Saturday, April 26, 2008

From Jon 4/26/2008

Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:58 AM
Subject: Drip, drip, drop

If April showers bring May flowers, then what to April blizzards bring? ...Jackalopes?

We've had a lot of rain lately, but today the temperature dropped back down and it's snowing. Just a flurry, but it's the principle of the thing. Things were just starting to bud too...

The Brothers Thao were finally all home and awake at the same time, and we were able to have a really good lesson with them. Unfortunately, our joint-teacher couldn't make it and had to bail on us, but it was good nonetheless. They are the [ko taub] (katorball) team I believe I mentioned before. Maybe next week we will go to watch them practice. Anyway we talked about the word of wisdom and they already had been living it with one or two small and occasional exceptions. One had a very occasional cup of coffee but had no problem giving it up. Also, at New Year's it is Hmong custom to drink a lot with your cousins and there is always VERY strong pressure to participate, even if you are only 12-13 years old. They don't like drinking and usually find somewhere else to be during these "parties". An even tougher custom is at weddings the groom must take a shot of whiskey for each paternal ancestor his father-in-law can name from memory to honor the respective ancestor. Refusal to do so is usually quite offensive, but sometimes an agreement can be made ahead of time for the groom to substitute the shots of whiskey for chunks of pig fat. All three of them committed to live the Word of Wisdom without any persuasion. As athletes training for the big national tournament, they want to be in top physical form, and the added spiritual blessings promised sealed the deal.

The balls used in [ko taub] are made of bands of bamboo woven together, though in the USA they use synthetic material. I imagined they would be pretty springy, but I discovered that they are very hard. I have seen players "head" the ball pretty hard, and I can only imagine how much that's gotta smart.

When we whitewashed into this area we found that there was a progressing investigator named Mai Vang Yang, but whenever we tried to see her, she wasn't home. This always seemed fishy to us because her friend (a member) said she doesn't work or anything and just stays home all day. After a while we dropped her because we couldn't get in touch and figured she was hiding from us. We asked her friend to find out what the deal is, and this week she told us that Mai Vang had been very sick and was frequently at the hospital, but she still wanted to learn. What a relief! We've had problems with people hiding from us rather than tell us they didn't really want to talk to us.

We are teaching Sunday School this week for the young men and young women. It's a small branch, so they are all in one class, and there will only be 5 or 6. We have been asked by the normal teacher to teach Jacob 5. Most of these kids try to be cool by pretending they don't want to be there, thus making the Olive Tree a potentially grueling lesson to trudge through. We figure the only way to make them get anything out of it is to have a big old object lesson. There will be no sitting down. We are more or less going to have the whole class act out the whole thing (with much paraphrasing). We hope that with all the props, movement, and treats, they will have some fun and learn something.

Well, cheerio!

-Elder Moua Ying

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