Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Time is Far Spent

This week we taught a student named Sophie. She is an office referral. She became a new investigator this past week and Sister Loh and I were very excited to finally have another female investigator to teach, which are only a few at the moment. We invited her to be baptized the first time we met her and she asked us what she would have to do once she was baptized and we explained that weekly church attendance was a major part of being a member of the church. I think this might overwhelmed her a little off a little school work and doesn't want her to be distracted by meeting with us. (Noooooooo!) Her mom has convinced her that it would be better to meet with missionaries after she is done with school so in like in a year or so. So sad! Oh well. The seed has been planted and she has a Book of Mormon now so she will at least be able to read from it.

Chirs and Karis are our other investigators. They are a couple and they are both students here at Liverpool University. We taught them the restoration and invited them to pray to know if this church is true. Karis was worried about praying because she knows that if she gets an answer it will majorly change her beliefs.

I have really great news! Do you remember the man I met my first transfer, Thomas? I saw him three times in the first week I met him and then never saw him again. I have been praying to be able to run into him again and give him a pamphlet on the Plan of Salvation. Well this week I saw him again! He was on a very packed bus we got on and I hadn't even noticed he was on the bus. He got up to leave for his stop and he stopped to talk to us as he passed our seats. Luckily, we had been hoping to call by his nephew's house for awhile to give the pamphlet so had it on me and I was able to give it to him before he got off the bus. I have no idea where this will go but I know the Lord is watching out for him and preparing his heart to receive more.

Funny story time. Sister Loh and I were waiting at the bus stop and we were saying hi to those that passed by us in the hopes that they would stop and let us talk to them. Nobody was really interested. This one young man who was probably in his mid 20s was walking towards us and so I smiled and said hi to him just like I had been to everyone else who had passed by. It looked like he was going to take the same bus we were because he had stopped a couple feet away from us. Just as I was about to go talk to him, he came back towards us and said to me ''This is random but can I have your number?'' I stared at him probably looking really confused why he had asked for my number and he continued by explaining that he wanted to take me on a date. What? I've just met you and have only said hi. hahah. The funny thing was both Sister Loh and I were writing our names and number on pass along cards but there was no way I was going to give him one of those. I told him that I was a missionary and that I don't go on dates. He told me I could have his number instead. Ok. Before taking his number I explained to him that I would call him only if he was interested in learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said he ''was'' but who knows. Yep. Every day in Liverpool is an adventure.

One day I was bus contacting and two people in a row that I had sat and talked to told me that they were suffering from depression. It is sad how many people here suffer from that. One of them was named David and he has actually met with Sisters but it has probably been years since. He had lost his Book of Mormon so I gave him the copy I had on me. He really appreciated it. He asked if I had any suggestions on where to read and at first I told him to just start from the beginning. I searched by mind for a scripture to read with him and I concluded that Helaman 5:12 would be good for him. I read it for him and explained that if we put Christ as our foundation in life, nothing can overpower us, even our illnesses. He really liked the scripture and agreed with it.

I was starting to feel down trodden not too long ago and I have been praying that I would find a way out of the slump I was in. One day during personal study I was reading a talk by Jeffery R. Holland about the restoration. In that talk he wrote about David O McKay's father's experience while he was on a mission in Scotland. David O McKay's father felt really depressed at one point during his mission and because so many people were not interested in hearing the gospel he decided he would just teach and not testify. One day he decided to go to a quiet place and plead for guidance on how to over come the depression he was feeling. He got the impression that he had neglected to testify about Joseph Smith and the restoration. David O. McKay remembers the powerful testimony his father had shared with him about Joseph Smith. After reading that talk I took comfort that I had found an answer to my prayers-- simply bear testimony and you will be happier. I applied it to my bus and street contacting and immediately noticed a difference. I am so happy to be able to speared the glad message of the restoration and bear testimony that I know it is true.

I noticed something very interesting this week. I have noticed that when we are filled with charity, the pure love of Christ, anything is possible. One day I was just so filled with the joy that comes from sharing the gospel and I felt like I really had that Christ-like love for everyone I had met that day. We were on our way to our appointment to see our recent convert and met Jack, a Chinese Uni student. We ended up talking to him for over 15 minutes. Later that night I reflected on how easy it was to understand him and just the whole conversation although I may not have literally understood/ recognized every word that was said. I was studying charity in the Christ like attributes chapter in Preach My Gospel and realized that it was that Christ like love I had that day that helped me understand Jack. When we have the gift of Charity, all other gifts, even the gift of interpretation of tongues, seem to fall in place. It is my belief that charity is the anchor to all the other Christ like attributes. If we have charity, it is easier to have hope. If we have charity, it is easier to be obedient, etc.

On Saturday, we ate dinner with Sascha and Igor (members), and our investigators Karis, Chris, Kirk and his son Owen. Owen said the cutest thing during dinner. Chris or Karis asked Owen what religion he was and Owen told them that he was Mormon. Mind you he is only 7 and a half. When asked why he was Mormon and Owen simply stated ''because I feel it's right.'' So adorable! It is amazing how children can notice the witness of the Spirit that what they learn is true.

It was time for us to set back our clocks an hour on Saturday. Yes! Gained an hour of sleep. It was wonderful.

I have finally heard from Sister Goldrup. She was in Indiana for awhile but she has finally made it to Australia! Yay! So happy for her.

We start our companionship study off everyday as a flat by singing a hymn. One day we sang ''The Time is Far Spent'' (Hymn 266). The words really resonated with me so I thought I would share them with you all:

The time is far spent; there is little remaining
To publish glad tidings by sea and by land.
Then hasten, ye heralds; go forward proclaiming:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand,
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand.

Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.

What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,
This world's bitter hate you are called to endure?
The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.

Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.

The adversary is aware that the work is hastening. Though there is opposition, the work will go on. I know that this gospel is true. May we all try our best to share it with a voice of hope. ''Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.''

Sister Jordan

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

21 September 2013

Not much to update on since last week.

Sister Loh and I found out that we will be the only Chinese speaking missionaries in our district this transfer which is not at all common. We inherited around 12 new Chinese recent converts from the Chinese Elders that left and possibly an investigator that can be dated for baptism. We are going to be pretty busy over these next six weeks! Since we will be the one Chinese missionaries here we are devoted more of our efforts in contacting and teaching more Chinese. I am hoping that this will produce more opportunities for me to use my Chinese and improve. Learning a new language in an English country has been an interesting process. It has required a lot of patience on my behalf as I wait for the Lord to bless me with the gift to both communicate with and understand Chinese.

We had four hours of finding this past Saturday. I saw this Chinese boy on the steps near the train station and I felt like we needed to talk to him. We crossed the street to do so. Turns out he had meet the Sister missionaries just a year ago and he thought they were really friendly. He told us that he was kind of depressed and had recently dropped out of school. We bore our testimonies that God will hear and answer our prayers and left him with one before we had to leave. Another example of how the Lord will help us find people in the very moment they need us.

Kirk is fitting in quite nicely with the ward. He sang with the ward's men's choir this past Sunday and he looks like he is already a member. He told us last night about his experience over the weekend when he was at a beach of how he helped this young girl get dry clothes when she was all muddy from getting stuck in sand. He wants us to ''convert'' his family and has just given us the contact info of his sister.

This gospel brings me so much happiness. I know that our Savior lives and that we can turn to him as our source of light and hope. Never forget that through Christ all things are possible.

Sister Jordan

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Staying in Liverpool

 It's transfer time again! And guess what? Sister Loh and I will be staying together for a third transfer here in Liverpool! So far I see the trend of staying in areas for quite awhile. I will be Sister Loh's longest companion- she has never been with anyone for more than two transfers. The other Sisters we shared a flat with, Sister Hubbard and Sister Vosloo, are both being transferred to different areas :( Our district will be getting 5 different missionaries this next transfer (there are 4 sets of missionaries total here). Crazy changes!

We had a zone meeting last week about rededicating ourselves and our missions to the Lord. During the meeting, the Zone Leaders gave us a funny demonstration on how we often times past people that could really use the gospel in their lives as we are walking to our various destinations. I made it my determination to talk to more people on the street for the rest of my mission. As we were leaving the church gates, I saw this man that was about to walk past and I thought ''this is it! I am going to start now and talk to this man.'' I stopped to talk to him and I told him how we were missionaries and had just come from the church and he was like ''I want to change.'' Whaat?! No way! We explained to him that this is a gospel of change and that through Christ we can make those changes. We exchanged information and told him we would contact him soon. The Lord really is preparing those around us and putting them in our paths.

Sister Loh and I were in charge of a baptism over the weekend. Black, a Chinese student, was taught by the Elders before us. He was supposed to be baptized before he left for China this summer but he had to wait until he got back for certain reasons. He had his interview during General Conference weekend and it was kind of a scramble trying to get everything together because we weren't able to announce his baptism on Sunday at church since there was no formal church service. We had to jump over a few hurdles but everything worked out in the end. It was quite a successful baptism and we had a very good turn out given the circumstances.

Kirk is doing a lot better since the last time I wrote. He had some personal matters that had been weighing down on him ever since we met him. In fact, it was one of the first things that he told us when we first met him which surprised me because we were strangers to him. He has been telling us that these personal matters were not going to be resolved until this week and he has brought it up almost every time we saw him. He sent us a text message this past Monday telling us that everything had worked out- miracle! His countenance has changed so much since then. He is so much happier and he is really looking forward to his baptism next month. Kirk came to the baptism we had over the weekend. I had a chance to talk to him while we were having refreshments and he told me that the Spirit was really strong for him when Black was being baptized. I am so grateful that he is able to recognize the Holy Ghost. Kirk wasn't the only investigator that we had that was able to feel the Spirit at the baptism. Our investigator, Xing, told us that he felt peace during the baptism. We asked if that was because of the Holy Ghost and we were like ''YES!''

We got a call from our Zone Leaders Friday night asking us to pray for a 3 month old baby boy, Alex, that had a really bad case of meningitis. Alex is a child of a mother who's parents are inactive but grandparents are active members in the church. The Zone Leaders had gone to the hospital to give this baby a blessing and they asked that we would pray on his behalf, asking that his life would be spared because he was that sick. We got on our knees that night and prayed that he would be able to overcome this sickness and live. Our prayers were answered! We went to the hospital Sunday afternoon with the Elders and if I hadn't been told beforehand that he was on the verge of dying just 3 days before, I wouldn't have believed it. Alex is looking very healthy and he is on the road to recovery. I think this miracle has definitely softened the hearts of the family.

 As I said earlier, I will be staying in Liverpool for at least one more transfer. I am grateful that I will be able to be here for the baptism of an investigator my companion and I started teaching. The adventures here continue!

Sister Jordan

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference Week

Let me just start off by saying-- I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE! We watched the broadcast at our chapel here in Liverpool which is different since I have only watched Conference at home or at the actual conference center. I can't wait to read the talks in the Ensign next month. We have yet to hear the Sunday afternoon session since they don't show that until 9pm here which is our curfew so we had to be in.

Quick update on Kirk:
His lessons have been going great. We invited him to watch General Conference with us and he had agreed to come to all of the sessions, even the Priesthood session! After the first session we watched on Saturday that was from 5-7pm England time, we went out to eat in town with Kirk, and our member friend Rebbecca and her Fiance. Over dinner, we discussed our favorite parts about conference. Before conference, we gave Kirk the commitment to bring his questions to conference and we told him that they would be answered. So over dinner he told us that he felt that a lot of his questioned were answered which is great. He enjoyed his first day of conference. So Sunday comes around and Kirk went to the Priesthood session at the church by himself but we asked some members to look after him since we would not be there. We had a little scare with him because when we got to the church later that afternoon, Kirk was not there. We asked around and discovered that he had come but had walked out after the priesthood session was over. We texted him if he was coming to join us and he didn't reply until around 6:30 pm. When we looked at our phone after the last session his text read that he felt like he had finally got his answers and that he didn't feel at home at church and that he didn't want to do it anymore :( My heart sank. I was very confused why he felt he didn't feel like this church was right for him because the night before he had just told us how much he loved conference and one of his favorite talks was Elder Uchtdorf's which was the one talking about how everyone was welcome. Clearly, there was something he wasn't telling us. Sister Loh and I knew he needed an emergency visit so we asked a member if we could get a lift to his house and we took two of our fellowshippers that have become good friends with Kirk. We got to his door and I had no idea what to expect. He answered the door and he welcomed us in. We asked him what the matter was and he started off by saying that he was walking to church Sunday morning to go to the priesthood session and ''members'' passed by him waving but didn't stop. He was later picked up by another member who saw him and ended up turning around to give him a lift. Although a member ended up giving him a lift he was still bothered that the first car didn't. Curious of who these members that ignored him I asked ''so who was it that passed by the first time?'' Turns out it was the Elders. We explained that missionaries cannot give nonmembers rides. One concern- resolved. He then told us how he felt out of place after the session was over and that everyone else was talking amongst themselves but not really to him. Ooops. Probably shouldn't have sent him on his own. We apologized that there was no one really there to stay by his side and we assured him that the members he does know already love him. We also told him that it always takes awhile to feel comfortable and adjust to a new environment. We related our stories of how the first day of school can be and how it was for Sister Loh and I to come to a new ward full of faces we didn't know here in Liverpool . We all need time to get to know people. Long story short, Kirk is ok. It was quite the scare though. We know that from here on out he will be facing a lot of opposition since he has agreed to be baptized. Keep him in your prayers!

Funny story of the week:
My goal this week is to ring one Chinese investigator a day so that I could conquer my fear of talking to them over the phone. (Yes, I am terrified to talk to them on the phone! I still fear that I won't be able to understand them and it is even worse when I can't see their face). One day while Sister Loh was preparing lunch, I decided to give a few people a ring. I went through our area book and got to this investigator, Alan, that had been taught by the Elders but we have only talked to him over the phone and never seen him in person. I called him up and asked if we could meet with him but he said he was too busy. I asked him that if he ever had time to give us a ring. The next day, Sister Loh and I were down at the Uni and we were heading towards our bus. There was this young man that was Chinese that was walking in the same direction as us and he started looking at our tags. He was concentrating so hard on reading our tags that he almost ran into a pole! We started talking to him and he told us that his name was Alan, the same Alan I had talked to on the phone the day before. He said to my companion that he had just talked to her on the phone the other day and Sister Loh didn't know what he was talking about. I didn't hear him mentioning the phone call so later in our conversation I told him that I had just called him the other day. Shocked, he told me that he thought I was Sister Loh. I guess I sound like a native Chinese speaker over the phone? haha. Such great news! I guess my speaking ability is better than I give myself credit for.

I loved the letter/ drawings from the Naper 2nd primary. So cute! I will have to hang them up in our flat. They definitely made my day. Thank you!

Sister Jordan