Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Isn't it a blessing to love and be loved so much it hurts?"

Where to begin on the fabulous week that was just spent in SunnyBank? I must admit that as I write my brain is a little scattered and that my emotions are a bit on edge. Forgive my imperfections.

This week we taught so many lessons that we barely had time to go to the bus stop. No complaining here! We met with Peter and he is still progressing superbly. We called him Sunday night to make sure he could come to church on Sunday and when he tried saying he had to work, we asked him what time. Turns out work didn't start until 11:30 so we were able to convince him to come to sacrament meeting and receive the blessings of putting forth the effort.

We met with two new people I am really excited about. One guy is named Chao Fan (if you look it up you will find that the most common interpretation is fried rice, but I promise his parents aren't that cruel!). It was late one night when a member invited us to dinner. It was a Thursday night, which means we weren't allowed to eat with members unless we had a non-member present. We had just finished a lesson with a non-member and the idea of just going trickled into our minds, but we decided to decline and go GQ instead. The very first guy I walked up to was Chao Fan. I asked him how his day was going and we did small talk for about one minute. Then he asked me what I was doing in Australia. I told him I was a missionary. Then he asked, "Oh so you are going to ask me to join?" I was shocked, but could not lie so I said, "Well yes." In which his reply was, "Good I want to join!" I literally took a step back. I was definitely taken by surprise and like an idiot asked him if he was sure. Thankfully he said yes. As we talked I found out that Chao Fan has a car that is in the shop for two weeks. He has been taking the bus, and his friends warned him about the missionaries, however he was hoping that someone would find him because he wants to start believing in God and wants religion in his life. We met with him and now he is preparing to be baptized on April 26th. I love the power of the Lord. I love that He is trusting me to talk to such amazing people here in Australia.

Friday we had dinner with Elizabeth and Tina came! Tina is one of the Elder's investigators who has been meeting with them as long as Tony has been meeting with us! Finally, Tina made the wonderful decision to be baptized and so we had a little dinner party at Elizabeth's Friday night to celebrate. Elizabeth taught me how to make a perfect omelet and we also had curry. It was so good. Unfortunately I wasn't able to eat much because it seems as if my allergies are kicking in and I have been suffering from a sore throat and bad sinus's. NO worries though I am eating less and my tummy is getting smaller! Blessings come in all forms.

Saturday was awesome as we were able to see Tina get baptized and another Elder's investigator, Ida! They are both so cute and bore such powerful testimonies after they were baptized. I love to see the growth of the church in the Chinese Program. The rest of the day was filled with lessons as we ran from place to place getting in all the lessons. We were able to meet with a new guy Robin who agreed to work towards April 26th for baptism. He is very cheery and I am excited to continue working with him.

Then Sunday, dreaded Sunday. It was all good until I remembered that it was the end of transfers and we might get a call. As the day went on and our investigators came to church I began to reflect on how much I love SunnyBank and didn't want to leave. We have 8 people on date and all of them are quite solid. I felt confident that they wouldn't move anyone out of our companionship because of all the success we were having.

The call came, and as our beloved Zone Leader, Elder Fa'oa read out the names of people staying, my name wasn't heard. When I did hear my name it was to tell me to start packing my bags. I felt as if the world came crashing down in and around me. All six months I have been in Australia not once have I broken down and cried. Before the tears just wouldn't come, but when I heard I would be leaving SunnyBank the dam that had been there these six months completely disappeared and the tears came and didn't stop. Maybe it was because I was a little sick, but I just sat on the floor crying and looking up at our investigator's names on our wall. I felt Sister Lai and Cabamongan's arms around me and I could feel my heart thumping wildly. I love each and everyone of our investigator's so much. I love Sister Lai and Cabamongan so much and I love the members in the ward so much. Now it was all going away, and I had no control over my situation. I had seen so many miracles with people like Peter and Chao Fan and now I had to say goodbye. It just seemed to be too much to handle at the moment and so I had my last big cry as a teenage girl. It was embarrassing!

Monday was filled with lessons saying to goodbye to this person and that. Tina helped us fellowship and after the lesson when I told her I would be leaving she cried! Then Elizabeth came and there were more tears. Then Peter and more tears. Monday night we went out as a district and though I didn't eat much, we were together and I just felt love. I felt love for the Elders in my district, for their investigators, for Fan, Tina and Elizabeth and love for the area. Why would God want me to leave all that I love? Then I remembered something Mom told me when we left South Carolina, "Isn't a blessing to love and be loved so much is hurts?" I have truly been blessed to serve in SunnyBank and I will be blessed now in my new area, the great city of Brisbane! I will learn to love my new companion, Sister Ng from Hong Kong and I will be okay. I am on the Lord's errand and He must have need of me here. As Nephi said, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded me, for I know the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them to accomplish that which he hath commanded them."

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Goodbye SunnyBank hello Brisbane!

I love you all. Thanks for the birthday wishes and all the support you've given me. I am 9 months in with 9 to go. I pray that I continue to bless the lives of those around me and that I become changed for the better. Next time I talk to you all I won't be 19!

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