Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Aussie, Aussie Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

Taken outside of a member's home last night.
She's from China and she made us yummy steamed fish!!! 

Happy Australia Day!

To start off the holiday, we sang some Australian National folk song at the end of Sacrament meeting yesterday...only the missionaries were using the hymn books because we didn't know the song, haha. They printed the song out and glued it into the end of the hymn books, #342. It was cool to watch. 
It's pretty bogan (the Australian equivalent to rednecks) up here. 
We're supposed to go to a ward activity today at Redhead beach, but it's raining...so we'll see what happens. 

This week has been a little slower, but still good!  Working in both wards, arranging splits with members, and driving between Charlestown and Newcastle is exhausting. I really am grateful to serve in both areas though. We've seen heaps of miracles, including one with one of our own investigators! She's been meeting with missionaries for about 4 months now, and apparently the progress she's made has been absolutely incredible. She is not the same person. She's a recovering alcoholic, divorced, and had a stroke 2 months ago. She didn't believe Joseph Smith is a true prophet and had heaps of concerns. This week, all of those concerns have been resolved! She called us up saying that she was reading scriptures on 'hope' in the Book of Mormon...first of all, it's been hard to get her to read the Book of Mormon, and now she wants to share scriptures with us!! She's absolutely beautiful and her testimony is so powerful. We went to visit her and she calls up the elders' investigator, Bianca, who got baptised on Saturday, and was being such a great missionary. Bianca didn't show up to church last week, and Jenni was telling her how she had to come to church, no one would judge her, she needed to pray and read the Book of Mormon to prepare herself for baptism. It was amazing. She totally smashed her with her love and spirit! She came to the relief society activity and Bianca's baptism!! Which was a beautiful baptism, by the way. Bianca has really turned her life around to follow Jesus Christ. Her family, who's not religious at all, were so incredibly proud of her. The talks were great, and it was just beautiful. 

Now we just need to encourage our investigator to be baptised! We've invited her, but because of her stroke, her doctor doesn't want her making any big decisions right now. 

We also had special training this week, so President and Sister Howes and the Assistants came up. A lot of the training had to do with teaching by the Spirit, obedience, and leadership. It was absolutely amazing. Lots of personal revelation received, as well as prayers and questions answered. 
Revelation received/Prayers answered: "Sacrifice [and obedience] brings forth the blessings of Heaven" - Praise to the Man Hymn#27...I think. This is absolutely true. Obedience is the key to success, and obedience comes through sacrifice. I've thought a lot about why I'm not seeing as much success in my missionary efforts (not necessarily in numbers, but in satisfaction), and it's because I haven't put everything on the Altar of Sacrifice. I decided to pray about and create my Altar of Sacrifice so I can figure out what specifically is holding me back from reaching my potential as a missionary. I feel good about it. As soon as I created it though, I already noticed the adversary working against me. That Satan... he thinks he's a clever one. 

The work up here is really great!! We had 6 hours of church again yesterday, and that was really exhausting, but good. The members are really nice. Quite a few have had us over (for meals) #gettingfat. This week, Sister Hu gets her new comp from HK!! So we will go back to Newcastle and smash the area these last two weeks of the transfer. 

Also, I have GOOD NEWS! The Assistants called me yesterday and said that both YanLin and Nora are preparing for mini-missions!!!!!!! I'm so proud!! :) 
It's amazing to see how much they've grown in the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ really brings light into peoples' lives and it is so amazing. I look back on everything I've learned since nursery, and I'm so grateful to have the Gospel in my life. The message of hope, peace, love, comfort, and joy is so powerful. The knowledge of having a Saviour, who is Jesus Christ, is absolutely amazing. The Gospel has really helped me understand my purpose and potential as a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father. 

Well that's about it for now. If you have time, read the January Ensign or the talk "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence". Both are great reads!! 

I love you all heaps :) Happy 'straya day!! 

Sister Lew

Trap-Door Spider #welcometothebush
Taken at our mission Christmas conference

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Proverbs 28:25 - Every missionary's motto

25 He that is of proud heart stirreth up strifebut he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.

As a missionary, all we do is put our trust in the Lord (hopefully), and thus the excessive weight gain of missionaries.  That was my fun fact for the day. 

This week has been crazy. I love Newcastle! It's very open and gorgeous. I can actually see stars at night!! And we have the best sunsets. 

Sunset in Newcastle
Covering two areas is BUSY! It's crazy!! But I love it. I love working with Sister Weiss and Sister Hu. I've learned so much from both of them. So we are covering Charlestown AND Newcastle. That also means we cover both wards...meaning that we had 6 hours of church yesterday. Not only that, but we were at church for 11.5 hours with meetings and a member baptism, which we helped out at. 

I still haven't gone tracting yet, but I think we will be having that experience very soon. Working with families is very different. I was used to the city, people with money, and people with #1stworldproblems. Everyone was fairly educated for the most part and had big ambitions. There's not a ton of poverty here, but lots of people with financial problems, marriage problems, and health problems. So, many people don't have much interest in religion or are too set in their ways, that it's super hard to find people. We had 3 new investigators last week, which was pretty good! One of them was Chinese!! :) We are currently working with quite a few single mum's with lovely children. Ah kids, that's what I've missed! However, focusing during Sacrament meeting was a bit rough... they're nuts! I'll be honest, it's not what I thought it would be like, but it's good.
Here are lessons I've learned that everyone should apply:

1. Don't gossip - this causes so many problems and tons of stress on everyone. Everything just becomes superficial and the spirit is lacking.
2. Do what the Lord wants you to do, regardless of how awkward or weird it is. It's important that we do the will of the Lord and put our trust in Him. He knows what's best for us. 
3. Bible bashing gets you NOWHERE. It removes the spirit so easily. And never get discouraged when people try to bash. So, we got cornered by Jehova's Witnesses. Their intentions were actually really good. They want to find out the truth, but these ladies only believed in the Bible and said we had blind faith. That was frustrating. I do not have blind faith and I'm not naiive. Although I can't explain why I know what I know, I know that it's true. 

Working in a family ward is good though. The members are excited to help with the work, it's just making sure that they love and trust us. We don't get fed heaps, but we get fed! :) Tonight we're going to a Maori family's place for dinner. It's nice and rainy today...it's been in the high 30s and HOT. 

Another fun fact!!
Watch this Mormon message :) Sister Osmotherly is a member in the Charlestown ward, and we went to that house! She actually moved, so we helped her clean, pack, and move the remaining bits of it. She's just as hilarious in real life! And she's pregnant!! 

Sorry this email is super short. Honestly, it's busy and we're doing the work. Heavenly Father loves us and we are his children. Something that was really cool... we were working with an investigator who's made some mistakes and now regrets it. As we introduced the Atonement, we taught about the power of the Priesthood and said that it heals and that Priesthood blessings work according to our faith. In that one lesson she went from being nervous and not wanting us there to asking in her prayer and asking us how she can increase her faith in Jesus Christ. It was really really neat to see. When we have faith, God can work miracles in our lives.
Also, something else that's important is focusing on the things we DO know, not our doubts or the things we are unsure of. 
God lives. Jesus is the Christ. We have a living prophet. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true restored Gospel of Jesus Christ on the Earth. It's so true. And I KNOW that with my whole heart. I can never deny it. 

I love you all heaps! 
Sister Lew

Sister Weiss and I

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mission milestones: 6 months as a missionary, 4 months in the field, and my first transfer move!

This week has been absolutely HECTIC but amazing and full of miracles. 

Few announcements and accomplishments:

I'm a 1/3 way through my mission!! It doesn't seem like much, but as a missionary who works every single day other than Christmas, wakes up at 6:30 every day, no contact with my family except for Mondays, constantly teaching, and is rejected by people all day, I would say that's pretty dang good. I know I have a long ways to go..like a year, BUT I officially know I can make it to the end! 

I've been in Sydney for 4 months now!! I feel like I know the city pretty well, and the people. I have come to love the people so much. 

And, I've been transferred to Newcastle, which is about 2 hours north from Sydney. 

I was incredibly sad to say bye to the city, especially the sisters, since Sister Cluff and Tseng both go home next transfer! I only had 4 weeks left with them!!! Saying bye to Sister Cluff was so hard...she's like my sister. We've been through so much together and she really gets me. Also saying bye to the Nolans and the Dicks broke my heart. They have really treated us like their own children and grandchildren. Sister Nolan and Sister Dick are absolute angels. Their impact in the city is absolutely amazing.  Serving in the city has been such an amazing experience. Earlier in the week, during DTM, we were asked to talk about one area we have grown in since our first day in the city. I reflected back to my first day and read my journal. I was overwhelmed, excited, but also felt incapable. I look at where I am now, talking to strangers on the street and inviting them to be baptised, teaching people about the restored and true gospel of Jesus Christ, and confidently bearing testimony that I know my Saviour lives! 

I was also very sad to say bye to the members, but especially the recent converts and investigators. When I got the transfer call, I was with Nora, and our phone was on speaker, and when we found out I was leaving, we both started crying immediately. It was heart breaking...we tried to continue our lesson, and I asked if she had any thoughts or questions on the Restoration, and she looked at me and said "Don't leave". It was very sad, but all is well. I know she is in good hands and her testimony is so solid. I was able to face time YanLin on Nora's phone which was good to say bye!! (at least it was temporary). 

So unfortunately, one of our investigators has disappeared off of the face of the Earth...as in not answering or replying :(   We had some pretty good finding though last week! We had 4 new investigators!! and lots of random little miracles. L.D. is still meeting with us, although she said she's not prepared to be baptised by the 24th. We have faith one day she will be baptised though. She is progressing very well. she took us to hot pot on Wednesday and that was lovely! So one of our new investigators is from China. We met her through English Class. She is SO prepared for the Gospel...she asks really good questions and she's accepted baptism for the 24th! 

Everything has been such a blur these past few days. All week, I was able to see Heavenly Father preparing me to be transferred...I was in denial the whole time but I knew. We had a training on Christlike attributes, and I thought of the attributes I really need to work on this next transfer such as humility and diligence. I know that this transfer will really try those two areas for me, but I know I can overcome it. 

Saturday and Sunday were full of goodbyes and packing. Like I said earlier, the city has been an amazing experience. The relationships that I've built here have been so special to me. I'm grateful that I was able to serve here. I have grown SO much and have learned so much from everyone, especially the missionaries I've served with. I'm a much different person than I was 6 months ago, and I can say that I'm proud of that change. I've developed and strengthened my relationship with the Saviour. I'm still learning how to trust God with everything, but I've seen the miracles that come from putting our trust in God. 

No photos this week so here's an image of Newcastle from Google.

So currently, I'm in the beautiful land of Newcastle!! and with my beautiful new companion, Sister Weiss!! she's from NY and speaks Mandarin a lot better than me. Our flat is in Charlestown so we share it with the Charlestown sisters, Sister Hu, and whoever she will be training!! We actually might be a tri-panionship depending on the visa of the new sister!! It is so gorgeous up here!! Lots of greenery and cute little beach houses with a gorgeous lake nearby. My District Leader is Elder Fowler, so that's awesome! and one of my zone leader is Elder Brimhall! so at least I have a few familiar faces. The work is much slower here, but I know it's going to be really good! I'm excited to smash the area with Sister Weiss this transfer...especially since it's only 4 weeks!! 

I have a feeling I'll be back in the city one day, so I'm not too worried. It's a good chance to reconsecrate and rededicate myself to the work, and allow Heavenly Father to perform miracles through me to bring his children unto Christ. 

I love you all so much and hope you're doing well!!

Sister Lew

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 - Which Way Do You Face?

Happy New Year!! 2015 has been crazy in the city already!

Thanks Emi Lew for the beautiful drawing!

Thanks for all the cards and letters
Sydney has been PACKED with tourists for the holidays, and especially for the NYE fireworks, which unfortunately, we weren't allowed to see. But that is okay because I got to sleep at 10:30! 
We did our countdown at 10:02 with Appletiser and then got ready for bed. It was very nice and relaxing. One of the best NYE's to be honest because of how low key it was. And on Jan 1, Sister Nolan made homemade cinnamon rolls and orange rolls for us! They were delicious! :) I think that will be my new tradition...cinnamon rolls on New Years Day! 

It's been a good week! Very exhausting and it's hard to stay focused and obedient and not slack off or be lazy. I feel like we're hitting a dead end with some of our investigators...they're just not progressing, and we're trying to follow the spirit to know how to help them, but it's hard! It's especially hard when you love them so much but don't know how to help yet. Nora has been doing great though!! She's really grown in the Gospel. Sister Craig came to our lesson with her and she used to have a Mongolian companion, so she connected them on FB. I wish we had more Mongolian members in the area because we currently don't have any other than Nora. We did have a miracle, John! It still blows my mind how prepared people are to receive the Gospel. We all knew about it in the Pre Earth life, and it brings a familiar ring to them when they learn about it in this life. WHICH ONLY MEANS THAT IT IS TRUE! One thing that he said really stuck out to me. We were discussing the Great Apostasy, and then went into the Restoration. He thought we were still in a state of apostasy, but when he learned about the Restoration, it made sense that God wouldn't stop talking to us! It was really neat. 

We had a lot of miracles, little tender mercies, from Heavenly Father this week. A couple of our appointments either fell through, or were post-poned, and we had fellowship with them, but then someone would either walk into the chapel for a lesson, or we were able to get fellowship at the last minute. (Yes, it seems disorganised, but that is life...) And what was amazing was that even though it didn't go as planned, it was very spirit guided, meaning that the messages and testimonies shared by members, missionaries, and investigators, were all very profound and something that each of us needed to hear at that specific moment. We've been trying to work a lot more with the members, and it's been great! The sisters in this ward are awesome. Many of them are RM's or prospective missionaries, and they're very gung ho about the work.

This week, it's been really hard not to get discouraged easily. I feel as though my efforts aren't going anywhere sometimes, even though I know they are and that everything is a slow and steady process. I know I need to work harder and be more consecrated. It's hard not to fall back into being a typical 19 year old teenage girl. People actually think I'm in my mid-20s here...it's pretty funny. 

Speaking of being more consecrated and diligent, this brings me back to the title of this letter, Which Way Do You Face? based off of the talk given at last General Conference. It's come up a lot lately in church the past 2 weeks, as we are starting a new year and everyone is forming goals and resolutions. I've been evaluating which way I faced in 2014 regarding specific areas in my life, and made a goal to make sure that I'm facing the saviour in all aspects of my life. Today I read Ezekiel 18:32 wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. 
We all need to turn towards are Saviour, and by doing so, we can live more fulfilling lives AND receive eternal life. I'd like to encourage you all to make goals on how we can turn ourselves toward Christ. 

Well, it's the last week of my 3rd transfer! Some of the biggest lessons I've learned are OBEDIENCE, and love, and prioritizing. 
Obedience is so important. Not only are we safe, but we receive blessings and peace. 
Love - love everyone around you as Christ does. It's hard not to judge, trust me, I was the queen of judging. but as we come to love people for who they are and encourage them to come closer to Christ, we feel so much joy in our lives. 
Priorities - This Christmas season, I was able to really learn about the important things in life. friends, family, but most importantly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The simple things in life we take for granted are the things that bring us true happiness. Although they may be simple, we need to work hard at them. It's so worth it though!! 

BTW, the next two P-days will be on Tuesday! This week I hit my 6 month mark...Crazy!!!! I've got a year left, meaning I have a year to grow, experience miracles, and be as close as I can to my Heavenly Father in this life. Thank you for all of your love and support!! 

Sister Tseng and Sister Cluff leave next transfer...which is very heartbreaking. Sister Tseng and I have worked well together this last transfer. We've learned a lot from each other. Hopefully we still got one more so I can kill her! ;) 

ALSO, one more thing. For those of you in HK, especially in Vic 1, one of my friends from my BYU ward, Sister Sharp is serving in Vic 3, so please give her friendly hello's and what not. She's awesome! 

oh yeah, and the new mission president has been announced!! President Checketts. 

Love you all heaps! Have a great week!
Sister Lew

There's a new liquid nitrogen ice cream place near by...sooo yummy

Thumbs up Hot Pot where one of the members works. I had dan dan mian (SO YUMMY) and chong you bing! So good! And the member bought us extra stuff, like cold chicken in chili and sesame paste!

Letter from Dec 29th : A new year and new goals... yay..


First of all, I would like to apologize (and not apologize) for my disobedience and talking to you for way over my time limit, heheh :) BUT I LOVED TALKING TO YOU!!! Sorry for being an emotional mess...it was worse after I hung up. Me and Sister Cluff just sat there and cried...my eyes were puffy haha. But I'm back to work and LIFE IS GOOD!

This has been one of the best Christmases I've ever had!!! It was magical :) Small, simple, yet FILLED with the spirit of CHRISTmas. 

Last Monday we had an FHE on Friendship and they talked about what a true friend really is. I thought about it, and I'm so grateful for the real friends I do have. They have helped me become a better person, supported me through all of my good and bad times, and have truly accepted me for who I am without any hesitation. One of the best friends I've met on my mission, aside from Jesus Christ, is Sister Cluff. We talked about it the other day; we really are like sisters. It's amazing how much our friendship has developed in the last 3 1/2 months. I have learned so much from her and she has been such a great example to me. It's crazy how well we get along. We even have the same stupid sense of humor!! 

Tuesday was rainy and gloomy. But we had some good lessons, including one with LiuDing! She is struggling with the WoW but really wants to repent and be baptised! So we're working with her and hopefully she'll be ready by Jan 24th! That evening we worked at the Temple Lights with our whole district, which was really neat!! I talked to this one member who is incredible. She's from China and was baptised when she came to Sydney 17 years ago. She's the only member in her family, and is raising her two young children in the Gospel by herself, because her husband isn't a member. She was just so humble and had the most beautiful testimony about blessings coming through obedience. 

I also met the Sydney South mission president, but didn't realize it was him...awks. They were with the Tollman's, the lovely couple that was on my flight from SLC to Sydney, and so I went up and said hello to them, and then afterwards I realised that it was President and Sister Pack (?) that was with them. I wasn't feeling well at all that evening, my lower back and stomach were in a lot of pain and Elder Laurenson offered to give me a blessing, so I accepted the offer. He anointed and Elder Arona gave me the blessing and it was so powerful. THE PRIESTHOOD IS REAL. And I am SO grateful to have worthy Priesthood holders in my life. I felt much better afterwards. It was strange that parts of the blessing were similar to my Patriarchal blessing...not word for word, but in essence. 
It was a great night though! Lots of teaching opportunities. There was one sweet lady who just cried at the picture of the Second Coming. She used to be a preacher or a pastor for a church and she saw it and just said 'He's coming and it breaks my heart to see so many people just ignore it'. It broke my heart! Although she wasn't part of our LDS faith, she had such strong faith in Christ. We got home about 11:30 that night, and that was tiring.

The next day was Christmas eve! Most of the day was spent in trainings and meetings that were really good. We are really trying to become PMG missionaries, because that is the way the Lord wants this work done. One thing that we are focusing on this new year is 'Rising to a new sense of commitment'. After doing the same thing everyday for so long, we sometimes lose sight of our purpose as missionaries. Not completely, but we're not gung ho about it 24/7 for 18 months. Recommitting ourselves to the work includes being FULLY consecrated and dignified, using all of my heart, might, mind and strength and with an eye single to the glory of God.
Christmas Eve was awesome!! We did our zone secret santa, which was a lot of fun. Elder White was mine and he got me a MINION USB :) I was so happy! He has a funny sense of humor. Opening the present was an obstacle. I had to pull levers, unwrap paper, pull strings, open boxes,...it took me almost 5 minutes to open the dang thing. I think the best one was Elder Honema'u from Tonga...he got a pineapple and a coconut and was THRILLED. Best reaction yet. It was super funny to watch. The assistants also brought us our Christmas packages!!!! :) 
Then we all watched the Polar Express!! That movie was so good...last time I saw it was in theaters. Sister Dick was so sweet and made us hot chocolate and gingerbread houses to decorate! Elder Marshall and I made horchata, and the Nolan's made delicious homemade caramel corn. It was a good night :) Sister Cluff and I had our pillowpets with us and all the sisters wore our matching fuzzy socks. That night, we opened the rest of our Christmas packages that members gave us. 

CHRISTMAS DAY! We woke up at 4:45 to run to the Sydney Opera House for a sunrise devotional. President Le (the EQ pres) and two members, Junior and Jin, came with us...why they woke up before 5 to run with a bunch of missionaries on Christmas was beyond me...but it was so sweet of them!!!! It was a nice cool morning. The sun didn't really come up. It did, but we couldn't see it because it was super overcast. But it was lovely. Elder Droubay shared a nice story about making room for Christ in our lives. Then we all read a verse in Luke 2. Everything was very calm and still...it was beautiful. Afterwards, President Le took some of us to see the Martin Place memorial, or what was left of it. It was beautiful. There was a quiet reverence there and a very special feeling. Afterwards, we went back to the chapel, prepared our zone Christmas breakfast, and opened Christmas packages!!! It was like watching a bunch of 5 year olds open presents. It was a great sight! THANK YOU FOR MY PACKAGE :) it was absolutely lovely! All the treats and goodies, decorations, and especially the clothes! You have no idea how happy I am for new clothes. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Afterwards, we did our stocking stuffers and then got ready for the ward Christmas lunch. We had a pretty good turn out! It ended up being mostly investigators, so that was cool because we got to introduce them to the true meaning of Christmas. Then I got to talk to you guys!!!!!!!!! I am just SO grateful to be born into our family. We have the best family ever. Afterwards I just thought to myself, I am CRAZY for leaving you all behind...but I know that what I'm doing is worth it and we are all being blessed. If I didn't know this church was true and didn't think it would be worth it, there is no way I would have sacrificed family. Missionary work is just so great and important. I absolutely love it. It's hard-as, but it's WORTH it. I was a mess afterwards...I ended up crying and laughing at how ridiculous I was the rest of the night. It was really nice to talk to all of you. I'm glad to hear you are all doing very well!! and are enjoying your time with family and friends in Utah. Send everyone my love! 

Tree and card from Victoria 1st Primary!!!

My package from home!!

Boxing day was tradeoffs with the STL's, so I was with Sister Ah Fua. It's nice sharing a flat with them. We know them and it's not as intimidating. We also all have such a close relationship that they can correct us in a loving way and we are not at all offended. It was a good tradeoff. Had some good finding and lessons. We've been working with Nora and preparing her for her baptism, which was GREAT! 
Nora was so prepared to receive the Gospel. I underestimated how much she needed it and how much it's affected her. She was really nervous...like we had a hard time getting her into the chapel for the baptismal service to start. She looked absolutely beautiful in white. It was a beautiful service. 4 people got baptised!! She came out of the water and just started crying. When she bore her testimony, the spirit filled the room. We could feel how much love she has for God, knowing that he is real and that he loves her. It was very emotional for all of us. I had to give the intermediate talk at the baptism and that was scary because President and Sister Howes were there!! But it went decently okay. Much better than my talk in sacrament meeting. I basically taught lesson 3 of PMG, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, then invited everyone who had not yet been baptised to be baptised. It was all good. Afterwards, we all went to 3 Mama's for dinner...I've probably had more Thai food than anything else here. Anyways...We are so incredibly proud of Nora!!!! 

Nora's baptism!

On the way to Nora's baptism.

We love Nora!
So great to see Sis Kuo again with Joyce!

After baptism dinner at 3 Mamas.

Sunday was good. All the talks and lessons were on New Years' resolutions. There were a few families visiting the ward, including a crying baby! That was new. It's so weird seeing youth and children having been in YSA for a year and a half. 

As I've been reflecting on 2014, I realised how much has happened. This time last year I was filling out my mission papers, still unsure if I was going or not...and 1 year later, I'm already almost 6 months into my mission. I finished 1 year of uni (and passed all of my classes), played with some dead bodies in a cadaver lab, worked a little bit, went on my first college roadtrip with the posse, dated some creepy (okay they weren't really creepy...) RM's, finished Hart of Dixie in 3 weeks, had my wisdom teeth removed, went on a mission, learned mandarin in 9 weeks, and moved to Sydney for 16 months. Lots of good times and bad times. Lots of mistakes made, but amazing lessons learned from them. I think my greatest accomplishment is the relationship I have developed with my Heavenly Father and with my Saviour. It has completely changed my view on life. It has helped me put into perspective the things that matter most, like family and the Gospel. I have been so blessed!! This year my focus is to become evermore effectively CONSECRATED in the missionary work. As well as being more obedient...freely obedient at least. WHB obedience is not bad, but it's the intention behind it all that is hard. I also realised I have just over a year left...which means I will be Sister Lew for all of 2015! CRAZY! Another goal is to keep inviting others to come unto Christ...but doing so more effectively. Also, loving the people and not being judgemental is something I want to accomplish. To see others as Christ sees them is a very hard thing to do, but from the little experience i have with it, it's amazing how much more light we have in our lives from having that love for others. Also, I want to finish the Standard Works by December 31, next year! I'm almost done with the BoM for the 3rd time since I started my mission, hopefully I'll finish by the end of the year!

It's been a slow week otherwise in the mission, but miracles nonetheless. Nora is one of our biggest miracles. I'm so grateful for her example and faith!! It's a new year, which means a fresh start. 

I'm so grateful for the experiences I've had this past year, to learn and to grow and really build my own testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Christ lives. I know that my Heavenly Father lives and he loves us perfectly. Through Jesus Christ we can be saved. We can learn and grow and be perfected through him. He helps us become better and supports us when we need it most. I know that the true church of Jesus Christ has been restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. He translated the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ. Through the Book of Mormon, we can receive guidance and personal revelation. We also receive truth which is confirmed by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know that President Monson is a true prophet today and he leads and guides us the way Heavenly Father wants us to be. 

I am so grateful to have such wonderful friends and family. I'm also so grateful that I was born in the church and I have this wonderful opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father, and bring others closer to Him. Have a wonderful new year!! I love you all HEAPS! 

Sister Lew

Merry Christmas!- Letter from Dec 22

Wow, it's been quite an eventful week. 

Last Monday was the terrorist situation, which was pretty scary. Not necessarily for us missionaries, but for the families and loved ones of the people in the cafe. We were not fully aware of everything that happened because we don't have the news, so members kept telling us what was going on. It was just really sad. It brought a weird vibe in the city for 2-3 days. Please continue to pray for those affected by this tragedy. This whole event made me realize how grateful I am for the Gospel in my life. Through terrible and hard times such as this, the Atonement of Jesus Christ brings peace and comfort through His grace. Amazing Grace perfectly describes the peace this Gospel brings into peoples' lives. We know that there is hope. All that is currently wrong in our lives will be made right through Christ's Atonement. 

Later that night, Sister Tseng and I helped out at the Temple Christmas lights. That was awesome! There were many families there, including the Wrights and the Meyers! (Sister Meyer was in my zone at the MTC). Lots of members, non members, investigators, and less-active members came. Some set up picnics on the lawn outside. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I'll send pictures later. There was a beautiful art exhibit of the Life of Jesus Christ. It was similar to the one at the MOA last year...except MUCH smaller, as it was all in one room. But there was a unique feeling there. The CHRISTmas spirit! They also showed a video of the life of Christ and had two nativities set up. It was just really cool. We worked with the Dicks and some other Elders that I met for the first time. 
We didn't get home until 11:30, but it was so worth it. Yan Lin, Joyce, Liu Ding, Lainey (member), and Zade (RC/LA) came! They all really enjoyed it, so that was good! 

Tuesday was our Mission Christmas Conference!! We had to wake up at 5, to leave at 6...so I was really tired. But conference was GREAT! We had 1/2 the mission there since our mission is too big to have everyone there at once. We went to the Baulkham Hills chapel. It was nice to see Sister Kuo again :) The trainings were really good!! President Howes talked about the Apostasy, and why it was needed. Then Sister Howes talked about the Reformation, and how that prepared the way for the Restoration, which is what the AP's talked about. IT ALL MAKES SENSE! I never quite linked the Reformation, which we studied quite a bit in school, and how it was necessary for the Restoration. We watched the movie, Luther, which I remember watching sometime in HS...but this time I actually understood it. Luther is an amazing man. He had such faith in Christ and he acted on that faith, despite if it went against the government and everyone else at that time. Just like Joseph Smith. They knew that God is a loving God, not a damning one. We don't need graven images to worship him or money. 
Afterwards, we had a bit of a talent show, so our zone sang 'Because I have been Given Much'. We have so many talented missionaries here!! But Elder Easton's performance was definitely the best. I forgot which song it was, but the spirit was SO strong. Sister Howes cried! There were a ton of Christmas cookies just like the one we usually make! Russian Tea Cookies, Christmas Crack, toffee, sugar cookies, and other yummy ones. We didn't get our Christmas packages that day because there were a few missionaries who still didn't have theirs yet. After Christmas conference, we went back to the city. I had to say bye to Yan Lin that day since she left Wednesday to go back to Singapore for a month :( 

Wednesday we had an awesome DTM. We made snowflakes. Elder Easton related the beauty of snow to the beauty of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Snow can make anything beautiful. It covers our mistakes and the ugly parts of our lives, and makes it glow, shine bright, and shimmer. 

The Christmas spirit is in full swing over here. Everyone's shopping like mad in the city, but at the church, everyone is happy and full of love. Sister Dick made us all cute stockings and Sister Naidu wrote our names beautifully on them. They're hanging in the TC for people to put notes in. It was so sweet!! We had a ward Christmas party on Saturday and that was really nice. Lots of food, singing, gingerbread house decorating, cookie decorating, and last but not least, the Nativity! That was really neat. Especially since we had a lot of RC's and investigators there who don't know the story of Jesus. There was music and it was beautiful. I got to play the angel who said:

 Fear not: for, behold, bring you good tidings of great joywhich shall be to all people.
  For unto you is born this day in the city of David Saviour,which is Christ the Lord.

I can't imagine how incredible it must have been to receive the news that Christ, our Saviour was just born. People recognized that he is a King from when he was an infant, that people came to worship the little baby. Afterwards there was a really cool ward slideshow that was super sweet. Bishop dressed up as Santa and a few members as his elves. Sunday was the Christmas program and that was BEAUTIFUL. A sister in the ward organized it. They told the story of Christ as was told in the Bible with beautiful music arrangements in between. Members also bore testimony, and Sister Dick told the story of Ottoban, the magi who spent His whole life serving others while trying to find the Christ in the flesh. What stood out to me was that in order to show our love and appreciation for Christ, we need to serve others as he would. and do so genuinely and lovingly. There is not a better way to spend Christmas than to serve my Heavenly Father by inviting others to come to know our Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

I realized how sad it is that Christ only gets this much attention 2 times a year, Christmas and Easter. Bishop reminded us that we celebrate Christ everyday of our lives, especially on Sundays, when we partake of the sacrament. Christ gave us the most amazing gift of all, which is eternal life with our Heavenly Father and with our families.As I mentioned earlier, the Atonement brings peace into our lives. It brings comfort and solace. I can't describe how AMAZING and INCREDIBLE that feeling is, which is why EVERYONE should at least try to discover it. I know that when we feel that power, you cannot deny that Christ lives. He suffered for us so that we can be perfected through Him. We are given the beautiful opportunity to change and improve each and every day of our lives for as long as we live. It's such an amazing opportunity.
Yesterday, Sister Tseng and I had quite the experience...we saw the elders on the street and they invited us to go to QVB (in the middle of the city) to go soap boxing. That was so cool! So empowering, and so incredibly scary!! As I stood on the crate, preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bore my testimony, I could see how easily Satan was trying to try my testimony and faith. People would walk by telling us we were wrong, it made me nervous, and I started questioning everything I believed as I was saying it out loud. After the questioning though, I realized, I know what I believe. I have felt the truthfulness of this Gospel from the Holy Ghost as described in Moroni 10:5, and I have seen the miracles in my life everyday. No one can tell me otherwise. 

It was an amazing week, and I'm looking forward for this one. Nora is so ready for her baptism! She's the sweetest person ever. Christmas will be great this year as we share the message of Jesus Christ with God's children. I wish you all a very merry Christmas :) I love you heaps and heaps! 

Sister Lew