Monday, October 6, 2014

Bipolar - Week 36


This past week was better. I have never felt so bipolar in my life as I have as a missionary. This is turning out to be my hardest transfer besides my first. My first wasn't necessarily hard I was just new and tired but this transfer is kicking my butt. But it's ok, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I think this is why I had such a good last transfer with my first baptism, God was preparing me.

We had zone conference this past week which was grand. President and Sister Cooke are so great. President Cooke cracks me up. For upcoming birthdays we get birthday scarves or ties. Two other sisters and I have birthdays this month so we were looking at the scarves and couldn't decide which one to get. President Cooke promptly came over and chose for us. He was telling us this one would bring out our eyes or complexion and that one would highlight our features. So funny. So I now own a scarf picked out by my mission president for me.

We had some good lessons last week. We taught Zhang LiYing a couple times. We don't speak her dialect and she doesn't speak ours but we can kind of understand each other. The first lesson was annoying. It took us over an hour to get through a 5 minute object lesson because she kept on talking and talking and not listening. At the end she said we need to teach her more slowly because she's not understanding. I wonder why. The second lesson we kindly told her that we are glad she has such strong faith in Christ but that we are here to teach her. That one went a lot better. We invited her to be baptized and she sort of accepted. She has already been baptized in another church and is totally willing to be baptized again but wants to understand why before she commits. The only problem is that our member interpreter with us doesn't know how to say "priesthood" or "authority" in her dialect so we literally could not explain why she needs to be baptized again. We'll try again tomorrow and hopefully figure out how to say it.

We also taught a Chinese girl living in DC. She's the singles ward sisters investigator but they invited us to help since she speaks mandarin. It took an hour and a half to get there and the lesson wasn't done until 9pm and then it took as an hour and a half to get home. Ouch. It was cool to be in DC late at night. I've only been in DC late at night twice but before I was surrounded with missionaries or people but this time it was just us and the occasional pedestrians on the street. Slightly sketchy but the city is cool at night.

We had Chinese choir practice again. There were only 10 people there and everyone was off key except for me and the one other soprano. It was funny but kind of a waste of time in my opinion. Oh well.

General Conference was so good! We watched it at the VC for Saturday morning and then members homes for the other three. I only watched the Sunday afternoon in Chinese but it had English subtitles. It's cool that they are having some of the men speak in their native languages. I'm glad President Uchtdorf stayed English though. It was fun having them speak a different language with Chinese translation and English subtitles.

On Saturday night we had hot pot for dinner after General Conference, it was so good! I'd heard about it from the rm missionaries from Hong Kong in my Chinese class at BYU. They weren't allowed to eat it there. Hot pot is where they put a special pot in the middle of the table with boiling whitish broth and lots of plates of food around it. They you just use your chopsticks to put the different food inside of the pot to cook it for a few seconds then you take it out and eat it. It was so good. The only problem is that the Chinese culture is for them to serve you and after a while I was so full but didn't know how to tell them to stop. I literally gained a few pounds overnight. 

Also, Chinese people don't like sweets. For dessert we always have grapes or sometimes really bland fruit cookies. Interesting, no wonder they are all so skinny.

Speaking of food and gaining weight, being on my mission has made me realize how much I want to be in shape when I go home. I was never fat or really out of shape but I wasn't in great shape unless I was playing lacrosse. Here it's just so hard to stay in shape with people feeding you stuff and 30 minutes of exercise or even 45 minutes just isn't always enough to counteract it especially since exercise doesn't always happen too consistently at 6:30am. Being in shape is a gift that I can't have on a mission. 

Here's a story that I read in the Ensign today that I just love. It made me laugh. 

"I was sitting in the corner of the celestial room by the organ during the dedication of the Memphis Tennessee Temple. President James E. Faust (1920–2007), a member of the First Presidency from 1995 to 2007, had come to dedicate the temple. He and several other leaders were seated behind the microphone. A local Church choir filed in and stood behind them.

A young woman I visit taught was a member of the choir. Throughout the meeting, I prayed that she would receive what she had come for. She had confided in me that she came to the temple dedication that day to find out her standing with the Lord. She had committed serious sins in the past, and though she had repented, she still struggled to feel good about herself. She even struggled to feel good about singing in the choir.

I stared at President Faust, feeling that he, as a representative of the Lord in the First Presidency, ought to be able to do something. But how could I tell him, and how could he do anything? After the meeting, he would file out of the room just as he had come in, and there would be no introductions, no handshakes, and no words exchanged. I understood that he was busy and had travel arrangements, but still I prayed.

President Faust, deep in thought, looked at me for a while--the muscles in his eyebrows were knit together. When the meeting ended, a happy expression flooded his countenance with light.

He looked at me again and then suddenly stood up, turned around, and stretched his arm forward as far as it would go. He pointed directly at my friend. Then he said firmly and loudly, “The Lord loves you!”

President Faust’s gesture was small and simple yet so powerful that it could have come only from the Holy Ghost communicating to him what I could not. Those few words blessed my friend and continue to sustain my faith that the Lord is mindful of the details of our lives and “that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6)."

And the scripture is Jacob 4:4-6. In case we weren't told enough yesterday about the importance of following the prophet, here's another reason. When we listen to and follow the prophets our faith is fortified and strengthened and we can command in the name of Jesus and the very mountains or waves of the sea obey us. Whuut? So cool! Of course that doesn't mean that we can just move mountains whenever we feel like it, only if God commands us to or if Pharaoh is chasing you trying to kill you. But we can have power to overcome temptation and stand for what's right and bring power into our family and homes.

I love you all, you're the best.


Sister Black

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