Sunday, February 21, 2010
Happy Chinese New Year!!! As you can tell from the pictures, we did celebrate. Pretty authentic. All the Chinese in the photos are members. From left to right on the last photo: Lee Ping, Nina (mother and daughter at their house), Alice, Judy. In the back, Elder Gardner, me, and Carter (Lei Chun) I didn't really know what to expect, just delicious food, and I was right! The food was absolutely spectacular!!! They made lemon chicken, BBQ pork, spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce, noodles, that breaded fish stuff with pineapple and bell pepper, a couple of different salads and of course, the traditional new year dumplings, one of which contained a coin, didn't get it though. It was soooo good. I want some more right now. The New Year Celebration in Beijing was broadcast on the TV with English translation, so we watched dance performances, comedy routines, and Chinese acrobats as we ate. After the dinner, we played some games. The first one had us pair up and we had to feed the other person with chopsticks while both were blindfolded, another was charades and the other was telephone... in Chinese! It was all really fun. Then at the end, we had cherry cheesecake for dessert. It was quite the experience to get to see the Chinese culture at it's best. I'll never forget that experience.
It's quite the cultural experience here. The branch really needs Greek Cypriots right now though. We traveled to the southwestern coast today to the city of Lemesos or Limmosol in English to train one of our district leaders on what we want to see happen this transfer. On the bus ride back I really came to appreciate how beautiful the island is. It really feels like I'm on an island. There's one large mountain in the northwestern part and the rest is made up of mellow rolling hills dotted by olive groves, cyprus trees, orange trees, and palm trees, and blanketed in a lush coat of new green grass which looks like it has been misted with a coat of bright yellow from the mustard, intensified by the Cypriot sun. It was like 75 degrees this afternoon!!! Amazing! On top of that, it's all met by an incredibly blue Mediterranean sea and sea breeze. Yeah, it's very beautiful here. AND, here's a cool fact, it's the closest proselyting mission zone to Isreal. AND the other missionaries have told me that from a certain point on the island, on a really clear day, you can actually see Isreal! cool huh? So yeah, that's been the extent on my Cyrpus adventure so far.
Nee How Ma from Lefkosia, Cyprus!!!!!!
As you all know, I arrived in Cyprus yesterday afternoon. Where to begin?!?! There's much too say. I'll start from the beginning. We left from Athens airport and landed in a stormy Cyprus. Powerful winds and hard sudden rains were coming in from the mediterranean. We drove from the southern coast from Larnaca to the capital city of Lefkosia also known as Nicosia to the english. Cyprus used to be a british colony, so there is a lot of British people still here. Our senior missionary, Elder Kennedy, explained some of Cyprus' history to us on the way there. The Cypriot's native language is Greek, but they're not considered to be Greek. In the 70's, the Turks invaded the island and pushed the Greek Cypriots back to the capital city, taking 1/3 of the island. If you look on a map, you'd see that Lefkosia is split in half. One side is Greek Cypriot, the other is Turkish. On the Turkish side there's a mountain with a big Turkish flag painted on it and this saying: The first time you ran, the next time you'll swim. Intense huh? There's a buffer that regulates travel in between the two sides, kind of like a modern day Berlin wall. Obviously they absolutely hate each other, but that doesn't effect us too much. Anyway, we arrived in Lefkosia and then went straight to the church for family home evening. I would say that about 60% are Chinese and the other 40% are from other parts of Asia, mainly Napal. Dad!!!!! I need more Chinese phrases!!!! They went nuts when I used the one that you taught me: Wo tsong me gwaa de ja jo laie da! There's a chinese girl who's about to be baptized. Her name is May. She's really great! She makes me smile. I was speaking with her in English, but she's a little slow to understand, so I used my phrase and she started laughing and gave me two thumbs up. haha Then I told her that it was nice to meet her and shook her hand and as I did she gave me a quick bow and I did it back. haha I bet you never thought that your language studies in Hong Kong would help your son do missionary work in Cyprus some day, huh dad? haha A mission never ends.
Other good news, one of our investigators in Thess just got baptized!!!!!!! His name is Jacob, and is one of the three. Another one of the three is lined up for baptism either this weekend or the next. hooray!
Hope you guys have a great week!!!