Saturday, March 15, 2014

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

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