“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”
December 9, 2013
Dearest family and friends,
This week went by super fast!!! Since I've been kind of lazy about writing in my journal recently, I'll just include the events that I DID write or I remember... haha Sorry, I'm soooo busy over here and I wish you all could be here with me, but I'll try to share just a tiny-itsy-bit of how happy I am over here. (Basically, whatever I DO write in my emails home, it's only the smallest portion/bit of how happy I am. - Indescribable happiness!!)
Personal study: 1 Nephi 20:10
"For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."
verse 17: "The Lord they God who teacheth thee to profit, who leadeth thee by the way thou shouldst go..."
vs. 18: "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments - then had thy peace been as a river and they righteousness as the waves of the sea."
vs. 22: "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked."
God HAS chosen us out of a midst of afflictions. He wasnt us to have the peace described in vs. 13 - as a river. He wants us to be righteous and steadfast like the waves of the sea. All that He requires of us is a humble, submissive, willingness to obey his commandments. Can we do that? Can we choose of ourselves to keep His commandments?! I don't know about you, but sure want to try!! I definitely feel like that promised blessingis worth working hard for.
As I was reviewing my notes taken in PMG, I came across one of the notes I wrote off the side of "A Successful missionary" (Page 10). Here it is:
Don't get descouraged. It's okay to feel disappointment when the people you love don't understand/realize how important the messages of this gospel are, but never get discouraged. Never let yourself fall away because you are disappointed. Walk on in faith, believing that God is there. He is a aware and will guide you.
I had written that note in a time when I felt that God had forgotten me on my mission. I had written them feeling as if I was holding on to nothing but the last puny straw of hope/faith that I had. Now that I look back, I can't but feel an overwhelming gratitude for knowing that God really NEVER did and NEVER will forget me. He was carrying me through the hardest times. He was walking with me - carrying my pains and burdens, guiding me with His love and light.
Sometimes we forget how much God loves us - how powerful He REALLY is. More often than not, we should stop worrying so much about little things others may do or choose. We should sense that God WILL direct and love/protect those who are trying their best to do His will and develop faith and patience.
When we look at our own actions, we are doing ourselves as well as others a huge favor. God doesn't need us to judge others - to control their decisions and worry non-stop over the decisions they may make. He wants us to do our part, be aware of ourselves, and go about with a love and example that speaks much louder than a reprimand or an unspoken grudge.
I guess I went on a little rant right there, but the point is this: God is God. He loves us. Trust in HIM, and be happy. He will guide us through whatever opposition we may encounter.
Something that an elder in our district shared with us yesterday night was that he realized how happiness really is our own choice. We can choose whether or not to look at a situation with an optimistic point of view or to complain and be unhappy about the trials and tribulations we may be going through at that moment.
haha I feel like I share basically the same messages over and over again every week in my emails home... I guess that just goes to show just how important I really think these concepts and principles are!!!
Today was the Christmas English party. Sister Anderson and I spent a lot of time on Tuesday finishing up all the Christmas decorations. We also had Zone training meeting on Tuesday. After the meeting, our district decorated the gym together until dinner time. After dinner, we went to a young member couple in the 2nd ward to help them hold a family home evening. FHE was really fun. We played the game "Clue" for the activity, and we played as teams. Sister Anderson and I won BOTH times we played.
Everyone who came to the Christmas party LOVED it. Sister Anderson and I spent basically the whole day making mashed potatoes, yams, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, salad, and cutting up fruit for the students. Our English party was AWESOME. We had about 8 investigators at the church, and we made SO MUCH FOOD. It was ridiculous. I'll send some pictures in the email!!
This is the personal study from Wednesday:
1 Nephi 21:14-16
"Behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me - but he will show that he hath not."
"For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel."
"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me."
It's comforting/overwhelming to know how much God loves and cares for us. From reading these scriptures, I know that Christ's atonement was out of the love He has for every single one of us, and all we have to do is remember to keep His commandments.
Thursday and Friday are kind of meshed together:
I've noticed that this week's biggest challenge for me is having patience with others as well as myself!! Sometimes, I get frustrated when I can't control the actions of others. I always have to remind myself that God doesn't want me to change others. He wants me to change myself!!! Whenever I find myself criticizing members or my companion or my investigators, etc, I remember that the only person I am supposed to be changing is myself.
However, whenever I have been patient and put my trust in the Lord, I feel happier, and I'm able to concentrate more on the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I know that in life, one of the most important things is just LISTENING to the Spirit.
This morning, we biked all the way to Beidou to meet with Kiki. Beidou is one of the further places in our area and usually, it takes about an hour to get there from the church. After our appointment/lunch with Kiki, we realized we were short on time getting back to the church for our next appointment with Chen Shi Xuan, so we booked it back to the church and made it in record time: 30 minutes!! It was pretty epic. Oh, and another thing - I'm pretty sure the we bike WAY faster than all the elders in our area. Seriously... Anyway, we got to the church and had a member lesson with Chen Shi Xuan who really is progressing so fast!!! She wants to get baptized but has to wait till she's 18 years old. After her lesson, we had a young women's activity. Chen Shi Xuen came, and we all made chapstick and mosquito bite medicine from scratch. It was pretty awesome!!! :)
Today we visited Lai Qian Hui, Chen Shu Yue, Vilia, and Lin Cuen Hua. Sister Yeh, a sister missionary from Zhanghua also came down to stay with us until move call on Monday. :) Sister Anderson and I are both staying in Yuanlin together for an additional move call, and I am the new English leader (AGAIN). GAH.
Anyway, we met with our new investigator Vilia who is amazing!! She is a member referral and has a desire to find truth and peace in life. She has been baptized in a church while she was in Russia and is really looking for answers. She also asks the perfect questions. When we met with her, she asked all the first lesson questions!!! It was amazing because we just whipped out the pamphlet and were like, "TA-DA! Here's the answer to your question!!! RIGHT HERE!"
She's actually a little shy and doesn't like to feel stress, (Well, I don't know if ANYONE likes to feel stress... Anyway...) so we had to be really careful with the questions we asked her. It was the perfect moment to use begin teaching phrases with her, and we totally covered basically every one!! :) I think Vilia felt a lot more comfortable after we introduced our families to her and showed her pictures. I've learned that when you're trying to teach someone from the start, you must first get to know them and be their friend. That way, they are more willing and up to listening to you.
It's like when Nephi and his brothers went back to Jerusalem to get Ishmael's family to come to the wilderness with them. It says that they first "gained Ishmael's favor" before actually succeeding and going together with the family into the wilderness. Mission work and life in general works the same way. :) The Book of Mormon is awesome.
OH, also, I ordered a Chinese quad set of scriptures. I'm so excited to start using it!!! :) My characters are getting really good now, and I always write letters to the ward members when I have time at night before bed. GO LANGUAGE STUDY!!! YEAH!
On Saturday night, the elders baptized two of their investigators. The baptism was so awesome, and their investigators both bore really great testimonies. Something that I really loved about the testimony of one of the young men was how he now knows what's most important in his life. He expressed his desire to one day to have a nice, simple, loving family of his own. I LOVE FAMILY. It's so true.
After the baptism, we biked home and ran into two guys on a scooter. I felt prompted to just start talking to them. It was like words just were coming out of my mouth, and it just felt really natural as they pulled off to the side to exchange information. They said that they lived just near the church and it was the first time they saw us sister missionaries. Anyway, it was awesome because they said they would come to church and English class this upcoming week. :)
Today was great!! Move call came last night - turned out just as we expected. Sister Anderson and I are BOTH super happy to be spending Christmas and New Years' together!! It's going to be great since Sister Anderson's awesome (YEA!! SHOUTOUT TO SISTER ANDERSON'S MOM!!) sent her stuffing in the mail. hahaha I'm actually good with eating anything, but I'm really excited because Sister Anderson shares EVERYTHING, and stuffing is definitely something I'd love to be a part of.
There were 4 investigators at church today, and we had meetings with all of our ward councils. After church, we helped Sister Xue, a member who is moving, pack all her boxes into the moving truck. Then we had a lesson with her neighbor, our investigator Chen Jian Ru.
At night, we had a dinner with the 1st ward bishop Bishop Kuang. Since Elder Lin and Elder Bak both moved, he wanted to treat them to his fried rice, so all the missionaries went over to his home for dinner. Of course, his youngest son "K-9" (MY FAVORITE LITTLE BOY EVER) was there. When I arrived, K-9 had already saved a seat right next to him for me to sit on. :) I was OVERJOYED!! The whole time, K-9 and I were laughing and joking around. He's so silly because whenever he thinks something is funny, he'll wrinkle his nose and laugh really loudly. He also teaches his mother how to speak English. :) WE LOVE THE BISHOP AND HIS FAMILY.
Well, anyway, today is Monday. We dropped Sister Yeh off at the train station. She is going to Qishan to whitewash with another missionary of the same generation. They are going to do awesome!!
Today, Sister Anderson and I are planning on buying groceries and then just chilling at home/listening to Christmas music. It's going to be such an awesome day!!!
Alright, I love you all!! I'm so happy over here, you don't even know!! :) The mission is so good to me. I know God loves me because He is always watching over me. :)
Also, I like writing letters/cards, so if you want one, just send me your address in an email!