Letter from Hong Kong Nov 25 2012

{sent Nov. 25, 2012}

Hello my amazingly wonderful family and friends!

I hope you all had such an amazing week/thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving over here in China was just wonderful! We all got to be together with our zone and we had a huge meal! We also got to tell stories and just chat. It was kind of nice to have a couple of hours for a break, then get back out to the work. I have been thinking a lot of what I am grateful for this year. Obviously family is pretty high up on the list (maybe even number one?) It was weird not being with my family on Thanksgiving, but my Hong Kong family did a pretty good job at making it up. We didn’t have any turker, but we had some really good chicken, potatoes, yams, fresh fruit, vegetables, apple crisp, and of course… Gravy! Someone else was in charge of making the gravy, and it just was not going very well. We didn’t have any extra pans at the church, so he was trying to make it in a rice cooker. Finally, he let me step in and try to recover it. It wasn’t completely awful by the time I was done, definitely not mom standard. but I think she would have been proud of my effort. haha It was a great thanksgving, and the old mission presidents wife even made a bunch of us missionaries some pumpkin muffins to make up for the no pumpkin pie! haha It is nice serving in the same church building as her!

I love the christmas tree. How did you all get such a big tree with only the three of you? how tall is it this year? I need to buy an ornament and send it home in the christmas package. I am loving all the Christmas decorations coming out and the lights. It is weird, not to have snow, but there has been plenty of rain to make up for it. I took a picture today looking out our apartment window. It is the middle of the day, but the clouds and the rain are making it so dark, that they have to turn on all the street lights. It looks pretty cool. I will attatch the picture. I also am attatching a picture from the Terracotta museum, and also of my confused australian companion who doesn’t know what thanksgiving is!

Today we are going to hike to 10,000 buddahs. I am excited. It will be pretty fun! I will send some pictures next week.

This week was an interesting week. One of our investigators, M–, is finally ready to be baptized. This coming sunday will be her baptism. She has waited so long for this and now it is here! Also, we have started teaching her husband. He is a little stubborn, but if we keep working with him, they will eventually be able to go through the temple as a family! It just makes me so happy, because this is the reason I decided to serve a mission. This is it!

This week, our biggest problem we have had with investigators, is their parents! We have multiple investigators who want to be baptized, but their parents wont let them. It is really sad. I have always been able to rely on my parents for strength and comfort, but these people don’t have that. It really makes me sad. I have thought a lot about the eternal perspective for these people. They will be able to accept this gospel eventually, but it is hard to not allow them to have these amazing blessings now! It really is frustrating at points. We just have to keep working with them, making sure their faith is strong, and keep praying for their parents!

We have really started increasing our teaching pool. It feels nice to see so many people coming closer to Christ. Even though it isn’t very big steps all the time, the little things really do add up. As these people slowly change, they will eventually realize how close to the savior they are, and that last little leap of faith, really wont seem as far. This work is amazing, and I am so glad I get to be a part of it! It is really hard, that part I really can’t deny, but it is so worth it. There are times where the only thing left to do is kneel and pray to God, but then it always comes through and you get stronger and better than before. It is really one of the best experiences a person will ever have the opportunity to have!

I love you all, and hope you have an amazing week. enjoy all the thanksgiving left overs and keep smiling!

Love, Elder Bubba

Letter from Hong Kong 11-17-12

Hello My amazing family and friends!

I can’t believe that it is already thanksgiving time! Because they don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving over here in Hong Kong, all the Christmas decorations and music is all starting to come out! You all know how much I love Christmas time/music/the atmosphere, and over here it starts early! No matter where I am in the world, Christmas just makes me happy! Today, the missionaries are starting choir practice for the concert we will do on christmas eve! But, enough about Christmas, lets talk about here and now!
     I think I will miss going and cutting down the giant Christmas tree this year. Maybe you can get all of Nathan’s friends to come and help you! Turn it into a “young mens” activity! Or, maybe this year will just have to be a slightly shorter tree!
     This week has been pretty good, and we have seen some amazing miracles! Our investigator (M–) has been getting things ready for her baptism on the 2nd! I am so happy for her. Now she can join her kids as members of this church. Next stop, her husband! He has been coming to church with them the past 2 weeks, but he hasn’t wanted to meet with the missionaries yet. We will just have to keep working with him, so they can all go to the temple together as a family and be sealed! The oldest daughter is also starting to think about serving a mission herself when she is able. Now that they have changed the age, she is super excited. This family is awesome, and I am glad I get to play a small part in helping them out!
     I am so excited for Kayli. She is going to be an awesome missionary. The new age rules are changing a lot of things in the mission, like 9 week transfers instead of 6. the number of missionaries in the mission. and lots of other things, but I am so excited to have all these fresh new missionaries that are super excited for the work. We have decided that if a lot of new missionaries come in, then a lot of people are going to have to start training earlier than they normally would… That kind of freaks me out! haha.
   There is this investigator, named J–, who is really awesome and loves this church. His parents wont let him get baptized though. We had an awesome lesson yesterday about the power of fasting and putting your trust in God. Now, I am not allowed to ask family members at home to join in special fasting, so this is not asking. We decided that on sunday we will fast for his parents to have a softening of hearts. (wink wink) haha I feel so strongly that as J–, and us missionaries fast, his parents will eventually have a softening of their hearts.
     This week, I have been studying a lot of conference talks. A lot of them talk about blessings people receive when they live the gospel. I am now going to paraphrase one of my favorite people ever, Jeffery R. Holland:
God has promised the blessings of heaven for those faithful people. They may come immediately, they may come in a couple of years, or they may come once we are in heaven, but the blessings of God will come. 
How lucky we are to be a part of God’s true gospel and partake of his blessings he is so willing to give to his faithful saints. I am lucky I have the knowledge and desire to always remain worthy of these special gifts from God!
     Well, that is it for this week. I hope you all have an amazing thanksgiving and enjoy a nice pumpkin pie for me! Have an awesome black friday (nobody die please) and have an amazing week! I love you all so much!
Love, Elder Bubba

Letter from Hong Kong Nov 11, 2012

Hello my amazing family, and friends!
I can’t believe all the snow! Sometimes I think that I will miss the snow… Then I think of some of those cold nights in Logan, and I am glad to be here in China. Starting November 1 we had to start wearing our suit coats. It is nice some of the time, but it still gets hot at times, so I am looking forward to the cool down. The only thing I can think about, is that I am glad it is not the middle of summer anymore. It is awesome weather here right now. most of the time we just have the windows open if we are inside.
I found out about the Obama thing in a very special way. We were finding and talking to people on the street. Then some crazy man ran up to me, grabbed me by the shoulders. Shook me a little. Then yelled “OBAMA IS KING!!!” Its a good thing I love these Hong Kong people. I had about 10 other people within an hour come up to tell me that Obama won. I am happy for him. I bet both him and Romney are both a little less stressed than they were last week.
That is awesome that Jake Miles got his mission call. I am so excited to hear where all of these people get their mission calls to. How long is he in the MTC for? is that a 9 week one? It is so cool. When does he leave?
How are the preparations for Thanksgiving going? I always loved having it at our house. We got left overs, the house was always super clean after, we didn’t have to travel, and it was ALWAYS super nice. Sister Hawks wants all of the missionaries to have a nice, memorable Thanksgiving, so they are giving us a little extra money, and we get to take a little break and eat with our zone. I am excited, I love the activities where the missionaries can get together and just talk and have a little break.
No, I am not senior companion. I still feel like I have a lot to learn before I become senior. Elder Brennan has been in Hong Kong for a little over a year. He is super awesome. He is from Perth in australia.
Right now we are working with some awesome investigators. One is named M–. Her two kids just got baptized right before I got here, and now she is just waiting for a few things before she can get baptized. Hopefully in December! She is super nice. Before I met her, all the missionaries told me that she is possibly the only lady in the world that could ever replace your mom. I don’t think it is that far, but she is one of the nicest ladies in the world! We are also working with this boy named T–. He had a baptismal date before, but his dad wouldn’t let him get baptized because he thinks all chinese people should be buddhist. His dad won’t even let him meet with us, so he has been having a hard time talking his mom into letting him come. Keep praying for the parents to have a softening of hearts!

Well, that is it for the week, love you all!
Love, Elder Bubba

Letter from Hong Kong Nov 5, 2012

Hello friends, family, and other ones!
I hope you all had an awesome Halloween  It was awesome to see the pictures of the little Chippendale dancer! My companion and I were laughing so hard at it. I am glad Dad got to be home in time to see him.
Speaking of companions, I got a new one. And a new area. I am now serving in an area called Tai Wai. It is amazing here. I am trying to get used to not being downtown in the big city, but I am loving it here. So now, I am up on the part of Hong Kong that is connected to mainland. I am actually pretty close (compared to where I was). One of my MTC teachers is from this ward, and so I have been able to meet her family and they even skyped her yesterday so she could see that I was really there (is that against the rules?) haha. It is another small ward. Only about 70 members. The young mens president is only 17 years old, and his counselor is a young man who has only been baptized for 3 months! I cannot imagine being a young mens president at 17!
My new companion is named Elder Brennan. He is from Australia. I thought I would have a lot more american companions, but I have only had one so far! He is really awesome, we just laugh 90% of the time. He grew up on a farm, so he kind of reminds me of Carl in a way…. haha it is hard to explain. Our apartment is a new apartment. The mission just started renting it a couple of weeks ago, so it is nice to be in a really good apartment.
I am mad I am going to miss grandma’s birthday party at Chucky Cheese! That was a fun party! haha It will be good just to have everyone together!
I can’t believe you caught a wookie, a meeko, and a cat in your trap. What did you do with the cat? I am glad more people have dogs here than cats…. I am my mother’s son when it comes to cats.
Thank you so much for the package. It came last monday, so It only took about 6 days from when you sent it. (monday HK time). It was perfect. I loved all the pictures. I have found out that when one elder gets a package here, all the missionaries get super excited. I opened the package, and one of the missionaries grabbed the pictures and started going through them. All of a sudden, I hear a bunch of missionaries laughing, then one yelled “elder Brown is getting inappropriate pictures!” I ran over, and it was the one of Kyler taking his diaper off. So now, all of the missionaries that are serving on the island have seen Kyler’s butt! haha
Well, this week has been awesome. I have just been introducing myself to all the ward members and investigators. There are so many amazing people here, and I am glad to be able to serve them. It was weird saying goodbye to my old ward, investigators, and RC’s, but I know I will possibly see them around Hong Kong. I can’t imagine how hard it is going to be when I have to leave Hong Kong altogether! It just reminds me to make the most of the precious time I have here.
Well, that is this week for you. I am loving my mission, loving life, and loving fighting the Lord’s fight here in Hong Kong. I love you all and pray for you. have an amazing week!

Love, Elder Bubba