Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016

We had our Chinese sacrament meeting this past week.  It was amazing to experience.  There was a total of 58 people in attendance, crammed into the relief society room.  It's such a blessing to be able to take part in the building up of this Chinese group throughout the past while.  The members have really taken it upon themselves to actively build the group through church invitations, investigators taught in their homes, and supporting the missionary efforts in general.  It was awesome to feel the momentum that they have as we're moving forward trying to push for a branch.  Eastvale is great!

the miao family made authentic taiwanese shaved ice!

The apartment complex we live in has been doing construction on the roads the past week.  One night we had to park really far away because the road we live on was being re-done.  We were obviously bummed because we like being spoiled and parking in our garage.  However, we had an awesome blessing as we were walking back.  It was a little late and we ran into a Chinese lady on the way to our apartment.  We obviously started conversation with her and she was incredibly excited to hear that we were Christians and had church around here!  She told us that she too, has a faith in Jesus Christ and wants to attend.  Blessings for walking!

The former Elder Murray (now Dexter Murray) came back to the area to visit for a couple days in between trips to Taiwan.  Very fun to see him, can't believe it's been a YEAR already since he was out here with us.

the former elder murray made an appearance!

While we were passing out our free English class cards at a park, we got some water at a drinking fountain, and a little baby praying mantis crawls out from his hiding place!  We do the natural thing and catch it in a plastic water bottle.  He was not a very happy camper, tried to attack us and did not succeed.  We made a small terrarium out of a peanut container and kept him for a night.  In the morning we were wondering where he was and find him shedding his skin!  He was about 50% bigger too!  It was a very exciting moment to see him mature but unfortunately we let him go afterwards.  He didn't seem to be going after the ants or roly poly we provided.  I actually forgot to bring my praying mantis encyclopedia on my mission so I was not equipped to provide for him, even though he likes to pray too!

he shed his old skin and was suddenly a lot bigger than before...

observing our praying mantis


Shout out to my mission dad, the former Elder Johansen (now Christian Johansen).  He's getting married!  Two days after [the two-year anniversary of when] I entered the MTC!  Congratulations, so excited for you!

congrats to my mission dad, the former elder johansen!

Eastvale had a huge city-wide event, "Picnic at the Park," during the weekend.  In our search to find more Chinese people, we obviously went to the most crowded place in town.  Our guess proved to be successful as we ran into a ton of Chinese people walking around, clearly attracted to the crowds and loud noises.  We caught a bit of the firework show as we were leaving.  Felt right at home.

selfie walking by a fireworks show!

I took a trip to space and took some pictures of some other galaxies... pretty cool

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20, 2016

My last transfer in the mission!  Going to finish in Eastvale with Elder Warren. 

It was Elder Merriman's last week in the mission.  We found a lot of people to commemorate it.  We unfortunately dropped from a trio to a regular companionship early in the week because a missionary in the zone went home.  Elder Warren took one for the team and went English for the rest of the week... on bike... in really hot weather...  He got a good tan.

We were meeting with our eight year old investigator and he prayed that Heavenly Father would help him play less computer and read scriptures more - from the mouth of babes.  We got him some clothes to wear to church - white shirt and tie and black pants.  It reminded me of the nine year old recent convert from La Sierra Heights.  I was back in the area last week and got to talk to his family.  I think his example has really changed them.  The Dad found a job, everyone seems more responsible, and some of his other family members are now coming to church and preparing for baptism.  He's a strong little man, I miss him.

At the park the other night, we ran into this guy and got talking to him.  He asked what our Chinese names were.  When I told him my full Chinese name, he kind of looked at me weirdly, then looked at his wife, grinned and said "that's a good name."  Turns out he shares the same name with me!  Fun stuff!

We had so much Chinese food this week because it was Elder Merriman's last.  His last meal was at an investigator's house full of Shanghainese people.  We had already finished everything, and the grandpa goes back into the kitchen for a little bit, then comes back with "tang cu pai gu" [sweet and sour pork chop].  Suffice it to say, I ate too much.  We had a hilarious conversation with all of them though.  They all seemed to have different opinions on Shanghai, China, and America.  Some seemed to love everything about Shanghai, some said China was just communist, and some just loved America.  We were talking about the matchmaking parks in Shanghai, and one of the ladies admitted to going there to try to marry off her 30 year old son a couple years back.  They all had mixed feelings on whether or not we should find Shanghainese wives.  

One was a retired cop and asked how my parents met.  Another one quickly interjected saying that that was PRIVATE and he couldn't ask that.  I didn't know that was a "no no" in China.  He said it's because he's a police officer that he asks those questions naturally.  Funny times.

We had to translate a lesson in relief society at church.  It was unique not only because of the fact that we were the only guys in the room, but we were translating a lesson for a Chinese member going Chinese to English.  It was a lot smoother than going the other way.  

we decided to take boat pictures while we waited for Elder Warren

in the boat

elder Merriman's last week



district gone Chinese

throwback, the Chinese missionaries at MLC

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 13 2016

We had our AP exchanges this week.  It was fun to go back to my old area.  Got to see some of the recent converts which was fun.  The nine year old that got baptized back in that ward is now going to church with his whole family.  His example and faith is amazing in helping them change their lives and get out of their current situation.  Bishop and his wife took us out for Chinese food at this place that had tons of awards.  He made me order in Chinese so he learned how to say chopsticks.  I miss them.

During the exchange, we stopped at a potential investigator.  When we pulled up to the house, I said, "hey I know this place!"  I had contacted a guy that lived there six months ago, with Elder Mock while we were on exchanges (back when he wasn't in the office).  Turns out his granddaughter is getting baptized in a couple weeks into the ward, the sisters are teaching her.  It was a pretty amazing coincidence.

We were able to nab Elder Zeng for a little bit to do a baptismal interview for us.  Lunch was at this Chinese place and the waitress freaked out when she heard all of us conversing in Chinese.  She's from Shanghai which was cool.  Later, as more people came into the restaurant, they also seemed incredibly shocked to hear out Chinese.  One of the groups was from Shanghai and started speaking in Shanghainese because they didn't want us to hear them say, "those foreigners are speaking Chinese!"  Good thing I understood it.  We're having a lot of fun seeing people react to us "white people" speaking Chinese.  In Target last week, this older Chinese woman kept getting close to us and walking away.  She'd get about a foot away and then scurry away.  It was like being in China again (the lack of personal space).  When we tried to talk to her though, she kind of ignored us.

Transfers are this next week.  Elder Merriman only has a week left with us in the trio :(.  It's weird because we got into the field together - same plane.  This week we have dinner with Chinese members every day.  I call it the gauntlet - hopefully I make it out without gaining 20 pounds!  Time is flying!  What will happen at transfers?  Stay posted ;).

at mission leadership council

crafting - might have to open a 3D photo shop!

Elder Foy with the camera

Harry's last day.  Elder Zeng was with us for a baptism interview so we all got to say goodbye.

jurupa zone from last transfer. nice tie president ;)

multizones - peaking out

Photo creds to Elder Foy

team pic - Jurupa

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016

Fun week that got really hot near the end.  We had a heat wave come in.  I kind of liked it though.  What has California done to me?  Don't worry mom, I had my SPF 100+ sunscreen on :).

We had our mission wide cross fit exercise today.  Had our Jurupa t-shirts on.  They turned out really great.  It's my last cross fit which was sad but I still kept up with President.  He's only a few decades older so it's whatever ;).

Harry got baptized on Saturday which was fun.  He's returning to China in a week so he will be a great addition to build the church up there.  The Bishop spoke a lot about his duty as a recent convert especially in China which helped me reflect on how so many of these recent converts are pioneers to bring the church out there.

We had a fun Chinese barbecue at the park on Saturday.  Great turnout, 70-80 people.  The majority were non-members which was cool.  I got to eat some lamb skewers, which were delicious - brought me back to the street vendors in Shanghai.

One of the highlights had to be the baby blessing of one of the recent converts in the ward.  He is a BIG baby.  I've sent pictures before.  We had fun bouncing him up and down in the circle to keep him calm.  He had a little shirt and tie on which was adorable.

My salsa got Mexican missionary approved by a Sister in our zone, so that was exciting.

We had a meeting with our Chinese members on Sunday to discuss the future of the Chinese group.  All but one was a convert to the church.  It's amazing to see and experience the fruits of their faith here in Eastvale.

I'm the short one

trio ties

elder warren really knows how to do a duck face

matching ties at MLC with elder zeng

matching ties at MLC

I found out how to make really good salsa

zone t shirts at crossfit

couldn't get everyone looking at the same time

the only good one was blurry

at harry's baptism!

Mom are you proud? SPF 100+!

really hot outside

jurupa zone birthdays - tres leches

the poenix suns with coach pennington (in the middle)

comp crossfit outfits - matching

angel moroni on the sleeve!