Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jon 11/8/2008

Subject: Cov dej uas muaj peev xwm kho mob

Nyob zoo!

Things are chilly here again, just like old times. Last year my hands were the coldest part. Hand warmers will help this year, but it might also be good to have better-insulated, more breathable gloves. A problem I ran into with my current gloves is that because they don't breathe, they get really sweaty when I'm biking really hard. Once wet, they insulate about as well as a plastic bag (slight exaggeration added for emphasis). On top of that, when I put them on the next morning...their STILL wet! Eeeew! So I think some breathable, 100 gram insulated gloves will help me keep all of my fingers.

We volunteer once a week at Regions Hospital, and I really enjoy it. I get a fancy extend-a-tag ID badge that magnetically opens the bike cage, and I know three different pass codes. It makes me feel important. We mostly go around to all the floors and deliver free T-shirts to all the patients who will be discharged that day, and we deliver flowers, balloons, and stuffed animals to people. Perks include a $4.50 meal voucher each time for the cafeteria, a free T-shirt of my own, and a free flu shot. I got the flu shot while I was in Employee Health getting a mantoux test, which they require because it's important to know if I have TB. I still don't. I already had one of these done when I got my mission physical, but it has to be within a year, so I needed a new one.

See, Shue (her brother), Ia (Shue's wife), and Pa (See and Shue's sister), all live together with their parents in the same house. The Pa I baptized in January was Pa Her. This is Pa Vang. The Zone Leaders interviewed Pa yesterday, and she is getting baptized today! Yay! I love working with these two sisters. See has always been way excited about the gospel, so when we started working with her last year, Pa didn't seem all that interested next to See's enthusiasm, so we didn't really give Pa a chance. Well, she's interested, and excited to goosh. 'Goosh' is a quick, easy, onomatopoetic verb my MTC district made up to replace the arduous tongue-twister "Ua kev cai raus dej", or "to do the law of immersing in water". It's even harder to say "baptize her", than it is to say "be baptized", so a succinct verb was needed. You can rest in a most assured state that I'monna capture images of this bwessed event.

Lawfyew, Lawfyew!
-Elder Moua Ying

Subject: One mo'

Hello again!

Elder Vang needed to send some pictures home, so we hopped (rode our bikes for 15 minutes) over to another library. Our library limits you to one hour per day, and we used ours already.

The baptism went swimmingly! Someone forgot to close (turn off) the faucet, and the fail-safe drain was clogged, so the water had risen all the way up the stairs to about a quarter inch below the ground by the time we caught it. Hmong people aren't known for height, and we were worried they would have to tread water. The water only came up to their sternums though, and they were able to stand firmly on the font floor. As they entered the font, that 1/4 inch margin quickly inverted. Elder Vang's advanced volume successfully displaced an equal amount of water. Fortunately, most of it cascaded under the door and down the step into the two dressing rooms, which are each equipped with a tile floor and a trusty drain. Unfortunately, only MOST of the water chose that route, the remainder electing instead to sneak under the doors on OUR side to hear the testimonies. :)
The young women were already at the church for volleyball, so they all came to the baptism right afterward, which was really great for helping Pa feel welcome into the branch.

On a clearly related note, I was just now renewing my appreciation for how visual the Hmong language is. Earlier I said something about closing the faucet. I like that. In Hmong you open and close faucets, you light and kill houselights and electronics, you hit pianos and guitars to use them, and touch electronics. Yesterday we were helping a member with her VCR, and Elder Vang said, "Elder Muaj Yeej, you better try---I don't know how to touch this." It made me grin. Since "smoke" is not a verb, you say, "drink tobacco", or more literally, "drink imitation opium" Some things, however, are a little too visual, such as bathroom terms. Very accurate terms, but not very euphemistic. It always makes me realize how little sense English makes. A lot of times in English we say the opposite of what we mean. When we smoke salmon, we apply smoke to it, but when we smoke a cigarette, it applies smoke to us. Cigarettes smoke people to death. Also, an illness can't MAKE you do anything. At least in Hmong, to make someone do something implies that it was your will. Illnesses have no will. That's silly. In Hmong we say, "My illness did toward me to cause coughing". Takes longer, but hey...
-Elder Moua Ying

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