Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

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

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