It has been a pretty rough week. We didn't find any new investigators and most investigators that we had had just didn't want to meet with us anymore. I have no idea why. I still remember the day I got here, President Larkin asked us to put someone on date for baptism that night. But until now, we still haven't had the opportunity to teach a full lesson, not to mention putting someone on date. As we didn't have many investigator to teach, we decided to spend more time on finding. During finding, we were rejected by people for a thousand times. I've been trying to overcome the fear of knocking on doors, but still my companion knocked most of the doors and did the talking. But we found that there were lots of Chinese people here in Seattle. And when I saw Chinese people opening their doors, I would take over the talking. My Mandarin has been getting better. I have to admit that I seriously have more confidence in speaking English than Mandarin, but I know that speaking their native language can help them understand more, so I have tried my best to speak Mandarin even though I didn't even know what I was saying sometimes.
Yesterday was my first Sunday here. Oh forgot to mention that I'm now serving in the Somerset Ward of the Bellevue South Stake. Members here are so nice. And I met Brother Brown at Church, and he served in Hong Kong years ago. He could still speak fluent Cantonese, and he told me that he was the one to baptize President Chan, NT Stake President. I was so happy that I could speak some Cantonese even though it was only a short chat. After Church, we went to a member's house for lunch! The food was super delicious, and of course I ate a lot. And in the afternoon, we watched the Leadership Broadcast at the Stake Center which talked about missionary work. I know that members of the Church are important to missionary work. Missionaries are only here to help hasten the work and to teach the gospel. If members can give us referrals and introduce their friends to us, our work will become so much more effective.
I think I forgot to mention in my last email that my companion (also trainer) has just finished her 12 week training. She is still pretty new to the mission, and sometimes she just feels overwhelmed. I've been trying my best to be an awesome trainee. And I have tried so hard to be patient and not feel discouraged even though we didn't have much success yet. I know that missionary work sometimes can be frustrating, but I'm grateful for the experience I have had. "... my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (D&C 122:7) I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church in the world, no matter how many times I'll be rejected by people, they still can't change what I know. The hard times we had for the past week helped me realize that I did have a strong testimony in the Christ. And I had never prayed that hard and sincerely in my life before. I know that the Lord will always help us to carry out His work. I know that Heavenly Father can't work miracles if we don't have faith. I know that as we continue to work hard and be faithful, miracles will happen! Just like what D&C 122:7-8 teaches us, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."
My first Sunday at the Somerset Ward with my companion Sister Boyd
Don't ever say that I don't write home. Here we go! It took me forever to send pics via email as they're too large! Hope I can tell you all more about the MTC in this letter.
Honestly, I'm in the BEST district. We're from all over the world, including Tonga, Costa Rica, somewhere of the South America etc. We're getting along well. And 2 Elders in our district speak Spanish, so I can still practice Spanish now. That's cool! And one of these two Elders likes laughing at me whenever I eat because I eat a lot. He said that "He" that is my future husband won't like that HAHAHA. And now he asks me if I want two fudge bars every meal. I've been learning new words and phrases in Spanish, but I'm only sure that I won't forget saying "Tengo hambre" (I'm hungry) and "Vamos a comer" (Let's go eat) as I say them always. I now have a nickname that is Sister Hambre (Sister Hungry) just because the food at the cafe is good.
We've been practicing a lot on teaching investigators. I was pretty nervous at first, so I looked at my planner and the Preach My Gospel whenever my companion was speaking, but doing this didn't help a lot. I couldn't feel the Spirit, and I didn't know what to say when the time came. Since then, I only brought my scriptures when teaching. And I listen to my investigator carefully to understand his needs. When I put all my focus on my investigator, I could feel the Spirit was here guiding me, and I knew exactly the scriptures I should share and the questions I needed to ask. We as missionaries only help the Spirit during the lesson, the Spirit is the one to convert the investigators.
Few nights ago, all the sister missionaries in my district except me were stressed out! They were all crying. I didn't cry until one of them mentioned the word "letter". It made me think about the words I had read in Elder Leung's letter. You may not know this but I cried in my bed at night before leaving for the MTC because I felt so inadequate to serve. But his letter brought me so much comfort, and I was able to use what I had learned from his letter to comfort those crying sisters. So don't ever ask again why he is the best cousin ever :)
This morning, all the international missionaries had the opportunity to visit the Salt Lake City Temple Square. But before that, we visited the Humanitarian Center to get to know how the Church helps the people in need in other countries. And we also spent 20 minutes to prepare some hygiene kits before leaving. The Temple Square was so beautiful! And we had a tour by the sister missionaries there. I was so happy that I finally got into the Conference Center. I hope I can watch the General Conference there someday.
The MTC is great! And I love Provo so much more that Hawaii. I'm also looking forward to traveling to Seattle with 30 other missionaries next Tuesday. No work can be happier than the missionary work. Being able to serve a mission is indeed a pleasure.
Today is my second day in Seattle. I'm doing pretty well. My trainer is Sister Boyd, and she is from Texas. We're getting along so well, we can basically talk about everything. She is pretty, sweet, friendly, and faithful. How lucky I am!
Last week, I was excited about leaving the MTC to go serve in Seattle. But when the day really came, I just felt so sad. I didn't want to say goodbyes to people in my district. They are some of the BEST people I have ever met in my whole life. And I was amazed that friendship could be built in less than 2 weeks. Sometimes life in MTC could be really hard as the schedule was full and we were all tired. But we would just give ourselves a break and laugh together. The Elders were all amazing and wonderful that they were always helpful. And they brought lots of laughter and joy to us, especially during lunch and dinner. I could keep laughing for 5 minutes and my stomach hurt so bad because I laughed too hard. I told them all that I would go visit them in their own countries someday when I have enough money. I just can't wait to see them all again someday.
The day before I left the MTC, I only slept for 4 hours. And when we got to Seattle, we had interview with the President, training, meeting new companions, and proselyting, I was sooooooooo exhausted! But I know that I'm here in Seattle to serve the Lord, so it was my first time ever in life that I didn't lose my temper when I felt tired! And we got to share a brief message with a lady from Taiwan called Susan. She couldn't understand much English, and we had a hard time helping her understand the Restoration. With the help of the Lord, I was able to translate some gospel terms to Mandarin for her, and I even said a closing prayer in Mandarin for my first time. We will meet with her again this Friday, hopefully we can find someone speaking Mandarin to go with us.
My P-day is on Monday, so talk to you all again soon.
As you can see, here is a blog from Elder Pelera. His mom will be updating it for him. And you may be able to find out more about our MTC life on his blog. So check this out:)
Last temple walk at the MTC
we have the BEST elders in our district
Our last temple walk
The night before Elder Varela Pacheco left
Saying goodbye to our teacher Brother Matthews
Our teacher Brother Thorpe
My Tongan companion
Sister Zavala! She is CRAZY
With Sister Tsan and Sister Tam! We are all from HONG KONG
With Elder Gonzalez. He was our amazing district leader. He taught me Spanish and ate ice cream with me almost after every meal. And he asked me "Tienes hambre?" (Are you hungry?) all the time
With Elder Pelera from the Philippines. He is amazing
With Elder Aranda from Mexico. He taught me Spanish and I taught him Mandarin. He is just so FUN!
It was taken the night before I left. It was heartbroken to say goodbye.
With Hermana Christensen from BYUH. She is the grandaughter of my Branch President. Such a small world!
I'm running out of time actually, but I hope I can be able to tell you all how wonderful the MTC is. We're always busy, but we're all enjoying the class and the teaching practice. I'm getting much better in teaching. What I've learned is that the lesson is about helping the investigator to feel the Spirit. We don't use our own knowledge to teach, but we rely on the Spirit guiding us. I don't mean that we don't have to plan or study, but we need to listen to the investigators carefully to understand their needs. For once, a scripture just came to my mind in the time of need. I don't remember many scriptures but Alma 36:27 is always used in the past few lessons. Alma teaches us that believing in God doesn't mean that we don't have trials, but we can be supported by God. My companions were impressed by this scripture also, and I know that it can be applied to everyone as we all have trials. I actually learned this scripture in Elder Leung's letter! He's just awesome!
We had a Salt Lake City tour this morning, and it was just soooo spiritual and fun! I don't have time to write much in this email, but hopefully I can write another letter to you all today. I'm leaving to Seattle next Tuesday, and I just met some Seattle sisters few days ago at the cafe! I'm so excited about getting to know them more. I can't wait to leave to the field, but I also know that I'll miss the MTC so much, especially people in my district! They're just awesome! I'm in the GOLDEN district for sure. I'll miss all of them so much.
Hope you're all doing great. I'm cheerfully learning to be a better missionary every day. I love the gospel. I know that only the gospel can bring us eternal happiness.
It has been 3 days already since I entered the MTC! I'm doing great and am loving the people here. I had a companion from Argentina for the first day, but after having the language evaluation, I moved to another district, and I now have Sister Tsan and Sister Taunauta (from Tonga) as companions. We're getting along well. I miss my first companion though. She only knows a little English as she speaks Spanish only in her home country, and sadly I only know a little Spanish, so we can't communicate basically. I learned to be extra patient when talking to her. Even though we had hard times communicating with each other, I really like her a lot. And we now still see each other often at the cafe or somewhere at the MTC. Today is the P-Day. We went to the temple for the endowment this morning. The temple is just sooooooooo beautiful! No words can ever describe how beautiful it is! And one of the sister missionaries in our district just went through the temple for the first time this morning.
The MTC is indeed a great place to learn. I'm getting more confident in sharing the gospel to others. We will have the opportunity to teach an investigator tomorrow. I'm very excited. And we're going to try our best to prepare tonight. What I learned from the branch meeting last night is that the mission is not about us, it is about the investigator. We as missionaries have to let the Spirit teach the investigator through us! It's not easy to do I guess. I remember what Elder Holland once taught us: Missionary work is never easy because the Atonement isn't a cheap experience. I still have lots to learn. The day is always long, and we all feel so tired at night after lots of study. But I'm trying to enjoy every moment as I know that these 18 months will go by so fast. This is the Lord's mission, and I want to do my best and not to waste His time.
I don't have much time left, so I'll tell more next week.
In less than 21 hours, I'll be set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'll be at the Provo MTC for 2 weeks, then I'll be serving in Seattle. I'm excited about meeting new people yet so nervous about only speaking English that is my second language for the next 18 months. I still feel so inadequate to share the gospel with people, but with no doubt I know the Lord will strengthen me. I know that when we do our best, He will reach down to life us up. I serve my mission not because I have perfect knowledge of it, but because I have the desire to serve God. I know that everyone in this world needs the gospel. I'm grateful that I was born and raised in the Church, and I'll be forever thankful for having this opportunity to be a missionary.
My sister will be posting my weekly email for the next 18 months.
God be with you til we meet again!