Monday, November 30, 2015

#7 I Believe in Christ

Leihdeih hou!!

I cannot believe I have been here for 7 weeks! We get our flight plans to HK on Friday, and I could not be more excited! Earlier this week I started learning more words that will help me get around HK after realizing knowing how to say "God loves you" will not help me find the grocery store. 

So this week was pretty awesome! I've seen 6 people from SVU here at the MTC preparing to serve all over the world since I have been here! It's been really fun catching up with all of these people!

Teaching this week has been pretty great!! We continue to get better with teaching by the spirit. Funny story though! My companion said during a lesson the other day, "If you smell God, he will answer you." instead of "If you ask God, he will answer you." Just a tiny tone difference between smell and ask. Ahhh, tones. They're killer sometimes.

Thanksgiving at the MTC was pretty awesome! We started out with a devotional with Elder DALLIN H. OAKS. He's one of my favorite members of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles! Not that you're really supposed to have favorites, but I always enjoy what he has to say, and this address was no different. One of my favorite parts was when he said "The standard of truth is a daily protection." It's so true! God never gives a commandment without promising a blessing. Never. He's so good to His children, and the power that comes from His commandments are evidence of that. I could go on and on about his address, but I'll just leave it at that. Elder Oaks also brought his family along, and his daughter, THE Jenny Oaks Baker, world-renowned violinist, performed for us!!! If you haven't seen her and Condolezza Rice perform "Amazing Grace" together on youtube, GO WATCH IT NOW. Powerful stuff! Anyways, she performed with her amazingly talented children and their performance was so moving!

We also participated in a humanitarian project where we put together meals that will feed thousands of hungry children! It was a really awesome experience to work with these missionaries doing something greater than myself.

I also found out that I was selected for a 40-50 -person choir for an ecclesiastical Christmas Program the MTC is putting together! The music is simple, but powerful. Just as most Christmas music is. I am so just grateful for the opportunity to sing with such talented missionaries from all over the world!!! We also get to work with Ryan Eggett, who directs 6 choirs around Utah and sometimes directs the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He's so talented, and I am really excited to work with him!!

Okay, I just wanted to share an experience I had last night at the Devotional, which probably goes qualifies for top-5 most spiritual experiences I've had in my life. So the District President at the MTC, Gary Hutchins, shared his experience when he went to Jerusalem and bore his testimony of the reality of the life of Jesus Christ. I have never felt so much peace and confirmation fill my heart and soul of something so simply profound in my life. Afterwards, we sang, "I Believe in Christ" and between the message that was just shared, a missionary initiating everyone standing during the hymn, the quality of voices surrounding me, the quality of missionaries around me, and the organist killing it on the organ, I was almost brought to tears of how powerful of a gift knowing that Christ lives and knowing what that means to me.

I would invite all of you to study and reflect on the reality of Christ's life this week. What does the ministry of Christ mean to you? What does His sacrifice mean to you? As you reflect on these things, pray about them with "all the energy of heart" you can, with real intent to know and feel for yourself what this means to you. Do this, and I promise you will receive a feeling and a witness unlike any other, because Christ wants you to know that He loves you and He wants you to come closer to Him.

I love you all!! Have a great week!!

Sister Leonard

​Our Cantonese District, some of the missionaries learning Thai, and some of the missionaries learning Hmong (who just left today) at the Provo Temple!

​On our way back from the Provo Temple this morning! It's been snowing here for a couple days now

​My cute companion and I yesterday on our temple walk!

​Happy Thanksgiving in Cantonese with my cute tuhngbuhn (companion)!

My District on Thanksgiving with Christmas lights! (Minus Sister Curtis)

Monday, November 23, 2015

#6 Trained to Love

Leihdeih hou!!!

So this week was SO good, as always! A mission is so hard, and I have plenty of hard, rough times that I won't talk about. But I will say this much -- anything can be made right though the atonement of Christ. ANYTHING. All of the hard times I've had have molded me into a much better missionary, leader-servant, and person. All it takes is making the decision to follow Him and turn those thoughts into action! There's a quote I like a lot that says "Pray like everything depends on God, work like everything depends on you." SO true! God can't keep His end of the deal if we aren't keeping ours, and we always get the better end of the deal!

Okay, so some fun things that happened this week!

- So we found out this week that we not only have one celebrity in our midst, but two! So Elder Love, the shorter elder in our group with darker hair, was a part of an LDS music group called "Beyond Five." He's really talented! Y'all should go look him up! Also, one of our teachers, Si Hingdaih, lived in South Korea for a good portion of his life and was on a TV show there! We still haven't gotten full details on that one though. Still pretty cool though!

-Our investigators are doing really great! Funny story!!! So we were teaching Douh HD and we had a full lesson to teach him about the restoration. Well, he got really curious about what we were doing in Hong Kong and why we were there and how all of that worked. So we answered all of his questions and then he started asking us about our Cantonese and he said it was good for  how little time we've started learning it. And then all of the sudden, out of no where, with no idea where I was going with this, I asked him "Do you speak any English??" (In Cantonese, of course). He said no, he never had the opportunity to, although he has wanted to in the past. I then told him we offer an English class and we really wanted him to come! He thought it would be too hard, but we reassured him we would help him learning English! Our mission in HK actually offers free English classes weekly, but I guess missionaries in the MTC never think about that though, which was pretty cool that I received that prompting to ask him about English! He's been a lot more receptive to our message since then, which has been pretty awesome!!!

- On Saturdays we share messages with members in Provo who speak Cantonese, and it is a really awesome opportunity to practice our Cantonese and practice teaching people, not just lessons. Two Saturdays ago, we taught an lady about missionary work and she is a convert from Hong Kong who has live in Provo for a really long time, but is one of 3 members in her family. She shared with us "it's easy to share the gospel with strangers, hard to share it with your friends, and even harder to share it with your family." and she really appreciated our testimonies of encouragement to find opportunities to share the gospel that makes us so happy! Tonight we teach members in Hong Kong over skype, and I am so excited to teach these members!!

- So every Sunday we have to prepare messages/talks to share during sacrament meeting on Sundays with our zone, but we never know when we are speaking until the branch president calls us up. Guess who got called up? Yours truly. It was on one of the favorite topics, which is enduring to the end. Such an awesome opportunity!!

Okay, just a quick though before I need to go! So I have been studying charity this week, and our choir director, Ryan Eggett (who I guess directs the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sometimes), shared a thought from Pres. Monson that has really stuck with me all week. The essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ isn't going to church, or having a really awesome calling, or making your lessons perfect, or about putting on a front that makes you look good and like you're living the gospel. The essence of the gospel is love. It's about doing the things that will help you have the Holy Ghost with you to guide you to those people who need the love of Christ, and more times than not, it is through His servants who heed the call of the spirit. It's about choosing to have enough faith to love someone even when they make themselves not very lovable. Everything we do should train us to love as Christ did. It is because of the love that Christ showed through His whole ministry, in His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane for each individual personally, and on the Cross of Calvary that makes it possible for us to return home to our Heavenly Father. But we can only do that through charity, which is the pure love of Christ. 

I would invite everyone to read 1 Corinthians 13 and to accept the invitation in Moroni 7:48 to pray with all the energy of your heart to be filled with this love. We cannot become anything without Charity, and as you share the pure love of Christ with others, you become purified yourself.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission! I love my teachers so much for the sacrifice, willingness, patience, encouragement and love they have for us as missionaries. I cannot wait to go to Hong Kong in 3 weeks to share to love of Christ with others! And I am especially grateful for this time I have to learn how to love others as Christ did. I am not on a mission to learn Cantonese, or to go to Hong Kong. I am on a mission to spread the good news of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, that we have a living prophet who guides Christ's church, that we can receive revelation that will help us become more like Him, that this gospel allows families to be together forever, and the share the love of Christ that comes through the principles of His gospel.

I love you guys!! Have a great week!!!

Sister Leonard/ Leiuh Ji Muih

PS the picture is of my district with our teacher, Kuok Ji Muih, who is from Macau studying at BYU and served her mission in Hawaii! Also, have I mentioned how much I love my district? They're seriously the best. Okay, now that's all. :)

#5 God Loved Us, So He Gave Us Pigs

November 16 2015

Leihdeih hou!!!

Well, I hit the half-way point of my time at the MTC on Saturday! It is so crazy to think about how much I still have to learn, but as I reflect on the time I have been here, I am so amazed at how much I have learned! If me knowing as much Cantonese as I do in this amount of time isn't evidence that there is a God, I don't know what is! :)

Anyways, I am short on time again this week, so I'll just share a few of the highlights from my week!

You are probably all wondering what my subject means, so I'll start with that! So "Jyu" with a mid-rising tone means "Lord". But Jyu with a high-flat tone means "pig." I was trying to say something real quick in Cantonese, but I used the wrong tone for Jyu, and my teacher kindly explained to me that I said "pig" instead of "Lord." Kind of embarrassing, but I didn't feel so bad when I shared this story with the other Canto district and one companionship told me in a lesson, they told their investigator (unintentionally of course), "God loves us, so he gave us pigs." I'm sure all you bacon enthusiasts out there would agree with this statement, but it isn't super relevant to teaching others about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. So that was a great moment of the week!

Our mouhdouhjes' (investigators) are doing great too!! We committed Douh Hingdaih to be baptized, which took a long time, but it was such a good experience with us because it really helped him understand the importance of being baptized by the proper priesthood authority. Our lessons are getting so much better as we strive to allow the Holy Ghost to work in us and meet the needs of those we teach. We teach 8 lessons this week instead of our usual 4-5. So that's exciting! Also exhausting.

So Elder Hugo Montoya of the 70 came to the MTC this last week to speak to us! He spoke at General Conf this last Oct and you probably saw the memes floating around with The Princess Bride references and his picture. Well, before he started his talk, he made reference to this meme and shared a story about how his great-grandfather in Mexico was killed because he was a Mormon. It was one of the greatest things ever! Who knew a Princess Bride reference could be so relevant? Not me. Anyways, he shared a really awesome message about missionary work! He shared a story about a missionary who didn't have enough support or money to finish his mission. In a journal entry, this missionary said "...But I must stay and do something of worth." And he stayed and continued to bless the lives in the area he was serving in! What a great attitude to have towards missionary work! Missions are so hard, but he knew that the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ meant more to him than any trial he is going through. I hope to have this same attitude as I serve my mission and do something of worth in every area I am in.

I am out of time, but I hope you all have a great week!! I love you all, and I hope you understand and recognize the importance of the Lord's hand in your life! This week has been my hardest week yet, but as I have recognized all the times the Lord has had His hand in my life, I can't help but feel so much gratitude for the opportunity I have to shared the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Hong Kong and help them increase their faith in a loving Heavenly Father who has a plan for them and a loving Savior & Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who died and atoned for our sins so we could return home to our Heavenly Father. There are a lot of other things I can give up, but my mission and my testimony of this gospel are not any of them.

Love y'all!

Sister Leonard

I don't have many pictures to share this week, so here's one from the second week!  Our main Cantonese teacher, Jong Hinghaih, is in the middle of the two elders in our district.

It forreal snowed today in Provo!  This is me and a few of the sisters in our district walking home in the snow from the temple this morning!

My roommates and I with our old Sister Training Leaders in our zone who left for Thailand last week!

Monday, November 9, 2015

#4 Wong Chihn Chong, Syut, and other Gwongdungwa Houyeh

Leihdeih hou!!

So the title of my email translates to "Carry On, Snow, and Other Cantonese Good Stuff." I don't have much time to write this week, so my email will be shorter this week, but I want share some fun things about my week here at the MTC!

So my district has 7 sisters and 2 elders, and they are the BEST! They are so much fun to be around, and we are all so different, but our purpose and goals are what bring us together and it has been so fun to get to know them and work with them!

My zone is made up of now 8 districts, since one of the Thai districts left just this morning. In my district, we have missionaries learning to speak Hmong, Laotian, Cambodian, Cantonese, Thai, and Vietnamese! One of my roommates calls our zone "The Zone of Obscure SE Asian Languages." And it's so true! I love being in a zone where we are going to all kinds of different places in the world where you couldn't even imagine the gospel having a presence in. But nonetheless, the Lord's work keeps rolling forward and to more and more nations. It's so awesome!!!

Okay, some fun facts about Gwongdungwa (Cantonese)!

1. So "kaisih" means revelation. But "keisih" with a slightly different tone means racism. It actually slightly terrifies me that I could unintentionally tell someone "If you come to church, you will receive racism." So I pay extra special attention to that word.

2. So we sang a hymn earlier this week called "Carry On." Here in the MTC, we sing in our mission language, so "Carry On" translates over to "Wong Chihn Chong," which is about the most stereotypical Chinese thing you'll hear in Cantonese. Anyways, while we were singing it, we were getting all the words wrong and we started laughing because of how horribly we were singing it, and then once we got to "wong chihn chong," we all just about died. Way to bring the spirit to our classroom, right? I love Cantonese.

3. So "yauh" means to have, and if you put "jo" at the end of a few verbs, you can make it past tense. Well, if you but "yauhjo" together with the same tones, it actually means pregnancy. It's a good thing we learned that now instead of in the field, because that would be a very confusing lesson talking about Jesus Christ and His Gospel and pregnancy.

4. Cantonese has 6 tones, while Mandarin only has 4. It's hard remembering the right tones sometimes, but you don't have to conjugate anything in Cantonese, so I'll take that over conjugating anytime.

Okay, so it snowed this week! It didn't stick, but this Floridian thought it was pretty cool. Also, there's a girl from Burma in the Thai district that just left that had never seen snow before and probably never would have the chance again, so her district was praying so hard for snow and it came just a few days before they left for Thailand! She was SO cute when she saw the snow!

Our teaching skills are coming along too! My companion and I can teach lessons almost entirely without reading anything! Our sentences are simple, but we are able to teach more from the heart, and that is the most important thing about missionary lessons! I just love how familiar this language feels to me! It's so hard and it doesn't necessarily come naturally to me, but it feels so familiar to me and the Lord constantly reminds me when I get down on myself about not learning the language as quickly as I want to or about not understanding things that he wants me to go to HK to teach people the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and that he wants me to work hard in learning Cantonese and if I do, the atonement of Jesus Christ will make up for the rest. It's been such an awesome experience teaching our investigators and seeing the Lord' s hand in those lessons, even if the teachers playing the investigators like to make it harder for us. But I guess that's their job.... Hahahaha! But as I put my trust on and total focus in the Lord, the language comes so much quicker and that is such a blessing!!

Anyways, that's all I have time for this week. I love you all!! Keep doing houyeh (good stuff) and remember how much the Savior loves you and how desperately he wants you to come closer to Him.

Until next week,

Sister Leonard/ Leiuh Ji Muih

​Stripey Tuesday with the sisters of our zone!

#3 No Room For Fear!

Hello friends and family!!

Just to give you guys a fair warning, I am about to write a novel about my week. It was SO GOOD.

Another week at the MTC has gone by, and it feels like just yesterday I was sending another email home! On a mission, conception of time is really weird! The days are long and the weeks are short. I feel like my head is constantly expanding with more and more Cantonese, but I love coming back to the residence every night feeling mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. It's the best kind of exhausted to be!!

So one of my best friends told me before I left on the mission that there are three types of days on the mission: good days, great days, and amazing days. I got to experience all three this week!

Okay, so an update on my health!! I kept waiting for my sore throat to go away, but it wasn't until I had to leave class an hour early because I was in such terrible pain that I finally got an appointment at the health clinic. I don't remember what exactly I had, the name is kind of long, but I had some kind of viral respiratory infection. So the doctor told me what medicine to take and I am now okay! It's amazing how less irritating learning a six tone language like Cantonese is when you can finally talk and practice it out loud! Imagine that.

On Tuesday a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke to us at the MTC! In the LDS world, that's a pretty big deal! We got to hear Elder Neil L. Andersen speak to us, and it was amazing as we were singing a prelude hymn, The Lord Is My Light, he walked in and we stood up and the spirit filled the room to the very top! I know Elder Neil L. Andersen is truly an Apostle of God and is a witness of Jesus Christ. He talked about sacrifice, opposition, the adversary, and deliverance and how they relate on a mission. My favorite quote from him was "we are not yet what we can be, but we are enough." The power and authority I've been given as a missionary is so great that there are times where I feel so inadequate to bear this cross. But as I understand God is not yet finished with me and he is molding me into who He needs me to be as a missionary, I am filled with so much hope and faith for my future and for my commission as a missionary.

Sister Shiffert and I have started connecting a lot more as a companionship too as we strive to be more obedient and to plan our lessons with the Holy Ghost. And this has made for some amazing lessons that I am really excited to share with you guys!! So we got two new investigators this week, Douh Singsaam and Cici Ji Muih. It's been quite the week teaching them. We had the most amazing first lesson with Cici! She had a lot of really great questions as we taught her what we felt like she needed to know and we committed her to baptism the very first lesson!! It was kind of scary actually, but my companion and I walked out of that lesson feeling like we could baptize the rest of China. The next lesson we had with her we found out she had been struggling with reading the Book of Mormon because of pressure from her husband not to read it. But she still likes our messages and still wants to be baptized! We pray a lot for her that she will be able to overcome this obstacle with her husband, that his heart will soften and that he will have the desire to come closer to Christ. Our other investigator has been quite a struggle. He is an old man who doesn't open up much. He mumbles a lot and doesn't open up much, which isn't a good combination for two sisters who have two weeks of Cantonese under their belt. But he loves hearing our testimonies and always invites us to come back, so I guess we are doing something right!

We also got to host new missionaries on Wednesday and help them get everything they needed for their time here at the MTC! I got to host 6 sister missionaries, and it was really fun to see all the different places these sisters are going and how excited they are to serve the Lord! I love the gospel, I love being a missionary, and I love the MTC, and I got to share all three of those loves that day!!

So here at the MTC, we had our own fun for Halloween! I "dressed up" as Ariel from The Little Mermaid and my companion "dressed up" as Flounder from the Little Mermaid! Also, since our whole district met our language goals, we had a party during additional study time where we ate caramel popcorn with chopsticks and ate candy and watched Mormon Messages. I love my district!! They are seriously the best, and we laugh and learn so much with each other.

We also had a TRC Saturday morning, which was where we basically share messages with members of the church in the area who speaks Cantonese. It was really helpful to get insights as to how I can improve my language and teaching skills!

So every fast Sunday, we have mission conference here at the MTC! The whole theme of mission conference was families! I loved all of the messages shared and my testimonies of families was strengthened so much. I know for a fact that families are ordained of God and that families were designed to help individuals learn gospel principles and grow in the gospel. I know the traditional family isn't something that is ideal for everyone and the world doesn't see the true value of the traditional family, but I know that those who are faithful in the gospel of Jesus Christ and come closer to Jesus Christ will receive the blessing of an eternal marriage and family. I would invite all of you to pray about this, because family is that important.

It was also awesome for me to feel the power that I have as a missionary to bring families together. President Burgess shared that the Lord will use every part of us to bring families together, the good things and my shortcomings. As I prepare myself for the individuals and families that are prepared for me to teach the gospel to, I feel so much love and joy for these families and for how much the gospel will bless their lives.

The devotional last night was also really awesome!! He talked more about families and how the gospel of Jesus Christ can not only bless families, but HEAL family relationships. Christ died for that too, and as you allow the gospel of Jesus Christ to heal you and broken family relationships, you WILL be blessed!! He also shared that the most important work I will do in the life will be after my mission when I have the opportunity to be sealed in the temple and have my own family. This isn't me getting trunkie (a missionary term used to describe those who are looking forward to everything they will get to do when they get off the mission), but I know that this is true, that not just having a family, but building STRONG families are the most important on this Earth. I hope all of you never loose sight of that. 

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary!! It brings me immeasurable joy knowing that my strengths and weaknesses will bring people and families closer to Christ. The title for my email comes from a thought a sweet sister in my district shared yesterday. She said "When you have total faith in Christ, there is no room for fear." It is so true! As I have come to know Christ and of His love for me as well as His children, I have been filled with faith that He will use me to fulfill HIS work here on the work, which is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Because I know in whom I have trusted, I have no fear of anything except offending God or doing that which is contrary to His will.

I love you guys so much!! Keep doing everything you can to bring yourself closer to Christ! No words can explain how much joy I feel as I have come closer to Christ. I love this gospel. I love the Lord, and I love being a missionary.

Keep the Dear Elders and emails coming!! Love you all!!!!!!

Sister Leonard
Sister Shiffert and I always go into this random classroom on our floor for companionship study and we were so cold, we hung out by the heater. Utah.....

So "hou" in Cantonese means "good," so we have this Christmas Cantonese inside joke about it and someone in our class drew this on the board. 

Halloween: Can you guess what we all dressed up as? :)

#2 "If the Lord Commanded Me To Do All Things I Could Do Them"

Leih hou!!!

I am still loving the MTC! I am constantly learning and growing, and it's the best! It's really hard, but I love it! Utah isn't as cold as I thought it would be right now, but I am probably speaking too soon. The colors of fall are so beautiful here, especially with the mountains in the background. 

Well, it happened you guys. I got sick. Since Tuesday night I have had a rough cold and since Thursdays I have had a sore throat and basically no voice. I have had a really raspy/no voice for 4 days now. Needless to say, speaking a language with 6 tones and new sounds is pretty rough. But despite how awful I have felt, I have felt so many tender mercies from the Lord this week! Just to name a few, we were able to commit Joe to baptism this week (that one took a long time, but when we finally got to what was keeping him from baptism and invited him again, he accepted! BEST FEELING EVER.) and I lost my voice completely after our very last lesson with Joe. MIRACLE. Also, I have still been able to learn so much Cantonese that I ever did before. Again, MIRACLE. And I only had to skip gym time once and I have been able to keep up with the super demanding schedule of a missionary at the MTC. MIRACLE. Also, my companion is so sweet and she is really patient with me and my being sick. She's helped me and strengthened me so much! MIRACLE. I think you guys get the picture. The Lord really wants to me to learn Cantonese, and he's definitely provided a way for me to still be productive no matter how awful I feel.

Speaking of Joe though, Joe isn't actually Joe. He is now Si Hingdaih, who is now one of our MTC teachers. What the heck?! Our district felt a little betrayed that this man we put so much thought and prayer into is actually a tri-lingual, spiritual giant! It's all good though, he's a great teacher and got home from his mission in Hong Kong in May, and I've been learning so much from him! We now have 3 Canto teachers, and they're all so gifted and they help me so much with learning the language!!

We also have at least 4 lessons with 2 new investigators this week in Cantonese, which I am really looking forward to and am totally terrified at the same time. I am really excited to meet them though! My companion and I are feeling really good about these next few lessons coming up.

Also, on our walk to the temple Sunday, Sister Adams and I met up with Elder Chantz Yazzie, who left for Turkey today! It was so fun to catch up and talk about the good ol' Yokota times and see where everyone's at and how far we've come from middle school/high school. Time is a funny thing.

Okay, just a few thoughts I wanted to share with y'all!!

In my scripture study this week, I came across a scripture in the Book of Mormon that really helped me overcome my trials for the week. In 2 Nephi 17:50 it says,

"And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done."

This is at a time when Nephi is being criticized pretty harshly by his brothers for trying to build a boat that would take them across an ocean after the Lord commanded him to do so. And he was still able to accomplish what the Lord asked him to do!! The Lord will never give us a commandment He will not prepare a way for us to follow. My life has not gotten any easier being on a mission. I've been sick for a good portion of my time here, learning Cantonese is hard, and being exactly obedient is harder than I thought it would be. But when we pray meaningfully to the Lord through holy communication and consecrated work, we can do all things the Lord asks us to do.

Also, our MTC choir director shared a really interesting thought last night. To be a really great anything, one must be focused on their purpose. To do that, we need to do the things that will help us keep focused on fulfilling our purpose and get rid of the distractions that would keep us from doing so. Chuuyngaausih muhkdik, which is Missionary Purpose in Cantonese, were the first two words in Canto that really stuck in my brain, and I know that's not a coincidence. I am so grateful to be in a place like the Provo MTC where I am surrounded by people with the same purpose as me and how much strength, love, and revelation I've received from the Lord on how I can keep my focus so I can be the best/most consecrated missionary the Lord needs me to be.

I love you all!! Have a fantastic week! Keep doing the things that will help you fulfill your purpose in life, whatever it may be.

All my love,

Sister Leonard 

PS If you want to send a Dear Elder, which is a website that allows you to send typed-out letters FOR FREE to me here at the PROVO MTC, my information is on my blog at sisterleonardinhongkong.blogspot,com. I would love to hear from all of you! Also, shoot me your address if you'd like a letter from me!

With Sister Adams and Brother Yazzie!

#1 The Power and Happiness That Comes From a Name Tag

Leih hou!! Leihdeih hou ma?? (Hello! How're you all doing?)

Ahh where do I even start?! I LOVE the MTC! There really is such a spirit unlike any other on this campus. I am learning so much here, and it's only been 5 days!!

First off, thanks to the Adams family for letting me stay with them once I arrived to Utah! Such a blessing to have such a great family take great care of me! And it's been awesome hanging out with Sister Adams! (It's been a struggle trying to call her that and not Mindy. Especially since we're in the same district learning Canto and we see each other ALL. THE. TIME. It's so fun!!!)

Anyways, there are two districts of Canto speakers that arrived and all of the old Canto missionaries going to HK left earlier this morning. They were such a great group though! Kind of rambunctious considering there were about 18 elders and 2 sisters. You could tell they were ready to leave the MTC. Hahahaha!

So my district has 7 sisters and 2 elders (the only elders learning Canto right now I might add. They probably feel like they are drowning in estrogen. Hahaha!) We've got a wide variety of people in our district, but we are all so close! They're so much fun, and I enjoy learning Cantonese with them!

My companion is Sister Shiffert! She's adopted from China and all of her other sibling were adopted from China and Kazahstan, which is so awesome! We have similar personalities, but different interests, so we don't get bored with each other. She's so sweet and I am excited about all the things I've already learned from her and will continue to learn from her. We make a really solid companionship too and we work really well together. We're also directionally challenged, so we get lost at the MTC together all the time. So that's fun. Hahaha!

The first day at the MTC was overwhelming to say the least. Once we got to our classroom, we were given Chinese names and everyone's except for mine was relatively simple. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to finally pronounce it correctly. And then I had to be reminded how to pronounce it again multiple times. My Chinese name is Leiuh Ji Muih (except the tone that's used makes me sound like a man.....). Yeah, I know.

Anyways, I LOVE learning Cantonese! WAY more than I thought I would! The sounds and tones are very hard, but I enjoy learning Cantonese with my district. They also help with my singing voice! I'm thinking my parents shouldn't have invested in voice lessons growing up and should have had me learn Cantonese instead. A two-in-one kind of deal. Hahahaha! Our teacher, Jong Hingdaih, is awesome too!! He is the most experienced Canto teacher in the MTC and he's very patient with me. He only speaks Cantonese with us too, even when he's teaching us. But the gift of tongues is SO real, I've been able to grasp what he's teaching us. Some of the words are similar to Japanese too, so that's helpful! 

We taught our first lesson on Friday! All in Cantonese too. Our mouhdouhjeh's (investigator's) name is Joe. He went to Catholic school when he was younger and used to know Christ, but he doesn't really have a relationship with him anymore. His dad died when he was 5, his mom has cancer and Joe works to pay for the medical bills, and his older sister went away. So he has a lot of problems with his family, but he wants a better life. We've taught him two lessons so far and he's progressed SO much with us! We've made a lot of mistakes as we've been teaching him, but we've been able to not only be prepared with a lesson, but we've been able to teach with the spirit and that has seriously made all the difference. During our second lesson, I read Joseph Smith's first vision (if you haven't read it, READ IT!) to him in Cantonese and I totally thought I had butchered the sounds and tones on everything. But when I finished, his eyes were all read and touched his heart and said a sentence with the word seungseun (believe), which I had just learned the night before and basically said that he believed what we were telling him!! He then touched his heart and said he was feeling something (again, gift of tongues is REAL.). When we told him it was the Holy Ghost (Singling), he had a confused look on his face and asked him a question, but we couldn't understand him. So he then drew a picture of a ghost and asked if that was inside him. We laughed and explained to him what it was and he understood our (probably broken) Cantonese. He always has lots of great questions!! We are teaching him again tonight the Plan of Salvation and hope to commit him to baptism!

I just wanted to share a few spiritual thoughts I had over the week before my emailing time comes to a close.

Doubt will always drive the spirit away. Always. When I first started learning Cantonese, all of my Japanese came back and I even found myself having conversations in Japanese with some of the elders in the dining hall during meals. It made me SO jealous of the missionaries called to Japan and I found myself wondering why I couldn't have been called there too. One night while I was praying, I found myself repenting for doubting my language assignment and praying for the spirit to be with me. What the heck?! I didn't even know that was something I needed to repent for! Nonetheless, the words came out of my mouth and I pondered over them for a few days. One day when our teacher, Jong Hingdaih, was ending his class, he bore his testimony (in Cantonese, of course), that he knew that we weren't meant to go to Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, or anywhere else. He knew that our Heavenly Father wants and needs us in Hong Kong because there are people the Lord needs us to bring the gospel to. He loves us and wouldn't have asked us to learn Cantonese and go to HK if he wasn't going to prepare a way for us to do so. 

Since I have pushed the doubt I had in my mind away and replaced it with faith, I have been able to retain so much more Gwongdungwah (Cantonese) than I was able to before. I can now pray, bear my testimony, and understand quite a bit of Cantonese, and it has only been 5 DAYS. If that's not God helping me, I don't know who is. I absolutely know that the Lord is blessing me everyday to learn and understand Cantonese. Sitting in class for along periods of time is really hard, but I have been able to learn SO much about what God can do through me, and I can't wait for the other miracles the Lord will perform through me.

Also, during our Sunday Devotional w/ Chad Lewis (former BYU and Phil. Eagles football player), he shared a quote from Elder Bednar that applies to so much to me that I wanted to share real quick:

"God must really love Chinese people because He made so many of them!!"

The field is SO white in China, you guys. I feel so much love and compassion for the people of Hong Kong and I am reassured everyday that I am exactly where I need to be doing exactly what I need to be doing. I love China, I love the MTC, I love to be obedient to the mission rules (again, miracles happen when you're obedient!!! Whole other topic though.), I love the power and happiness that comes from my missionary name tag, and most of all, I love the Savior, Jesus Christ, and the power that I can receive from on high because of His atoning sacrifice

Ngoi leihdeih!!!! (I love you all!!) Have a fantastic week and remember that Christ loves YOU.

Sister Leonard/ Leiuh Ji Muih)