Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 19

Hello all!

   I hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas. I had a lot of fun this last week. Unfortunately most of it I can't describe accurately so most of this e-mail will be pictures and explanations and I can only send 3 pictures at a time so... sorry.

The story for these first two is that last p-day we went and climbed "lions rock". It was interesting. In the USA when you hike a mountain it is normally done by way of switchbacks. in China it is done by stairs. so It was about 600 steps at least to get to the top of this one but the view was amazing! the clouds were just right so that we could see forever but it was not hot!!!

This next batch is some of the photos form our ward Christmas party. That was cool because it was a government facility that the ward rented out. So it was more "Glamping" than camping but it was still a lot of fun and a great activity for all of our investigators. it was at this activity that I also ripped a pair of chinos that I found in the apartment. When I say rip I mean RIP like unfixable rip. However I managed to make sure that no one knew until we got home that night. That was a lot of fun.

On Christmas day we got to skype home and also have a simple gift opening thing in our apartment. So I brought out the tree that has been in my office and we all put our gifts under it. My roommate (Elder Griffiths) is from the UK and has a bit of Scottish in him and this was a towel that his parents sent him. I got two gifts that were awesome! This was the fist. I'm not sure if you can read it but it is a certificate for a stock share that my parents bought me. 1 share of FERRARI!!! The other was a "called to serve coin" that my dad sent me. IT was made even better by the fact that my dad took pictures of all my friends holding it. So that made me tear up a bit. 

All of his roommates in their kitchen

Then for the rest of the day my District and I went banner finding. We sung every Christmas hymn in our book in English then Canto. then in English again. That was a lot of fun. This Saturday the ward again had an activity. We hiked another mountain!!! it was ma on shaan. (not sure if that spelling is right) it was good fun with the members and investigators again. The picture is me and Derick (a-Laahp) we are good buddies. He is an RM from HK so he is a big help in lessons. The last one was me on top of the mountain with the Coin I mentioned before. That is all for this week! I hope every one had a good Christmas!!! love you all
-Elder Walker

Sunday, December 20, 2015

This week from Hong Kong

Hello all,

   Well the big news of the week was transfers. No one in my apartment moved. Which is great because we are all becoming good friends and this next transfer is 10 weeks long. So we are going to have a lot of time together haha. The big news of the mission was that the group of 18 or so sisters that came in for this transfer missed their flight. We went in to the office and saw the President and his Assistants just standing around the printer looking exhausted and flustered. When we asked what was happening they said that the new Missionaries missed their flight and that no one knew where they were. They knew they were in the USA but they had no idea where. So that caused a fair amount of stress. They got in the next day and I asked one of the new missionaries how they could possibly miss something that crucially important. He replied that it snowed a foot and a half in Salt Lake so they got delayed which cause them to miss the flight to HK. So that was at least better. 

   One night this week Elder Phung and I were walking around the streets trying to talk to people and we met someone who I immediately recognized as very recently injected himself with some kind of drug I'm not sure which. He was grabbing his arm and when he moved his hand I could see the blood on his arm where they needle had pierced. His eyes were also hugely dilated and I could see it in the way he was talking and answering our questions. I recognized all of this however my companion did not. So when "Tommy" (that was his name) broke and ran for no reason my companion said "that was strange" to which I explained that he was High. The interesting part was the profound desire that we both felt to try and help him. However he was beyond our help.

   The best part of the week though was last P-day we went to a 10,000 Buddha's Monastery. That was awesome. We had an Elder who is a HK native with us. He has amazing English and was able to explain all the symbolism and stuff. We could also read some of the stuff written so that was really cool. That is what all the pictures this week are of. Really cool I hope I get to take my family there some day.

Love you all,
Elder Walker

These pictures are from their trip to the 10,000 Buddha's Monastery

One of his roomie's birthday cake

a Bentley (ooooh, ahhhh)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hello All!

Hello All,

   Well this week was an interesting one. I found a copy of MOTAB (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) silent night. The one where Walter Cronkite narrates. We listen to that about once every day or so. That is a lot of fun because now we can all sing a long, I hope our neighbors can't hear us haha.

   So every Saturday we teach an English Class and for the past few weeks there has been hardly anyone coming so our district decided to do some banner finding for it. So we all went to a bridge in Sha Tin and handed out fliers... Then a monsoon started... so that was, shall we say character building. It was actually a lot of fun. We discovered that if we said something in English then "We teach a free English class" in Chinese It worked better. However most people don't speak English so we just started saying nonsense like "my pants are too tight" then "We teach a free English class" in Chinese or in English "I can't swim". It was very therapeutic. I sometimes would speak German, then they would be confused, then I would speak English, Then Chinese. That was some good fun.

   Yeah so as I mentioned above we had a monsoon this week. Or as we would call it in Oregon "just another day" it wasn't too bad. just rain for a few days. It really reminded me of home. 

   Also this week Elder Phung and I were out finding and we met a nice lady and she invited us in the next day so that we could talk some more. So the next day we went back and she had made a dessert. Which was tofu and a hard boiled egg in some kind of broth. It wasn't that bad... the first time. but every time I got close to finishing it she would fill up my bowl again. So I had like 4 bowls of the stuff. So it started to be almost unbearable. The problem also was that we had eaten before and were already full so every spoon full was a nightmare. So when we were finally able to share our message she talked straight for and hour and a half about terrorists. There is a Chinese Culture thing where if the other person breathes in a sentence or in my case pauses to think of a word, even if it is for half a second and you are mid thought they will interrupt you and talk for as long as they want. It is really hard to think that that isn't supper rude here. So we kinda got a message out over the TV. So that was an interesting 2 and a half hours.

   Moves were this week as well. I didn't get moved so that is nice. My trainer and I will stay here for another 10 weeks. That is the plan at least. There will be some shuffling in January but nothing to really worry about. I am glad that I am staying so that I can get to Know this awesome ward even better.    

Love you all,
Elder Walker

Me and my district leader

My Christmas stocking

Monday, December 7, 2015

Doing really well in CHINA

Hello All,

   Well this week has been a blast. I am going to spend this email only talking about two things. The first was that this week I was blessed with the opportunity to go to a traditional Chinese funeral. That was absolutely amazing. We were able to go because the widow is a member and we wanted to go and support her. So we went with the sisters in our ward to show a united missionary presence. So we got on one of the shuttle buses that was provided by the mission home and took it up the mountain that is near us. Then we got there and the whole building smelled like incense. Then we went up to the floor that the funeral "chapel" and in the lobby there were huge paper planes and Mercedes cars and bridges and homes that you could buy and burn to send to your ancestors. Then when we got to the outside of the chapel we had to sign our names... in Chinese. I couldn't use the two characters that mean "Elder" because it was disrespectful, so I had to write the other two that I had never done before. And with characters there is a special order that you have to draw each line and it is different for each character so I just did the best I could and one of the members that was standing behind me laughed at me but, meh. Then we lined up in the doorway and were allowed in and formed 2 lines of 5 and bowed to the huge picture of the deceased man and then turn to the left and bow to the widow and her 2 daughters all dressed in black. There were three "priests" in the corner singing and burning incense and playing all sorts of instruments I had never seen before. Then occasionally the family and the "priests" would come in to the middle of the room and do some stuff. I can't possibly describe it with words. So we stayed for an hour or two and I just stared at stuff. Also by the way the whole ceremony was done in "written" which is the other version of Cantonese that you need in order to read characters so I understood almost none of it. It is impossible to put in to words. Then we left and had to reverse the bowing in process. On the way out we were given a paper envelope that contained a $1 coin and a candy. The $1 we had to spend that night or else it was bad luck so we went to McDonald's and got some Ice cream. It was by far the most profoundly Chinese thing I had ever seen and the first time I had seen people worshiping idols like that. I was very cool and made me very thankful for our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation.

   The other thing happened today. A man named Yoshi "Changed" us today. Which means he fed us. At a Chinese buffet. So how it worked was that he booked 2 and a half hours for the 7 of us (me and my companion, The assistants, and two other companionship). And it was all you can eat and we went so hard. They had German Wurst and cakes and all sorts of pasta and things. It was amazing. I also learned that there is a special way to eat a lot of food. I can go in to that later. It was great we stuffed ourselves then walked around the mall and then came back and did it again and I have never been so full in my life. It was awesome. Plus a lot of good fun with the other Elders and Yoshi. 

Love you all,
Elder Walker

So, I live in a mall and it is super busy

In our apartment building with new suit and haircut

Out in the world near a race track in Fotan

Race track They had to use the facilities so took pictures

The tree in my office that my family sent to me.
(he was very happy we attached a G.I .Joe before we sent the tree!)

It got kind of cold and I put a sweater on, my companion from California was freezing

Christmas door hanger. I also have a stocking my family sent me that I'll send a pic of later 

At the Chinese buffet

Yoshi and I