Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

Note from Dad - Don't miss the Star Wars Missionary Parable and Funniest Story of the Year down below!

We have had a wonderful Christmas week! There is nothing better than spending Christmas time spreading the news of the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We tried our best to make this Christmas a special time and I think it turned out really well.

Tuesday we had a Christmas themed FHE with a member family. Wednesday we had our zone Christmas party and then right after that our district went Christmas Caroling.

Thursday (Christmas Eve...which in Chinese is "ping an ye"..."peace night"), we went to the Christmas Eve activity with some investigators. It was so cute.

Friday we took like a million Christmas pass along cards and our hymnbooks out to do morning exercise with us. We caroled and gave Christmas cards to every single person, called home (sorry my voice sounds really high pitched), had a little Christmas party in our apartment, had dinner with a member family, and then spent the rest of our time telling people about the true meaning of Christmas. It was such a  happy day!

Basically this week was just full of a million little Christmas miracles. Even though many of our investigators have left Hong Kong and are celebrating with family, we were still able to have some awesome lessons.

We were able to meet with our newer, but progressing really well investigator, Anna, twice this week. She wanted to meet as much as she could before she went to mainland for the next week. At first, she said that she would not be here for two Sundays in a row (Dec. 27 and Jan. 3). We told her that if that was the case then she would not be able to be baptized on January 10. Later that day she texted and told us that she had changed her plans and would be at church on January 3. I am really amazed by her faith. She is really diligent about praying and reading the scriptures. She also is willing and happy to keep the commandments. Her situation is a bit special. Her mom and brother are less active (though, hopefully they are starting to come back), but she has not had any interest in the church for the last few years. Now, she is really interested and wants to be baptized. The complication is that she will leave to study in Australia at the end of January. We told her that she can be baptized in Hong Kong too, but she insisted that she would rather be baptized here (which makes sense...she probably wants her family to be able to attend too).

We have another investigator, Ethel, who is also doing really well. After having met on and off with missionaries for a couple years she decided that she wants to be baptized. Unfortunately, a big stumbling block is her mother. Her mother does not know that Ethel meets with us (when her mother found out a few years ago she threw her Book of Mormon away). However, on Saturday Ethel decided that she really feels like her mother needs to know. I think that is so awesome! It shows that Ethel understands that this is important and it also shows that she has a desire to accept this gospel. She was even willing to practice with us (like we do in district meeting and companion study). We are praying so hard that it goes well and that her mom will allow her to be baptized.

This week we also met some nice new investigators and taught some really nice lessons. I think our ability to teach as a tri-companionship has improved a lot. I really love both of my companions and am so grateful to be working with them.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!


Star Wars Missionary Parable

Hannah forwarded to us this story (provided by her former companion, Sister Ellsworth): 

They have a bunch of cool Star Wars things around Hong Kong that just pop up out of nowhere with life-like sized things and light sabers.  Satan is officially using Star Wars to distract us!  But it won't work, Darkside!  You may have cookies, but we have the truth.

Queue Star Wars music and epic unsheathing of light sabers as missionaries run with them at the adversary.

     "It's okay elder you can just buy a new one in the office."
"Oh, right." 

"TOOOOO BATTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Light saber crashing sounds as we take out Satan and punch him in the mouth!

Basically Star Wars is the overdramatized version of missionary work.   Oh my goodness!  I want to make this movie!!!! President Lam is Yoda.  Sister Sharp is the really old Jedi master who gets killed by the red guy with horns. I am the one with an Irish accent.  And that makes Sister Kino Anakin Skywalker.  But a good version that doesn't go crazy, and doesn't lose an arm.

Hannah was a bit distraught that she got written out of the script (but at least she was the wise one!)


Funniest Story of the Year

We got to talk to Hannah (yay!!!)  She called us from her roof as the cell coverage is poor in their apartment.  About in the middle of our call we heard lots of sirens in the background.  We thought nothing of it - she IS in the middle of Hong Kong after all.  A few minutes later we hear a commotion through the phone and Hannah starts speaking in Mandarin to someone, then she says suddenly "Bye, gotta go" and hangs up on us!!!

About 15 minutes later she calls back.  She said that there were a swarm of police and firemen that had come up on the roof because somebody had called in to report a potential suicide jumper!!!  Apparently Hannah had been sitting on a ledge that appeared to be on the edge of the roof and somebody called the police (although there was a lower ledge just a few feet below).  She said that everyone was really nice.  They had to go to her apartment so that she could show them her ID and so she tried to feed them pancakes, but they weren't hungry.  Then she called President Lam (her mission president) and she said he laughed through the whole story!  She finally called us back and explained everything - all is well!


Christmas Pictures

Hannah's precarious pose that drew Hong Kong's finest to her rescue!

Our apartment


We are HAPPY!

Christmas pajamas - a Sharp tradition

Funky glasses

Missionary caroling


Monday, December 21, 2015

So Excited for Christmas!

We did the Grinch play at church!

Merry Christmas! I am so excited for this Christmas week. I have really enjoyed sharing with people about Christmas. Most people we talk to say that they think Christmas is just the western version of New Year's. I think in some ways that is true because Christmas is a time for family, friends, and food. But, Christmas is so much more than that. It is the time when we celebrate the birth and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel especially blessed that I get to spend this Christmas season as a representative of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

This last week we were blessed with many Christmas miracles. First of all, we met with some wonderful less active members. One woman was particularly interesting. She joined the church while living in America, but since being in Hong Kong she has attended another church. She told us about how much charity and love our church has and how good we are and the members have always been to her, she even told us about when she received a priesthood blessing while in the hospital and then her health was restored. She just does not believe in the Book of Mormon. We hope that we will be able to help her to understand why the Lord has given us two books that testify of Jesus Christ.

3 year old twin boys that we are teaching - so cute!!!
This week we also met with Ethel. Ethel has met with missionaries on and off for several years, but it was only until recently that she started making progress. We are so proud of her! She is a senior in high school and that is a very, very busy time. High School in Hong Kong sounds like the hardest thing in the world. Even elementary school is sooo stressful. After explaining to us all her tests and papers she also told us that she had read all the chapters we asked her to read in the Book of Mormon (and they were pretty long ones..1 Nephi 16-18) and gave us a perfect summary of what had happened. She receives a lot of anti from those around her, but she says the biggest thing keeping her from attending church is her own lack of faith and her own "obstacles." She is such a special daughter of God and we hope that we can help her to realize that.

Eating pizza with Anna
This week we also really started teaching Anna. Anna's mother and brother are less active members. I have met with her mother a few times while serving in Kowloon, but up until recently I had never even seen Anna or her brother. A few weeks ago we decided on a whim (and by that I mean by the prompting of the Spirit) to go visit the juice store that they own. When we went we met Winner, Anna's older brother. The next Sunday he and Anna both came to church. Since then we have met with all of them a few times and they have been coming to church almost every week. I had seen before on their teaching record and also learned from branch leaders that Anna was really against the church because some things that have happened in the past. But, this week, thanks to a tip from some members, we were able to meet with her and had a great lesson. She is really accepting of the gospel and we hope that we will be able to help her to develop her faith in Christ. We are also very happy that her mother and brother are also very supportive of her.

With my companions at the Hong Kong temple
I am so excited for this Christmas. I hope that we can all take the time to really remember and embrace the greatest gift: Christ!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Fun

I hope that you all have had a good week. We were definitely blessed with a wonderful week. I love the Christmas spirit that is about. It just makes me so happy. We are so lucky to have this time to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Sisters Sharp and Lam
This week (just like every other week) had many miracles.

This week we also had a branch Christmas party. I think it was the best activity I have been to since serving here. There were so many people. There were a lot of members and friends, less actives and also our investigators. At the beginning everyone was just talking and waiting for the food and I was really impressed to see that everywhere there was an investigator or a less active, there was also a member talking with him. It was really great. The missionaries were in charge of the program and so we prepared a little show. We told the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (mom-thank you for the blow up Christmas tree....its was PERFECT!). I was Cindy LooHoo! It was a little rough (missionaries don't exactly have hours and hours of time for rehearsal) but, I think people still enjoyed it.

The biggest miracle of the week is that Guo JM was confirmed yesterday! Since we do not go to the same ward as she does, she called us after church to let us know what had happened. She said that she had come home from ShenZhen super late (like in the early morning of Sunday) and so she had to literally run to be to church on time. She said that when she sat down to be confirmed, she was still a bit out of breath, but when the blessing started all of her tiredness and whatever left and she felt completely peaceful. She is so great and I am very excited to continue helping her.

Our other investigators are doing really well too. As Christmas gets closer and closer, more and more of our investigators are getting off school and work. Since the people we teach are from mainland, they are taking advantage of this holiday season to return home and visit loved ones. I am really happy that they are able to go home, but at the same time it makes me so sad. We will continue to pray for them and I hope that after they return home we will still be able to see them. But, in the mean time I think we may get some more finding time in. It will be a great chance to meet more investigators.

Love you all!!!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Candy Canes

We had a really great week this week. I am so impressed by both Sister Park and Sister Lam. They are both such awesome missionaries. I am really grateful for their hard working example.

This week we spent a big chunk of time being Santa Claus and delivering candy canes and Christmas cards to our members and less active members. As a district we have decided to visit and deliver a Christmas card and candy canes to every member of our branch. It is a bit hard because there are so many people to visit, a lot of less active members that we aren't sure if they exist of not, and our branch covers all of Hong Kong (which is pretty huge and takes a lot of time)!!  But, we have learned that our little act of kindness has really helped the members to understand that we care. Also, we love to feel the Christmas spirit as we go around spreading cheer.

Guo JM's baptism (with her husband,
President and Sister Lam, and us missionaries)
This week we had so many miracles. I think the biggest miracle was that Guo JM was baptized yesterday and will be confirmed next week! She has changed so much since the first time we met her. She was always great, but now she has a new light and happiness. We were also so happy to see her husband (who has been less active for years) come to support her at her baptism. We are so happy for her! She was also really touched that President and Sister Lam came to support her too. While singing the opening song she just started crying and grabbed my hand and held it so tight. She is so awesome and I am so blessed to be able to work with her.

Saturday we were able to bring Jenny and her daughter Amy to the Christmas concert in the Wan Chai chapel. I am not sure that they understood everything (though we did do some translating for them), but it was still great for them to come and see. Jenny has started to work really hard at praying every day and we are so grateful to see her progress.

Saturday night our investigator, Annie, called us. She is leaving for mainland (for Christmas break) on Tuesday and we did not think that we would be able to see her again before she left. But, she called and said that she really wanted to meet again before she left and that she was also going to bring her son. We were so excited to meet with them both yesterday. Annie's son, Tommy, has been at university in America and is back for the break time. When we first met him he said "So, you're the Mormons?" and we were like "Yes!", but at the same time I was thinking oh no....did he hear a bunch of anti while living in America. But, I was totally wrong. He said "yeah, I have friends who served missions in Australia." Turns out he lives with a host family and his host brother is a member and would take him to church with him sometimes. He also had even met the missionaries while living in America. We suggested that it must be God's planning to have both of them meet the church at the same time but in different parts of the world. They agreed.

I am so excited for this Christmas season! What a wonderful time to remember the greatest gift that God has given! If you have time and want to feel the Christmas spirit, you should go look at christmas.mormon.org.

Love you all!