Monday, September 28, 2015

Every Day Is a Great Day

Sister Park and I at Sai Kung

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!! We had a lovely holiday. Unfortunately, many of our investigators went back to the mainland for the holiday season. But of course the Lord still provided miracles. One of our newer investigators came to church and also accepted a baptism date. Her husband is less active and she really believes that the gospel can bless her family! 

We also met the cutest family. They live in a tiny little apartment with like a bazillion kids (I think they are a bunch of cousins) and they are just so cute! I am really excited to be working with them. 

Nothing super exciting happened this week. But, every day as a missionary is a great day! So, no complaints here. For P-day today we went to Sai Kung. It is BEAUTIFUL!!! It is a cove type thing and also in the middle of jungley mountains. SO pretty! Hong Kong is so pretty! And you can find everything here: mountains, beach, big city. It's great! 

Sister Park is so awesome. I love being her companion. She teaches me so much (even some Korean... chanun Sharp chamei imneida).

Also, the Book of Mormon is awesome! It really is God's word and no matter what question we have we can find the answer inside. I just finished it again this week and I LOVE it!
Look - It's Sharp Island!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Where Mooncakes Come From

This week was pretty short since we had our last P-day just a few days ago. But, the short week was filled was some great experiences.

Friends with us at church
Thanks to the awesome missionary work of the members here, Sister Park and I are now working with many new investigators. It is so cute when members are so excited to tell their friend or cousin or someone about the gospel. You can tell how much they love and appreciate it. I really love their examples.

On Saturday evening our branch had our annual Mid-Autumn Festival branch party. The missionaries were in charge of the program. The point of the program was to show how mooncakes (which is what everyone eats during this festival) relate to the gospel. It is actually really cool! The mooncakes are very symbolic of family unity and so we decided to share about how the gospel also emphasizes the importance of families and also that through the gospel our families can become eternal. As part of the program we did a play with shadow acting and we told a traditional Chinese story about mooncakes. Here is a short summary:

Mandarin-speaking Sisters
A man named Houyi is really awesome and is really good at bow and arrow. He really loves is wife Chang'e. One day, nine extra suns appear in the sky. Everyone is scared but then Houyi shoots all the suns down and he saves the day. The immortal in the sky sees Houyi and as a reward for his heroism gives him an elixir that will make him immortal too. Houyi only wants to drink it if he and his wife can both become immortal. But, the elixir will only work for one person. Houyi decides not to drink it because he wants to be with his wife. Then, he is called away to save some foreign lands. He gives the elixir to his wife, Chang'e, for safe keeping. While he is gone his apprentice, Pengmeng, wants the elixir. He tries to take it from Chang'e. But, to save it from him she has to drink it herself. Now, because she is immortal she decides to go to the moon. She is alone with nothing but a rabbit for company. When Houyi returns he finds out what happens and is really upset. So he goes and bakes all of his wife's favorite desserts and cakes and gives them to her. Hence "mooncakes". This story is a bit sad because the wife and husband are seperated. But, the great thing about the gospel is that we know that families can be together forever!!!   

Cindy and Nina

This week was another great week in the life of Sister Sharp. We had some wonderful blessings and also some miracles. Being a missionary is just the best. Today is temple day and so that was such a treat! 

Wan Chai Meeting House
For the last few weeks finding investigators has been pretty hard. But, this week the miracles came. For the first time in a long time we were able to have three new investigators. Two of them are a mom, Cindy, and her 20 year old daughter, Nina. They are awesome!!! A member met them on a train and felt like she needed to share a bit about our church and Cindy and Nina were really interested and so the the member also set up a time to meet. Cindy has no background, but she is so excited to learn. She also reminds me a lot of my mom :) she's so cute! and then her and Nina are best friends (like me and my mom!). We taught them on Friday and then they also came to church on Sunday. After church we taught another lesson to another new investigator that they had become friends with and they also came to that one. We taught the Restoration in both lessons, but Cindy and Nina loved it both times. I think it gave them a great opportunity to review. We even had them help explain things like "apostasy" and "prophets" to the other investigator. They are awesome. I'm so grateful to work with them. 

April and Silvia are both doing well. But, Silvia slept in and missed church :(. But, April is set to be baptized next week!!! 

I haven't talked about the Wan Chai welcome center in a while. In case you forgot that is when we go in front of our big fancy chapel in Wan Chai and invite people to come inside for a tour. SO, we were doing it for two hours on Saturday. We spent 80% of the time talking to old men. They were so funny.  When I tried to shake one man's hand he freaked out and went on a rant about how unsanitary that practice is (which I guess makes sense). Ha ha!

We went to the Temple today. It's the best!!! I love it so much!!!!!  And I love missionary work!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Lord Is my Shepherd

Hong Kong is as great as ever! People are finally starting to come back now that school has started. Sister Park and I have started a new habit of waking up early so that we can actually have meaningful morning personal prayers (instead of half asleep ones....) and also a companionship prayer. The result has been miraculous!!

Our investigators are all doing really well. Here are just some of the highlights: Aphim, a single mother, who had been told by her friend that our church was evil has told us that she believes our church is good. She told us all about how she has changed since she started meeting with us and that she can feel God's love in her life. We had a really great experience with her this week: on Tuesday night we felt like we needed to call Aphim. So, we did. We small talked for a minute and she started crying and told us that she had a terrible day and was actually really glad that we had called. Her and her daughter had gotten into a fight and she was both upset with her daughter and herself. We had her go get her Book of Mormon and together (while on the phone) we read Alma 7:11-13 about Christ's Atonement. We told her that every pain, sorrow, and sin can be overcome through Jesus Christ. We then invited her to have a kneeling, family prayer with her daughter every day starting the next morning. When we met with her a few days later she told us how praying together had really helped both of them.

Ethel, a teenager, shared with us about how she feels sad because she does not have many friends and that the friends she does have make very poor decisions and so we helped her to understand how Heavenly Father is so happy with the decisions she is making and that He will bless her for her courage and example. Daisy, a mother, brought her husband to our meeting with her and we were able to share with them both. Her husband is already a Christian and he liked what we shared about and Daisy has no religious background and is very excited to learn more.

We have two investigators who have a goal for a baptism date: April and Silvia. April was very busy this week and was not able to meet, but she did come to church and even signed up to help bring food to the upcoming branch activity. Her date is for this next week...but we would like to push it back a little bit longer. She is awesome and loves the gospel, but I feel like she might need a bit more time to prepare. Silvia is set to be baptized in October. She told us yesterday about some of her questions about the church. Her questions included things like "How do I know the prophet is actually the prophet?" We could tell her the answer, but I think it will be best for her to find the answer on her own. So, we reread Moroni 10:3-5 with her and invited her to do as Moroni directs. She said that she would very diligently seek to find her answers by following the pattern laid out by Moroni. We are also praying that she will find those answers.

Cute story for the week: We were talking with Sarah and she said something about when she was baptized and she referred to it as her "re-birthday." She says "My re-birthday is in April" :)

The Lord is definitely blessing us as we do His work and I am so grateful to be His servant!!! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Our Happiest Life

At church!

Our lessons and teaching went pretty well this week.  In one, with our investigator, Iris, we were both able to really testify of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She was a bit skeptical, but the Holy Ghost was there and she agreed that she also needed to find out for herself (before this she has never wanted to read or pray).  She does not want to admit that she can feel the Spirit. She will say something like "I can feel how passionate you are about this" or "I can really tell how much this means to you," but it is definitely the Holy Ghost that made her feel these things and then inspired her to want to know for herself.

A place called Tsing Yi
In our meeting with Silvia (who has a baptismal date) we reviewed the Plan of Salvation and talked about the importance of the things we do in this life. She then said that she has a bit of a problem with this plan. She said "Right now, I do not care too much about about after I die (referring to going to the Celestial Kingdom). So, then why do I need to do these things (faith in Jesus Christ, Repent, Baptism, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end)?" I thought about it for a moment and then an answer came to me. It was definitely a learning moment for me too. I told her two things. First, I told her that whether she cares or day she will die and these things will matter. But, more importantly God wants us to have joy both in this life and after we die. And, it is only through the gospel of Jesus Christ that we can have the absolute happiest life on earth. After I said that she got a huge smile and said "ohhhhhhh I get it." And then we picked a new baptismal date (but this time she was actually excited for it). The answer we gave (we expounded more) was very simple and something that I already knew, but for some reason the concept of the happiest life on earth coming only through the gospel of Jesus Christ sunk deeper into my soul. The best lessons are ones when everyone (investigators and missionaries) are learning special truths.

April is also doing great. Yesterday during sacrament meeting we had the privilege of having some area authorities come to speak.  One of the speakers was talking about how to have happy families through doing simple things such as praying and reading together. I was sitting on the stand (I am the back up chorister in our branch haha) and could see that April was puffy eyed and teary. I'm so grateful that the Spirit speaks to people.

Hong Kong is a wonderful place. Being a missionary is truly the happiest time. I am so grateful for all the lessons and opportunities that the Lord has given me. 

Some broccoli we bought at the store

With some bonus protein!