Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 20 "Chinglish...and new discoveries and so forth"

Wow, another week has come and gone! Splendid week once again. Tough but good.
We've been struggling a lot recently with finding more progressing investigators and filling up our teaching pool. Thus, we spend 5-8 hours a day contacting on campus! Sometimes even five consecutive hours! Crazy to hear that eh? But surprisingly, five hours spent talking about what we hold so dearly to our hearts seem to pass by each day in a blink of an eye. Sister Huang and I talk about how incomprehensible that is to our puny, dinky human brains.

 We have plenty of Chinese to teach on campus each day, but they are all such busy students with busy exam and school schedules! However, we are not losing faith because we currently do have Yan still waiting to be baptized a few more awesome progressing investigators! With time to find new investigators, Sister Huang and I have more time to get to know each other as we walk and talk late at night.
I worry intensely for my poor little brain each day. (Not literally, but perhaps in the long run of things..haha)
Transitioning between English and Chinese each day messes with my brain! I worry that I will go home not being able to speak better Chinese, and having my English deteriorate while in the process. It's an interesting experience indeed, and I guess speaking with Cyn and Shar growing up has somewhat prepared me for it...haha fun stuff.
Sister Huang and I are getting along real good. Sometimes tooo good I say haha.
Mom, I made Sister Huang some lunch the other day. I made her 蛋包飯 and it reminded me of you and our childhood meals!
Oh the good ol' days.
Funnies with Sister Huang this week is that she LOVES to say 'oh man!' So one day we were talking to the other sisters, Sister Callister, and Sister Curtis (whom I adore as well), and suddenly Sister Huang shouts  out oh woman! instead of oh man! and then we changed it to Oh Sister! She often also says, I am so humor, instead of i am humorous. The other night, I woke up in the middle of the night to a scream. Sister Huang was surely sleep talking and dreaming in her sleep. It was great. I've found my match because now someone can finally compare to my sleep-walking. Luckily, that hasn't happened on the mission yet. I'll keep you posted on that if it ever does! haha
This week has been another great learning experience. We had the chance with the new transfers to bring the new missionaries in this area to the stake family research center. FAMILY! You need to go to and sign in with your lds accounts and do some geneology researching. I found so much cool stuff on the 鮑 family geneology, but it was too crazy and confusing for me to read. when you sign in, go to serach then scroll to the bottom. you'll see a map, click on asia, and click on the different collections there. There are some from anhui...isn't that where our family's from. Shar if you read this and understand it, try it out and have mom and dad go look at it! It's so cool!
Anyway, before I end my email this week. Fam, i just want you to know that the mission gives you special abilities. Seriously, i am so blessed with the ability to read the book of mormon completely in Chinese these days. I can promise you that before the mission, i would've killed myself if i even tried reading the book in chinese. However, as of today, (I had an aha moment this morning), I can officially say that I love the Book in my native language, and that no matter what language it comes in, it is truly the words of God. 
I am discovering new things each day about myself, about the Plan of Salvation, about the people around me, about this Gospel, about my Savior's role in my life, about my relationship with my family, about God's plan for ME, about the amazing lives of the prophets of the Book of Mormon, and about Minnesota! 
And according to the words of our most recent convert Andrew Li (he is so wise!): "Discovery is Glorifying God." 
Profound eh? Simple at first. But think on it! It's so true! 
Love you all!
Sister Pao
First pic of Sis. Huang and Sis. Curtis
Valentine goodness!
Sis. Huang!
My little institute drawing
<3 snow!
The TC YSA sisters unite!
Karem says hi!

Dinkytown: Week 19 "Never Take Counsels From Your Fear"

I miss you all immensely! There are always exciting things happening here on the mission. First off, it has been soooo cold here! Not suprised huh? I think my nose is slightly forst bitten! hahaha
and Second, I am now with my new companion Sister Huang!
Sister Huang is from Chia Yi Taiwan. She is 23 years old, and this is her second transfer. It has been intimidating being her trainer for the second half of her training process, and I must say, this week has probably been the most challening week on my mission. She has a cute cute small family. She has a younger sister who is 20, my age! Sister Huang and I are speaking a whole lot of CHINGLISH these days. Its funny because neither of us can transition, and we exclaim so many times throughout the day that our minds are just a jumbled mess. (She came out here on her mission expecting to learn and practice a whole lot of English, and now out of nowhere, she is thrown back into speaking Chinese). I can't imagine how hard that is for her as well.
The Lord truly is humbling me. We have been moved back into the apartment closer to campus because neither of us can drive. However, we are now in the Elders old apartment, and since I have seen all three of the apartments, I must say that we got the unlucky end of the straw. haha But luckily! We don't spend much time in our apartments. I am still very much grateful for what we have because it could be much worse in Africa or in the Phillippines or something! So thank you to all those faithful tithe payers of the church, we are blessed with a VERY WARM EVEN HOT apartment. haha anything is better than the freeezing cold.
The biggest lesson I've learnt this week is to not compare, but to take on whatever the Lord wants me to learn. "Never take counsel from fear" - President Gordon B. Hinckley once said. This might be my biggest weakness. I need to drive this fear out of my heart and move forward in faith. I have been blessed with so many wonderful people who support the missionary work here in Dinkytown. So many loving members who treat us so well!
Have I told you all about Ekitzel Wood? If not, shame on me, because she is the best ever! It's like we've know each other since forever ago because she knows a ton of people that I know! We call her Kitz. Kitz served her mission many years ago in Russia. When she got back, her family was living in China, so that's where she lived for a longgg time. She knows people from the Songshan ward, (Phoebe) and she also knows the Christiansens (Ian and Joel Christiansen). Anyhow, she caters to all my needs when I am missing good Chinese food. She cooks us food all the time! Curry fish balls, and hot pot, and Russian Borskte (don't know how to spell that but it's Russian Beet soup), and she's even going to make us 叉燒包! She's amazing. And she helps us joint teach all the time. Good thing she understands Chinese and can speak some too, otherwise, teaching now all in Chinese is such a struggle without many Chinese speaking joint teachers. I always feel so bad for the English ward members in the ward when they have to come teach with us...Hopefully they'll get use to it!
Now that I am teaching complete lessons in Chinese, it feels like I am learning how to teach all over again. I never knew how much I relied on Sister Smith until this transfer. I am excited to gain new experiences and new strengths as I come to overcome the struggles and weaknesses that I have now! I love what Lehi says to his son Jacob, the first born in the wilderness in the beginning of 2 Nephi chapter 2. Jacob has suffered a lot throughout his childhood. Being born in the wilderness and having to deal with all the complaining and rudeness of his older brothers. But Lehi says to Jacob : "Nevertheless, Jacob, my first born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain."
I know the greatness of God. I have seen it in my personal life. I have seen His hand blessing my family's lives through the pictures you send home to me each week. We owe it all to this Gospel and to our Savior and Father in heaven. I know the greatness of God and I know that He will consecrate my afflictions for my own good and benefit. I am infitely grateful for these experiences and I will be tough! All is well my ohana! I love you all tons, and thank you for blessing my life with all the beautiful photos and smiles that you send my way. Stay happy and strong! I love you! Until next week! You are all my rock and support! I LOVED THE U OF M FAMILY PHOTO! MADE MY LIFE!
Sister Pao

Thanks for the PJ pants mom!
Apes. We went to the zoo. Yup!
Squirrels: the state animal...not really, but they're seriously everywhere!
Steve's baptism two saturdays ago!
Sister Smith's birfday
Eternal companions
My fam bam in U of M gear!

Dinkytown: Week 18 "TRANSFERRRRRS"

We have been on the edge of the seat all week, anxiously waiting to find out where everyone will be going. Changes have been made, and they are quite DRASTIC I must say.
Sister Smith, sadly :( will be leaving me. So long my eternal companion, until we meet in the Celestia...just kidding. She's just going a little ways away from me to a place known as Little Liberia! She's gonna kick butt at serving and teaching all the African brothas and sistas! I'm jealous, because like you all know...I do love African people and she'll be baptizing FAMILIES. haha Anywho, I am super happy for her, and to know that we can all be at peace now. No more being on edge guessing and reguessing where we will be next week.
As for me, of course, I will forever be in Dinkytown, right at home with all me Asian brudders and seesders. I love 'em and I love this work! Although I won't be changing places, there will still be some huge changes happening in this area! I will be doing the second half of training for the new Taiwanese Sister, Sister Huang, who will be my new companion! President has officially began calling us the TC YSA "Chinese" Sisters. haha. That's what I am I guess!
On top of that, ANOTHER set of Sisters will be joining us. So instead of two sets of elders, there are two sets of sisters and the zone leaders! WOOHOOO! We now have friends!
I am super stoked for this new change. Changes are always good for me, because changes mean new learning experiences.
Speaking of learning experiences, I had a change of heart this week. I realized the reason that I haven't been feeling as accomplished although the work is going well is because I haven't been loving and thinking about my investigators as much as I should be. "The most successful missionaries always act out of love" - Elder Dallin H. Oaks (Thanks Shar for that fun book mark reminder). It is so true. Now as I go into each lesson, I ask myself as I sit and listen to each person I teach, "What would the Savior say to them, or How would the Savior love and teach and help this person? How would the Savior listen to this person?"
With that, I was reminded of the need to be humble and patient. Thank you Nina Markham (my beloved seminary teacher) for sharing with me your experience about helping your investigators feel the Spirit. I often get tied up in feeling the Spirit very strongly in lessons, however, it is clear that my investigators were not feeling the same things as me. I have come to the conclusion that this is because, once again, I was centered on what I was feeling and not on what my investigators would be feeling. I have now started to pray throughout the lesson that my investigators will feel the spirit that we are inviting in the room. I am slowly starting to learn the Christ like attribute of compassion, and charity.
As I have been teaching Institute class, I have been blown away by these new chinese converts testimonies. The times where I sort of force them to share their thoughts (they are still so shy and not used to sharing, but so much progress has been made and its only been the second week) are by FAR, my favorite thing to hear and feel. I love teaching because I love hearing them teach me!
Funnies of this week:
Sister Smith and I came out of our closets wearing the exact same outfit. We didn't even know! Guess we've been living together long enough that we are THAT in sync. haha
The night before Andrew Li had his baptism, we had a short lesson with him on testimonies. We asked him if he had other questions about his baptism and he said no. We reminded him to bring his towel (because for some reason, people always do!) He said yes for sure I won't forget! Then he said, according to the book the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, there's a saying in it that says, "Don't Panic, and Don't forget your towel!" (Because apparenlty a towel is the most useful thing?...Idk, I've never read the book, but I thought it to be funny.)
Even funnier (I know that's not a word, quoting Ramona and Beezus...Cynthia would get me haha) , was that...he came, and lo and behold, he forgot his towel. Oh man! Luckily, we always have members back us up. The baptism was splendid and he shared a remarkable testimony. I swear, Andrew Li is going to be a General Authority some day. haha
Anywho, pictures will be attached!
Sister Pao  

Andrew's Baptism!
Sister Clements and Sister Smith
Institute class
Dinner with Brittany Nagel!
Matching day!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 17: "Re-Focused and Reunited!"

Another week has come and gone, and Sister Smith and I worry more and more that we are going to get split apart soon. Transfers are in a week and a half again! My fourth transfer and according to all the rumors going around,  the tingling and excitment in the air are all saying that this will be a BIG CHANGE of a transfer. I am getting quite nervous and antsy because I rely on Sis. Smith so much! Whatever happens though, it will be a good new experience with MUCH more to learn! I am super stoked for whatever the Lord will be placing in my way. I believe the Taiwanese sister, Sis. Huang will be joining me here in Dinkytown. We'll see!
Steve Guo was baptized and confirmed this last weekend!!! Wahoooo!
He shared the sweetest testimony ever! He spent, I think a whole week preparing for it because he was so nervous about it! We met with him friday night to see how he is feeling, and he kept expressing, sorry I didn't read as much from the BOM, i was trying to prepare for my speech!
And lo and behold, he shared a splendid testimony. He talked about seeing us sisters on campus the first time we met, and how we had big "SMELLS (aka SMILES) on our faces. (Read it with a fob accent and you'll know why it sounded like that haha). He said that he knew that we were not going to rob him. haha
Ever since we first talked about baptism, he has always expressed how much he wants to feel clean and how much he wants to have a sweet family in the future. Now he has  is on the path to that and I am so excited to see how much more he will flourish in the Gospel.
Ah! i always run out of time but before I go, FAM! I SAW CAMERON AND CHARLOTTE ARCHIBALD THIS WEEKEND!
They came to my institute class and Cam still speaks really good Chinese.
I will have to give you all the update about the institute class next week.
It went well because the Lord qualified me for His work. It was super nerve racking and scary teaching in Chinese though! Pray for me!
Love you all, until next week,
Sister Pao

Dinkytown: Week 16: "Army of Helaman"

Oh man fam, this week has been splendid! I have so many stories to share that I don't even know where to start.

My favorite event of the week just happened to be last night. Well its probably the one that I can remember the most because it just happened yesterday. Anywho, on our mission here, we have a Sunday night event every third Sunday of the month called President's Fireside. It is presided over by President Clements and it is a night where the new members  of the church get to share their conversion story and their testimony. Last night was a night filled with an overflowing amount of the Spirit. I can tell you that the Spirit was definitely present, with all the missionaries in the room. We were able to bring THREE of our investigators there, Andrew, Steve, and Mila. during the meeting two missioanries Elder Burt and Sister Roberts sang a musical number. Did you Think to Pray. It was so beautiful!! It literally felt like heaven on earth with the music and talent that they brought to the evening. 

My favorite part of the night was at the end of the meeting. Sister Clements had all of the missionaries in the room go up to the front of the chapel. Onto the stage. We were overflowing off the stage and she wanted all of us to express our purpose to all the investigators in the chapel. She bore her testimonies about the missionaries work and how this gospel and church have to be the restored church of Jesus Christ if 80.000 something missionaries are all willing to be unified in serving The Lord all around the world.  We exclaimed our purpose to all the people in the room last night by singing We have been born as Nephi of old...etc!

I lovee that song and now I just love it that much more. It was soooo special to be unified once again with so many missionaries and seeing that our force is strong and ever growing. I am so happy to be a part of the Lord's army during this time of my life. I have so many more things that I have and need to improve, but I am so blessed.

I love you alll so much! Until next week

Sister Pao

Dinkytown: Week 15: "Through the Gate, and the Road is Bright Before Us"

Through the gate of trials and difficulties (prepping for baptism and being baptized) and the road is bright before us! (we are having quite balmy weather these days, its like spring all over! 32-38F) yay! simply like one or two degrees C above freezing. haha But it is beautifully sunny here in the MMM!
I guess I am just excited to compare that blog title to our super awesome investigator Anrew Li's (Li Zhu) experience.
AL is our date set for February 1st. He is so, stinking awesome! Andrew is from all over China. He was born in HeBei, moved to Xi'An, and then Guangzhou, and then lived in Beijing for eight years. He lived and studied in Frankfurt, Germany for 4 months, lived in Japan for a little bit, and is now finishing his PHD degree in Astrophysics at the U. He LOVES nature (and the stars of course), but also loves the busy, lively lifestyle of the cities, and thus, he gets sick of Minnesota at times. We have been teaching Andrew steadly twice every week for the past 3 weeks. He was contacted by the Elders (Elder Meguro and Elder Lee) on campus, and then passed on to us because he is Chinese- oh we are oh so lucky to have had the chance to teach him. When Andrew first met with the Elders, he did not believe in God. He believed in a higher power, but would not call him god. He has changed so much within this short month!
I know Heavenly Father is blessing us with a strong Chinese investigator after all our other date sets have been a little flaky. I know the Lord is preparing him to become a strong member to help build up the ward here.
He was originally a date set for February 8th, but after much praying and consideration, we feel that he is totally ready for the first. We asked him about it this past week. He agrees as well and is super excited about it.
Andrew has been growing and changing so much, and so well, because he is the most obedient investigator ever. He LOVES the Book of Mormon. He reads at least 5-8 chapters everytime we meet with him. He highlights, asks questions, and shares favorite verses with us everytime! We are always very excited to meet with him because WE learn so much from him! He attends church every week and loves it. He prays every night asking God what he can change to become better. He said in one of our prayers with us that he hopes that he can repent everyday for the rest of his life so that he can become a better person each and everyday. Our last lesson with him was finishing up the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End). At the end of the lesson, he prayed and thanked God for blessing him with a companion so that he will never have to be alone. He also prayed and told God that he can finally see the gate (for baptism). He said that the gate has become very clear to him and that the path past the gate is as bright as ever. We are so lucky to be learning from and with Andrew. I hope that you can all meet him someday. He said that he has been to Taiwan before. He went to TaiChung but just for meetings, so he didn't get to see much. I also told him that he should go to Hawaii, because he loves hiking and nature, and stars and the beauty of the world.
Other than us being super excited about Andrew, I just wanted to tell you all that Sister Smith and I are doing so great! I love the heck out of her. We are so similar, and yet so different and we have been helping each other grow in so many aspects. One of our favorite things to do together is to cook! And we love healthy food, so we always make delicous food together in the little institute kitchen that we love oh so dearly. I just can't wait for her to come to Taiwan and to try out all the foods there!
I don't think I ever told you all this, but Sister Smith went to BYU Jerusalem for a semester before her mission. And she volunteered in Ecuador after she graduated high school. She tells me stories about that place all the time and it just kills me, because I want to go oh so bad as well! She pushes me to go, but Oh, i would never be able to finish school if i ever did. haha! She studied and learned so many things about Judaism and the Bible. I wished I was as knowledgeable as she is with the Bible. I love hearing all her insights about it though.
Fam, I am doing so well! The mission is hard, but it is so worth it!
Mom and Cynthia, thank you so much for sharing with me all your experiences with missionary work. You are all such stellar missionaries. Continue to "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you..." (1 Peter3:15)
There is something different about us, those with the Gospel. It is because we are followers of Christ, and we understand our purpose here on earth. People really DO see the light and hope in you. They will come and ask why it is that you have that light and glow about you. Be prepared to share with all your testimonies. Go the extra mile to teach and to diligently share this light with all those around us. Let us all not shrink from that, because imagine our guilt at the end of this life, when we will come to realize that we didn't do all that we could to share the joy that we found in this life with all our beloved families and friends around us. I know that I definitely wasn't always courageous to do that before the mission, but try! and that's all the Lord expects of us, for us to try our best!
I love you all so stinkin' much. Pray for you all errday and errnight!
Can't wait to hear back from ALL OF YOU AGAIN NEXT MONDAY.
Thanks so much for writing. seriously. it means the WORLD to me.
Love love love,
Sister Pao

Christmas Day!
Christmas Nativity haha
Check out our awesome, card-tastic door behind us!
Goodbye to Sister and Elder Gardner. See you laters actually because they'll be back in Utah! -that's if they don't head out on another mission! ;)

Funny txt messages. Only in Minnesota. From president.