Monday, February 24, 2014

Just One More Time

This week was amazing. I love the work that is taking place here as I work harder and harder each and everyday. My fear of talking to people is beginning to become a thing of the past thanks to Heavenly Father's help. For example, my first transfer here a good day for me was when I would contact 15 people on my own in one day. Now I am contacting about 15 people in one hour! That plus my companions hard work put us at contacting 307 people this week. We are taking it upon us to "hasten the work of salvation."

We met with a guy from Congo this past week name Mokwa. Our first visit I thought I was back in Georgia again. The whole lesson he just smashed us with his beliefs and gave scripture reference after scripture reference from the Bible to "support" his argument. At the end of the lesson I had o desire to meet with him again and was just ready to call it quits. Especially after his prayer, which was in French and I was able to understand that he thanked God for the opportunity to teach us! I stood up to leave and then Sister Cabamongan invited Mokwa to meet with us again the next day! My heart dropped when he accepted. After Mokwa left I tried telling Sister Cabamongan that I had met a ton of people like Mokwa and that there was really no point in meeting with him again. I was convinced he would not change. However, I put my trust in Sister Cabamongan.

The next day in my personal prayers I asked Heavenly Father to soften Mokwa's heart to our message, but to also soften my heart so that I could heed promptings from the Holy Ghost in order to teach with the power of God. It worked. At the end of our second lesson Mokwa agreed that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon was scripture and he couldn't wait to go online and watch a talk by President Monson to see if he was a prophet of God as well. I said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to forgive me for judging Mokwa and to thank Him for softening not only Mokwa's heart but my own as well.

Tony had yet another baptismal interview. Not this time. We are still working with him. Elder Allen, who interviewed him, gave us some advice on ways we could help strengthen Tony's testimony so that he could have a more personal conversion rather than relying on our testimonies. One more time and I think Tony can pass.

I know this church is true with every particle of my being. Right now I restarted reading the Book of Mormon and I am in my favorite part...2 Nephi! The words of Isaiah are like music to my soul as he so beautifully describes the work of the Lord and warns us of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In 2 Nephi 16:11 Isaiah speaks, " Then said I: Lord, how long? And he said: Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate."

This hit me to the core of my being. The world will never be without man. The Lord may cause much destruction to the earth because of wickedness, but never will it be utterly desolate. So how long are we to follow in the ways of the Lord? Forever. Sure it may sound like a long time if you think of it as a list of things we can't do. However, we can think of it in ways of things that we CAN do. I can be with my family forever, I can get blessings forever, and I can forever become better and better a person. Forever seems like just enough time to me. I love you all and pray that you are all well! Thanks for all your support. I can feel it and I love it!

May we all work on forever Being Prepared. Loves!

Inline image 1
Just thought I'd add a little picture of the Urban wildlife that has joined the magpies in our morning wake-up call! Quite beautiful indeed

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Moroni 8:16

"...Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."

This week I have been able to witness this scripture in action as I began a new transfer in the same area. Though I am in the same area I feel like I am starting fresh. SunnyBank no longer holds a world I fear, rather a group of people I love and want to share the restored gospel with.

Almost 8 months ago, I stood on the stand in church and bore testimony of my sincere desire to serve my Heavenly Father by becoming a full time missionary of Jesus Christ. I had no idea how hard it would be to turn my courageous words into action once I got into the mission field.

The new transfer has brought many changes including a new District Leader with a passion for having miracles occur in our daily lives. Elder Allan gave a training at our weekly District Meeting that lit my soul on fire and I have wanted to do nothing but missionary work ever since. I have found that as I open my mouth and truly talk to everyone, whether they have rejected me in the past or not, I have been filled with peace, and with power from the Holy Ghost to say the things the Lord would have me say to my brothers and sisters here on earth.

One day as I was talking to a man in Chinglish (Chinese-English) about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I suddenly felt the Holy Ghost pierce my heart and fill my head with a list of questions that would help this man I was talking to better understand Heavenly Father's love for him. I was an amazing feeling and I did not even think to be afraid of what this man would think. As I asked him these questions inspired of the Holy Ghost, I could see his brow come together in deepest concentration as he truly pondered on the things I asked him. He ended up asking if he could give me his number! It was a miracle indeed. One that would never happened if I had not talked to him or let the Holy Ghost guide my actions in speaking to this man.

Inline image 1
Mom and Dad I have finally ridden that nice bike we purchased 5 months ago when I arrived in Australia!
Seeing as our car access was taken with the new transfer and we now have 9 Chinese Elders and Sisters in SunnyBank we have decided as a companionship to give tracting a go. This means we get to ride our bikes outside of our normal 2-block radius!
The first time we went we ran into a lady who invited us back anytime as long as we called her before we headed over.
Saturday, we decided to go ahead and head over to that lady's house, even though she didn't pick up the phone. It is a good thing we did too! We get to her house and someone is just pulling into the driveway, but it is not the lady we were looking for. Knowing that nothing happens "just by chance" in the Lord's work we decided to go and talk to this lady. It turned out to be a less active lady who we had been assigned to visit teach and had been unable to get in contact with her because her phone number on the ward roster didn't work! We talked to her, got her real phone number, asked her if she needed any help, and then told her we wanted to visit again. She was very friendly and has the cutest little girl! It was well worth the sweaty a skirt! And no worries my skirt only flew up when no one was looking!
My last mini-miracle moment of the week that I want to share comes because of Sister Lai. Sister Lai is a great addition to SunnyBank and is helping me to truly love this area and love missionary work. She is full on committed to the work of Salvation and is a great example of talking to everyone, which really encourages me to talk to everyone as well.
We were walking to the bus stop, per usual, when a guy came to wait at the light with us. I just opened my mouth and started talking to Tatz. He is from Japan and was interested in coming to church. I soon realized that he was not going to cross the same street as us and so I let him walk off--happy that I had talked to this guy. However, for Sister Lai that was not enough! She asked if I had gotten his phone number or address and when I said no, she said, "Let's go! We can still cross the street." So we ran after Tatz! He had just arrived and had no phone and didn't know his address, but he gave us a general area of where he lives and we will find him again and he will remember us for sure because we ran after him!
Life as a missionary is amazing! I am truly feeling the Hastening of the Lord's work. I encourage all to do something to help someone else get on the path that leads to our Heavenly Father's presence. I promise that if you do so your whole soul will feel alive!

Time to Grow Up

Inline image 1

Whoops! This little possum is stuck in the SunnyBank bridge, where I will be spending yet another six weeks of my mission trying to find Chinese people who want to hear the message of Jesus Christ.

This time is a bit different though...

Inline image 2

The girl in the pink is the newest addition to SunnyBank. Sister Lai will be joining Sister Cabamongan and I in the quest to baptize the people in our area. She is from Singapore, a BYU student, and Chinese is her second language that she has been studying for 10 years! So far so good. She has a lot of energy and loves to work hard.
Last transfer there were three Chinese companionships and one English companionship in our ward. NOW, there are FOUR Chinese companionships and one English, making 11 missionaries in the ward! We have a new District Leader and for the first time we have been given tracting boundaries, so we are expected to hit the pavement in trying to find some Chinese Families. Our companionship also has no car anymore so we are full time bike. It is going to be an interesting transfer indeed.
The third thing is amazing as far as the whole mission goes. President has decided that two Assistants is no longer enough. Our mission now has FOUR Assistants to the President and my favorite AP has been put into the mission field as my Zone Leader! I was so excited, because Elder Fa'ao is such an inspiring missionary and now I get to learn from him more often.
Some of you may wonder if I am a little discourage being in the same area, yet another transfer. Truthfully, at first I was, but after much prayer and the love of my Heavenly Father comforting me, I am excited for this new transfer! I am determined to not get comfortable. I am determined to baptize. I am determined to be the best that I can be no matter where I am located. I trust that President Henderson is an inspired man of God and that Heavenly Father told him that I am needed in SunnyBank for at least six more weeks. I trust that this is the Lord's will. Sure I may only see a tiny tiny bit of Australia while I am here, but I did not come here to see all the wondrous things Australia has to offer. I came here to find the wonderful people who have not yet accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Miracles, Celebrations, and Heart-Break


This week, as usual, I was fighting my obscene fear of talking to people. It has been hard for me to approach people that aren't Asian (though you think it would be a comfort to talk in my native tong it isn't!). Especially since most Chinese people are in China right now for New Year festivities, I have had to conquer this fear of talking to Australians at the bus stop.

Well, this week I was sitting at the bus stop, when a very skinny guy sat down towards the end of the bench. I knew I should talk to him, but the fear began to creep in. I looked at the time-table to see how much time I had until the next bus and then said a prayer in my heart for Heavenly Father to take over my weakness and help me talk to this guy. I took a deep breath and when I looked up this guy had slid up next to me and he asked me, "What's your first impression when you see me?" Startled I smiled and replied, "Nice shirt." For he truly did have a nice shirt on.

We began talking and I forgot about the five minutes I had until the next bus came, and I just got to know this guy named Shaun. Shaun said he was a Spiritualist, because he wasn't tied down to one church and really liked some of the Buddhist Beliefs, though he doesn't believe in Buddha, but God. This was the perfect segway for me to explain my beliefs. I felt like I was just talking to a friend from high school. I talked to Shaun about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a little different than most Christian Churches because we believe that God has called a prophet to the Earth to lead and guide us just as he has in times of old. When I said that Shaun replied, "I've always wondered why God would talk to man before, but now."

After about 15 minutes Shaun got on a bus that had already come three times. When I asked him why he had waited he said, "Because I wanted to hear what you had to say." I am happy to say Shaun is now a potential investigator!

The Second Miracle is named Yao Zhen.

Everyday we hand out pass along cards at the bus stop. We often find them discarded in the bushes or in the trash can. I often wonder if we are wasting the Lord's resources by giving out so many with no results. Family, friends, fellow-missionaries, I am here to tell you the cards work! We gave a card to a girl who had no interest and she gave it to her boyfriend, Yao Zhen.

Yao Zhen texted us and said: hi, i got ur massage the day before yesterday and i think its maybe a good chance to know ur God.

Thinking he meant voice-mail we looked through all our phone numbers and could not find the number that texted us with a name. So we faked it until we made it! We texted back and arranged for a time to meet our mystery golden. We met him up at the KFC and none of us recognize him, but he sees our name tags and says hello. We soon discovered that his name is Yao Zhen and his girlfriend gave him our card and he decided he wants to learn more about God. The cards work!


Inline image 1
Happy Chinese New Year! Special Thanks to the Song's and Ngaika's!
Left to Right Top to bottom: Eric, Lillith, Rachel, Me, Jesse, Carol, E. Williams, S. Chen, S. Song, Br. Song,
E. Santa Ana, S. Cabamongan, S. Ngaika, Br. Ngaika
E. Chen, Fan, E. Wu

Chinese New Year started January 30th and is still going on! Saturday night our ward missionaries the Song's hosted a Chinese New Year party and the missionaries were invited over for the dinner portion. There was all kinds of yummy food. From mussels, chicken, and vegetables with the secret Malaysia ingredient (coconut milk) to deserts called Hong Kong cake, mud cake, fruit, and so much more! Plus Jesse and Rachel who recently moved to Gold Coast came up and we were able to be reunited with them for a night. It was quite the celebration and I was thankful the next day was fast Sunday!
Inline image 2
The Girls
Left to right: Carol, Sister Song, Me, Rachel, Sister Chen, Sister Cabamongan and in front is Jesse!

Last night was Tony's baptismal interview. He didn't pass and it broke my heart. We have been working with him for 4 months now and the Word of Wisdom continues to be a struggle, but we will not lose faith. Tony loves what we teach him and one day he will have enough will power and heavenly help to keep the commandments the Lord has given us to protect us while we are here on earth. It is just sad because once again transfers are here and we have no idea what's happening.
I love you all and am grateful your outpouring support and love. Though I am far away from my family I feel your love and the love of our friends. The Lord loves us each so very much. Nothing makes that more manifest to me than when I am teaching one of His children who know nothing about their Heavenly Father. I can literally the Lord working through my mouth as I try to explain with the help of the Holy Ghost that there is always someone who loves us, someone we can talk to, and someone who we can lean on.
Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Horse!