Monday, September 30, 2013


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, 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


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. 
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.


Monday, September 9, 2013


So, this week has been pretty busy. We've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off, haha, trying to figure out how do everything on our own! But, God has blessed us, probably out of pity. We have been able to teach a few solid lessons, and we have a new investigator who has really good potential. The major problem is that he is a factory worker, and he works on Sundays. We've been praying to figure out how to help him.. He makes next to nothing and lives in a shack with his mom and son, but even though we've only met him twice, he's started reading the Book of Mormon and asks really good questions. I'm hoping he can overcome his challenges and be able to come to church. Other than that, we've been working with a lot of less actives. 
Also found and old guy named Tommy who used to be in the British army, his English is pretty good, and he loves to talk about the good old days, haha. We also met a farmer who has a pretty incredible story. He snuck his way into Hong Kong in the 60's because his family was starving, started a chicken coup farm, figured out some way to make it better than every other chicken farm of the day (not sure about the details, still don't speak a whole lot of Chinese...) and made a ton of money, built his house (like actually built it..) which is really nice, out in the middle of a ton of rice patties near the base of a mountain wayyyy out in the middle of nowhere, haha. Now he's just hanging out.. taught himself how to read and invest, lives off the interest of his chicken farm that he sold. Super smart guy. Though he has been through crazy challenges early in his life... I hope we can find a way to help him come unto Christ and realize his blessings. Right now he doesn't really believe in anything because of all the hardships he's been through and only believes in himself.. 
We also were able to do a service project for Sister Wong (the  "I'm a Mormon" lady from the video) and taught her less active daughter. She told us about how she was picked and the whole process behind the "I'm a Mormon" video thing. There is a ton that goes into those things, it's crazy. I really want to do that kind of stuff when I get back [make those kind of videos]. Anyway, it was good. 
We are also working on revising and improving our English class that we are doing every week. We've been told in other Asian missions that 90 percent of their baptisms come from English class, so we are taking it more seriously. We figure if we go up to people and offer a free English class they will be more willing to talk than if we just walk up on the street and talk about the gospel out of nowhere. Hopefully that yields some success. Well until next week! Alec, where are you going already?!!! Come to China!!! haha Love you all, keep the faith.
Elder Mikesell

Monday, September 2, 2013


Okay, so I've been training for the last few days... I don't know why either, so don't ask, haha. My companion is a good kid though. He was born in Canada but speaks pretty good Chinese because his parents are from Hong Kong, so I got lucky. He knows how to talk with people about normal stuff but doesn't know a lot of gospel terms, which is the only thing I know, so it works out ok, haha. He told me he has the vocabulary of a 6 year old, which is about 5 1/2 years farther along than me, haha, but we've been doing ok. Running around trying to figure out what to do.

One of the elders in my our apartment passed his one year mark yesterday, so we had a tim tam slam which is the greatest thing since chocolate. You take these things called tim tams,  I think you can get them in the states, and freeze them. Then you bite off 2 of the opposite corners, make hot cocoa, and use the tim tam as a straw. The middle melts, and you try and see who can go the longest before you have to bail out and eat the tim tam or have it fall into the cocoa and be lost forever. It's pretty fun, haha. 

Another fun fact about the China Hong Kong mission... to be an effective missionary we've established you need to be fluent in about at least 7 different languages/forms of communication. You need to be able to 1. speak English 2. read/write English 3. Speak Cantonese 4. read/write traditional characters (the closest thing to a written form of Cantonese there is.) 5. Speak Mandarin 6. read/write simplified characters (Mandarin written language) 6. Read/write Yale (American) Pinyin. (they way we learn to speak Chinese) 7. be able to read/write British Pinyin (kinda like yale but the way the British do it, and the way the Hong Kong maps/signs are written) if you can do those you have a good start.. well, you at least be able to read most of the teaching and progress records, haha. Other languages that are really useful are Tagalog, Nigerian, Malaysian, and every middle eastern language, haha. Hong Kong is a big mixing pot.

Well, we are still working hard here in the New Territories. We have a good investigator right now who is willing to meet with us regularly, but she has pretty strong ties to her other church, so it's been a challenge to help her understand the truthfulness of the gospel. Mostly because she won't read the Book of Mormon, but she'll come around eventually! I love you all. I really wish I had more to report ,as far as the work, but it's been the same as it was when I got here. No break through yet, but it's coming. It's a process not an event, as my mission president would say. Keep knocking doors and talking to people on the street! Thanks for all the love and support. I can feel it. Keep the faith. Love you.

Elder Mikesell