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 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? :)