Monday, January 27, 2014

The Truth Will Defend Itself

Ground breaking news: is now legal and can be accessed in China. This is great progress!

Golden investigator alert:
We have this super golden investigator that had absolutely no Christian or religious background (not uncommon with Chinese) and didn't believe/ know if God existed the first time we met him. Before we even taught him, he came to church with us and that was the first time he had ever been to church in his whole life. Within the past 8 days, he has come to church twice, attended FHE, we have only taught him twice, and he also attended another activity. He told us in our last lesson with him that since he has been praying, he has come to know more and more that God is there. He also feels really warm when he prays too. The Spirit is does wonders! He is already wanting to know what he needs to do to be baptized. We are hoping to give him a baptismal date and be able to prepare him to be baptized the first week the new YSA building opens :)

This week we went street contacting with a member of the YSA and at times we would split off on our own so we could talk to as many people as we could on the street. I stopped this one girl that was from Mexico and she told me that she gave up on religion and doesn't believe anymore. I asked her if she wanted to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ but she kindly rejected. Before she continued to her destination she told me that talking to me made her happy and that I ''have a good energy.'' Woah.. I am sure all of us missionaries radiate the light of Christ and everyone we talk to can feel it.

We have been teaching this investigator named Bobby lately. Before he meet with us he told us he wanted to find the true church (perfect!) but all he has done since we have meet with us is pull out random scriptures from the Bible that he wants us to clarify. Turns out he is actually a missionary for another church here. Awkward.. He wants us to ''convince him'' that this church is true. Sorry, but that is not how it works. We have invited him again and again to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and that through the Spirit, he will know this church is the only true church on the earth. In the first lesson teaching him I feel like I was trying to defend what I knew was true by wanted to show him all these scriptures that proved that what we were saying was true. Then I realized, however, that we could try convincing him all we want with our evidence but that wont get him anywhere.  Unless he does his part and reads the Book of Mormon and prays about it he can never know the truth. I am so grateful that we do not have to defend the truth through contentious persuasion but if sincere seekers of the truth want to know if what we share is true, all they have to do is read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it be true. The truth, through the Holy Ghost, will defend itself.  If he can overcome his concerns and receive a witness from the Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true, he will be such a solid member. Until he shows a little more commitment, we are not going to meet with him again.
Important side note: Bobby's mom is a member and he remembers going to church with her 20 so years ago when he was 6 and partaking of the sacrament. This memory is no coincidence but I know it is the Spirit trying to communicate with him and tell him to go to church and take the sacrament.

Another challenging investigator we have met with comes from a protestant background but he has a sincere desire to follow Jesus Christ. He had some questions about the priesthood and why we need it to be baptized and a member of the bishopric that came teaching with us was invaluable in resolving his concern. Note to all you reading this: Use the members! Or if you are a member, make yourself available to go teaching with the missionaries! I know now more than ever after this experience just how much we need the members when we teach.  Often times they have more experience than we do when it comes to resolving concerns. This investigator has to leave to go to the US for over a month to look at what schools he wants to go to get his PhD :(. The most amazing thing about this investigator is he has already set up a return appointment with us in March, time and location and everything. Talk about booking in advance.

We said goodbye to a member in the ward that is going back to the states since she could not renew her VISA.  She told Sister Merrill and I yesterday, her last Sunday, that she was glad she got to know us and that the both of us ''are just what the ward needs.'' It is always nice to hear from members themselves that they too can tell that we are needed in the area we are in at that specific time.

This gospel is true. I know that as we apply what we learn, we can overcome the challenges of life and become more like our Savior.

Love you all!
Sister Jordan

God Trusts You

Funny moment of the week:
Like I mentioned in my last email, sometimes we pick-up admirers throughout the week . Sister Merrill met this one young man on the bus and gave him a pass along card with our information. He called us one day and asked when he could see us. We told him he could come to FHE which is at the Senior couple's home. He said he works on Mondays but he asked for their post code anyway. I told him over the phone that we would send it to him but I hesitated to send it. Besides, we were leaving the flat to go street contacting. He called maybe 20 minutes later and the conversation went like this
 ''Why you no send me post code?'' (his English isn't the greatest).
''Oh I am so sorry! We were busy''
''Because there are people that want to learn about Jesus Christ and we were teaching them''
It may not sound that funny via email but his broken English and the sound of disappointment and concern in his voice made the situation funny.

The Lord is more than willing to give us blessings that we are very specific when we ask for them.
As we were walking to go street contacting one night, I started describing to Sister Merrill someone I wanted the Lord to place in my path. It was going to be a Chinese girl with a maroon coat, hair in a pony-tail, and most likely with glasses. I was determined to find someone that met this description. A couple minutes later, we spotted the girl I had pictured! We quickly approached her to talk to her. Her name is Sylvia and she is from Australia so her English is really good and I wasn't able to find out if she spoke Chinese or not. She told us her grandma is a Christian and she is happy when she goes to church but Sylvia herself doesn't find her self all that religious. I was just so shocked I was able to find the person I asked the Lord to put in my path I didn't really know what to say to her. She isn't interested in the gospel at the moment but I know the Lord is preparing her. There is no doubt that it was revelation that helped me picture her before I met her. Sister Merrill and I both felt as we talked to her that she is someone we needed to talk to that day.
So miracle in the process- Yan, my recent convert from Liverpool, found a job here in Manchester and will be able to extend her VISA! C Minor has to go back to China for a bit but he will be coming to Manchester soon as well. Woah. I pray that he will come back to England, continue to meet with missionaries, and feel ready for baptism this year.
There is a new YSA building located near Manchester University that will be opening next month. When Sister Merrill and I first got here we didn't have a specific date to tell people when it would be opening but we spread the news to the students and everyone in the area that it was due to be open soon. On Sunday they announced it will finally be opening in February and the first official sacrament being the 16th. This is huge news! The YSA building has been under  construction for 2 years and it was supposed to open last year. It will be the first building of its kind in Europe. We had our interviews with President Preston last week and he told Sister Merrill and I that missionaries would, I quote, ''cut off their right arm to be here'' at a time like this. We are going to fill that building when it opens:) so excited. 

Saturday was 4 hour consecrated finding through out the mission. A nice handful of the YSA and even the Bishop came finding with the missionaries. I love being able to work with the members.

Despite the students here being very busy with exams, we had 3  people that we invited come to church on Sunday! Woot! Pretty good for number for whitewashing and area.
This past week I went on exchange with one of the Sister Training Leaders here in my area. We had two appointments over the exchange that were quite the challenge. Both investigators had a TON of questions and concerns and frankly we did not have enough time or knowledge to answer them all. The great thing was we had YSA members at both lessons and with a team effort we were able to try to help these investigators find the answers that they wanted. At the end of the exchange I vented to my STL that lately in my mission I have felt like I always teach really difficult investigators with so many concerns that it feels like the lessons can get out of hand. She told me that maybe Heavenly Father wants me to grow from these experiences and that He trusts me to teach the children He has that have a lot of questions. Her insights brought me a lot of comfort. I guess it is true. God has blessed me with a great deal of patience and I am blessed to be able to use my talents to teach investigators like these. God truly does send us to where we need to be because of who we are and who we can become out of the experience. 

I am learning to face rejection and to keep moving on until we find those that are ready for the gospel. It is a process of weeding while we street contact. Sister Merrill and I have seen so many miracles so far as we have been on the street everyday talking with as many people as we can. Our investigator pool is growing and all of them have such great potential. We are starting to get busier which is nice because that means the majority of our days won't be finding  anymore.
 Remember that God knows us all perfectly and that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is able to strengthen us when we need it the most. I love being able to talk to my Heavenly Father in prayer at the end of each day and tell Him how I felt my day went and where I need His help. He hears and answers prayers.

I love you all!
Sister Jordan 

Monday, January 13, 2014

MAnchester YSA: Building Up For The Work

First things first, I LOVE being here in Manchester. The YSA ward is great. My district is great. My COMPANION is great. We live below the senior couples here and they are more than willing to drive us places if we need it and to feed us as well. Score!

It is hard to remember what happened this week because everything just kind of blurred together. Since we whitewashed in and we weren't left any progressing investigators there is one thing for sure that we did do everyday: FINDING. Lots and lots of street contacting. I am going to be such a pro at street contacting after this transfer. There is a road here in Manchester famous in the mission for street contacting- Oxford road. Sister Merrill and I spend so much time on that street and we have meet so many Chinese so far. The road is about a couple miles long and there are a few universities that stem off of it so there are a lot of people that walk up and down it everyday. I've never talked to so many different Chinese people in one day! Exams our this week so just about every single student we stopped was in a hurry so we are hoping that when exams are over that they will have more time to stop and talk with us. I re-visited my call letter not to long ago and one of the inspired lines in it is the promise that if I serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, the Lord will lead us to those that have been prepared to be baptized. I have faith that that promise will come true for Sister Merrill and I. We are both willing to work really hard and sacrifice much in building the work here.  We know we will face a lot of rejection in the process (already have) but those that will listen are sure to be the ones that are willing to follow the example of our Savior and be baptized. We are here to build up the work with the Chinese YSA.

There is a new chapel that is set to open next month and it is located off Oxford road. We are preparing the ward and the area for it to open. We have invited everyone we talk to to come to the church when it opens. Our goal is to fill the building when it opens. There is bound to be an explosion of the work as this building opens. The YSA ward is so great. The bishopric is  encouraging the YSA to help the missionaries in every phase of the work. This Saturday is consecrated finding and we already have plans for the members to come finding with us. Exciting!

We have already seen many miracles while street contacting. There is this one girl that we met and her name in Chinese translates to Miracle in English. She was already contacted by one of the Sisters that was in our area before us and she was put in the path of missionaries again. She wants to become a Christian. Gold. Like her name says, she is a miracle!

Ok. Time for the funny moments of the week:
So we all know how cute Sister Merrill is. (So cute that sometimes she attracts the wrong type of attention). We had taken a bus to go a bit further down from Oxford road to street contact and not to long after we got off the bus and started walking,  this van passed by and honked their horn at us. Our eyes quickly darted to the van to see these creepy men giving us kissy faces. Oh boy. We had a good laugh about that.

Sister Merrill and I had been speaking Chinese to each other on the bus and I looked to the back of the bus to see a shocked Chinese boy. The look on his face was priceless! I waved at him and he then asked from where he was sitting ''you both speak Chinese?!'' We talked to him and handed him a pass along card when we got of the bus and we invited him to church. Oh the miracles that happen when you SYL (speak your language).

I love you all and I hope you are all ready to hear of the great miracles that will happen while I serve in Manchester. I can feel a wave of them coming :)

Sister Jordan

Transfer.. Am I Staying or Am I Leaving?

Well it's that time again- Transfers. Don't you dare skip down to find out where I am going before you make a guess. We now have P-days every Monday, even transfer weeks, so you will know where I am going before it happens. So what is your guess? Am I staying in Liverpool for a 5th transfer or am I leaving?

So I have been feeling like it was my time to go. It is true when they say you get a feeling you will leave an area right before you get the official news. I got a call Friday night which can only mean two things: A) I am training or B) I will be whitewashing/ opening a new area. It turned out to be option B! I am leaving Liverpool and going to Manchester YSA ward. And guess who my companion is? SISTER MERRILL!!!!! Oh boy. I am so excited. We will be reopening that area for Chinese work. I screamed pretty loud when the assistants told me over the phone. Sister Loh is at the end of her mission and she will be staying one last transfer in Liverpool. Just what she wanted.

I have learned so much while being here in Liverpool and I have witnessed a lot of miracles. Even though transfers are on Wednesday it still hasn't really hit me that I will be leaving. I mean I have been here for 5 months. This is now a place I call home.

The members I have grown close to were disappointed to find out that I was leaving. A lot of them have made the comment ''well hey, maybe you'll come back to Liverpool before the end of you mission.'' I don't know how I would feel to come back to an area I have already served in. I will go where the Lord needs me though.

Sorry this is a short email. Not too much time today! I love you all and I can't wait to tell you about my adventures in Manchester. Happy new year!

Sister Jordan

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Looking Forward

Hello Friends and Family!

What a blessing it was to be able to Skype home for Christmas. Christmas in England was wonderful and I am sad it is over. The Spirit of Christmas lives on though. I hope we can all can find ways to keep the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts and let it reflect in our actions as we look forward to 2014. Can you believe 2013 is coming to a close? So many wonderful things happened this year and I know wonderful things will continue next year.

In one of my last emails I talked about how we should expect miracles. Well, I am still on a miracle kick and I had a really inspiring personal study this week about miracles. First things first, our mission has a goal each year for the number of baptism we hope to reach. I don't know how close we will get this year since the totals aren't in yet. Setting goals for the number of baptisms we want is great but we, or at least I, need to be careful with having the right reasons to baptize.  I was feeling like I was letting the mission down since we did not have a baptism as we had hoped we would this month nor do we have anyone dated for baptism yet. During personal study the other day, a thought came to my head in the form of a scripture. It is the scripture that talks about Captain Moroni and his army and how they made a banner that listed the reasons why they were fighting in war. First on that list is God. Then the Spirit brought back to my remembrance something I have already learned from reading this scripture and asked me ''what is your motivation?'' In other words, I had to ask myself what it was that motivates me to be a missionary and share the gospel. Do I have the right motivation to find, teach, and baptize? Am I doing it for God and because I love Him or am I doing it because I want the honor of being a good missionary in the sight of others? Recently, it might have been the latter. After this inspiration, however, I desire to change my attitude. I want to find, teach , and baptize because I love my Heavenly Father and I want my works to glorify Him and I want others to find eternal joy. I have thought about C Minor and how I have sort of given up hope for him to be baptized while I am here in Liverpool. I read in Mormon 9 which talks about how God is a God of miracles. He always has been and He always will be. Just because C Minor isn't going to be baptized this month doesn't mean Heavenly Father's miracles and blessings for him will cease. Wanting to learn a little bit more about miracles, I looked up its definition in the Bible Dictionary. It states:
''Miracles were and are a response to faith.'' ''They were never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith.''
I have realized that I stopped praying specifically for C Minor and I need to continue to pray earnestly and then act in order for God to work miracles in his behalf. It is great to expect miracles but we cannot forget how they come about. I know that C Minor's soul is precious in the sight of God and I want him to be baptized because it will lead him to the eternal blessing of Eternal life. Just because 2013 has a mission baptismal goal we may not accomplish does not mean I should not expect that in 2014 the work will stop. There is still time for the Lord to work mighty miracles. There is no deadline to His work. He can and will make things happen when we do our part.

On that note, I was able to see many miracles this week. The majority of them being that Sister Loh and I were lead to those that have been prepared at this moment to learn about the gospel. The miracle I would like to share with you is how I finally talked to this man I saw a few weeks ago on a bus.  I wanted to talk to him the first time I saw him, but never had the chance.  I spotted him on the bus we were on and we ended up getting off the same stop. He has an adorable 3 year old daughter and this second time I saw him, he was with his daughter again. I was nervous to talk to him but I felt that Heavenly Father had placed him in our path again for a reason. We started talking to him and he was super nice. After introducing who we were he went on to tell us about how he had this spiritual awakening about a year or two ago that changed his life. As soon as he shared that I knew that he was prepared and could feel in my heart that he is ready for baptism. I had this same impression when we met our now recent convert, Kirk. We had a wonderful conversation about the gospel and taught him on the spot while we were waiting for our next bus. Right after we closed a prayer with him, the next bus we were all waiting for came. The timing of everything could not have been more perfect. We invited him to church and he said he would come. He did not come to church but we called him last night and asked if we could meet with him and share more. He agreed and told us he told his girlfriend about what we shared with him and she is interested as well! Oh boy! I am so excited to see what will come from this :)

Ok, wait. I have one more miracle I want to share. There were many non-members at church yesterday because there were baptisms this weekend. One of them looked oddly familiar but not because I had met him at the baptism. Turns out I met him on the street while on exchange with Sister Hansen ( a sister in my district). We had been handing out pass along cards with the church address on them as we walked to an appointment. He told Sister Hansen that we had invited him to church and so he came. Woah there. Never underestimate the power of inviting people to church. One day they might just show up out of the blue!

It always seems like a flood of miracles always happen at the end of a transfer. I have been in Liverpool forever and have felt a desire to leave but now I realize how much I love this area because of the members and those we get to teach. Dilemma at its finest.

Yesterday at church, one of the teachers asked some really great questions that I want all of you to ask yourself as well as we reflect the upcoming new year:
What blessings did you receive this year?
What blessings did you miss out on?
What blessings do you look forward to having in 2014?

What ever blessings you hope to receive in 2014 can be yours if you make it your focus. If there were some blessings we missed out on, we have the opportunity to receive them if it is our desire. May 2014 be a year full of blessings and miracles.

Wo ai ni men,
Sister Jordan

                                          Boxing day (Dec 26th) with the Jones

Christmas Eve at the Romeros by their Christmas tree

Monkey Bread Yum!