So it’s been raining nonstop here for the past week, which, while it is a nice break from the heat, has made doing missionary work a little more interesting.
Also, we are e-mailing from the Apple store right now, and a random man just barely came up to me and said, “Let me take picture with you,” and then took a quick selfie with me and then walked away without saying anything else. Life is always interesting here, that’s for sure, ahaha! Someday I’ll find all of these random pictures of me…
It’s fruit season and our fridge is full of mangoes, guavas, lychees, pears, and a whole bunch of other things, as well as some things that I don’t know how to say in English. I love the fruits here!
Where to start? This week we taught a potential investigator that we had met on the street and gave her a chapel tour and then taught her the restoration. She was so nice and accepted everything that we said, although she still had a lot of questions and things that we need to teach more in depth. After the lesson, though, I don’t know how else to explain it, but I was just so happy! There is just such a feeling that comes after teaching someone the restoration for the first time that I love so much!
We also met with a less-active, and he was telling us all of the stories from his life and was at a point where he was telling us about how his father got cancer and then both his dad and mom passed away. At this point he was quiet for a moment and then looked over at Sister Branch who was passed out in her chair! She woke up really confused and then we all waited in silence for a moment until the brother laughed and then we all did as well. Luckily he had a really good attitude about it all, although my companion felt terrible! Luckily laughter and a good attitude can heal almost anything and so things turned out just fine–and made for a good story 🙂
Mary kind of disappeared for a few weeks after we had just given her a baptismal date and she had promised that she was going to come to church. I finally got ahold of her and had a 30-minute conversation where I found out that she doesn’t really see a point in meeting with us or getting baptized anymore because she figures that she can sort things out on her own without the church. As I was talking to her, I had the feeling that you might have as you are trying to talk someone out of jumping off of a building. You feel really helpless because you’re all the way at the bottom and as much as you would like to help them, the only thing that you can really do is talk to them and try to help them see why they shouldn’t jump. I was able to resolve some of her concerns, but she is still unsure about things. I ended up promising that I would go and visit her to get a haircut as a way to bide my time, so hopefully we can talk to her then! I would chop off all of my hair if it meant that we could talk to and help her! (but I mean, hopefully I won’t have to do that, haha)
With all of the rain this week, a primary song has popped into my head. When I was younger I used to always ask if we could sing “Give Said the Little Stream,” which was a favorite of mine. It talks about how even though it’s just a little stream of water rolling down the hill, all of the grass and flowers grow greener and greener from the small but steady amount of water that it gives to those close to it. It’s a good reminder to me that even though we may not feel like what we are doing is making a big difference, through our steady and consistent effort there are those who are watching us and gaining energy from us. And it also reminds me that the rain is a blessing and something to be appreciated as it brings life to the world! So let it rain!
Have an amazing week! Remember that any effort, no matter how small, can have a great impact on someone else!
You can tell me to stop saying the same things over and over again because I know that I sound like a broken record, but I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY SO MUCH!!! This week we saw so many great things happen that I won’t be able to explain it all, but here are some highlights! It’s funny because a lot of things that are happening aren’t really classified as “success” in the sense that we aren’t having baptisms left and right, and there are still quite a few things that we need to work on in this area, but my attitude is changing and in turn so is everything else!
This week we had the chance to meet with quite a few new people who all have potential to become new investigators! We have lately really been struggling to find new people and have had to drop some people and see some less frequently as we admitted that they really weren’t progressing anywhere.
And you wouldn’t believe it, but this week we had ANOTHER person call us from one of our fliers! I don’t understand it because this has never happened before (and the fliers are still the same ones I’ve been using my whole mission), but maybe Heavenly Father is seeing our hard work and is blessing us in ways that we didn’t expect. But we met with the potential, and her friend as well that she brought, and though they initially only wanted to learn English from us, at the end they started asking us some questions. We got to teach them and also show them how to pray! They are both super cute and we can’t wait to see them again!
Last P-day as we were coming home on the subway from Kowloon, we happened to get into the same train car as a potential that we actually had scheduled to see for the first time that night–what a crazy coincidence! And the other part of it was that she doesn’t live in our area so we have to turn her over, but we happened to be with the sisters who we would turn her over to at that time and so at the lesson that night we all taught the lesson together. It was a super intense lesson because she is already a super active Christian and straight-up told us that she’s not going to join our church, though she would be willing to meet with us again and kind of hear us out. She was really nice about it all and as she was speaking she said so many things that made me think that if not now, maybe at some point she will really be ready to hear and accept our message.
The sisters in my apartment also surprised me this week with a little party for my birthday! And the reason why I was so surprised is because my birthday isn’t for another few weeks, but that was the point in it, haha! And what’s more, my companion even bought me some blue cheese which is super expensive here–shout out to Sister Branch, she really gets me 😉
We visited the Lo family and they insisted that we stay over for dinner, so we did. I was squished the couch next to Brother Lo’s brother who isn’t a member and is also a little bit old and crazy. He was drinking beer the whole time and had some very interesting comments that made for an interesting evening. But it was good to see the family and, hey, maybe next time when we visit again he’ll be there and we can teach them again!
So a few weeks ago I felt like I should call a semi-active member after church and thank her for her lesson that she gave that day. She was super surprised that I was calling her because up to that point I hadn’t really talked to her. But she was grateful and I wished her a happy Mother’s Day as well. And then a couple weeks ago she came to church and thanked me again and then invited us to her house to help her daughter practice her English for a big interview that she had coming up. We had a super good visit and I found out that the day I had called her was also her birthday, though I didn’t know it at the time, I was just following a prompting that I had. And then just this past week we went to drop off some cookies at their house and found out that the sister had just been diagnosed with a serious health problem and needed surgery and she was very grateful for us thinking of her and talking with her. So what started as a simple phone call turned out to be something so much more as the weeks progressed. It just reinforced my testimony that you should never put off doing a good thing, because you never know how much it will help someone else! I also have a testimony that we are all the Lord’s angels and that when we follow the promptings of the Sprit, we are literally acting as His hands here on earth. How cool is that to think about–you are literally the answer to someone’s prayer!
Keep moving forward! Enjoy every moment that you have and make today the BEST DAY EVER!!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
This week was again AMAZING, although not for any of the reasons that you would expect. Did we have a lot of people cancel on us or not show up? Yes. Was it hot and were there a lot of people that didn’t want to talk to us? Yes. Did we work hard regardless and help some people out in one way or another? Yes!! Despite anything that did or didn’t happen, at the very least both Sister Branch and I saw some improvements as we worked hard and kept trusting that the Lord would direct our paths, and he most certainly did!
So we pass out a lot of fliers that have our name and number on them to people when we talk to them, but most of the time people don’t really do anything with them. Even if they take it and say that they will call you later, they really don’t ever do it. But this past week we got a phone call and it was from someone that we had been talking to on the train the other day. He called and said that he wanted to meet with us and talk about what we shared with him a few days prior and we were both of course super excited! To help you understand a little bit more how seldom this happens, this is probably only the second time my entire mission someone has actually called me back! We met with him this week and though he doesn’t have any religious background, he was so sincerely interested in what we taught him about prayer and our Heavenly Father. Sadly he doesn’t live in our area so we’ll have to turn him over next week, but it was most certainly a blessing. We have both been working to talk to every single person in our path and it has been paying off in small ways!
This week we were doing studies outside one day when we saw one of the girls that comes to our English class on Fridays (she’s about 7). She was with some of her other little friends and as they were talking to us they pointed over into the distance at another group of kids and told us that they were their “adversaries” and that we shouldn’t talk to them. Sister Branch and I were kind of taken aback but then they all walked off and we continued our companionship study. But a few minutes later I felt someone behind me and looked back to see that the other group of kids was now surrounding us. Yeah, we were kind of confused. They were all super cute and nice but told us that the other kids that we had just talked to were rotten and not to talk with them. It was really funny because were were literally in the middle of a fight between two different “gangs” of little kids. But they were all so cute and when we invited them to English class they said that they wanted to come as well! Yay!! We will get ALL of the kids to English class and then make them all be friends and they can get baptized together!! 🙂
I also went on exchanges with Sister Lee in Yuen Long. She is actually from Korea–she is super cute and hard-working! We taught a new investigator together, and the member that was with us was seriously amazing! Seriously, I thought that she was a much better teacher than we were, and I felt the Spirit so strongly in the lesson as we all bore testimony of God’s love for us. It made me realize just how important member support is in missionary work. All you at home who aren’t on missions anymore or never had a chance to serve one, you are still so critical to this work! There is a light and connection you bring that sometimes that specific investigator really needs to feel.
I haven’t really borne testimony in a while, but I want you all to know that this truly is the restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth again today. Many times people ask us how many years we had to study before we were allowed to come out on our missions, and to that I simply smile and tell them that I really am still just a naive 20-year-old with no formal religious training; we really just came out here to share a message of joy! Sometimes I forget my purpose, but it really is so simple: to bring joy to others! And I know that it brings joy because I experience it every single day as I remember my Savior and strive to do my best to follow His example. Words cannot come anywhere near to expressing my love for Him and my gratitude at the sacrifices that He has preformed on behalf of us all.
Love you all!! When you set goals, remember to REALLY stick to them and you will be blessed!!
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
1) Me and the good ol’ Sister Branch
2) we went to wetlands park and it was gorgeous!
3)we also found the common Mormon haha!
4) And of course NOODLES!!
5) More wetlands
The Lo Family is doing super good and we surprise visited them this week because it was the son’s birthday! The funny thing is that we just happened to stop by right before his birthday party (that we didn’t know was happening) and so we kind of crashed in on a bunch of moms and their kids hanging out, but it was still a really good opportunity to be with them all!
Since I’m clearly not from around here, when people ask where I’m from, sometimes I have them guess. I’ve gotten countries from all over the world, but this week everyone seemed to think that I was from Russia. Interesting.
This week we were on the train and this random white guy started talking to us (in English of course) and we had a good conversation with him about our church. It’s always kind of awkward teaching in English especially because we live in the middle of nowhere and so you always do a double-take when you see another white person who isn’t a missionary. Before he got off the train, Sister Branch handed him a Book of Mormon as he left. Once he was gone we both started laughing because it was of course a Chinese book so there’s no way that he is going to be able to read it! But hey, he has our number and knows where to find us if he has any questions 🙂
We and the Elders visited Brother Wong who is a semi-active member who moved into our area and he is the cutest old man ever! He lives by himself but he has lived a super crazy life and was a profession basketball player who traveled the world and was even involved in a few wars–crazy! He took us all out to steak, and then we got to know him more and shared a simple lesson with him. It’s so sad to see how lonely he is, and so it was good that we could make him happier just by talking with him and listening to his stories! Service comes in all shapes and sizes!
This week we were able to meet with so many more people than last week, and I know that it really is all a blessing from God. One thing I realize is that I can work the hardest that I can, but all success never has or will originate from me; it is all given. Some of the investigators that we haven’t met with in a while are doing super good and when we invited Mary to be baptized she accepted! It was super cute because she was worried that after she was baptized she would have to start spreading the gospel as well! She still has a while before she’s baptized so we’re hoping that she’ll make this goal!
I found this quote that I really like in regards to learning and progression, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
“The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.”
The past is a vital part of who we are, but it is only with our eyes looking forward that we are able to change and become better. Holding onto things from the past, whether it be with pain or longing, inhibits our ability to progress. Look back on the past only to learn, and then apply those things to the present so that you can improve the future!
As always, look for ways to serve! And empty your pockets of any ashes that you may still be holding onto.
1) Us missionaries with Brother Wong
2) Went on exchanges with Sister Banagoa; it was so fun!
3) My MTC group all back together again!!!
So in less-exciting news, we have had a few insect visitors lately come into our apartment, which means that I always have a flip-flop in one hand so that I can be on the ready. Not that I would kill them or anything; it’s so that I can throw it to Sister Branch who can then kill the bugs while I run away screaming, haha! While we were finding last night, the HUGEST bug I’ve ever seen landed on the back of Sister Branch and started making crazy noises, and I had to hit her with my Book of Mormon over and over until I killed it. I think that we have both been pretty traumatized this week.
We got to visit a less-active at her house with like half the ward, which was super awesome and she is cute! We are going to try working with her because lately we haven’t had a lot of less-actives that we’re teaching. To tell you how cute she is, when she saw the bites on our legs, she ran back into a room and got some oil and started rubbing it all over our legs–it was the cutest!
This week was kind of rough because people kept canceling on us and we didn’t really seem to be having a lot of success with anything that we were doing. We were super excited to teach Sister Lo, whose husband is less-active, but right as we were heading out the door she called and canceled. I guess that it was just kind of the culmination of everything, and it really got me down in the moment. But instead of letting it keep me down, Sister Branch and I looked at the situation and evaluated the things that we could change to really help our area have more progress. We promised each other–but most importantly we promised the Lord–that we were truly going to do everything in our power from there on out to find those people who are ready to receive us. And I’m not saying that blessings always come immediately, maybe it’s more our perspective and that we are able to more fully recognize the blessings that our Heavenly Father has given us. But just in those couple of days since then we have already seen so many more miracles!
Yesterday after church we were waiting for an investigator when in popped Sister Lo and her husband and three little kids. We were super surprised to see them, because we hadn’t scheduled them, and our ward’s church was already over by that time. It turns out that their family was out for a walk and as it started to pour rain, they just happened to be by our church building and their youngest son begged if they could go in for a minute–so they did! It was actually perfect timing because another ward’s sacrament meeting was just starting, so we were able to accompany them for a little bit. It was such a huge blessing, and the timing of the rain and everything was just too perfect for Heavenly Father to not have been involved in it! We have been trying so hard to get them to come to church and they finally came!!
We also had a lesson with a former, where we taught the plan of salvation and she told us all about her beliefs about what she thought the afterworld would be like just based purely on her own imagination and reasoning. Even though it was different from what we believed, it still had so many similarities that it was cool to see how she on her own had already come up with so much truth!
So the theme of this week was definitely testing and chastening. Earlier this week I was reading in Mosiah 23:
21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
As I was reading it I was like, “Yay! Trials are so great because we can learn!” But then the week progressed and I found myself really kind of struggling and viewed the scripture from a different perspective entirely. I realized that Heavenly Father truly was chastening me in that very moment because I still had a few more lessons that He needed me to learn. Not only am I grateful for trials because they test me, but because I have an actual opportunity to use my faith. Because after all, that’s what we have faith for, right? To use it! It isn’t just magically kept in store somewhere within you, it’s there for you to use and apply to the situations that you’re facing in this very day!!
Love you all!! I hope that you are able to conquer any bugs that come against you this week!!
1) We went biking on an island last week in my old area
2) A Buddhist temple there
3) Still the island
4) Picture from last week’s zone conference of the Harry Potter crew!
5) View from my apartment window
Shout out to my family that I just got to skype, it was super great to see you all!! I am so incredibly grateful for families; I seriously don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have them and their love and support!
We had a couple of miracles this week which were such tender mercies! We have been super struggling to find new investigators for the past little while, but we were able to schedule some new people this week and while some of them didn’t show up 😦 we still were able to meet with a couple of new people!
We also tried to do some more less-active finding but ended up in the middle of nowhere as we were trying to find the right villages and houses. It’s always an adventure in missionary work, that’s for sure!
This week we had zone conference and it was so good! I always am able to learn so much from President Lam and the other missionaries. The leaders in our zone also put on a training for conference that we have been working on for a while, and it turned out really well! We had a “Harry Potter” theme and talked about being miracle seekers as we go about doing our missionary work. I was Professor McGonagal (of course) which was also pretty fun. It was a good reminder for me to keep looking for miracles throughout the week, and to also be preparing myself throughout the week so that I will be able to recognize these opportunities when they come. Just like the snitch, these opportunities are sometimes small and hard to see and we have to constantly be diligent and prepared or we will miss them. It is also important to realize that most of the miracles that we see won’t be big or brilliant, but they will be small and simple things, the accumulation of which can have a big impact on others.
One of them was that girl named Faith that I talked about a little while ago that we met while walking on the street. She showed up to the church and we were able to show her around for the first time and then taught her the restoration. She listened really well and had some really cool experiences that she shared with us about how she started to believe in God. It was a really good lesson, but to top it all off we had a Relief Society activity afterwards that she was able to come to and meet a lot of members! It sounds like her husband isn’t very supportive of her meeting with us so we might encounter some roadblocks, but I know that all things work out for the good of those who put their trust in God!
We also were able to meet with a former investigator that neither of us had ever met with before, who was also slightly notorious for cancelling or not showing up. But he did! And even though missionaries had actually worked with him quite a bit in the past, this was his first time to actually come to the church building so we were able to give him a church tour as well! He is hesitant to come to church meetings on Sundays, but he has a pretty strong desire to learn more about the restoration and Book of Mormon, which I’m sure will lead him in the right direction.
So happy that we were able to teach some more lessons this week and that we even had some more of our investigators come to the RS activity yaya!
There was another lady that we met in McDonald’s (also our first time seeing her) and as we were talking to her, I just felt so bad for her. She was older and divorced and living with her son, who didn’t treat her very well, and was overall just not in a very good position. Her expression seemed stone cold as she talked about her worries, and never once the entire time we met with her did her face ever crack into something that even resembled a smile. She was filled with sadness, but there was also a lot of bitterness mixed in with it that you could see was slowly consuming her. As we taught and bore testimony about our Savior Jesus Christ and his ability to help and heal us she seemed almost disbelieving that she could be helped. I started thinking about how in each of our trials, we can either let ourselves be consumed with anger and bitterness, or we can allow ourselves to be enveloped in the healing love and light of Christ. Trials are never easy, because of course if they were then there wouldn’t be much point to them, now would there? But if we handle them correctly and remember to call upon the strength of our perfect Redeemer instead of becoming discouraged by our own failed attempts to overcome, then these trials can become a source of strength for us. I wouldn’t trade the trials that I’ve had for anything because of all that I was able to learn from them. I hope that none of us becomes resentful or discouraged in our times of difficulty, but that we will instead choose to look up and take ahold of the love of our Savior by relying on him, and through earnest prayer use the atonement which He has provided for us.
Let your family know you love them!! Let your trials be an opportunity to grow and become stronger–when God gives you bigger challenges it means that he knows you can handle it!
Love you all!!
A photo of the Mother’s Day Activity
Hey hey hey!
First off, my companion Sister Malone finished her mission last week and flew back home, and I was super sad to see her go. I learned so much from her and will forever be grateful that we got to have this experience to be companions. So now it’s just me and Sister Branch living it up here in Hung Shui Kiu prepared to keep working hard!
The Bishop took us out to Dim Sum before Sister Malone left and it was really good getting to know him and his wife a little better. I didn’t really know them that well before he became bishop, but so far he has done a super great job and we are excited to keep working with him! Before we met with them I just so happened to look at our records and found out that it was actually his birthday that day so we rushed to the store and got him a card thanking him for his work with just enough time to make it to the restaurant. I think that he was surprised that we knew it was his birthday and was appreciative of it. Oh man, I really do owe the Spirit some big ones for all of the times that He’s helped me out on my mission!
That same day we went to visit a part-member family that we see sometimes. The dad is a member, but the wife and 3 little kids aren’t, nor have they ever really been to church because the dad is a long-time less-active member. We were talking about the importance of church in helping us come closer to Christ and the wife just looks at me and says, “Can it really make me happier?” to which we all excitedly exclaimed–Yes!! We are working on helping her come to church because it’s difficult with all of her kids and her husband doesn’t support her very much. The best part was that it also happned to be one of her son’s birthdays and they had bought cake for us to eat with them and we got to sing happy birthday with them! It was such a happy experience and again the timing with everything was just so perfect!
We got stood up for most of our lessons this week–but that’s okay because it just means more time to find the people who are ready for our message! We did some less-active finding these past couple of nights and had some great success, though it maybe wasn’t in the way that we were expecting. We were going finding for super lost less-actives, which pretty much just means that these people haven’t been in contact with the church in years, sometimes 20 or 30+ years. At one of the doors that we knocked on the less-active’s mom answered and told us that her daughter was actually studying in Taiwan, but invited us inside her apartment for some water because it was a hot day. The summers here might get kind of gross, but there are some things they are good for! We had a really good conversation with her and might be able to come back later to see her again! And then another less-active’s mom answered the other door that we knocked on and she too was very nice (which typically doesn’t happen when less-active finding, people usually either aren’t home or close the door in your face when they see you) and said that we could come back in a couple of days to teach her! Ah, so excited!!! We haven’t had a new investigator in weeks now so I am super excited to be able to teach some new people!
Our funny moment for the week was when we were sitting outside doing some companion study when this drunk old man walked by us and said in English “Miss, are you from America! Well WELCOME TO HONG KONG!!! Peace, to you–to you both!” and then he walked away and when he was a few feet away he looked back at us and said, “Hey, I can sing! *then he actually starts singing* ‘We are the world! We are the people…'” and then walks away and Sister Branch and I are just like what?! Thank you random drunk man!
My focus of this week has been persistence and consistence. Not only is it important in life that we are determined and put the best that we can into things, but we also need to be doing it consistently. It’s like this especially with our prayer and personal study of the scriptures. I have days where my studies are super good and then other days where they’re not as productive as I would like them to be. So this week I am focusing on doing the best that I can every day so that I can keep progressing and developing my testimony. After all, faith and conversion come step by step and day by day. My invitation for this week is for you to evaluate your daily prayers and study of the scriptures and see what you can be doing to be more consistent and persistent. As you do this, I can promise that this time each day will become more sacred and meaningful to you.
Have a marvelous week! Serve others! Pray sincerely! Wish everyone a happy birthday (ideally if it actually is their birthday)!
1) At dim sum with the Bishop
2) Me with my trainer Sister Curtis before she went home last week!
3) Sister Malone at the end of her mission haha!
5) Part of the city in Tsuen Wan where we went last P-day to eat some Korean BBQ!