The past week was... I don't really know how to describe it. There were definitely some good things happen, but we now don't have any investigators to teach. I don't see the need of going into detail. Let's just say that they are not willing to commit to baptism right now.
Last Tuesday, we had Zone Meeting and interviews with President and Sister Choi. President Choi told me that I was so much more mature than I was when he first came in to this mission, which means almost a year ago. He just always reminds me that I don't really have that much time left on my mission. Even though the number of baptisms I have had so far is not high, I'm grateful that President Choi could tell that I had been working hard. He asked me what I would be working on for the rest of my mission. I told him that I would be even more bold when I was talking with people. Sister Choi, as usual, was concerned about my health as Summer was coming. I honestly don't like the heat at all, but I will be working on being cheerful even when it's hot. After the Zone Meeting and interviews, Sister Pingree, Sister Eaton, my companion, and I went to the chapel to figure out what to do for the musical number for the next day. Yes, we had no idea what to do even it was the day before Elder Hansen, a General Authority, came to visit our mission. President Choi wanted Sister Eaton to play the Xes-phone and Sister Pingree to play the violin. My companion, who has an amazing voice, was going to sing, and I was going to play the piano. We tried out a few music sheets to see which one would be the best, and we decided to "O, my Father". My sight reading skill had always been pretty good, and I never thought that I would be able to figure out a 6 page music in 15 minutes after not learning the piano for over 4 years. I know that Heavenly Father blessed me with the ability to play the piano because I was willing to use my gift that He had given me to serve. Back home, I was really awful that I wouldn't help if it was a last minute thing. But as a missionary, I have come to love serving people in any ways that I can. That musical number was really great even though we only had 2 hours to figure out the music and to practice. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to perform with those talented sister missionaries.
Since we had to drop all the investigators that we had had, we were just knocking on doors for the past few days. We still haven't met anyone that is super prepared, but I know that as we continue to work hard and to be bold to testify of this restored gospel, Heavenly Father will bless us with miracles in His own time and in His own way. Our mission has set a goal to have 100 baptisms this month, and my companion and I really want to be a part of it. I'm not sure if we will have a baptism by the end of this month, but I know that what matters most is that we work hard to fulfill our purpose.
Two Sundays ago, my companion and I gave talks at Sacrament Meeting about member missionary work. And some members came up to us afterward and told us that they would want to reach out to their neighbors. A few days ago, Sister R. in the ward told us that she went to meet her new neighbor and found out that she was a member of this Church but may not be active. We went to visit her yesterday and had a great conversation. This member has been baptized for almost 18 years but still had lots of questions about the gospel, so we got to teach her the Restoration. And she is Chinese, so I took the opportunity to ask her some gospel terms in Mandarin.
Last night, we had a small miracle. After having dinner with members, I told my companion that we should go see Helaman (name changed). We found him tracting a few weeks ago, and he was really nice. Since then, we had tried to see him twice but never caught him home. I wasn't even sure if it was a prompting, but we decided that we would just go. And he just got home 5 minutes before we knocked on his door. He told us that he had not read the pamphlet we left him, so we bore testimony to him that he would find greater purpose in his life if he would read the Restoration pamphlet. He said he would try, but it probably would take some time as English was his second language. At that time, I knew why I was carrying a simplified Chinese pamphlet all day. We met two Chinese people that afternoon, but for some reason, I just didn't feel like I should hand out the pamphlet to either of them. That pamphlet was meant to be given to Helaman. He was so happy to see that Chinese pamphlet and said he would read it. I don't know if he will become an investigator, but we will be praying to know when would be another good time to stop by.
This morning, we had the opportunity to go to the Temple. I could just feel the peace whenever I'm in the Temple. I know that it's the House of the Lord. I wanted to have a question in mind so that I would be able to receive revelation there. But I didn't know what I needed to know at this time, so I just prayed that Heavenly Father would let me know the things that he wanted me to know. When I was in the Temple, I realized that I had only been thinking about how to bring people to the waters of baptism but didn't really think about helping people to prepare for entering the Temple. Baptism is just the first step of going back to live with our Father in Heaven. We want to be able to help all our brothers and sisters prepare to go to the Temple, so that they could obtain other ordinances for themselves and could perform saving ordinances for their ancestors.
It has been a blessing to be able to serve a full-time mission. I never thought I would serve a mission, but I'm so glad that I came. I used to think that girls who went on a mission were crazy. Who would sacrifice 18 months of their lives to go on a mission? But now, I don't even think I can say I have sacrificed a lot. I just want to thank my Father in Heaven for giving me so many blessings on my mission. I have met lots of wonderful people and have learned a lot from them. I have been given many chances to bear my testimony. I have learned how to be a better member missionary when I get off my mission. I have come to know my Savior better. I have seen people change when they accepted Christ to be a part of their lives. Missions are just wonderful! We are truly blessed to have this restored gospel in our lives. Please continue to pray for opportunity to share it with those around you.
I hit my 1 year mark last Thursday. Time really just flies! I only have about 6 months left, and I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish before going home. I studied "Our purpose" from Preach My Gospel a few times last week to remind myself that I have been given power and authority to declare the gospel in the Washington Seattle Mission. Also, I studied it because I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting yesterday on the topic "Sharing the message of the Restoration". At the beginning of my mission, I was very timid. When people said they were already Christian, I would just say "Oh that's awesome". I wasn't fulfilling my purpose at all. In my talk, I shared what message we had to share with the world. We are not just here to tell people about what Jesus Christ has done for us. It's certainly important to know about His ministry, but it wouldn't be enough to get me all the way from Hong Kong to Washington if I was only sharing a message about Jesus Christ. We are here to share the RESTORATION. We are here to share how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the earth. We are here to share how this Church has the priesthood authority from God to perform ordinances necessary for salvation. We are here to share how we still have a living prophet today leading us. We are here to share how the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and is the evidence of the Restoration. I have always been working on being bold and confident when sharing this message with others. Last week, we met a guy on the street, and my companion started talking to him, and he was telling us that he believed that the Book of Mormon wasn't true. He said no when I asked if he had read it before. I then told him "Don't tell me the Book of Mormon isn't true until you have read it and have prayed about it". I'm just so tired of this response. Also, I'm so tired of people saying "You guys are not Christians". I'm really just done with this statement. I have heard it a million times on my mission. It happened a few days ago, and this time my little impatience made me bold enough to tell that person how we are TRUE Christians. I'm grateful that I have been given many opportunities to testify of the message of the Restoration. I will still be working on being even more bold even though all my companions have told me that I'm bold. There definitely were times that I didn't testify as much as I should have when I was discouraged after getting a thousand door slams. But I know that in order to fulfill my responsibility, I will always have to bear testimony of the Restoration. It doesn't mean that I will be able to get everyone listen to this message, but it means I have done my part to give them a chance to choose for themselves.
Even though we still don't have anyone on date for baptism, I have faith and hope that there are people prepared. In the past two months, I have attended 4 Spanish branch baptisms (because I was invited to play the piano. Normally we need to bring an investigator in order to attend). It was amazing to be there to feel the Spirit. I only know a little Spanish, so most of the time I didn't understand what the spiritual thought was. However, I was able to feel the Spirit each time. I could see the light in the person who was getting baptized. It has strengthened my testimony that there are people who can recognize us as representatives of Jesus Christ. We just have to find them!
Serving a mission has been a humbling experience for me. I used to think that I can do everything by myself (yes it was really arrogant and ignorant). But I have learned to rely on the Lord as we are doing His work. Without His help, we can't succeed no matter how talented we are. I'm so grateful for the blessing I received from my District Leader when I first got to the mission field. The only thing that I still remember from that blessing is that I will be given the gift of tongues. I truly have been given the gift of tongues. We tracted into a Chinese lady a few days ago who didn't know any English, but I was able to share with her briefly the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ in Mandarin. Yesterday, I was able to give a 20 minute talk in Sacrament meeting without shaking, and some people asked me if English was my first language. I certainly wouldn't have been able to teach in those two languages without the Lord's help. The Lord has promised us that we would know what to say if we would first open our mouth to share His gospel: "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say" (D&C 100:5-6). I hope you all have a good week. Next P-day will be on Tuesday, and we will be going to the Temple also:) I just can't wait.
This past week was a bit rough since we couldn't find even one new investigator. People just wouldn't set up an appointment with us even though we testified to them how important this gospel was. Well, I believe that people who are truly prepared will be able to recognize that we are indeed representatives of Jesus Christ and will want to listen to the message we have to share. Our investigator Peter (name changed), who threw away all the alcohol bottles a couple weeks ago, has been doing great. We taught him once last week with Elder and Sister Bingham. Peter asked a lot of good questions about our moral standard. I think that he was touched by the Spirit during that lesson and knew that we were really there helping him to come closer to Christ. He expressed his gratitude to us a few times before we left his house. And he came to church yesterday!!! He wasn't there yet when Sacrament meeting started. My companion and I were disappointed that he may have slept in or something. But throughout out the meeting, I kept praying in my heart that he would come. And he showed up 15 minutes before the Sacrament meeting ended. He stayed there for Sunday school also, but then he had to go home as he hadn't finished his work yet. He told us that he would try to finish work quickly so that he could come to the Member and Missionary Fireside in the evening.
Last Friday, we visited Sister P. in our ward as usual. She has been a member of the Church of about 3 years but asked us to reteach all the lessons, so that's what we have been doing. But this time, her non-member son sat in the lesson. We were talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was just a great lesson for everyone as all of us need the Atonement and need to understand that we can all be forgiven through sincere repentance. He looked super tired and didn't seem to be interested, yet we invited both of them to come to the fireside, and they said they would consider it. The day before the fireside, we texted him to invite him to the fireside, and he said "I'm already planning on going to the fireside". We were so excited as it wasn't easy to get people to go.
The Member and Missionary Fireside went well. Sadly, Peter didn't make it there. We were really glad that Sister P. and her son came though. And as missionaries, we had to get there early to have choir practice, and I was excited about it. I now LOVE singing. And I was even happier when I saw my trainer as I walked up the stand! I really almost scream (I'm so glad I didn't as we were in the chapel). It has been more than 5 months since I last saw my mom (trainer) as we never served close to each other. I seriously prayed that she would get to find someone to come to the fireside so that I would get to see her:) During the fireside, I was looking around to see if anyone I taught in previous areas was there, and I saw my favorite investigators there! I didn't get the chance to say hi to them afterward, but I'm just so glad that they were there to feel the Spirit and to listen to others' testimonies. I know that they will be baptized in the near future.
Last District Meeting, my companion and I were asked to give a training on "How to make our prayers more powerful and meaningful?". It was a good opportunity for me to study about prayer and to reflect on the way I used to pray. Back home, I was so terrible at praying. My mom could basically recite my prayer as I just said the exact same thing every time. It was real bad. On my mission, I have been learning how to pray. Yet, I noticed that sometimes my prayers were too general. I would pray that we could have a baptism or our investigators would progress towards baptism. But I think it would be better if I pray to know what I have to do to help them to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Baptisms won't just happen when we are not fulfilling our responsibility as missionaries. And attitude is the key. We all have times that we just don't want to pray or are mad at God when we pray. I have done it multiple times in my life. And I can testify that being mad at Heavenly Father in your prayer won't do you any good. Prayer is not a tool for us to complain but is a way for us to submit our will to God's. "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works" (Jacob 4:10).
Our mission has set a goal to have 100 baptisms this month, and we all fasted for it yesterday. It's a pretty high goal, but I know that it's achievable as baptism is something that Heavenly Father wants. He will be guiding us if we humble ourselves and seek for His will.
Time really flies! In a few days, I will hit my one year mark. The decision of going on a mission has changed my life for the better. Even until today, I'm still expressing thanks to my best friend who helped me to find out if I should serve a mission. She doesn't even remember what she said to me. And it was just a really simple sentence, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. I'm grateful to be called to the Washington Seattle Mission and know it's the right place for me. I'm thankful to have the restored gospel in my life and am grateful that I can share it with others, and I would invite you to do the same.
My first week in Overlake was wonderful. We had 5 lessons with member present. I don't think I had had that many in a week before. Members are really important in lessons. I have seen people change when they hear members bearing their testimony of the restored gospel. I honestly was not a good member missionary at all back home that I would wait until missionaries asked me to fellowship. But as members of the Church, we all have the responsibilities to do missionary work. And one of the ways to do it is to introduce yourself to people who come to Church for the first time. We all need to feel loved and welcomed. A hand shake can really make a huge difference!
Before I got transferred to this area, missionaries were teaching a guy named Peter (name changed). He was so prepared to hear this gospel. Missionaries didn't even teach the Word of Wisdom yet but just told him that we didn't drink alcohol as they saw lots of alcohol bottles on his counter. A couple days later, the YSA Elders tracted into him while he was about to go throw away all his bottles. He is really willing to learn and has been keeping commitments!
I'm very thankful that I can have a fresh start. My companion and I have been getting along well. This is her last transfer... which means I probably would stay here with another companion next transfer. I'm really trying hard to learn the area. Everyone knows that I'm the worst at direction, so I have been paying as much attention as I can whenever my companion is driving, just in case my next companion doesn't have a GPS. My companion is a wonderful singer and is famous for that in the mission. After being with her for a few days, I realized that I actually loved singing! We now almost sing all day.
Yesterday was my first Sunday in the Overlake ward. I got to meet some members even though lots of people were out of town for the Memorial day weekend. They got really excited when I told them
I was from Hong Kong. Surprisingly, most of them had been to Hong Kong a few times and all of them loved it! I still haven't heard from anyone that they had bad experiences in Hong Kong:)
Ah... I almost forget to mention the exchange I had last Saturday. I went to Beverlake with Sister Eaton. We certainly had a good time there. She was trained by my last companion Sister Capener in North Creek, so we got a lot to talk about. Sister Eaton is truly an amazing missionary. She is soooooo obedient. We discussed what we had learned from this past Zone Conference and how we could implement the teachings. We both liked how President Choi reminded us to repent daily. It wasn't something I had been doing before, and I usually would wait until I made a really big mistake. But as missionaries, our worthiness would definitely affect out effectiveness and the understanding of our investigators, as said in Preach My Gospel. President Choi has asked us to ask ourselves "Are you worthy?" each day. I really like Alma 36 and have read it many times, it says in verse 24"Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost". It is clear that when we have repented of our sins, we can have exceeding joy. There is no way we can hide our mistakes from God, and Jesus Christ has already suffered for all of us, so why don't we just repent speedily when we make a mistake?
I hope you all have a good week and will pray for missionary opportunity!