Monday, March 16, 2015

Baby Steps - Week 58


We were pretty busy this week with lots of teaching appointments which
was great. Also, the weather is finally getting warmer. Winter always
seems so much longer than summer.

Monday night we went and taught a couple from Beijing. They came to
Festival of Lights last December and I was the one who taught them and
got them to agree to meet with missionaries! The elders never visited
them though so we got permission to go teach them even though they're
in the elders area. They are so cool. They have only lived here for a
year and a half and the wife doesn't speak any English. They also have
an adorable little boy who is three. The don't know anything about God
and don't know what prophets are or who Jesus is or anything. We are
going to teach them again tonight and we are going to spend the whole
lesson just on who God and Jesus are. I have never taught someone from
the VERY beginning so this will be fun. Also, they live in
Poolesville! And they live five or so houses down from the Velasquez
whom I taught last spring! The whole time we were driving there I was
so happy and nostalgic. It's weird that it has been a year now since I
was serving there with Sister Johnson. Where has the time gone? It's
beautiful there as always. So I'm excited to be teaching them. (:

Tuesday was a long day. We had a new missionary orientation to go to
for Sister Wu even though she isn't a new missionary. That afternoon
we taught the Xia family. I was also the one who taught them and got
their contact info at Festival of Lights. It's really fun to see the
fruits of my VC labors. They live in a huge mansion. Sister Wu and I
were in shock as we pulled up. The inside is beautiful but it seems so
empty. It's a woman and her three sons and her husband is off in China
most of the time for work. They have nice, expensive furniture but it
feels really empty. The lesson went alright. We taught it with the
elders since they are passing them to us. Sister Wu and I didn't think
the lesson went too well. The elders kind of spend too much time
talking and we were all bored and we were there forever. Short,
spiritual, engaging lessons where you're asking questions are the way
to do it. Not long lectures. Ugh. We also tried to knock houses that
night but weren't able to do much because the addresses I chose to
knock from our book took a while to get to and it was raining while I
was driving through an annoying city and we didn't have very long
since we had just found out that our appointment cancelled. Oh well.

Wednesday we had three lessons! We taught another rich Chinese woman
who is a member of the church but isn't consistent about coming to
church. We then taught Ruth who has been investigating on and off for
15 years now. She's almost there though, we are going to try to put
her on baptismal date this week. That night we drove for over an hour
through bad traffic to teach Linda who is a member of the church but
doesn't come to church.

Thursday we taught a member then spent the rest of the evening
tracting. We also spent time weekly planning and made 12 lesson plans
from the 5 lessons in Preach My Gospel since these Chinese people need
to be taught a lot slower than I think they have been. You can't
effectively teach the entire first lesson to people in one sitting if
they have no concept of God to begin with. Baby steps.

Friday was great. We had 4 lessons! I never had this last time I was
in the branch. We went and visited Jia Wei, the woman who is from
Beijing who lives in Poolesville, while her husband was at work. She
is super bored and lonely at home every day and doesn't have any
friends and doesn't leave the house because she can't speak English
very well. She takes classes but she is still shy about trying to
speak it. We ended up being over there for a long time. We read the
first chapter of the Book of Mormon with her and prayed but she really
didn't want us to go after that so we stayed and talked with her. More
like sister Wu talked with her while I tried to keep up and inserted a
sentence here and there. After that we taught a less active woman who
also lives in a big house. Then we had dinner with the branch
president's wife and her son. Then we taught a less active man and his
nonmember wife that night. We also did that with the elders since they
are passing them to us and it went about as well as the Xia's. I was
bored. Next time we will teach them in our own and do it the expanded
Preach My Gospel way.

Saturday was a bit rough for me. We had two lessons with members but I
was feeling very depressed and unmotivated the whole day. It was
pretty crippling. An older couple fed us authentic Chinese food. The
bao zi (I don't know the English word) and roll thing were good but I
couldn't do the lumpy rice haha. Sister Wu graciously finished it for

Yesterday, Sunday, was great. Linda, Jia Wei and her husband and
toddler, and four other investigators (who are ours but don't really
want lessons right now) came to church. The brach was so great with
fellow shipping Jia Wei and her husband (I forgot his name. Wang
something?) which is exactly what they needed. I think the branch was
just excited to have new investigators at church since most of the
investigators they see are eternal investigators or "eternigators."
They were both a bit overwhelmed, especially Jia Wei, since they don't
know much about God, but they loved meeting all the people and said
they'd come back next week. Yay!!!!!! It didn't help that in relief
society, two sister started bickering with the teacher over the
doctrine of the resurrection and telling her that she's wrong. One of
the members asked me to find a scripture about it real quick so I
pulled out Alma 40 and they read it to them but they still argued.
Finally the member said really loud that Sister Wu and I need to make
an appointment to re teach those sisters the Plan of Salvation because
obviously they don't understand it. Awkward. Awkward. Awkward. The
Chinese branch has a lot more drama than any other Ward I've been in

Last night we had Why I Believe. The speakers were really good. One
was from Nigeria and gave an awesome testimony and the other one,
Kolby, did such a good job and was really funny and sincere. Then we
had the main speaker: Senator Orrin Hatch. His talk was super good.
Well he's been speaking to masses of people for 40 years now so you'd
hope he's good at speaking. He's very funny and clever as well and had
us laughing at appropriate moments and being quiet and feeling the
spirit at others. I really enjoyed it. Also, Gio who was baptized on
March 7, said the closing prayer and it was the sweetest thing ever. I
love him! He's probably the youngest kid to pray at Why I Believe.

During his talk, Senator Hatch also talked about when he was a
missionary and he taught a woman who said that God and Jesus Christ
couldn't have appeared to Joseph Smith because God doesn't speak to
man anymore. He asked why God wouldn't speak to us anymore even though
He has in every other dispensation and she said that she doesn't know
but that's what her minister said. He then told her could think of
only three reasons why God wouldn't speak to us anymore. 1. God
doesn't love us anymore. She responded that of course He does! Then he
said ok then 2. God doesn't have the power to anymore. She responded
that that's ridiculous, God is all powerful and omnipotent. He then
said 3. Men today are too smart and wise and educated that we don't
need God to speak to us anymore. To that she said that of course not,
we need God more today than we ever have and God must be talking to a
prophet somewhere. It was pretty funny the way he said it. Now I don't
know how completely accurate that story is (he's a politician after
all) but I loved the principle behind it. Of course God still speaks
to us today. Why wouldn't He? He loves us just as He loved those in
the Bible, He has all power to do so (which means He has enough power
to write another book too...), and we need Him today more than we ever
have. I have realized the third point the most on my mission. In Utah,
as Beks said, everyone is Mormon unless proven otherwise. Here, it's
not so. It's like people are atheist or agnostic unless proven
otherwise and it's sad to see all these people who work in DC and have
amazing jobs yet are lacking substance and real purpose . When I go on
the metro, I see all these people coming to or from work, and that's
all the day to day life is for them. They don't know the purpose of
life, they don't know why a lot of the things we care about matter.
Senator Hatch reminded us last night about the fact that those who are
religious and believe in God ARE happier. In our crazy, darkening
world, everyone needs more light. I'm grateful to know my purpose here
and to know that the things I do here DO matter and I will be rewarded
accordingly. God has promised "thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and
powers, dominions, all heights and depths" and so forth beyond our
imagination to the faithful. Isn't that promise more worth living for
than just the promise of a nice paycheck or a fun vacation after
months of hard work (which is still super worth living for haha)?
Obviously we can and are (commanded) to find joy here too but the joys
we feel here don't even compare to the joy we can one day have when we
live with God again in eternal glory. That's what our message is to
people and why I'm working hard to teach these Chinese people about
God. I want them to find deeper meaning in this life and eternal
happiness in the next. The missionaries who are knocking on your door
and walking the streets are offering you more peace in this life and
exaltation with its accompany kingdoms and principalities and powers
in the life to come. We're offering everyone something better. Yet
most of them hate us for it. Lame.

I love you all and am grateful for your love and support and prayers.
I hope you have a wonderful week and never lose sight of what's
important and your worth to God and to  those around you. Also, you
should all read "Living the Gospel Joyfully" when you have a chance
today or tomorrow. It's so good!

"But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive
his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to
come"(D&C 59:23).


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