Sunday, February 2, 2014

Gong Xi Fa Cai ! Happy Chinese New Year!

Gong Xi Fa Cai ! The traditional way of wishing a happy & successful new year! With Chinese New Year starting this past week - it was been a crazy week ! 

Starting with the night of Chinese New Year, we had heard that we would not be able to sleep because of the amount of fireworks that were going to be going off. So that night, we went to bed on time and did all that we were supposed to do as missionaries. As we were going to bed, there were some fireworks outside & it was kinda loud, but not too bad as to prevent us from sleeping. Around 11:00pm however, there began to be an intensified quantity of fire works being shot off and for the next hour fireworks continuously increased until it was just too tempting to look outside. There is a balcony in our apartment that we went outside to watch as the fireworks just went off at almost every house in Sibu! Then 12;00 came and every single Chinese person in Sibu lit off any form of fire thing that they had and Sibu lit up like the sun in mid day (OK not quite that bright but you get the picture!) It was so bright & so loud, I took pictures without my flash & they turned out great (those will be sent later) and I could not even hear anyone talk to me unless they were yelling right next to my ear! It was that loud! I have never seen so many fireworks in one place! This made New Years in America look like a candle and a 1/2 ! 

The next few day we have not been able to teach any lessons, but we have not stopped visiting people for Chinese New Year. At each home they have a table just foll of little cakes, cookies, treats, meats...anything you can think of. When you go in they just give you drinks & expect you to eat AND if you don't eat, it creates this awkward environment- so then you eat! It hasn't been hard to eat so much delicious food for so long- but it is getting hard on my body. I think I am starting to have some food based mood swings!? Is that possible? And my stomach is starting to have some complaints too! And New Year lasts another week & a half- how am I going to do it? I am getting Hong Boa's which are red envelopes of money, which the married & older Chinese people give out to young kids & single people who visit their houses. It is almost worse to reject those than the food- Chinese culture! 

We have an investigator on date for next Saturday to be baptized & it all looks really good! We are going to continue visiting them often this week & read the Book of Mormon with them- They love it when we do that! Even when we just drop by to visit, they will grab their Book of Mormon & say "Dushu" - which means study or read. I can't wait to see them enter the waters of Baptism. 

With Chinese New Year we are meeting a lot of new people & finding many less active members. This is a great time of the year!

When I get back to the States, Chinese New Year is definitely going to be a tradition in my family! It will be so great! 
Love you all & wishing you all the best in this Year of the Horse! 
Elder Hanks
The food tables set out in peoples homes for Chinese New Year

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