Whoah, this week was really busy but also kind of slow.
For P-day we went to an island in my area, Cheung Chau, and it was so so beautiful! We rented bikes and just rode around the island and it was too unreal for it to be real life. I really am in the prettiest place on earth! As you’re riding past the beach with the wind in your hair, you almost forget where you are! Such a cute little place!
We had mission tour this week which is where we had a general authority from the seventy, Elder Wong, come and speak to our mission for a few hours about what we could be doing better and kind of like a big boost as well as a kick. All of what he said was really good and he talked about how important preparation is, but in the end you have to be willing to let go of what you have planned and do what the Lord NEEDS you to do. It’s hard sometimes, especially when you have put a lot of work into preparing, but faith is key! It was such a good day and I learned so much–and ate some free curry which will make my day any day ;)!!
Friday we also had another typhoon hit us which meant that we spent literally the entire day inside of our apartment and weren’t even allowed to go outside! It was sad because it meant that some lessons that we had were canceled and also we had to find things to do to stay busy which meant calling number after number after number of people. I’ll just tell you that the next day sunshine never felt better! There wasn’t any serious damage done, at least from what I heard. Just some heavy rain and winds–we took a break to make some hot chocolate and watch the storm for a little bit 🙂
I’m going to be kind of honest, things haven’t been going the way that I want them to lately. A lot of our investigators and people that we teach have just kind of dropped of the face of the earth for a little bit. One big problem that we have here is that sometimes people just kind of disappear to Mainland China for a bit and then you don’t see them again for a while–if you do see them again! We have been doing a lot of finding lately which I really don’t mind, it’s just the implications of it all which means that we’re not really doing a whole lot of teaching which is what we’re just aching to do! And it’s kind of like what they say, when it rains it pours. We thought that things would get better, but instead we literally had a typhoon hit us in the face and knock us back down a little bit. But what you have to realize is that the blessings will also eventually come pouring down as well if you just give it a little bit of time!
We met two new investigators who are so good! We met them on the subway and then they invited us to go to “yam chah” with them, which is were you just go to a restaurant and stuff yourself with lots of really chinesey foods. They were so nice and even let us see them again later that day to teach them a lesson and they LOVED it! And what’s even better, they came to church yesterday and the ward did such a good job of making them feel loved and welcomed. We also had a couple of investigators that we hadn’t seen in months show up to church which meant that we had more investigators at church than we have ever had before!! The new investigator, Amy, and her son, Ron, are actually going to China this week so pray that they don’t get swallowed up in the big sea of Mainlanders!
I came across a scripture from my personal study that I loved so much!
Alma 24:14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
I like the emphasis of how this scripture states that he will ease the burdens placed upon us, He won’t take them away. Oftentimes we forget that the reason were are given trials and difficult times. As soon as these hard times hit, we start to retreat and ask someone to take it away from us. But can you imagine what it would be like if someone actually did? Do expect your teachers to take back every assignment they’ve given you that makes you think a little harder than before? Or when your boss gives you a task to complete that is taxing and requires some extra work, do you then plead with him to give it to someone else? We recognize these as things given to us from people with more knowledge and experience as a way for us to grow and expand our capabilities. So why, when traveling along the path of life, when we hit a bomb in the road or the path seems too steep for us to climb do we sit and cower, waiting for the road to straighten itself out? All of those things have been given to us for our benefit, but we’re going to have to climb through them first! No amount of waiting, no amount of pleading, is going to change the way that things are sometimes. The hope of all of this is that we are not walking down this road by ourselves. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is there to help us every step of the way. When the burdens upon their backs were eased and made lighter, it wasn’t that their circumstances had actually changed, but they themselves, as a result of the power and grace of the Lord, had been changed in order to withstand their trials. The mountain isn’t going to go away, but we can be given the strength that we need to climb it. And when looking at the path behind you, I think that you will be surprised to find that what at one point seemed impassable now looks to be nothing more than a little dip in the road. Our capacity will be increased and we will be able to take on more difficult challenges.
These hard times can make us better–if we choose to let them and rely on the strength of the Lord as added to our own. I know that the power of the Savior is real, I have felt it. I know that there have been times where I thought that surely I could do no more, but I somehow was able to find the strength that I needed to push ahead. I know that our Heavenly Father is so aware of each and every one of us and loves us more than we can even begin to comprehend. I am grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary and put these beliefs into action!
Now get out there and go climb some mountains!!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) Cheung Chau!
2) another sister and I wore matching dresses to mission tour–haha!
3) the restaurant we ate at
4) the beach on the island
This past week I went back to school and it was so weird to be on campus! Everyone was running around trying to get to their next class and scattered across the campus grounds, vigorously working on last-minute assignments I’m sure. I felt kind of stressed just being there! Luckily though, I was just there as a visitor! We visited Hong Kong University last P-day which is like a super nice college that’s actually in my area! We just kind of looked around and got some cheap campus food–brought back so many memories, but I was definitely a lot happier to just be there as a missionary hahah!
I don’t know if you remember, but a couple of weeks ago, I talked about a guy from America that we met on the street and had finally got into contact with after months of nothing. Well, the week after I wrote that e-mail he wouldn’t pick up his phone again. Bummer, but it happens a lot. People get busy and just don’t have time. After weeks of not hearing from him again, I decided to call last night and he picked up and apologized as he had been in Europe for the past couple of weeks. He promised that we could FOR SURE meet next week, so we are super excited!!! I’ll just have to figure out how to talk to people in English now without sounding incredibly awkward and unsophisticated!
We have been working on getting more people to English class as a tool to find new investigators and it has actually been working out pretty well! We have some new faces to work with which is always so exciting!
We got a new bishopric yesterday! I am really excited to start working with the new bishop and see if we can pick up the pace of the work here a little bit. It will be a good fresh start and a great opportunity to really set some good goals! We actually had dinner at the old bishop’s house on Sunday which was really fun. They have the cutest little kids! Hearing little kids speak Chinese with perfect tones and everything just warms my heart and makes me smile 🙂
I got an opportunity to use my German on Saturday doing welcome center in Wan Chai. Heheh, well not really, but I tried a little! We gave a tour of the building to a couple here from Germany and the wife absolutely LOVED everything that we told and showed her! She kept exclaiming how amazing she thought the work that we were doing was and that we could speak and communicate in Chinese after only a matter of months. There was ONE copy of The Book of Mormon in the building in German and we were able to give it to them and invite them to pray about it. It is such a privilege to get to teach people from all over the world!
We taught a new investigator for the first time on Monday and it was such a great experience. He was from Mainland (as most people here are) so he really didn’t have any idea of anything relating to religion. We taught a simple lesson to help him understand a little more and then invited him to pray for the first time at the end of our lesson. We all sat with our heads bowed in silence for a few minutes, waiting in anticipation for him to say something. At last, he started to speak and uttered the most simple, but most heartfelt prayer I’ve heard in a while. The only thing that he asked was to know what his purpose here was, but you could just feel from the way that he said it that he really meant it and wanted to know. One of my favorite things about teaching these people is getting to see them pray and come to know this whole new world that they had never known existed.
I still can’t get over how blessed I am to be here on the Lord’s errand. The goal of my mission has been to not take a single second for granted or forget how blessed I am. I invite you all to do the same–choose to see the blessings and be happy!
I love you all–thanks for your support!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) Dinner with the Yeungs, the old bishop. I don’t know why I look like a giant!
2) A GIANT dog that we saw while finding!
3) Everyone needs the gospel
4) Hong Kong University!
Oh man, I feel like there have been so many changes. Okay, okay, it’s really only been like one–but it feels like everything is different!
This past week Sister Curtis officially left to go up to the New Territories with a new companion and Sister Martin and I of course stayed in West Point. It was really weird with her leaving and having to pack everything up to move, I’ll miss her! But my new companion and I have already hit if off really well. It feels like we’ve already been companions for months but it really hasn’t even been a month yet! Weird! I am also senior companion now since she has been in the mission less than me by about 2 months which means that we are both still pretty young and I have to be in charge of making sure that things go well! But I’ve already been in this area for a while and love it so much, so it shouldn’t be any problem 🙂
For P-day we went to Mong Kok which is super famous for all of its shopping. It’s just a street that has little shops set up where you can but anything and everything! Mostly just knick knacky things, but it’s a lot of stuff! The only thing that I don’t like is that you have to barter with the shop owners to get a good price and as it turns out I pretty much stink at doing it. I just feel too bad trying to get the price down that I can’t bring myself to do it! I also felt kind of like I was surrounded by vultures because the second I looked at something in one of their shops they would swoop in on me and attempt to engage me in one of their little bartering wars and I could see the hunger in their eyes. Whew, but I made it out alive!
We went to dinner with a member, Sister Leung, right before Sister Curtis left one last time and she asked her where she would like to go and she chose–Mexican food! Okay, I just have to let you know that Hong Kong island really is so different from the rest of the mission and really the only place that you can get different kinds of food so she had to get it one last time before she went to the middle of nowhere haha! It was so good and if you had asked me where I was, I probably would have said Mexico or something! Members also really love making missionaries eat a lot of food even though they themselves eat hardly anything. I still don’t quite understand it but can’t say that I’m complaining 😉 She also ordered some churro ice cream which was quite delectable! We have such a great ward, really!
I just have to let you know because I am so so excited, but we got two of our investigators back after about a 2 month hiatus! Do you remember Gary and Zoey, the 7 and 8 year olds that came to English class and we would teach every week and the girl was a week away from getting baptized before they stopped meeting with us? Apparently someone told them our church wasn’t good and they stopped meeting with us and coming to church and English class–everything–for about 2 months. We were so heartbroken to have them leave without really any explanation at all. But the Lord can and will work miracles because they have started coming to English class again and we got to teach them again this past Saturday and it actually went really well! We still have some issues that we’ll have to work out with them, but I really can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to be working with them again! I can’t wait to see how things go with them next week!
Our other investigator, Grace, is kind of a frustrating situation. She is willing to keep commitments that we give her and comes to church, but has absolutely zero desire to be baptized. We asked her why she was meeting with us and she told us it was because she didn’t have anything better to do. We try to do everything that we can, but we can’t force someone else to have desire to do something that they don’t want to. One of the speakers in general conference actually addressed that when he said that our Father in Heaven hears and answers our prayers, be he cannot and will not force someone to do something against their will. Of course we will try our best to help her not only open her eyes but also to open her heart to the Spirit and see if we can help her.
We got to see general conference this past weekend and oh man, it was so good! The second President Uchtodorf started speaking I was already pretty much crying and almost forgot to write notes because I felt like I had to listen to every word that they said. Really, every single talk was amazing, if you missed part of it, you should watch it! One of my favorite talks was actually by President Uchtdorf in the women’s session because he kind of talked about never giving up and giving it your all. We’ve all hit the point where we think that we can’t go any further and if we keep going it really won’t make any difference. But I cannot tell you how false that is! I cannot tell you how many times when we have been finding for what seems like hours and wanted to just head back home, but kept going for just a little longer we would meet someone within the last 5 minutes who was actually interested in our message. Maybe if I say it again then you’ll realize how serious I’m being- Don’t give up! Decide how far you can go, and then go just a little further, you can do it! You can’t even imagine the blessings that are waiting for you just steps beyond what you think to be the finish line. I promise you that you always have more strength than you think you do, I plead with you to keep going!
Please, don’t give up! Press forward!
1) So apparently you can have a wedding at McDonald’s here…
2) The sisters together one last time before Sister Curtis left!
3) The churro ice cream 😀
5) Me and Sister Martin at General Conference
6) Us with Lai Yi–she’s turning 99 and comes to English class every week!
So, there were actually some big changes this week… I am now in a trio! Well, at least for the next couple of days until my companion, Sister Curtis, leaves. There are some visa waiters in Hong Kong starting their missions so there were some emergency transfers and calls in the past couple of days that kind of switched things up a little bit. I am so sad to see her go because we have been together for 5 months and had so many good times and seen so many miracles! But I am also excited to stay in West Point with my new companion, Sister Martin–she is the cutest! We are going to keep working hard here!
This week I also went on exchanges to Causeway Bay which is THE most city area in the whole mission–it was crazy! It was such a good experience to go somewhere else and see what the work was like and how missionary work was being done. I think that I have some good new ideas of how I can improve my own area! We also did some English class finding which is one of my favorite things, just because we get to walk around and talk to so many random people. We asked one guy if he was interested in our free English class and he said, “thanks, but I’m already Christian” ^_^ it was so funny! Also, everyone apparently thinks that they already have perfect English because they didn’t seem too interested, but we’ll keep trying!
We were in Wan Chai on Saturday switching back from exchanges and our mission president, President Lam, and his wife came there for some meeting and we got to see them. We were joking around with them asking when they were going to take us out for dinner, and they actually did! We all walked over to a restaurant and got some really delicious food! I really have the best mission president ever, they are such great examples to us all and really love each and every one of us missionaries!
We went to a member’s house last night for dinner and it was so fun! We shared a message about the importance of scripture study and how it gives us a firm foundation so that we can resist the trials and temptations that come our way. Sister Martin remembered from when she was little that some missionaries visited her house and did a little demonstration where they put a finger on their scriptures and then hit it with a can and it dented the can without hurting their finger. We tried it at home once to make sure it worked (and luckily it did because I was the guinea pig) and then used it in our lesson with the family. We asked why we needed the scriptures and then I pulled out the can and whacked my finger and they all started freaking out and making sure that my finger was okay, but it was, because I had the scriptures! It was actually really funny, and I’m sure that they’ll remember to read their scriptures tonight 😉
I also am very blessed because when we go to members’ houses they love to just give you tons of food to eat and expect you to eat it all, and then they give you even MORE food to eat, but since coming out on my mission I think that my stomach has just kind of turned into a bottomless pit. We go to members’ houses and they tell me to eat more–and I do! All of my companions think that I’m crazy and the members are always surprised by how much I can put away hehe! I might sign up for some food eating competitions when I get back home after all of this training….
In my scripture study this week I got to Jacob chapter 5, the one that is forever long and talks about the vineyard. But this time when I read it through it was a quite different experience. Here is the Lord of the vineyard, and he loves these olive trees and cares for them so much, but despite all of the long hours that he has spent slaving away under the sun, the trees never do what he wants and always seem to yield bitter fruit. He has worked in this vineyard for a long time, hours and hours, days and days, and still it makes no difference to the trees. He at last decides that there is nothing more to be done. The trees must be hewn down so that he can start anew. After all, he cries, “What could I have done more in my vineyard? (verse 47)” But the servant who has worked by his side this whole time pleads with him, please master, “spare it a little longer.(verse 50)” Despite all the the pain and grief that these trees have caused them and all of the rotten fruit that they have borne, he still sees the potential that lies within each and every one of them. Is this not like us? Have we not every one of us at one point or another turned away from the love and care of our Father in Heaven? Have we not, all of us, let him down? But despite the the disappointment and pain that we have caused him, he still loves us and continues to reach out to us. We have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who will plead our case for us and go out in the vineyard, and suffers it to be so in order for us to at long last be fit enough to bring forth fruit pleasing to our master. How blessed are we to have such a love beyond reason and comprehension available to all who put their trust in Him, and allow him to prune away our weaknesses and faults! Don’t be afraid to be cut down a little bit so that you can become even greater. So that you can reach your full potential; the potential that the servant sees in each of us.
Keep pressing forward! Keep humble and keep working hard!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
- face masks that we bought
- the tripanionship!
- a Navy ship that docked in our area for a few days–there were so many white people that I felt out of place!
- exchanges with Sister Yost in Causeway Bay
- dinner with President and Sister Lam
So for this past P-day, we went to a Buddhist Nunnery and it was the coolest thing ever! We walked through a traditional Chinese garden before we ended up in the Nunnery, and I felt like I was living in China back a few hundred years ago, it really just felt like a whole new world! It was also just really neat to experience the culture and understand a little bit more about Buddhism and why people believe in it. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the actual temple, but it was so pretty and we even saw some monks in there. One was taking some pictures on his iPhone haha! We also went to the site of the first baptism in Hong Kong and it was so amazing to be there! To just think about all of the progress that has happened since then and to realize again where I was and what I was a part of was so humbling.
This past week’s district meeting was the funniest one that I have ever been to! I spent some time that morning making a birthday cake for one of the Elders in our district and used some powder to make some custard and it turned out very interesting because I didn’t quite have the ingredients that I needed. It was kind of like a lumpy gelatinous layer of plastic on the top of the cake. I brought it out and it looked like there was corn on it, which is actually something that you could probably find over here! And then in the middle of the meeting, almost all of the lights shut off and we ate the plastic custard cake in the dark! I really love district meetings so much because I feel like it always helps me put my perspective back where it should be and get even more motivated to do the best that I can. I love my district!
Our zone has set a goal to talk to as many people as we can through out the day and it has really helped us the be in the mood of always finding. Because we can’t go knocking on doors here, everyone that we find to teach really does come from just talking to people outside, on the bus, wherever. I just love talking to people so much and just hearing about what their lives are like. We are all so different and have such different lives, but sometimes we forget this because we get too caught up in what’s happening within our own sphere.
We saw one of our less-actives this week that we have been trying to hard to get to church. Pretty much right after she was baptized she became less-active and missionaries have been working with her ever since, they pretty much just have never stopped teaching her. I can just see so much potential in her that it pains me to see her standing on the brink of something amazing!
And now for the big miracle that happened this week. So being in China and all, all of the people that we teach are Chinese, but my area especially has a lot of foreigners and we try to talk to them as well, of course, because everyone deserves a chance to hear the gospel. About 3 months ago, we met this one guy on the street from America who had actually lived in Utah for a few years and while he wasn’t a member, he thought that we were good people and appreciated the work that we did. We only had a few minutes with him, but we gave him a flier with our name and number on it and then hurried on to the appointment we had scheduled. That night he texted us to make sure it was our number, but when we tried calling and texting him back, he never answered. So we gave his number over to the international work Elders and pretty much forgot about it. The other night we were doing calls and had this feeling that we should try to call him again, even though it had been months and he had never even answered his phone before. You wouldn’t think it, but it’s actually really scary talking to white people and trying to talk about the gospel in English to them and we were kind of nervous to call, but I eventually decided to get past my fears and to call him. It’s like when you’re calling someone and of course you want them to answer so that you can talk to them, but at the same time you also don’t want them to answer because that means that you have to actually talk to them. We picked up and the first thing that he said was “Hello, Sisters! Your ears must have been burning because I was just thinking about calling you.” What?! He explained that he had just gotten back from a trip in America a few days ago where he had met with a bishop in Utah and got to have a dinner with him where he told him about the experience he had had with meeting two sister missionaries in Hong Kong. He had been feeling ever since then that he needed to reach out to us and invited us to dinner with him and his girlfriend. I could scarcely believe what he has saying, it was all just too crazy to be happening! I ended the call and turned to my companion and told her all that had happened, and then we both knew that no doubt both us and our friend had felt the Spirit prompting us. We haven’t seen him yet, but we will see him next week and hope to help him better understand things and invite him to come unto Christ! I am so grateful for the promptings of the Spirit and for a Heavenly Father who wants to reach out and help every single one of us. I know that He lives and I know without any doubt that He loves us!
Trust in the Lord and don’t shy away from doing things because they seem scary or hard, you never know what can come from a simple act of faith and listening to a prompting!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) The city!
2) Me and sister Curtis!
3) The first baptismal site in Hong Kong!
4) Part of the garden
5) A building by the nunnery