Monday, May 3, 2010

Dear Family‏ Sun 5/02/10

Dear Family,

I can't believe it's already Mothers Day this Sunday! Yay, I get to call home! It sounds weird, but I feel like Christmas was just yesterday.

Shelly told me that they recently went to a Chinese restaurant where they barely spoke English and they didn't know what they ordered. Welcome to my life! I rarely ever know what I am eating, let alone what I am ordering. I have decided I am happiest not knowing. There is the initial problem of not reading characters, then if I can read them I don't know what it is. Then once they bring it to me, I still have a policy of not asking what the meat bits are and a lot of the vegetables I've never seen before. It usually is pretty good though. I have eaten something that translates to Smelly Tofu, intestines, ostrich, stomach, blood rice...

OH, I have a good story. At nearly every meal, people drink soup, no matter how hot it is outside. Most restaurants have huge pots of it you can self serve. This week I reached into the bottom of the pot, pulled up the ladle, and... in it there was a chicken head. A whole, white chicken head. It's eyes were closed. I didn't know what to do. I started to laugh and had no idea what to do. Do I put it back? Do I put it in the my bowl and scare my companion? Will that offend someone that wanted to eat it? Do people eat the head? Do I take it or leave it?
I dumped the head back in and filled my bowl with broth.
It wasn't bad.

If we are eating at a new place that I am not sure what is on the menu, I look for the characters I can recognize. I decide if I want rice or noodles, then pick what kind of meat I want with it and sort of hope whatever they bring me will be good. I am beginning to be able to read a lot more so it is getting easier to at least have some idea what I am ordering. It usually is.

On Saturday we had a baptismal interview for two little girls - Xing Hui and Xing Yu. We had their mom's written consent as well as had met with her and made sure she didn't have any questions or concerns about her daughters getting baptised. It seemed fine until at the interview Xing Hui and Xing Yu were SO BAD! I felt like a mom that is embarrased by how naughty their children are being! When they saw tall, tall, white, white awkward Elder Christenson (my new district leader that did their baptismal interview) they about went bezerk. They wouldn't sit still or be good or answer the questions they knew the answers to. They didn't pass because the older sister decided she didn't want to get baptised because her grandmother would yell at her and apparently her mom said she didn't want them to get baptised. The younger sister didn't want to get baptised without her older sister. They about broke my heart. Then we let them draw on the whiteboard for a bit while Sister Dewyea and I had another lesson. They drew hearts and "We love you Sister Johnson and Sister Dewyea" all over the whiteboard and suprised us. It only broke my heart more. They are the cutest girls, if a bit unruly and I just wanted what was best for them. We rode with them back home, Xing Hui riding on the back of my bike, under the stars and past the rice patties. I was just so heartbroken for and by them.

We dropped them off and Sister Dewyea got me laughing with her dry sense of humor and we kept on, and went to visit other people. Before I knew it it was time to go home and riding home in the dark, past the palm trees and in the shadow of the mountains I found myself smiling again. "Why are you smiling? You are still heartbroken over that terrible interview! Aren't you sad?" But I couldn't keep a little smile off my face. Nothing seems to be able to keep me down.

I think the world is so sad, people are so burdened under sin and cares and ignorance and chasing after wordly possessions. I am a missionary, I don't have much but I always have enough. I'm not pretty but I am well loved. I have little worldly success to show for my work but am totally satisfied with the results. I am happier than nearly anyone else alive. It doesn't make sense, but it turns out, the church is true. The Gospel path really is the easiest, happiest way to live this life; and the only way to have eternal life in the world to come.

Talk to you soon :)

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