Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2008 10:03 AM
Subject: Nyias muaj nyias num...hais txog nej thiab!
Greetings, one and everyone!
Things are going great here! We've had some lovely weather to thaw us out, including one or two days above freezing. This Sunday doesn't look friendly though. Looks like ol' Jack Frost was just busy reloading...
Hmong people aren't accustomed to schedules and clocks. They tend to lack a sense of urgency. This can make many things very difficult, especially missionary work. They don't plan activities ahead of time, they just do things. We usually don't bother setting appointments because when we say "4:00", they say "okay" because they won't be at work...they only mean that they may be home during that time if they aren't anywhere else, and don't plan on making any effort to be there. Also, sacrament meeting is supposed to start at 1:00 PM. In LDS standard time, this means you leave early enough that you can be there at 12:45. In Hmong standard time, this means that the meeting starts at 1:09 to 1:12, and most people show up at 1:25-1:30. Many people have the attitude of "I'll definitely go to church if nothing comes up." The concept of locking away a period of time for an activity ahead of time is foreign. Our mission president has asked me to help the Elders Vang have a sense of urgency in the work, and I have to keep bugging Eastside to look for Josh and Lynn. We don't have their address or phone number, but we know the neighborhood they are in and what Josh's car looks like. Eastside has just been waiting for an address to fall into their laps. After someone moves, it's urgent to find them as soon as possible, especially if they are progressing as well as they are. They have enough info to hunt them down, but they don't feel the importance of finding them quickly.
We had an awesome lesson with Mai Houa yesterday. Jubei Lee and his wife, Pa Houa, joint taught with us. Perfect couple to bring. We chose to divide and conquer. Elder Vang and Jubei laid down some suppressive cover fire by teaching Ze, who now goes by 'Johnny', because he likes to take control of the conversation and do all the talking, and tends to pull the topic way off course. With him distracted, Pa Houa snuck behind and had a fantastic lesson with Mai Houa. Pa Houa and Mai Houa are the same age (very early 20s, if that), both came from Laos recently and at about the same time, and are pretty much best friends now. Pa Houa is a recent convert of just less than a year, and her testimony helped tremendously. She did an incredible job helping Mai Houa overcome her embarrassment about praying and sharing how much the gospel has blessed her. Neither can speak English, so I had to really dig to find the right words (most of the time I can just look to Elder Vang to supply the word or phrase I'm looking for). I understood far more than I usually do, and I know it is only by the power of God. We are working on getting a firm baptismal date with her, but she is pretty stoked about the scriptures and baptism.
I'll shoot some pictures at the flea market for you guys.
Love you all!!!
-Elder Muaj Yeej