Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2008 10:02 AM
Subject: Ib lub sijhawm ntawm txoj kev zoo siab!
Nyob zoo! I loved your letters! I'm glad to hear that my package got to you okay. I got a kick out of the "Jesus Is Birthday" too [editor's note: Jon sent a hand-sewn nativity depiction, but instead of "Jesus' Birthday", it said "Jesus Is Birthday"]. That's a very Hmong mistake. They have a lot of trouble with plurals and possessives because in Hmong you use the exact same word for every tense, possessive or not. English uses 'S's for plurals and possessives, but apostrophes only for possessives. It confuses them. I got the nativity Paj Ntaub (literally: 'flower cloth') at the flea market from this lady who makes them. She has one original that she looks off of for each of the different kinds she makes, so she'll make 2 or 3 that look almost exactly the same (or more if that pattern is popular). Elder Wilson bought her last nativity Paj Ntaub of that size, and I asked her if she had any more. She said she thought she had one at home and she would bring it the next day and save it just for me. She was so tickled that Elder Wilson and I had learned her language that she gave us a discount of about 15 bucks. Very nice lady.
Are you keeping the peppers in the freezer? They go bad otherwise. If you make dipping sauce out of one, it isn't quite as spicy, and you can just get a little bit at a time. It's really good. Try it with sausage or chicken.
Kent, good on ya for finishing your Eagle! How does it feel to be a man? I heard about your beard-growing contest and I had to laugh as I thought of your beastliness and then remembered this morning watching Elder Vang shave off the 2 or 3 hairs that have been growing all week. Most Asians don't grow much facial hair.
We're very excited for Pa today! She's nervous because there will be people there, but I think once she gets there, the peaceful spirit in the room will set her at ease. It looks like I'll be performing the ordinance, which will be a first for me. While Elder Vang has not yet baptized anyone on his mission, he had the opportunity of baptizing his little sister and one of his friends before he left.
Lynn and Josh are continuing to grow, but are moving to the Eastside area on Sunday. They will still be in our branch, but we won't be able to teach them anymore.
Brian is doing well, and getting ready to move too, but thankfully he will actually be closer to our apartment. He wants us to meet with his cousin who evidently is quite a hoodlum and "hangs out with the wrong crowd". He wants us to work the magic of the gospel on her and turn her into a good person. Unfortunately, it's not that simple and it largely depends on her deciding to apply what we teach and follow the enticings of the spirit. Brian is willing to be baptized, but doesn't feel he's ready.
Gyan, Pai Ni, and Pa Xiong want to come to church but have no car and we can't find a ride for them. Everyone's car is full. They are keeping other commitments and are very receptive.
There is a less-active family we have been working with for a long time. The kids are all baptized except the youngest, Shia, who is now of age. The parents investigated a little a long time ago but stopped as soon as they found out they would have to get legally married. They knew the gospel was good, so they let their kids go for it, but they figured "If we can't get baptized, what's the point of learning more?" The kids have no ride to church because the parents don't go, and Yama, the only one with a license, works on Sunday. We are going to find out why the parents weren't willing to get married, and if it's because of the money or hassle, we can help make it quick, cheap, and easy. The kids are really strong, and will be a huge boost to the branch.
The Church is true---tell your friends!
-Elder Muaj Yeej