Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 15 - Transfer #2

Zone Photo with Elder and Sister Feil

Sad that the Feils will be leaving our mission soon

Hello beautiful family! 

This week has been absolutely amazing. We ended the transfer, had one missionary transfer, one die, two companionships switch companions, and two new missionaries! Sister Ho died and it was a week full of "lasts" and that was incredibly sad. She is such an amazing example to me. I loved having a HK jie jie. She really took care of me. What was very impressive was that she worked hard all the way until the end. She was not trunkie at all!! I love that I was able to work with her so much this transfer. We also lost Elder Fowler, who went up to Newcastle. Out of all of the elders in our zone, he is one that I learned a lot from. He's so dedicated to learning Chinese. It's incredible. He's always so friendly and so full of the spirit. He just goes out and talks to everyone. It's cool to watch him when we go GQing. He's always encouraging everyone as well. He's helped me adjust really well to the city. The ward LOVES him. His and Elder Dean's recent converts are some of our strongest members. They work with all of the missionaries, and they're just great! Elders Ko and Marshall switched areas, so that Elder Ko can work with Elder Easton since they both speak Korean. Sister Ah Fua and Elder Arnold transferred to our zone yesterday! I love Sister Ah Fua! She's so sweet. she's from Melbourne and is a convert to the church. Elder Arnold is from Alpine and served in Ryde (the mandarin ward) for the past 7 transfers, so his Mandarin is feichanghao!! 

Flat Stanley traveled down under to visit with the missionaries

Giving a missionary kiss to Flat Stanley

I can't believe it's the start of the new transfer. Over the past few days, I've been reflecting on my first transfer in the field, particularly the things I learned and the things I want to improve on. A lot of what I learned are still things I really need to work on, such as being bold when talking to people on the street. Talk to everyone. That is the only way we can invite people to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Another thing was to serve others first, just as Christ would. I was able to work with Sister Ho a lot this past transfer, and she is the greatest example of selfless love I've seen. She always made sure the members, investigators, and other missionaries were taken care of. Not only that, but she endured to the very end. I admire her diligence and dedication to this work and her love for everyone around her. 

So this week we've struggled with one of our investigators, Scott. He's scheduled to be baptized this coming Saturday, but he feels he's not ready and has been avoiding us. Please keep him in your prayers that he'll meet with us and be ready!  Joyce, who's also getting baptized is AWESOME! The Gospel has blessed her life so much. Tom, Ben, and Kat are all good! They come to church...they're basically members but haven't been baptized yet because of parents/girlfriends, etc.  So some exciting news...we have 3 new investigators!! Yan Lin is from Singapore and she comes to our English classes. She's pretty open to everything, so we just started meeting with her. She came to church on Sunday! Then we have Lily and David who are a couple. David met the missionaries before, and Lily is really looking for the 'true' church because she's church hopped and is confused. I think this is it for her!

We did quite a bit of finding this week. Some days were better than others. At DTM on Wednesday, we had a whole training on finding, so I think that really motivated us. Street contacting is HARD! Getting myself to talk to strangers is a bit of a struggle, but I'm getting better. I have people run away from us a lot...it's quite entertaining. We went to Victoria Park and ran into the Ryde Sisters and Elders and then Elders Dean & Fowler within half an hour of each other. I had the weirdest experience. Elders Dean and Fowler were talking to this 'missionary' person from an orthodox christian church, and then we came and had a good conversation about the Book of Mormon and then his 'companion' came with another missionary from another church who started testifying of the Second Coming. It was a mini lesson of 4 LDS missionaries, 2 orthodox christians, and 1 other christian missionary just in the park talking about God, Christ, the Bible and the Book of Mormon and the Second Coming. One of our members was walking by and stopped by as well...

Also at DTM, Sister Ho made chicken feet for everyone to try haha that was funny..most people were disgusted, but some really enjoyed it. 

Tuesday I was on tradeoffs with the STLs...so because one of them is my companion normally, I got to work with Sister Cluff! That was fun!! She's great. Such a hard worker and a great example :) Plus it's nice having another American in the flat hahah

Me and Sister Cluff

Thursday I was on tradeoffs with Sister Ho so that day was spent GQing and then we went with a member during the evening. Her name is Kate and she's an RM! She served in Houston. She's really good though. We had a cool lesson. It was about 7 pm on George street, so super busy, noisy, and whatnot, and she stops to talk to an Indian girl giving out advertisements for her restaurant and she was so full of the spirit. Her name is Rimi and she was really interested in what we had to say. It was so peaceful amongst the craziness of the city. 

Friday we had District Date Night, which was tons of fun! So at Hyde Park, they had a Night Noodle Market going on for about 3 weeks with all different types of noodles and other Asian food. So we did that to celebrate the end of the transfer with our district, whom I love very much. Elder Easton, our DL is just awesome. He's always smiling and cheerful...even when we wake him up at 6 am, haha. He took note of the things we learned throughout the transfer and then wrote a nice note about us individually with a scripture, so he shared those with us at dinner. My scripture was D&C 64:33 (I think) and it's about how through small means, great things can come...so even though I'm small, I can produce great things. I really liked it. The scriptures he chose for everyone was very fitting for each person. That was a good night. The food was good too!! 

Night Noodle Market

Saturday we had to Temple Clean our flat because it's the end of transfers, so that took a couple of hours. Also, we played Lava Monster at 6 am with the district, so that was a ton of fun. We go down to this huge playground at Darling Harbour and they have  jungle gym of ropes and we have to climb and one person is 'it' and has to tag someone... let me tell you, it's a good workout for our morning exercise. There was a baptism that evening, and the service was really nice. Afterwards, we went to a yummy Malaysian restaurant. 

On Sunday we sang 'I Need Thee Every Hour' with Sister Jorgensen as her farewell musical number...it was cool because we sang each sentence in a different language. So we had Korean, Tongan, Cantonese, Samoan, Mandarin, ASL, and Malagasee. It was really beautiful. I also finally introduced myself to the ward on Sunday after a whole transfer of being there. Sister Ho and Elder Fowler also spoke because they're leaving, and everyone was confused and thought I was leaving too. That day was full of goodbyes :( At night, before zone meeting we had a pancake bar to say bye to sister Ho. The elders sang some islander song to say bye and it was beautiful...we all cried. It was quite emotional. Then we had the first mission-wide conference call with President to discuss some things. 

Also, Elder Nolan went to the hospital for surgery (he's a senior missionary in our zone) and he's in recovery. So please pray for him! He's doing better! 

Everything has just been a little crazy, but it's good! Our goal is to smash it this transfer!! We're really excited to do so! I'm trying to be more diligent in the work, less distracted, and fully consecrate my efforts to the Lord. 

I think that's about it...
I love you all and hope you're doing well!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 14 - Last week of my first transfer!

Ni Hao!

Wow...it's the last week of my first transfer in the field!!! Crazy! I already hit my three month mark earlier in the week. 

This week was excellent. It started off with Special Training, going to the Temple, and ended with General Conference. I honestly don't think I could ask for a better spiritual week.
I'm starting to get over my fear of talking with everyone. Sometimes it's intimidating, but I've come to the realization that everyone needs the Gospel, and I'm not fulfilling my responsibility as a member and a missionary to invite others to come unto Christ if I don't open my mouth and teach. 
One of my core experiences with God was during General Conference. Every single talk answered one of the questions I wrote down beforehand. I knew that these men and women are called of God. I built my testimony of prophets purely based on faith, but when I heard President Monson speak, it truly testified to me that he is a man called of God to lead His people.
Every day I learn more about how important it is to listen to the Spirit as we teach our investigators...let me correct myself, I've learned how important it is to allow the spirit to teach. I've really noticed a difference between just talking and then using the scriptures and testifying of Christ. I've come to love and trust my Heavenly Father in a way I never thought I could before. 

So what else has happened this week...

We had a miracle! On Tuesday, we were running late for an appointment...well actually, she came early so then we were rushing back. She's Japanese and her English is isn't very good yet. She waited in the lobby and one of the members who speaks Japanese was there and then was able to help with our lesson when we got to the TC!!  It was great because our original fellowship fell through right before the lesson and we weren't sure how we were going to communicate effectively with her. 

Wednesday was mainly lessons with investigators, and it's been great to see how they've been building their faith in Christ. We have two baptismal dates for the 25th!! All of our investigators are really strong and I look up to them so much. Some of them are basically members, but aren't allowed to get baptized because of their parents :( So please pray that the parents hearts will be softened. Also...one of our investigators disappeared...so please pray that we can get a hold of him. He was so solid!! 
We also celebrated Elder Ko's birthday on Wednesday. We had cheesecake, Sis. Cluff made green jello with carrots, and Sister Dick made an apple pie that was delicious!
We also sang the EFY medley as a goodbye to Sister Ho and that was a crying mess :( 

Celebrating Elder Ko's birthday with cheesecake, jello w/carrots and apple pie!
Thursday and Friday were tradeoffs so I was with Sister Ho. I can't believe she goes home next week. It honestly has gone by SO fast and everyone says that the first transfer is the longest and hardest....I absolutely loved it! It scares me that the whole mission with fly by... 
Anyways, We did 7 hours of finding and my legs were DEAD. I've never walked so much just to talk to people. It's amazing to see how many people are ready to hear the Gospel. Although we didn't get any return appointments, some people have major potential. It's really hard because it's exam season so everyone is too 'busy' studying...

I went to Macca's (McDonald's) here and they have sweet potato wedges...they're delicious. 
I've actually been cooking..mostly noodles, stir fry, or rice and egg with oyster sauce... 
good stuff though. We're usually too busy to do anything else. 

My mini mooncake

And on Saturday, Ray took Elder White, Elder Hanema'u, Sis Kuo, Kat and I to YUM CHA :) so yummy!!! ahhhh I even ate chicken feet haha

Elders having chicken feet at dim sum.

General Conference was absolutely fantastic!!!! I actually stayed awake for all 4 sessions! Wow... it was just so inspiring. I especially loved President Monson and Elder Bednar's talk. Elder Bednar addressed perfectly why I'm on a mission. I couldn't have said it any better. Here's a link to his talk:

This morning we ran to the Opera House to watch the sunrise and that was the most gorgeous thing I've seen..well actually second to the sunrise in South Africa. But this was pretty close. We were blessed because it was supposed to storm this morning, but it was so clear with just a few clouds. Ahhh It was like a dream... 

It's been an amazing transfer, and I feel so blessed and privileged to serve in the Australia Sydney North Mission and in particular, the Harbour City Zone. This really is a special mission and I'm grateful for the opportunity my Heavenly Father has given me to be here. 

Some random photos:

Look, we're matching!  Sister Stubbs the RS President and me!

Thanks for the letter Lindsey.  Love you too!!
Enjoying the sunshine on P-day

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 13 - Summertimeeee

Wow, this week has been hectic! So busy and good! I can't imagine myself doing anything else other than the Lord's work here in Sydney! 

This week has been full of inspiration and revelation from Heavenly Father through various talks, scripture study, testimonies, and of course, the Temple. 

We went to Centennial Park for Zone P-Day which was fun! It was gorgeous. We had pizza and went for a lovely bike ride. it was really nice.  Sister Wan was our mini missionary so she got to come. She's so great! She joined the church last year. Her testimony is very strong and I love how willing she is to share her experience in the church with our investigators. During FHE, Ray taught us and showed us the new Mormon Message which was really good. He talked about the trials in our life are made more bearable through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge of His Atonement. It's so true... I can't say it any better than that. 

Zone P-day:  Bike riding in Centennial Park

We taught our investigators on Tuesday. We have 3 investigators on date for Oct 25 to be baptized! We've been working with them and it's been great! There are people ready to hear the Gospel! I can't count how many times we've had lessons and they ask questions that we have the answers to. They're awesome. They come to church and institute, and have so much faith. It's been amazing to watch our investigators grow in the Gospel. I love them all so much. And it's crazy to see how much of a genuine love I have for them even though I just barely met them. I love working with them and being able to testify. Aside from the Book of Mormon and a witness of the Holy Ghost, testimony is the next most powerful thing for conversion. One of the Chinese members, Lainey, invited us over for lunch with some of the other Chinese members. We brought one of our investigators and we had hot pot! Oh my, that was so yummy!! The members here are great!! Most of them are converts, so they help make some of the best member missionaries because they can really relate to the people we work with.
English class is always fun! It's a fun group of people that come, so we teach them vocabulary, idioms, go over discussion questions, then play games. 

We had a Zone Training Meeting. We set our goals for the month. The standard of excellence here is very high, well above the average missionary. I love it because it pushes me to do better. Everyone needs the Gospel, even those who are born and raised in the church. I gave a talk on how my patriarchal blessing can lead me into the future. I absolutely love my Patriarchal Blessing!! I can't even count how many times it has helped me on my mission. They're words of comfort and counsel from Heavenly Father for me personally. It's amazing. It was a good training. Wednesday, I had one of the best lessons I've ever hard...I was with Sister Jorgensen, a member, who comes and helps out with our lessons with our investigator from Iran. He is great. This week, we taught him about prophets and Sister Jorgensen's testimony of prophets is absolutely incredible. the spirit was so strong. I am so excited to listen to conference this weekend!!! I know that President Monson is a man called of God to direct the Church in these days. He is a living prophet of God. 

I had my arrivals follow up training, so we trekked to the Mission Home. It was pretty weird seeing everyone that I came in with. Everyone's had a month of their own lessons, experiences, trials, and miracles. Lots of revelation was received in our training. President and Sister Howes are the best. They always remind us that our goal is to always move up. We need to make our way to the mountain of the Lord. I don't really have time to go through all of my notes right now, but it was really good. One thing I was reminded of was to 'let my nets go, and feed His sheep'. meaning. Forget myself and go to work!!! I am a missionary of the Lord and I am set apart to teach His word.

We had tradeoffs, so I was with sister Ho and Joanna (a mini missionary)! We had a couple of good lessons, then had Friday Forum, where the Feils, the office senior couple, spoke! They're so cute! I absolutely love them! They talked about trusting Heavenly Father, especially when it's really hard to and people around us are opposing the things that we're being prompted to do. Heavenly Father knows what's best for us, and he's the one we need to trust most. I also had language study with a Taiwanese member that day, so it was good to really practice my Chinese. I've been using it more and more. That night was Ray's surprise minion goodbye party. He looks like a minion, so it was minion themed. Everyone here loves him. It's amazing to see his impact on the members in Sydney...not only in the YSA ward. The missionaries love him too! Joanna was released and that was really sad... 

Ray's Minion Themed Goodbye Party

Was mostly planning and studying. We also had a lesson with an investigator from China who is getting baptized. She's great! She gets along really well with the members here. 

Fast and testimony meeting!! The testimonies of our ward were great, and a lot were centered around missionary work, so it helped pump up the members!! Then relief society was preparing for a mission! We have a really unique and special ward here. The members are really involved in the work here and it's great. I love their desire to invite and help bring others closer to Christ. Then we went to Greenwich for the General Women's Conference. That was excellent. Lots of prayers answered and lots of revelation. 

Yesterday (Monday) was special training by the assistants and the Howes'. That was awesome! I had to give another talk, and that was on the Book of Mormon and how we need to pray to use it more effectively on our mission. I have learned so much from my personal scripture study. It has definitely been a powerful tool in my life. It has answered question, and guided me in directions that I needed to take to help me become a better person and a better missionary. Most of the trainings were on the Book of Mormon and using it as a powerful tool. We also talked about the life of Joseph Smith. Man, he is amazing!  President Howes talked about receiving revelation and taking the time to listen. It was super neat. Afterwards, we went to a ward activity at Bronte Beach! That was so fun! We weren't on the beach, but on the grassy patch before it. It was beautiful. there was a nice breeze, an ocean view, and lots of fun with the members and investigators. I was able to teach a lesson on the bus ride there with the lady sitting next to me. Talking to strangers is slowly becoming easier. It's fun :)

Ward Activity on Bronte Beach

Me and Sister Ho

Fun day at the beach

Today was Temple P-day...so most of our day was spent at Carlingford, where the mission office is. The temple was a great session...lots of prayers answered and even more revelation. I am so grateful for temples. They are the house of the Lord. 

Things are hectic, but it means the work is moving forward! Please pray that we'll have more new investigators. that is our struggle right now. our current ones are great, but we can't find new ones.... 

I know that this Gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ is my saviour and that we all have a loving Heavenly Father. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet. I am so excited for General Conference!!!

I love and miss you all :) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week 12 - There is sunshine in my soul today :)

Wow, this week has flown by so fast! I can't believe we're already about to head into October!! 

Monday was P-day, I was on tradeoffs with Sister Ho, so that was fun. We just walked around the city a bit and enjoyed the sunshine.  
Tuesday we had Preach My Gospel study with the Zone Leaders. We talked about revelation and that was really good. Some points I got from that were:
- God uses the unlikely to do the impossible (young missionaries to invite others to come unto Christ...that's an insane idea...insane but inspired)
-Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking less about yourself, and more about others
-we need to obey to receive revelation and receive to obey

We had quite a few lessons that day, which was awesome! We had four of the members help us which was pretty cool. The members here are great. They're so willing to help us!! Their testimonies are so strong and it's great when they're able to share them with our investigators. Fellowship if you get the opportunity to, because it's great! 

We taught English class, and that's always so much fun. The people who come are so funny...

Wednesday was my first Zone Conference! That was really good :) I learned SO much! We're combined with the Harbour Suburbs Zone, and we all went to the Hyde Park chapel. A few of the missionaries gave great talks, then the Zone Leaders and Assistants did training on effective planning. 

We always need to listen to the spirit when we plan, so we know how to teach. Also, we can't teach effectively if we don't have companionship unity...so be united with your companion!! Also, love is a huge part in our teaching. We need to plan according to the needs of each individual. "We are representatives of Jesus Christ, we are to love like Him". Also another huge part is that we teach people, not lessons. So we need to focus on what they need to be taught, rather than what they need to be told. One thing I really liked was "if we allow the Lord to change us, he will allow us to change the world". We need to be humble in all that we do. 

After morning training, we had lunch/dessert, then all the missionaries sang the national anthem to thank Sister Archibald, who apparently is very patriotic. It was funny to have more non-Americans singing it than Americans. One of the elders convinced me to sing the high note on 'free' which was a terrible idea. Afterwards, we had more training by the ZL's, Elder and Sister Killebrew, and President and Sister Howes! So good!! We always like to refer to our mission as an 'escalator' mission. This means that we're always progressing and moving up. We learned about obedience and being dignified in our work. We talked about receiving referrals. Sister Howes shared a talk by Elder Bednar, which was about being a PMG missionary. It was so good. One point I really liked was that we know we've been forgiven when we feel the Holy Ghost working through us again. Another thing we learned was that when we're disobedient, we're punishing ourselves. We miss out on the blessings and opportunities that come from being obedient. Obedience is greater than sacrifice. When we reject the Lord, we reject the privilege of being Queens and Kings. I thought that was super profound. The Howes always have something incredible to say. We're actually the only mission that has mission presidents who were previously temple presidents. Which makes us special, and essentially the best mission ever :P We like to refer to ourselves as Zion because that is our goal; to have a Zion mission. It sets the standard of excellence well above excellence. It's hard, but it's so so so good. 

Thursday and Friday I was with Sister Ho while the other sisters were on Tradeoffs. Thursday was stormy, so a lot of our appointments cancelled last minute, which was kind of frustrating, because we couldn't go out and do contacting because we were waiting for them. But all is well. The lessons that we did have were great! We taught one RC about patriarchal blessings. Since I've been in the field, I've learned so much from my patriarchal blessing. It's one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has given us. We also taught one of our investigators with a baptismal date about Law of Chastity and Tithing and he said that 'Heavenly Father gave us commandments to bless us'. That was one of the best responses to 'why do we have commandments?' I've ever heard. He's so great!!! 

Friday was spent contacting and finding. That is so hard. I have an incredibly hard time talking to people and introducing them to the Gospel. Some days are good, some days are bad. It's sometimes hard to have a positive attitude about it, but it's okay. 

So, in the middle of town, there's this photo exhibit thingy where you take pictures with a group of strangers, so our district went, and that was a lot of fun. 

Sister Kuo and Cluff came back that night so that was nice to have them home :) I love having two moms (trainers). haha it's a lot of fun and I learn so much. Especially since Sister Ho is about to die, she has so much experience and knowledge to share. 

Saturday we helped clean the chapel. Then went to a japanese resturant with some members. We had two members do tradeoffs with us, so we went out contacting, and that was really good. The members are so enthusiastic about missionary work!
 Then we all went to a baptism that afternoon. We had 3 people get baptized, which was awesome! The spirit was so strong during the meeting. So peaceful. The missionaries from Ryde and Greenwich were there, so I got to see Elder Vaughn and Sister Tian! Afterwards, we all went out for Thai food and then we went to the chapel to practice a song. Ray, one of the members, is leaving in a few weeks, so yesterday was his farewell. Elder Fowler, Dean, Easton, Sister Cluff, Ray and I all sang God Be With You Til We Meet Again. It was such a sad arrangement...but so good. So beautiful! We didn't sound terribly great but it was still pretty.
Church was really good. we had 5/7 investigators come, so we were really excited!! :) Ray's talk was awesome and so was Reena's (institute teacher). One thing that they both talked about was that when we put God first, everything else falls into place. Life is hard and we have trials, but through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, everything is just a little easier and is a little more bearable. I love the ward here. I'm still getting to know the members, but the ones I do know and work with are so funny and loving. They really support us so much. 
So we also have a mini-missionary with us for 4 days! Her name is Jodie and she's a member in the ward! She's great and we're so excited to work with her :) So basically she was set apart by the Bishop and is officially a missionary...so has to abide by all our rules, schedule, and live with us :) It's been a lot of fun so far. 

That's about it for now :) Today is Zone p-day, so we're going to a park and having a picnic and just enjoying each others company haha. 

Hope all is well. Know that you are all loved so much by me and Heavenly Father :) MISS YOU HEAPS AND BUNCHES! 

Sister Lew