Sister Luk and I performed a musical number in Sacrament meeting yesterday. We were practicing all week and inviting as many people as possible to come hear our number — definitely getting full leverage from the event. 🙂 We actually did have a good number of people who came to church, including one family who we have been inviting the whole time I’ve been here, and yesterday they finally came!! It was a pretty neat number. The ward council had talked about how it would be nice to have more musical numbers; Sister Luk and I figured this was something we could help with (and hopefully win the hearts of the ward members even more!), so we told Bishop we could do something. Bishop asked if we could do a song about pioneers, since we would be doing the number the day before Pioneer Day. What on earth is a musical-number-worthy song about pioneers?? I mean, we could sing about the oh-how-slow oxcart or the little pioneer children who sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. (I do love those songs, though.) Luckily, I thought of a song that is on a CD Megan sent me about a year ago with random songs from her mission. We didn’t even know the name of it, but some members looked it up — “Prayer of the Walking Child” — and Bishop approved it and downloaded the music for us. There is an optional violin part in the music, as well as the potential to have a small children’s chorus sing “Come, Come Ye Saints” in the background of the last verse. We actually got some parents who were willing to have their kids come practice with us, and it turns out, our Elders Quorum president plays the violin! He is in his residency, and he told us he was on call Sunday, but he could play with us if he was there. (When we got his text, Sister Luk said, “The men in this ward are so unreliable!”) Our prayers were answered, and we had the violin and the kids and everything we hoped for on Sunday. I think it turned out pretty well. 🙂
We also passed out our new meal calendar yesterday. We had to somehow top the beach ball we used last month, and, since August is my last month, we wanted it to be good. I’ll send pictures — we put maybe too much effort in this time. As we were staying up later than we should have to finish Saturday night, Sister Luk said we probably put the most effort into our meal calendars of any missionaries in the world. I asked Sister Luk what her parents would think of our ridiculous meal calendar. She said that they would probably feel so bad that they are paying so much money to support their daughter on her mission so she could have great spiritual experiences, and she’s wasting her time making a meal calendar. 🙂 So I’ve corrupted my companion and am crushing the hopes and aspirations of some poor family in Hong Kong. The ward liked it, though. In Ward Council, Bishop asked if anyone had ever done anything like that on heir missions. A counselor said, “One time we printed our meal calendar on blue paper instead of white.” As we were making it, we were really hoping we wouldn’t get transferred – transfers are this week, and the calendar is pretty personalized, so that could be potentially awkward. The ward council expressed their hopes that we wouldn’t get transferred, either. Someone called us the “golden companionship.” Probably because Sister Luk is Asian.
Last Monday, one of the people we’re teaching from China invited us to play tennis with him. (He knew Monday was the day we have “off” missionary work. It was pretty fun. The three of us kept rotating. Well, actually, Sister Luk and our Chinese friend kept rotating, because I kept winning. I’m really not good at tennis. At first, the friend said that I would win if I got 5 points before he got 10. I won. The second time we played, he said I’d need 7 points before he got 10 to win. I won again. Finally he said we both needed 10 points to win. I won again. They decided Americans are better at tennis than Chinese. I think that’s racist. (I tease Sister Luk about being racist all the time. It seems to me that Americans are a lot more concerned about not being racist than people from other countries.). Yesterday at church, this friend saw our meal calendar — “You have people to feed you dinner every night?!” Yep. Hopefully his impression of us as benevolent, self-sacrificing missionaries hasn’t been totally crushed by the realization that we are so spoiled. We pretty much have the best gig out there. As I saw on a poster once, “This isn’t missionary work — its missionary fun!” Haha!
We had some really good experiences this week as we reached out to some less active ward members from a list Bishop had given us. One man was living in an adult foster home. I had never met him before. We stopped by, and he seemed really happy to see us. He said he had been wanting to come to church, but the elders had been coming a while ago, and for some reason he told them to stop coming, and he didn’t know how to reach them. He said he prays every night. Before we left, he reminded us multiple times to get a ride for him to come to church, which we assured him we would! He came and we sat by him during Sacrament meeting. “You know, you can come visit me any time you want,” he whispered to us not-so-quietly during the Sacrament. 🙂
Once a week, we’re supposed to have an evening scheduled for visits with the ward council. This past week happened to be the bishopric’s week to go out with us. They had scheduled to visit a super cute little family who just moved into the ward. While we were there, the Elders Quorum presidency showed up! They joked that the Relief Society would come, too, but then realized that the Relief Society had probably already visited, which was true. This ward is on the ball! 🙂
We had some really hot, humid days this week. We also had some good rain and lightning, and a tornado warning. Before one teaching appointment, the guy we were going to teach texted us to say it looked like it was going to rain. We usually talk with him outside, so maybe he was implying we should reschedule. We went anyway and just made it through as much of the Plan of Salvation as we could before raindrops started to fall, trying to ignore the the beeping tornado warnings from his phone. Then we hurried back to our car and stopped by someone who we could visit with indoors. Much to Sister Luk’s chagrin, we still got drenched just running from our car to the door. “I hate raining!! I hate it so much!” — a common declaration from Sister Luk. Sister Luk also hates being out in the sun. She does NOT want to get tan. She told me that people in Hong Kong often carry little umbrellas around on sunny days. And sometimes little tiny fans when it’s hot. 🙂 I love hearing about interesting little cultural things about China or Hong Kong from Sister Luk.
Well, the transfer board just came out! This morning as we left our apartment, Sister Luk said, “I don’t really understand why we have to have transfer.”
“What do you think we should do?” I asked.
“Just don’t drive to Bloomington. Just stay in our apartment.”
But it’s all okay — we’re both staying, and the transfer board says Sister Luk will be a trainer, which means we will be in a trio with a new sister fresh from the MTC! I’m really excited — I’ve never gotten to train on my mission; I wanted to stay with Sister Luk, but it looks like we’re getting to stay together and get to train too! :). Don’t worry, I think we’ll be able to incorporate he new sister into the August meal calendar. 🙂
This will be my last transfer. I started MyPlan this week and got to reflect a little on some of things I’ve learned and gained thus far on my mission. I am so grateful for this opportunity. It will be interesting to see how the world has changed when I come home — I’ve become aware that since I left, the “dab” is a thing, everyone loves Moana, the Star Wars movie chronology has become even more confusing, and fidget spinners are in. It will be funny to see what else has changed. (Although, honestly, I don’t usually know much about what’s going on in the world anyway.) I do feel like I have changed. One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is how really, this gospel is all about change. It’s about realizing that Heavenly Father has a plan for us to progress, and having faith that through Jesus Christ’s Atonement, we can truly let go of the things in our life that are holding us back from that progression and become new. It’s about how our hearts can be changed, more converted, as we repent every day. I was reading an article from Elder Ballard this morning — I love the way Elder Ballard talks about goals and personal improvement. This particular article is from the June 1983 Ensign magazine; it’s called “Do Things That Make A Difference.” (It’s an especially great article for young adults!) In the article, there is a sentence that says, “Beginning today, stop doing some one thing you know you should not do.” I thought about this, and at first I thought about little ways that I could be more exactly obedient to the missionary schedule or missionary rules, but as I said a little prayer to maybe think of something that Heavenly Father would have me change, I thought of something that I could do differently in the way I sometimes interact with others. I know that the Lord can teach us through the Spirit how He wants us to change, and as we seek His correction and turn to the Savior, we truly can become better, as Ether 12:27 teaches. I invite you to take Elder Ballard’s invitation and write down one thing you can do differently, beginning today. 🙂
Have a great week!!
Mom, good luck with Girls Camp! (And, to everyone else in the family, good luck making it through this week!) 🙂