Happy New Year!!!
A few years ago when we were buying the Cruiser, I remember we called the person selling it and he picked up the phone and went "Can't talk now, New Year's Party!" In a cute little Chinese accent. And then I always giggled when I thought of that. But now I completely understand.
Chinese New Year is pretty much the Christmas of America. Tons of food. Everybody gets all crazy, there are parties and banquets and all of your investigators go back home to mainland. There are lots of traditions, lots of little sayings you do, lots and lots of food. Oh and there's lots and lots of food as well. Every single member and investigator wants to take you out to eat, but as a mission we are pretty strict with ourselves on going out to eat without strong missionary purposes and so we get really good at politely declining.
One thing we did this week by suggestion of President Hawks is instead of diving right into the gospel in street contacts, we simply ask many people about Chinese New Year. Find out what is important to them, what do they love, what do they cherish about Chinese New Year. It is so fascinating to hear, you really are opening a window into the hearts of these people. Sometimes everybody here gets a little uptight and Hong-Kong-Crusty because in their minds it's just "Gotoworkgotoworkgotoworkgotowork No time to talk to you....gotoworkgotowork...." but when we have these moments shared with them I think it also helps them slow down and look around and feel the joy and light that comes from this special season.
As a tradition every year the missionaries all do what is called "Deep Clean", because all Chinese people are celebrating with their families, the missionaries stay inside all day and do a deep, DEEP clean of their apartments. It was an adventure filled with bleach stains, throwing stuff away, listening to MoTab, and eating KFC. Awesome day to spend with the apartment.
A little tender mercy story from yesterday, we were out finding and were walking past the church when this couple starts looking at the church and then the husband starts signing to his wife what it is, RIGHT when we walk by. So we got to contact a deaf man and wife, had an awesome little talk, and then as we were walking away a little while later we saw that they accidentally gave us a number that had one digit too short....and so we were just sorely disappointed.... :( but then about 45 minutes later, the wife texted us telling us how happy she was that she got to meet us, and wishing us a happy new year. And we got back in contact with them. :') tender mercy!!!!
We also get to do visitors again tomorrow, a family of a husband, wife, and daughter are coming down to learn the gospel and be baptized. Then on Wednesday, we are having an all-mission-meeting with Elder Ballard. Woo! Elder Ballard is coming to town. Then having a big member meeting on Thursday. It is going to be an exciting week. It's also transfers this week, so we'll see how that goes. Blessings, blessings abound.
All in all, it was a beautiful new year. Excited for this coming week. I sure love you all. Keep up the good work!!!!! Happy New Year!! 新年快樂！
Love, Elder Hafen