Monday, December 22, 2008
I first met the missionaries through my classmate who was not a member of the church. My classmate, my brother, and I went to DeliFrance (cafe) every Sunday evening while we chatted with the missionaries in English, since it was more a one-on-one and effective way to learn English. Although we went through many pairs of elders, trust and friendship was established. A pair of Elders gave me a Book of Mormon during Christmas (1998). Upon walking home, when asked by my classmate, “Are you ever gonna read it?” I said, “No.” It was the first BOM I threw away before I arrived home that night.
Elder Bell first brought me to the senior missionaries’ English class, which was my first time to go to an LDS church’s building. After about a year, since the public exam was done, we stopped contacting the missionaries.
About a few months later, I wanted to learn English again and found Elder Bell, who was the AP at that time, serving in the mission office. (The Hong Kong Temple has a chapel and the mission home within the same building.) After visiting, Elder Bell and his comp taught me the “first discussion” at the visiting lobby of the HK Temple. The Spirit was strong and I felt it, although I didn’t know what the Spirit was at that time. I got the BOM again and sincerely read 3 Nephi 11. I called and left a message at the mission office. For some reason, I never heard back from them. The BOM was put on my book shelf. One day cleaning up our home, my mom asked, “Are you ever gonna read it?” “No,” I replied. It was the second time I threw the BOM away.
A few months later, I saw a pair of elders doing GQ on the street, (GQ=Golden Questions=street contacting). Among all the people passing by, brushing them off, I had the same feeling I felt in the temple. That feeling drove me to them, Elder Wong and his comp.
This time is different…. I have always been a “question boy,” who asks many deep questions in whatever I learn in class. Many questions like, “How can people be made out of dirt?” “Where is the exact physical location of heaven?” I mean, come on, how can those US missionaries explain all this in Cantonese? Elder Wong was a HK native. Within two weeks, the Lord sent another native to the area, Elder Lai. (Notice it was a miracle; because of the hard language, it was rare that two natives served together.) Without language barriers, many of my questions were answered.
I still remember the first time I knew the BOM was true. It was a quiet night; and I was alone at home. After reading it for 30 mins that night (I had been reading it daily for two months), I knelt and prayed, and prayed for a few mins. Suddenly a strong feeling came to my heart and mind. I knew it. I knew it was true.
I was baptized by Elder Wong and confirmed by Elder Lai on Feb 13 and Feb 20, 2000.
Now…, would you like to hear my mom’s conversion story…??? She was Buddhist all her life. Later..., I baptised her…. Well, before boring you, I will tell you next time.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
In the meantime, allow yet another musing from myself, the Champion of Finals Week. Somehow I managed to have only two final exams total for the end of this semester, both of which are accomplished as of today. I also have one 5 minute presentation which I will do tomorrow morning. After that, no more...! What an anticlimactic end to my favorite semester ever. Makes me feel like I have really gotten the hang of it, though. Gotten the hang of school, that is. After a decade and a half of formal schooling, I have officially figured out how to research all the best teachers, obtain all the best classes, and align myself with all the best study buddies. I also learned how to release myself from the bonds of procrastination, which only lasted one semester, incidentally not the current one, but at least now I know I am capable of being 100% on top of stuff if I really choose to be. And the nostalgic feelings will continue to come over the next few months, I'm sure, as I enter Winter Semester 2009--my last six credits of undergrad work. Who knows what will come next.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Maybe it was just because my frazzled, end o' semester brain was in dire need of some peace and perspective, but today I watched this music video and it brought me to tears. What a grateful heart I have, knowing God sent His beloved Son to bring peace to this troubled world. My greatest times of joy have come through feeling the love of Christ enter my heart, as I begin to see others through His eyes. He lived and died a perfect being, and still He lives today, my Savior and my king.
I also got a really good feeling, the kind that makes my heart beat fast and my hands clasp in front of my chin, from reading the religious freedom ad posted in the New York Times by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (link at right). If you don't want to get to it through the LDS newsroom, here is the direct link: http://www.nomobveto.org/images/nytad_lg.png
And here is the direct link for the beautiful video mentioned above, because it was my first time to try posting a video and apparently it is more difficult than all you avid bloggers have led me to believe. http://www.joytoeveryone.com/
It is about 4 minutes long, and worth every bit of it. Created by BYU alum and faculty--way to go, wonderful school! Jerry and I thank God every day to be here. We are privileged to attend.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
If the US government accepts same-sex marriages as equal to heterosexual marriages, the schools, businesses, churches, and other organizations of society will eventually be pressured to accept same-sex marriages, or be severely penalized for failure to do so. For example, imagine Proposition 8 fails. If I am a public school teacher reviewing sex-ed with my fourth grade class, I would now have to teach the children that homosexual acts are normal and okay, if they feel so inclined. If I am a church who rents facilities for marriages, I would suddenly have to allow gay marriages to be performed in the church or risk expensive lawsuits for my "discrimination."
The movement pressuring the US culture to accept homosexuality is understandable to some degree--what if I had a significant part of my lifestyle persecuted or inhibited? I would feel terrible.
But wait! That is exactly what will happen to the majority of the US population if proposition 8 is overturned; their heterosexual family lifestyle and moral beliefs WILL be persecuted and inhibited. Civil rights groups are even now straining at their leashes to begin taking legal action against any entity who discriminates against same-sex marriages. Visualize cultural violence. Visualize the lifestyle of a fundamentalist, faithful follower of Jesus Christ being ridiculed for his or her beliefs. It is happening already.
But also visualize protection. "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness in this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." --Ephesians 6:12-13
Protect religious freedom, protect parental rights, protect the culture of faith and duty to God on which the United States was founded. Vote YES on Proposition 8! Encourage others to do the same.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
One example is the communal sharing of children. Two of those pictured are straight from Mexico. Their mother entered the MBA program this semester, which takes 90+ hours per week, and their father is employed outside the home for a portion of each day, so various ward members split up the shifts and the kids get tended. Today was their day at our home, and we also managed to reserve the kids for next Thursday, when we will take them to an on-campus children's Halloween party! I remember feeling wistful last Halloween when I walked by the party on campus and realized you had to have children to be admitted. So borrowing a few kids this year is my strategic plan to crash the bash.
The third child pictured recently moved here from Korea with his family. We met him on the playground. Then, at his invitation, we invaded his home to check out his famous magnet toy which, he assured us, promised crazy amounts of fun. We had fun indeed, and his mother--in true Korean hospitality--even gave us all a snack and a couple sacks of potatoes to take with us on our journey out the door. (I know, potatos seem a little random, but what kind of Idaho girl could resist such an offering? They are even caked with dirt in the manner of freshly dug tubers)
At one point I started grasping for ideas of kid-friendly activities in our non-child-oriented home, so I whipped out a few rags of fabric from my quilting pile and tried to get the kids to dance with their fabric pieces. They appeased me for a good 30 seconds before deciding to tie the fabrics on each other's heads like blindfolds. Then they staggered around the room with dizzy blindness, laughing like cherubs.
Probably those of you who have children grace your home on a regular/permanent basis find these anecdotes unremarkable--but to Jerry and me, each moment brought new surprises and a constant smile to our lips.
Monday, October 13, 2008
But as I prayed for how to reconcile these feelings with the clarion call of my church leaders to defend Proposition 8, I felt an empowering realization: Aside from having a moral obligation to allow for agency of others, another part of my personal moral belief calls for protection of the sacred.
Sacred means, in one dictionary definition, something holy that must be "secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right." Marriage, as an institution given by God, holds the title "sacred" in my mind. If marriage becomes allowed to describe unions not sanctioned by God (i.e. same gender unions), the term will have been "violated." Therefore, I feel a motivation to secure this institution against infringment, and urge others to do the same.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Jerry managed to get a free ice cream cone without even asking (his charisma amazes us all).
AND we stayed in the zoo 4 minutes past closing time so we could hunt down the kangaroo for Elder Steele. He's headed for Australia in just two months now, and seems pretty well adjusted to the MTC. Thanks all for the letters, packages and help you have given him!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Stewart Falls This past weekend we had an Honor's writing retreat up at Aspen Grove. Our own paradise, just a 30 minute drive from our apartment. The maples and aspens had just started edging into their autumn glory.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The date night fun renewed itself when we glimpsed a fire dancer...er, juggler?...while on our drive home from the mall. We halted the car, did a quick U-turn, and visited the fire dancer's bohemian art gallery. Who knew Provo had such things?
On Saturday, Jerry demonstrated how his many skills extend to simultaneous cookie frosting and sno-cone eating. We were at an autumn social for our apartment complex.
He also found amusement that morning in chronicling my addiction to checking email. The delight on my face is completely unfeigned, as I sat oblivious to the clicking of his camera shutter. Karen, I think that ridiculous grin came from reading your email regarding the activity on Saturday--we are so glad you could come!! The activity was the mid-autumn festival everybody, and we forgot our camera, but it was amazing! Lanterns, Chinese dancers, food, and games galore. I learned a few martial art moves at one booth. Thanks Chinese Ward for the great time!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
2nd Aunt & Uncle came over, as did the aforementioned neighbor, Jeff, and Mom, Dad, and Henry were also there, of course. We had some of those famous creamy Chinese cakes for dessert--one mango, one chestnut--and even bottles of milk to drink. The milk in HK comes in small glass containers, and frequently during the trip I found myself getting tricked by it--some is fresh, "normal" milk, but other varieties list water, milk solids, and half a dozen mysteries as their main ingredients. I was none too thrilled about noticing halfway through drinking one jar of milk that it was not what I first assumed it was. The milk in the photo is "normal." I double-checked. "Glass jar milk" is one Hong Kong item Jerry misses while in the states, so we washed these two jars and brought them back with us in our suitcases.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Hanging out at arcade centers was our favourite thing to do as kids. The last night of the Hong Kong trip, Jeff, Henry, and I went down to the nearby arcade center to relive our childhood memory.
Courtney got to practice a bit of Mandarin on the trip. Our friends Cindy and her husband Poon Dong Man helped Courtney with her Chinese during this dinner gathering. Other friends pictured in this shot all hail from the original singles ward where Jerry was baptized.
We went to a Korean BBQ with Mom, Dad, and my first bishop from the original singles ward where I was baptized. Bishop Chin is a great spiritual mentor, and we found out he also is well-informed on the US presidential candidates. (Courtney did some research on Sarah Palin when we got home--thanks for the heads up, Bishop!)