Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving To All

Happy Thanksgiving!
I am so grateful to be serving the Lord in the best mission in the world. We had a lovely week this week. I am so grateful for all the blessings that the Lord is giving us.
Our investigator, Guo JM, is preparing so well for her baptism. She passed her interview this last week and will be baptized this coming Sunday. She is very excited because that day is also her birthday. Actually, while helping her fill out the baptismal record we discovered that December 6 (this Sunday) is her birthday according to the lunar calendar, but that her "real" birthday was the day that she had her baptismal interview. I guess that is the Lord's way of saying that it is meant to be!
Our other investigators are doing really well too. One of our newer investigators, Jenny, came to church with her daughter, Amy, and they both loved it. After church I was talking to Jenny and she said that before she did not really believe in God or anything, but she has slowly begun to feel something. I reminded her that we had learned about the Holy Ghost during Sunday school class and she agreed that she must be feeling the Spirit. I think that she has a lot of potential. She is eager to learn and also very sensitive to the feelings of the Spirit. We are all very excited for her and her daughter.
Thanksgiving dinner #1
Sister Lam is doing awesome. Her and Sister Park are both so great. They both are teaching me so much and I am so grateful to be with them. Being in a tri-companionship is so much fun!
For Thanksgiving we had a zone Thanksgiving dinner. It was fun and yummy. I was in charge of sweet potatoes! Our zone actually only has like 6 Americans in it and then everyone else is from the Philippines, Korea, England, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Sai wonder our zone is the "international zone". So, it was most everyone's first Thanksgiving dinner. I think they all liked it :)
Then, right after filling up we ran to visit a senior missionary couple who had also invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner. So yummy! And, they introduced us to their mandarin-speaking member.
Sister Park has never had Thanksgiving before and she was so lucky to get two in one day. We have discovered that she realllly loves mashed potatoes. She kept saying "wow, its soooo soft! How do they make it so soft?" And all week I have been teaching Sister Park and Sister Lam about Thanksgiving traditions. It has been fun, but now I am sooo ready for CHRISTMAS time!!
Sister Sharp teaching English class
English class teachers (missionaries) with a few students
Sister Sharp and her "posterity" - i.e. two "children" (those she trained), one grandchild, and one step-grandchild(?)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Introducing Sister Lam

Sisters Sharp, Lam, and Park

Great week! We are just so excited to be working with Sister Lam (my new trainee). Sister Park and I
really love her. The Lord has blessed me with such awesome companions. I am so grateful for both Sister Lam and Sister Park's examples. I have also really loved seeing how much Sister Park has "grown up" in the last week. She is such a good older sister. Sister Lam too is so great.  She is from Hong Kong and started her mission on Tuesday. I also met her on Tuesday. She actually will be going to serve in the Temple Square mission in Salt Lake City, but she is waiting for a visa and so she will start her mission here in Hong Kong. She is adjusting well to missionary life (even without the MTC) and is very eager to learn.

Our investigators are doing really well. We only have one investigator who is progressing, but she is progressing wonderfully and preparing for her baptism in a couple of weeks. We are so excited for Guo JM. She is always so excited to share her spiritual experiences with us.

Another miracle of the week was that Ethel took home a Book of Mormon. Ethel is 19 and has been meeting on and off with missionaries for a couple of years. She really likes the church, but her mother is very very opposed. Her school also tells her bad things about our church (lots of kids go to Christian or Catholic schools), but she always says that she does not believe them. However, she has not been willing to take a Book of Mormon home because the last time she took one home (a couple of years ago) her mother threw it away. And so, because she has not really read the Book of Mormon (though, sometimes she will look at it on her phone) she does not have that testimony that this church is God's only church and that everything she has been learning about is true and will help her if she is willing to accept it. When we met with her this week we really focused on the Book of Mormon. She agreed to take the book!

We also met one our investigator Annie's husband. At first I was a bit scared when we went to meet with her and she said that she was bringing her husband because he wanted to know what this missionary stuff was. He ended up being great. He was so nice. He was also super funny. He is not interested and not really willing or ready to listen, but at least he does not oppose. He said "I don't need this, but you are free to 'chuan jiao'(like do missionary work...) to my wife." Unfortunately, she will be heading back to mainland for the holiday season, but we will be sure to keep meeting when she gets back.

Another cool thing has happened. Sister Lam (our mission President's wife...not my new companion...there are a lot of Chinese people with the surname of "Lam") was telling me at our interview a few weeks ago that she met a mandarin speaking woman while out eating with some friends. The restaurant they were at was not in our area, but it turns out that the woman, Bao JM, lives in our area. She has been to church for the last two weeks and loves it! We have not been able to meet with her yet, but she says that she will keep coming to church. Thank you to Sister Lam for being an awesome missionary!

Sometimes as missionaries you meet weird people. Everyone is a child of God...but sometimes weird things happen. For example, we got a call last night (at 2:50 am) from a man we had met a few days earlier. We did not answer (we were all asleep), but he left a voicemail of him just singing Christmas songs. Every day as a missionary is fun, happy, and interesting! 

Sister Park figured out how to roast marshmallows in our little toaster oven!
It takes a long time and she gets really sweaty!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Training Again

A monkey and me - I'm so brave!

Another lovely week. The weather finally cooled off! But, then it is hot again today....

We saw monkeys last Wednesday. They are surprisingly scary!

I think the biggest miracle for the week was our investigator GuoJM. She has been in mainland for the last two weeks. She came back this week and was able to meet with us. She is very excited for baptism and wants to be baptized on December 6. December 6 is also her birthday! After teaching her we reminded her the importance of coming to church and confirmed that she would be coming this week. She said that she would not be able to because she was going to Shenzhen and would come back Sunday evening. We explained to her that if she wants to be baptized on her birthday she needs to be at church this week (and every week). She told us that she would come back Saturday evening so she could come to church. She did! yayay!

President Lam called this morning to inform me that I will need to pick up my third trainee! Sister Park and I just finished the three month training program last week and now I will get to start all over :) I will now have had three mission babies and a grandbaby (Sister Ellsworth has been training for a few weeks now) :)

Also, I'm so excited for Christmas and Thanksgiving!!! Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Saturday of Miracles

We had some hard days and some a bit less hard days but all of them were so good. Saturday in particular was miraculous! Here's why:

First, we met with a long time investigator (like a couple years I think), Ethel. She is a teenager and really struggles with faith. She also hears lots of anti about our church, but she also has a desire to follow Christ and does not believe the things others tell her. When deciding what to teach her this week Sister Park and I were a little stumped. Sister Park had the wonderful thought that we just need to focus on Jesus Christ. He really is the center of everything. We shared about his atonement and also watched the Bible video of his crucifixion. The spirit was so strong as Sister Park and I both testified of the love of Christ and of our Heavenly Father. While planning, we also felt inspired to invite her to baptism. It seemed like a long shot because Ethel really has been learning for a long time, but we decided to go for it. She was so happy we had invited her and said "I've always wanted to be baptized!"

Then, our second lesson for the day cancelled at the last minute. We were a bit disappointed, but decided it must be because Heavenly Father knew that we had not had enough time to plan her lesson yet and that we should have been more prepared.....

Saturday night we went to meet one of our newer investigators. He is an older man that we met by chance while visiting a different investigator, Anna, who lives in the same building as him. He actually heard us speaking Chinese and was interested in talking to us and said that we could come back and teach him and his wife sometime. We went last week, but his wife was out of town, so we just taught him a very simple lesson. On Saturday we were planning on teaching him and his wife. But, when we got to his building he was not home yet. So, we sat outside to wait and happened (I don't believe it was a was definitely God's hand) to see our other investigator, Anna, and her grandson outside playing ping pong. She was happy to see us, but also a bit confused as to why we were there. We told her that we had come to teach a different family, but they were late. She talked with us for a bit and invited us to come visit her after we finished visiting the other family. Eventually the investigator we were originally going to meet came home and he let us come visit and teach him and his wife. At first his wife was really skeptical of us, but by the end she opened up and we had a wonderful time. Her husband was so excited to share with her the things that he had learned last week when we came (about prayer). They are so cute. They are probably in their upper 60s and just so adorable. When we were going up to their apartment we passed the building security guards and very happily he said "these are my missionary friends!".  And then, we went to visit Anna and her grandson and had a great lesson with them too. It was a wonderful day! Everyday is wonderful but Saturday was just an example of how the Lord really is helping his work to move along. I am so grateful to be his instrument in doing so.

Various pictures this week:
Reminds me of that building from the new Star Trek movies (Dad - so proud of her reference)

Crazy missionaries

P-day Picnic at the Park

Hong Kong really is tiny!

Sister Park is NOT a good piggy-back rider!

Love this city

On our way to see the monkeys

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Work of the Lord Continues

Working with Sister Valenzuela

We were hit by lots of cancelled lessons and interesting schedule changes. But, it is no matter. The
work of the Lord continues on. This week I went on exchanges with Sister Valenzuela. I went to Tagalog work and her companion came here to Mandarin work. Sister Park was a bit nervous, but she was also excited for the challenge. I think it went very well. She was very excited to tell me all the things that she had learned. She was especially scared because her companion does not speak Mandarin, but she told me that Heavenly Father really helped her and everything went well. I also had a great time with Sister Valenzuela. I think she is such an amazing example. Her faith and desire to help people are so strong.

Last week, while visiting an investigator we happened to meet a really nice older man.  He was really interested when he heard us speaking on the phone in Chinese. This week we were able to meet with him again. His wife was in mainland to see a dentist and so she could not come this time, but he said that she will be back in a few days and then we can come again to see them both.

At a pretty neat park
We have an investigator, April, who we have not been able to meet with for some time. I used to talk about her a lot in my emails because she was progressing amazingly and we all thought she would be baptized pretty soon. But, she randomly got really busy and stopped meeting and coming to church. Sister Park and I were devastated. She was always so happy when she came to church and when she was learning about the gospel. She has such a strong desire to have an eternal family. I do not know what happened...(maybe she was not ready yet or maybe Satan also knew how awesome she was and so he distracted her). We have tried to keep in contact with her by calling and texting every once in a while. She is friendly, but always too busy. BUT, last week she texted and said that things have finally started to calm down again and she wants to come back. Yesterday, she and her whole family came to church!  What a miracle! Hopefully now she will be more ready to receive the blessings of the gospel!

Our other investigators are doing well too. Unfortunately, they were unable to attend because either they were in mainland or taking care of sick friends (really, we had several people cancel because their friend was sick or in the hospital...). We hope that next week we will have more success in bringing people to church. Coming to church is just such a special opportunity for them to feel the Spirit and see the fruits of the gospel.

Happy Halloween!!!!! People don't really celebrate Halloween here....but I have had fun telling my companion all about it. We also taught English class with a Halloween theme. People were pretty confused when I tried to explain what "trick or treat" actually means. Hahaha 

We are diverse missionaries!  (Myanmar, Korea, America, Philippines)
1995 was the Year of the Pig

We are all PIGS!