Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 11 - Another busy week!

This week has been busy and full of learning. I have learned so much from Sister Guo, Sister Cluff, and Sister Ho. They're all great examples of diligent and loving missionaries. One thing I've learned from them is how to contact people on the street and tie the Gospel into our conversation. I am typically a shy person and have a hard time trying to start a conversation, and then bringing the Gospel into it...However, as I've watched how the other sisters do it, I've learned that it's important to see others as Christ would, as a child of God, and that we love and care for them, without knowing them.  My experiences with 'finding' this week didn't go as planned. People would reject our message and ignore us more than frequently, but it only gives me more motivation to keep trying. 

Every time we teach our investigators, it just testifies to me that Heavenly Father has prepared people for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's amazing to watch how much investigators, recent converts, members, and missionaries' testimonies grow during the lessons. I have never felt the spirit guiding me so strong until I became a missionary. The companionship of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest blessings I've received. I've never invited someone to baptism, and I felt prompted to ask a potential investigator if she was willing to be baptized when we met her for the first time. I was nervous, but she agreed happily and knew that this is the gateway to salvation. It was incredible. The spirit in that lesson was so strong.

I absolutely love the missionaries, members, and people here in the Harbour City Zone. It's been such an incredible learning and growing experience. The work is hard, but I've learned that if we're willing to put our heart, might, mind, and strength, the Lord will help us so much. 

I've been reading the Doctrine and Covenants lately, and it's so full of great insight. I absolutely love it. 

So some highlights of the week:

On P-day, we had a zone picnic in the park. It was a beautiful day and we had so much fun. Sister Cluff and I started talking to an older man who was really friendly...and then he found out we were Mormon. It was funny because we told him we were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and he didn't associate them with Mormons. Then he told us he has respect for everyone but hates the Mormons because apparently we shove religion down peoples throats...which is absolutely not true! Then we told him we were Mormon and he pulled out his brown bag of red wine and poured it into his cup. It was a pretty entertaining conversation. He was actually polite other than the fact that he didn't like us. 

Some of the ward members, Graham (Simba in the Lion King musical here!), Junior (a professional Rugby player), and Jay (YSA) joined us for the picnic. We did rotissarie chicken sandwiches :) 
Then we had FHE later that evening, and we just played ninja. 

We had lots of really good lessons this week, and I did more teaching than observing this time, so that was good! :) I'm gradually becoming more confident in my teaching in Mandarin...it's nice when we just have to teach it simply. Our investigators are great. Now the struggle is finding new investigators. We have a couple people who seem pretty interested.

We also teach free English classes, and those are fun! We get a pretty solid group of people that come, and we teach them about how to have a conversation based on the topic of the week. Last week was clothing, so we played a fun activity where they had to make clothes from newspaper and then name the clothes they made. 

I've explored the city a lot during my finding, and that's been super fun. At Victoria Park, by Sydney U, we met a guy whose family used to be LDS. He was really cool. He's now agnostic, but remembered a few of the things he learned in Primary and enjoyed the good messages and lessons that the Gospel teaches. 

On Thursday and Saturday, Sister Kuo and Sister Cluff did tradeoffs in the other areas, so I was with Sister Ho, and that was a lot of fun :) We have a good time together. She's an incredible missionary and has a great spirit about her. Throughout the week, we've had members accompany us in lessons and come with us contacting. That's a lot of fun. The members here are always so willing to help us. They're great! 

Also, the food here is great. I love the diversity of it all. So far I've had Taiwanese, Thai, and Japanese food...so that's been really good. One of our recent converts works in a Chinese restaurant, and he brought us yummy chicken and rice...super spicy! 

Sundays are great as usual :) Had a few visitors, so that was fun. Some of our investigators came to church and that was great! 

The zone leaders, assistants, and a couple members cooked dinner for us since most of us fasted, so we had a zone dinner which was fun! Corn beef, saussage, toast, pesto pasta...basically all the leftover food in the flats, haha. We also have a lot of meetings, so that's fun :) 

That's about it for now... 
OH, and I saw Emily Newman! She surprised me, so that was super fun! It was so weird talking to her though as a missionary. I've definitely changed and am in a different mindset...I think it might've frightened her a little haha. It's interesting because all of my conversation are to be centered around the Gospel somehow... it was good though. I loved seeing her! 

I love you all! Church is true! 

Have a great week!
Sister Lew

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 10 - Born in the city

Hello everyone! 

I'm in Sydney!! It's about time! :) Wow, this past week has been absolutely exhausting but so good! 

I left the MTC on Monday afternoon...packing until the very last minute. It was really sad to say goodbye to my sisters in the MTC. I was in tears... and then saying bye to my district in general was also really sad. We took a big bus to the airport, full of Brisbane, Tahiti , Melbourne, and Sydney missionaries!  We got to the airport and checked in the at the American Airlines counter. Thankfully we were first in line, because there were about 30 missionaries behind us. Security was easy then we went to the gate where I called all of you! It was so nice to hear your voices. I'm so glad you're doing well!! :) 

I decided to try contacting at the airport, so I talked to a lady at the gate next to me...turns out she's a Jehovah's Witness. We had a nice conversation about the similarities that we have with them and I corrected a few misconceptions about our faith. 
Then on the plane to Sydney, I sat next to a lady who believed in the energy of the earth and how meditation brings us closer to harmony with the earth. That was interesting. She was so sweet and lovely. The plane ride had some turbulence, but it was fine. I slept most of the ride. We landed in Sydney flying over the opera house and bridge. What a sight! Then we land only to find out that they lost my, Elder Vaughn and Sister Tian's luggage from SLC...  
Customs and Immigration were easy. We went to the arrival hall and were welcomed by President and Sister Howes and the Assistants, Elder Maxfield and Elder Arona. I cannot describe the love and instant connection I felt with them. Although complete strangers, I felt like I was at home. Sister Howes helped us get our luggage sorted out, and it was on the same flight coming in the next day. Thankfully I had already packed clothes in my carry-on. We waited for the missionaries that came from the New Zealand MTC. There were 5 of them: 2 elders and 3 sisters...all from NZ or Australia! We first stopped by a park to take a picture with the bridge and opera house behind us.

All of us "greenies"
 The city is absolutely beautiful!! and the weather was perfect! 

We drove to the mission office and filled out forms and stuff. Then had interviews with Pres Howes and went to their home. We had yummy soup for lunch and I got to know the other new sisters. Then all the trainers started to come in, including Elder Wilde, who is from Shanghai! We were at youth conference together. We had an orientation meeting with the trainers about expectations, rules, and an intro to the Sydney North Mission. All of us greenies were allowed to share our testimonies with the group. It's a great group of people to be with. The spirit was really strong in that room. We had tacos for dinner, and that was super good too. Anything but MTC food...haha it really wasn't that bad, just redundant and unhealthy. After orientation, people started to head out with their new companions to teach lessons and get to their area. It was weird being split up from everyone. My first area is the Harbour City Zone, which is right in the heart of the Sydney city. 

I was ecstatic when I found out my area. I had really hoped to be in the city!! My companion is Sister Kuo, from Tainan, Taiwan, and she is the best! We get along really well. She's been out for about 10 months now. She speaks Mandarin and English, so she helps me with my Mandarin. We got to the city on Wednesday night and she gave me a tour of the chapel after we dropped of our bags in our flat. Our flat has 4 sisters, so us, and Sister Ho from Lantau, HK and Sister Cluff from Texas. We get along so well. I already love them so much! I met about half of the elders in our zone that night. There are a total of 14 missionaries in our zone, which is the most serving in any ward in the mission. We're all assigned to the YSA ward, which is the only ward in the city. It's a very diverse group of missionaries, lots of Kiwis, Americans, Aussies, and Chinese. Our zone leaders are Elder Stephens and Elder Laurenson and my district leaders are Elder Marshall and Elder Easton. The other missionaries are Elder Dean, Elder Fowler, Elder Ko, and Elder Richards. The AP's work in our zone because it's closest to the mission home. There's also a thing called 'traveling missionaries' where a few missionaries will do exchanges in other areas. So Elder Brimhall and Elder Richardson (I think?) were in our zone for a few days. I was so exhausted that first night. 

Thursday was my first real day on the job. We woke up at 6:30, exercise, then eat breakfast/shower. I wasn't able to go grocery shopping, so I just had toast or cereal or fruit that's communal in our flat. Then starting at 8, we study in the morning: personal, companion, and if we have time, language study. At the start of companion study, we always do our recitations of our purpose, D&C 4, my missionary commission, and D&C 121:33-46. That day, Sister Cluff and Kuo had STL training meetings, so they went to the mission home and I was with Sister Ho. We went out finding around Victoria Park. Finding is street contacting. I was so nervous at first, but it just takes practice and then it gets so much easier. I never thought I would be scared to talk to strangers...but I was absolutely terrified!! I was scared of rejection, but then they told me that they aren't rejecting me, they're rejecting the Savior. Which is really sad and is their loss
We were able to invite people to meet with us. We met one lady on the street, from China, just visiting and gave her a chapel tour. She seemed to enjoy it. We taught her about the Godhead and that was cool. Sister Ho is so enthusiastic when she teaches the gospel. It's really cool to watch. I have learned so much from working with her. She's considered my step mom since Sister Kuo and Cluff are travelling sisters and will be gone about 10-11 times this transfer, haha. That night, we met with the Ward Mission Leader, Michael, who took us out to Japanese food. I had curry and that was SO good... 
If I have any advice, it's to work with the ward mission leader to work with the missionaries. Member involvement in the teaching process is SO important!! 

We spent most of Friday teaching our investigators. Our investigators are just so awesome! Most of them are Chinese, so I was able to use both Mandarin and English. We have a few that are soooo close to baptism, but have a few concerns about family acceptance, etc. There's Tom and Ben, who are roommates with Caesar, a recent convert. They all have such strong testimonies already. We taught Tom about family history work and it's importance. 
We also had a couple of member lessons, which are really cool. We work with them through helping them becoming missionary members. The members in the YSA ward are soooo great. They have such a great enthusiasm for the church and for helping the missionaries. 
I've already been on splits with members to go out finding. We also have quite a few members that help us with our lessons with investigators. They're such a great help to us. They help our investigators see that normal and real people, not just missionaries, can live the gospel. 

On Friday, we have what's called Friday Forum, a chance for members to meet and have lunch with a speaker. The speaker last Friday was Ray, who knows Uncle Larry and Auntie Susanna! Sister Dick, one of the senior missionaries, made Chicken noodle soup...it was very nice. Oh yeah, so the senior couples we work with here are the Nolans and the Dicks. They're all so loving and nice. They help us out so much. 

Me and Ray

Sister Kuo and I had about 7 lessons that day I think (friday..) and then the YSA have games night, so it's like mutual, but for the YSA. I got to know more of the missionaries in our zone. Elder Dick made home made cookies and those were to die for. They were fresh out of the oven!! 

Saturday was about the same. we had studying, then lessons in the morning. Then we did splits with the members and went out finding. I got to see more of the city, so that was really cool. Ah I still need to work on talking with EVERYBODY. It's honestly really scary... 
Then at 3:30 a big group of us went together to go to a baptism at the Greenwich chapel, since we don't have a font. All of the Greenwich and Ryde missionaries, I think?, were at the baptism! We had 2 convert baptisms, and that was really neat to watch. Good talks from the missionaries as well as some of the members. We had one of our investigators come and she really enjoyed it. I met the Relief Society president, Sara Stubbs, who knows Sister Nightingale and is going to HK next week!! :) She's awesome! Afterwards, we all took the train back to the city and we went to 3 Mama's which is a delicious Thai restaurant. Ahh, I love having every kind of food here. The food was so good and pretty cheap too! It seems like I'm eating a lot, but I'm really not...we barely have time for lunch. We eat a small breakfast, eat during the day if we have time, which is very rare, then have a small dinner unless we go out. Too busy to eat or be hungry haha. 

Sunday was my first sacrament meeting in the field. I met the bishop and most of the members. They're so great. It's cool to be in an area where everyone is more or less my age.  It's pretty cool. One of our ward converts received the Holy Ghost and that was really neat to watch. We also had a few of our investigators come to church. Our ward is so diverse that they have about 5 different Gospel Principles classes for different languages. so of course I went to the Mandarin one and I barely understood anything. There are 3 Mandarin speaking missionaries in our zone, 1 Korean, and the rest are English. So we all try to practice our Mandarin with each other. Then in relief society, they called the sister missionaries into priesthood to watch one of our recent converts, Caesar, receive the Melchezidek priesthood, and that was awesome! After church we had a linger longer with cake. then we had a lesson with Caesar, then went back to the flat. Sister Ho cooked us fried rice, which was good. We planned and studied a bit as well as bonded and spent time getting to know each other. Then Sister Kuo and I went to clean the teaching center. Oh right, so in our zone we can't go to members houses, and we do all of our teaching at the Teaching Center (TC) which is right below the chapel. It's a pretty cool set up. They have a lounge with computers and an air hockey table, a bunch of classrooms, and then upstairs they have a 'cultural hall' thing, a kitchen, classrooms, and the chapel. 
Afterwards we had a zone meeting, where we account for our Investigators, RC, LA's, as well as our zone culture, which I'm in charge of. It's 'how we roll', no gossip, be dignified, secret service, grattitude, and some other components that I currently forget... 
Because I'm new, I was 'spotlighted' so everyone got to ask me any questions for 5 minutes. Elder Easton asked what my favourite animal was, and I said otters because they hold hands when they sleep so they don't float away...apparently he had the exact same answer a few days ago..what a weird coincidence. it was funny. 

Wow that was a lot. I'm glad to finally have P day to rest a little. It's just so busy but the work is great!! The jet lag hasn't been too bad, so that's been nice. I'm finally getting over my cold!! I asked my District leaders for a blessing, so ever since, it's been clearing up a lot. 

My first week in the field was absolutely amazing. I've learned so much from the members and missionaries here, and I'm excited to learn so much more during my time here. I love the emphasis on miracles in our mission. As I have gone finding and have taught a few lessons, I've learned to see the everyday miracles in our lives that Heavenly Father blesses us with. 

I have already gained a testimony that Heavenly Father has prepared people for us, especially here in Sydney. Having taught our investigators, most of them are ready for the Gospel. One of our newest investigators didn't have much background in Christianity, and yet, he already sees how the Atonement of Jesus Christ helps us all. He sees the importance of praying to our Heavenly Father as well as reading the scriptures. It was really cool to see that he was aware of the changes he wanted to make in his life. 

The Harbour City Zone is such a special and unique place to people. There is so much diversity and personality among the members here. The YSA have such strong testimonies, and it's really neat to see how they all support and love each other. 

I love working with Sister Kuo. She is an amazing missionary, and I'm so glad that I can learn from her. She has taught me so much of what it means to love everyone, and express that love for our investigators and let them know that Jesus loves them.

I hope you're all doing well! I love you so much :) 
Love 爱,
Sister Lew 刘姐妹 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Week 9 - I'm leaving on a jet plane, I'll be back in 16 months!

So fun to run into Sister Yu from Hong Kong

Wow, I can't believe I leave today! It's crazy how fast and slow time can go by. This past week has been one of the longest weeks so far. It might be because I'm sick... 

Some of the highlights:

Tuesday night devotional was given by Elder Clarke of the Seventy. He spoke about missionary work and what's really important when bringing people unto Christ. For example, before someone is baptized, we need to make sure that they have a friend in the church. After they're baptized, it's important that they have a calling to keep them involved and make them feel like they're a part of the ward/branch. It's also important that they keep reading the scriptures, especially The Book of Mormon. Elder Clarke made the point that we need to be the missionaries that take care of other missionaries investigators and converts. It was a really good devotional. It got me pumped for the field!! 

Wednesday we got 2 new districts in our zone!! So we have about 70 missionaries in our zone now, which is an insane amount of missionaries. They're going to Taichung and England. We had more sisters come in than elders. So now we have a total of 22 sisters! Sister Aria Chee (one of my closest friends at BYU who I had every class with) and Kenzie Christensen (my companion in my mission prep class) are in our zone, so that was really exciting to see them! I also saw Emily Hale (my Gilmore Girls bestie from the dorms) and Ben Law (a kid from HK that I met at BYU). I love how much of a reunion the MTC is. 

Thursday night, I got three dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and that was fantastic :) Thanks mum! I shared those with my district. I was pretty sick that day, so I went to bed early.

On Friday, I had the unique opportunity of going to the Salt Lake City Temple to do a live session because I'm an 'international missionary'. It was pretty cool. I don't think I've ever felt so close to God before. It was special. I love the art and interior design. It's absolutely beautiful. Sitting in the Celestial Room was probably one of my favourite parts. 
I was sitting in there, admiring how stunning it is. I saw a few couples who had just been sealed and who were about to be sealed and that was really cool. Then I thought about how Mom and Dad were sealed there and were in that exact same Celestial Room, and I got the coolest feeling. I honestly can't describe it, but it was along the lines of a feeling of comfort, knowing that our family can be together forever. After the Temple, we met up with the Temple Square missionaries and did a tour around the Temple grounds, tabernacle, meeting house, and conference center. Although I've been there a bunch of times, it all had a lot more meaning this time around. I don't know how to explain that either. I ran into Sister Yu from Victoria 3rd Branch and that was so exciting!! Last October conference, I saw her, and 11 months later, seeing her again, both as missionaries, was really cool. She was really surprised to see me there, she had no idea I was going on a mission! She's doing so well! I can't believe she goes home next month, it's crazy! There was such a strong and peaceful spirit at Temple Square. It was so beautiful. Afterwards, we headed to the humanitarian center and watched a video of all the humanitarian work the Church does. It's so amazing how much help the church provides to the entire world. Not only do they assist the poor and needy, but they help them help themselves. The video was so moving. Service is Christ's way of showing love. I realized how important service is in our Church. Christ turned no one down. The least we can do is use some of our time to serve others, doesn't matter how big or small the act is. Then we helped out with tie quilts, and that was fun. 

Sister Sonku from South Africa
That night, Wu Lao Shi surprised us by teaching us! That was really exciting just because we've missed him all week. On Thursday, all of the Taipei missionaries found out that they're not getting their visas and will be reassigned stateside for a transfer (6 weeks) and were at the MTC for at least another week. Everyone was really bummed about that. Wu Lao Shi talked to us about dealing with disappointment and how to forget ourselves in the work. He reminded us that this is the Lord's work and we're on the Lord's time. Everything that happens, happens because it's part of Heavenly Father's plan for us. Also, it's important to remember that Christ suffered for all of our pain, suffering, hardships, trials, etc. When he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he told Heavenly Father that if it was his will for him to atone for us, then he will do it. The least we can do is to do what he asks of us. 

Saturday was alright. In class we finally learned useful conversational Chinese, which we hadn't really learned before then. At dinner, our zone did the Cereal Challenge, which was to empty a whole dispenser of cereal (about 3 ft tall) before the workers could refill it...we cleared out the CoCo Roos and the Capn' Colossal Crunch. It was disgustingly impressive. All of the sisters and elders joined...Most of the elders had between 7-10 bowls...disgusting. I spent the rest of the night mostly packing and saying bye. 

Cereal Challenge

Sunday was Fast Sunday...being sick on Fast Sunday was kind of rough, but it was good! We had mission conference, and that was really good. The speakers (MTC presidency & a district president and wife) gave excellent talks. There was a lot of focus on faith and exercising it. Then we had district meeting and Elder Jensen taught us about having faith that Christ will deliver us. He asked us to think about the purpose of our mission purpose. What significance does it have in our lives. One thing I got out of his lesson was to never give up on people when bringing them to come unto Christ. Everyone needs God and the Savior in their lives. However, we can't shove the Gospel down peoples' throats. We need to help them see how God has a hand in their lives and to help them build their personal relationship with God. We need to be inviting when we invite. 

We went on my last Temple Walk and that was sad saying bye to the Branch Presidency. That night at devotional, we sang We'll Bring the World His Truth. Having 2200 missionaries sing that was one of the most powerful experiences I've had. I got chills. Brother Heaton, the administrative director at the MTC, spoke for the 3rd time since I've been here. He asked people to share conversion stories again, so that was pretty cool to see how the Lord prepares people to receive the Gospel first hand. That night I was packing and it was really sad. Sister Wawro gave me the most beautiful goodbye present. We went into the stairwell and she bore her testimony of Christ's Atonement and then sang a beautiful rendition of I Believe in Christ. It brought me to tears. We have pain and sorrow so we get a glimpse of what Christ went through when he suffered for our suffering. The trials we are given make us stronger. Although they are hard to endure, there is hope from the atonement. There is joy that comes from the Atonement. 

Today we went to the Temple and I've just been packing. I leave in about 3 hours...AHHH

My experience at the MTC has been absolutely amazing. I have learned SO much and have grown so much. The Gift of Tongues is so real. I never thought I would be able to teach discussions in Mandarin, and yet I've been doing that every day since I got here. Also, I've developed a huge testimony in the Book of Mormon. I finished the Book of Mormon this week, and I never realized how powerful it is. When I prayerfully read and study it, I receive so many answers to questions I've had and questions I didn't think I had. It truly is the word of God. The MTC has had its ups and downs. I have never experienced such extreme highs and lows before. It's been so hard, but so easy at the same time because I know that Christ is by my side every step of the way. Everyday, I see the Lord's hand in my life. Through Him, I've become stronger and I've been able to help with his work. 

I am so excited to get into the field and bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people in Sydney!! It's the most beautiful and precious gift we have. 

I love you all and miss you all. I hope you're doing well!! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 8 - 什么东西? (our favourite saying)

Sister Jensen, me, Sister Jenkins, Sister Strong, Sister Facer, and Sister Bowman


The weeks get shorter and shorter. and hopefully in 1 week, I'll be on my way to Australia! It's about freaking time. I love the MTC and the experience I've had here, but I think it's almost time to go and teach. 

This week has been a very bittersweet one. 

Tuesday's devotional was awesome. It was by Brother and Sister Martino, of the Seventy. He talked about how important missionary work is and that we need to work harder than we ever have. Here are some of my take away's:

 - Tomorrow's regrets are fixed by today's exact obedience
 - Our goal should be to be the missionary that God called us to be
 - Our work reflects our attitude 
 - Like Enoch, we need to open our mouths and they will be filled. God will justify our words if we are        worthy
 - Once we step foot into the MTC, we give it our all: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. 
 - We need to focus on entering the Kingdom of God 
 - "If it is to be, it is up to me" (again on attitude)
 - Believe that we can make a difference
 -Missionaries are called and prepared according to their exceeding faith and good works
 - Believe in things that seem impossible and impractical (have faith)
 - We are unprofitable servants for His work, not ours
 - Seek the highest standard of excellence 
 - Be perfected in Christ
 - Lift up they head and rejoice
 - We are judged by who we become, not what we have done
 - We have earned our potential as God's children

After the devotional, we had district testimony meeting. Elder Jensen decided to take the time to acknowledge something he has learned from every missionary in our district. It was so sweet and brought such a great spirit into the room. He said that I had patience, which I was pretty surprised about. One thing that I really appreciated was that there are people in Australia who need to be taught by me because of the way I teach. 

Wednesday is when we got the bad news that the MTC was rearranging our teachers' schedules due to BYU starting this week. So this meant that we no longer had Wu and Tan 老师 after Friday. They are honestly the best teachers I've ever had. I've learned so much from them both in the language and in the Gospel. They've shown me what it really means to be a missionary, and that is to love others and to invite and help them come unto Christ, whether it's our investigators, the members, our companions, or even ourselves.
One thing that is really stressed here is perfect obedience. I know for a fact that this principle is impossibly hard. Sometimes we beat ourselves up for not being perfect. But it is only through Christ that we can become perfect. We need to take things slow, one step at a time, and to try our best. That's all Heavenly Father asks for, to try our best. Perfect obedience comes from our willingness to try. 

Thursday was our last class with Tan 老师. That was sad :(  In class we did an activity where we passed around a sheet of paper with our name on it, and everyone in the district had to write something they learned from us or admire about us on it. It was a really good activity. Everyone had such good things to say about everyone. She then took the list of things from page 10 of PMG of attributes of a successful missionary and gave everyone one that fit them. For me she said that my attribute was 'teach and serve other missionaries'. She described why afterwards, and she said it was because of my willingness to always drop what I was doing to help another missionary (usually with Chinese). One thing I really liked was that she said that we give up our time to help Christ teach others. (he teaches through us, we are his tools). I always found that so cool. 

On Thursday, we also found out that we had infield orientation the next day instead of next Thursday, the day before Taipei missionaries were supposed to leave. So that changed things up a little bit. 

Friday was In-Field Orientation and I think that's been one of my favorite parts about the MTC. We learned a lot about our purpose, the importance of setting goals, how to find and talk with people, and the importance of working with members. I finally met Brother Christensen from the District!
Some key things I learned are:

-Baptismal invitation is so important because baptism is the gateway to great things (the Celestial  Kingdom, eternal life and marriage, etc). 
- We need to talk with EVERYONE, build relationships with people
- We don't teach or convert, but the spirit does through us
- Missionaries and church members are all part of the same united church...we need to work together in  order to effectively do Heavenly Father's work.
This reminded me of the time when the missionaries asked me to help fellowship Supriya during my sophomore year. I didn't realize how important fellowshipping was at the time, but now I know that it's so important to help investigators feel loved and welcome. Members' influence and help makes all the difference. It shows investigators that members of the church are normal people who struggle, but live their lives according to Gospel principles. I encourage you to take every missionary opportunity that comes your way. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings such a great message of hope, and there are people all around us who need to know that.
In-field was just a lot of fun. We got more bad news that day though. The Taipei missionaries found out that they're most likely not going to leave on Friday because their visas haven't come through yet...so we're hoping and praying that it'll work out.

That night was our last class with Wu 老师. We also taught our last lesson to 'Zhang Wang Quan' and that was surprisingly really sad. Since we were so busy with infield and had no time to prepare, we just went in without a lesson. We taught about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was such a cool lesson because Sister Fisher and I were on the same page the entire time. Considering we didn't have any preparation, it was pretty dang good. We just taught by the spirit, and he led us to really good discussions. He told us he was leaving for China the next day, and I was heartbroken. Even though it was Wu 老师's face, I had come to love Brother Zhang as Christ would have. We bore our testimonies to him, and that brought such a strong spirit into the room. As we said bye, I felt so grateful for the opportunity we had to teach him, to bring more hope and love into his life. I walked out of there just feeling sad but so happy. This makes no sense at all, I honestly can't describe how it felt. 
During class, Wu 老师 told us stories from his mission. He taught us that every effort is put to use. We need to learn to have faith in Heavenly Father and accept His timing. Things don't always happen the way we want them to, but we just need to trust that God knows what's best for us. One thing that he said that I absolutely love is that "we will change the eternities". I just thought that was super cool. 

Saturday we met our new teachers. Our first one was Yan 老师 from Sha Tin! He served in Boston. He's a really cool guy. He seems like he'll be a good teacher. Our second one was Ke 老师 from California and served in Taipei. He's also pretty cool. He played a new investigator, Brother Fu. We taught the first discussion without any preparation because we didn't know we were going to teach. It went pretty well. Saturday was pretty slow otherwise. We studied, and did more studying, oh yeah and studied some more. We had a little district party that night to unwind and that was nice. I absolutely love my district. Elder Heaps and I have become best friends. Elder Wheeler keeps thinking that we're all in love with him. Elder Elliott is just a genius (36 on his ACT). Elder Vaughn is lil' vaughnsie that we all love and adore. Elder Robinson is the most chill guy I know and he's always so happy. Elder Jensen is just so smart and driven...I wish I had his self-motivation. The sisters are all great too. I love my companions (we refer to the 4 of us a companionship). They've helped me so much and have taught me so much. 

I love our district

Sunday was our last Sunday of meetings! We are no longer STL's and now that calling has been given to Sisters Geddes and Ashby. Relief Society was pretty good. Sister Stephens from the RS general presidency spoke to us about the role of relief society in the church and our purpose. She gave some history of it and that was pretty cool. I liked how she said that it's a 'restored organization' which I never really thought about.
Sacrament meeting was good. It was on the Holy Ghost. Then we sang How Great Thou Art for a musical number. It was us and the two other districts in our zone that came in July 9th. So there were 30 of us. It was so cool. The spirit was so strong. It's our last Sunday all together because Elder Leishman leaves tomorrow for NYC. 

We had a departure devotional that night and they talked to us about the great things we're going to do. The devotional was by Elder and Sister Holzapfel. They told us that missionaries to mission presidents are like children to their own parents, and that's how they view us. They also talked about the importance of keeping a study journal and if we record all of our insights, we can see a pattern of how Heavenly Father talks and communicates with us. 
Then we watched the Ministry of President Monson. I love our prophet. He is a man of God. He's so loved by the world and I look up to him so much. He is one of the most selfless people I know. Ah I love knowing that we have a living prophet on the Earth. 

Anyways, that's about it for now. Love you all. hope you're doing well, bye!! 

I keep running into Alex Pelz everywhere!

We first met as hall mates this time last year!!
Sisters Akita, Sorensen, Morgan and Poelman

Sister Facer and me

Elder Wu and Elder Zhang and me