Monday, September 8, 2014

Happy Mooncake Festival!!

Dear Family,
Happy Mooncake Festival.... day...  I don't really know what's going on or why it's going on, but today is celebrated with mooncakes.  Look it up, and then if it's interesting, let me know.  
Here's a link for anyone interested:  Mid-Autumn Festival

This week was packed full of ... stuff!  I think it was because Elder South and I dedicated ourselves to working more effectively.  I believe I tried harder in this week than in any other week of my mission to accomplish the weekly goals that we set. We called potentials and missionary referrals, went to the homes of investigators every day, worked with members and our district leader more than any other week, and still couldn't pull our actuals up to meet our goals this week. Lately, we have been trying to plan smart, so we've been hitting our goals rather well. This week, we didn't really increase our goals at all, but found it extra difficult to achieve them. I know that goals throughout our zone and our mission are consistently not being hit, and I hate being part of the problem, but now I can understand what it feels like to have done absolutely everything I know how to do, praying for help along the way, and getting out and working at every possible opportunity, and still suffering disappointments.  (Pretty much all of our appointments fell through, and we had a member come to a couple of appointments to find that no one was there to let us in.  Ugh.)
I'm not highly demoralized, but Elder South and I can see that the work here is going to require all that we've got, and we're making goals and plans always which will help us give our utmost.
One cool thing from this week was eating dinner at a Schmancy restaurant with a semi-investigator.  He is apparently quite well-off, and took us out to have a huge meal in honor of the Beus' approaching departure.  That was probably the single most exciting meal of my life.  We were greeted by a horde of Chinese restaurant staff, which guided us through the large empty building to our saved table.  For the first time, it was everything I'd pictured "Chinese" being like: a ton of friendly workers, pink and red cloths everywhere, fancy ornaments and carvings on the walls, and a too-fancy-for-just-plain-old-you eight-course meal. 
I thought the appetizers were fancy: boiled peanuts in super scrumptious soy sauce, but after everyone had arrived, they brought out the real appetizers: so many dumplings, on a swan-shaped plate, tiered like a wedding cake, on a bed of lettuce grass, cucumbers, lemons and oranges.  Yowza!
After that, we had a course of mushroom slabs with sea cucumber in gravy.  Next came the shark fin soup (what?!? I never thought I'd eat that in my life!  I certainly can't afford it.) Next, spring rolls (/egg rolls).  Next, some of the most tender pork I've ever had here. Next, a platter of crab legs and lobster.  Eating the crab leg was like eating a stalk off of a rose bush, but more prickly.  Ouch!  Next, a steaming hunk of some giant fish that allegedly costs $1000 Ringgit, served to us on a silver platter over an open flame.  Dessert was a welcome relief: cupcakes and yam pudding.  I think.
The whole time we were eating, about a hundred staff members (okay, I exaggerate) stood around us, pouring more fizzy drinks into our goblets whenever we made it past half-empty, and furnishing hot towels for our hands and faces.  This was a dinner to remember!
I wish I could remember more things about this week.   I think I'll just have to photograph some of my journal entries and let you read them.  I feel I've learned so much about how to follow the Spirit lately.  Did I tell you about my experience last week where we knelt down to pray in the last hour of our proselyting day, and I simply couldn't focus on anything because I had a vision of Elder South and myself walking down the street in the pouring rain?  In that image, I didn't know what we were doing, but we were both smiling and happy.  After we got off our knees, I turned to Elder South and said, "Do you want to go outside now?"  We both looked out the window, but we couldn't see the night because of all the cats and dogs falling down.  We left our umbrella and bags inside and splashed off away from our apartment, to knock some gates.  We didn't see any miracles that night, but we had a good time together and I felt that I had followed a prompting.  (We did meet Sunny, an Indian man who spoke Hindi.  I thought, "Drat!  Where's Evan when you need him?")
I know the Holy Ghost speaks to all of us, if we listen for His voice.  I know that He will always guide us to make choices that will bring us closer to Christ and help other people along the way.  I hope you are all learning how the Spirit speaks to you, and choosing to follow His promptings.  I know that whatever we sacrifice in order to follow a prompting from the Holy Ghost will always be worth it.
So much Love,

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