Monday, April 13, 2015

Interesting and Fun and Great Experiences - Week 62


I hope you all had a grand week. Mine certainly was. Filled with
interesting and funny and great experiences.

Monday night we taught Jia Wei and her husband again. We taught them
the second half of the Plan of Salvation. It went super well. They
understood it and asked great questions. I invited them to be baptized
and they accepted and the husband said that he believes this is true
because of the way he feels when he reads the Book of Mormon. It's the
Holy Ghost! The promise is real! Moroni and God aren't kidding!
Anyway, he also said that he doesn't know if they'll be able to make
it to the Celestial Kingdom but they want to try and to follow Jesus
Christ. They are the best! They get it! So now we are just waiting for
her husband, Brother Wang, to get someone else from China to help him
work so he can start coming to church. It's in the process right now
but it could take a long time. Both Sister Wu and I have been praying
and fasting for it to happen quickly so we can get him to church and
then we can get them baptized. Any and all prayers you can send for
Jia Wei and Wang Yang and his job are super appreciated.

Tuesday morning, all of the sisters met in the city for a special
thing with Sister Cooke. We walked through the National Gallery of Art
and took some time to unwind and really understand the art. We were
supposed to take turns walking with different people but I was a rebel
and stayed with Sister Hansen the whole time. I don't see her very
much and we are buds and she almost majored in art so we were able to
examine the art together. We then all had lunch in the sculpture
garden. Sister Cooke might have posted a pic of it on Facebook or
something. Maybe the mission blog. I'm shut out from that world so I
don't know anything anymore. I don't like this feeling haha. I feel
like a normal missionary now!

Later that evening we visited the Xia family and taught them the first
half of the Plan of Salvation which didn't go very well. The boys had
a ton of questions about the Fall which I'd never been asked before.
They weren't hard but there were a lot and it kind of distracted the
lesson and I had to answer in English since Sister Wu didn't know how
to answer and I couldn't in Chinese so the mom didn't understand and
was bored. Lame. I've never taught someone so confused about Adam and
Eve and the Fall but then again I've never taught anyone who didn't
grow up with some concept of Adam and Eve and the Bible. We'll try
again tomorrow.

Wednesday evening we taught Ruth. We got there and her family was
eating dinner and so like typical, nice Chinese people they invited us
to join. I struggled. With Chinese meals, you have rice and then you
have a few dishes to eat with the rice and you keep on eating and
serving yourself the other foods until the rice is gone.
Unfortunately, Chinese people are very hospitable and like to give you
more rice all the time. They had two dishes and one was good but the
other was some spicy tofu stuff and I took some to be nice. However, I
noticed there were little pointy things in there and so I tried to
secretly ask Sister Wu what they were and she told me it was fish. I
then asked if they were fish then where the heads were. She then
pointed to the dish and I realized that there were little fish heads
the size of beads all over the dish and that I hadn't noticed. I
decided to eat a little fish body which was like an inch long to be
nice and it was weirdly spicy. Then later one of the family members
served me a spoonful of the tofu-fish dish and I watched helplessly as
little fish heads tumbled into my rice. At that point I just buried
them in my remaining rice and then stalled which worked. Yucky. The
lesson went really well with Ruth thank goodness since the last few
didn't. It takes forever to teach her just a 15 minute lesso plan. It
didn't help that after dinner she pulled out a bunch of tax forms and
asked me to help her and I was like, "uhhhh I don't know how to read
this type of English." But we eventually got to the lesson and it was
powerful and great and she said she did actually want to know if this
is true so we committed her to read the Book of Mormon and pray and go
to church and promised her an answer as she diligently does so.
However, she hasn't answered our past couple of calls and didn't come
to church so idk. Ugh.

Thursday I woke up with a killer head ache and I felt sick so we
didn't do much that day. I wonder if the fish had anything to do with
it? I'm no doctor.

Friday was grand. At noon we had lunch with a family at a Taiwanese
restaurant. The waiter was very cool and we were able to share a bit
with him so hopefully we can continue to go to the restaurant and see

At 3 on Friday we taught Jia Wei by herself. Her parents are coming
from China this Saturday and we worry what their reactions will be to
her studying a Christian church so we really tried to build her
testimony so she'll be fine. We read part of 3 Nephi 11, watched the
new Easter video "Because He Lives" which you should all watch if you
haven't. It's really good. And it got about 3.2 million views a day
during the few days leading up to Easter. Yay! Then we gave her The
Living Christ and read some of it with her. She told us that ever
since we started visiting, she's been a lot happier and there's been
more peace in her home and she and her husband have had less
disagreements. She can tell it's a blessing from God and her testimony
is really growing. I'm so happy! Yay!

Later that night we visited Chen Mama who is an older lady in the
ward. She's such a funny lady, I love her a lot. We had a good visit
with her.

Saturday was crazy. We had four appointments. We first met up with a
member of the branch presidency and his wife at the same Taiwanese
restaurant for lunch. I ate a clam pancake as well as other new foods.
And I'm such a pro with chopsticks, I'm so proud of myself. A young
man's nonmember mother works there so we were able to talk with her
and have her agree to meet with us. Then at 3 we visited the Fengs who
joined the church a year ago and teach them a short lesson. Then we
had dinner with a family and a less active woman. That was fun. The
dad is American and super duper tall and he served his mission here,
Chinese speaking, 15 years ago and is fluent in Chinese. His wife is
Chinese and they have three half Chinese kids and all they speak at
home is Chinese so they speak it perfectly. I spent 20 minutes talking
to their 5 year old in Chinese and it was so fun. Then finally we had
a lesson at 8 with a less active member and his non member wife. By
the time we got home I was so tired and my head was buzzing with
Chinese. And I'm sick of Chinese food haha.

Sunday was good. Jia Wei and her toddler came to church. After church
we had something called a "linger longer" for the two elders in the
branch who are going home this week. It was a potluck after church and
Jia Wei stayed and seemed to enjoy it. Towards the end, pretty much
all of our table left and it was just me and her sitting there. Oh no.
She doesn't speak any English and I am not good with small talk in
Chinese but I couldn't just sit there and not talk to my investigator
so I took a deep breath and stroked up a conversation we ended up
talking for about 5-10 minutes. I was so proud of myself! Then that
night we went to the vc for Night of Music and Inspiration since a
couple families in the branch were going. It was a good day. I feel
like my Chinese improved a ton this weekend.

I have never understood the verse in D&C about the elect until I came
on my mission: "And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of
mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their
hearts;"(D&C 29:7). Jia Wei and her husband are perfect examples of
this. They hear and recognize God's voice even though they have never
heard it before (at least in living memory) and they are so accepting
of everything and are not hardening their hearts at all. It isn't
blind faith or obedience. It's that they were prepared and that they
are choosing to follow those moments in which they get quiet witnesses
from the Holy Ghost that this is true. I've seen it with other people
I've taught. Dee, as soon as she decided to actively investigate the
church after a few years of being unwilling to change, became God's
elect and hardened not her heart and heard God's voice. I shouldn't
say she became God's elect; she was always His elect. It just took
some time for her to hear His voice. Same with Meredith. She listened
and felt the Spirit and hardened not her heart and got baptized. Same
with Lin. It took him a few months before he could hear God's voice
but once he did, he followed it and didn't harden his heart and got
baptized shortly thereafter. And also same with Alba and her son, Gio.
Alba right away accepted the gospel and led to her son accepting and
being baptized and Alba will hopefully be able to be baptized in a
couple weeks once she clears up some marriage things. God's elect are
all over the place. And all of you I'm sending this email to are God's
elect too. Maybe right now you don't believe it or feel like it or
want to be, but you are. There was a super great General Conference
talk given that I loved. It's so easy to understand and apply. It
talks about the dance of the gospel and the music of the gospel.
Dancing looks awkward if you can't hear music. I can hear the music of
the gospel and so I'm dancing and so are many others. But to those who
can't hear the music of the gospel, our dance looks ridiculous to you
and you won't join in. And to be honest I do not blame you at all.
Don't dance just to appease parents or leaders. But try to hear the
music of the gospel first and once you do, you will want to start
dancing as well and we will be happy to have you join in when that
moment comes. Go here to read the talk, you'll love it I promise. (:

I love you all and I am excited to see you all soon. I never thought
I'd get to this point in my mission where I could say soon and mean it
but here we are. Now I'm starting to get slightly freaked out that I
have less than three months left to be a missionary and serve these
people then I'm back home having the moisture sucked out of me by the
dry air and being trapped by the beautiful mountains and then having
people expect me to do something with my life. Scary. It's been over a
year and half since I got my mission call now and I've been out here
for over 14 months. I can't believe how time is flying. The days are
long but the weeks and months are so short. It's frightening. Right
now I am so terrified to go back home and be normal and wear jeans and
do normal people stuff and go to school but it's also exciting. It's
interesting how easily I have forgotten what it's like to be a regular
member of the church. What's it like? You can all fill me in because I
get to talk to you in less than a month for Mother's Day! I swear I
just talked to you all... Man, imagine being able to one day talk to
you all whenever I want. That's such a luxury! But if I remember
correctly, I had to send you all pictures of ostriches screeching to
get you to respond to my texts when I went off to college so it'll
probably still be only Christmas and Mother's Day anyway. I invite you
all to repent and do better when I get home hahaha. Ok now that I've
ranted for twenty minutes... The fun thing about an iPad is that I can
rant as long as I want while laying in bed and eating the Easter candy
mom sent me (thanks, Mom!). K I'm done. Love you all! And seriously,
read the talk, you will ALL like it, and I mean all of you! Mom,
please watch it for FHE tonight or something! And then have a dance
party! K bye!

Sister Black

I was trying to artistically take a picture of flowers and blur out
the naked baby angel strangling a goose. It's lovely.
Sister Hansen and I. You can see in this picture that my hair is
getting really long. I don't know if it's ever been this long before.
I haven't gotten it cut since 2013. Unless you count a couple months
ago I gave myself a hair cut and cut off all of the split ends. Mom
would be horrified with my technique but the nice thing about curly
hair is that no one can tell if it's uneven. If it's ok, Mom, I'd like
a haircut this summer. I'll pay you with cookies or a really great
Bible study session or something. (:

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