However, the other day I found their home in the forgotten cupboard above the fridge that no one uses. I destroyed their food source, an ancient unopened box of garlic that was probably left by Moroni, and then I basically dunked the whole cabinet in Anti-Cockroach spray.
After some "cleaning up," Elder Mak and I high-fived, and we've only seen like two since then. Sounds gross, but this is a big improvement. This must be what Ammon felt like after he chopped off all the arms.
On a lighter, less insecty note, the week's been great! In order to bother Elder Mak, I found a word in Chinese that sounds like "Whoa!" in English, then made a sign for it, and hung it up. Whenever I get excited, I point at the sign and start screaming, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" The character's actual translation is "asparagus," so basically in Elder Mak's eyes, I'm just really loudly yelling "ASPARAGUS!!! ASPARAGUS!!!" over and over again.
Also, Elder Mak tried to microwave an egg. I was standing near the microwave minding my own business, when suddenly an unholy sound not unlike a whale giving birth to a roaring T-rex emerged from the satanic box. Instinctively, I dove for cover. By this, I mean, I spilled the juice I was drinking, broke the Olympic record for a vertical jump and, after removing my head from within the ceiling, screamed "Elder Mak, what did you cook? C4!?"
Elder Mak promptly rushed into the kitchen, and judging by the sound he was probably thinking "A 12-gauge shotgun has been fired into my companion!" or something along those lines. We then carefully, CAREFULLY (I cannot stress this enough) opened the microwave, to see the remnants of a formerly-boiled, now-scrambled egg. Elder Mak's face was kind of like that scene in Remember the Titans when they're all at the grave singing "Hey, hey, hey. Goodbye." Kind of like that, but sadder. It was hilarious. If the "Whoa" sign had been hung up yet, I probably would have used it.
The language is starting to come as well. I'm actually sort of sometimes maybe able to read my Book of Mormon in characters, and even though I usually have to look up 1 or 2 characters every verse, it's still really cool. As far as speaking goes, I am told every day that my Mandarin is getting better by all the Chinese people I interact with. However, I think this might be a game they're playing with each other. Like, as soon as I leave, they all snicker and say "I told him his Mandarin is getting better. Pfft!" and then someone else says "I told him I could actually understand what he was saying. Haha!" and then they all laugh together and talk about other apostate things. Or I might just be imagining things. Hard to tell.
To be honest, I do feel like I'm improving a ton, so don't worry too much about me, but just so you know, my Mandarin still involves a lot of "Ni keyi zai shuo yi ci ma?" which means "Can you say that one more time?"
Also, we got 6 new investigators this week! Super awesome! I don't know how many of them will have an interest in getting baptized, but I hope all of them!
Also, something cool I noticed while reading the scriptures this week. In Jacob 5, which I know is everyone's favorite chapter, the Lord and his servant go into the vineyard a few times, and every time, the servant says "Give me more time." Except the last one. That time he says "I'll get more servants." Maybe this is something that everyone already knows, but I only just noticed it. In the past, reading Jacob 5 has involved a lot of zoning out and not paying attention, but this time I really tried, and I thought that it was cool. In the last dispensation, the Lord is going to need more servants to help further his work.
Also, at the beginning of the week I studied Alma 32, which is a great chapter. My favorite is verse 27 which talks about how if you only have a desire to believe, then that can be enough for you to gain a testimony. Then, during the week, I probably used that scripture with 3 of 4 lessons. God definitely wanted me to read it.
Mom - I'm glad you shared that quote with me. It's going in the quote book. It reminds me of one by Elder Holland that says: I had a missionary ask me once if I would give my life for the Church. I said "Elder, I am giving my life for the Church." I know what he meant. what he meant was "Would you die for it?". Well, that's the easy part, to die for it. What God needs is people who'll live for it, people who will go the distance, people who are in this race we're talking about that will go all the way to the tape... we're in this together."
I think that quote really sums up what I've learned out here. No matter what we do, we're not going to do it perfectly. Accept that. But don't ever let that stop us from striving and putting every bit of our effort on the table. Don't hold anything back, because there is so much more in store for us. It's one of the most frustrating feelings in the world to look at all the great people out here and say "I want to be like them," and just not physically be able to do that. However, I think what I've learned is that we can't be "that good" immediately. It's a process, and it takes a lot of effort to get there.
Ellie - That's sounds like a super depressing book. I'll make sure to not...use a broken canoe? Anyway, I'm glad Halloween was good :) You probably felt like I did when I got some recent packages (Shout out to Uncle Cabot and Aunt Heather and Gramma!). I still haven't eaten half of the stuff I've gotten. Love you!
Hadley - So, are you in the double digits for number of costumes? Just wondering. Mormon's a pretty awesome guy, isn't he :) One of my favorite scriptures from his writings is Mormon 9:19, which basically just says "God is a God of miracles." It's pretty great. Love you!
Hayden - Ya, our Fast Sunday is on the same day as yours. During Testimony Meeting we had an old Chinese man who was probably about 90 get up. He basically started denouncing every other Christian church in the loudest voice he could muster and saying they were are "Cuo le!" which means "Wrong!" I guess technically it was true, but we had some investigators in the audience with us, and the entire time we were really worried that this wasn't the best intro to the church for them. It was fine though. Glad to hear things are going well :) Love you!
Ashleigh - About the "freezing thing" I think I'm gonna get where your coming from. Everyone's already talking about the winter. We'll see where that goes. Anyway, were you the murderer in the game? You were, weren't you? You always seemed like the murdering type to me :) Kidding. I'm glad ski season is going to be fun...*sob*... and all that...*sob*... fun stuff. I'm not crying...*sob*...it's just allergies! I don't even care about...*sob*... skiing. :) Just kidding. Love you!
Dad - Thanks for sharing with me. Seriously, I think that's awesome. This week I went on exchanges with the English missionaries (which was a really nice break from Mandarin), and while I was with him we were talking about the Word of Wisdom. We were with a member, and he's fairly active, but our goal was to try and help him to stop smoking. Basically, he thought it didn't really matter since he was doing everything else right, and so who cares if he smokes? I was trying not to get frustrated with this guy, but basically we had been running in circles for a while and finally, I just shared the scripture from Luke 22:32 which is where Jesus says to Peter "When thou art converted," implying that Peter is not yet converted. At this point he's walked on water for crying out loud, and he's not converted yet. Our message with this guy was basically this: If Peter wasn't converted at this point, then neither am I, or my companion, or you. If you think there is a point at which you are "fine" and you have not yet walked on water, then you are wrong. There is no finish line in this mortal life. No point at which people can say "I've been saved" and forget the whole "enduring to the end" thing. It's never done. Never finished.
Love you so much! You're the best!
P.S. The pictures of Emi will be hanging in the apartment.
This is Elder Mak's smile and his serious face. You have to look very carefully to spot the difference:
A recent conversation between us and one of our recent converts. This is what you should all try to do:
This picture shows that, according to the ward directory, Elder Mak and I are sister missionaries. You'd think they would have told us by now: