Monday, April 28, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 29

Sorry this week's email is so short! Got carried away looking at Transfer's call and replying other messages that time just slipped between my fingers!
Just know that I am yet still in Dinkytown! and Loving it! Sister Callister and Curtis are leaving us. Boo :( And now we are the only Sisters in this ward along with the Zone Leader. WE have no idea how are teaching pool will be changed up, and if Sister Huang and I can even handle all these people that will be sticking around for the summer. Many exciting changes ahead of us, but we will keep moving forward!
Since I don't have much time, let me just share with you some photos. We went to the St. Paul Cathedral last Monday for District P-Day. It was quite the cool experience, but further strengthened my testimony of the truth of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I'll be sure to share more about the experience another time.
Here are some thoughts from my letter to President Clements this week:
President, I just wanted to let you know how excited I am every time to hear from one of my youth friends, who are (Chinese-English speaking) like me that get called onto missions and share with me that they, as well, are serving on university campuses. And likewise to what we have here, are teaching an abundance of Chinese people from China. I have friends in England (Elder Wu), in Australia (Elder Shum), in Indiana (Purdue campus) (Elder Ma), in California, in New York (Elder Law), in France, who are all witnessing the SAME experiences that we are having here in Minnesota! It is again a witness to me that the Lord is building up his kingdom in China from out here.
President, I don't know if you've had the opportunity to look into those other mission's plans of action, vision for the area, and infrastructure for helping these Chinese investigators grow, progress, be converted, and trained to become future leaders. I think we could all really benefit by learning and sharing with each other. Sister Huang and I had the opportunity this week to work up a little project of our own to help our ward become more and more involved and accustomed with these Chinese converts, and vice versa. We put together a little Chinese-English-Pronounciation cheat sheet with basic chinese introductory phrases, the first four lessons, the first vision, how to pray in Chinese, how to bear testimony, and other useful church vocabulary. We planned it out with the ward and with our ward mission leader, and we plan to print out these notecards and laminate them, and give them to all the members in our ward. That way they can start to be a little more acquainted and can have a little more clue of what Sister Huang and I are saying as we teach our lessons in Chinese. We are excited to see how it turns out! If you want to see a copy, shoot us a text message, and we can email it to you?

Since I've already said so much in this letter, I just wanted to share with you what I am working on this week. In my morning studies, I read about Alma and his brethren as they go to teach the apostate Zoramites in Alma 31. Before they go forth, Alma prays for strength at the end of the chapter. It was really neat to me to see the order of his prayer. He starts off by asking the Lord for strength, and to have comfort in his soul in Christ. Then he goes on to pray for his brethrens (his companions) to have the same things--all in Christ. He doesn't end there though. From there, he goes on to pray for companionship unity! Oh and it doesn't end there as well, he goes on to pray for the people that he will come to teach. He then prays for specific knowledge to know how he can help his investigators. After all that, him and his brethrens go forth to serve without any delay! Because of Alma's faith, as it is said in the last verse of this chapter, their pains and afflictions were SWALLOWED UP IN THE JOY OF CHRIST. Isn't that a beautiful thought? My goal this week is to pray like Alma.
Enjoy this beautiful weather and pray that we stay dry!
Sister Pao

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 28 "Happy Easter-- the world is Alive!"

Happy Easter everybody!
Happy Happy days and beautiful Spring weather here in Minne"soooda"!
Well actually, it was still snowing earlier this week, but our lovely Mother nature was just getting all the coldness and bitterness, and white fluff out of her system to prepare for the Glorious Easter Sunday! The temperature sky-rocketed to a record of 70 F ! Oh Hosanna to the Lord! For He truly is Risen!
As the world around us is springing to life after 6 months of hibernation, my heart is overflowing with joy, and my testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ and of His Atonement is springing to greater depths, appreciation, and admiration.  This week, or even so this month, the biggest lesson that I have learnt is the ENNABLING power of Christ's Atonement. He truly provides us the source of power that gives us hope, motivation, and determination; to become better, to become stronger, to reach higher.
Only He can know how to help us because even in our deepest and darkest times, the Lord has never forsaken us because no matter what, we are all born with the Light of Christ. No matter how wicked, or how drug and alcohol, and guilt ridden we can ever get here in this life, God will always be with us in the form of the Light of Christ. But that wasn't how it was for Christ. What I've learnt this past week, was that there literally was a space of time where God withdrew His presence from His only Begotten Son, where in those moments, Christ literally sunk to the lowest place a mortal man can ever be, and thus, took the inifinite burdens of God's children upon His shoulders. HE WAS UTTERLY ALONE!-- something that my puny human brain cannot even start to wrap my head around or understand.
Funniest moment of this week was probably the lesson Sister Huang and I had Saturday evening. So lemme tell you the story of Shen. We met him on campus a few months back and got his contact information and all, but he was not very interested to meet with us again. Friday night, we ran into him again on campus and he stopped to listen and he expressed a lot of interest in religion. We taught him a Restoration and set up an appointment to meet again the next day. Keep in mind that this guy is an Archeology Masters' Student, who studied A LOT of history in the past. While expressing to us briefly his thoughts about religion Friday night, he kept bringing up the TV show Supernatural, or Van Heusen. Anyhow, we didn't really think much about that. We met him on Saturday and attempted to teach him the Restoration. But as we sat and talked a little more, he started going into different stories about how none of us have the right to claim that we know God and his true appearance and nature. And that there are only certain chosen ones on this earth, that have the power to work for God. He says that we all have specific roles, but that God is mysterious, and so we have to study and think carefully about what he wants us to do. Then he went into talking about how he is working for the left hand of God, and that he has been called in this life basically to help God banish those evil and wicked spirits down to Hell. Basically, to sum up this story, he believes that he is Van Heusen or seomething...Hell Boy or something to that sort! It was an epic lesson! I felt like I sat through that whole lesson thinking that I was in some sort of movie!
Funniest part of this lesson comes here though! As we continued to listen to him with as much empathy and love as we could, the inevitable thought that he might be a little not all that there kept popping into my head. I pushed it out of my head, and simply went on and ended the lesson. RIGHT after he stepped out of the building. Sister Huang and I stared at each other, and bursted out in laughter. Then she quickly whipped out her book of Mormon and showed me what she had flipped to by accident in her book of Mormon during the lesson. These are the words that she read midway into the lesson: (Mosiah 13:1) "And now when the king had heard these words, he said unto his priests: Away with this fellow; and slay him; for what have we to do with him, for HE IS MAD."
We're not claiming that he is mad, and don't worry fam, we will not slay him, but continue to love him and help him to learn about his Savior. But lemme tell you, I do know for a fact that our Heavenly Father surely does have a delightful sense of humor; or otherwise, sister Huang and I just truly know how to entertain ourselves. haha
Other fun highlights of this week! We were visited by some lovely easter bunnies saturday morning bringing easter baskets aka easter plastic bags to us!
We had a delightful Easter dinner with the Senior couples in our ward whom I love and adore with all my heart.
Yan spoke at the President's Fireside! Oh she is my hero!
...and so many more that I guess pictures will just have to do!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 27 "Lamb of God"

Another spectacular week has come and gone. Our weeks are always so jammed pack with exciting events and spiritual moments.
This past weekend was especially special, as Sister Huang and I...actually let me rephrase that, ALL the missionaries have been looking forward to going to listen to the Lamb of God Oratorial performed by the Minnesota Mormon Chorale, plus guest vocalists from around the US. It was spectacular, and mesmerizing, and so so beautiful! If you haven't heard of this before, go look up the cd, go buy the cd, go listen to the cd! It will change your life! It was originally composed and created by Rob Gardner!
This week has been another week where I have felt even more drawn to learning and knowing about my Savior's life and His Atonement for us. There has been so many days, even today I must say, where I have had to face discouragement, where I have felt inadequate to teach, where I feel like I haven't said enough to help my investigators, or I still haven't mastered teaching in Chinese, where I have had to turn to the merciful arms of my Savior. He lives, and He has experienced it all! Not just the pains and the afflications and sufferings of this world, but of all worlds that have been created. His Atonement is unmistakingly and indefinitely INFINITE.
This constant reminder has been pounded into me this week as I met with a former investigator who had dropped away because she felt like she hadn't received any answers here. She took a break from meeting with the missionaries, and left to experiment life on her own. Keep in mind that she is only a young 18 year old student here at the U, where unfortunately to say, much temptations of the adversary pulls at these young students immediately once they accidentally mix with the wrong groups of friends. She decided that she wanted to meet with us again, and I could tell that it was an act out of desperation that she came to us for help. My heart dropped to hear of all the pain and sorrow that she had gone through and felt within these past few months where she stopped meeting with us. Just a confused 18 year old college freshman girl, not knowing where her standards and definition of true happiness falls, now comes back to us with a smashed self-esteem, and self worth. There was nothing that I could say to her to comfort her except testifying to her that her Savior knows her, and loves her. Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind is the only one that has experienced all that you have gone through, and no matter how unworthy you may feel right now, His arms are always outstretched to you. I felt sick inside to know that much of what she experienced could have been avoided; however, I know that Heavenly Father knows her, and will provide a way for her.
Sometimes, listening to all these pains of the investigators that we talk to takes a real toll on me. But at the end of the day, I am simply grateful for the steady anchor that I have always had in my life. That I never strayed too far from the straight and narrow, even though there were times where I rejected even the help of my Savior. My life is constantly being changed and molded each day as I have come to learn of my Savior.
With all this heavy talk, I wanted to leave you all with some silly photos.
All I can say is that...Sister Huang made me...and that we aren't becoming apostate!haha
Also, the sun is out! That means, A LOT more skin, will be seen on the U of M campus...hahah maybe I do prefer the winter better ;)
Love you all tonsss and missing you all!
Sister Pao

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 26 "Endowed from on High"

All I can say is this: I love Conference weekend.
And, this MUST be God's church here on this Earth, if it's not, then the members of the church, all 15 million 82 thousand and 28 of us are all just insane to be willing to gather from all corners of the earth to listen to some men speak.
President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. This means that he speaks with our Heavenly Father and our Savior, he KNOWS them personally; and because of that, we are so blessed in these latter-day saints. I invite all of you to personally pray and receive a testimony and learn of our prophet and apostles distinct testimony of Christ. They truly are prophets, seers, and revelators of a true and LIVING Christ.
Here are my insights from this weekend!
Elder Holland
"Forsake all transgression; even the slightest advocacy for sin"
"DEFEND your beliefs with courage and courtesy, BUT DEFEND IT."
Linda S. Reeves
"The greatest and only possible filter of today's evils will only come through your deep abiding diligence, obedience, and testimony of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
"Heed the Counsel of President Monson!"
"The Book Of Mormon, coupled with prayer will asnwer ALL questions, will protect our families, will strengthen our testimony, and it will have power over all things."
Elder Anderson
"There is a TANGIBLE feeling of Holiness in the Temple. It will be your testimony and witness of Christ that will help you to resist the whirlwinds of the adversary.
"Our spiritual strength is strong. God created our strong spirits personally!"
Elder Nelson
"Faith is the antidote for Fear"
"Is your faith truly tied to God?"
"Will our religion show during times of trials, or during times of chastisement?
"Truth cannot be divisible. We do not hid our faith"
"All truth is truth!"
"Evil will never be righteousness. Even if it's popular"
W. Craig Zick
"Seek to understand each others perspective, not to define who was more right."
Elder Uchtdorf
"We can make life sweeter amongst all the bitterness"
"Set aside the bottle of bitterness, and lift the goblet of gratitude"
"Instead of being grateful for what we have, we can be grateful in whatever the circumstances that we are in."
"Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christ-like attribute"
Boyd K. Packer
"Knowledge, which is of eternal value, only comes through prayers, and ponderings, and personal witnesses that come from the Holy Ghost."
"All answers will come one way or another as long as we stay faithful in making, and keeping sacred covenants."
William R. Walker
"Live True to the Faith!"
And much more to follow, sorry for the short and abrupt email this week, but SHARE WITH ME WHAT YOU'VE ALL LEARNT FROM CONFERENCE, and of course the everyday happenings of your BUSY BUSY life!
Love you all!
Sister Pao