, Jordan

Too Many Stories, But Not Enough Time (from 12/30/12)

I have so many storied to tell, but not enough time to tell them (and I dont know if I can even remember them all). I am sure though that when I get home I will want to tell stories and talk all the time and everyone will get sick of it. Haha. Last week was super fun with all of the Christmas parties and everything. We ate wayyy too much and I thought I would explode.
Well anyways, I have just continued to see miracles everyday. We have an investigator who wants to be baptized, but she wants her parents consent (even though it is of course not required because she is thirty, but she is not married yet so in tradition, she is still kind of under her parents care). Well I guess that for a long time she has been not sure what to do. She comes to church every week and is really awesome. So we sat down with her and talked to her about this. We had some really awesome fellowshippers there that shared their stories. One of them met the missionaries in the Phillipines when she was 13. Her family did not like the church at all and so they told her that if she wanted to join, she had to pass a test. Her father was retired military and owned a very large plantation. He fired all but a couple of his workers and told this sister that if she wanted to be baptized she had to be able to take care of the plantation for a year and get more crop even though there were almost no workers to help her. She was really worried and when she first showed up to the plantation, she was surprised to see the entire ward and missionaries already there working away, because they had found out about her situation. they continued to come all year around and then in the end her family's hearts were softened and they let her be baptized and also some of them joined the church. It is so crazy how so many people would sacrifice so much time and effort for an entire year just so that a 13 year old girl could have her parent's permission to be baptized.
It reminds me of a talk during General Conference that talks about how we dont use the cross as a symbol for our church. The symbol of our church is the lives of our members. We should always strive to be like Jesus Christ because we ARE members of his church, and us males hold the SAME priesthood that millions of miracles have been performed by, including parting the red sea, raising the dead, healing the sick, etc...
So anyways, this investigator said she will be baptized in three weeks. Next week she will fast, then after her fast she will call her father and tell him she is getting baptized.
We have another investigator who is super cool. She is from Indonesia and her parents disappeared when she was young so her grandpa raised her. He was converted to Christianity, but wound up dying shortly after. So she literally has no family on the Earth.
Well a recent convert brought her to church my first week here and we taught her. She was so great. She loved the message we shared, and said she right away wanted to be baptized and believes everything we taught. Well the day after, her employer fired her and she didnt know why. She was heartbroken over it, and didnt know what to do. She went to a boarding house and started trying to find another job. But every single day she went to church with us, and everyday she brought a referral who was usually someone she had met at the boarding house, and every day without fail during the sacrament, you could see her closing her eyes praying, and crying. We finally asked her if she is okay and why she cries, and she said it is because of how grateful she is that she found the church,  and because she feels so much love and appreciation for the Savior and what he did for her.
Well anyways, she found an employer and had to exit to Macau for a month to wait for a visa. But when she got there the first thing she did was buy a SIM card to call us and let us know she was safe and is excited to be baptized when she gets back, and that she had already called the missionaries in Macau to let them know that she is there.
I am just so blessed to serve here. I love it.
Well I have to go, but thanks for everything!! Have a great week!!
Love, Jordan

Magandang Umaga (from 12/16/12)

Wow, I have so much to tell you all. But I dont know if I will have enough time to write it, or remember it all.
This week has been CRAZY!! Thursday was transfers and I was surprisingly transfered to International. I am zone leader with Elder Wu, who I was friends with in the MTC. He is the one from New Zealand that I told you about when I was there. We are the only Elder companionship. the rest are all Phillipina sister companionships with the exception of a pair of office elders that help out on Sunday.
This is the only place in the world where we have church EVERY DAY except for Mondays. The schedule for us every day is wake up and exercize, shower, then right away go to Worldwide, a place full of Filipinas and Indonesians. We stay there until we can convince one to take the train with us back to Wan Chai, where we show them around, teach them a lesson, then they go to church.
The reason why we have church everyday is because these women are all sent here to basically be servants to the Chinese and other people here. They are paid a certain amount and told when their holiday is every week. Some are really lucky (the ones with American employers) and are treated really well. They are able to have a full day off of work every week, and even have a bed to sleep in. Others sometimes never have a day off for years, sleep on the kitchen floor, are starved, are abused, and all while trying to earn enough money here to send back home and provide for their families. I have never been so humbled in my life. I am continually shocked at the situation that a lot of these sisters are in, and I have already had a few times where I cant help but cry because of the things they are put through. Many of them have kids at home who they havent seen for years.
But somehow whenever they have their holiday (whether it is once a month or twice a week) they spend that entire day at church or out helping us missionaries. They are INCREDIBLE. When we go to worldwide we promise blessings and challenge the sisters we meet to exercize faith and come with us that day. Then, usually a member is around to right away become their best friend and help them meet everyone at church. Even when we arent there, the sisters still are doing missionary work. Yesterday we had to do something so we were late getting to a park we had planned on finding at with some sisters from one of our branches. Well when we got there, they had already went all over the park bringing others back to the church and getting everyone's phone numbers. They are so devoted and humble, and find so much joy in spending every free minute helping out missionaries and serving each other.
We have seen so many miracles.
On Thursday we got a really good pull-back and it went fantastic. But that night one of the sisters in our branch was worrying so much because she had her purse stolen. She was supposed to go up to Mainland China the next day for a month, or else she faced possibly getting terminated (or possibly worse things) from her employer, but she had no money and didnt know what to do. We helped talk to her and figure out what she could do, and she said if she could get home she could get more money and would be fine. So we gave her enough money to get to her employer's house, but then before she left I had the impression to give her a lot more money. I dont know why, and she wouldnt accept it, but I finally convinced her to take it and if she didnt use it, then to pay me back later.
Well when she got to her employer's apartment, she was locked out and nobody would let her inside. We were in contact with her until one in the morning and were trying to figure out what she could do. She went to the police station and they couldnt help her, so we told her to go to a boarding house. Luckily she had enough money to stay the night and be able to eat some food. The next day, she went to the Immigration Office and they were able to help her out more. She called us and let us know that she had just enough money left to make it to mainland China with her employer's grandma where she was supposed to be. She was very grateful and assured me she would pay me back.
I really dont care about the money, I am just so grateful I had that small spiritual impression and listened to it.
Friday we had a great pull-back who was in a struggle trying to get help finding a new employer, and so we brought her to an agency. Well there are about a million different agencies in Hong Kong that help these sisters find employers. A little bit later, I was calling another Filipina I had met the day before and trying to get her to come to church. Both of these sisters are in very complicated situations where they need to find an employer fast or they will be sent back to Phillipines and lose a lot of money. The chances of both of them finding employers arent huge, but I promised both of them that if they came to church that they would immediately find employers. Well then a little later, they called me and apparently at the same agency they happened to meet each other and both of them were talking about how missionaries wanted them to come to church and promised them they would find employers. Well they decided to come together, and right when they were on their way, they were informed that both of them had people who had previously interviewed them that wanted to hire them. They were ecstatic and it was obvious that this miracle had happened.
Saturday we continued to do well with 3 pull-backs that were all very golden.
Then yesterday we had 3 more along with a baptism!!
Today is our P day and we dont have church, but another investigator texted us and told us she is quitting her job so that she can come to church because her employer before did not let her have a day off.
I am amazed at the faith, humility, and receptiveness to the spirit that these wonderful daughters of God have.
We also serve a branch called Victoria first branch. It is made up of all the other foreignors from all over the world. There are Africans, Americans, Mexicans, and everything else there.
But I think my personal favorite is working with the Filipina and Indonesian sisters. I have learned so much, and also have had the priviledge of blessing and passing the sacrament every day.
Well I am running out of time. But I lvoe you all!!
Love, Jordan

Not Very Much Time (12/10/12)

Well as the subject line suggest, I dont have much time today. So it will be brief.
This week we had a pretty cool thing happen. We met some teenage kids that were very nice and they let us visit their home. Well they are originally from mainland China and are in very, very humble circumstances. Their house is very small on the 9th floor of a building without any elevators. They have one bathroom that most of the things were probably made by their father, and one very small bedroom. Also, their family is huge. We met their dad, a boy, two girls, and about ten cousins that were visiting. At one point, they had 11 people living in their house for a few months. People had to sleep squished all over the floor. We have been working with them a lot and it has been a very humbling experience. As we help them come closer to Christ, it is amazing the love that I feel for them. I think that we are going to be able to get the ward to go caroling with us on Christmas and I suggested that we stop by this family's house.
Well I dont have too much else to talk about.
Thank you all for your prayers!!
Love, Jordan

Kidney Stones Again (from 12/3/12)

Well most of you already know, but Sunday morning I went to the hospital with kidney stones again. I woke up at about five in the morning and didnt know what it was yet so I just showered and got ready to go to church, then around 6 45 the pain got really bad and I knew what it was so I asked the missionaries in the apartment to give me a blessing and then I took a taxi over to the hospital. I actually wound up going to the Adventist Hospital run by the Seventh Day Adventists church.
In the taxi I just kept praying really hard that I wouldnt throw up all over the inside of the car. Finally we arrived and I made it into the ER where they injected some pain medicine into me and that helped a little bit, but I was still shaking really bad and in a ton of pain. They took me up into a room and put an IV in. Eventually President Hawks and his wife came in and sat in my room with me. We sat there waiting for hours until they took me to get an x ray and some ct scans. They injected the weird dye stuff into my veins and dad is right, it does make you feel like you pee your pants haha.
More hours later, they came in with the results and told me I have a kidney stone (not too much of a surprise to me). The doctor came up and said I should stay in the hospital overnight. I didnt really want to, and President Hawks didnt really think I needed to either because he kept questioning the doctor about it. But then he said that I should stay overnight, and so I did. It was really weird because Presidend Hawks left with my companion and so I didnt have a companion for the rest of the day until today in the afternoon. Well when all this was happening, there was a boy and his family in the next room over because he had hurt his knee playing basketball and needed to get surgery. They didnt really say anything to us ever but I saw them walk by a few times. I was really impressed that they went out of their way to bring dinner to the hospital and eat as a family, and in the morning they ate breakfast as a family as well.
I had a lot of time that I didnt know what to do with because I wasnt goign to watch tv, and my phone was dead so I couldnt call investigators. So I had some time to write a note to the family on a flyer I had and to put my information on it.
This morning before President Hawks came to pick me up, I was trying to find a way to give it to the family. Finally I just got up and changed into my missionary clothes and walked over and started talking to them. They were very friendly and interested in why I could speak Cantonese so well. I talked to them for about twenty minutes and then right when I was giving them the note, President Hawks and his wife as well as the mission doctor walked in looking for me. President Hawks made his way over to the family and started talking to them with me. We got their contact info, and although they dont live in my area's boundaries, it felt really good to make the best out of the situation I was in and still accomplish my missionary purpose.
While I was there, I talked to multiple nurses and different people about the church and my job as a missionary. It must have eventually spread all around the hospital because every time a new nurse came or someone came to check on me, they would only speak Cantonese to me right away, instead of trying to speak English. I was happy that I understood everything and was able to use some medical words and terms I have learned lately.
As we were leaving the hospital, I saw the mission doctor out in the hall talking to a white man in a suit. When he saw me he walked up and introduced himself. He told me he was the head minister chaplain person there at the hospital and went on to talk about how he grew up in Chile because his dad was a missionary for the Seventh Day Adventists and that they came into contact with missionaries there a lot and worked together a lot on different projects and service. He said he really respected all of those missionaries and was grateful for their work. Then he told me that he was just on his way up to my room because word had gotten around about me and he wanted to come thank me for the work I was doing in Hong Kong. He was very nice and sincere. He rode the elevator down with us and just continued to express his gratitude to me and President Hawks.
As we were driving home, President Hawks told me that last night when he was talking to the doctor about whether I should stay or not, he suddently felt that I needed to stay and he feels that it was so I could have a chance to go talk to that family in the next place over.
It made me realize that I had that kidney stone for a reason, and I can honestly say that I am grateful for the opportunity I had to help others come into contact with the gospel. Even though this time it was a lot more painful than in times past haha.
Well anyways, I have pain medication now just in case it starts hurting again, and I am going back on Friday to get another X ray done. I think they may be billing our insurance for it all, so if our insurance gets billed all the way from hong kong, thats what it is from.
Other than that, I am doing GREAT! I guess I dont have too much else time and I still need to write my report to president hawks.
But thank you all for everything!!
Love you!
Love, Jordan

Late (from 11/26/12)

Sorry everyone, I originally got on to email this morning, but my computer kicked me off and I havent been able to get to another place until just barely. 

But I think it is a good thing. I ended up going to a place in Kwun Tong to email, and the lady who owns it used to be an investigator here. We would go over to her house to teach her son English, then eat together with her family at least once or twice a week. But I was talking to her and no missionaries have been over for a long time and it sounds like she can hopefully now get work off on Sundays so she can go to church. (that was her problem before, her husband forced her to work on Sundays). So it is a good thing that we ended up over here I think. I will be able to let the missionaries over here know. 

This week was pretty good. Our zone had a big thanksgiving activity and we were able to eat turkey and mashed potatoes and stuff, but of course no pie. I will be looking forward to that a lot when I get home. 

Not too much is going on. We have a lot of investigators still working towards baptism. We have run into a few problems with some of them such as parental permission and things like that, but I dont think it will slow things down too much. As long as we keep doing our part, I think that things will continue to improve, and the area will continue to progress.

I was able to sit down with my companion and another young missionary and talk to them a little bit. A lot of young missionaries have a tendency to find every little thing wrong with their companion and complain to other missionaries about it without fixing the problem. I told them the story about when I was with my trainer. I really didnt like a lot of the things he was doing. I focused so much on what I thought were his faults that I now look back and feel like there were so many things he did really well that I missed out on learning because I was too distracted by the bad. After I was done being companions with him, I was really humbled when I realized that he had done so many things so well, and that I had just as many if not more fault than him. So I wrote him a letter and gave it to him before he finished his mission, apologizing for my pride and thanking him for the things he had taught me. 
A lot of new missionaries think that their trainers or others are doing things wrong because either they have some weird quirk, or else maybe they dont find as much as the younger missionary thinks, or something else. But it is very hard for younger missionaries to accept the fact that maybe their ideas are wrong, and their trainer may know what he is doing because he has been here for a long time. 
So I told them just to focus on the good in every companion they have, and to learn everything they can from them. Because the difference between good missionaries and bad missionaries all comes down to humility and learning the good while not focusing on the bad. It was really good and I hope that they learn from it. I know it is definitely something I had to learn early on. It makes things so much more enjoyable.

Well I am running out of time, but thanks for everything!! I love all of you!!

Love, Jordan

Short on Time (from 11/18/12)

Sorry in advance. We only have 45 minutes today to email as well as write our reports to the mision president because we have a mission activity to go to and so we are all short on time today.
But this last week was great! Today I was able to talk to president Hawks for a little while just because he happened to be around while I was in Kowloon Tong. He seems very pleased with how the area has turned out. we have 9 baptismal dates in an area that used to get an average of 1 or 2 total lessons a week with nobody ever coming to church. The best part is that the other companionship has started to get things rolling as well. 
Not too much has happened other than that. It has started getting a little cold. but right now it is actually pretty hot outside
ACtually I have one story from this week. Saturday night I didnt get any sleep. IN the middle of the night the AC (which is a few inches above my head. It is one of the window ones like in PR) started making cracking noises so I turned it to just fan mode. Well right as I fell back asleep it started rumbling and then spit out a TON of crushed ice pieces all over my face. It was a very uncomfortable night, but I thought it was kind of funny once morning came. I am thinking maybe the air conditioner just got too cold or something.
Well I love you all. I hope you have a great thanksgiving and that mom has a fantastic birthday!! Next week ill have more time and maybe ill talk about gratitude or something haha. Sorry about this week!!
Love, Jordan

Less Actives (from 11/11/12)

I hope you are all enjoying the snowy weather in Utah! Here it is still warm (too warm). But to be honest, I really miss the snow, and will be excited to get back to it. It will be so weird to be back in a place that snows, in a really big house (compared to any house in hong kong. I have been in some that I am pretty sure are smaller than my bathroom), and going to an English speaking ward. I am sure that the first little while I will just be in shell shock.
One of the great things about this time of year in Hong Kong though is the lights. All of the big buildings are starting to get christmas decorations all over them, and they usually stay up until they are replaced by the chinese new years lights and decorations. It makes night time even more beautiful here.
Except no matter what, Christmas and Thanksgiving wont be anything like they are at home. I remember last year one of the missionaries got a package at thanksgiving with everything you could ever want. The problem is that pumpkin pie, turkey, mashed potatoes, etc... arent meant to be sent through the mail. They had all leaked out of their containers, making a smelly mess that was leaking through the cardboard package. So if you were ever thinking about sending thanksgiving to me in a package, I can wait until next year haha.
A few weeks ago there was a poor newer missionary who was talking to me and it was obvious he was pretty homesick. He was going on about how he thinks he will be okay until Christmas. But once Christmas hits, he will just want to be home. I accidentally reminded him that after that Christmas, he will still have another a year from this December. He was not very happy about that haha. I actually dont remember being very homesick, especially around the holidays. I will enjoy being home for them, but really that was some of my favorite memories from here on my mission. I feel like Christmas is the best time to be a missionary. I dont know if it is because of the colder weather, the caroling, or maybe the higher level of interest in Jesus Christ, but I am actually really looking forward to the holidays here in Hong Kong again. Then right after the American holidays end, Chinese New Year comes, and that is always a ton of fun. I still dont know why they dance around  on stilts in dragon costumes that are constantly throwing up lettuce all over stores and people, but it is pretty fun.
This week has been great. We have decided to really focus on less actives rather than finding on the street.
Luckily this is the right time to do that. I have been going to work writing personal letters to each of them so that when we get to the guards at the bottom of their apartments, we have something to give them as an excuse for coming in. We will see how that works out.
Well I guess theres not too much else to talk about. I love you all! Hopefully next week I get the whole hour and a half to email and I can tell you more (we get more time because we also email the mission president now) . but there are too many people at the place so it is gonna kick me off soon. Thanks for everything!!

Same Everything, But Changes Coming (11/4/12)

Well I am happy to let you all know that I will be staying in Chai Wan with my companion for a third transfer. I am pretty excited about this. It really has turned into a pretty good area, so I am happy about that.
President Hawks has been changing SO MUCH here lately. It is kind of fun and exciting though because we never know what is going to happen. Transfers have been completely unpredictable with a ton of the Zone Leaders and even an AP coming down to just normal areas with no leadership and random people going to fill their spots. It has been good of course though. None of the zone leaders or anyone really cares that much. So I think it is really good actually. Because it is forcing a lot of people to really step up and fulfill their potential. But of course all of the zone leaders and APs are definitely capable and are good missionaries.
Right now there are some companionships that have the new iPhones. Apparently they are testing them out and if they work well, every comapnionship in the mission is going to get an iPhone. I guess there is some App that they will use for missionary work somehow, along with whatsapp and other ways we can communicate with our investigators. Pretty interesting how technology is being used in the church, especially here in Hong Kong with they big touchscreen TV in front of our chapel, and stuff like that.
Also, mom let me know about the rumor of missionaries getting called to mainland china. I personally dont think it is true, but I guess that if it is, now would be the right time with all of the missionaries applying. Crazy!!
I bet they would move some missionaries from here up to South Mainland because the dialect is Cantonese. But who knows.
I keep hearing about the election now that it is pretty much here. It will be really interesting to see what happens with that. I hope that whatever happens, it will leave me with a good country to go back to next year haha. I am not that worried, but itd be cool if Romney wins!
Missionary work is on fire here. We have 8 baptismal dates right now, and hopefully more coming.
Well I guess that is about it for this week. Sorry this is probably really boring. Hopefully next week I will have more time to write something interesting. Love you guys!!
Love, Jordan

Foggy & Cooling Down (from 10/28/12)

Well it is officially not summer here anymore. That is for sure. Actually today is really foggy and a little rainy. Not too cold yet, but cool.
I am 100 percent better from being sick, so that has been nice. And we have been able to go finding and stuff more. But for some reason finding has been quite difficult for us as well as the other companionship this last week. Luckily we have a great investigator pool already that we have been able to work more with. December is going to be a great week for whatever missionaries are here at that time. We have quite a few baptisms lined up. Some of them will probably be moved forward though because they will be ready sooner.
This week is the last week of this transfer. I dont have any idea what will happen. I may leave, my companion may leave, or we might both stay. But I really dont care what happens to be honest. I could be fine with anything. I would like to stay, but who knows. I think that when a missionary first gets in the field, those first few transfers are the ones they change the most. They of course should continually improve and strive to be better, but those first few transfers can change them so much.
One thing I am kinda bummed about is tomorrow one of our favorite investigators is moving to Australia. He is a really good guy that we met our first week here and hast brought three of his friends to church with them. Almost every week all four of them come together. On the street he didnt look too promising. He had some earrings in his ears and tattoos down his arms and was smoking when we found him. But he has really turned out to be pretty good.
It is just proof to me again that 1. we cant judge other people by how they look and 2. anyone can change because the atonement allows us to.
Well I guess that this week I dont have too much to talk about, but next week I could possibly have a lot to talk about, or nothing really at all. So we will have to see what happens.
Lately I have been reading Jesus the Christ a lot. I am somewhere in the middle of it and the more I read it, the more I wish I would have read it earlier on in my mission. It changes so much about how I understand and think about him and the Atonement.
Well I love you all!! Have a good week!
Love, Jordan

New PDays (from 10/21/12)

Well as some of you already know, our P days have been switched to Mondays. I think this is just to get on track with the rest of the world. Actually to be honest, I dont even know why we had Thursday P days to begin with...
Dad told me that Obama and Romney are tied in the polls. Actually a few weeks ago in sacrament meeting, I felt more like I was at a big rally for Romney than anything. The members were getting up bearing their testimony on him, and many asked the ward to fast and pray for him. It is so funny how even on the other side of the world, everyone is aware of American politics.
I thought it was kind of funny though, and also thought that in Utah they most likely arent bearing their testimonies on him. But another missionary from Tennessee said that his mom emailed him and has been fasting for Mitt Romney too. haha I thought that was pretty funny. It will be very interesting to see how things turn out for him. I think I remember hearing a few months ago that he was just getting hammered and wasnt really seen as having a big chance of winning, but it sounds like he has really made a comeback.
So I really dont have much to talk about. I guess maybe it is because I just emailed you last Thursday haha.
Yesterday we had a really good day at church. We had a lot of investigators and have a lot of good baptismal dates right now. Hopefully I dont just move really soon as so often happens once I feel like my area is doing really well. But we will see...
There is a less active girl who was baptized a year ago who I am really happy about. We have been working with her for a while now and finally she is pretty actively coming to church. Her family and friends all are very against the church, and so this has hurt her testimony a lot. But earlier this week she told me that honestly her biggest problem is just that she has no friends in the church at all. And it is hard to keep going to church when nobody in her life supports her. I realized how hard of a problem that could be for a girl who was just baptized a yaer ago, and told her that the best thing she could do is pray and try to continue through the trial, because there was no easy answer to this. Well on Sunday she showed up with a former investigator from a really long time ago (at least more than a year). They apparently are really good friends.
I sat down with them to teach the investigator and figure out her situation since I had never met her before. She said that she has been having really strong feelings she needed to come back to church and so she called the less active girl and they came together. It was probably one of the best short lessons I ahve had. I reviewed some very basic things, then just had a feeling to ask her about baptism. I just randomly in the middle of talking about the holy ghost, asked her about it, and she right away said, "Actually I dont know much about it, but lately I have been thinking about that a lot too and I dont know why." It was perfect because then the less active girl got excited and set a baptismal date without me even having to say anything.
Afterwards, I talked to the Young Womens President (even though they are just barely odl enough to not be young women) and she was super excited. She has been trying to help the less active girl for so long and actually the story is in the Liahona and Ensign about how one day the girl was the only one at church and so they set a goal to read the whole Book of Mormon together and stuff.
Well anyways, this isnt like the first time that I have had a good referral, or been able to brign back a less active, but what makes this story stand out to me is just that days before yesterday, the less active girl started praying that she could have someone at church to be her friend and support her. Days later, this former investigator that happened to be really good friends wtih her just showed up. It is just one of many small, little miracles that happen every day to ordinary people.
Thats about all I can think of to write this week, but next week I will probably be on at about the same time.
I love you all!!
Love, Jordan

Conference (from 10/18/12)

Wow, time just continues to fly here. I cant beleive it is already more than halfway through October, and next general conference I will be about getting ready to go home. Crazy!!
This last week we were able to watch general conference. It was really really good as always, and the best part was that we were able to get 11 investigators there to see it! 
I have grown to really love Elder Holland's talks in general conference since being on my mission. I think a big reason why is probably because they always talk about missionary work, and usually are directed to those choosing not to go on missions, or those who are preparing or deciding to go or not. So it feels pretty good already being out in the mission field, and seeing a lot of the things he talks about. I really cant explain how much I have learned on my mission, or how much I continue to learn. I really am so grateful for this experience.
I feel like when I get back, the things I have learned on my mission are going to influence me for the good in so many different ways, from school to how I treat other people. Not to mention my gospel knowledge has grown so much, as well as an understanding of so much more.
I was thinking about it the other day and had the thought that if every single person had the gospel knowledge I have, it would be so much easier for them to get baptized and endure to the end. Not that that is an easy task, but 90 percent of the people we talk to on the street everyday just dont understand. I think that if they understand one basic principle, and that is the love and character of God and their savior Jesus Christ, their lives would forever be changed. Thats why part of our job here is so difficult. It is not always an easy task to try and convey that message and help them feel the spirit testify of it in sometimes less than a minute. Especially in the fast-paced life here in Hong Kong.
Actually that started to make me feel a little anxiety for them. Because there are so many times good people reject us, not because they are bad, but because they just dont fully understand. And no matter how hard or long we work, we may never get to every single person to help them understand. But I realized that God knows each and every one of them. He is aware of their situation, and it is our job to do everything we can to find these people and touch their hearts with the spirit. But in the end God is the one really in control of who we come into contact with and what situation those people are in. As long as we are always doing our best and dilligently working to bring everyone we can unto Christ, God will worry about the rest. I am really grateful for this, as well as I am grateful for the Holy Ghost which so often leads us to where God wants us, and lets us know what to say.
In conference I really enjoyed the story about the successful missionary who was so successful because when he saw people, he saw them for what they had the potential to become. This is incredible. It is something I think that relates so closely to everything we do as missionaries. It not only relates to how we look at our investigators, but also how we look at ourselves. I feel like people so often get in a rut of not changing or improving just because they only see what they are, not what they can become. While I am happy with what I am right now, there is always room for change and I can always become a little more Christlike, I think that if I were to see my full potential as a missionary, and as a child of God, I would be able to accomplish more than I ever imagined. So this has been my goal. I want to live striving constantly to be more christlike and to be more than I currently am.
If the world were to see itself and others not as they are, but how they could be, then as a whole I think we would progress at a much faster rate in every aspect of life.
Well I guess thats about it for this week. But thanks for everything!!
Love, Jordan

Mid-Autumn Festival (from 10/3/12)

Happy Mid-autumn festival!
I guess it is a little late for that because it was last Sunday. But it was pretty fun for us over here.
Last weekend was really cool. Mid-Autumn festival is famous for the mooncakes and lanterns. I think
it goes back to some Chinese story about some boy and girl that were seperated and would look up
to the moon or something like that, I dont really remember. But we went to some parks at night and
they were filled with families holding up a bunch of different lanterns. Some of them were normal, some
were animal shaped. There are these little LED light things that all of the little kids had. You turn them on,
then you use a rubber band to launch them into the air and they helicopter down. I got one so maybe
if I get a chance, I can send it home. nothing too cool though.
I think my favorite part was just all the Chinesie things going on. There were lanterns everywhere,
fireworks, traditional shows and puppet shows, and other stuff.
Then, Monday was like China Nationality day or something(I dont remember what it is called). It is the
date that England handed over Hong Kong to China. Because it was a holiday we spent the morning with
the elders quorom playing soccer, then the rest of the day we went finding. Finding is pretty hard to do
on Chinese Holidays, because all of the families are together, but they do not like being disturbed by anything.
But I still wanted to go finding because there were a lot of really cool things going on like more dragon boat
races in the harbor. Those are actually kind of fun to go to. They are these long boats with a bunch of people
inside paddling, and someone sitting in front banging on a drum to that everyone paddles to the beat of in order
to stay together.
But I guess that on Monday night during the fireworks, two ferries out in the Harbour crashed into each other
and one of them sunk super fast, killing a bunch of people. Luckily none of the missionaries or anyone was
taking any of the ferries at that time. Because I guess a lot of people were taking the ferries to get a good
view of the fireworks above them.
Tuesday was still a Holiday so the International missionaries invited us to help them pull people back from World-
Wide. I always love doing that. It is a really fun experience and every time I am amazed at how humble
and happy they all are.
Our area is still on the rise. We have some really good families, and for us we will watch general conference
On the 13th and 14th I believe. So we should hopefully get a lot of investigators to go to that and
get some good stuff out of it.
Well, I guess thats about it for this week. President Hawks wrote me and said something that I think will
help us continue to have success with the people we are teaching. He said: "Keep praying for and expecting
them to want to continue to listen and learn and when they hit hard times, ask the Lord to soften their hearts
and to give them experiences and impressions to change them. He will do it."
I guess it just helped me realize that we are not in this work alone, and that while we cant watch and
be there for our investigators 24/7, the Lord can.
Thanks for everything!! I love you all!
Love, Jordan