Tuesday, December 24, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS, SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES & "UP IN THE BONES KIND OF COLD"

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are having a good time! It's actually been pretty cold here, and it's a wet cold from the ocean, so it's up in the bones kind of cold, haha. We've been doing well though, and I have had a lot of good service opportunities - it being Christmas and all. Last Saturday we were able to go to a home for people with special needs. The Spirit was really strong, they are the nicest people I've ever met in Hong Kong. I remember looking around and then telling Elder Martinez, "Do you realize that there are probably more people in this room going to the Celestial kingdom than in all of the rest of Hong Kong combined?!" Haha, but for real. 

We also had our ward Christmas party which was good, we had quite a few investigators show up which was awesome. The members gave us a ton of food which was nice. We also have the Mandarin sisters in our district now which is cool. Well, I hope you all have a good Christmas, go watch the Christmas Mormon message, it's pretty cool. Love you all. Keep the faith, never give up.

Love Elder Mikesell 

ENGLISH CLASS & EATING AT JUMBO

 
December 15, 2013
 
English class is doing ok. We haven't had a lot of people show up lately, but last week we did have quite a few, so it was good. We normally have about maybe 6-10 on a really good day. Right now it's only once a week. If we have more people come we might split to two days a week, but we don't right now. Most Chinese people speak a little bit of English, just cuz they take it in school like Americans take Spanish, but some are way better than others. So, that is kind of a challenge teaching such a wide range of people. We normally try and speak English the whole time, but sometimes I'll use Chinese to explain something for a little bit. 
Cha Sui (BBQ Pork)
Jumbo was really cool. I sent you a post card, hope you get it. The food was good, the cha siu faan was the best along with the flat noodles with beef. Those are my favorite. It was good, but overpriced, I'm glad I didn't have to pay, haha. Wow that is cold. It's been really cold and rainy here too. I busted out the sweater vest for the first time today, haha. Wow that's awesome Alec's an elder. I sent him a letter last week. It was really late coming. Hope you guys have a good time in Beaver! Is there snow up there? Is the resort open yet? Love you all, I pray for you everyday. Keep the faith. Never give up.
 
Love, Jay

Monday, December 2, 2013

Q&A WITH ELDER MIKESELL...

Question:
How is your new area? Anything cool or interesting about it? How is your companion? 

Answer:
My comp is cool. He's from TST, so not too far away from where we serve, but then again, nowhere is too far.

Question:
Can't believe you've been in China for 6 months! Does it feel like it?

Answer:
Yeah, 6 months, it's felt like 6 years! Haha!

Question:
Where did you go for lunch today?

Answer:
We haven't gone yet. P (this Welsh guy who is awesome) is taking us to a place called Jumbo. It's a floating restaurant between two islands. I've never been, but I see tourists go all the time.

Question:
Very cool! Take pictures, so we can put them on the blog. How are you?

Answer:
Okay, I will for sure! 

Question:
Do you and your companion cover more than one island? Is that why you take a boat every morning?

Answer:
Yeah, actually we live on a small island. We cover part of the southern part of Hong Kong island and Lama island, which we don't go to very often because it takes like 30 minutes to get out there. 

Question:
Do you have any solid investigators right now or potential investigators? 

Answer:
Yeah, we have a few good investigators. We found a guy named Mr. Law, he's great. Really humble mechanic. Been to church twice and brought his daughter to English class. Also working with a lady name HJ whose older sister just died on Thursday, so she's having a really hard time. Please pray for her if you can.

Question:
That sounds terrific that you have a couple good investigators. For the sister whose older sister has died, her heart will be open to the message of eternal families. Sometimes the Lord uses that window to get that message across. I can remember, I think it was your first letter about your new area where you had met someone and invited them and they came, is that the mechanic? Sounds like a great guy. We'll definitely pray for both of them. 


Answer:
Yeah, we are hoping to teach her the plan of salvation if we can see her again. Yeah that's the guy, he's way cool. Really hoping we can introduce the gospel to his family.

Question:
How do you feel about your ability to speak the language?

Answer: 
Yeah, the language... still really frustrating. I usually know what people are talking about but not the details. I, myself, can normally get across what I want to say, but it's slow and really jumbled. I know the grammar is wrong a lot of the time. My companion is really patient with me. The problem is, he wants to speak English to improve, but I don't want him to, haha. 


Question:
Are you allowed to tract in Hong Kong, or do you just mostly street contact people?

Answer:
In some places you can. The older chyuns or villages you can go door to door, but there isn't as much of that on the island as there was in the New Territories. People live in huge apartment buildings, and you can't go inside and go door to door, so we are on the street most of the time.

Question: 
How are you received in Aberdeen? Same as Kam Tin? Does everyone have ear phones in staring at an electronic device or laugh at you?

Answer:
Like while finding? No, it's not as bad. Sometimes we get yelled at and cussed at, but most of the time, we just get ignored. Sometimes we can talk with people. They don't laugh at my Chinese. Most of them don't believe I've been in Hong Kong for 6 months, but an hour of language study everyday and constantly speaking Chinese will do that. Obviously, most of all it's the Lord's blessing.

WE LOVE YOU! GOOD LUCK THIS WEEK AND HAVE FUN AT JUMBO KINGDOM AND TAKE LOTS OF PICS AND EAT LOTS OF WEIRD FOOD TO TELL US ABOUT NEXT WEEK!

Monday, November 25, 2013

BEAUTIFUL VIEWS, PROGRESSING INVESTIGATORS & MORE DINNER APPOINTMENTS!

Happy Thanksgiving!! This week was good. We had some success in the progress of our investigators which I'm really excited about. We get a lot more dinner appointments here than in Yeun Long, that's for sure. My new companion is from TST, in Kowloon. He's really cool and a really good basketball player. We play every morning. He's funny cuz he's a little younger than me, about 4 months out, and says he doesn't like serving in Hong Kong. He wanted to go somewhere new. I kind of feel for him. We went to the mission office the other day and the bus drove right by his house... that has to be really weird. 


My new apartment is super small! But there are only 4 elders instead of 6. I'm living with an elder that I came with, Elder Martinez, who is awesome, I love the kid. His companion, Elder Au, who is also from Hong Kong, is a good friend of mine too cuz we lived together up in the New Territories. Sometimes I miss the bikes, but taking the boat is really fun, and the view from some of the places we walk around is absolutely beautiful, the ocean with all the islands. There are a ton of small islands that surround Hong Kong island itself, but they are all super hilly, basically huge mountains that spring up out of the ocean. Hong Kong island is like that too, so they drilled a tunnel underneath the middle to get from one side to the other. Most all of the city is on the outer edges. 






Snow sounds awesome!! Hope you get a ton this year. I want to try and get my job back at Eagle Point when I get home, so it can't close down while I'm away!! Haha. Most everyone here has never seen snow... weird thought. It's really really nice weather right now. Probably in the low 70's, I don't know for sure cuz everything is in Celsius, haha. I'm thinking about sending a box home of some stuff I don't need. If I put it on a boat it will get there in 3 months, but I don't care, haha. I'll have to see how much it costs. I need to slim down. 

 

Wanchai Meetinghouse LDS Chapel
Today we helped an awesome member move. He is going back to Wales.  came into contact with the church here in Hong Kong, actually. He walked into the Wanchai chapel cuz he thought it was a museum and was taught his first discussion there! Super golden. That building, the Wanchai chapel is massive, and the second most expensive building the church owns, right after the conference center, haha. Well I'll keep you posted on how things are going here, sorry I got on so late, we were helping Peter move, and he lives on Lamma Island, so it was quite an ordeal, haha. Well, hope to talk to you next week! He is actually taking us out for lunch next Monday. Love you all! Keep the faith. Never quit.

Love, 麥長老

Thursday, November 21, 2013

COOL COMPANION, COOL LITTLE BOAT & COOL INVESTIGATORS!


My new area is suppppper different from Kam Tin. Like as different as it gets, both geographically and as far as the work goes. My new companion is cool. He is from Hong Kong and speaks very little English which is challenging, but good cuz it forces me to speak in Chinese basically all day. Yeah, we have a lot more investigators here than in Kam Tin. And the members are awesome. Really mission minded. Our ward correlator is hard core. The island that I live on is pretty small. It's called Aup lei jau. We take a cool little boat to get to Hong Kong island every morning. There aren't any beaches that I've seen, but I think there are in other places of the island. We cover the southern part. It's super populated. Not as much as other places, like Kong Koi, which I've been told has the most people per square foot than any other place on earth.. and I believe it. Haha. There are a lot of fisherman and stuff here, but it's way more populated than Kam Tin; probably about the same as Yeun Long. 



Ok, I'll put some pictures online and put a bunch on the card to send home. This week was good, it was pretty crazy cuz it's so different than what I'm used to, but it's also really cool. We do a lot of street finding on the docks along the shore which is cool. We met a guy on Saturday night, talked with him, and then invited him to church on Sunday morning, and he came!!! It was so cool. This area has a lot of potential. I'm kind of sad leaving my old area, I feel kinda home sick, haha and I know that there was more that could be done there. I really hope my baby takes care of our investigators, but I taught him well, so I'm not worried, hahaha. 

The sisters had a baptism on Sunday which was great, the investigator overcame a ton of family opposition and anti, so she is super solid. Her family is Jehovah's witnesses and they were not happy.. I'm still trying to remember all the members and investigators names but I'll get it. Well, thanks for all your support and prayers, hope to have more to report next week! Love you all. Keep the faith, Never give up. Oh, and I will write more letters for sure now because things are a lot  closer, like groceries and stuff so we should have more time. Love you all!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ABERDEEN... MY NEW AREA!

Aberdeen, Hong Kong at night... My new area!                              
 
Yeah, so this week has been kind of hectic. I found out on Friday that I was moving... Because our zone leader is dying in the middle of the move, there is a mini move; President Hawks moves a couple people around so everyone has a companion. I happen to be one of those people. So, Friday night I find out. Saturday, I prepped my trainee for everything cuz I won't be there, but he'll be fine, I've taught my son well, haha. Then Sunday night the AP's came and got me and took me to Aberdeen which is on Hong Kong island, literally as far as you can go from where I was. No joke. I went from knocking on village doors about a stones throw from the Chinese border (seriously, last week we went that far north) to the southern part of the island, haha. 
 
Aberdeen, Hong Kong
 
On the ride here I was shell shocked, I'd never been to the island before. At night, it's crazy, all the light shows from the buildings and stuff, it's like what you would expect Hong Kong to be except even way more so. I actually live on a little island right off of the actual Hong Kong island. The translation is duck tongue island, haha. I'm not sure why, but they haven't built the MTR to this side of the island yet (they are in construction now), so we take a boat every morning from our island to the Hong Kong island, haha. It's pretty fun. I'll take pictures and show you. I just got here last night, so I don't know much about the area. My companion is a buhndeih and doesn't speak English... so I better pick up my Chinese otherwise it's going to be a long move, haha. 
 
And if that wasn't enough, they made me district leader, which I don't know how to do, but I'm getting trained on Wednesday, so hopefully that goes well, cuz I really don't want to ruin this area. From what I hear the ward is SUPER supportive and mission minded, so I'm excited for that. Really hoping we can push the work forward. I won't lie, I was pretty scared when they told me I was leaving. Kam Tin is all I've ever known, and I've been there for 5 months. I know what to expect, and I was comfortable there. It seems  right when I feel like "Yeah, I can do this, I got it," then everything gets flipped upside down, whether it's getting put out in Kam Tin to start with a buhndeih, training a new missionary as a baby myself, or getting plopped on the island as district leader with a buhndeih that doesn't speak English... It'll take time and a little bit of growing pains, but I'll get it eventually. That's all the mission has been anyway, so I don't know why I'd expect something different, haha. Well, continue to prey for me! I pray for you always! I will write letters when I get settled, I promise. Love you all, keep the faith, never give up!
 
Love,
 
Mahk Jeunglouh

Monday, October 28, 2013

GOLDEN INVESTIGATOR, PLANTING SEEDS & GACHAI BENG... THE MOST DELICIOUS THING KNOWN TO MAN!

 

YES!! I got the Halloween package this week! Thank you so much! The whole apartment loved it. It was great, thanks! I feel like I'm missing out on a ton sometimes, but other times it's like.. yeah they are all the same, haha. I'm in the worst shape of my life right now I think.. Super fat from the rice and fatty dumplings and stuff. We only have a stove, so we fry everything... and McDonald's is the cheapest place to eat and pretty much the only thing we can afford so yeah.. I'm pretty sure I couldn't run a half marathon right now at all, and it will only get worse cuz we are the only missionaries in the mission who have bikes, and we bike all day everyday, so when I get transferred... even less exercise. I really want do better, but there is just like ZERO time. It's depressing, but I'll get it back when I go home. Haha, yeah I don't know, but I definitely need some deodorant, haha. 



Elder Mikesell & summer missionary Elder Mahk
Oh, the elder I'm standing with in front of the church was my sukeih, my summer missionary. They lived with us for 2 weeks and were our companions, we taught them how to do missionary work and stuff. He has the same last name as me, haha Mahk (麥) spoke ZERO English.. it was a challenging 2 weeks, haha. 



Elder Mikesell with his companion Elder Wong
Elder Mikesell with his companion Elder Wong
Training is going well, my comp is great, and we work well together. My comp's name is Elder Wong. (For anybody who knows Cantonese it's not wongsik ge wong, but wongdaih ge wong) (王長老) There was a lot of pressure at first because I was a new missionary myself when I started training him, but we've been blessed. We actually found this golden investigator the other day that was a potential from a year ago. I just called him up for the heck of it, to practice calls.. cuz I hate calls, and he was actually willing to talk to us. He thought my Chinese was awesome and asked how many years I had lived in China.. so yeah, we got along really well after that, haha. He wants to come to church and everything! But the only problem is he lives in teun muhn, so we had to pass him to the tuen muhn elders, who are our zone leaders and also are on fire... teaching a ton. I was a little disappointed. I wish we could teach him, but we are progressing the work as best we can. Lot of planting seeds, tilling the ground, weeding, watering.. and all that other stuff. But we will reap eventually. We also met up with a returned missionary who served in yuen long 22 years ago! He was in the same building we use now, so we gave him a tour. He said it was trippy being back. I'll bet it was, haha. Anyways, I love all of you! If you ever come to China, you need to get a gachai beng!! It's the most delicious thing known to man. Some kind of waffle, with tons of butter, sugar, honey of some kind and peanut butter mixed with a dose of Chinese magic. Awesome. The best ones are in TST. So yeah, I'll send you a bunch more pics when I get the SD card! Thanks for everything! Love you!

Monday, October 21, 2013

I HAD TO PRAY THE ENTIRE TIME FROM PUTTING IT INTO MY MOUTH TO SWALLOWING THE LAST BITE, A MIRACLE & GOD GAVE US THIS ONE, AND IT'S NOT THE ONE WE EXPECTED

Our church building. This is actually the first one ever in Hong Kong. The dedicatory thing says, "Southern Far East Mission" haha


AHH general conference was awesome!! I can't believe how fast it went by! It NEVER went that fast before my mission. And I didn't even watch the Saturday conferences that often.. It's insane. I was talking with Elder Walter about it, and we were wondering if it was just because we were missionaries and this is what we are focused on 24/7... or if it's cuz we are closer to the spirit... or just because sitting in an air conditioned room is better than going outside and finding, hahaha. We concluded it was probably a combination of all 3. 

We actually had a cheng out the other day! I ate pig skin, chicken feet, cuddle fish, some innards of pig and/or cow, and some other stuff I wasn't sure about. I won't lie, the pig skin was the worst. It was really hard. I had to pray the entire time, from putting it into my mouth to swallowing the last bite. You just chew and chew and chew. It's like a disgusting piece of pure fat, but the skin has like bumps on it... that was the worst. Ughhgghghghszb. 

Anyways, we didn't have a great numbers week a couple weeks ago, but it was moves so that's kinda normal. I stayed in Kam Tin which is what I expected. I'll probably stay my whole mission here, haha. Our new district leader is super funny. I love the kid. Elder ward emailed me from home... crazy he's on the other side of the world now.. I just saw him last week... but anyways we had a miracle a occur this week. A while back we were going through our area book and found this kid who was a former investigator, so we called him up to see if he would meet with us. He said he liked to run, so we set up a time to go running with him. We found out that he was leaving for Seattle the following week, so we weren't going to be able to teach him. We just gave a short lesson on prayer and the Book of Mormon. The next week we were finding at the MTR, and I met a lady who was willing to talk with me. She told us that she had a son who used to investigate our church. We ended up finding out that she was the mom of that kid. She was really nice but wasn't willing to hear our message or anything. We didn't want to push her cuz she was nice, so we just left it at that. 

Anyways, she would walk her dogs at the MTR a lot and would see us finding. We would talk to her from time to time, not really about the gospel very often but just chat. Then eventually she invited us to dinner because we told her that we would be away from home for 2 years, and she said that was too long to not have a meal made by your mom, haha. Plus I think she was sad because her son was in Seattle, and she missed him. So, we go to this cheng out not expecting too much. After dinner we asked if we could share a short message. She said that would be ok, so we read 1 nephi 1:1 and talked about families, and the Book of Mormon, really simple and fast, only a few minutes. Then she started talking about her family, which lead to her past and then she started saying how she didn't know God's will for her, and she was confused. She's had a hard life, and had to get divorced and stuff. She said she told us stuff she never even told her kids. Then she asked if she could come to church. She said that because she saw us working so hard everyday, getting rejected, sometimes really meanly but never retorting - that our motives must be to bring people to Christ and have Christ like love. I never thought about it. I'm really excited and hope it works out. She would be such an awesome Relief Society president. I know that God gave us this one, and it was not the one we expected.. but I guess it normally isn't. Anyways, just something I'm excited about and wanted to share. 

We got to go on this picnic with the yuen yih ward. Sooooo cool. Way up in the mountains there is a bamboo forest and an awesome lake. Oh, also guess what? So there was this HUGE fire right outside of Kamtin last week. I thought we were going to have to evacuate, but they got in under control. It burned the whole mountain that is outside our window and we have to look at a black mountain instead of a green one. But that night it was all orange, soooo coool.

So, jacket season is coming up, well it actually already started after general conference, but it's been hot so President Hawks delayed it for a few weeks. Anyways, I needed to get a black jacket so I could wear it with any black pants because the suit that I brought with me is blue with pin stripes, so i can only wear those pants.. and after a few days of that they get nasty.. so 6 months is probably stretching it. Anyways, I bought a suit jacket today in Monkok for $268 (that's like $33 American, haha). I really want a p-day I can just relax, but they are busier than normal days. I'm glad you got the card!! Yeah, Kamtin is really the only area in the mission like that. Everywhere else is exactly how you would imagine it.  Yeah, that was a lesson about faith, if you have a sure foundation (keep you hand steady) then the lord will help you over come your trials. I tried it, too... it burned my hand, haha, guess I don't have enough faith. I didn't realize there were a lot of people speaking in that video, that's funny. 

The language isss... coming. I think. I can understand more than I can say myself, but it is coming. Still struggle everyday. I don't know how long that will last, but I'll get there eventually. Alec is going to be a boss missionary. I tell every philly I come across, cuz there are a ton in China, that I have a brother going to Baguio, and they're all like "whaaa that's the best place in the Philippines!!"

We found this kid the other day who is half black half Asian. He loves basketball, so we told him if he wanted we could play with him, if, after we played we taught him a little about our church. So we played, and he was ok, especially for Hong Kong. There aren't very many good basketball players here. Anyways, he thinks I'm like the end all, be all, NBA star for America. So he keeps calling me coach and compares me to this guy called the professor (he's like the one white dude on the And 1 streetball team, ya know like the harlam glob trotters stuff) anyways it's kinda funny. But he also has potential. Unfortunately, he doesn't live in our area, so we have to turn him over to the yeun yih elders, but it's whatever. We're moving the work along in every way we can. 

I'm starting a Christmas list for anyone interested, haha. Number one on the list.. deodorant because I can't find it anywhere. I don't understand.. there are a TON of body sprays and stuff but no actual deodorant. Weird right? You'd think everyone would stink but they don't.. I don't know what the trick is, but I guess apparently it's too hot for deodorant and it melts here.. but I don't know if that's a valid excuse. Well, I love all of you! Keep the faith, never give up.

Love,
Love Elder Mikesell / Mahk Jeung Louh / 麥長君

PICTURES!!! AUGUST - OCTOBER 2013
 








Tuesday, October 8, 2013

TEMPLE TRIP, SISTER MOODY'S BAPTISM & LANGUAGE EYE OPENER

Well, I wish I had some awesome story to share with you, but this week hasn't been anything special... Elder Ward is going home.. Super sad. He is one of my best friends on the mission. I'm going to miss him a lot. Last Monday we got a bunch of people together and played soccer which was super fun. Then on Tuesday our stake had a temple trip, so we got one of our less actives who is a school bus driver to take the ward, and he had a really good spiritual experience which was good. Oh, on Saturday we got to go to Sister Moody's baptism which was awesome! She's a great missionary. I guess she was supposed to go to Maccau but ended up not going, so it's been a weird week for her. Last night we got to go to a special fireside in Kowloontong called the "My Conversion" fireside. It's where all the missionaries who are going home pick one of their recent converts to bear their testimony. It was cool. We were able to get D, our investigator, to come which was good, I think she had a good experience.

So, I was just going through the Mormon messages on mormon.org cuz I love them and think they're great. I'd watch them all day if I could. I came across the Stella one; the lady from Hong Kong. 

Click here for Stella's mormon.org message

I've never met her cuz she is way out in Kowloon, but I remember watching that video like a dozen times [before coming to Hong Kong] and not understanding a single word they said. Like at all, and thinking... "Man, I'll never learn that language." I actually still have days like that, but I just watched it again just now and was amazed. I understood everything! Not exactly every word, but I knew enough to know what they were talking about the entire time. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I find that I compare myself a lot with other missionaries. There are some who have been out for the same time as me or even less, and I feel like their language is better, but I have to get over it and stop worrying about it. I am learning as fast as I allow myself to learn with the Lords help, and that should be good enough. I don't know, I'm just grateful I guess. It was an eye opener. 

Anyways, I don't have much else to report! We have moves coming up, but I doubt I'll go anywhere. I'm still training, so I don't think they will split us up. I'll probably be here next week, but if not I'll let you know where I am. You never really know with President Hawks. Love you all! Keep the faith!

Love,
Elder Mikesell

Monday, September 30, 2013

SERVICE WITH MAGGOTS AND SPIDERS, UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE MORE AND MTC & LIFE COMPARISONS...


Hey dad! Wow, that's awesome! He [Alec] is going to be great. That's a ton of rainfall. I don't know how much we get here, but it feels like a lot. I email with Paul, and he said that it's a super nice place, cooler than most in the Philippines. We have a ton of Filipinos here that come for work, and I always tell them that my brother is going there. Yeah, he won't be very far at all! I can't wait to be able to email back and forth with him since we are in the same time zone. He'll have a ton of success. The work is exploding there. We had a bunch of Filipino missionaries in our zone in the MTC, and right after they left we got 54 new ones. They can't throw them in fast enough. That's so awesome. Haha, I know it's funny cuz one of my best friends here in the Hong Kong mission is Elder Ward, and his older brother served in Japan, and his younger brother is serving in Taiwan, haha. I hope Chase goes Mandarin speaking, that would be awesome! 

Yeah, I can get pictures from email but only a few at a time I think.. I'll send you a couple over email, but I'm copying a lot of pictures from my card and putting them on the card Kelly gave me and then sending it back with a letter, so you'll have a lot more. My investigators are doing okay. D came to church 2 weeks in a row which is awesome. The only reason she came this week is because it was raining, so she couldn't go on a hike like she wanted to. I told her God did that so she could come to church, haha. I'm still really worried about her though because she still goes to her other church, and she's still not for sure about here date yet, so we keep doing our best and praying. Leaving it up to the Lord after all we can do.. The other one is a construction worker and and can't come to church, so it's really hard, but he really has a desire to learn more, so I'm hoping we can progress with him. New investigators are hard to come by, but we are making it a priority this week. We have to find 1 new investigator.

The language is the language. I probably understand 40-60 percent of words spoken of a really basic conversation. 80 percent of a gospel discussion. But now the hard part is processing the words that I've learned, fast enough that I can keep up and understand the meaning of the sentences/ discussion. I'll know the subject of what's being talked about a lot of times but not the details. But, yeah I have good days where I think maybe I actually can do this... then I get humbled really quickly.. My companion and I are doing well. He has a desire for the work, so it's going well. I will write Alec for sure, and Chase. That's so awesome he works for Baskin Robbins. I'd kill to eat ice cream, haha. 

Well this week for me hasn't been too crazy. We've been doing a lot of service; moving people, visiting old peoples homes, stuff like that. We had one of yeun 2's investigators stuff get damaged from the typhoon, so we helped her clean it up. 

We also helped a less active's brother move.. It was awful. I won't lie. He was moving from one broken down, ripped apart shed to another down the street. The condition of living was just unnecessarily horrible. You know that show hoarders? They got nothing on this dude. I was trying to move a table, the one he eats off of, and a ton of maggots and spiders came out of it, and then when I freaked out he was like, "Oh you don't have to worry about the spiders, it's that snake over there that is the problem." IN THE MAN'S HOUSE" well kinda, there really is only 3 walls so i think the snake comes and goes as he pleases. Anyways. 


Oh, also I got the package from the Activity Day Girls!!! Thank you so much!! It was awesome, I loved it. 
The Los Prados Activity Day Girls sent Elder Mikesell a package with candy and a letter!

Oh and also last Friday we had zone 24's, and I was put with my MTC companion, haha. It was cool and kinda weird at the same time. We had a talk the other night about the mission, kinda about how it is like life. A lot of times we see only a super small perspective of this weeks goals or whatever, but if you step back you can draw parallels between the mission as a whole and life as a whole. Not just this life but eternal life. We lived with our parents before the mission. We chose to come out to learn and grow and share the gospel, we start out getting babied in the MTC, learning how to be a good missionary but with no real responsibility, kinda like when we grow up and are living with our parents, then we get kicked out and have to do stuff on our own, and it is really hard. There are ups and downs, you learn and grow, and it may seem like a long time. Sometimes more than others, but in actuality it's so short. Which is the same perspective God has of our mortal life. We are separated from our parents. We can communicate, but we are not in their presence. We grow old (in the mission we normally say that when you start your mission your just being born or you are a baby, then you are middle aged at a year and then you die at 2) you have kids (we call trainers dads, trainees sons) then die and go back to live with your family. And if you do well, you will not be ashamed about being in their presence. I learned something that I guess I had thought of before but not really deeply. Elder Walter pointed out that we go to whatever kingdom we are assigned due to our desires and actions. Simple doctrine, but what he said was that if someone doesn't make it to the Celestial kingdom it's not just because God forced him to go to a lower kingdom. If he is an unrepentant sinner he will want to be as far from God, from the guilt and shame as he can be (i.e. terrestrial/ telestial kingdom.) so we really do choose literally where we go. It says in the Book of Mormon that they would feel worse living in the presence of God knowing that they are unworthy, than going to hell.. crazy thought. Anyways that was kinda deep, but something cool to think about. 

Anyways, I love you all! One thing you can do to help me if you want is to offer your services to the missionaries in your area. We've been having a really hard time getting member presence in our lessons. It's YOUR ward people, not the missionaries. They are here to help you, but yeah. Love you miss you, talk you you next week!

Elder Mikesell

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

TYPHOON USAGI, PROGRESSING INVESTIGATORS & EMAILING AT THE APPLE STORE IN KOWLOON TONG


Typhoon Usagi, the strongest storm to hit the Western Pacific this year!
Hey! Yeah so Everyone here was freaking out about the typhoon, saying it was the biggest in Hong Kong's history, it has two eyes, it will be a level 10! But, it actually wasn't that bad. Maybe it's cuz we are so far inland, but it only knocked down a couple trees and stuff. Nothing big. We had to stay in Sunday night, but we could go back out by Monday morning. The reason I didn't email Monday isn't because of the typhoon but because we had our temple day this week, and it was Wednesday (today), so whenever we have temple day, which is once every other month, whatever day we go becomes our p-day that week. So, that's why, it was just a coincidence, haha. Unfortunately, I didn't save any babies from drowning, and I didn't get to find out if my comp could swim. BUT we did have a plan if something did go bad, we were going to a place way up in the mountains, we call it happy valley cuz it's a beautiful valley in the top of the mountains over looking Kam Tin and Yuen Long. We figure the higher ground would be the best place to be. I was actually secretly hoping it would be big, so I could say I lived through an awesome typhoon, and we would be able to like re-build houses for people then convert them, haha. But, that's not what the Lord wants right now, I guess. 


"I know his name!"
We do have an investigator with a baptismal date, though! November 3rd! I don't know if I told you yet, but if I did, I'm not sorry.. I tell everyone, haha. She has read the Book of Mormon for two weeks in a row AND came to church last Sunday. I'm really hoping she works through and continues to keep commitments. We've been working with here since like June or July.. Actually, Elder Ward and I found her. Elder Ward is going home in a couple weeks. I'm pretty bummed.. but I'll see him again in a year and a half so it's fine. We've also been been working with an awesome guy who has a ton of potential and real intent to learn the gospel, but he is dirt poor. He lives in a shed with his wife, mom and son. He is a construction worker and has to travel two hours to and from work.. and he works everyday, which means every Sunday.. so he hasn't been able to get to church.. He's been trying to read the Book of Mormon, but he isn't very literate and doesn't understand a lot, so it's tough. We read together when we can, but it's really hard to schedule him, so keep him in your prayers.. We have to find a way to get him to church. He's funny though cuz he asks great questions about the gospel. One time when we asked him if he read he was like yeah but I don't understand why the Nephi guy keeps saying "I Nephi, I Nephi, I Nephi, I know his name!!!" Haha, it was funny. 



Apple Store, Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong
Anyways, I don't have a whole lot of time, we are way out in Kowloontong at the Apple store, using the sample computers, haha, so next week I'll send you some pics from the library computers. I love you all though! Keep the faith. Back home sounds like the usual. I love how Chase has finally realized his childhood dream of becoming an ice cream man, haha. Alec sounds good, too. I can't wait to email back and forth with him cuz the Philippines and Hong Kong are in the same time zone. And the Make-A-Wish thing sounds awesome! The missionaries in my district were cracking up about all Brandon's wishes. We all thought they were pretty valid, awesome wishes, haha. Dad sounds like he is perpetually in some kind of youth event, haha, but that's where I think he likes to be anyways. Love you all!! I'll send pics on Monday!

Elder Jay

Monday, September 16, 2013

21st BIRTHDAY, SPARTANS OF THE MISSION, MOONCAKES, PARK-N-SHOPS & COW INTESTINES (SURPRISINGLY GOOD)

A Little Q&A With Elder Mikesell...

 
Hey! Yeah, I heard he [Alec] was going to the Philippines!! That's so crazy! The Filipino missions are baptizing like crazy. I was actually in a zone with a ton of Filipino missionaries in the MTC. They are some of my best freinds in the mission. I wonder if Alec is going to the same mission.. I can't remember where they are, though. I'll have to ask. 
 
 
I got your package!!! Thank you so much, it was awesome!! I ate all the chocolate in like 2 days and then felt sick, haha. I wasn't actually able to  bake the brownies, though because we don't have an oven. But, I think we may be able to do it at the church cuz they have one. I just gotta find the time, haha.  Actually, two of the elders in my apartment went to Kowloon for  something and saw my package and grabbed it, then hid it until by birthday, so it was an awesome surprise, haha. Tell everyone thanks for all the birthday wishes and cards and prayers and emails and everything else. It meant a lot. I can't really believe I'm 21. It felt weird that morning cuz I was thinking about what most 21 year olds do on their birthday, and I was up by 7 in the morning running though the streets of Kam Tin, Hong Kong, China for morning exercises. Kind of a contrast, haha, but it's awesome. 
 
Wow, that's cool that President Hawks sent you a letter. He is awesome. 
 
I can answer your questions here. 
 
Do you have regular dinner appointments at member homes? What kind of food do the members feed you? What are some of the craziest things you've eaten? Anything surprise you about the food there?
 
As far as dinner appointments, no not regularly... I've been changed out (it's chinglish, literally meaning "please out" like, please, let me take you out to eat cheng, meaning please, but anyways that's what we call them) about 4 times since I've gotten here, so not very regularly. Some missionaries get more, but the Kam Tin elders are the Spartans of the mission, haha. The food is different, but good. I've had chicken feet and liver, fungus soup, cow intestines, lots of rice, lots of different parts of pig, most of which I'm not sure what it was, lots of crazy veggies, that kinda stuff. Oh and curry. Curry is crazy spicy.. noodle soup, lots of dumplings.. and because the mid autumn festival is coming up, people give us a lot of moon cakes, which are little cake things with a duck egg in the middle. 
 
Mooncakes
 
To be honest, I'm not sure what the craziest thing I've eaten is because I don't ask a lot of times what I'm eating, haha. Yeah, there are some foods like cow intestine that I thought was good, so that was surprising. 
 
 
Do you spend a lot of time each day riding your bikes? Did your previous companion or your current companion have much bike riding experience before being called on their mission?
 
Yeah, the Kam Tin elders are the only elders in the mission with bikes, and we are on them everyday, and no neither of my companions have much experience, and I get kind of
How to j-hop on a bike...
scared for them because the traffic can get pretty crazy and the roads are super bad, so I taught them how to j-hop up and down curbs. Actually, my last companion ate it really bad and went to the hospital cuz he was trying to keep up with me once, so I've slowed down a lot.. My new companion has fallen a couple times too, and once into a rice patty, haha. So, I go slower now. 
 
What are the grocery stores like there? Similar to America grocery stores? Do they have similar brands?
 
Grocery stores are pretty similar, but a lot more packed.. All 4 wheels of the grocery cart swivels instead of the front two, so you can get around people. They have most everything that America has at "park-N-shop" which is like their Walmart, but the American stuff is really expensive, like syrup, peanut butter, mac and cheese, ice cream, chocolate, that kinda stuff. So we just buy ramin, rice and dumplings, haha. 

Do you speak a lot in church or teach a lot in church? You mentioned you've been working a lot with less actives. Has your branch had success with reactivation?
 
I actually spoke last Sunday in the yeun long 2 ward, but that was only my 3rd time speaking. Expressing the Spirit can be hard in Chinese, but I'm getting better at it. We don't teach any classes in church themselves, but we will teach investigators who come to church afterwards sometimes. Um, the less active work is a slow process, we are doing our best and have had some success, but there is a lot more to be done. I'd say only about 20 percent or so of members are active, so there are a lot of lost sheep we can't find. But we keep trying! One of our investigators has a baptismal date, so we are excited. She belongs to another church right now and read 2 Peter 2 from the Bible, and is worried that we are a false church. A lot of people get antied here because the translation of Mormon sounds like (Mo Muhn) which means "devils door"... So, we talked to her about how only good trees bring forth good fruits and vice versa from Matthew 7 and 3 Nephi also Alma 32. We read the Book of Mormon with her every time we meet with her, so I think that is helping.
 
Well thanks for keeping me informed on whats going on back home! I'm crazy stoked about Alec! Sister Moody is too, she says hi. We are emailing together right now, and she said that her ward is freaking out that we are in the same mission, haha.  I guess I just take it for granted,  but it is pretty cool. Anyways, I love you all. Alec, do work man!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh! You have a good amount of time to prep, so don't get lazy! It will go by soooo fast. I love you bro.
Love, 

Jay