Monday, October 26, 2015

Our Awesome Investigators

Sister Park and I have had a lovely week! We both love serving here in Kowloon together. We were blessed with so many miracles and also learning opportunities.

I want to share a bit about some of our investigators. Jenny, who we have been teaching for a few weeks, has been in mainland and unable to meet. But, Saturday evening she called and said, "what time is church tomorrow? I'm back and I want to come." She had a great time!

Our other investigator with a baptismal date is also progressing so well. She has changed so much and is excited to be baptized. We are now teaching her the commandments.

April, who we have been unable to meet with for over a month, told us yesterday afternoon that she had been planning on coming to church but was sick and unable to attend. She plans on meeting with us next week. It has been so long since we have seen her, but we have not given up and have continued praying for her everyday. Hopefully this will become the answer to our prayers.

Anna and her grandson, Luis, are so eager and happy to be learning about the gospel. Luis' mother left him and so his grandmother really wants to help him to have the happiest life possible. She seems to understand that happiness comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We had lots of good food this week! Several yummy Chinese dinners and then a family even fed us enchiladas!!!! Wow....I have not had Mexican food in SO LONG!

Serving here is Hong Kong is the happiest thing in the world.

Also, my companion is the CUTEST!

Mong Kok - shopping area in HK
Pumpkins are SO expensive!

Hong Kong is SO pretty!

So much food!!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Prayers, Park, and Popos

It was a lovely week!

Sister Park and I had the miracle of meeting four new investigators this week. Agnes and Bonnie are a set of friends in college who are really excited to be learning about Jesus Christ. When we told them that Christ is our older brother they were so happy. Agnes said that since they both grew up as the only child they never had the experience of having an older sibling and so they are so happy to learn that they really do have a loving older brother.

We also met Anna and her grandson, Luis. They are also really excited to be learning about Jesus Christ. It is such a special blessing that we get to share the gospel with these people. Anna is a retired Beijing opera singer. Their apartment is covered of pictures of her in her fancy Beijing opera clothes. If you haven't heard Beijing opera, go listen to it!

My companion is awesome. Sister Park is learning and growing so much. She has so much charity and really loves the investigators and basically just anyone we meet. I am so grateful for what she has taught me.  One thing in particular that we have both come to understand is the importance and power of prayer and also trusting that the Lord will guide us. Just a small example - one evening we were doing our daily planning for the next day and we had a spot for finding. We wanted to make sure that we would go where the Lord wanted us to go and so we decided to pause and say a prayer and ask where we should go. After we concluded the prayer we discussed it for a moment and still did not know where we should go. But, then the phone rang and the Elders called and asked if we could do the Welcome Center the next day. It was perfect! The Lord told us exactly where He needed us to be. I know that it will not always happen as instantly and perfectly as that time, but I know that the Lord always answers our prayers.

Speaking of Sister Park, I gave her an English name this week! I love that in China/Hong Kong/all of Asia people can pick their English name. Sometimes they are really funny. My favorite ones that I heard this week were Left and Fish. Haha! And both of them were really cute college girls. Oh, and the name I gave Sister park is Eloise :) But, right now she is Sister Park (Piao Jiemei)

This week I also learned the importance of ALWAYS "being an example of the believers," even during our early morning exercises. Every morning we go to a little park for workout time. The park is always full of popos (old people). They do tai chi and what we call "popo exercises" (basically you bobble up and down while also shaking your arms and hands and then occasionally swinging your arms really wide). It's so cute and funny to watch them. I always run in the morning and on Monday morning a cute little old couple came up to me and said that they like watching me run every morning because I'm "fast" (I'm sooooooooooooo slow now...but I'm definitely faster than the popos who walk around ... haha). They talked to me and I ended up being able to share about us missionaries and a bit about what we do and our church. It was great! And I have seen them every morning since then and they always say hi or talk to me for a few minutes.  :)

Super yummy dinner a member fed us!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Count Your Many Blessings

I hope everyone had a lovely. Our week was good too. I think as far as the amount of lessons and things that we had, this has been one of my lowest weeks in the mission. And so, that might make it seem like this week is just "alright". But, numbers are important, but they are not everything. Last night, during my personal study I was reflecting on the week's activities. I thought about why we had not had as many lessons or any new investigators. Then the thought occurred to me "count your blessings." And, so I did. I wrote down all the miracles that had happened and blessings that we had received this week. My list ended up being very long. Some of the blessings and miracles were more simple than others, but all were gifts from our Heavenly Father. I want to share some of the things that I wrote down:

In one of the three full lessons this week we met with our investigator, Jenny. She accepted a baptismal date and also came to see General Conference.

In another one of these full lessons, our investigator with a baptismal date (pictured at right) shared with us many of her challenges. She also told us that this weekend she would have the opportunity to go to Shenzhen (she loves Shenzhen) and that going there for a few days would make her feel better. We then taught her about the Plan of Salvation. At the end we asked "what do you think?" and she said "I think I need to come to see General Conference this weekend." She skipped going to Shenzhen and came to watch conference instead. When we called her last night she shared with us all of her favorite parts of conference.

Our other full lesson happened on Wednesday evening after English class. After English class was over, Sister Park and I found a classroom and drew some pictures on the board that we wanted to use for our lesson. Then, our investigator called and told us that she did not think she could make it in time (because we would have to leave by about 9:30). While I was on the phone a man walked by and asked if he could borrow my whiteboard marker. I gave him a thumbs up and he said he would bring it back when he was done. After the call Sister Park and I were sad and we started to pack up. I realized that the man still had my marker, but I did not want to be rude and go take it from him right away. We decided to stay in the classroom and do our calls for about 15 minutes and then we would get the marker and go home. After about 10 minutes our investigator called and said the the MTR had taken much less time than she had expected and she was in Kowloon Tong right now. She quickly came to the chapel for our lesson. Afterwards Sister Park made an amazing observation. She said "If that man did not take your marker, we would have left. We would not have been here when she got here." Heavenly Father has all things happen for a reason.

Thursday we were trapped in our apartment all day while the repair man fixed everything. He fixed things that have been broken for months!  When he finally left at 7:45 the apartment looked like a tornado had gone through. Originally we had two lessons scheduled for Thursday. They both cancelled. This allowed us to be available to be in the appartement so that our roommates could go to their lessons.  During this time Sister Park and I did our studies, planning, records, calls and during the companionship invetory portion of weekly planning we were able to discuss the importance of obedience and make new companionship goals to help us become more exactly obedient missionaries.  This has allowed both of us to have more of the Spirit.

Sister Stromberg and I killing the bugs.
We wore tennis shoes with our skirts -
it's such a Hong Kong fashion thing to to do!
This week we also received the blessing of a clean and spirit filled apartment. After Sister Park had lost something we decided to move her desk to see if it had fallen into the crack between the desk and the wall. What we ended up finding is that underneath (and what we later discovered was actually living inside) of Sister Park's desk was a bunch of those gross silverfish bugs. Sister Park is terrified of bugs. She said "Heavenly Father made me lose that so that I would find that I was living with bugs! He knows I hate bugs!" This experience taught me two things. First, the Lord wants us to have clean homes so that we can feel the Spirit. And, so he will let us know when we have a problem that needs to be fixed. And second, the Lord knows us and loves us.

The weather got cooler!

And of course, General Conference was amazing! I am so grateful to be a part of the Lord's true church on the earth. And I am even more grateful to be serving as a representative of Jesus Christ and help bringing people to know of His love.

And so, I think that our week was actually much more than just "alright" - it was actually pretty great :) and in light of General Conference....go watch it! It is sooooo good!!!!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book of Mormon Insights

Sister Park and I have had a great week. The Lord blessed us with so many miracles. We were blessed with the help of the Holy Ghost to guide us in all the things that we had to do. I want to start with sharing one of those miracles. Monday afternoon right before we went to send emails we got a call from a woman named Jenny. She told us that she had met other missionaries, but that they could not really speak Mandarin and so they just gave her our phone number. She then said "I am free to meet tonight. Where is your chapel?" At first I did not believe it. People do not ever seem to call us back. But, sure enough we went to meet with her and she was awesome! She has been in Hong Kong about a year and she really wants to learn. Sister Park and I were so grateful for that little miracle.

We also had a great lesson with another investigator on Friday. She saw a baptismal service last Sunday and she told us how spiritual and special it was. She also said that she feels that she has changed so much since we first started meeting. And it is very true. Sister Park and I can very obviously see a change. I think that before she was a bit sad, but now she seems to have a lot more pep. She shared with us about how she is changing and also how her relationship with her husband is improving too and she believes it is because of the gospel. Yay! I just love seeing the change that happens in people when they realize who they really are as children of God. Many people do not understand who they really are and we are so blessed that we get to be the ones to tell them.

I also love the Book of Mormon and want to share a bit about my adventures while reading the Book of Mormon this week. This week in my Book of Mormon reading I was in Jacob 5. I do not know why, but I seem to have an unusual fear of that chapter. Every time I have read the Book of Mormon I have been so stressed when I get to that chapter and always feel like I do not understand it (plus it is like 6 pages long...). And so, I started a bad habit of just reading through it really quick so that I can get to Jacob 6. But, this week I repented of that bad habit and studied that chapter for a couple of hours. It is delightful! I really regret not having studied it much earlier, but I am grateful that I was able to study it this week. I especially like when it says that "the Lord of the vineyard wept." The Lord loves and cares for all of us. We are all so lucky!

Also, random story of the week. Yesterday at church a member came up to me and hugged me. She had been gone in her hometown in northern China for about two weeks and so she said "Sister Sharp! I brought you a present from my home!" and I said "Yay!" (people always bring back yummy pastries and stuff from mainland so I was excited). But instead of a pastry she pulled out of her bag a giant sausage! Hahaha - it was the most random thing! I put it in my bag and then I smelled like sausage for the rest of church. Haha best present ever :)  

My present!