Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 46 "God Be With you 'Til We Meet Again"

It is somber news to hear about the passing of those two fine, stalwart Elders in Taiwan. My heart and prayers goes out to them and to their families. Mom, thanks a lot. I bawled when I read your email this morning about the news. Don't worry about me though, I am safe here and still kicking and screaming. It is extra saddening to me to hear their news nonetheless, because although I don't know them personally, one of the Taiwanese Elders is Sister Huang's good friend. As her companion and since we are one in unity, I weep with her, but at the same time, we stand assurred that he is well and that he still is serving an honorable mission on the other side of the veil.
With that, a little insight of why I decided to title this email God Be With you Til We Meet Again, to add to all the sentimental effects, we received a personal call from President Forbes this past Wednesday, that Sister Huang and I will officially be moving and transferred out of the Dinkytown area Wednesday Sept. 3rd. It was the weirdest calmest feeling that swept over me after we had hung up, which was very surprising because neither of us were expecting this. We were both expecting to stay for one more transfer to train and overlap with the Taiwanese Elders, but nope, Heavenly Father has greater plans in mind for us.
To be honest, I didn't know what to think after the call. This has been my home literally for the past year of my life. But after much praying and pondering, and evaluating, we both saw a glimpse into how perfect Heavenly Father's plan is for each of us. Why He timed it for now for us to leave, why President called us earlier to give us a heads up about the news, why He allowed Sister Huang to serve next to each other for half a year, why He allowed ME to serve here for ONE year, EVERYTHING, that we could think of benefitted me as a missionary, as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister, as a student, as a future mother, and then moreover, how this will benefit our members, our investigators, our recent Chinese converts all for the better! It is just absolutely astonishing how God manages to make everything work. I could just sit for days explaining how perfect this has been, but I won't bore you all anymore.
Instead I wanted to share my email to President this week with you all because I think this will give you a slight glimpse of all the miracles and JOY I have been feeling. I LITERALLY FEEL LIKE IM EXPLODING WITH HAPPINESS!!!

Dearest President and Sister Forbes,

First off, sorry this email is SO long, but we just have soooo many miracles that we want to share with you.
We are just overflowing with blessings, and miracles, and an abundance of joy. I literally am enjoying a taste of what it feels like when God promises us to open the windows of heaven to pour down blessings upon us, that we will not even have enough room to receive it-- don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about all the blessings, but just recognizing and realizing the hand of the Lord is so many aspects of our lives. It really is overwhelmingly beautiful!

President, we truly do appreciate you letting us know ahead of time of our move. That was a miracle in itself. As much as we want to be the "perfect" absolutely "consecrated" missionaries that we strive to be, our heart and mind will still sometime fall short, and it's definitely take some time to wrap our minds around the changes to come. Don't worry though, it is not hindering any of our work and effectiveness because thankfully for the Sabbath, I was able to more fully come to terms that it's okay that I am sad about leaving, it's okay that I may not fully want to change, and it's okay that perhaps if by my own terms, I cannot feel well about it. But because my Savior can instill in me hope and ennable me to come to terms with anything, I trust and have faith in Him, and hence, He has ennabled me to move forward continuously. We have seen countless miracles because of it.

Our most recent convert just arrived back from Salt Lake City a couple of days ago. Cedric Shan went to Salt Lake with his family that was visiting from China. Right at the start of their trip, they found out that his grandpa back in China had passed away. He was very close to his grandpa, and thought that he would feel devestated and would not have the mind or energy to continue to bring his family around to tour the U.S., especially since none of them understood English, and none of them could drive in America, all their accomodations and needs ands concerns were thrown upon his shoulders. He came to tell us that to be honest, if he had not learned about this Gospel, and the Plan of Salvation and had been baptized just a little more than a month earlier, he would not have been able to function properly and to enjoy the rest of their family's trip here. Because of all these trials right after his baptism and how he so calmly took care of and handled the situations, his family saw a difference and recognized that it must have been the Church and it's teachings. Because of these events, it made their visit to temple square that much more special and meaningful. They loved learning about the Plan of Salvation and felt a tangible sweet spirit surround and comfort them as they were learning from the Sister missionaries on the temple grounds. This truly is God's work, He has a perfect plan in how He wants each and every one of His child to learn of His Gospel and of His plan. He is sooooo gracious in allowing us the privilege of being His hands, and to take part in this great and marvelous work. Cedric is excited to go forth and share more of his joys with his cousin in Boston, his good friend in Washington D.C., and many more of his friends who will be promptly returning to Minneseta after the summer break.

President/ Brother Clements, before he had left the mission field had committed Sister Huang and I to start working with our Chinese Recent Converts and getting them excited about missionary work. We labored diligently, although sometimes felt discouraged because we did not see the immediate results. President Clements PROMISED us many, many baptisms and people who will come into Christ's folds will be because of member referrals. Sister Huang and I truly believed that we have sowed patiently, and we are SO EXCITED to see what miracles will come about as Elder Tseng and Chou pick up right where we left off and reap those who have been prepared by the Lord.

On top of blessing us with much success amongst our Chinese Recent Converts, Heavenly Father blessed us with more success as we continued to work and find and contact diligently. Two days in a row this week, we found two PREPARED and SEARCHING souls, who will become new investigators for the Zone Leaders to teach. A little insight of how we were all blown away by their comments, is first, when Nick prayed at the end of sharing the message of the Restoration with him, he expressed gratitude to God for giving him the opportunity to investigate the Church, and then he asked for the Holy Spirit to guide him to discern truth, and then he prayed to know God's will for him. Justin on the other hand said that after he had heard the message of the Restoration, he felt like a heavy load that he had been carrying for the past 20 or so years, had just lifted off of him. We were blown away by their amazing testimonies! These are REAL people! REAL searching people.

Thank you for providing such a wonderfully enriching training last week. We are so blessed and grateful to have your leadership and your stalwart example. We love you and Sister Forbes dearly! Have a miracle filled week and just know that angels will be lifting you, round about you this week as you continue to prepare for transfers.


Sister Pao

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 44 "Serve til you drop!"

Dear friends and family,
You all are so kind to me and write me such wonderful emails. Also, dearest family and friends, you all have such exciting and adventurous lives and sooo much going on, that I just am engulfed in so much happiness for all of you as I read about your lives and going abouts each week. Because of that, so sorry that my email will me super brief and short this week.
Since I have four minutes left, I just want to express my favorite learning experience from this week and that is: So often we talk about letting our faith show to others around us, but how often we prevent ourselves from seeing our own faith and our growth and progress. That's my favorite lesson of this week and this is, we are all on our personal journey and road of progression. Let your faith show to yourself by patting yourself on the back once in a awhile, by taking a step back and recognizing the good you have done, but getting right back on doing more. We are all imperfect, and we need not be overwhelmed by that fact. That's why we have Christ's Atonement and love and His help in our lives. I have soooo much more to learn, but boy, am I always in for a ride of my life, each and every week as I push myself a little farther in remembering and becoming more like my Savior.
I love you all dearly, and until next week!

Sister Pao!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 43 "Be thou Humble"

Helloooo all me lovelies!
Wow, time sure speeds by and by and by when I'm not thinking about myself, about school, about my friends/associations and etc.
It's something about the mission that makes me feel like we're in some sort of time warp or something. Are you all feeling that out in the real world? Or does the mission really suck you into some kind of vortex?
This week has been filled with a lot and a lot and a lot of blessings from all of our lovely new converts, investigators, and members.
We are getting fed SOOO often now! Seems like every week we have big gatherings and meals with all of our wonderful new converts and investigators and members.
Minglong, our investigator who I literally met when I first got out here last October is leaving soon to go back to China..booo :( He still won't be able to be baptized here because of his school contract that he had signed when they started funding him to come to school here for this past year. Minglong is practically a member already though since he's been teaching us a lot of the lessons now and sometimes even coming in to sit in our lessons with other investigators.. He fed us a delicious meal this past week and spoiled us with Tang Yuan. Ya, in Minnesota! I am gonna miss that kid, but good thing God has placed him in our lives, and thank goodness for technology, we'll get to keep in touch with him. I really really hope that he will be able to find time to go to HK to get baptized!
Chan Family.
We had the wonderful opportunity on Saturday to go over to Sherry and Howard Chan's family's (Chang Qing's sister's) home to enjoy dinner and Family Home Evening with a bunch of other Chinese families and our recent converts and investigators. Biggest gathering of Chinese people here in Minnesota probably for a longgg time! haha
It was amazing to have our recent converts there meeting the other members and sharing their stories and being strengthened by each other's faith and testimonies. I love seeing the growth of our Chinese! Sometimes, I just wished I could see the future and fast forward just  a little to see what greater things they'll be doing with their lives in the future. Will they continue to stay faithful, will they build up righteous families? Will they enter the temple to be married and sealed for all time and eternity? They have so much potential and I just know that Heavenly Father is preparing them to become great leaders in His kingdom in China one day. Also, I just know that Heavenly Father placed them in my life for a reason, perhaps they will be of great help to me in the future, who knows? I can sense it though! And I'm grateful that I have been able to work with so many of the people of mainland China so close-knitted these days. Heavenly Father is still giving me the opportunity to continue my redemption /repentance process from those years where i was prideful and rude while living in China. What was I thinking, Sister Pao? haha
Guess it takes quite a lot to finally knock some sense into me to continue and STAY humble. That truly is the way to be in this life. I still have a lot of work to do, but I am grateful that Heavenly Father is mindful of my weakness and continues to refine me through my investigators, through the experiences that I face here, but most importantly through my loving eternal companion Sister Huang. WE are just oh sooo the same in so many things, hence we clash at times. But because we have been able to work through so many ups and downs, you know, fighting off fire breathing dragons, and falling ice daggers, and scaling walls and such, my future husband should be very very happy and should be EXTREMELY grateful to Sister Huang for helping me overcome and continue to triumph our weaknesses, and to become the kind of person that our Heavenly Father wants us to become. It's a journey. It's hard. But it is sooooo worth it!
Love you all long time, and miss you tons, but would not want to be any other place but here at this time! Until next week me loves!
Sister Pao