Oooooh what a week! This week we had zone conference, we planted some flowers in someone's front yard, we ate a lot of Rancheritos, and Amy got baptized, and Hong Long made us a lot of food, and we cooked dumplings, and we had some surprise investigators who might be getting baptized in two days (we met her three days ago), said goodbye to some great people we taught who are going back to China for the summer, and I found the prettiest rose bush!
God is real and I can't even describe all the numerous miracles that happened this week. In every single moment, I felt like God was directing me and my companion to meet the people we needed to, be where we needed to be, and say just the right things at the right time. Just read the Book of Mormon my friends.That is where it all starts.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Grafitti, spotted on the concrete stairs of some apartment buildings
Charlie, spotted in the home of a kind couple that fed us dinner
The dynamic duo
This week Sister Sandall and I started listening to the Old Testament in the car. I completely forgot how hilarious and scandalous and riveting that book is! Maybe it has to do with the fact that I haven't had television or Internet for 8 months, but it seriously would make the best tv drama series. Murder! Marriage! Crazy moms plotting to help you steal yo brother's birthright! Concubines! Babies everywhere! (My favorite story is probably the story about Dinah, Simeon, and Levi in Genesis 34)
If anything, the Old Testament has really made me appreciate living in this time period, in the millennium. If this is the last time period before Christ comes again, it means we have had all of the revelations and commandments we can possibly have to prepare us. How blessed are we to live in the most evolved and civilized time period! Sometimes we complain about commandments and they seem like a burden, but the time before Moses and Jesus Christ without a lot of the laws we have today didn't look like a lot of fun to live. Fun to read, but not to live.
So many people we teach Moses's Ten Commandments to say "that's so basic and easy!" It didn't used to be that way, and I'm grateful that we've reached a point where that's instinctual. Now if only the new laws and commandments became that way too...
Sister Kaede Takeshige
Aside from trying to grow out my bangs and having many awkward hair days as you will see in the pictures below we had a greeeeaaaat week!
Two of our sweetest friends got baptized on Sunday
It got warm enough to do weekly planning outside in the sun
And I ate some senbei.
But best of all, I learned so much from the scriptures. I couldn't write everything that I learned, but one of my favorites is about this one lady missionary in John. When Jesus travels through Samaria, a woman filling up her water pot meets Jesus and learns that He is the Messiah that was prophesied about. Once she learns this, she goes and tells all the men in the city.
"And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testifies, He told me all that ever I did.
"And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (John 4:39,41-42)
The woman converted many to come unto Christ, but more importantly, she let the Spirit of God do the converting. It reminded me of the worldwide missionary devotional we had a few months ago, when Elder Bednar taught that the missionary brings the message unto the investigator, but the spirit brings into the heart. The church sends out scraggly, stinky, clueless 18 year old missionaries around the world, but the only reason it works is because this is God's work, and if we work just hard enough to be worthy of the Spirit of God to be with us, miracles can happen!
Another scripture that I really liked:
"And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord" (Ether 2:14)
Most times we don't hasten people unless we know them really really well, like a family member, or a close friend. If we do that in any other situation, we can alienate them. No one likes being yelled at by strangers, but when it's someone we love, we listen. Most of the time. The next verse says,
"And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him."
And so I've set a new goal for myself. I want to be so cool with God that he can chasten me for three hours and I won't feel offended, because I definitely am not at that point yet. It's definitely made me to some introspection and check my pride. Am I humble enough that God would feel okay telling me what to fix? God wants us to be the best we can be, and if we let him fix us, we' would be so much better off!
And here is a picture of the most confusing and awkward district in the mission:
English Elders (1 stake), Chinese Sisters (3 wards in 2 stakes), Korean Elders (I dont know what they cover), and the APs(not pictured) (116 wards in 7 stakes)
Sunday, May 15, 2016
We had zone conference this week! We have a goal of getting 100 baptisms in the Utah Provo Mission for the month of May. Eek! It seems like a bit of a stretch, but I truly know that this is God's work, and if we show our best, and are obedient in every way that we can be, IT WILL HAPPEN. People won't suddenly change their minds, and God won't force anyone to change their life, but I truly think that we will be able to find those who have already been prepared by people other than us.
This morning I read something that I really liked.
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
If we are allowing people to feel guilt, shame, and condemnation, we have missed the point of Christianity. The point of Christ is to help us feel hope that we can be better and move on from the things that bring us down.
😆 Happy Mothers (skyping) Day! 👩
tiny snail friend
This week was awesome. I've really learned that there truly are people that are prepared to listen and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and people that are not.
One of our investigators started illustrating the stories in the scriptures as he read them
There is a woman we are teaching whom I will refer to in this e-mail as Z. She had met with missionaries before, but didn't feel right and stopped. A month later, she felt like she wanted to continue to learn more and that was around the time that we came into the area. In the short time we have met with her, she has gone from not even feeling comfortable saying prayers to drinking in everything in the Book of Mormon and receiving revelation left and right. It was so cool! As we were answering some questions that she had while she was reading in 2 Nephi, her face literally lit up, and she said, "so... God gave us opposition, so that we would have choices, and not be restricted to just one condition... so I have the freedom to choose. So Adam eating the fruit was not a bad thing." Watching that epiphany dawn on her and take effect to her very being was like watching a falcon discover for the first time that it had wings and fly away majestically into the sunset. Just a little bit like it. Z has been reading the Book of Mormon every day since.
There is also another little family that we have been teaching for a while. Every single family member is pretty awesome already, and humble and open hearted, and this week they said a family prayer together for the first time. They said it was the most wonderful and beautiful thing that had happened.
Ahh!! I love that people let God change them!
However, sometimes there are people who are unwilling -- unwilling to change, unwilling to try, unwilling to see all the answers to their prayers. And sometimes that's frustrating. Sometimes my first instinct is to shake them and go "JUST OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK AT THE WORLD AROUND YOU" One time an investigator literally prayed and said, "if this thing in my life gets fixed, I will believe in you God." Her thing got fixed. She still doesn't think prayers work and God is real. Which is frustrating. But unwillingness is a choice. And like Z taught me this week, this choice is part of God's gift to us on this earth. We have choices so we can grow and know what happiness is. And if in the future, we learn that we made the wrong choice, we all have a chance to change our minds! That is the beauty of this life and God's design of it. Z at one point chose to stop learning. But look at her now! Sometimes we watch people make the suckier choice, but in the end, it will all be okay. We just have to be patient and not be like Sister Takeshige and have these urges to shake people.
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holieness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility." 2 Nephi 2:11