Monday, January 20, 2014


Inline image 1

In the Gospel of Jesus Christ we teach that we must receive the Restored Gospel, Repent, be Baptized, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and finally Endure to the End. Enduring is possibly the hardest part of being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; but it is very possible and very rewarding. While not many Chinese people are in our area right now, I have been focusing on my endurance, for I know that if I faithfully endure then I will be able to reap the rewards that are promised from the Lord when we "endure well" our afflictions.

Like I mentioned not many new people are here but thanks to the baptisms in the past three months, we are still busy teaching recent converts and helping them prepare to go to the temple. Above is one girl Sister Chen and I have been working with since my first transfer, and now all three of us are seeing the miracle of her fast building faith. Elizabeth (above) is from Taiwan where she was baptized and then immediately moved to Australia afterwards and got a little lost because of a bad divorce. Despite her circumstances, Elizabeth is the one of the most charitable people I have ever met. She feeds us every Friday night the best meals. She watches out for Arash, another recent convert, trying to help him find a job, and she is always asking us if there is more she can do. She loves the gospel and I love watching her faith grow as we teach her. She is reading the Book of Mormon and this upcoming Sunday she will be interviewed to get a temple recommend. Very exciting to see how quickly the Holy Ghost is reteaching her the things her missionaries in Taiwan introduced her to.

Not much exciting has happened since last week. Max came to a dinner with us and it was a really good experience. It was actually at the family Steven ate dinner with before he got baptized and now Max has done the same thing, following in his older brother's footsteps towards the Celestial Kingdom.  He is all set to be baptized this upcoming Saturday.

We did have a bit of a scare yesterday when Steven and Max didn't show up to church. Church is now at 8:30am instead of 1:30pm and it is proving to be quite a hard transition for members and investigators alike. We had confirmed the night before with Max and Steven, but it was getting closer and closer to 8:30 and they had yet to arrive. We called Steven and he picked up with a very tired, "Hui, hello?" We had woken him up! We told him to hurry up and get to church otherwise Max couldn't get baptized this Saturday. Thankfully they made it to church just a smidgen late and Max is still on track!

It is now almost the end of January and we are excited as can be for three reasons:

1) Max's Baptism
2) School starts back up which means our investigators and new people will be arriving
3) Chinese New Year!!!

I know the church is true and that if we work hard and endure to the end, whether it be the end of the month, the end of a trial, or the end of life; we will earn a great reward and be able to live with our loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again!

Thanks for all your love and support. I recently received heaps of mail from the ward and family from Christmas! Thanks for keeping me in your prayers. Even though I don't know many of the people from the Rosehill Ward I am grateful for the love they have for my family and for their added support while I am serving the Lord.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Promise is a Promise

Inline image 2
This week I was reminded of promises. As a child whenever I made a promise with a friend we would "pinky swear" and that meant it was serious. A simple interlock of pinkies symbolized the utmost importance of the secret or action we promised to keep or fulfill. As a missionary we make people promises as representatives of Jesus Christ, and people promise us to read the Book of Mormon, pray, come to church etc. Sadly, these promises are often broken and I just want to cry at times because these promises are so much bigger than my childhood "pinky swear" promises.
However, this week we were lucky to teach a new guy! His name is Nick and we have been trying to meet up with him for a couple of weeks now, but he was busy with the Christmas holidays. He's from China, but has pretty flawless English because he's been here for five years. Last week we scheduled an appointment with Nick and when we called him to confirm the night before, he remembered and was excited to meet with us. Nick doesn't have a Christian background, like most of our investigators, but he really has a strong desire to believe rather than have us prove there is a God, which is so refreshing!
We met with Nick and then invited him to come to church on Sunday, which starts at 8:30! He said he would be there, but please call him in the morning to make sure he was awake.  When we called him Sunday morning and asked if he was still planning to come to church he replied, "Of course, a promise is a promise. I set my alarm and am getting ready right now."

Nick's reply reminded me that all is not discouraging! Nick helped me remember my promise to the Lord to serve a full-time mission. Right now it is hard to be in the Chinese program because not only are most of our investigators out of town until February, but MOST Chinese people that used to come to the bus stop are also in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan! This leaves few lessons and few people to talk to when we aren't teaching. I have been pondering a lot lately what it is I can do not waste the Lord's time during this slow portion of my mission. Nick helped me remember why I am here and has given me motivation to just love my mission all the time, even though we are at the bus stop for most of the week.
Yesterday was interviews with President. During interviews I was reminded that Heavenly Father loves me and is happy with my efforts. President reassured me that the desires of my heart are known by the Lord and that He knows I am discouraged with how slow things are, but that doesn't make me a bad missionary. I was surprised that I needed to hear that. Thankfully I serve under a man inspired by Heavenly Father!
This week we will be prepping Tony and Max to be baptized on January 25th! We are so excited for both of them! Tony is finally keeping the Word of Wisdom and is fully committed to the rest of the commandments. We were worried a little about Max because he didn't come to church this past Sunday and when we called him and Steven they didn't pick up. Then Sunday afternoon we get a text saying: What happen? Why you call so early?
We call Steven, Max's older brother and the first person I've taught to be baptized, and ask him why he didn't come to church. In a voice completely innocent Steven says, "Was there an activity today?" Sister Chen replied, "Of course not today is Sunday! Why did you and Max not come to church?" The phone was silent for a while and then Steven says, "Today's not Saturday? Oh my! I will repent."
Thankfully, they will both be at church this week and we are calling Saturday night to remind them what day of the week it is!
Things may be slow, but I love this gospel and I know it to be true! There is nothing I would rather be doing right now than keeping my promise to the Lord to serve a full-time mission. Promises are not always easy to keep, but the rewards are great; specially in regards to the promises we make with our loving Heavenly Father--who always blesses us more than we can imagine. All He asks is that we follow the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year Same Bus Stop

Inline image 2
First things first, I do not recommend Pig's Feet. We went over to Jesse's house for dinner because her parents wanted to cook for us before they left to go back to China. Everything was delicious! Real Chinese cuisine! We had dumpling, spicy vegetables, noodles with an amazing peanut butter sauce (who knew soy sauce and peanut butter would go so well together?), and awesome pork in amazing sauce. Then there was the pig's feet. I just couldn't handle all the fat that was on them, but I have tried them and can honestly say "no thank you" if I am ever offered them again.

This past week was amazing as we swam through the 42 degree Celsius record breaking heat and very humid air. Most of our investigators have gone back to China and Taiwan for Chinese New Year and so that meant we were GQ'ing all day everyday. Normally we have around 14 hours a week of GQ'ing, but this week we had 24 hours!

Saturday was the worst. It got up to 45 degrees Celsius and we had 7 hours scheduled for GQ'ing. To say I was a little pessimistic at the start of the day might be an understatement; but after lunch I got down on my knees and asked my Heavenly Father for the strength to get through the day with a positive attitude. I could feel the Holy Ghost feel my heart with courage as I stood up and prepared my things.

It was so hot! I felt like one of Dad's sizzling steaks on the grill. When we got to the bus stop the Elders were there as well. Usually this is a bad sign because too many missionaries at one bus stop leads to idle time, but I knew if I was going to maintain the feeling of the Holy Ghost with me all day I needed to be busy all day long. So I went over to the side of the bus stop by the bridge walkway and I stood there and said, "Hi how are you today?" to every person that walked by with my biggest smile and optimism floating on the words exiting my mouth.

As I asked this simple question to everyone, many people just nodded and kept walking; but much to my surprise and great pleasure many stopped long enough for me to ask my second question, "Where are you from?" Most said Taiwan or China and then I would start talking to them in Chinese, asking them about how they were handling the heat and if they'd ever seen missionaries before. As I began to talk to the people that paused for those couple of seconds, we began to have 4-7 minute conversations in which I could testify of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I invited everyone to come to church and English Class. I was only able to get a couple of phone numbers and one potential; but that didn't matter because the feelings of the Holy Ghost were no longer within my heart but pulsating throughout my body, giving me more and more energy to just keep going all 7 hours! By the end of the night I was tired, but I felt like I could've kept going if I needed to.

That night as I was writing in my journal I flipped to the pages of Isiah and read Isiah 26:3-4 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." I thought of how blessed I was to have had the strength of my Savior throughout the day and throughout my life. He understands all the pains and afflictions of Heavenly Father's children and want us to know we can always call on our Heavenly Father for help and strength. I invite all everywhere to pray to their Father in Heaven and ask for His help. I know that He will give it to you if you simply ask. I love you all and hope you strive to come closer to Heavenly Father and Christ throughout the year 2014! Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Christmas as a missionary in Australia was just plain strange, but at the end of the day I was grateful for the experience that became my 2013 Christmas!

First of all I was sick as a dog two days before Christmas. We had to go to the doctors which was all the way out in the bush. He gave me a shot and some pills and said the one word I didn't really want to hear as a missionary, "REST!" Even though I felt like crap and couldn't keep anything in my tummy, I still had a desire to go out and serve the people of SunnyBank. I didn't want to stay inside our flat. But, part of being a missionary is being obedient and so for two days I stayed inside and slept a lot and tried to eat without throwing up.

Christmas Eve was a Mission Christmas Party. I was recovering by this point and was able to keep bland foods down, thankfully! We started at 7am cleaning our Zone's (group of missionaries in an area) main chapel. Then we showered and went to a central stake center in the Mission. We then made bracelets for foster children. It was funny seeing all the big Polynesians try to slip tiny beads onto a piece of wire.

After service we had a huge Aussie Feed (feast). There was roast beef, turkey, and ham; potato salad, green salad, marshmallow salad, and all sorts of desserts. Unfortunately, because of my weak stomach, I was unable to try everything but, I was sincerely, grateful for the service that was being rendered to all the missionaries. I know in my family Christmas Eve is always a hectic day full of baking and last minute runs to the store, yet here were many people who volunteered their time to give the missionaries a Merry Christmas.

After the feed each Zone did a skit! They were hilarious and it was fun to see how all the Zones with Chinese speakers tried to include Chinese.

My favorite part was the Spiritual Devotional President gave us towards the end of the night. He shared about the significance of symbols in the Birth of Jesus Christ and in our day to day lives (the English major in me was in pure delight!). My favorite one he shared is from Luke 2:7 "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." The portion I have highlighted is where the symbol is. Think for a moment...what could be so significant about "swaddling clothes?"

Swaddling clothes, President Henderson explained to us, were not very common for new born babies, rather very common for wrapping the dead with. Then very powerfully and with the power of the Holy Ghost President Henderson concluded, "Christ was born to die."

Those words cut me to the center of my heart! I had always know why Christ came to Earth, but never before had someone professed Christ purpose to me so boldly and with so much reverence. I could feel the Holy Ghost reverberating my entire soul, testifying that the words President Henderson were saying were true. I am so grateful for CHRISTmas and for the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ. He came to Earth so that we could all live with God again. How blessed is his message and how happy I am to share that message with all those I talk to!

I have reached my 6 months mark of my mission and I am going to be in SunnyBank for at least one more transfer! I am excited to find, teach, and baptize. This truly is a "marvelous work and a wonder."

I love you all and I will talk to you in 2014!

Inline image 1
These are all the Sisters in the Chinese program!
Inline image 2
This is what I had for Christmas Dinner at Sister Cabamongan's cousin's house! They are Filipino, so we had some traditional dishes (the stuff with eggs) and then ham, stuffing and vegetables! It was yummy and my tummy was able to handle it all like a champion!