Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Sorry for not giving a heads up for sending my letter later this week. Yesterday was what they call a bank holiday and all of the libraries where we go to email are closed on bank holidays. Next week is transfer week and we won't be able to email until Wednesday or Thursday. This letter is going to be super short because I do not have a lot of time to email today.
I attended the Preston temple for the first time yesterday! It is so beautiful. This trip took up most of our P-day. Some ward members were nice enough to give us a lift there and back. Mom and dad, have you been to the temple recently? Things are different now and I think it is a good change. Get to the temple if you haven't! You will thank me later.
Last week, our mission went on a church history tour. We started in Liverpool and ended in Preston by the River Ribble, where the first baptisms in England took place. I loved being able to see where the early saints walked. Big shoes to fill.
Sister Loh is starting to teach me Cantonese because we run into Cantonese speakers all of the time. Lately, there have been more Cantonese than Mandarin. You would think that since they are both Chinese language that they would be similar but let me tell ya, not the case haha. I only know a few words now so don't get too impressed.
I went on my first exchange last week. It was weird being out of my area for a day. Exchanges are good because you get to learn from other missionaries how you can improve as a missionary and apply some of the things they do to what you can do. This coming up week I will be staying in my area on another exchange. Yikes. I do not know the area all that well but thank goodness the Sister who is exchanging here has served in Liverpool before.
The work has been short of slow for my companion and I for a combination of reasons. I have come to the conclusion though that we really need to start reaching out to the ward members to come fellowshipping with us. I know that as a missionary we are to teach but we cannot do it alone. We are meant to work in unity with the ward members. Next month should be better because a lot of the Chinese students return for school.
I fed a homeless man on Sunday. Yep.. He came into our church building and was rummaging through the kitchen eating food. Some ward members came up to me with him and asked if I had food. Well, it was our little snack time so I had some cookies in my hand and so I was like ''do you want one?'' and he took the cookie. Long story short, they ended up escorting him out and was eventually escorted out by the local police because he would not leave the grounds. I don't think he meant any harm though, no worries. Never a dull day in Liverpool!
I also met a man on the bus last week and ended up running into him two other times by coincidence/ because the Lord had planned it. My motto is everything happens for a reason. Well anyways, he is a really nice man. He says he is not religious but I taught him about the plan of salvation on the bus one time and I think he is interested in learning more. I invited him to an activity we have at the church next week which is good because it is centered around families. I will keep you updated on him. I think he has great potential.
Love you all!
P.S.- Enjoy senior year, Austin. Love you :)
Monday, August 19, 2013
Another week gone by and it feels like I have been here forever now (in a good way of course). I honestly can't believe it has only been just about three weeks since I have been here and I have lost track of the days already. I guess you can say I have been lost in the work.
Last week Sister LOH (turns out I have been spelling her name wrong in my emails.. oops!) and I meet up with a Chinese investigator that the Elders before us taught. He brought up the same question as he did with the Elders about ''what is truth?'' Sister Loh asked me if I would lead the lesson and I was of course nervous about doing so. When we met up with this investigator he told me that we could talk in English. I responded in Chinese that I needed to practice my Chinese so for awhile I spoke to him in Chinese but eventually I just spoke in English because his questions got deeper than my level of Chinese could handle. I cannot remember all of the questions he asked but I eventually told him that truth will exist beyond belief. We can choose whether or not to believe the truth. I then told him that I could tell him all I wanted to that this gospel is true but the only :way he could find out for himslef is for him to take the advice of John 7:17 and read the Book of Mormon himself. This was a very bold move for me and I know that it was the spirit that communicated that what I was saying was true. He pondered for a while and finally answered that he would read the Book of Mormon. He would not accept a copy though because he said that it would symbolically mean he was accepting the Book of Mormon. He wanted to read it online instead. We accepted this compromise.
We have seen many miracles come from bus contacting this week:
One night Sister Loh and I were heading back for home for the night and we had arrived at the bus stop 2 or 3 minutes after the bus we needed had just came. We got on the next bus about 10 minutes later. I scanned the bus for someone to sit next to and I ended up sitting next to this young lady. At some point during our conversation I asked if she goes to church and she told me that as a child she had always wanted to go to church but her mom wasn't all that religious. I of course got excited about her interest in attending church so I gave her a mormon.orgcard and was about to get her phone number so that we could call her. Unfortunately, we had arrived at the bus stop by our flat and my companion had already hopped off. Not wanting to be stranded on the bus alone I awkwardly took my planner and pencil and ran off. I know the Lord had prepared her and I pray she finds missionaries again.
Friday, we had just finished some tracking and we had an appointment next but an hour to spare before we needed to be there. We waited at a bus stop and we hopped on the next bus that came. We got on the bus and I did the same thing as before-- I scanned the crowd to see who is ready to hear the message of the gospel. I spotted another young lady and darted to the back of the bus where she was sitting. Note: it is not that easy to move to the back of a moving bus. Anyway, after I started talking to her I found out that she had a friend who was a member of the church. I asked her if she was ever interested in coming to church and she told me that she was too busy. I bore testimony that I knew that church is important because I learn something new each week and that my testimony grows from doing so. I asked her if I could say a prayer and she said that it was ok so I said a short little prayer blessing her and her family. Her stop wasn't for awhile so we also read some of the intro of the Book of Mormon together. I explained that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and then we talked about the Holy Ghost for a little. I had asked her before if she would like a copy of the Book of Mormon and she again said that she was too busy. Although she was not interested in learning more at the time I know that she is being prepared. When she got off the bus I looked around outside and knew we were no where near where we needed to be. Turns out we grabbed a bus going in the opposite direction than we wanted to be. Coincidence though? I think not. We needed to be on that bus to run into that girl.
One last miracle. Yesterday on our way to church I sat next to a young man who was heading to work ( an hour and a half bus ride he told me). I had already introduced myself as a missionary and I asked him is he believed in God. He told me that he didn't know if there was a God and that he would just wait until he was dead to find out. I told him that he didn't have to wait until he was dead for him to know that God lives. He asked me how he could know in this life and I told him that he could pray to know. I opened my scriptures to James 1:5 and had him read it. After he was done reading I asked him if he had ever thought about asking God himself if he was there. I then told him that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that if he would pray to know if God lives that Heavenly Father would manifest His presence in some way to him. I told him that I pray when I lose things and when I open my eyes I see the thing that I was looking for. I know that God answers prayers and I told him that I know that he will answer his. He told me he would try praying.
I also had a trackingmiracle this week. My companion and I knocked on different doors to get more done quicker (don't worry, we were still in sight and sound). I knocked on this one door and an older man answered. I introduced myself and asked for his name. He said his name was Syd and I was like ''that's my dad's name!'' He started walking towards me and I was a little nervous about why he was coming closer so I stared backing away. He came outside on the doorstep and told me that his wife had just passed away and that he had been really busy arranging her funeral but that I should come back another day. I was overcome with sympathy and I told him that I knew that we can be together with our families and that his wife was in a better place watching over him. I know that those were the things he needed to hear at that moment. We are hopefully going back soon to teach him.
This week I learned a very important lesson that we are never lost when we are on the Lord's errand. I learned this because sometimes I feel that we just wander around not really having solid plans but by the end of the day when we reflect on our day, we see that the Lord had guided us every step of the way. The Lord can take you to to places and bless you in ways that you never imagined if you will let him.
Love you all! Thanks for all of the wonderful emails and for the prayers on my behalf.
Monday, August 12, 2013
This week was so crazy! Sister Lou and I went to the British Pageant on Wednesday, we had a full mission conference on Thursday (more on that later), and on Saturday we had a double baptism in our Zone. Whaaaat? How is that for your first weeks on your mission? This week was definitely a week of firsts.
First things first, the Pageant. It was fantastic! My favorite part would have to be when they sang, more specifically when the missionaries filed in and sang Called to Serve with the rest of the cast and choir. The spirit was so strong when they sang and it was like I was getting a spiritual slap in the face after every wave of sound washed through the room. Sister Lou and I brought our one investigator, who was getting baptized this past week, and her husband, who is currently not interested in the church but is so supportive of his wife. We did not get to sit by them and translate but our investigator told us that both her and her husband enjoyed it. The pageant took place on the temple grounds and the Preston temple looks beautiful in person. Cannot wait to go inside. I also hope that when we all get to be in England as a family, when ever that may be, that you will all have the opportunity to watch the British Pageant if we time it right.
Here comes some big news so you may want to buckle your seat belts... So when I arrived here to the mission, the assistants and my companion told me that we were having a full England Manchester Mission conference, where all of the missionaries, and couple missionaries, and what not would come-- super rare. They then proceeded to tell me that we had FOUR general authorities coming (ready for this?): Elder Holland, Elder Nelson, Elder Evans of the Seventy, and Elder Kuran(sp?) and all of their wives as well. Yeah.. Woah. I have never been so close to the Apostles of the Lord. When they walked into in chapel, the room was filled with the spirit and I felt so much peace. It was an unreal experience and I still can't believe it happened. So blessed to have this opportunity. Our Mission President encouraged us to take notes of what we feel and not word for word of what they said so I do not remember every thing but the biggest impression I got as they all spoke was that something big is about the happen in this mission. The work is going to explode and I am so grateful to be able to take part in it.
The baptism was also a great experience and I am so proud of our investigator and Sister Merrill and Hubbard's investigator for their decision to be baptized. They were both so happy. Can't believe I have already been able to attend a baptism!
Well, those were the big 'firsts' but here are some smaller first experiences that I was able to have this week:
We taught this little boy and his mother last week. Their family (including the father) has been coming to church for the past month with their member neighbors and no one had taught them yet. The little boy is so funny because he has basically set up all three appointments thus far. He is five and I think he has a little crush on my companion haha. So cute. Anyway, our first time teaching them we gave them a simple lesson on the Godhead and when I spoke toward the end of the lesson I ended up inviting the mother to be baptized. I asked her that if she learned and receive confirmation from the spirit that God loved her is she would be baptized and she said that she would but wants to learn more first. I'll take it! I was nervous about asking her but I felt that she was ready for the invitation.
On one of bus trips into town, I sat next to an older lady and we started talking. I eventually asked her if she had heard about the church and I think she told me that she hadn't but that she was a member of the church of England and wasn't currently interested in the church. I gave her amormon.org card in case she changed her mind. We also talked about how important it was to be a good person in this hectic and dreary world and I told her that I know that one day good will triumph evil. I shared with her Ether 12:4 which reads that we should hope for a better world. I handed her a copy of the Book of Mormon (my first time handing out one) and at first she did not want to take it but I told her I wanted her to have it. I also told her that if ever she needed comfort, that she could turn to the Book of Mormon and I promised that she would find something that would bring her peace. I got off the bus and my stop and she looked very grateful and like she was pondering the conversation we had just had together. She was a lovely lady and I pray that she will seek the truth one day.
This past weekend, my companion both gave our first church tour. To make a long story short, we invited an Chinese investigator from the previous Elders to come play sports on Saturday and he brought his friend with him. The plans for playing basketball fell through and we were all waiting at the chapel for an hour. We told them sorry but asked if they would like a tour of the church before they left. They agreed and so off we went with out really knowing how to give a tour. We went around the building explaining the painting on the walls, looked at the YSA room, viewed the baptismal font area, and the greatest part of the tour was when we went into the chapel. My companion played Nearer my God to Thee on the piano while I sang. When the song ended they told us that they felt peace and we explained these are the feelings of the spirit. One of them also mentioned that he could tell that the chapel was the most sacred part of the building. We ended the tour with a prayer which I offered. It was simple. I said amen and opened my eyes to see that both of them still had their hands clasped, head bowed, and eyes closed and they stayed like this for 10 seconds or more after my prayer. I think they were definitely touched by the spirit.
On a less spiritual note, one of the members took the missionaries out for food to be ''kabaptized''. haha. Kababs here are a full on meal and a pile of deliciousness on a plate. They are meat and lettuce over fries and then you can eat it with warm pita bread. My mouth is watering by just liking about it. Yum. So good.
I am so happy for all of my friends and family that are getting/ have been married this summer. Karlee looks so beautiful! Thanks for all of the pictures.
Until next time,
Monday, August 5, 2013
I finally made it to England! Woot! The first day was kind of crazy-- I was told by my trainer that we had two appointments that day. Whaaaaat? They waste no time throwing you in to the real world. My mission president is great! As I told you over the phone at the airport, my first area is LIVERPOOL! This is the same area Sister Merrill has been in since she arrived in the field. We share the same flat. There are currently 5 of us living together and they told me that this is really rare but I love it. Sister Merrill is in a trio because we have a sister who is on a mini mission for two weeks, Sister May. Love her. She is super adorable. She won't be able to do the real deal for another year and a half because she is only 17 but she is so ready to serve a mission.
My trainer is Sister Lou and she is great. She is from Singapore and she has been out for almost a year already and has been all over the Manchester mission and this is her first time in Liverpool.
She speaks Cantonese as well as Mandarin ( Cantonese is WAY different from Mandarin),which comes in handy because we have already run into people who speak Cantonese and she has been able to talk to them. I do not know that they speak Cantonese until after the fact so I usually panic that I can't understand a word they say until Sister Lou tells me that it was Cantonese and then I feel relived. It is pretty hard to understand Chinese still but I am being patient until I acquire this skill.
So...my first day. Well, let me start off by saying that I had been keeping track of the weather on my missionary portal and for the past three weeks it was nothing but sunshine here, rare for England. however, the day I arrived, it rained none stop. Welcome to England, Sister Jordan! haha. It was fun though and I got to break in my new raincoat. When we arrived at our flat Sister Merrill and I had a lovely little reunion. Sometimes her speaks turns super British. It's pretty funny. I can feel myself doing that sometimes too already. Our first appointment that we had was with a family that has 6 children and the mother speaks Cantonese, not Mandarin, but they all know English. Thank goodness. We didn't get to teach much because the children were bouncing off the walls. You know how it is. They kept asking for Sister ''Marrio'' (how they say Sister Merrill's name, haha) but I think they are warming up to the idea of us being their new missionaries. My trainer and I are whitewashing our area which means we fully replace the missionaries before us and teach all of their previous investigators but luckily all of our investigators seem ok with us taking over. Our second appointment was with a young lady who is going to be baptized on the 10th of August and so we are just finishing up teaching all of the material before baptism. She is so ready for baptism and so willing to keep all of her commitments because she knows it is what her heavenly father wants her to do. She as well speaks English.
My second day in Liverpool, the sun came out again (angelic chorus). We met with the one young lady again who is getting baptized next week. We are supposed to have daily contact with our dated investigators (investigators with a baptismal date). We also went back to teach the family and this time was little less chaotic but nevertheless a challenge to get them to focus. We taught them children's hymn book songs, prayed together. Progress.
I am assuming that most of those we teach will know enough English so that I can use the words I know. This makes it easy to forget using Chinese but if the lord sent me Chinese speaking, I am going to try to speak it. It's a process though.
All five of the sisters taught relief society yesterday. We also went to a member's home for tea (dinner) and they fed us a typical roast meal with roast, chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, and sliced potatoes. Yum. Gotta love having so many types of potatoes haha.
We ride the bus everywhere we go. I have had so many opportunities to bus contact and sit next to and talk to so many different people of the area. Yesterday in particular, my companion and I met a young man and we got to know him pretty well in just like 20 minutes. He aspires to be a journalist/ political writer and is trying to move to New York in February. We gave him a pass along card and got his contact info as well. The bad news is, we do not really get to teach English speakers :( I hope we will get to meet with him though because we both adore him.
My jet lag wore off pretty fast which is a miracle. iIonly almost passed out my second day but I made it through with divine help.
The ward members are great, the people of Liverpool are great, those we teach are great. It is actually not too hard to understand their accents here and you know how much I love English accents anyway.
Sorry, this week's letter has been kind of a jumble because something different happens each day and it is hard to write about everything. I will get better at sending emails, I promise!
Love you all! Cheerio!