Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Act and not be acted upon

I may or may not have had a mini-heart attack when I heard about the Lee's. It's sad and heartbreaking, but having the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation definitely gives peace of mind. Death is not the end. We will all be resurrected one day and have perfected bodies. We will all be able to be with our loved ones for eternity. Mortality here on Earth is so short in the whole scheme of things. 
The Lee's are a beautiful family and have played such a large role in my life. I can't even count the memories we share with them. I miss them but I know all will be well. As we pray for peace, understanding, confirmation that the Plan of Salvation/Happiness is true, I promise that it will all come in Heavenly Father's timing. We have this opportunity to remember the great and fun times we had (and food we ate...considering all of our family events revolved around food).  The Lee family has blessed so many lives, especially those in the HKIS community. My prayers are with everyone who has been impacted by this tragedy. 

Uncle Warren, Julia, Auntie Aesoon and Griffin.
The Lee family all died in a tragic car accident while on vacation in New Zealand
Me and Julia at one of our HK Family gatherings

On a side note, this week was really good and full of the spirit. 
Well, of course when you have an Apostle of the Lord come, it will be great no matter what. 

The conference with Elder Bednar was fantastic!! We were combined with the South mission, so we were in a room with 400+ missionaries, 4 general authorities, and an Apostle. How cool is that? 
When Elder Bednar walked in the room, my heart just filled with peace and joy. I wanted to cry. I couldn't even see him at first, and I already felt the significant difference in spirit in the room. 
My questions and prayers were definitely answered in that meeting. 
I also learned heaps of other things. 

-We need to remember the doctrine and not act purely based on Church culture

- The Spirit teaches, we do not. However, we need to be worthy conduits/channels to allow the spirit to teach
 -Notice how 'worthy' was used, not perfect, worthy. 

-Preach My Gospel is not just a book, it's what we are to become. As we become more PMG missionaries AND members, it will lead us to become more like Christ

- The Holy Ghost will help me see myself as I really am, and help me discern what it is that I need to improve on and what I'm doing well with

-Christ suffered for us one by one. He knows us individually by name and has experienced everything we have ever felt. As we mourn over the loss of the Lee's, we can remember that we're not going through this alone, but remember Christ is with us to lift us up. 

-We need to act and not be acted upon. Words mean nothing unless they're put into action

-The pattern to teach: observe, listen, discern, and then respond (ALL WITH THE SPIRIT)

-I need to marry a man who will honour his Priesthood

It was a very interactive conference. He asked questions, and we answered, and then we asked questions and he answered. Being in a room with an apostle for 3 hours was just so great. 

We also had interviews with President and Sister Howes this week!! That was great. I got really good insight on the Temple from President Howes. One thing that I really gained from that was to counsel with the Lord in all I do. Also, I found out I'm going home on December 15, 2015, in time to start Winter semester. I love President and Sister Howes!! They're the best mission parents ever!! 

All of our investigators are doing pretty well. We had a great lesson with Tori and she's so ready to get baptised this Saturday!!! We also had a great lesson with the Rayments. Peter is really keen. I've really learned to love their family. They're basically homeless, living in a shelter, and have 5 kids. They NEED the Gospel and Peter recognizes that. The kids have the brightest smiles and are always so excited when we come around. It's so precious. 

We also celebrated CNY with crappy Chinese food, so while we were down in Sydney, we got real Char Siu Fan. It was fun to be in Sydney and see everyone, especially all of the City missionaries!!! 

Anyways, I hope you're all doing well. This week is booked with dinner appointments, yay! Feed the missionaries, they really appreciate it. Really. Newcastle is awesome, the missionaries here are great and I love my family here! 

Have a great week!

Sister Lew 

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Char Siu Fan

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week #...I don't even know

Who would've thought my best Valentine's Day would be on my mission?!?

First of all, a huge thank you to Nin Nin for my Valentine's Day card!! #feelingthelove
And to Mom, Dad, Jessie, and Rhoda for my Valentine's Day/ Chinese New Year package!! #bestpackageever
I loved the goodies! and the shirts! and especially the jewellery! It really did make my day!!!!!!!! 

Care package for Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year!
One of the highlights for this week is that we're finally working with Chinese people in Newcastle!! It's great!! They're all starting to come back from China to start uni (university) soon. We are working with a couple, Christina and Sam. They're young and studying and are not married yet! Christina has a baptismal date and both are super keen in finding a church to figure out if God is real. They came to the baptism we had on Friday and both really felt the spirit. We also had a new investigator come to church with her son! They're also from China! It's been exciting. 

Also, as I mentioned earlier, we had the best Valentine's Day ever!! We had an amazing PMG study with our zone leaders on Charity & Love and extending commitments. Charity is a spiritual gift and we need to ask God for more of it. If we don't extend our commitments with love, our investigators' faith won't increase. It's pretty simple.

Yummy Fish and Chips
Afterwards, we got yummy fish & chips right by the chapel. Many of our investigators decided to cancel last minute or not be at home when they said they would be, so we heart attacked members' homes. We got busted by one family, but did all the rest successfully. That was fun.
Heart Attacking some members' homes on Valentine's Day
We also had a miracle! We stopped by the Rayment's but they weren't home :(  However, we ran into their neighbour, Vicki, who really needs God in her life and has been searching for a church, but has been too busy. She's hoping to finally settle down and rely on Jesus Christ to help her through everything. She became our new investigator :)  Then we went over to the Parkes' house (members) for Valentine's Day dinner. At our dinner place setting, there were darling Valentine's day cards, a teddy bear, a long stemmed rose, and a heart-shaped box of Lindt chocolates!! And she even created her own cake recipe called "Sister Weiss & Sister Lew Cake of Destiny"...man that was phenomenal. Chocolate and chocolate and chocolate and raspberries. So yum. The Parkes are an awesome family...absolutely hilarious. The members in Newcastle are so great!!! They are very supportive of the work and are always so willing to help. Our WML (ward mission leader), Brother Boeree is the bomb. He's in the air force and just got back from serving in Iraq. He's very on top of the work here. 

Dinner at the Parkes' 
Spoiled by the Parkes family
"Sister Weiss & Sister Lew Cake of Destiny"
This past week, we've been really trying to spiritually prepare ourselves for Elder Bednar's visit this coming Saturday. I AM SO STOKED! We were assigned to read 3 of his talks and to study them and prepare questions.
I've had lots of good personal scripture study time this week...here are some of the things I learned:

Luke 9: 62
62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough , and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. 

We can't look back in sin, but only look forward with faith.

James 5:11
 11 Behold, we count them happy which endureYe have heard of the patience of Joband have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitifuland of tender mercy.

Enduring to the end is so hard, but those who endure will be made happy.  When we endure to the end faithfully, we'll be able to return to our Heavenly Father and be happy with our families for eternity. Being a missionary is exhausting. We do nothing else but the Lord's work. I love it, but there are times when the natural man comes out and we simply don't want to do anything, but I've seen as we still continue to do it, we will be blessed and when we are blessed, we are happy. 

Anyways, life is good. Jenni and Tori are doing well. The work in Newcastle is hastening. We have 12 people in our ward on date for baptism!!  Miracles are always happening. I think part of the reason I'm so exhausted is because we've been playing soccer with the elders every morning...running around with mozzies (mosquitoes) chasing us is no fun... but it's good. :) 

I hope you're all doing well! Kung Hei Fat Choy! Sun Tai Gin Hong!

Oh yeah and dou jie for the laisee :D 

Sister Lew

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Love the Lord and serve Him hard!

It's been 4 weeks since we met on transfer day!
More Malaysian food with Sister Weiss

I feel like I was just getting really excited about hitting 6 months, and now I'm at 7! 

Today is the start of an 8 week transfer. I can't believe I've already been in Newcastle for 4 weeks. It's been absolutely amazing. Sister Weiss and I were reflecting on this past transfer and it's been full of miracles!!! I know I say this every week, but it's so true. I learned a lot in this last transfer, such as how to become a more consecrated missionary, how to become a more Christlike missionary, and how to trust Heavenly Father. 

Me, Sandy and Lyla. They're from the City! Sandy was baptised in Newcastle. She just finished a mini-mission!
I also learned the importance in creating a vision, setting goals, making plans, and actually doing them. Exactly one month ago, Sister Weiss and I sat down and created our vision, made goals and plans, and tried our best to accomplish them. With full faith, consecration, diligence, and obedience, we were able to achieve ALL of our goals, which were:

setting baptismal dates for eternigators, 
start teaching less-active part-member families, and 
adding solid people to the teaching pool and help them prepare for baptism.

(Names and specific details have been omitted for privacy reasons.)

Honestly, there were times where we doubted these goals, but we knew that they were inspired by Heavenly Father because he knows that this is the way to help bring His children back home.
A big theme for our companionship this week is found in 1 Nephi 3:7 - Heavenly Father won't give us anything we can't handle or accomplish. We just need to go and do the things which we are commanded to do because we have the ability to do so. We received revelation to set these goals and Heavenly Father knew that we could do them.  Sister Weiss and I actually memorized this scripture in Chinese and we've been sharing it with everyone we meet because it's super applicable to everyone's situation. 

Also, something that has been a major theme this week is aligning ourselves with God's will. We were talking about Repentance (a hot topic in life....) and what the word means. We came to a conclusion that it's the process of change to align ourselves with God's will. Heavenly Father knows what's best for us, and it's important for us to realise that and act in the way that he would have us act so that He can bless us! The blessings we have in store are incredible, but we'll only get them if we're obedient to His commandments. 

Some other great scriptures that were highlighted throughout the work this week
Luke 1:37 - With God, all things are possible
D&C 6:36 - When we direct our thoughts towards God, we don't need to doubt or fear
Alma 26:10 - Pride is a terrible sin, but we need to be confident that we can do all things through Christ, our Lord

We had a great training by Elder Fowler on Ezra Taft Benson's talk, Beware of Pride. It's perfectly rebuking and makes you want to try harder to be more humble. It's great. Go read it! :) 

Elder Fowler and I served in Sydney for 1 transfer and Newcastle for 1 transfer.
Sister Lew, Sister Weiss and Elder Bardsley 
Elder Fowler got transferred to Ryde (the Mandarin speaking ward) to be a district leader over there, and Elder Bardsley finishes his mission today. So in our district we have 2 new elders and 1 new sister. This transfer, 19 missionaries are going home!! Including Sister Tseng and Sister Cluff :(  I'm excited for all of them though. They have big things coming their way. 

Saying goodbye to Sister Cluff last transfer.  She goes home this transfer.  Love her!
Anyways, that's about it for now. 

As Elder Wheatley (one of my zone leaders) always says, Love the Lord and serve Him hard! 

Love you all heaps!
Sister Lew

Aussie Day at the Osmopad

At the ward activity

Grilling at the ward activity

We had District soccer for morning excercise, so this was afterwards

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Becoming a Consecrated Missionary - a missionary's biggest struggle

This week has been amazing! So many miracles and lessons learned...

I'll start off with some highlights! 

Monday (Australia Day!) 
It was rainy, so our ward activity got cancelled. We played an intense game of monopoly with all the Newcastle & Charlestown missionaries, which was so fun. Then we went to the OsmoPad (Charlestown Bishop's house) for a BBQ. Good food, salad, and pavlova. Heaps of fun!!

Monopoly with Newcastle and Charlestown missionaries
A family member of a few members in our ward was visiting and had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. As soon as we found out, we immediately dropped to our knees and prayed, just as all the other missionaries did. PRAYER WORKS. He was in a coma and now he's slowly coming out of it. The whole family has been praying and fasting all week. It's amazing how the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ help people through hard times like this. It's really beautiful.

Anywho, we were on our way to stop by and see them at the hospital. As soon as we walked out the door, we realized we left the keys inside. Normally, that wouldn't have been a problem since there's another set of Sisters living with us, however, Sister Hu was in Sydney to pick up her new companion and stayed the night at Presidents...so we were locked out. thankfully our neighbor let us use her swipe and I had a spare key for the car, so we went to the Toronto sisters flat and spent the night. No shower, no problem. 
Lesson learned: When President tells you to get a spare key to your zone leaders and companion, DO IT! (I actually didn't know about the rule that every missionary was supposed to have a key...)
That was quite the adventure. 

We had an AMAZING Zone Training Meeting!! It was on being 'spiritually minded' and creating sacred space, something I've been trying to work on. I'll be honest, creating sacred space is so hard!! and so is being spiritually minded 24/7. But when we're spiritually minded, making sacred space gradually becomes easier. Change is a process, not instantaneous. "to be spiritually minded is life eternal" = S.M.I.L.E :) Sister Weiss and I have tried to make our car, flat, and companionship a place where the spirit can reside. Sister Howes likes to say that our mission is a role play for life. If we're not centering our lives on the Gospel or inviting the spirit into our lives now, then it's going to be so much harder when we're not set apart as missionaries. 
We were also trained on resolving concerns, which is always a hot topic. There are SO many concerns as to why people won't accept the Gospel...most of them are social, meaning we prioritize others in front of our Heavenly Father. Which is why it's so crucial to clearly explain the role of Heavenly Father in our lives. 
All the Newcastle Missionaries headed to a yummy Malaysian restaurant for lunch. 

Newcastle Zone

That evening we had such an amazing lesson! 
The testimonies of reactivated members are SO powerful!!!!!!!! So the family I was talking about earlier, the Tarawa's, are a HUGE Maori family..like hundreds and thousands of them. The small fraction of their family that lives in Newcastle is big enough to be a ward. Many of them are active, inactive, and are non-members. Recently, quite a few have been reactivated and they're encouraging the rest of their less-active family to come back to church. We were teaching two of the children who just recently got baptised about a scripture and then asked the parents for their thoughts. One is less active, Travis, and one is reactivated, Lades. Lades started bearing testimony on how living the Gospel by keeping the commandments has blessed her life. We were all in tears when she shared her experiences of Heavenly Father answering her prayers. It doesn't sound like much, but the spirit that was in that room was so powerful. It honestly was one of the best lessons I've been in. By the end, Travis and his partner wanted to come back to church. They knew it was the right thing. 

We finally were able to get into our flat that night. The Howes' dropped off our new sister, Sister Yu!!! She's from HK :) So that was exciting!

I studied a lot about the Temple, especially since that is the most sacred space of all, so I figured by studying the temple prep book, I could find ideas to create my own sacred space around me. Ah I just love the temple so much. It's so beautiful. I miss it :(

That evening we went back to Toronto for tradeoffs with the Sister Training Leaders! 
I was with Sister Sopo!!! She's awesome :) 

I had my first tracting experience!! So weird...but pretty cool. Miracles along the way as we talked with everyone on the streets and bus. We did heaps of walking in the hot sun since both of us dont' drive. An absolute miracle happened though. We were so thirsty and out of water, trekking along the road with no sidewalk, and then a car pulls over on the other side of the road and it's the bishop from Toronto and his wife! They're the sweetest Samoan couple. They picked us up, bought us heaps of water, then dropped us off at our appointment. Afterwards, they invited us over for dinner, so I had a nice samoan feed. Prawns, fish, corn beef, rotisserie chicken, taro and cocoa samoa. So yum. It was a nice evening. We shared a message on being perfect, which ,according to the footnote, means the potential to become like Heavenly Father. it went perfectly with our training from the STL's on Becoming a Consecrated Missionary, one of my favourite talks!!!! It's so smash. Along with becoming spiritually minded, becoming consecrated is a process that very few master on a mission. However, as long as we are willing and we try our best to become a consecrated and spiritually minded missionary, through the grace of God, we can achieve our goals. 

We decided to do some former finding...turns out all of our formers moved, however we met some great people and were able to share a message with them. Some even became new investigators! And they were Chinese!! 
We walked around some of the suburbs, followed a guy onto a bus, got off at a random bus stop when the convo ended, got lost then recognized a members house, so we went over for water and found our way back to the car. It was an exciting day!! 
Sister Weiss and I decided we were going to act on the promptings of the spirit...and it worked! Duh...
We'd see someone on the sidewalk and feel prompted to talk to them, so we'd pull over and start talking to them haha... you do what you gotta do

My days of 6 hours of church are over for now :) church was so good. Testimony meeting was powerful, Gospel Principles was great with our new WML teaching it, and then Relief Society was so good. We were given a moment to ponder on what heavenly father wants us to do next in our lives to prepare us spiritually to go to the temple. I had fasted to overcome certain weaknesses so I can become a consecrated missionary and I got this feeling that I can do it and I will do it. It was really empowering. Heavenly Father knows how to comfort us when we need it most.
We had a cottage evening that night at our old WML's home with some investigators. Jenni came and that was really good! It was like FHE, a lesson, game and some yummy food. 

Jenni is doing really well! She was in the hospital and called us at 3 am... but other than that she's progressing. She will make such a great member. Her testimony and belief in God is so strong. It's incredible. 

I have never come across so many people with so many problems as I have since being in Newcastle. People trying to get off heroin, prior prostitutes, people with families and the parents are still on drugs,.... There are so many problems that all lead back to drug and alcohol use. It's really heartbreaking because you see how many people are affected by it. 

Life is good. Newcastle is beautiful as ever, and I love being a missionary, no matter how hard it is. The church is true and miracles happen. I love you all heaps :) 

Sister Lew

G'day from Newcastle!