Sunday, March 30, 2014

Woaaah Nellie!

I heard a woman say that recently.
My companion, Elder Beck, didn't understand what it meant, so I told
him it was an old saying.
The lady put her hand on her hips and said "Uh uh, did you just date me?"
She then went on to say that that was not "tubular or rad" whatsoever.
Hahaha such a funny moment.

There was another baptism last saturday! WOOH BACK TO BACK BAPTISMS
At church yesterday, there were 45 people! It was awesome (We actually
filled the relief society room for sacrament meeting and had to bring
out extra water cups! Woot woot!! There were 7 new people there
altogether! Our Branch president was soooo happy. He had the biggest
grin on his face. As we were sitting in a completely filled gospel
class, (he and I were in the far corner because of how many people
were in the class) he leaned over and slapped me on the leg and said
"Every week. Let's do this every week." and then a few moments later
"I love this." He couldn't be quite about how stoked he was. It was
awesome. It was like watching a forty year old man show his birthday
boy side.

His excitement made me feel like I was that kid in an elementary
class who had the gold star on his chest.


LINLIN'S BAPTISM OH MY GOODNESS. This is the one who is a little
slower than the rest. The baptism is going fine, she starts giggling
when they are about to perform the baptism but then as they start to
lean her over into the water.....


about 9 more times (please, trust me when I tell you I am being
serious and am not exaggerating whatsoever!)! People were gathered
around trying to coax her.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another mesmerizing week, if I do say so myself.

Good afternoon, everyone!

We are snowed in again.

Now that I have been living in the cold snow for awhile, I am now able
to look upon the saying "Beauty is pain" with a much greater

We have another baptism this Saturday! Linlin is getting baptized :) I
am so happy for her! The other missionaries were able to get her
going. I guess it required making flashcards for her and having her
review them every day to understand what was going on. One of the
missionaries said he enjoyed it so much, he is considering going into
an Elementary Ed major !

Haha, kidding, he did not say that, but they really did have to make
her flashcards! They definitely paid off though! (Just to make some
clarification, Linlin is a 24 year old student in college, not an
elementary aged girl... didn't want any confusion!)

Our two current progressing investigators are doing great! They love
to learn and read so everything is going great there :) (Liu Jiang and

Last time we were at Liu Jiang's house, his dad asked us what our
favorite chinese food was! I told them "I love everything-- I could
eat the ocean" and Elder Beck said "BAOZI!" (Those rolls filled with
meat and such)

They called us a few days later to come on over and they loaded us
with (hold your seats) 6 BOXES OF BAOZI. Wowzers.

These are like big things-- not little baby rolls you can buy from
costco. These were legitimate hand made baozi in these take out boxes.
The dad told us he bought them from a vendor in New York. Man that was
some good eating.

Hey, did you all get a chance to go see stake conference? The
broadcast? That was so great! I loved it. Really. The self mastery
message was amazing! (I cannot remember the last one but it was
hilarious how he called out the stake president!)

Transfers are this thursday! This has been the fastest transfer in my
life. Laughter and merriment really does make time go by quicker.
Haven't laughed as much in my life as now. I love it.

We ran into a less active by chance the other day... when she opened
the door, all of these foamish things fell over... I asked her "Hey...
is that for... larping?"

(In case you do not know, LARP stands for "Live Action Role-play"-- in
other words, people make swords, shields, bows and arrows out of foam
and duke it out as if they were a live version of dungeons and dragons
or lord of the rings)

Her eyes got wide "HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT LARPING???"

Her son then came out and gave us a demonstration of his bow and arrow
(which is awesome, by the way) and unintentionally convinced me that I
need to larp with my kids when I am older.

We got pictures, of course.

Another funny experience? We were driving down the road for some
tracting when all of a sudden we spotted a clan of asian people just
walking down the road. Our eyes got huge and we swang a U-ey to go
catch them. We parked and made our battle plan of how we were going to
make our approach...

We charged into the chinese restaurant after parking our rickshaw
(that is what we call the chinese missionary vehicle) thinking they
were headed there... we popped out and found out they went into the
grocery store instead...

We went over and engaged in chinese conversation with them!
Unfortunately, they were just visiting the area and heading over to
New York in the next couple of days.

We gave them a Book of Mormon with a card inside then hung
out at the grocery store for an extra five minutes so they wouldn't
get freaked out hahaha...

Okay that story was not as funny as I thought it would be to tell. I
am sorry. I will do better next time.

Hey everyone, you have a good week! I love you all! The church is true! :)



Fang Zhanglao :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014


This week was quite interesting... very interesting indeed!
I would like to talk about the highlights really quickly.... well, not
so quickly, actually, because it will be the majority of my email, if
not my whole email.

1) Guo Yixin's baptism! It was so wonderful :) Yay! Add another person
to our old lady knitting soceity... we have a joke amongst the
presidency and the missionaries.
The joke? In twenty years our branch numbers will drop fifty percent
due to how many old people we have haha. A member from the stake
presidency told us we need to go for more young men because we are so
stocked with old women hahha. That isn't too much of a problem

2) We were meeting with a friend of ours (Lu Jiang) and he invited us
over to his house so we could meet and get permission to teach him
from his father. SO we are sitting down and everything is all swelll
and dandy until... One guy comes into the room from the back and just
chills. Then another comes out of the hallway. Then another comes in
and starts cooking. Then all these men just start filtering in from
all sides until there are NINE MEN. Holy mahana man, THIS IS WHAT WE
WERE LOOKING FOR. Honestly, this would increase our priesthood pool by
about 200%. The best part? They are all willing to come to church!

3) Paul is on date! We didn't talk about much when we came in. We
didn't really have a plan to do a lesson with him either. We just
waltzed in for dinner. We had five minutes before we were to get
going. Elder Beck invited him to start the Book of Mormon (he already
knew a ton about it because his Grandma was about to get baptized but
then had visa problems and had to go back to china).
I then slid the phone over to elder beck and the calendar was opened
to April 12th. He gave me a funny look and I nodded to him. He then
pointed to 19th. I invited him to be baptized on that day. We then
kneeled and had Paul ask for confirmation on whether or not he should
get baptized. We told him if he felt the spirit, he would know he
should go through with it.

He said he prayer, then after 5 seconds of awkward silence he jumped
up and explained "MAY 16th!" I checked the calender--it was a friday--
and asked him if the 17th worked. He said "No, it HAS to be on the

Looks like we are having a baptism on the 16th :D


1) On exchanges, I was walking up the stairs in a sketchy apartment..
this guy stops in front of me. I try to pass him, but he just STANDS
He leans in and says quietly: "What you name, boy"
Me: "Elder Valentine! Pleasure to meet you."
him: What your name?
Me: I am Elder Valentine!
Him: .... You are... what you name?
THe investigator upstairs from Nigeria; He call valentine! His name Valentine!
He leans in a little closer... : "You're cute."
O.O Holy shishkabob.
Him: You should come to my house sometime, boy.
Me: Yes, that sounds great! (at this point his face is about 5 inches
away from mine-- I put my left hand on his left shoulder so my arm is
across his chest keeping him a little away) (by the way, I knew I
would never see this creeper again because I was on exchanges
Him: You gonna give me some Jesus? (Now I smell a ton of alcohol in his breath)
Me: Yes I will! Alright you take care now! (at this point I had slowly
wedged myself between him and the wall and had finally gotten

THEM: Hey, what type of meat do you like? We want to cook for you
sometime in exchange for english lessons
Elder Beck: Hmm, chicken meat, pig meat, cow meat
(That ishow you say it using chinese-- you say the animal and then
"rou" right after indicating its meat)
Me: Hmmm Cow meat, pig meat, aaaand (tried to get fancy with language
I just learned) turtle meat! (Yu gui rou)
The men then look at me with slanted eyebrows.
Me: Turtle meat! Come on you know what that is.
Elder beck just looks away and busts up laughing.
I then realized I made a TERRIBLE mistake....

Yu gui means turtle
Heigui, which is what I really said, means the "N" word.

Turns out I repeatedly told them that I really enjoyed eating "N" meat.

Have a great week everyone, now please excuse me while I go drown
myself in a toilet.

Love you! <3


It's snowing a lot. You know what's better than snow?

Melted snow. Melted snow is good. Oh right, that's water. What's better than water? Water in a font. Huh. Baptisms. Oh baptisms are good. Huh? What's that? Oh right. WE HAVE A BAPTISM THIS SATURDAY. WAPPAH.

Her name is Guo Yixin and she is a superstar! The same one I was talking about earlier (maybe two weeks ago?)-- the pediatrician from China. Oh, she just got her green card the other day! So very exciting :) Exciting indeed. We wrapped up all of the planning and everything at church yesterday! I got to skip out on priesthood (more like missionaryhood because the six of us make up a whopping 70% of the attendance rate to that class) for the baptism scheduling... that's always a good trade off. I could get used to that! :D
Oh yeah, there was almost nobody at church yesterday! I counted 23 people excluding the six missionaries-- and two of them were white guests from the stake presidency! Ahaha I haven't seen it like that in a long time. Wowzers. Es okay, the numbers will be better next week :)

It has been a slow week this week-- we spent it mostly visiting people that were already down in the book of people we contacted previously. It wasn't too effective because it consisted of driving more than contacting.
Oh, here is something sad that happened-- we got dropped by a person with a ton of promise. His name is Rodger, and he is in his mid twenties. He is the only Christian in his whole family. That was my third meeting thus far with him and things were going really great. He was finally considered a progressing investigator. He would read and when we asked him about what he read he was ablet to tell us exactly what happened in his reading. I would love to run into more people like that.
He ended up having a long talk with his family after meeting with us last time we met. His parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles (all whom live close) apparently really scorned him and chastised him about turning his back on their culture. He doesn't want to have to face the disapproval of his family. He's taking a lot of pressure from them right now (it doesn't help he lives in the same house with many of them).
We won't forget him, that's for sure. Hopefully after giving them a little time we can come back. I sure am going to miss him.

He likes anime-- I love anime too. That's where we hit it off in our first meeting.

Oh, by the way, my knowledge of the geek ways truly has paid off in my mission-- really, no kidding. Growing up, I was so into the asian super- nerd tv shows and video games. The people I teach are alllllll into that stuff. I am really able to connect and talk to them about this stuff like no other missionary in our program.

Go team! :D
Okay, so I would love to include all the funny things that happen in this email home, BUT being with Elder Beck has given me too many funny experiences to include in emails.... hey, I think it is safe to say that that is a good problem :) Right?

SO I thought you would all like to hear that...... AN INVESTIGATOR WE ARE TEACHING HAS THE MOVIE FROZEN. It's so funny though... he got it in a china market so it's hilarious.... the dvd itself has the words "Coming to theaters soon" on it and on the bottom of the back of the cover, the credits from "High School Musical" are on it. Chinese people don't read english, so the people selling it underground just wanted to make it look legitimate. Hey, it is still the real movie frozen and it still works. The only thing is, it is in English with Chinese subtitles...
I called president and asked him for permission to watch "a disney movie in chinese with an investigator" and he gave me permission! Thing is, the real frozen in chinese doesn't come out until april or may.... Oh yeah, only ten (now twenty) American movies are allowed to be sold in China. Frozen made the list, so Disney is rushing through chinese audio right now in order to get it on the market asap (due to all the frauds in China).
We are kind of snowed in right now, so we will have to do our shopping later this week when the storm clears up a bit... everything is shut down. No fun :( (And no food, which is even less fun. Blahhhhh :( )
Oh another thing that happened recently! Maryann (erm, I mean Sister Shipp) finally got to Brazil! Yay! :) I am so happy for her! After 6 months of being on a mission, she finally goes somewhere where she can actually use her language. I can't imagine being somewhere not able to use Chinese for six months...
Oh, and she is back in the MTC (Sao Paulo--- not Provo haha ). They have program in the Brazil MTC for people who have been out for mor than two months. It is only a two week program, so it isn't as long as the normal program.... PLUS I am not there this time so she probably won't get any hardships from her Branch President or Zone leader this time around hahahahahahah ;) Man, that MTC was tough. Oof.
Anyway, I hope you all have a grand week wherever you are, whether it be lovely California, snowy Utah, or tropical Brazil! :)
OH before I head out... If you have a book of mormon... open up to Nephi 1:1... check out the footnote next to affliction... it says "blessing, gift from god."

There is some food for thought for all of you ;)
Don't forget that our afflictions and trials are really things that are given to us in order to help us grow and develop as individuals!
I had to talk to an investigator about this concept earlier.

In order to help him better understand that trials and hardships really do help us, I pulled out a study I learned about in college.
I asked him and his family to guess which nation out of all the nations in the world had the lowest rates of suicide.

"America!" "Switzerland!" "Australia?"

Are you all ready for this?
I asked them why. It doesn't really make sense when you first look at it-- they have just experienced some pretty insane natural disasters and they are one of the poorest countries on earth.

They all sat for a second in silence until their son said "Maybe their hardships help them grow closer and help them work together to overcome things like that? Maybe they have become stronger through these difficulties?"

A lovely talk Sister Shipp sent me (Thank you so much, by the way!! :) ) addressed this a little bit.
What was the underlying answer behind trials and stife?

They are "For thy good."

Remember that, everyone :) Have a wonderful week!


Fang Zhang Lao
 Party in Maryland at the Washington DC north mission branch! :) They have like 148 members. Crazy. Triple our size... (BUT WE ARE HAVING MORE BAPTISMS :)!)
Frozen cd hhahaha

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Stuff

Bad news and good news:

Let's start with the good news:
It was a fun and fast week!

Bad news: I don't have much time to throw y'all a long email today -_-

Elder Beck and I are having a blast. He's kind of my clone. I have never laughed so hard in my life.

This transfer is going to go by way too fast.

We have a baptism on the 8th! WOOHOO! :) Her name is Guo Yixin. She is a STUD MCMUFFIN.

Let me tell you why.
So she is a doctor. A wickedly smart woman. She had a concern about tea (due to health/ science-- that sort of thing).

When it came down to it, she told us she was willing to step forward in complete faith and just trust that the prophet's know what they are doing.


Hey, this isn't the best thing yet either....

A relative of hers presented her with some Anti-Mormon material and encouraged her to read before she commits to baptism...

Her response?

"It can't be true because it isn't in the book of Mormon, therefore why should I bother reading it?"


It's so beautiful it just makes a grown man want to cry :')

Haha. Hey, Ill throw you people some pictures next week. I know I stink at sending pictures; I am sorry, I am sorry :(((

Love you all! :)

Fang Zhanglao

Short email! Sorry friends :(

Well, yesterday Elder Beck, my new district leader, some other missionary who spotted me five dollars to buy an American flag tie, and I went on an adventure to DC! SO NO TIME TO EMAIL!

Worst thing is, I have a lesson in 7 minutes that is a 2 minute drive, and a couple minutes walk way sooo...

Yeup. This will be a shortie!

I will send pictures next week! No worries people.

Hey, all I have to say to you fine folks is I love the book of Enos. It is awesome. I am teaching about it in this upcoming lesson to Rodger, a 20ish year old Christian in a huge family of buddhists (in other words, I respect him).

Enos is the perfect example for developing faith-- this guy uses words such as "wrestle" and "struggle" to depict the challenges he has to overcome in order to develop faith of Jesus Christ.

Alright , I will talk more next week!


PS. 6 people died due to heart attacks they received while shoveling the enormous amounts of snow.

Elder Beck and I totally stopped lifting and laughed when we heard that on the news.

I dont know how good that is haha....