Second, it was great to hear from everyone back home! I always love getting everyone's emails!
Things are going great up here in Toronto. It's started to cool down a little bit, which isn't all that bad for the Utah missionaries, but all the Hong Kong missionaries might go back with PTSD. This will be Elder Mak's first Canadian winter, and he's already starting to freeze. Every day he say's "It is negative" at least 10 times in his amazing Honk Kong accent. This should be pretty entertaining :)
It's been quite an adjustment here without Elder Kendall. All of a sudden I can't make any movie references or talk about anything American beyond basic vocabulary, so it's definitely been quieter, but Elder Mak's a great missionary. It's also really pushed us to practice our Chinese a lot more.
Speaking of Chinese, you know that scripture in Acts 2 where they start preaching and everyone just hears it in their own language? That would be real nice. Seriously, Mandarin is about the most different language from English that you could possibly have. I was trying to translate for an English missionary the other day at a Chinese meeting, and my brain just couldn't switch back and forth between the two modes. The grammar is completely reversed, so I'd have to wait until the speaker was done with the sentence, flip it around, and then say it in English grammar, which didn't always happen the way it was supposed to.
On the bright side, I can definitely feel myself improving. My vocabulary is still limited, and often it's frustrating, but I can read more of the Book of Mormon every day, and my listening ability is improving.
Also, I just thought I'd share something that I've been doing lately in personal study. I've been taking all of the greatest people out of the Book of Mormon, and finding 5 verses that, in my opinion, are the most defining verses in their story. I haven't gotten through it all yet, but here's what I've got so far.
1 Nephi 5:10
2 Nephi 1:21 and 23
2 Nephi 2:25
2 Nephi 4:2
1 Nephi 3:7
1 Nephi 18:16
2 Nephi 4:17-19
2 Nephi 4:28
2 Nephi 33:3
Enos (Not a ton of material to choose from, I know)
Anyway, you guys might not care, and don't feel like you need to look them up, but I'm having fun doing it. It's been pretty cool.
The biggest thing that happened this week was probably stake conference, which was super awesome. I don't know if it's just because I'm a missionary now, or if the people up here are just more awesome than all you people back in Utah. Guess we'll never know.
Kidding. But seriously it was super cool. One guy gave an amazing talk about relating our relationship with God to that of a father and a child. The father want's so badly to give his child his inheritance, but he knows that if it is given when the child is young and not yet ready, then it will probably be wasted. On top of that, a father want's more than to just give his child every material item. He also want's the child the become like he is. To be who he is, and to have the same qualities, strengths, and good characteristics. However, these can't be given so easily. They have to be obtained by the child, and although the father can help the child on his way, he can't force the child to be something he's not. It was a great talk.
Another one of the really good ones was about how much this guy loved the temple. He had worked there a ton as an ordinance worker and as a volunteer, and he shared some experiences he had had while he was there. One of the most touching ones was about a family he met that had come to get sealed. The father had previously been excommunicated, and the only reason he was back in the church was because his 9 year old daughter had asked him why they weren't sealed in the temple. It was amazing to hear the story, and even though it was secondhand, it was a beautiful story about repentance and overcoming problems. I think this guy cried for his entire talk, and it was one of the most spiritual one's I'd ever heard.
Mom - As far as a coat goes, we were actually going to buy one today. We haven't gone to do it yet, so I'm not sure how it'll turn out, but that's what most the missionaries do. I'll give you an update next week. I love you so much!
Ellie - What! Mom and Dad still haven't gotten a hot tub!? Its been a whole week! Ammon only needed like 2 days to baptize thousands! How long does it take? Halloween sounds like it's going well. At least it's not lacking for variety. I think for your Halloween costume you should wear a name-tag, and church clothes, and then you can knock on the door, but instead of asking for candy, just ask if you can go inside and share a short message about Jesus Christ. It'll be great.
Hadley - K, I'm not sure, but I think you just tried to put a few more x's and o's than Ellie. I already knew you're a rock star and a princess, but I was wondering what your costume's are. How does mom feel about the make up? Love you!
Favorite Brother - 70-6? Are we sure we were playing the football team and not the marching band? What was the face2face thing with the Piano Guys? That's an awesome scripture :) thanks for sharing it with me. Alma 38:5, right? I think that part of Alma where the three sons all get a speech is really cool. Lots of good stuff in there.
Ashleigh - I don't know what online proselyting would consist of. I've heard of missionaries that use Facebook somehow to teach people, but the only proselyting I've done has been street contacting and good old door-to-door tracting. I haven't done a ton of it yet, because the members here are pretty good about referrals and we have a lot of less active and new convert work we're doing, so that keeps us busy. Any boys I need to know about?
Dad - Loved your letter. I was going to share it with Elder Mak, but all your emails have that scary message at the bottom that says "This may be confidential" and "No distribution" and "Scary lawyer stuff!" and "Wo unto the person who shares this document for he shall be thrust down to-" and all that stuff. Just kidding :) I did really love your thought though. Next time people ask how I'm doing, just tell them to read Alma 26:29-30. Pretty much the same thing.
Love all of you guys! Also, send more pictures of Emi. Or Emi. In fact, just send Emi. Put some air holes in a box, and ship her up here.