Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Spirit of CHRISTmas

Harbour City Zone Missionaries w/ 2 YSA

I can't believe it's already Monday... this week has been full of miracles, as per usual. When you start to notice the Lord's hand in your life, you really start to see it in ALL things...the good and the 'bad', but we know the bad is only there to make us better. 

We got a new greenie in the zone!! Elder Arima, originally from Hawaii, but spent the last 5 years in Vegas. He's so young!! But fits perfectly in the city. The zone is pretty fun. We all get along super well. Learn lots from each other...it's a huge family!! I love it!!!! And the seniors...they're my FAVOURITE!! It's the Dick's last transfer :( It makes me sad...and Ariel leaves for Brisbane this week :( 

Zone Picture before the last transfer
I can already tell that this transfer is going to be one of much learning and growing. The specific areas of growth are my language skills, PMG skills, being FREELY obedient, being bold and loving at the same time, and listening to everyone but most importantly, the Spirit.

I was so blessed and spoiled by being with Sister Kuo since she was bilingual. Sister Tseng's English is okay...well actually it's at around the same level as my Mandarin...so it's sometimes hard to express our feelings. Sister Tseng and I are always so willing to help each other though. It's a great companionship! Sister Tseng is super sweet and loving. She's also very persistant when we go finding to get a return appointment. I'm always so afraid of offending people or pushing them to the point where they might get irritated, so then I become less bold. However, I learned the 3x rejection rule...if they reject you three times, then stop. If not, keep going. 
I do think my Mandarin has improved though. I'm taking more time to study and really talk with our investigators and members in Chinese. 

Me and Sister Tseng in the back

Speaking of investigators, here's a little update on all of them.  (I'm not including names for privacy reasons.)

Three are scheduled for baptism on Dec 27.
One is scheduled for Feb 14. 

One of our investigators is really cool!! It's hard to meet with him because his schedule is a little crazy. We're struggling with helping him see God's hand in his life...He won't get baptized unless his life gets better because he's going through a lot of struggles and trials right now. Faith is a very hard concept for Him. He's really willing to pray though, which is good, but helping him find time to read the BoM is pretty hard...Throughout our journey with him, I've learned the importance of understanding that Heavenly Father will answer our prayers in His way and in His time, ultimately for OUR benefit. He knows what is best for us, as he is our loving Father. He also hasn't come to church yet...-___-

One girl we are teaching is very sweet! She comes to all of the activities with YanLin; FHE, games night, Institute, Church...pretty much everything. Our biggest struggle right now is that her mum doesn't want her to get baptized. She recognizes the spirit, even if she doesn't understand much because of the language barrier. (She's from Mongolia). She wants to get baptized and she believes in Jesus Christ. In institute, we've been talking about becoming perfected through Jesus Christ. She's starting to understand the Atonement and what this Gospel is all about. So we hope that all goes well with her mum and she can be baptized. 

Another one of our investigators is a miracle!! She's half Korean and half Chinese, but lived in China for most of her life, so it's her native language. She started meeting with the Korean elders, but they felt it would be more beneficial for her to learn in Chinese, so they started letting us teach her. She's very special. She has faith in God and Jesus Christ, but she's scared to believe in them because she hears of all the stories of bad things happening to good people and good things happening to bad people. She was able to open up to us. She reads and studies the Book of Mormon and has great questions. One thing she struggled to do for a while was pray, but now she understands that it's a simple yet important commandment. Prayer is the way we talk to our heavenly Father. He wants us to talk to him because he loves us. So she's been praying now and it's great! She came to church as well! She's stopped drinking and smoking, so we are very proud of her. 

A young man we've been teaching is still progressing. We had a great lesson with him this week. It was very 'spirit-guided', meaning that nothing went as planned, but it was supposed to be that way. We were going to teach the Restoration again, but then we ended up talking about the Plan of Salvation and God's love for His children. He asked very good questions, and we asked very 'inspired' questions. One of the members fellowshipped so that was really good. I can't really explain in words how inspired that lesson was... 

We were finally able to meet with "K" this week! She's been really busy with work lately. She is someone who has a lot of Christlike love and charity. She loves serving others. We're struggling with her to keep the commandments like praying and reading and attending church, but we're getting there. 

"T" is good! We're just concerned what will happen when he goes back to China. He has such a strong testimony. His faith is amazing...he understands the doctrine more than some of the members do. 

We did quite a bit of street contacting this week, so we have a couple of really good potential investigators! The Christmas spirit is out on the streets. We just need to be willing to trust the spirit, open our mouths, and invite people to listen to the message we have for them. 

Our RC's (recent converts) are pretty great! Caesar never ceases to amazes me. He just loves this Gospel so much! He wasn't able to come to church yesterday because he was picking his mum up from the airport...but after church, he came by with her to say hi and introduce her to us!! 
YanLin is AWESOME! She wants to do a mini-mission with us :) She is an amazing example of someone who let the Gospel COMPLETELY convert her. Simple commandments like listening to cleaner music, dressing more modestly are things she changed in her life. They're so simple, yet some people choose to ignore them. We always have a good time with her. She goes back to Singapore on the 17th for a month...so if you're from Singapore and you're reading this, go say hi! :) Joyce is doing pretty good as well! She has a strong testimony of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. how it was necessary because we didn't have the fullness of the gospel on the Earth until Joseph Smith brought it back. 

Korean BBQ - Sis. Tseng and Yan Lin

Yummy Korean BBQ

Golden Gaytime (Aussie ice-cream ) with Yan Lin
I absolutely love the YSA (young single adults) ward. We work very closely with many of the members. They're all such great examples and have such great testimonies. They are also always so willing to help with the work. Especially our RC's in the ward...There are a few who want to serve missions, which is amazing!! Joanna and Sandy are two that we really work with..and they would make the most incredible missionaries. Coming from China with absolutely no concept of God, to having the desire to share it with others because they've seen how He has blessed their lives. At testimony meeting, the members really expressed their gratitude for the missionaries, and it was a great feeling to know that the work we do matters to them as well as our investigators. 

Sandy loves to help the sister missionaries
Throughout the week, one major topic has been #ShareTheGift...this Christmas, there's been a special emphasis on the Gift of Jesus Christ, and what we can give Him this Christmas. As a missionary, one of the gifts I want to give my Saviour is my consecration to His work. So, that's my challenge for all of you this season. Think of something that you would like to give back to Christ. He has given us so much. My understanding and testimony of the Atonement has significantly grown (but is not yet complete, nor will it ever be), and it's made the start of this Holiday season so great...I'm starting to understand the true meaning of Christmas, and the significance of the birth of our Saviour. Although I will GREATLY miss the family traditions of Monster Cookies, the Looney Toon stockings, reading Luke 2 verse by verse on Christmas Eve, (it's really hard not to be trunkie this time of the year), the tradition of celebrating Christ is what matters most. Last night we had a missionary fireside and it was a musical Christmas fireside. It was beautiful...There's no better way to celebrate than with music!!! 

I met Brother Leo Kwok (who served in Taiwan with my cousin Melissa) at a Christmas fireside
Also...another challenge for everyone. READ THE PREACH MY GOSPEL LESSONS! Oh my goodness..we had PMG study with the Zone Leaders, and read each sentence out loud...when there was a principle that we don't usually cover, we had to say 'stop'....the amount of 'stop's in that training was incredibly sad...my goal for this transfer is to master PMG so I can become a true PMG missionary, which is what The First Presidency has asked of us...it's why we have it. Lessons would flow so much easier if we taught according to PMG and listen to the spirit at the same time. 

I think that's about it for the week.

I know that Christ LIVES. I'm so grateful for the opportunity we have this time of year to reflect on the birth of our Saviour. I know that Jesus died for all of us so we can return to our Heavenly Father. I know that the Book of Mormon is comparable to the Bible...they go hand in hand, and together, they make the Gospel of Jesus Christ COMPLETE! The Book of Mormon TESTIFIES of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt about that. Enjoy the holiday festivities...even though I'm not there. 

I love you all!!!
Sister Lew

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

'tis the season


Can you believe it's already December?!?!?!?!?!?!?
This last week has been crazy, unfortunately I don't have a ton of time to write, so I will just give you the highlights. So much has happened!

Zone Training Meeting
I learned that I have SO much to improve on. I need to be a much better PMG missionary. PMG literally is the way Heavenly Father wants this work to be done. For all of you planning to go on missions, or even just members, study the lessons in Chapter 3 of PMG. 

Chinese Conference
We had the FIRST EVER Chinese Conference on Thanksgiving, meaning that all of the Chinese speaking missionaries came to the city for a conference. We had great training's, games, and activities. We really emphasized the importance of our calling as Mandarin speaking missionaries here in Sydney...we're basically one of the main gateways to opening China for the Church. It's amazing. So many of our RC's are heading back to China for the summer holidays, and we're learning how to make them strong since they're probably going to be one of the only members in their area. We had a panel of Chinese converts to the church to help us understand how Chinese people think when learning the Gospel, going from no concept of religion to entering the Temple. It's truly amazing to hear and see people's conversion to the Gospel. Also, I really need to start studying Chinese more effectively...this is just embarrassing. 

Sisters at the Chinese Conference

Caught up with Elder Vaughn 

Me and Elder Wilde (a friend from youth conference who use to live in Shanghai).

This year was probably one of the best Thanksgivings I've ever had. It was absolutely beautiful. We had all of the missionaries, and we all brought stuff. The senior couples got roasted chickens from Costco since turkeys are really expensive here. We had the mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, brussle sprouts, salad, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and I made apple crisp...and it was just all good :) :) We had a 'thankful' circle, just like what we do at home, where we go around the room and say what we're thankful for. Ever since coming on my mission, I have a much greater appreciation for our saviour, Jesus Christ. It's amazing to see how much of my life revolved around the Gospel and I didn't even know it!!!  We have SOOO much to be thankful for. Family, Friends, the Gospel, but most importantly, the gift of our Saviour, who atoned for all of us. That leads perfectly into the Christmas season, where we come to celebrate the birth of Christ. Y'all should check out the video on christmas.lds.org  :) It's really good!! It's the greatest gift we could ever receive. I encourage you all to try to embrace this gift and share it by coming unto Christ as we continue to study our scriptures, pray, and apply the Atonement in our lives. 

My first apple crisp!

My spinach salad with poppy seed dressing

Yan Lin's Baptism
YAN LIN GOT BAPTISED ON SATURDAY! WOOOHOOOO :) It was a beautiful service. It's been amazing to see how the Gospel has transformed her life! She really has the Light of Christ glowing from her. She really a testimony of Christ, the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost. It's absolutely beautiful. She gave a great testimony...she shared it with me earlier in the week and it made me cry. She knows that it was Heavenly Father's plan for her to meet us sisters and to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Yan Lin's baptism

Yan Lin's baptism

Invitation Sunday
Sunday was the area-wide Invitation Sunday, where every member was asked to invite someone to church. The whole meeting was centered on our number 1 belief, which is in Christ. All of the missionaries sang 'This is the Christ', which was so powerful. Read the lyrics. They just testify of what I know to be TRUE. 

Temple Pday
Today we got to go to the Temple and it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I love going to the Temple! There is no other place where I can feel so much peace. I can set aside all of my cares and focus on my relationship with our Heavenly Father. It's amazing to see the kind of revelation we can receive in the Temple. 

Sydney Temple
Saturday, we spent 4 hours cleaning our flat because Transfers were yesterday...so unfortunately, I had to say byebye to my mommy, Sister Kuo :(  :(  :(  Super sad...but she only moved to Greenwich, which is still in the Stake!! So that was good!!!! I'm now with Sister Tseng who is absolutely amazing! She's from Taichung and is trying to learn English...I'm probably going to have to kill her though :(  She leaves in Feb...Sis Ah Fua became the new STL, which is very exciting!!  Elder Richardson went home and that was really sad. I barely knew him, but he had the biggest impact on all of the missionaries and members here. He is so powerful in the way he represents Christ. He's very dignified in the work and knows what it really means to be a missionary. He also has a beautiful voice...he sang on the 2013 EFY CD (his name is Michael Richardson). I haven't heard the song since we can't listen to it, but I hear it's good, haha. Elder Maxfield was released as AP, and Elder Laurenson is the new AP. Elder Dean moved to Port Macquarie, and we got Elder Droubay as our new ZL. Elder White will be training starting tomorrow and Elder Brimhall is now a ZL in Newcastle. All the missionaries in the city are great. To be honest, they're probably some of the best missionaries in the mission. They have a great love for the work and are very dignified. They know what it means to be a representative of Christ. I feel so blessed to be serving with all of them. 

Last day with Sister Kuo

New companion, Sister Tseng
That's about it I guess. Life is still good in the city. I love it here. I love the people, the work, the ward, the missionaries, but most importantly, I love my Saviour, Jesus Christ, who took away my pains, sorrows, guilt, etc. and allows me to be perfect through Him. 

I hope you all have a wonderful start to the Christmas season!! Love you all!! 

Sister Lew