And a very special ni hao to you from us here in Kekaha! It's crazy to think that it hasn't even been a full week since I landed here on this island and yet I'm sure it is going to just start flying by now that I said that. haha! Anyway, it is interesting that you would start your e-mail off with a comment about translation because that basically sums up my entire week so far here in Kekaha! It has just been a different kind of translation than I believe you are talking about. I think I mentioned before in my last e-mail that this area would be different from the "main-land" ward I was in back in Mililani but well... let's just say even I underestimated just HOW different it really would be! Sure enough I am the minority here... by a long shot!! haha! This ward is probably the most Hawaiian and just purely local ward I have ever seen! I'm sure it has a lot to do with being the closest area on any of the islands to Ni'ihau but even then it's just a very small, very old and VERY local community! Which is also funny because I've also seen probably the most tourists driving through here on a daily basis because the entrance to Waimea Canyon is right in our area (which is beautiful by the way!!!)
Anyway, all that being said I am doing everything I can to blend in at least a little bit with the community but well... let's just say having a pure Chinese companion and walking around in a white shirt and tie sure isn't helping this hauli boy to fit in very well.. but thankfully I don't have to try too hard anyway because even though I may look like I don't fit in, one of the major advantages to being in such a local area is that the Aloha spirit is still VERY much alive!!! The people here are seriously just so warm and welcoming and loving and talkative and such that it actually caught me off guard at first and I didn't even know how to respond to it! But I'm quickly adjusting and feel very at home here.
Well enough about the area I'm sure you are wondering more about why I am here in Kekaha and how the work is going! and actually it is probably the best ward I have ever been in work wise! As I might have mentioned before the people here along with being very friendly and outgoing are also VERY missionary minded! One of my first experiences was on Thursday night when we went to the church for a "Book of Mormon" study group. It was amazing! Almost all of the ward attends and there are also multiple non-members who are in regular attendance as well as the 6 or 7 recent converts who were almost all baptized at least in part because of that very class! It really is an awesome idea and when done right and generated with enough member enthusiasm it has been a really non-threatening and exciting way for the ward and others to learn together from the most important book on the earth at this time!
Anyway, we are also (aside from just the class) teaching a few people. None of them are progressing towards baptism quite yet but we have MULTIPLE who are just one week or one lesson away from being on track for baptism within the next month or two at the most! Most of them have long Hawaiian names that I'm sure you would all have a fun time trying to figure out how to pronounce but for now I'll just mention one because, well he's a cool guy to talk about! His name is K. He was born on Ni'ihau and most of his family still lives there! He's practically 100% Hawaiian and even though he was technically raised from elementary school up over here in Kekaha he still speaks better Hawaiian than he does English (although you'd think his first language was actually Pidgin it's so heavy! haha!) Anyway, he really is a cool guy and hopefully I will be sending you much more about him and the many other people we are working with here in Kekaha!
I am glad to hear that you are all having what sounds to be a great time back in Arizona (I'm starting to get a feel for what it's like to be back in a desert unfortunately... that is probably the only down side to being in Kekaha is it is the only really dry and hot part of what is otherwise known as "the Garden Island". Our area is well... a lot like Arizona.. the yards are half grass, half dirt! haha!) and I hope you have a great time in the coming week. Be sure to send all my warmest love and regards to all the family you have visited with and will be visiting with the coming days and weeks! I love each and every one of you and am praying for you and know that you are praying for me!! Have a wonderful day and don't forget to be awesome!!!
Aloha nui loa!