Hello! Ni hao!
Well...this email is going to be overflowing with both marvelous works and wonders.
We had visitors this last week, a mom and daughter and then another family friend, a man, from a little town in Mainland with 6 members in their unit. Their going home will make it 9 members. They took a train for 3 days to get to Hong Kong, and had never even heard of the Atonement of Jesus Christ before. Never owned a Book of Mormon. They just knew this was something that they had to do. An absolutely incredible pioneer experience for them and their families.
So earlier this week, Elder Ballard came to Hong Kong with Elder Rasband, the senior president of the 70, as well as Bishop Stevenson, the presiding bishop. The entire Asia Area presidency was also there. Now that's a powerhouse lineup. We got to have an all mission meeting with all the missionaries coming in to the Wan Chai chapel to receive some absolutely mind blowing instruction.
We all met together and took a picture, then filed out after shaking the general authorities' hands, and then were seated in the chapel as they came in to take their seats on the stand. Elder and Sister Rasband came up to me and looked at my tag and were like "Ah that's the one...That's Elder Hafen." and introduced themselves and asked to send their love to Grandma and Grandpa Hafen. And then later in the meeting when Elder Rasband was speaking, he turned to me in the congregation and said "Elder Hafen...would you come up here please?" and so up I went to the stand. He brought me to the pulpit and clapped his hand on my shoulder and said "Elder, do you know your missionary purpose?" and I replied that I did, and then he said "While why don't you step on up here and say that for us."
So there I was. With an apostle of the Lord sitting 4 feet away from me, the presiding bishop of the church about 6 feet away, the senior president of the 70 standing with hand on my shoulder, not to mention seated on the stand were President and Sister Hawks and the Area Asia Presidency, being asked to recite by memory the missionary purpose. Talk about pressure. My mind was blank...nothing. Absolutely nothing was going through my head except for my heart which had started beating 400 times a minute and was up there somehow. But I did it, and I'm pretty sure I didn't mess up. Walking off the stand with "Good work Elder"s and "Well done" and handshakes from Elder Ballard and President Hawks, I went and sat down.
That was something.
The other big news of the week...we had our transfers. I got an interesting moves call. They are going to be starting something of a visitor's center in Hong Kong, in the Wan Chai chapel. And so they called me to be companions with Elder Young, a Cantonese missionary and a dear dear friend and to be a part of that. He's from Clearfield Utah and has been like an older brother to me my entire mission. President Hawks wanted to have a Mandarin speaking missionary and Cantonese speaker together so they could cover the whole spectrum of Hong Kong. We're not entirely sure what is going to be happening right now, we are having a meeting with President Hawks later today so he can instruct us on what we will be doing with this.
So right now my call is also to be one of the two English speaking companionships in the mission. I'm serving Victoria 1st Branch, which is an international branch where most of the member body are white American families as well as people from all over the globe. Our area is the entire mission except for an island called Lantau Island, which has the other companionship of english speakers. It's an interesting experience, but a really really fun one nonetheless. I hear when you serve this branch the food you get to eat is incredible. I've only been here for a couple of days so I don't have a whole lot to report on, and my mind is still in a little bit of a whirl...but it will definitely be an exciting week this week.
I would write pages and pages and pages about this week....but my mind is just...a little bit blank right now. Yeah...crazy week.
Let's see....other snippets...
- I'm living with Elder Daculug again, who is currently serving as a tagalog speaking missionary
- We also serve a Filipino branch and do Filipino work, which is always off the charts a blast.
- Elder Ballard did this. "Let me show you how the Holy Ghost works." he said, then he points to Elder Young and says "Come up here." and takes him by the hand, looks him in the eyes and bears his testimony to him of the truthfulness of these things, then is like "Thank you Elder. Take a seat." That was...amazing. Hahaha.
So much new stuff. I could write a book. But I guess I'll leave it here for now. I love you all. I know this work is true. I'm grateful for where I am doing what I am doing. It's true...this is all just true. I love you all. That's also true.
Love, Elder Hafen