Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

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!! 

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