Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"subject:"Had Too Much Fun Again This Week"

This week we were in a lesson with a lady who is here visiting her daughter in Utah. She said, "I have a lot of interest in knowing if these things are true, and knowing if God is real, but not my daughter. She's not into this stuff." The member we were with said, 

"She's not not interested! It's just not her time yet. Someday she will need it."

If we really are all God's children, we all need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Literally every single soul in the entire world needs it.

"And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full." (Alma 11:11-12)

A softened heart is not a weakness. Often times we see hardened hearts as strong and independent, but what growth does that allow for? Only when our hearts are humble can we learn the mysteries of God and become better everyday. I hope that we can all be humble, not humbled, because the latter is never fun. 


Basically we get front seats to the coolest phenomenon in the entire world.

Sorry for this disconnected e-mail. All in all, 'twas a good week. 

A peanut butter jelly shake 

My companion made me elk steak

Only had 20 minutes to finish the pie. Barely made it.

goo goo ga joob

chirashizushi 😍

New tags 

Everyday at 10:15 am while we are doing studies, this rat comes in front of our window to say hi


It is finals season at BYU, so it's been a weird week on the missionary side of things in Provo. Some days we would be booked the entire day and running around to appointments, and other days everybody would cancel (because finals suck) and we would spend the entire day finding and knocking on doors of strangers. You know you're blessed when you've been a missionary for 7 whole months--and knocking on strangers' doors feels like a foreign activity because you've rarely had to (too many people to teach up in here whoop whoop). We're a little terrified of the week to come; we have 7 (7!!!) teaching appointments just tomorrow, and then everybody is moving back to China because the semester has ended. So our teaching pool might die. I predict a whiplash in busy-ness in the next few weeks. I'll have to learn to be a door-knocking pro. 😓

This week I have been thinking a lot about the parable of the great supper. In Luke 14, Jesus tells story of "a certain man [who] made a great supper, and bade many", and when the feast is ready, he tells his servant to let the guests know that everything is ready now. One friend bails and says he cannot come because he needs to inspect some new land he has purchased. Another friend says he has bought new oxen, and needs to go take care of them. Another friend says he's got a new wife, so he cannot come. This guy just wants to have a party and feed his friends free food and everyone bails. So sad. 

God just wants to have a party with us and give us free things, but so many times we just bail and make stupid excuses! How lame of us! All these alternate activities his friends are doing weren't necessarily bad; but it's pretty rude, especially since these guests seem to have already made a commitment to come. We can fill our lives with activities with things that aren't necessarily bad - buying land, checking out your sweet new ride, spending time with your family - but if we have already promised God that "yes I want the thing I'll be there when it's ready" but we aren't there to receive it, we have taken for granted a generosity. We have wasted somebody's love, broken their hearts, and maybe even lost their trust. 

God has prepared a feast for all of us. In 2 Nephi chapter 32 it says, "feast upon the words of Christ, for the words of Christ shall tell you all things what ye should do." If we were to only feast on the scriptures, the words of the prophet, and inspired thoughts of each other at church, we will be fed with infinite knowledge, direction, and guidance. We would never be lost or confused. We would all be happy, and it would be a great party! 

Here is this cool talk that I found on the parable that has super cool thoughts on the parable. Elder  Hammond basically says that dinner party etiquettes apply to our spirituality wellness: 
1. Don't cancel (If you've made a commitment, keep the commitment!)
2. Don't be late ("Ye shall not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end" You'll miss the appetizers!)
3. Eat everything delicious thing you're served  (Don't deny yourself blessings)
4. Don't leave early (There are dessert-blessings to come!) 

Speaking of food, here are the only pictures I have from this week:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

We Moved!

This week we moved! We used to live in the basement of a really kind elderly couple. It was a really nice place, but we didn't have a kitchen. We turned one of the bathroom sink areas into our little kitchen. It was fun, but time to move on 

Zai jian to our little fake chu fang 

Our new apartment is really cold, but there is a real life-size fridge! 

On Saturday Holly got baptized. At her baptism, she had many many friends show up, and to my surprise many of her friends were also my friends! It warmed my heart to know that there is so much missionary work to do in Provo, and the people I love are a part of that.

Holly was so excited, and it was so heartwarming to see her being able to make that step with the help of so many great friends. If there's one thing I've learned from my mission, it is that as a missionary, I do nothing. It's up to the missionary efforts of every single person in the church, and we are missionaries are just there to help with the actual ordinance of baptism. Everything that comes before and after is just as important. 

In 2 Ne 31, it says, "if the Lamb of God, he being holy should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!" 

Christ gave us an instruction manual of the way to return to live with God again; and I know that by following those instructions of having faith, repenting, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we can be perfectly happy. The problems of life won't go away, but we can face them with the confidence and peace that Christ had in His life. 

Sister Takeshige 

Loitering on BYU campus:

Love Letter To Provo

I feels super strange to be back here in Provo doing missionary work. But now I feel there is this inseparable bond between me and Provo. It's so much more than a college town to me now. I know you've felt this way for a while already. I thought Salt Lake City would be like Provo 2.0, bigger and better and more exciting, but there really is no comparison. Salt Lake's mountains have nothing on Provo's mountains, or the sunset, or the members. I used to think Provo was pretty bland in its variety of people; good looking 20-something Mormon RMs, but now just thinking about the sheer number of righteous covenant-keeping people gathered all together makes my heart melt. Outsiders who move down here feel the innate goodness of the members. They want the light of Christ to be a part of them too and are willing to change their lives completely and submit their will to God, which makes missionary work relatively easy. I love love love love this city. I love the work, and I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I do sometimes miss Temple Square just a smidgeon though. I may or may not have teared up when I saw the beautiful square on TV at General Conference (which by the way was perfect and everything everybody's soul needs. Everybody should go listen to it, Mormon or not.)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

"You Must Be Swift As a Coursing River (Title due to the fact that I feel a little bit like Mulan in this part of the movie right now)"

What's weirder than being a missionary/tour guide at church headquarters with 200 other young ladies? Being a Chinese speaking missionary at an area where you used to be a college student, where your college friends are still hanging out. My heart was probably prepared for everything but this. Good one, God. 

The missionaries who were here in the Chinese area before me and my companion took over on Wednesday did such a good job being missionaries. They did such a good job, that as soon as I walked into the Provo, Utah mission office, they told us, "You have 11 people getting ready to be baptised, and here is the information for a teaching appointment we scheduled for you today. It's happening in about an hour and a half." We barely had time to drop our suitcases off at our new living quarters, and barely learned each other's names (my new companion is Sister Sandall) and off we were to teach a really sweet Chinese lady!  

Ever since then it has been non-stop appointments and teaching and visiting- and we still haven't gotten around to meet everyone that wants to be taught in Chinese by the missionaries! Every single person we met has been absolutely sweet and kind, and genuinely wanting to know how they can have God in their lives. I still can't quite wrap my brain around how great the missionary work is going here. Where are the trials? Where are the bad days? Where are the angry people? Where are the arguers and the anti-Mormons? Where are the crazies? And my companion is awesome too. She is the friendliest, gentle-est, most patient and most on-top-of-everything person in the world. 

And the bonus: we have been to teaching appointments and met up with people who used to translate for the missionaries before us... and many a times they end up being friends of mine from before the mission. Shouts outs to all my friends who are good people and help out the missionaries.

As is the story of my life: I feel completely undeserving of the tornado of blessings God has given me. My Chinese isn't even that great! I have no idea why I got to be assigned in the two best missions in the world, but I will accept it graciously, and hope that I can do some good! I know that even though I am a baby and am pretty clueless most of the time, in Christ all things are possible. Literally anything. During his mortal life, Jesus Christ showed us that all things can be overcome; sin, physical illnesses, spiritual poverty, temptations, doubt, mockery, and even death (#hallelujah). And that is the message that gives me strength and I hope everyone has a chance to understand as well. You can do anything! Anything at all! 

Oh yeah, and here is my new mailing address: 

85 N 600 E
Provo UT 84606
United States

Fun times: Someone got baptized. It was our fourth day there. Hooray Provo. 


This week we took a tour that was both the most spiritual and eccentric tour I have ever taken here on Temple Square. There was a group of travelers that seemed a little put off when we began the tour. They didn't talk much, and didn't really look us in the face. They eventually warmed up, and we had a really great conversation about how we all need to have our own conversions and understand Christ for ourselves, and see His role in our lives. One guest said to us, "Can you share your story? Sorry, we call them testimonies in our church... But can you both share it for us?" It was very sweet of her to say that. I have never seen a guest so kind and genuinely interested in what we believe. We both shared our testimonies and the things we hold most dear to our hearts, and they all listened intently in a way I have never seen guests do before. Then they all shared their own conversions to Christ, and the spirit in our little circle was so sweet and strong. 

And then the as the last person was sharing their testimony, the spirit changed. The person started asking questions that weren't exactly questions, but statements, like "What do you have to say about when the Bible says things contrary to what you do in the Temple?" I think my companion and I handled this person with poise and composure and courtesy. So we high fived for that. My favorite was when he asked, "On what basis and authority do you take the Book of Mormon to be scripture? Who told you that it's real? Who are you listening to?" To which we replied, 

"God. We ask God in prayer and we believe that if we have a personal relationship with Him, He can reveal truth to us."

That man started mumbling something about "Well I read this book by a man named Charles mumblerumblerumble.... And what it has to say about moooormons is... welljustreadthebookokay" I have a tiny feeling that he heard himself trying to compare the authority of God with the authority of a mortal man who wrote some stuff about what he thinks the Mormons do. 

And then he asked if he could say a prayer with us, so we all bowed our heads and he proceeded to pray that "the devil will not mislead people and conceal the truth so we will not remain in darkness and bless these missionaries that they will be saved from darkness" Which was cool I guess. I've never had a guest pray for my soul's sake before. 

I thought about this roller-coaster of a tour for a long time this week. My favorite Doctrine and Covenants section, Doctrine and Covenants 50 kept coming back to my mind. I think it is so cool that if there is anything at all that we need to know, we can take it to God. God wants us to seek knowledge and Truth, and I think every good human being desires it too. When we work with God in seeking those things, we learn truth that is light, truth that is edifying, and truth that is from God. Truth that is capital-T Truth. Everything should be brought before God, and we should never assume that there is anything we can know with a surety before we take it to God. 

So yeah, that was the most interesting thing that happened this week, among many other miracles that happen everyday. :) 

Also tiny announcement: Temple Square missionaries usually serve for three months (an outbound assignment) in another regular mission in the US for experience. I am starting my outbound assignment tomorrow in Provo (who ever would have seen this coming). I won't be able to write to a lot of you for the next three months if you are in the Provo area. Unless of course, you know anybody who speaks Mandarin or Japanese that would like to learn from the missionaries! I'm sad to leave Temple Square, but I'm excited for what's in store! 

Won't be doing this for a while: 

and happy earth day

"What a Time To Be Alive"

If there's anything I've learned on the mission, it's being okay with rejection. My companion and I have been struggling recently with finding people who are interested in learning more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know they're there... "the field is white already to harvest"! but we have just been trudging through a lot of brown soil. But that's okay! That is why we keep working hard. We have had a lot of "no thank-you"s and "go away"s but we have kept going! I realized a few days ago that I get a twisted sort of pleasure when people decline because I feel like we are one step closer to striking gold!

The tulips are blooming at Temple Square, and the most exciting time of the year is nigh! Easter, General Conference, tourists... What a time to be alive! And I mean it with the utmost sincerity. What a time to be alive, to know that Jesus Christ lived through pain, mockery, torture, death... and rose again, just to let us know that we are loved by a God, and that we too will rise and return to live with God, in the same way that Christ did. What a time to be alive, to know that God loves us so much that He never stops loving us and guiding us and speaking to us, through Prophets and Apostles that he has called. What a time to be alive, to be able to touch, hold, and read personal revelation from the Bible and the Book of Mormon. What a time to be alive. 

A thing I was asked to draw for our lovely mission president's counselors who are leaving. I hope drawing skills can be regained post-mission. I feel like a weenie.