Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New Brighton: Week 9 (74) "After the Trial of Your Faith"

Wow another week down on the countdown. Time doesn't make any sense on the mission! I bet on your receiving side, it still feels like an eternity away until I get home. I know I know, and I'm sorry it feels that way. If it makes any of you feel any bit better, THIS IS REAL LIFE. Something that I don't mention as often as a missionary is that there are actually a good amount of moments all across my mission where I have felt like time couldn't be any slower. However, from all my emails home, I'm sure you haven't been able to catch on to it, because, well, straightforwardly, I don't talk about those moments as much. Why? I can promise that I haven't been lying or hiding these REAL feelings with you all, but simply one answer, these seemingly blatant, slow and hard times are just simply ALWAYS over encompassed by the fast paced joys, and goodness of the week! Example A: THIS WEEK!

Guess what? Pretty much all our investigators, and progressing investigators dropped us earlier on at the start of this past week. Cute little Vietnamese Vinh broke our hearts, actually the day of my birthday by writing us a letter saying that he needs extra time. Initially, he felt prompted to be baptized on March 31st, but his battle with cigarettes has just been a really difficult one. I am grateful that he gave me a moment to realize that time is okay, and that a break from our visits will be a good time for him to evaluate, to soak in all that he's learnt, and to learn to rely on the Holy Ghost for himself. I learnt that even when we are not physically there meeting with him, God's plan is still going according to plan, as He continues to work miracles in His life. It proved to be true because out of the blue, we invited him (very last minutedly) to a fireside that night, and he jumped right on board. He has a great heart and desire to be right with God. His time will come according to God's time.

Two of our other progressing investigators, Xu Pu, and JingBo have been way too busy with school and student teaching. With zero people in our teaching pool, we had a lot of work to get done. By exercising our faith, we invited God to work miracles in our lives.

This past week, I set a personal goal of seeking to talk to literally EVERYONE within my reach planned or unplanned, and to share about Christ and to invite all to come closer to Him WHENEVER and WHEREVER I have the opportunity. Funny thing though, I made a personal deal by promising Heavenly Father that I'd talk to everyone possible with the 20 days that I had left to being a full time missionary, but I cannot remember what I hope that He'd promise or bless me with. Within me, I guess that I have always had an unspoken goal of teaching Africans and to teach a little family with kids. As I have sought to testify of Christ at all times and in all things and in all places, LITERALLY, in the gas station, to our waiters/waitresses at restaurants, to people sitting off the side of the street, Heavenly Father has blessed us with a new investigator! Sylvia, from Togo, AFRICA, and her little 6 year old son, Given. I am beyond excited to be able to keep teaching them. Africans are just oh soooo very faithful and has sooo much Trust in God. I hope that I can go through life with the same amount of trust that Sylvia has shown me from all the struggles and challenges that she has had in her life.

While on the tangent of teaching Africans, while we stopped by to pay Sylvia a quick visit last night, we met some African Americans sitting outside in her parking lot soaking in some sunshine. We said hi to the one lady, and made our way to knock on Sylvia's door first. We made a mental note to stop back by to talk to the lady sitting outside after we got in touch with Sylvia. Without us even having to do anything, the African American lady approached US on her own. She said that she recognized who we were, that we were angels and that we are doing a good deed. She came and petitioned our help in praying for her. LaDonna, is our new friend that we will be planning to visit with again on Thursday. She expressed how she has definitely gone down some wrong paths in her life right now and just needs all the help she needs to get back and to be right with God. We testified to her of the healing power of our Savior's Atonement, and how by making promises with Him, we can be fully healed and learn how to truly change our nature. She was filled with the spirit, and we prayed with her (all the while she chanted "Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus as I prayed...oh and of course we held hands in a circle.. ya we did not look like a cult or anything). haha Despite it all, the spirit was strong, there was light present, and she definitely was drawn towards it. We were so blessed to be in the right place at the right time.

This work is amazing. I am so grateful to be able to shed the light of Christ all day errday, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEIR IS REAL SUNSHINE OUTSIDE. Minnesota is warming up and my hopes and dreams as a dying missionary is for it to turn green before I peace out!

I love you all and pray that your faith may continue to increase each and every day. Our faith increases as we speak and hear and read the words of God. So share your testimony, study the scriptures and listen to the words of our prophets and apostles. We gain real peace, and divine direction through that. Don't miss out on His love and quiet whisperings to us!

Love you all!
Sister Pao

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Brighton: Week 8 (73) "Blessed of the Lord, [I've Been]"

Dearest fam bam and me lovely poppets and friends from all around.

Wow, and wows again. That is all that I can repeat over and over again. I am so blessed. To all of my friends, and family from literally ALL around the world, thank you and thank you again. I literally feel like a chicken with my head cut off right now, because I don't even know where to start to respond to all the love that you have all PERSONALLY expressed to me this week.

The video from the fam and Songshan Ward, man! I looked like a crazy lunatic sitting at the public library, bawling my eyes out. But boy did that birthday video prick my heart good...oh man, doesn't help at all in that whole getting trunky aspect of my last transfer. haha!

Opening my inbox this morning was literally better than CHRISTMAS MORNING...well okay, nothing trumps Christ's birth..but yano, I wasn't literally there for it. This has been the most love and JOY that I have felt whole life. I officially mark this morning, 11:20am of March 9th, 2015 to be my MOST current MOST JOYOUS experience of my life so far. I am sure that will soon be trumped by the day that I return home and SEE ALL OF YOUR LOVELY FACES AGAIN. Oh how my heart swells with so much joy. Thank you Rach all the way from Canada. Thank you Nina from all the way in WHAT?, DUBAI??, Thank you from everyone in Taiwan. Thank you to my fav Chan family in Canada as well. oh and shout out to Megan! all the way in Seattle. You all are the BEST. What more can I say.


Monday, February 2, 2015

New Brighton: Week 4 (69) "But all things are done to serve to strengthen our faith in Christ"

This has been a blast of a week! Such a successful, busy, tiring, and joyful week. Emotional swings up and downs were inevitable as well haha. But why is it when weeks are so hard and tiring, that they become some of my MOST worthwhile weeks?! Heavenly Father is still oh so good to us, and HURRAH FOR TENDER MERCIES IN OUR LIVES.

Well, as my email title has given a hint into what I wanted to share, I wanted to share a cool experience that I had this past week as I have been studying more about the Gospel in the Book of Mormon and in the New Testament.

I bore my testimony yesterday in sacrament about a scripture that I found in the New Testament. I was studying that morning and also came across a scripture in the Book of Mormon that basically helped me to refocus on all the little nitty picky reasons of why oh WHY we do certain things in the Gospel EACH AND EVERY DAY. Why do we pray, why do we spend THREE hours going to church each week, why do we study the scriptures why do we keep the commandments and why do we stay strong and suffer thru trials and temptations even though sometimes it is easier to just give up and to live recklessly? The list can go on, Why do we seek to magnify our callings, why do we spend hours and hours over preparing for a lesson or a talk? Why why why do we do so much!? The thought that came to my mind is " all these things that we do are for one purpose. They are to only, and solely strengthen our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ."

And then I read the scripture in the Bible, Matthew 11:28-30
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your soulsFor my yoke is easy, and by burden is light."

That is why we do all things, because this life is meant to be a test and trial. I need to live the rest of my life recognizing and remember not to be so shocked and taken back when trials and challenges come my way! I should know better by now that they ALWAYS come! haha Easiness thru the Savior does come though! That easiness does not mean that life is a piece of cake all cupcakes and icing and frosting all the time, but that easiness means Peace and Rest unto our souls. That peace of mind, a buoyant peace (isn't that such a beautiful imagery and choice of words) with a light of "eternal perspective that shines on our struggles and trials" that ONLY comes through the knowledge of the restored truths of the Plan of Salvation. I am so grateful for that full eternal perspective. I am so grateful for administering angels that minister to me all day, ones that God has sent, and living ones, and also my family members that have past. They live, and they don't want us to forget them. Christ and God don't want us to forget them as well, they were our family first after all.

A final thought of a tender mercy story that came just last night came from a Less Active girl named Patricia who is in about her mid 20's. Patricia is the best. I have loved getting to know her. She is such an angel and a woman of pure goodness. We met with her last night at the church building at about 6:30pm. It was fast Sunday yesterday, and without knowing, she was still fasting after all her church services and as we had the chance to meet. To be honest, we were not very prepared for her lesson because we had not seen her for a long time and with church in the morning, we did not have a really good study session. Despite all that, as we sat down, with her. We got to talking and just hearing about some of her recent going abouts. She mentioned something about being confused about the proper way to fast, and then Sister Smith thought to the fact that we could share a Mormon message with her. However, the thought only came because Patricia had asked earlier about the YSA Institute's activities and where she could find them. Because she had gone to church earlier that day, her friend Larissa was able to tell her how to find it on, and so we spent some time while we met with her seeing if we could sort it out and find it for her. We went into it kind of halfhearted because we knew that it was always hard to connect to the internet at the church building. But lo and behold, It worked out, she sorted out institute classes on line and then we were able to show her the Mormon message "Hope of God's Light." As we watched it in the dark, we realized how she started to wipe at her eyes, over and over again. When the video finally ended and we flipped the lights back on. The spirit was pressing upon each of our hearts as we just sat in the silence for a little while soaking things all in. Finally we asked, what were your thoughts? A little bit embarrassed with all her tears that she had shed, she said, Heavenly Father just answered my prayers that I had been praying for in the car as I drove here. I went to church today fasting with a specific purpose in mind, but didn't really get any answer, but all I took away from someone's testimony was how they pray and drive at the same time. She decided to do the same continuously praying for answers even as she was driving to meet us at the church. Finally, as we watched the unexpected video of Hope of God's light, so many things were just answered about how she needs to take time and not lose faith over the fact that Heavenly Father did not answer her question right away throughout her fast. She finally even expressed to us how she has felt impressed that she needs to go to the temple to make more covenants with God but how she doesn't want to think about it. We were able to spend some time to answer and resolve some of her questions and concerns, and finally on her way home as she continued to pray in the car, she texted us in the evening to say that she has finally received a resolved answer from Heavenly Father that she needs to get to the temple. Hurrah Patricia! WE are so excited for her and for the faith and testimony that she has built up.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Cottage Gove: Week 7 (54) "Lift Where you Stand"

Another week has gone and past, and each and every day, Sister Amis reminds me of how much closer it is that our mission will soon be over. I don't like those thoughts but it sure drives me to want to do EVEN more and to dedicate even more of my heart, might, mind and strength!!

One of my favorite things about being in a family ward is the opportunity that I truly have each and everyday to serve, to lift where I stand. Whether it be to clean an overwhelmed young mother's kitchen, to folding 5 baskets of children's laundry, to bearing testimony to a young mother of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to waking up at 3 AM in the morning to decorate for my lovely sister's birthday, the work of Christ is all the same. Christ always lifted where He stood. He was about to go forth to do His Father's will of ministering to the other lost tribes of Israel after he appeared as a resurrected being to the people of the American continent, but instead he paused and lifted where He stood. 
"But now I go unto the Father and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Isreal, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them. And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them. And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy." (3 Nephi 17:4-7)

After this, Christ healed all who came unto Him, and then He tarried with them for MUCH longer, chapters after chapters where they continued to instruct and to teach them. BUT FIRST he loved them, he gained their trust, HE CARED FOR THEM first. He did not come to teach them about the sacrament, or to teach them about baptism, just to teach them, but He came to love them first. 

My goal for the rest of my mission is to lift where I stand. My goal for the rest of my LIFE is to lift where I stand, and to learn to be a lifelong disciple of Christ. To learn how He would think, learn how He would feel, to learn how He would act, and to learn what He would do in all circumstances. 

Fun times this week!
Alrighty, on to some joyous once in a lifetime events of this week! So ya, haters don't hate, judgers don't judge, but WE, the missionaries, got to go watch a movie in the movie theatres this past week!!!!!

Okay, without explanation, that might sound a little apostate, so hear me out! So have you all heard of the new movie produced by the Church, or even more, the FIRST EVER MOVIE produced by the church that is being played in the movie theatres? Meet the Mormons made it's way to Minnesota and on Saturday, we gotta bring some of our investigators to go watch the movie/documentary, right in the nick of time for Sister Amis' birthday. Wow, that sure was a fun treat, and an once in a lifetime missionary opportunity. 

But it amazes me over and over again of how a real life movie of six different real life Mormons around the world have the opportunities to share a little of what we believe in, who we are, how we live our lives, and what our faith means to us, on the big movie screens. It was indeed an inspirational movie. Shar and Robby, you should go check it out in Philly! Because of our faith, I literally feel like I have a tie to ALL these people, with all walks of life and all different backgrounds and cultures. From the Mormon infested grounds of Salt Lake City Utah, to the hidden, mysterious tall Himalayan mountains of Nepal, Mormons are everywhere and we are all united in the same faith. It is beautiful to see! We truly are a part of a world wide family, a world wide family of God.

Have a blessed week everyone! Smile all the while and turn to help someone in need today!


Sis Pao! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cottage Grove: Week 1 (48) "Adventure TRULY is out HERE!"

Last picture of Dinkytown. The sky is literally on fire!
Ya, when I told you that I was venturing outside of the city away from the U of M campus, I wasn't kidding when I said that adventure TRULY IS OUT THERE!

I love Cottage Grove with every bit of my heart already. It truly is my new Sacred Grove. The work is indeed very different here, but can I please tell you that every day is an adventure! There ain't a boring day over here, I tell ya, my friend. And adding to all that excitement, or may I say, completing that is my new beloved companion Sister Amis, or aka, Sister "friend" for those of you who don't speak French. haha I LOVE THE HECK OUTTA HER.

So before I dive full fledge into the going abouts in my new area,
I'll go through a slight recap of my week earlier. 

Monday night, I literally was broken-hearted. We spent the day at the Institute building just relaxing, and playing the piano and playing ping pong, and soaking in the last of Dinkytown. We then went home and packed packed packed! (and hey Shar, I really was quite impressed with myself, I didn't have as much as I expected to have especially since I stayed there for a whole year! Sis. Huang surprisingly had WAY more stuff than i did!, so ha! I'm doing better...although i'm sure all my suitcases are still overweight for when I do have to hop on a plane...haha, but that's something to worry about later.)
Ekitzel Wood (Kitz) then came and brought us out to dinner, one last chance to get some pretty authentic Chinese food at Litte SzeChuan before going out into the wild of Minnesoota. 
Monday night, Elder Wall also found out that he won't be extending his mission so a bunch of the YSAs and the missionaries sang God Be With You Til' We Meet Again. Saddest thing ever. broke my heart all over again. Seriously, moving areas after staying there for one whole year literally felt like leaving home all over again. I probably didn't even feel so sick leaving home, than I did leaving Dinkytown and all my new converts, my children!

But anyways, Tuesday night, we had our Last Supper at the Institute dinner with almost all of our Chinese and other YSA's. It was lovely to get to see them all again. Then out of nowhere, Preston, one of our Chinese converts brought us bubble Tea! 撞奶style! So yummy! and then even more out of nowhere! Karem brought me a package that Sister Huang and the rest of the everyone in Dinkytown had put together for me to open on my one year mark! I was so shocked. Sister Huang, that stinker, always going behind my back doing secret combination works. She is just the most thoughtful, charitable person ever. I think that I am forever indebted to her as well. 

The morning of transfers came and it didn't feel as hard to be leaving, surprisingly. I think I was numb to it all until I stepped foot into the Bloomington Chapel for transfers meeting and then I realized that "This is Real Life!" But lo and behold transfers happened and now i'm ka-Powing it up in this new area of mine. 

The work here truly is different. No more Chinese. No more student carefree lives. No more constant flow of people to talk to on the campus. But now it's real life. Real family life situations. Real struggles (not that the students didn't have any) but it's just different. These are people dealing with families, children with autism, marital problems, divorces, addictions, deaths, sicknesses, debt, poverty, work, wayward children, you name 'em all. I feel like I have been in a bubble all my mission, living in a state of innocence and carefreeness. But now I feel even more alive, as I recognize that these are real life situations where the Gospel and healing powers of Christ's Atonement can literally extend to as well. Numbers and reaching goals of how many lessons taught just became so much less important, because these are real children of God, real people, real brothers and sisters that we are working with, that we are serving, that we are uplifting. I am glad that I had felt the importance of this scripture all in preparation of getting to this new area. Now I see the truth and significance of this scripture that much more!: I have learned the power of that scripture right off the bat through my lovely Sister friend, Sister Amis. She's Real. 

Here's the story of our friendship:
Once upon a time, two naive and innocent Sister missionaries stepped off the plane in Minnesota, cluelessly picked up their bags and was shuttled off to the Mission Home in Bloomington Minnesota. Neither knew any of the other missionaries that had come out with them because both had been on a different campus in the MTC. Realizing that, they decided to stick together for a little while even though neither one of them knew each other too well as well. Both however found out that they had both studied at BYU and knew some mutual friends from living in Helaman Halls Freshman Year. One was from Seattle WA and the other from Vancouver, Canada. Both had an appreciation for Fossil Watches ;)
After that first day of brief introductions, they went their separate ways for a whole year of their mission, neither living even within close distances to each other. Little did they know, a year later, they would become companions! And now the rest is history, waiting to be written!

Sister Amis is so great. She is half Mexican and half White, she studied at BYU before coming out here, she is from Seattle Washington, and loves the colour orange. 

So far, it's been a blast! Within the 4 days of being in Cottage Grove, we talked to a shirtless guy at his door, a few drunken people, got caught biking in a thunderstorm, ate 2 dinners in one night (full fledged dinners as well), acted out the story of the tree of life in a family's backyard, learned to knit with Grandma Gallus, met a man who in turn, prayed for us to find truth, Heart Attacked 3 families doors in the dark, and loved and taught two autistic little boy and girl. This place is the place to be. And as much as the ward is struggling with a lot of less-actives and trust issues, we are going to do all within our ability, seriously giving me all, to help build their trust, to help lift their burdens, to serve them in a way that I could've never been able to serve in Dinkytown. Prepare for great miracles and stories to be told my friends. 

I love you all dearly!

Sister Pao
Bike 'til you drop!
Ya, you tell me what's wrong with this picture.
My new companera!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dinkytown (not for long anymore): Week 47 "Adventure is Out There!"

This has been the most exhilarating crazy and eventful, and unique week of my whole mission, filled with unexpected adventures.

Wednesday afternoon, the two Taiwanese Elders, Elder Chou and Elder Tseng moved into our area early, before transfers! They moved in early to have us train them in the Chinese work and to help them transition smoothly and to pick up smoothly right where we'll leave off. I have full faith in them that they are choice spirits prepared by our loving Heavenly Father to be here for all the many new Chinese converts, and moreover, the future ones to come. I am so excited for them!
Although I am wholeheartedly excited for them, it is still quite bittersweet to be leaving Dinkytown. This has been my home for the past year of my life! Getting transferred feels like leaving home all over again. Despite all that, Sister Huang and I were so blessed to have been prepared before hand for this change. Sister Huang and I had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting this past Sunday. The Spirit was strong. I was filled with happiness and comfort that all will be okay.

On to new and exciting adventures! Everything will be terrifical, as Cynthia Peski Pao would put it :)
So with that, I will officially be moving on to the Cottage Grove area to become a Sister Training Leader with Sister Amis (I came out with her!) I am beyond excited to have the privileges of going on exchanges with other sisters serving out in the Minnesota Mission and to help uplift and strengthen different people. Change is good. Change allows us to go through the process of repentance and to become more and more refined. I can't wait to tell you all the new events that will take place. By the time you hear from me again next week, it will be bye bye to Dinkytown, and hello to Cottage Grove, Minnesota! 

Dear President and Sister Forbes,

Happy Transfers week! This has definitely been the most exhilarating transfer of my life/ my whole mission! So much unknown was ahead of us this week, but yet it was also probably the most unique week so far with the experiences that we have gained. We hope that we have done enough to help the Chinese Elders transition and become familiarized with all of the Chinese new converts and investigators. I just know that they are going to impact so many people's lives here in Dinkytown, and that God has prepared them to be here exactly in this moment. 
"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren/ [sisters], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." (D&C 123:17) This scripture kept reoccurring in my thoughts this week, as we've continued to face all these changes to come, head on. I know that as we wholeheartedly devote all our heart, might, mind, and strength into doing the will of God, that Christ will make up for the rest of what we cannot do on our own. I can say that I have felt that assurance all week.

As I've reflected upon my mission so far this week, I wanted to share with you the joys and re-confirmation that I have gotten of how much I know this scripture to be true: "For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ."
So many people have been prepared to come to the promise land, where they can freely learn of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have witnessed that over and over again on my mission.

This past week, we had the privilege of teaching a Chinese family, Brother and Sister Zheng (Lei, and Lina). Sister Lina Zheng had moved to Minnesota about a year and a half ago, and her husband just moved here 3 months ago. Lina has always believed in a God, but she never identified herself as any specific faith. She attended multiple different Christian churches here in Minnesota, but never felt like any of them had the "full truth." She recognized all the good, and basic truths that are in all religions, but was always confused about which of them is real. All up until about three weeks ago, when the Plymouth Elders contacted them on their way home from the store. As she heard the message of the Restoration unfolded before her, she was overjoyed to hear the analogy of the broken mirror, of how she truly did believe that there are bits and pieces of truths in all religion, but because of the Restoration, she has finally found the place where the fulness of truth can be found. Her husband, a Christian for the majority of his life as well was very intrigued with the idea that we lived before we were born onto the earth. His wife had always believed in the Pre-mortal life, coming from the Buddhist faith, but her husband had always disagreed with that fact, just up until we shared with him the scripture Jeremiah 1:5. He was amazed. We were astonished at how prepared they both are to hear of this message. Moreover, the reason why they had decided to move to the U.S. is mainly because they hope to provide a better educational environment for their two year old daughter, and they also hope to have more children. They are a very special family indeed, and we can't wait for the growth that they will experience as the Chinese Elders continue to teach them.

With the new area and new companion that I will soon be having as this week continues to unfold before us, I hope to better live the attributes of this scripture, as I seek to constantly ask myself "What more can I do, or how can I be better?"
"And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works." (Alma 7:23-24)

Thank you President for the brief but meaningful counsel that you gave to me over the phone last night. I am looking forward to serving others, and lifting others above myself. We love and support you! See you Wednesday!

Sister Pao

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 46 "God Be With you 'Til We Meet Again"

It is somber news to hear about the passing of those two fine, stalwart Elders in Taiwan. My heart and prayers goes out to them and to their families. Mom, thanks a lot. I bawled when I read your email this morning about the news. Don't worry about me though, I am safe here and still kicking and screaming. It is extra saddening to me to hear their news nonetheless, because although I don't know them personally, one of the Taiwanese Elders is Sister Huang's good friend. As her companion and since we are one in unity, I weep with her, but at the same time, we stand assurred that he is well and that he still is serving an honorable mission on the other side of the veil.
With that, a little insight of why I decided to title this email God Be With you Til We Meet Again, to add to all the sentimental effects, we received a personal call from President Forbes this past Wednesday, that Sister Huang and I will officially be moving and transferred out of the Dinkytown area Wednesday Sept. 3rd. It was the weirdest calmest feeling that swept over me after we had hung up, which was very surprising because neither of us were expecting this. We were both expecting to stay for one more transfer to train and overlap with the Taiwanese Elders, but nope, Heavenly Father has greater plans in mind for us.
To be honest, I didn't know what to think after the call. This has been my home literally for the past year of my life. But after much praying and pondering, and evaluating, we both saw a glimpse into how perfect Heavenly Father's plan is for each of us. Why He timed it for now for us to leave, why President called us earlier to give us a heads up about the news, why He allowed Sister Huang to serve next to each other for half a year, why He allowed ME to serve here for ONE year, EVERYTHING, that we could think of benefitted me as a missionary, as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister, as a student, as a future mother, and then moreover, how this will benefit our members, our investigators, our recent Chinese converts all for the better! It is just absolutely astonishing how God manages to make everything work. I could just sit for days explaining how perfect this has been, but I won't bore you all anymore.
Instead I wanted to share my email to President this week with you all because I think this will give you a slight glimpse of all the miracles and JOY I have been feeling. I LITERALLY FEEL LIKE IM EXPLODING WITH HAPPINESS!!!

Dearest President and Sister Forbes,

First off, sorry this email is SO long, but we just have soooo many miracles that we want to share with you.
We are just overflowing with blessings, and miracles, and an abundance of joy. I literally am enjoying a taste of what it feels like when God promises us to open the windows of heaven to pour down blessings upon us, that we will not even have enough room to receive it-- don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about all the blessings, but just recognizing and realizing the hand of the Lord is so many aspects of our lives. It really is overwhelmingly beautiful!

President, we truly do appreciate you letting us know ahead of time of our move. That was a miracle in itself. As much as we want to be the "perfect" absolutely "consecrated" missionaries that we strive to be, our heart and mind will still sometime fall short, and it's definitely take some time to wrap our minds around the changes to come. Don't worry though, it is not hindering any of our work and effectiveness because thankfully for the Sabbath, I was able to more fully come to terms that it's okay that I am sad about leaving, it's okay that I may not fully want to change, and it's okay that perhaps if by my own terms, I cannot feel well about it. But because my Savior can instill in me hope and ennable me to come to terms with anything, I trust and have faith in Him, and hence, He has ennabled me to move forward continuously. We have seen countless miracles because of it.

Our most recent convert just arrived back from Salt Lake City a couple of days ago. Cedric Shan went to Salt Lake with his family that was visiting from China. Right at the start of their trip, they found out that his grandpa back in China had passed away. He was very close to his grandpa, and thought that he would feel devestated and would not have the mind or energy to continue to bring his family around to tour the U.S., especially since none of them understood English, and none of them could drive in America, all their accomodations and needs ands concerns were thrown upon his shoulders. He came to tell us that to be honest, if he had not learned about this Gospel, and the Plan of Salvation and had been baptized just a little more than a month earlier, he would not have been able to function properly and to enjoy the rest of their family's trip here. Because of all these trials right after his baptism and how he so calmly took care of and handled the situations, his family saw a difference and recognized that it must have been the Church and it's teachings. Because of these events, it made their visit to temple square that much more special and meaningful. They loved learning about the Plan of Salvation and felt a tangible sweet spirit surround and comfort them as they were learning from the Sister missionaries on the temple grounds. This truly is God's work, He has a perfect plan in how He wants each and every one of His child to learn of His Gospel and of His plan. He is sooooo gracious in allowing us the privilege of being His hands, and to take part in this great and marvelous work. Cedric is excited to go forth and share more of his joys with his cousin in Boston, his good friend in Washington D.C., and many more of his friends who will be promptly returning to Minneseta after the summer break.

President/ Brother Clements, before he had left the mission field had committed Sister Huang and I to start working with our Chinese Recent Converts and getting them excited about missionary work. We labored diligently, although sometimes felt discouraged because we did not see the immediate results. President Clements PROMISED us many, many baptisms and people who will come into Christ's folds will be because of member referrals. Sister Huang and I truly believed that we have sowed patiently, and we are SO EXCITED to see what miracles will come about as Elder Tseng and Chou pick up right where we left off and reap those who have been prepared by the Lord.

On top of blessing us with much success amongst our Chinese Recent Converts, Heavenly Father blessed us with more success as we continued to work and find and contact diligently. Two days in a row this week, we found two PREPARED and SEARCHING souls, who will become new investigators for the Zone Leaders to teach. A little insight of how we were all blown away by their comments, is first, when Nick prayed at the end of sharing the message of the Restoration with him, he expressed gratitude to God for giving him the opportunity to investigate the Church, and then he asked for the Holy Spirit to guide him to discern truth, and then he prayed to know God's will for him. Justin on the other hand said that after he had heard the message of the Restoration, he felt like a heavy load that he had been carrying for the past 20 or so years, had just lifted off of him. We were blown away by their amazing testimonies! These are REAL people! REAL searching people.

Thank you for providing such a wonderfully enriching training last week. We are so blessed and grateful to have your leadership and your stalwart example. We love you and Sister Forbes dearly! Have a miracle filled week and just know that angels will be lifting you, round about you this week as you continue to prepare for transfers.


Sister Pao