Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Miracles after sincere repentance

Hi all,
We just had an awesome weekend! We had 2 big miracles in two days! WARNING: This journal entry is going to be longer than most entries.

Last Saturday afternoon, I got a call from Dan (name changed) whom we met a week before. He said that he would want to come to Church! I was on exchanges with my Sister training leader Hermana Pingree, and she told me to set up a church tour for that day, so I did. That evening, we and the Allen's, the senior couple, took Dan on a church tour. Dan is Korean and has no Christian background. I still remember how hard it was to talk to him on the street. We testified to him that God was there, but he said that he wouldn't believe in it until he saw him. We just invited him to check out mormon.org and to call us if he had any question. Honestly, I never expected that he would call us back. The church tour went much longer that we thought it would be as Dan had lots of deep questions about God and Jesus Christ. I was so thankful that the Allen's were there to help answer his questions because I didn't know the answers to half of his questions. When we were sitting at the chapel feeling the Spirit, Dan asked us about the afterlife. His parents had passed away and he missed them so much. Sister Allen bore her testimony that we would see our loved ones again, and Dan started to cry. The Spirit was definitely there! At the end of the church tour, we asked him why he would want to come to church. He told us that he just wanted to know if God was really there. This man really does have a sincere desire to search for the truth. And he committed to come to church the next day.
On Sunday morning, we got out from a meeting early so that we could go check on a Chinese family and could make sure that they would come to Church. Hermana Pingree and I committed them to come to Church when we were on exchanges on Friday. This family only lived two blocks away from the church building. We knocked on their door but nobody answered. I was really really disappointed. We went back to Church to see if Dan was there and he wasn't. I almost cried. As we started singing the opening hymn, the Chinese family walked in! They seemed to be happy to come. The kids got a bit bored at Sacrament meeting (They are only 7), but the parents were totally listening to the talks. After Sacrament meeting, lots of people came to introduce themselves to this family. Primary workers took the kids to class, and they had lots of fun there. The parents went to Gospel Essential class with us, and they liked it! They said that we could come back on Saturday to teach them. We had been stopping by this family once a week for two months, and they finally have become our investigators.
After lunch, my companion and I decided to find Dan! He had committed to go to the new member fireside with us that evening. New member fireside is a great opportunity to let investigators feel the Spirit. My companion and I had never been to one as we got no one to go with us (As missionaries, we need to bring at least one investigator to go). Ever since we knew that the fireside would be held at the Bothell Stake Center, we started finding people to go. We both had served in Bothell, so we just had extra motivation to find someone to go. We knew that Dan usually hanged out in the library, so we went there to look for him. It was a huge library, and we walked through all the floors, but we didn't find him. We then drove around downtown Bellevue, still we didn't see him. We were sitting in the car thinking about where he would be, and we got a text from Elder Allen saying that he got a hold of Dan and would take him to the new member fireside! My companion and I were so happy that we had tears.
Since our Mission President and his wife are Korean, we introduced Dan to them before the fireside began. We heard lots of great testimony from people who recently got baptized. Dan seemed to enjoy it.
My companion and I struggled to find and teach at the beginning of this transfer. We had two really rough weeks, but we tried our best to remain faithful and put our trust in the Lord. And the day before we got a call from Dan, we both focused on repentance when we prayed even though we were on exchanges. We have gained a testimony that as we repent and pray for forgiveness, Heavenly Father will bless us with miracles. When I was younger, I hated to admit my mistakes. But now I know for sure that we can't hide our sins from Heavenly Father, and we can find greater peace and joy as we repent. And as missionaries, our worthiness definitely will affect the effectiveness of our work and other people's salvation. Don't waste the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Repent daily.
Sister Leung
With Sister Allen and Sister Bingham. They are the senior missionaries. And they are AWESOME!

Crisp for lunch!:)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

He is risen! He is risen!

Hi all,
The past week was kind of rough. We struggled to find and teach. Not many people were willing to listen to us. It was a really trying week. At a Zone Conference, President Choi taught us to appreciate trials. He actually asked us to say "thank you trials" whenever we were having a hard time. Of course it wasn't the easiest thing to do, but I really have learned to appreciate the trials I'm given. We often need some bad weeks to help us appreciate the good weeks we have had. And we can't expect life to be easy because we are here to learn and grow and to prepare to meet God again (Alma 34:32). Moreover, our trials are really nothing when compared with what Jesus Christ has gone through. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? (D&C 122:8)
My companion and I studied about FAITH for a few times throughout the week as we both agreed that we needed more faith in finding prepared people to teach and baptize. I really love what Elder Russell M. Nelson said at the recent General Conference: "When we speak of faith—the faith that can move mountains—we are not speaking of faith in general but of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ". It's important for us to put our faith in Jesus Christ but not anyone or anything else. In Helaman 5:12, it says "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall". We met a guy the other day trying to bible bash with us. We tried really hard to leave as there was definitely a spirit of contention. He, however, wouldn't let us leave and kept asking us questions. His whole point of talking to us was to tear down our faith and to make us question what we knew to be true. I almost said to him "I know you are trying really hard to make me doubt what I know to be true, but let me tell you, you have picked the wrong person". I know that the Book of Mormon is true not because my parents have told me that it's true, it's because I have read every page of it and have prayed to ask God and have received a confirmation that it's true through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Last night we met a Korean guy on the street. We testified to him that Heavenly Father had a plan for us, and we could live in His presence again if we would follow Him. He thought we knew all these things because we had seen Him before. We told him none of us had ever talked to him face to face. He said that he wouldn't believe it until he saw Him. Then, we taught him the principle of faith. From the Book of Mormon, we can know that lots of people still rejected the gospel even after they had seen miracles. Miracles will never proceed faith. I have never seen Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ, but I know that they live. I have never seen the gold plates, but I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I am grateful for the Gospel and my Savior. This Easter means more to me than any other Easter as I'm sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. I'm eternally grateful for His atoning sacrifice that our sins can be washed away when we repent. In Alma 39:8, it says "But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day". There is no way we can hide our sins or mistakes from God, so I would encourage you all to repent quickly when you make a mistake. Remember, the Atonement is always there for us even if we don't think we deserve it.
Sister Leung

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I LOVE being a missionary​!

Hi all,
I don't really know what to talk about this time. Nothing too special happened this past week. My companion and I worked really really hard every single day even though we were pretty much worn out. Women used to serve a mission for 3 years, and both of us would love to serve for that long but aren't sure if our body could handle it. We really walk a lot here in Bellevue. But we have lots of FUN! My companion is just really fun to be with. We laugh a million times each day, believe it or not.
We tried really hard to do better at street contacting. It isn't our favorite thing to do. It's not easy to stop someone on the street to talk about the gospel. But it's what we are required to do. And we got a lot better at talking until the person cut us off. We had more lessons than we normally did. However, we didn't have any new investigators as people just wouldn't give us a specific time that we could come back. It's pretty frustrating. But both of us have faith that as we continue to work diligently, we will find those who are really prepared to receive this restored gospel. I have learned that blessings or miracles don't always come immediately, but as we put our trust in the Lord, He will bless us with miracles according to His timetable.
Members in the ward are very happy that we are staying. And the Young Women Presidency definitely loves us! We were invited by one of the counselors to teach in Young Women yesterday. I miss my days in Young Women. And we were asked to teach the Restoration! It's definitely my favorite lesson. My companion and I thought of role-playing with the Young Women. My companion and one of the young women were the "investigators", and another young woman and I were the "missionaries". The young woman that I was with was only 12. We only got 10 minutes to prepare to teach. So I just showed her the lesson plan and told her that she could teach whatever she wanted and I would jump in if she ran out of things to say. The role-play went really well. I was so impressed by that 12 year old young woman . She knew a lot about the Atonement and the Book of Mormon. She said that she had shared the gospel with her friends in school. Of course, she didn't know how to recite the "First Vision" or use lots of gospel terms, but we could all feel the Spirit as she taught as she bore testimony of Heavenly Father's love for us. Don't ever feel like you need to be a gospel expert to share the gospel. Your testimony is the most powerful tool. I have met some people that they want to research the Church intellectually. They literally look into everything about the Church on the Internet. And I would just tell them that they will never gain a testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel without reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. I'm so grateful that my grandpa joined the Church years ago. He may not be the most well educated person, but he definitely has come to know that this Church is true because he was seeking for the truth sincerely and with real intent to act on the promptings he would be given.
I, too, know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because I have read every page of it and have prayed to ask God if it is His word. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve as a full-time missionary. I know that this Gospel can change lives. I just found out that the investigator I had taught in my last area got baptized last Saturday. It's alright even though I didn't get the chance to witness her baptism. The most important thing is that she got baptized into the Lord's true Church. I'm grateful that I got the chance to share the gospel with her and know that I will be able to teach more people as I work hard and pray for opportunity. :)
Sister Leung
Some maintenance people came to our apartment to fix the bathroom, so we had to have companion study in the car...
My companion just really loves the ALOHA sign :D

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We thank thee o god for a prophet

Hi all,
This past weekend was the best ever because of General Conference. I had been so excited about it since maybe January. And this time I really wrote down questions I had before Conference and prayed that I would receive answers to them. And I did receive lots of revelation in total 8 hours of General Conference. It's a blessing to have a living prophet to guide us on this earth. I remember how terrible I was a teenager that I never stayed awake during General Conference. It was really bad. But ever since I went to BYUH, I have been looking forward to General Conference. I know that President Thomas S. Monson has been called by God to be the Prophet of this world. I know that as we PREPARE for conference, we will be able to receive personal revelation. I would want to share with you all some of my favorite talks from General Conference:
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - You will be called upon to defend your faith at some point in your life because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It requires courage but it is worth it. Defend your faith with courtesy and compassion.
I truly wish I had defended my faith when I was in Secondary school. At that point, I still hadn't gained a strong testimony of the gospel and didn't really stand for my faith and standard. I'm grateful that I have been given lots of opportunity to do so since I came on my mission. I have gotten lots of response like "I've researched your church and I know that it's not true" or "I know that the Book of Mormon is not true". I'm thankful to know that bearing testimony is the most powerful missionary tool, and sometimes it's all you can do. I'm not an expert of the Bible or the Book of Mormon, but I know that they are the words of God.
Elder Neil L. Andersen -  Challenges will come to you, but if you put your trust in God, they can strengthen you. Your strength comes from trusting the Prophets of God.
President Henry B. Eyring - Righteousness must be chosen. Choosing right will not need faith if the blessings always come immediately.
Elder Russell M. Nelson - God's laws must always be our standards. Wrong is never right even if everyone is doing it. All men have fear but face fear with faith.
Elder Richard G. Scott - Serve the Lord FIRST! We best serve our Heavenly Father by righteously influencing others.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - The Lord doesn't expect us to be less thankful when we are having trials.
Bishop Gary E. Steveson - You will have the eternity to think about what you have done in this life. It's not yet too late to repent, but no one knows how much time you still have. Don't delay.
It's a good reminder for me that I will have the eternity to think about what I have done on my mission. I better work hard now!
Elder David A. Bednar - The Savior has not just suffered for our sins but also our physical pain, weakness, disappointment...
President Thomas S. Monson -  If we love God, we will love our fellowmen also.
I'm looking forward to the next General Conference. And in the meantime, I will be studying the Conference talks. And I know that General Conference doesn't benefit us much if we are not going to make changes in our lives.
Alright, enough said for General Conference. Today is transfer day. Last night we were nervously waiting for transfer call. We just got along so well that we thought maybe we wouldn't be companions anymore. When I came out from shower, I asked my companion if either of us was leaving. She just said to me that the answer was on the paper which was on my bed. I took a look at it, and it said "Let's dance another transfer". Yay! We are staying together for another 6 weeks. I don't think I had ever been that excited about staying with the same companion. But I really do love Sister Capener a lot. She is just so amazing! I know that there is still work to be done by us in this area. We are excited about it. I know that this is going to be a great transfer.
And I want to share with you all a new mission rule we have - Sing when you are in the shower. I'm not joking. It's really a rule. When I first heard it, I was like "President Choi.. really?!" It did sound ridiculous to me at the beginning especially when our mission already had more rules than many other missions. But I obeyed it anyway because I knew that President Choi had received the keys to preside over the Washington Seattle Mission, so whatever he says is from God. As I started singing in the shower, I understood more about why we were given this rule. Shower time used to be a time for me to think about whatever I wanted, and quite often I would think of things that were not mission related. But now we have to sing hymns in the shower, so I can't really think about anything else besides missionary work and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This rule definitely helps me to stay focused on my purpose. Time flies! I hit my 10 month mark last Saturday. I'm praying every day that I will be able to fully concentrate on missionary work every second for the rest of my mission. I know that this Restored gospel can bring eternal happiness to everyone who accepts it. I pray that you all will pray for opportunity to share the gospel with others.
Sister Leung
That's what I found on my pillow after shower:)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Many good things happened!

Hi all,
We had a GLORIOUS week! Lots of good things happened. First of all, I got 5 letters last week, which had never happened before. I got long letters from my cousin and my best friend Sister Leung on the same day:) These two letters definitely made my week.
I know my last email was kind of depressing as nothing was happening and people were rude to us. My companion suggested counting our blessings, and as we did it, we realized that our week wasn't really that bad. And the biggest blessing for me this transfer is that I get along with my companion super well!:) She is just WONDERFUL! I don't really know how she can be happy all the time, but it really has helped me a lot, especially in the evenings when I was tired.
At the beginning of this week, we decided to let go of the past, so that we could focus on the work again. And lots of good things happened. I was on a half day exchange in my area with Sister Monks and Sister Lee last Friday as my companion had a leadership council. We contacted at the Transit Center and met a Chinese lady. We first talked to her in English, but then she asked me if I could speak Mandarin, so I started talking to her in Mandarin by myself. I told her about the Church service and gave her a pamphlet. When she saw the word "Book of Mormon" on the pamphlet, her attitude changed and she said to me "You guys are not Christians". To be honest, this is my least favorite response when talking to people. This time I was bold to tell her "LISTEN! We are totally Christians". I then told her that we did read the Bible and explained to her why we needed the Book of Mormon also. She said that she would read the Restoration pamphlet. She then started asking me some personal questions like how I became a member and where I was from. When I told her that I was from Hong Kong, she said "Your Mandarin is great!". I know that I could talk to her about the gospel in Mandarin only because the Spirit was there helping me:)
Brother S. in our ward told us that one of his friends, Sister L,  had learned from missionaries about a year and a half ago and wanted to get baptized. But he really didn't believe that his friend would quit smoking, and for some reasons missionaries didn't go by her house anymore. He told us that he still didn't think that his friend would sincerely make changes in her life, but he said that it might be great if we could just stop by to visit her. So we did. Sister L was really nice to let us in. She asked us lots of questions, but they were all gospel related. And she was willing to listen to what we had to say. She had read the Book of Mormon but didn't understand how to gain a testimony of it. So we shared with her how we came to know that it was the word of God. She even had the Restoration video herself! She just didn't know how to use the DVD player, so my companion and I figured it out for her. She said that she always wanted to watch the Restoration video. I DO believe that people change. 4 years ago, I didn't want to go to Church or read the scriptures or pray. (I basically thought that I knew better than anyone else) But now, I'm cheerfully proclaiming the restored gospel and boldly testify to people that the Book of Mormon is true.
Yesterday was Fast Sunday. My companion suggested fasting for something specific. So I suggested fasting for the opportunity to teach someone or a family that has just lost a loved one. Before my mission, whenever I watched the news seeing people losing their loved ones because of earthquake or any kind of disasters, I would think "I wish they knew that they could actually see their families again". I know the Plan of Salvation can give these people hope and strength. So we both fasted for it. And MIRACLES happened! At church, Sister Z came to us and told us to go see her old neighbor who lost her husband. And during our finding time, we met Kathy (name changed) and talked briefly about the Restoration. She was busy with taking care of her daughter at that time, so I was thinking about giving her a Restoration pamphlet. I didn't have one in my bag. When I was about to ask my companion if she had one, I just got the feeling that I should give her the Plan of Salvation pamphlet that I had in my hand. I didn't know why I should give her that one as we didn't even mention anything about it. But I did as I know that Heavenly Father knows better. When my companion offered to say a prayer and asked what things she could pray for, Kathy said she just had a loss in her family. So we testified to her that families could be together forever and how she could understand God's plan more through reading the pamphlet that we just gave her. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. I  know that He has provided us a way to go back to live with Him again.
Next week is transfer week, so P-day will be on Tuesday.
Sister Leung