Tuesday, February 18, 2014


So, this week was pretty crazy... We had moves and none of us thought we were moving, but it ended up being that about half of my district left... My companion was replaced with Elder Phillips, who is cool. I served in the new T's with him last summer, so I know him a little. Elder Martinez left, which made me sad, but he was replaced by Elder Walter who I lived with in Yuen Long, so we are like best friends, and one of the sisters got replaced.
I'll be honest, I was a little scared to find out that my companion was white... it will be the first time I've had a companion who hasn't had perfect Cantonese! We'll see how it goes. He came in 1 move after me, but his Chinese is really good. It really wasn't the best time to have moves though. One, because it was pouring rain on move day which made it supper annoying and hard. Two, because we had 4 baptisms on Sunday! My companionship had Sister Chan, Aberdeen 1 had Justin and Heidi, and the sisters had Sarina.. so to change right before the baptisms was hard, but we got it done. The ward did a great job helping us get everything together and ready for the baptisms. I don't know if there has ever been 4 baptisms in a day before, in one ward, but they handled it really well. Originally, Elder Lam (my old companion) was supposed to baptize Sister Chan, but after he left she wanted me to do it. It was scary but really cool. I didn't want to mess up the Chinese, but we only had to do it once, so it was ok. I'll send you some pictures, it was a great experience! She was super prepared, and I feel like I didn't really do much, but I'm grateful to have been able to meet her and introduce the gospel to her.

Last week we went to her house to help her change one of those big long light bulbs on her ceiling.. I had never been to her house before, but when we got there I was pretty amazed. Her entire apartment is about the size of my room back home. Maybe 10ft x 10ft including kitchen and bathroom. and she lives there with her two kids. She has to sleep on the floor... anyways, it was humbling. She is doing well and is already a great missionary, inviting friends to her baptism and teaching them the gospel and everything. Super cool. Very few missionaries in the mission actually find, teach and baptize the same person because it takes so long for people to accept the gospel, it usually overlaps moves and missionaries leave, but I was glad I was able to be able to be there start to finish with her. We are hoping to get some more success in the future, need to work harder for sure. 
Thanks for everything. Love you all lots, keep the faith, never quit, just keep swimming...
Love, Elder Jay

Monday, February 10, 2014


So, we had a really good week. It was really busy... stressful and busy, but it went by fast. I like having things to do... it's really all I ask for, haha. When you have nothing lined up the whole week and you end up walking the streets trying to find someone to teach for 8 hours a day, that's when a week feels like a month. Anyways Sister Chan is doing really well, we are excited for her to be baptized. I wish her boys were a little older, they are 7 and 6 right now, so they have to wait a little bit until they can be baptized, but that's ok. Thanks for praying for her. She says she's going to cry when I leave, so she's decided that she is going to start saving money to come to Vegas and visit me in a few years, haha. She says she wants her boys to serve missions, which I think would be cool. Our other investigators are doing good as well. We had planned for Wayne to be baptized on the 16th as well, but he said he just wasn't ready yet. But we fasted with him yesterday, and had a good lesson with Elder Pon as our fellowshipper (he's one of the Asia seventy, but lives in our ward) so it's always good to have an area seventy as your member fellowshipper, haha. We set a solid date for March 3rd, and I believe he's more committed to it.
Our ward actually has 4 baptisms lined up next week! It's the most I've ever heard of in one day. The Aberdeen 1 elders found an awesome family a while back, and they are also getting baptized on the 16th. There is a 10 year older sister, a 13 year old brother, and a 19 year old sister. The mom isn't quite ready yet, and the dad has passed away, but they are good. I had to do the baptismal interviews cuz I'm district leader which was scary.. well terrifying.. I had never done one before, and I had to do 3 back to back... but I think it went well. We also had a member pass away last week, and we were invited to sing at his funeral. It was my first funeral in Hong Kong. Pretty much the same as America. It was weird though cuz I had just visited him less than a week before he died, and he seemed fine. I mean he was 80 years old, but other than that he seemed ok. I guess it was good that it was sudden. His wife is pretty out of it though.. but they were sealed in the temple to each other, so it's all good. Oh also we just found out that Elder Holland is coming on the 25th, so that should be a good meeting. Though I'm excited to meet him I'm pretty scared of him... so we'll see how it goes. Thanks for all the updates, love and support. I love you all. I talked to Alec and he seems to be doing well. Loving the MTC. Keep the faith, never quit, just keep swimming.

Monday, February 3, 2014


During the Chinese New Year, red envelopes are typically given by the married to the unmarried, especially children and work colleagues. The amount of money contained in the envelope usually ends with an even digit. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. Red envelopes are also used to deliver payments for favorable service to lion dance performers, religious practitioners, teachers and doctors.
I'm doing good. The weather has been getting a little warmer but not too bad yet. You can tell summer is coming.. my companionship is good, we don't normally have any problems communicating. English classes are also good. We have a new program that we just got from the mission office that is based off of the mormon messages, so it's pretty cool. We are still teaching our deaf investigator, and her baptismal date is Feb 16, and she's super excited, and so are we, haha. She said she invited a ton of friends to see her get baptized. Our other investigators are also doing well, have a few who also are working towards a baptismal date. No, we haven't had the chance to bless or pass the sacrament during the week again, that was on an exchange, so it was a one time thing in the English branch on a Saturday, haha. On a side note, I just found out from a member that the island we live on Ap Lei Chau (Aberdeen Island) translation (duck tongue island) is the most populated island on the planet... like in the Guinness book of world records.. which is kinda cool. The average day in my life includes studies in the morning and either finding or teaching (if we are lucky) in the afternoon/evening.. it's really that anti climactic, haha but we plug along.

Victoria park was ok last week. Lot's of people. Ate some squid tentacles.. There were fire works and a bunch of flea markets and stuff. People give out a ton of those red pocket money to everyone, I got over 300 dollars, haha but we give all of it with our fast offerings cuz we aren't supposed to take money, but it's like disrespectful if you don't so that's the solution President Hawks came up with. Lessons have slowed down because of the holidays.  Chinese New Year is like Christmas in the states, so it's harder to schedule people. But we are hoping it will pick up next week.


Thanks for praying for our investigators! They are awesome. I got the package, thank you so much!! But now I'm super fat!!! I'm sending a box home of stuff I don't want/need. I don't know how much it will cost, but I'm cringing thinking about it. I want it to be the slowest row boat from China to the U.S., haha so I don't care if it takes two years, as long as it's cheaper. 10 months out.. I'll dream in Chinese sometimes but I'm no more fluent or understand anymore than I do when I'm awake, so it's nothing special, haha. In lessons I understand most everything, but on the street the percentage goes down. Chinese grammar isn't really hard, but the tones can be hard to distinguish sometimes and if your tones are off when you speak, it can be embarrassing what you end up saying. The other big thing, that is kind of hard to explain is almost every word, other than the very fundamental basic words, are two characters, with exceptions for bigger, more complicated newer words. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Just two syllables.. but the problem is they mix and match those to make new words.. so even if you've learned the vocab for all four of those words you still have to think about how they can be put together in different ways to make new words.. it's kind of hard sometimes. But learning those new words comes faster because you already have the basic foundations down. Chinese really just builds on itself. They can't invent new characters, there is only a certain number that exist, so they just add two or more together to make new words. Anyways, so yeah that's the language, I don't know if that made sense... I think learning Chinese sign language is easier cuz there are way fewer words, and it's basically just like playing charades, haha. 

Today we have a ward BBQ for Chinese New Year. Thanks for everything! I love you all, keep the faith, just keep swimming, never quit.

Elder Mikesell