Monday, March 31, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 25 "Secret Agents Pao and Huang"

I don't think I ever told you all the story about how once upon a time, Sister Smith and I taught a man named Muhammad who wasn't from the Middle-East- but who's from Georgia actually. Muhammad loves Mormons and will stand as an advocate for Mormons wherever he goes. He simply just doesn't want to and is not ready to be one yet. Nevertheless, He truly thinks that our Church has the most divine (yes not ironic at all) and brilliant organizational structure, and if all companies around the world could work like our church, they would all be beyond successful. Long story short, anyway, Muhammad always would call Sister Smith and I "Secret agents" instead of Sisters. He thought we were pretty cool.
This week, Sister Huang and I, I personally believe, lived up to that name. Never did I ever think that I would ever reach the point of scaling the buildings of the University of Minnesota campus to find and track down one of our investigators- just so we could confirm an appointment with her. It was awesome! I felt foolish and a little creepy to be doing so, but it worked! Miracles happened due to our faith and diligence! 
The reason why we did do that was because DT truly is someone special. We met her just last week, but it amazes me each week at how many people we can relate to and who are willing to open up to us, two strangers, that they had just met, within just 5 to 10 minutes of meeting them. It further confirms to me that we are not doing this work, but that we truly are acting as representatives of Christ in proclaiming his Good News to all who will listen. And these people, these strangers, these Children of God recognize it coming from us! The Spirit truly witnesses to them, and touches them, which prompts them to share many intimate, and personal things with us. DT is an example of that. She has suffered many trials and challenges, with family sicknesses, and being uprooted from home during her teenage years, and feeling broken here in the United States. As we were able to share with her the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and testify of our Savior, who has the perfect ability to empathize with her, I felt a connection with her even beyond the veil that we all live with right now. I don't know her very well, and we still struggle to get in contact with her because her phone is not working, but I won't give up on trying to share this peaceful message with her. I will continue to stalk her at work, if it really comes down to it! haha
Sister Huang and I were talking a couple of days ago while lying in bed before falling asleep. We both agreed that we are going to age a lot on our missions, and by the time we go home, because we truly spend so much of our time, our energy, our minds, and hearts on worrying and thinking about our investigators each day. I guess once again, this is how it is probably going to feel when we become parents one day. Sorry mom and dad if I ever made y'all worry, and if I still do so now!
But these gators of ours, they truly are like our children. And if we already express so much love and care for them, I just can't even start to imagine how much our Father in Heaven loves and cares for them even so.
As I study a talk on the Atonement of Christ each day for a month with my whole mission in preparations for Easter. I am overwhelmed with the idea of how much our Savior and God loves us . Let us all follow the wise counsels of Elder Maxwell:
"We should regularly apply the Atonement for self-improvement while enduring to the end. If we choose the course of steady improvement, which is clearly the course of discipleship, we will become more righteous and can move from what may be initially a mere acknowledgement of Jesus on to admiration of Jesus, then on to adoration of Jesus, and finally to emulation of Jesus. In that process of striving to become more like Him through steady improvement, we must be in the posture of repentance, even if no major transgression is involved."
I love you all dearly! Until next week!
Sister Pao

P.S. Thanks Rach Rach for the package!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 24 "Ghost Town"

Happy Spring Break! Yes indeed, spring break is a happy time for all you students, but it can and could have been a tough week for us! The U of M campus was literally a ghost town all week! You may think that we struggled and were not able to teach much this week but miracles truly do still happen in our lives these days! It's true!
For example: Sister Huang and I were just walking on the empty school grounds yesterday, and BOOM, we found 5 dollars on the ground! Perfect find because we had just fasted together this past week so now we have fast offerings to give! haha
Other miracles happened last night as we scaled the empty grounds of the campus, and despite the emptiness of the place, we were still able to teach two Restorations!
 35 Nevertheless they did afast and bpray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their chumility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the dpurifying and the esanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their fyielding their hearts unto God.
I just absolutely love these words. I felt the power of the truths exuding from this verse this week.
No words can even start to explain the love for the feelings that I have when walking back to the institute in the crisp winter air on a calm, and still night after successfully sharing my soul and testimony of our message with two searching and accepting children of God. I love the empty school grounds when all is still and when the lasting lightness of the sun slowly slips away, being replaced by the twinkles of the stars. Those moments are when I look up at the large, and vast, and wide universe above of me, and am appalled at how individual each person we talk to are, but yet how similar we all are as well. Those moment are when I see how large this universe is, but at the same time feel the realness and the presence of a loving Father in heaven, of a loving Creator, and the love and care he has for EACH of His children. It is so real! He truly is mindful of EACH of us!
Missionary work is amazing. I love it will all my soul, and are learning to love all the pains and struggles as well. Life is never going to be easy, but why not find joy within the hard times?
I love you all dearly! You are always in my prayers.
Love love love,
Sister Pao
P.S. Another baptism this week! Will be sure to update on that next week!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 23 "2 Nephi 5:28"

2 Nephi 5:28 "And [6 months] had passed away from the time [Sister Pao] left [Taipei]!

And Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Can't believe its been half a year on my mission already. Time flies when we're working hard and exclaiming peaceful messages and joys. It truly is remarkable to think that amidst all this joy, that I had a lot of struggles as well, but as I sit here and think back, only all the happy and joyous events resurface in my mind, and seriously FAR outweigh the struggles.
I know that nonetheless, it has only been through the struggles that I have come to grow to be who I am now. I still have so much learning to do though so seriously, I need time to slow down these days.
With my six months mark as of today, I wanted to simply take the time to bear my testimony about the joys that the knowledge of my Savior and my Father in Heaven has blessed my life. Life is hard and it will never get any easier. But the purpose of life, right from even before we came to this earth-- Heavenly Father's intention and goal for us-- is to find joy during the process. All I know is that this Gospel is the only smartest way and happiest way to live life. We can truly find joy through our trials and afflictions because of our faith in Jesus Christ and our hope and the assurances that we receive from the knowledge of our father in Heaven, of his eternal plan for all of his beloved children on this earth, and for eternal families. I know that this knowledge that I have grown up with was only made possible by the humble and sincere prayer of a young boy, Joseph Smith who wouldn't take just anything for an answer as to the question of our salvation. Joseph searched and acted upon the promptings that he received, and because of his courage and his diligence, we are blessed today with the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and with the full knowledge that God loves us and still speaks to us today. He will never leave us alone, and we can access his love and guidance as long as we are obedient to the standards that He has set for us.
Because of this knowledge, I do know that families are and can be eternal. I am blessed with loving parents and siblings and grandparents, and I know my purpose and potential here in life. I have every reason to rejoice and be happy and to love and serve those around me, even when times are hard and dark.
This may be a simple statement, and not even adequate in explaining how I know all this to be true, but I do know that I am a better person, and in a better position in life than I could've ever gotten on my own elsewhere. I love this chance that I have to share it with all who will listen, and to try my absolute best to bless as many people's lives that I can come in contact with.
I hope you all of the most amazing week ever!
Sister Pao

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 22 "Have You Felt To Sing the Song of Redeeming Love?"

Weeks are simply passing by too fast! I don't ever have the time to record all my thoughts, to record all my feelings and to record all that I'm learning!!! ahh! I can't think of any other better way to be recording all my thought processes: if any of you can think of something, let me know asap!
That truly frustrates me at time yano? But Hopefully, each experience will simply be building onto my character in action, and that by the end of my mission, it will be built into my countenance..hopefully!
I have had a lot of mix thoughts, and feelings, and thought processes this week. It's been a fabulous week nonetheless! Yan passed her baptismal interview and she is simply flourishing. I think with us simply categorizing her as a member already, I have started to forget how much more baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost will add on to her life. Thinking about it today rekindled some forgotten excitment and joy for her and for her exciting day this Saturday! It's finally here, she is finally getting into the waters of baptism no matter what Satan says, no matter what her parents says, and no matter what anybody else says.
I have been challenged a lot this week with different questions of how I have come to know for myself that this Gospel is true, and that this Church is true. In the moment, I responded according to what the Spirit prompted me to say and according to what I know to be true. These people I talk to everyday have very logical and reasoning minds--- I am no match for them! Because of these encounters, I have been left pondering and feeling disappointed for the lack of a better answer that I could've given them. Why couldn't I say something that will cause them to believe or to understand? Why wasn't I able to help them believe? How do I know it all to be true?
At the end of all these turmoils of thoughts, I came to one conclusion. And that it is through the Holy Ghost that I have felt over and over again throughout my life that I know that this is truth. This is one that I cannot deny. I have not seen God, or Christ, but I have felt the presence of my father in heaven and of my Savior through the witness of the Holy Ghost in my life. The fruits of the spirit of love, peace, guidance, joy, compassion, patience, virtue...etc. and the fact that the spirit has many times caused me to "feel these sweeling motions,...and has many times enlarged my soul,..and has many times enlightened my understanding." (Alma 32:28)
I may not be very smart or knowledgeable in science, or physics, or math, or chemistry, but I do know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only smart way to live your life, as you go forth acquiring all these other secular knowledge. Meeting all these hardworking students here from China though have taught me the lesson of being more hardworking, and that our constant will and devotion to learning and acquiring knowledge will cause us to become greater advocates of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am guilty of not letting Christ's Atonement play a part in lifting me up in the past as I've limited my capacity of acquiring more knowledge. I have constantly expressed that it is too late for me to push farther, because I judged myself according to the poor choices of high school education that I made back in China. I never even realized how much those choices have been limiting my courage and will to learn greater things and to push myself to doing greater things at BYU. I am glad that I have this time on my mission to learn the importance of education and to truly understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life. It truly is the power to change, and it provides the hope and power to do hard things!
This week has definitley been a revelatory week of learning new ways to help my investigators. Many truly have hardened their hearts as the book of Mormon prophecies of our time. But we are here in a hand in hand journey with our Savior  Jesus Christ, and if I put my trust in Him, I will be able to do all things.
The same to all of you back home! Life ain't easy, just like the mission, but it is so worth it!
Love you all tons, and until next week,
Sister Pao

Dinkytown: Week 21 "We survived the Blizzard!"

Wow, another week has come and past! and We survived the Blizzard on Thursday fam! Don't worry about us! We trudged and trekked through it singing Onward Christian soldiers along with the other set of sisters. Definitely one of my favorite and unforgettable memories on the mish so far.

This will be a short email this week, because we had issues with emailing again this week. Nonetheless, things are coming along again here in the area. We definitely are still working hard on filling up our pools with people to teach.

Yan is finally having her baptismal interview this weekend, and then she will finally be entering the waters of baptism next Saturday. Its been almost five months since we've been meeting with her. She's a stellar almost practically a member- investigator though. We are so excited for the things that she will do accomplish as a member of Christ's church.

Other miracle of the week is that Qun came to church again! We have been working on getting him to church, and now he has been coming for the past two weeks. We hope that even when his homework assignments and research schedules pick up again, that he will still be able to prioritize and make God first in his life. It will definitely take some time to understand that, but we definitely can say that he has had steady changes of heart ever since we started meeting with him. We will pray that he keeps strong!

Recently we have been struggling to help our contacting lessons on campus become new investigators. People are willing to listen to our message but not willing to meet again! 
I am studying it out for myself to know how we can be more Christ like teachers, but if any of you have any ideas for us, let us know!

Love you all tons, and you are all forever in my prayers,
Sister Pao