Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Miracle of a Mission (Last Letter)

My wonderful companions

This is my last letter (as a missionary). It feels weird. I don't think it has really sunk in that I am actually leaving. Yesterday at church was so great but also so sad. I really love the members that I have been blessed to serve with. I think very few missionaries can say that they served in the same branch their whole time as a missionary (though, my trainer did too), but I'm really happy to say that I did. Victoria III is a wonderful place and I love it!

As I have been reflecting back on this week and also on my time as a missionary, I have realized that the Lord has been constantly giving me miracles. I am so grateful for His love and support. Here are just a few of the miracles I found from this week:

-This is very simple, but it made me really happy and I even used this is a lesson yesterday and it went very well. About a week ago I ran out of toothpaste. I did not want to buy a new tube because it is so big and I would only use a little bit before I left and I would not be able to take it on the airplane. Luckily, my companions are awesome and have been letting me use their toothpaste. I was hoping to buy a travel size tube, but so far have been unable to find one. So, then I was thinking that I could probably buy one at the airport. But, buying it at the airport is always more expensive. Not that my toothpaste is super important, but I know that Heavenly Father loves us and is willing to help with the big and the little as long as we ask. I have not prayed specifically for toothpaste, but I have prayed that I would prepare well to go home and not be stressed about packing or anything so that I could just focus on missionary work. One day this week we were walking across the Wan Chai bridge. There were people handing out free samples, as always. I didn't think about taking it (I never really do), but then I saw the person next to me had taken it and it was a bottle of travel sized toothpaste! I quickly grabbed one. I know that Heavenly Father cares for us!

-I am so blessed to be called as a mandarin speaking missionary. Nothing helps boost my faith like seeing the faith of wonderful mainland members.

-There were so many times this week (and every week) when we are really pressed for time, but by some means we make it on time. Travel miracles are real!

-Yesterday, Ethel came to church!!! We have been working with her for so long. She has made baby steps, but she is improving so much. She was so happy at church and the members were so awesome with her.

-I think serving in the same branch for my whole time as a missionary is quite a miracle.

-I think being a missionary in general is a miracle. I am so grateful for the opportunity.

-The change that has happened since I have become a missionary is so big. It is definitely a miracle that a person can change (hopefully for the good) in such a short amount of time.

-And lastly, Jesus Christ's atonement is a miracle. And it gives me strength every day.

I am so grateful to serve as the Lord's representative for the last year and a half. But, I know that even when I am not wearing a name tag I am still a disciple of Christ.

Love you all!!!
I will really miss Hong Kong food!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Some Things I've Learned

This week has been wonderful. I really love Hong Kong and am so lucky to be serving here!

Yesterday at church I gave my departing talk. I felt like I did when I left home. haha  Basically I gave another farewell talk. I was asked to share some missionary experiences. I shared three with the hope that it would illustrate some of the lessons I have learned. Here they are:

1)The first time i went finding. I was really excited and then I saw a woman crying. I knew I needed to talk to her, but I became scared. I did not talk to her. I regretted it and told my companion that if we saw her again, then I would hug her. We did. I hugged her. She cried and called us angels. From this I better understood that we are all Heavenly Father's children. He loves all of us. When we are willing to follow the Spirit he will guide us to find those who need him. He wants everyone to feel his love and the power of Christ's atonement.

2) Finding on Christmas day. We were hoping to spread Christmas cheer to mainlanders who don't know the true meaning of Christmas. Our plans were foiled when we met two British men and talked to them. The younger of the two was interested. The older considered himself very knowledgeable of all things religion (including about the Mormons) and was grateful for the opportunity to "educate" us. When we tried to share a scripture with the younger man, the older man grabbed my Book of Mormon and said sarcastically, "No, if we just open it randomly then we we see what God wants us to see." He opened randomly and gave it to me to read. I read the first verse I saw, Alma 10:6, "Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart...." He was pretty taken aback. Sometimes missionary work is scary and hard. But, our message is true. When we boldly stand as Christ's representatives then we do not need to fear. He is always supporting us.

3) One day we met a woman from India named Tanya. We taught her about the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon. She liked it. The next day she went back to India. I have never seen her since, but 4 months after I met her I received a phone call. It was from India. She told me that she had finished reading the Book of Mormon. She loved it, and that she just really felt like she needed to call us. After digging through her suitcase, she found our phone number and called us. I got all of her contact info and sent it to missionaries in India. We often do not know the results of our missionary efforts. I have heard that on average someone needs 7 encounters with the church before they will be baptized. Every effort we make will help someone draw closer and closer to Christ, even if we never get to see the end result. 

I have been so blessed to serve in the same branch for my whole missionary time. I don't think many other missionaries can say the same thing. I know that I am here because it is what the Lord wants. I am so grateful to have served in such a wonderful place. And, even when I don't wear a name tag anymore, I will always be the Lord's servant and missionary. 

Happy Chinese New Year!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Missionary words of wisdom

Happy New Year! Gong xi fa cai!!!  

We have had a lovely week (and a half). Since I am reporting on last week I will try not to include the things that have happened this week. Sister Park, Sister Lam, and I are doing really well. We are seeing lots of miracles and feeling really blessed.

Our zone training was on Friday. I think it went well. Since it was my last zone training meeting, I was able to share my "words of wisdom". I guess it is a mission tradition. (basically you just share for like 3 minutes about what you have learned as a missionary) I felt like I should talk about why missionary work is hard. There is a talk by Elder Holland that explains why this is. Basically, the reason missionaries and leaders have a difficult time is because "salvation is not easy". When Christ atoned and suffered for us it was not easy. I've thought about this a lot while being a missionary. I've come to understand that there is no reason that I should feel sorry for myself. Missionary work is difficult, but that is what makes it so wonderful. Christ's atonement was unimaginably more difficult. I am his representative, and so I am happy that I get to do hard things and then be lifted by him.

We also had some good lessons this week. With one of our investigators, Ethel, we watched the full length Joseph Smith movie. I feel the Spirit was really strong as we were discussing it afterwards. Even if it did not help Ethel (though, I think it did), it at least helped me and my companions. I think all three of us were strengthened in our testimonies of the restoration.

On Saturday we went to the Kwun Tong children's English class. Our plan was to meet with one of the students, Melody, and her mom after the class. However, during the class her mother came out to the hallway to talk to us. We had met her before, but had not yet taught her. After chatting for a few minutes she just broke down. Her brother, who is the only family that she has, is living in America and recently became very ill. She was so sad. We comforted her and took advantage of the opportunity to teach her about the nature of God and His love for her. Sometimes people need to be humbled before they are ready to hear the gospel. She and her daughter have been attending this English class for at least as long as I have served in Kowloon (a year), but she has never agreed to be taught. I'm so grateful that we could be in the right place and the right time to be God's instruments in comforting her.
This is like dinner every night.  Everyone wanted to feed us for Chinese New Year

We're making thousands of dumplings!

Dad - I think her crepe-making skills came in handy!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lots of Lessons

We had an awesome week this week. All of our lessons went really well.

On Monday, we met with an investigator, HuJM. The lesson did not go as we had planned because her twin sons were a little more distracting than usual. Normally we just bring a lot of candy to give them...but now she doesn't want them to eat as much candy....soooo....haha it was a little rough. But, she did tell us that she now prays every day. We were so happy. That is such a big step for her. I think it is easy to see that she is happier now than she was when we first met her.

One of our lessons on Tuesday was with an investigator, CaiXS and his wife. They are 80 and 75 years old. His wife is not as interested, but CaiXS really loves learning the gospel. They are the cutest little old couple. Teaching them is so fun.

On Wednesday we met with our investigator Ethel. She is doing really well. She likes the church and wants to be baptized, but she still does not know if the Book of Mormon is true. I think that once she has a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon, then she will have no problem doing everything else that she needs to do. She reads from the Book of Mormon often, but still has not received or recognized the witness from the Holy Ghost that it is true. So, when we met this week we shared with her about the Holy Ghost. We helped her understand what he is, what his purpose is, and how he communicates with us. She committed to read and pray and listen. We will also be praying for her.

On Friday we taught some teenage girls and one of the girl's little brother. It was our second time meeting with them. We decided that we need to teach them differently than we teach our other investigators. We used a game to teach them and it ended up going super well. We are really hoping to meet their parents and start teaching them all together.

Sunday we were not able to get anyone to church. Even though we were busy teaching lessons this week, no one was available to come to church. But, we were able to have some good lessons on Sunday evening. Lily, who has a baptismal date, is doing well. Though, she started telling us about a fortune teller lady that she goes to... And then Aphim and her daughter are also doing really well. They barely have time to meet, but they were able to make some time for us to come and visit. It was nice.

I love you all back home!