Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dinkytown: Week 7-Warm Me Up!

I made it through my first transfer (my first six weeks) out here in the mission field! It's been an incredible six weeks and I have learned so much about myself, about my Savior and about how to get along with a companion haha.
I love Sister Smith, and we really are good at working with each other to better each other. We are open to each other on things that we can improve on. As much as chastisement and constructive criticisms hurt on the spot and in the moment, they are moments where I have learnt to actually be humble, and to look over my own pride.

The Lord knows me so well. I am so grateful to Him for helping me make the decision of coming out on a mission. If I had not ever came out, I don't think I would have ever realized how prideful and self righteous I was and still am. I have never had to rely on the Savior's Atonement and the power of change through him ever more than I am now. I love my Savior, and I truly am coming to acknowledge him each and everyday of my life as I exercise faith to repentance EACH AND EVERY NIGHT. The power of change is so real! I love how in Chinese, the word for repentance literally means, turn around, and change. Change ourselves to be aligned with the will of God. How come I never realized that until now?? Chinese is so cool!

We had some exciting things happen to us this week! Sister Smith and I survived our first transfer! WE are still together, hoorayyy!
We have two new elders nonetheless in our district family. Elder Meguro from Japan, and our new ZL, Elder Harrison from Arizona!
We are honestly the most ethnic district ever! The Chinese, the Korean, and the Japanese! Woot! Somehow, no matter where I end up, I am still surrounded by diversity. and I love it! Not complaining at all! :D

Other than the change up in peeps around here. Sister Smith and I were so blessed to be fed by so many gracious people. Will and Robert were two Chinese investigators we were teaching, but because they are exchange students here, they have been really busy with a lot of traveling, hence, not much progression at all. They will be leaving back to China in less than a month. They are the sweetest people ever though! Because they felt bad for wasting so much of our time, they invited us over for dinner and we had HOT POT! oh ya! Warm me up baby with some hotpot. I could kill for that everyday in this freezing icebox of a state that I'm living in haha. Pictures will be attached to this email of the amazing amount of food they prepared for us! Chinese people really are soooo hospitable. Oh! and Will is from Shanghai, so literally, during the whole time that we were there, he was busy in the kitchen cooking nonstop. We were so sad that we had to leave early for lesson and that we didn't get to eat more of his good cooking.

As the weather continues to get colder, and colder, my heart becomes warmer and warmer as I think and ponder about my Savior's Atonement, upon the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, and as I continue to feel more and more refined through learning about myself and through doing the Lord's will. 
It saddens my heart, but for a very small moment to think that Shar, Carson, and Robby, will all be reunited with the fam in Taiwan very soon without me, but then my joy is full as I think of the happiness they will have and the excitement it will be for Grandma to finally meet Carson. 
As I feast upon the words of the Book of Mormon, I become more and more grateful for all that I have grown up with. I am grateful for a loving family, I am grateful for goodly parents and grandparents, I am grateful for my gifts and talents, and I am grateful that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints- that I know that I am a daughter and child of God, and that I have great purpose in this life.Like the wisdom that Lehi shares with his son Jacob, "the Lord will consecrate our afflictions for our gain."

I am grateful for sweet sweet Emily Hang, one of the new Hmong members of the ward for her thoughtfulness of making cute scarves for us. WARM US UP AND WARM MY HEART ONCE AGAIN.
I am grateful for Brittany Nagel for making us the best SWEET POTATO CHILI, SOUNDS GOOD EH? 

And I am so grateful to the Chan's for sending me such a cute package with a Chocolate Survival Kit from Purdy's! Ah, reminds me of Home sweet Home, Canada. 
With all that said, my weeks here simply get better and better. I say this not to boast or to brag, but to express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for providing me with so many learning experiences. I love my mission and Minnesota truly is my sacred grove. It will be the place where I come to know of the redeeming love of my Savior. (Mosiah 18:30)

I love you all so very much!!!!!! Until next week!


Sister Pao

Dinkytown: Week 5 Church Church Church!

Another week has passed and it's officially been my one month mark out here in Dinkytown! Woot Wooten! Things are only getting better and better. and colder and colder. Luckily, not much snow, or any snow at all, except for that one morning.

This week, we had an appointments jammed packed week. There were two days where we literally had six appointments almost back to back, with only an hour for lunch and dinner in between. I was physically and spiritually drained at the end of both those days. Amazing thing was that, my companion Sister Smith was actually super sick for one of those days. But another testimony to me that the Lord does qualify His missionaries when they are obedient was that she was still able to carry out her duties. I was super glad that I was able to put all of the drugs that Dad gave me to good use. so Thanks Dad for pushing me to bring all those meds! She took some stomach meds, then a nap early in the morning that day since she was up puking all night, and while I prayed for her, She woke up right on time feeling a whole lot better! Miracle right there again! Honestly, she was not even able to walk that morning, let alone have to walk to the institute and teach all day!

I think our biggest miracles this week were the fact that we had two days filled with six scheduled investigator lessons. Both days, all six investigators confirmed and showed up to the lessons. We were kept very busy indeed!
Another one of our miracles this week occurred over the weekend. We had our second lesson with Muhammad on Saturday. We were expecting a lot of arguments and doubts from him, judging by our first lesson, but miraculously, he was very willing to listen and process what we taught him. Although he was still very skeptical and unbelieving at the end of the lesson, he was willing to pray! It was a very interesting prayer indeed, actually quite disrespectful in some sense, however, he was willing to ask through his prayer whether or not what we taught that day was true. Funny note, he ended the prayer by saying " In the name of God's only son...if he even had one, apparently named Jesus Christ, Amen" (Since he didn't believe in Jesus Christ, he tried to "tactfully" dodge accidentally showing that he believes). HILARIOUS! The miracle didn't end there, late Saturday night, he texted and ask, "do I need to dress up for church?" We were overjoyed that he was willing to come to church, and so he did! He even stayed for all three hours! Miracles all around indeed.

Progressing Investigator:
Pan from Thailand is our sweet progressing investigator. We had a tender experience with her this past weekend as we joined together in a fast to pray that she will have the strength to tell her mother about her choice to be baptized. Also in hopes that her family's hearts will be softened when she does tell them. Our prayers were answered as she attended church and listened to a very inspiring lesson from a guest speaker during Relief Society. Sister Ostvig was a convert herself at the age of 20. She received a lot of opposition from her parents and grandmother, but in the end, everything worked out and her family never had a negative comment about her joining the church. Sister Ostvig was a great example to Pan, and we can't wait to see how that nourishment of the good words will blossom within her.

Our final miracle tied the knot for our amazingly blessed and awesome week. We had SEVEN of our investigators show up to CHURCH! Fast and testimony meetings, I personally think, are the best times for investigators to see how Christ's church truly has the fullness compared to other churches. The Spirit was so strong throughout the whole sacrament and so many of the testimonies of the members were so evidently directed at the concerns and needs of our investigators. We were so blessed to have such a divinely inspired meeting.

The Plan of Salvation has been something I have been studying a lot on this week. Read 2 Nephi 2, 9, Alma 12, Alma 34, and 42. The Plan of Salvation truly is remarkable. For those who do not know the purpose of life, and/or are having struggles in life right now, whether it be with making big choices for schooling and work, or with other struggles. Learn of the Plan of Salvation, study it, understand it, and you will see how God will consecrate all thine afflictions for your gain.

Throughout all those chapters, you will see how all the people the prophets were addressing were trying to find solutions to their afflictions. The solution is, know God's plan of Happiness and you will see the bigger perspective of life.

Finally, Happy Belated Halloween to everyone! I dressed up as a Sister Missionary this year. I know really original. However, I did get to be a little bit festive and wear black and orange. We got to celebrate by going to the temple! haha I know weird combo, but at least that was memorable. The St. Paul Temple is apparently the SMALLEST temple in the world...and it really is...and I thought the Taipei temple was small! haha

Finally, to close this up, I just want to tell everyone that...
Minnesota has sooo much good foods! (of course I would talk about food)
Minneapolis is where General Mills' main company is situated! Did you know that? Also, Food science is a huge deal here, and I never even knew how the experiment on food was so widespread here! I love it! It's so refreshening to learn about food science from so many of the ysa members here. Its so cool! One of the members in our ward created Hershey Cookies and Cream cereal! Also! Target's head company is situated here in Minneapolis as well! WHAT! All these big companies here in Minnesota?! How come we never hear much about MN? Weird!

Love you all tons, until next week,

Sister Pao

OUR CUTEST DISTRICT FAMILY EVER! (last district meeting before transfers, boo)
The beautiful apartment building of our favorite member Ali Fyfe. Happy Halloween!
Fun halloween straws credits to Sis. Smith's fam bam.
Ali Fyfe, our lovely sister away from home. She is simply so loving and gives the best hugs! She served in Germany and is now a Pharmacist here in MN! and an awesome cook btw!
Isn't this so mystical. Night view of the city skyline.