Another eventful and fulfilling week has passed! Mission life is so fulfilling, that I already fear how my life will feel after returning home to ordinary life! It's not a bad thing, and I know that when the time comes, I will simply have to accept another change and phase of my life. The next will be just as rewarding as the previous!- I hope ;)
Changes are good. Changes are oh so good! And I have felt that way ever since my life took on a significantly remarkable change the day I moved to Shanghai. Ever since then, I feel like my life has never been boring, and I have been ever so blessed with new adventures, enriching experiences, and the creation of inspiring and everlasting friendships. This is especially and undeniably applicable to my life as a missionary today. Change is the key to exercising the power of the Atonement in my everyday life. And never before have I ever come to see this as strong as I do so now. My Savior loves me, and thus, he continues to refine me. I have come to experience "a change of heart" and I "have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, that Alma talks about in Alma.
Thanksgiving celebration this year was a memorable one indeed. Definitely a change up from all the previous years of thanksgivings I've had. Our district had the honor and chance to host a thanksgiving dinner for all the international new members, investigators, and potential investigators who are students here at the U. We had a delightful turnout! Teamwork coming from all different sides, resulted with an absolutely remarkable meal! We had turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin sticky rice, corn soup, cranberry, jello, green been casserole, and much more deliciousness. We had about 30 people show up, and out of the group, we had people representing 10 different backgrounds/languages! (English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, French, and Spanish!) Diverse eh?! We were so blessed, and it truly was a special night.
This week, because of the continuously intensifying dangers/sketchiness surrounding Dinkytown/campus, we experienced a new change up! Because the elders live farther away from campus than we do, they always had the car. Now the sisters are assigned the car for safety, thus leaving us to swap apartments with the elders! Today we had our move! Much heavy lifting was done! However, before any of the elders could come serve us, a hilariously unlucky, and inconvenient event occurred before hand! Of course, something funny ought to happen!
Sister Smith and I woke up atto get the apartment ready. Cleaning packing, vacuuming and ensuring that we had EVERYTHING ready and be waiting for the elders at . We successfully did so, and at , we got ready to make our way downstairs to grab the rest of our laundry that was in the dryer. Lo, and behold! Ironically enough, something came our way. I reached to grab the door handle to head downstairs. The door was locked. I unlocked the door, and tried again. The door was still not budging. Pulling and yanking simply did not work. We were LOCKED INTO OUR OWN APARTMENT! Can you believe that? Ridiculous eh? Super funny as well? oh heck yes! Sister Smith and I just laughed and laughed, and then called the elders to say that we were locked in. The elders came to our rescue- supposedly - but no one could get the door open. Long story short, we still ended up calling maintenance and he got the door open in like 10 seconds. haha. Should have just called him right off the bat! Would've saved us some time, but of course, we were too prideful, thinking that we could figure it out on our own. Anyways, lesson on pride -- still in the process of refining.
With December 14th coming up close, sister Smith and I are getting more and more anxious as we have 4 people set to be baptized that day. Definitely at the beginning of my mission, I simply thought that all the work was done when we had a date set with investigators, little did I know, that was only the beginning! After a date is set, that is when the HEAVY LIFTING begins. President Clements has been counseling us a lot recently on pulling all the way through, until they have entered the waters of baptism!
Let me tell you a little about each of these investigators. Pan Rojonasarot is from Thailand. Absolutely darling and hilarious. She studied at the BYU ELC and that is where she met missionaries. Now she is studying Pharmacology Social Science here at the U. She was supposed to be baptized Nov. 23rd, but delayed because her mom intensely opposes her being baptized. Poor thing. She is working hard for Dec. 14th now, and yesterday, we just finished fasting with her for the courage and confident to stand up to her mom with what she knows to be true. She can do it! and She will! We are praying sooo hard for her!
Naye Lazaro is the sweetest, sassiest little Mexican girl from Austin Minnesota. When we first met her on campus, she said that she hates and doesn't trust in God at all anymore. Her mom died when she was young and from then, God has always been unfair to her, making her grandfather sick as well. Now, she can say that she has officially let go of all her grudges and sees the bigger perspective of life and of God's plan and his love for her. She has grown so much! She is so amazing! we know she is ready as well, she doesn't think so , but we know she is!
Karem Salas Romeres is our miracle as well. She is Naye's roommate and is the sweetest little Mexican girl as well, they are too much like sisters. both 4'11, and sassy, and smart and funny. We love them to death. Karem comes from a strong Catholic background with strong ties to her Mexican culture. She believes strongly in God, but never found her true faith. She enjoyed the culture side that the Catholic church brings to her, but since meeting with us, she has come to learn so much! She says everything makes sense now! What we know and teach the LDS church makes sense! She is scared to betray her culture, and to cut all ties, thus she's nervous for the 14th as well. We know she can and will be ready. Much prayers sent her way.
Finally Yan Wu is our sweet Chinese investigator from Beijing China. (She has the same last name as Wu Guan Chen!) haha
When we first met her on campus, she expressed her pains of not knowing why she is studying so hard, and what is the whole purpose behind her education and her life! We knew the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation would solve her problems. She has been meeting with us ever since and have grown exponentially. All the Chinese new members think that she needs more time judging by the fact that people in China never had religion before, but I KNOW SHE'S READY!
I guess with all these people lined up to go, Sister Smith and I will be doing much heavy lifting within these next two weeks. Getting fellowshippers to love and serve them, help them be committed and help them not miss out no this beautiful blessing. We are overjoyed and so super stoked for them. But afterall, it will all be according to the Lord's timing. And I will be happy and absolutely satisfied to accept that.
I know this is an overload of information and the LONGEST email ever, but, pray for our investigators this week! And hope I survive contacting, BECAUSE IT IS SNOWING CATS AND DOGS OUTSIDE NOW. It's BEAUTIFUL THOUGH and I am excited for a White Christmas. In fact I am dreaming of one. Of one where many of our investigators will enter the waters of baptism in their white baptism clothing. Now that's my perfect White Christmas.
I love you all very much, hope you all have a splendid and fulfilling week!
|District Thanksgiving Lunch|
|We did good eh? All prepped within half an hour. Instant meals haha|
|BOOTS, GOT-'EM thanks Shar!|
|Thanksgiving Sunday at the Quass's|
|The Quass' and the Chinese new members and investigators. The Quass have two adopted Chinese kids. Sarah in the white beside Sis Smith and the other is blocked. They are the greatest!|
|We surprised Ali Fife (my mostest fav person ever) with a Thanksgiving "turkey" breakfast, because she is a pharmicist and she has to work all day 7 days of the week! poor thing. But we LOVE her!|