Monday, October 27, 2014

The Church is True Whether You Like It Or Not - Week 39


Sorry last week's email was kind of short. I was falling asleep on the
metro on the way home and was too tired to write much. This one is
going to be long. (:

Yes, my birthday packages arrived on time. I let one of the senior
sisters in the mission office know to look out for them and she was
sweet enough to drop them off at my apartment the day before my
birthday. Also, Ashley: those pajama pants and socks are amazing!
After taking our annual mission picture at the VC, my zone leader came
up to me with a package that said, "ThinkGeek" on it and I was
wondering what remarkable person would be so kind to send me that
merchandise. I was so happy! And quite a few people were jealous that
I now sleep better at night because I have kitty cat pajamas. (: (:

Last Tuesday after our mission picture, all of the Chinese
missionaries met with President Cooke to talk about the Chinese
program. President Cooke wants us to work more in DC, especially at
the universities. It's hard to have Chinese investigators in DC
because the church building where the branch meets is about an hour
away so President wants us to start two more Chinese sacrament
meetings down there. One will be at the institute building by the
University of Maryland. The other will be at the Barlow Center where
all the BYU interns are which is by Georgetown University. President
Cooke assigned Sister Liu and I to be in charge of Georgetown so we
get to go to the university and start making friends with the Chinese
students there and to organize Chinese sacrament meetings at the
Barlow Center. It's gonna take a lot of work and we need to find
people to help out with the sacrament and it will probably be just a
few of us passing the sacrament and preaching to each other at first
but hopefully we can get it to grow. Essentially I'm starting another
branch haha. So cool. I've been reading the church handbooks on how to
start your own branch. I'm very excited to have a project. You all
know how much I enjoy having projects to work on. (: Also, Sister Liu
can't extend until January like she wants to so she will be leaving in
December. President Cooke told me he's in contact with salt lake and
they are working hard to get another Chinese sister to me in time.

I have 6 weeks left with Sister Liu so I need to get proficient before
she leaves. My Chinese is substantially better than it was at the
beginning of the transfer. My second day in the branch, we visited a
recent convert couple and I didn't understand anything they were
saying and I tried to say two sentences and failed miserably. Now I
can understand almost half and what's being said, depending on the
conversation, and I can teach and testify well enough. The other day I
was doing my makeup and Sister Liu came up to me and in Chinese asked
what time we need to leave for something and I replied in Chinese. She
walked away and then it all of a sudden occurred to me how totally
weird it is that I'm just speaking this crazy language that terrifies
people. How the language works is really starting to click more.
Sister Liu is impressed by all the random vocab I know but I haven't
really understood the grammar until now. There's still so much to
learn though.. Sometimes it's overwhelming but the Lord called me here
for a reason so I'll get it eventually.

On Wednesday we had our sisters conference. We had some great
workshops and talks and we ate lunch and then enjoyed a really
incredible talk from one of the senior single sisters here. Her
husband was a pilot in the Vietnam war and he was deployed when she
was only 20. His plane was shot down 9 times. The last time, it was so
bad that when the plane crashed, he flew out the front window and he
caught fire. When another plane flew in to get him out, they grabbed
his arms and his skin slid off. Ouchy:( He didn't die. They thought he
was going to but he didn't and he went home and had ten kids and went
on to speak at fire sides about his experience. He died of a stroke in
1997. Anyway, ready for the crazy, this-church-is-true part? Almost
half of his body, I think 43%ish, was burned. And the part that wasn't
burned? Guess. Where his temple garments were. It was like a perfect
line along the collar and sleeves and legs where he was burned and
where he wasn't. That served as a huge testimony to him for the rest
of his life that the church is true. BOOM. THE CHURCH IS TRUE WHETHER
YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.  D. Todd Christofferson said in last General
Conference: "To those who believe anything or everything could be
true, the declaration of objective, fixed, and universal truth feels
like coercion--'I shouldn’t be forced to believe something is true
that I don’t like.' But that does not change reality. Resenting the
law of gravity won’t keep a person from falling if he steps off a
cliff." I don't like physics or biology or math but that doesn't make
it all false. I'm sorry if you don't like the commandments or the
bishop or the church but that doesn't mean it's not true. The end.

Wednesday night I had a really cool experience. Beware, this is
another one of those "it's true!" stories. Last Saturday, my birthday,
when we were tracting, a teenage girl answered the door. We talked to
her for a minute and she said we could come back. Sweet! We asked for
her name and said we would come back Wednesday. Later that night right
when I was about to fall asleep, I realized I forgot her name. I
didn't want to go back and not know her name because what if her dad
or someone else answered and we were like, "so there's a teenage girl
who lives here who said we could come teach her about Jesus, do you
know who she is?" Weird. I thought about it for the next few days and
could not remember what it was. Finally Wednesday night came. Before
heading out, I locked myself in the bedroom and prayed to God for
help. I explained my predicament even though He already knows because
it's what you do and asked for Him to help me remember. I didn't end
my prayer but instead just sat there thinking and waiting. And then it
happened. The name "Michelle" popped into my head and instantly I felt
a spark as I realized that that was it. I came out and told Sister Liu
that it's Michelle and she was like, "yeah, you're right!" So we went
and visited her. She wasn't home but her mom was so we talked to her
and then last night we went by again and gave her a Book of Mormon.
Super duper cool! Such an amazing answer to prayer.

On Thursday we taught Zhang LiYing. We got to the point where she said
she believes the Book of Mormon is God's word but she still won't
accept it. Because that totally makes sense. Have fun with that. We've
tried all we can so we are dropping her but she still comes to church
so that's good. That night we had Chinese choir. Yuck. Haha

I had a very enlightening dinner on Friday night. This week was filled
with enlightenment. So we all know there's not much Jesus in China.
But that doesn't mean He was never there. The gospel of Jesus Christ
is hidden in the Chinese characters! What??? Crazy! Let me show you
two examples: 羔 so the first part 𦍌 means sheep or lamb and the
bottom part 灬 means fire. Like a burnt animal sacrifice in the
scriptures! Or this word: 船 so the left part, 舟 means boat. 几 is like
八 which is eight, and 口 is the measure word for people. Where do we
find a boat with eight people? Noah's ark. Apparently you can find
more of this online. So cool, right? Also, China's symbol is a dragon.
In the scriptures, satan was sometimes referred to as a dragon. What
did satan want? To take away everyone's free agency. What does the
Chinese government do? Essentially take away everyone's free agency.
Being companions with Sister Liu, I've learned even more about the
Chinese government. Jesus used to be in China but He isn't there
anymore for some reason unknown to us and now it's ruled by a dragon.
But Jesus wasn't completely taken out because He's still hidden in
their language. I will research this more when I get home, it's
fascinating to think about.

I'm glad this transfer is over. On Wednesday I will be in my 7th
transfer (out of 12) and it will be my nine month mark. I'm now
already over halfway through my mission. That is so weird. I thought I
would be a greenie forever but now I'm halfway... What?? Some days I
never want it to end and other days I really miss Charlie and
Sylvester. I imitate Sylvester sometimes by meowing while licking my
lips and Sister Liu thinks it's hysterical. But anyway, next transfer
should be better. I have a project to work on. Sister Liu and I are
getting along better. My Chinese is improving. And the Lord has been
extremely patient with me this transfer but I think next transfer He
will definitely expect a lot more out of me. Lately I've been praying
to have God guide me during personal study instead of me just studying
whatever and it's been very enlightening. The Lord has taught me a lot
about what I need to do and understand to be a better missionary and
person. This transfer wasn't my best. It will probably go down as my
worst in terms of a lot of things. But it's all uphill from here and
it's gonna be better. Prepare to be amazed and what Sister Liu and I
can accomplish with the Lord as our third companion.

Also, I found D&C 68:6 today during my inspired personal study. This
scripture really hit me and it's now one of my new favorites. This is
a taste of what God has been teaching me lately. I'll just copy and
paste it since I know half of you won't bother to look it up:
  "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am
with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even
Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I
am, and that I am to come."    So good. Cue the tears.

And that was pretty much my week. Good stuff. I got some pictures off
of my camera so I will send those to you in additional emails since
there are a lot. I love you all so so much! Remember I will always
love you and I'm only a postage stamp or a "send" button away!



Sent from my iPad

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