"Dear God, I'm Victor" It's interesting listening to a prayer of someone who has never prayed before - very basic and simple, but so genuine. Very spiritual experiences. Times like these are when I realize how much of a "fit" I have with Riverside. My experiences are great for these Chinese people who have never experienced religion before. It's like I was meant to be here.
One of those difficult experiences was working with an investigator whose parents would have nothing to do with religion. She started crying during one of our meetings at the thought of her parents' reactions to her being baptized. How do you ask someone to do something their family would disown them for. You can't... you can just invite people and hope they commit to something that can bless their life.
Unfortunately some of our investigators have a very unstable arrangement in America. We were going into a restaurant the other day and ran into an investigator. He told us he was returning to China that night at 10 pm. He said they gave him a day or two notice - there was something about his visa. Luckily he lives in Guangdong, so if he wants to get baptized, Hong Kong is only a stone's throw away. It was sad to see him leave!
It's great working with Chinese people, but I'm still in America! The other day some guy just walked up to us and started a little story about how his car broke down and he needs a couple dollars to go to the "liquor sto-gas station" I couldn't stop laughing. He was so forthright I almost wanted to give it to him! I didn't though... At least he was nice. Nicer than some of the people shouting stuff at us. But I'm still trying to figure out if "F*** YEAH MORMON MAFIA!" is a good thing or a bad thing.
I'm still loving how many young people are around here. It's invigorating to see all these students learning. Our dinner appointments are often with young married couples. I didn't really see a lot of that in Shanghai, so that new perspective is pretty enjoyable.
One of our finding techniques is the free lunch our Institute has every Thursday. This past Thursday, they had us missionaries on the grills, grilling some incredibly healthy hot dogs and hamburgers. It's amazing how hot a grill can get... I didn't realize that before. We must have smelled like smokers for the rest of the day too!
One of the interesting phenomenon on the mission is how approachable we become when we're wearing sweaters on the outside - when our typical white shirt and tie is covered. People suddenly want to talk to us when we say hi! It's great for missionary work! Plus it's getting so cold here, it's necessary [to wear a sweater]! I don't care what Brown is like this kind of year, I'm freezing outside at night.
This week will be my first Thanksgiving on the mission! I’m excited for that!
When I was teaching the lesson, I was trying to talk about temple ORDINANCES so I said jiao yi, but apparently I said the wrong tone and it meant drug deals or some sort of drug transactions. Everyone was laughing and I didn't know why.
It's crazy how expensive California is, or maybe that's just me coming from China. My contact lens solution was 20 dollars the other day.
Being on a mission is hard sometimes but it's fun! I get to talk to so many Chinese people! This area has been blessed by the Lord, there have got to be 30 to 40% of the people walking to UCR every day who are Chinese, it's crazy.
It's funny, every time I talk to investigators I show them the pictures I have in my planner. It's Ash me and Kari behind the front cover and our family (minus Ash) on the Bund [in Shanghai] last Christmas on the back cover. People love seeing pictures of family, especially my cute Chinese mom!
In the kitchen
At the grill
Elder Dyer's planner covers (with family photos)