Monday, February 24, 2014

Broken Boilers and Baptisms

Spectacular news! The new YSA building is opening next month on the 3rd. I repeat: THE NEW YSA BUILDING IS OPENING MARCH 3rd! Finally! This is an answer to many prayers :) We got a tour of the building this weekend.
Yi was baptized on Thursday. There were rainbows in the sky the day of his baptism. Definitely the primary song, ''When I am Baptized'' coming to life. He gave such a powerful testimony at his baptism. I will be forever grateful that Heavenly Father placed him in our path.
We experienced a huge miracle this week with one of our investigators, Stephanie.
We have been teaching Stephanie for only a few weeks now. She was taught by Elders a year or so ago and some Sisters in another district picked her back up again and then referred her to us. Her grandmother is a member and she has a Catholic background. She is so excited to learn about the gospel this time around and she really wants to be baptized. We gave her a baptismal calender and set her date for March 19th which is perfect because that means she can be baptized in the new building. Stephanie wasn't able to make it to church last Sunday and this past Sunday was crucial for her to attend now that she is dated for baptism. She was bummed that she could not come last week but she was excited that this week she would be able to come. Again, we arranged a lift for her and everything was set to go.
And then the boiler in her home stopped working Saturday afternoon... We got a text from her saying that the boiler in her house had stopped working and that she had called the plumber to come fix it. For all of you that have no clue what a boiler is, it is the thing in houses/ flats that heats up the home (heating and water). The good news is the plumber could come right away to fix it. The bad news is he wanted to come on Sunday sometime between 9am -1pm. No big deal, but we kind of have church during that time.. We called Stephanie right away and tried to figure more about the situation. We asked if there was anyway for the plumber to come right at 9am but that is not how it works here in England-- They give you a time frame and they come when they come. Sometimes even later than they said they would. We asked if there was any way for the plumber to come another day. The next day he could come would be on Wednesday, way too late. Stephanie was frustrated that something came up again that would keep her from coming to church. Sister Merrill and I were also frustrated. The adversary sure does work hard to stop good things from happening in our lives. We told her that Heavenly Father would provide a way for her boiler to be fixed and for her to make it to church. She was not convinced right away that if she still came to church that everything would work out.We invited Stephanie to pray with us over the phone so that she could ask Heavenly Father for help. She felt too upset to pray so we said one and then asked her to pray on her own.  We read 2 Nephi 32:8-9 and explained how important it is that we pray even when we don't feel like it and we can pray to ask for specific blessings and Heavenly Father will answer. It was a leap of faith, but Sister Merrill and I kept promising her that the plumber would come early to fix her boiler. We prayed that the plumber would come early and that Stephanie would still be able to come to church. We had faith that Heavenly Father could work this miracle because  ''the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them'' (1 Nephi 3:7).
We called Stephanie right before we went to bed Saturday night and she told us that she had decided that she was going to get dressed on Sunday and wait for the plumber but whether he came or not before 10am, she was still going to come to church. Music to a missionaries ears! We were happy to hear that she was going to come to church no matter what. We still kept praying that the plumber would come early and that her boiler would be able to be fixed. We knew this was a time to build Stephanie's faith.
We called again Sunday morning around 9:20 am and what Stephanie told us left us with dropped jaws-- the plumber came early at 8:45am and was gone by the time we had called her. That like never happens here in England! We all rejoiced together over the phone. Wow. Heavenly Father is definitely a God of miracles. We can trust Him to always provide away to keep His commandments as we strive to live the gospel.
Stephanie came to church and loved it. She said church felt like home. She mentioned that what she learned or heard at church sounded familiar to her. We taught her the Plan of Salvation after church and explained how we have already been taught the gospel and that our spirits recognize it here on this earth and that is why it sounds so familiar. Stephanie is wonderful. We love her so much :)
Something I learned this week is about choices. I have weaknesses and little things that have bother me that I have noticed I need to work on and I have made the conscious decision to do something about them. Lately, for instance, I have noticed that it bothers me for some reason to be in charge of the phone and I just really dread making phone calls. I made a conscious decision a week or so ago that I was going to have the phone as much as possible so I can overcome this weird attitude and that I was no longer going to complain to myself about it. It is amazing the instant improvement I noticed as I made the choice to do something about my weaknesses, even minor ones, and turn to Lord in prayer to ask for His divine assistance. This life is full of choices we can make. In fact, the everyday choices are central to our eternal progression. The choice to change and become better every day is available to us because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through the Atonement we can overcome anything. This blessing starts with a choice.
I love being a missionary.
I love you all!
Sister Jordan

                                        1)The rainbow the day of Yi baptism

                                          2)Bye, bye, Sister Loh :'( She went home on Wednesday

                                                   The beautiful day today in Manchester

                                         4) Yi  baptism

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hope vs Wish (post continued) :)

Ok, found another computer so I can add a little more to my email. Sorry the first one was so rubbish.

The weather got a little crazy this week. The winds reached a speed of 100 mph! Sister Merrill and I went out street contacting before it got really dangerous and we had a blast. We said we would ''let the Spirit guide us to where we needed to be'' through the blast of heavy winds. The funniest part was when we saw a Chinese boy on a bike and when we tried to go talk to him the wind started pushing against us. As we were walking against the wind, we shouted ''ooooopoooositoooooon!'' No worries though everyone! We were perfectly safe in the strong winds. All the damage happened after we got in, fortunately. The next morning there were branches and trees that had fallen. And Chicago claims to be the windy city, ehh? 

The Senior Couple, the Pews, took our district out for tea on Valentines day. Sister Merrill and I asked the waiter what his favorite soup was. He pointed to one on the menu and it was called faux fin soup (no clue what was in it) and we ordered it. One of the Elders thought we had ordered shark soup and started freaking out haha. Here is a quote you will have to ask about when I get home:
''You eat spam??!'' 

We have a new investigator named Queena. We love her so much! Unfortunately she is barely over YSA age and is married so we might have to pass her on but for now we will teach her and see how it goes. She might need Chinese missionaries anyway because it is hard for her to read English. We met her on the street last week and she thanked us for stopping her because she had just been thinking about her friend who became Christian and how she has made so many changes in her life and she wants to do the same. When we met with her again she told us both that she could tell there was something different about us and that we inspired her. It is amazing to hear how nonmembers can tell us apart from the rest of the world. We are truly ''set apart.'' Queena really wants to change her life for the better like her friend did. She said her first prayer with us, it was so genuine. Excited to see what happens with her. 

pictures (finally!)
1) mission home fireside
2) the beautiful manchester sky
3) Luo Xing's baptism. All of our recent converts + Olly

 Show message history

To Hope vs To Wish

This weeks email is going to be a little short and sweet since the library is closing for lunch soon.. oops!
Quick update on transfers:
Sister Merrill and I are both staying in the Manchester YSAWoohoo! Here's for another 6 weeks full of miracles! I am so grateful we get to stay together :) Hopefully the new building will open this next month.
This week was a week of miracles!
Luo Xing was baptized on Saturday and he bore a wonderful testimony. As I had a feeling after we dropped him that he would one day be baptized, it came true. After we stopped meeting with him, he said he felt something was missing in his life and he knew it was the gospel that had brought him so much happiness. It once was a struggle to get him to be obedient and then in his testimony he mentioned how he now knows commandments are for our benefit. He has come so far!
Our investigator Stephanie is fantastic! Last time we met with her she we invited her to be baptized and she was hesitant to say yes or no. We saw her again this week and she was the one to bring up baptism. She asked what the process was and what she needed to do to be ready to be baptized. On her own, she decided she wanted to pray about a date to be baptized. Even better, she will pick a date and ask Heavenly Father if it be right. Woah. Incredible!
 She was really excited to come to church on Sunday and we had arranged a ride and everything but them Sunday morning she sent us a text saying she could not make it anymore. Opposition! It's the worse. She was bummed that she could not make it though and she is hoping to come next week. More on her in the future!
Yi Zhen asked me in church yesterday what the difference between hope and wish is in English. I thought about it and tried to explain the best I could. It is a really great question . As I thought for a bit, an answer I could give to him finally came to me -- to hope for something means you will act to obtain your desire but when we wish for things we just wait for things those things we want just to happen by themselves. Don't wait for good things to come to past, make it happen! Every day is another opportunity to be happy, see miracles, and see blessings. It reminds me of the scriputure in Ether 12:4:
''Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.''
Love you all!
Sister Jordan

A Trip Back To Liverpool

Feb 10
This week had a rough start but it ended on a good note.I hit a really gloomy mood which I just couldn't fight off for a day or two. The rejection we faced this week didn't help either but the good news is the gloom eventually lifted and I was able to feel like myself again when the weekend came :) Huge blessing! Now that I look back on our week, there were so many wonderful things that happened that I've now forgotten the gloom I might have experienced:
We have been seeing Yi every day to help prepare him for baptism on the 20th. I am sure he is sick of seeing us everyday by now haha. He is doing really well and his faith and testimony has grown so much over the past couple of weeks. For the majority of the week we taught him the commandments. It always amazes me when investigators are willing to keep the commandments we teach them. It shows that they have so much faith.
This week Sister Merrill and I taught a former investigator found in our area book named Cheryl. She was found by Sister Missionaries over a year ago and they had taught her a lot. She got really busy and never had time to meet with them. We called at the beginning of January to see if she was still interested and she told us she was and for us to call back at the end of the month. So we did and we were able to schedule a time to see her. The information left about her on her teaching record mentioned that Cheryl wanted to make a connection with God and prayer has never been a big part of her life. With that in mind, we made the focus of our lesson on the Book of Mormon and prayer how she can make that connection with God though prayer and through the Book of Mormon''a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book'' ( Book of Mormon Intro). The Spirit was definitely there during the lesson and we could tell it was teaching Cheryl because it looked like things of the gospel were finally starting to click for her. I love being able to teach to investigators needs and watch them grow in the process. At the end of the lesson, we asked her to say the closing prayer, which she resisted for a bit. She didn't see the purpose of prayer if God knows everything.
That got me thinking.. ''Why do we pray if God knows and sees everything?'' The answer is quite simple: We are all sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father who know us individually and personally. We each have a unique and special relationship with Him. He knows us but we don't know Him since we have forgotten our life before we came to this earth. It will remain that way until we speak to Him in prayer. Through prayer we can grow and develop the relationship we already had with our Heavenly Father before we came to this world.
This week I went on exchange in Macclesfield-- a part of England that contains the countryside. It was so beautiful there! It was nice break from the hustle and bustle of a big city.  The trip to Macclesfield wasn't pretty in the sense that we took the bus to exchange and it turned out to be a near 2 hour bus ride.. oh boy! Lesson learned, lesson learned. At least I got to meet some really nice people while we were on the bus :) I really enjoyed being on exchange there. It is always nice to learn from different areas and the missionaries, members, and people that live there. I have definitely developed a 6th sense-- the ability to spot Chinese people everywhere. We were walking in the neighborhood where the Sisters live and I spotted a little girl in a window of a house and saw that she was Chinese. We quickly proceeded to tract the house. The Chinese mom was way nice! She told me she was Christian and she wanted to go to church on Sunday.Woot! I can't wait to follow up on that with the Macclesfield Sisters.  
This Sunday, Sister Merrill and I gave talks in sacrament meeting (I was doing so good at dodging that bullet until now! haha). I gave a talk on the Word of Wisdom. It was a wonderful opportunity and I gained an added sense of appreciation that Heavenly Father has given us divine revelation on how we can take care of the gift He has given us, our bodies, by living this law of health. We can also increase of ability for spiritual blessings as we live it.
Saturday was Ben's baptism ! Going back to Liverpool was the highlight of my week. Going to a former investigator's baptism is the closest you can get to a vacation as a missionary because there is so much joy with being able to go back to an old area that you love to see again the people you love. Sister Merrill and I both LOVE Liverpool and we had a good time reminiscing as we were there. After eating tea by the bus station I saw Linsa and her family, former investigators of mine. When the bus finally came, I sat next to this young man and had a really great lesson with him on the bus. He accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and is sincere about reading it. Oh how I love bus contacting in Liverpool..! It felt good to be back and I felt at home. The baptism went well and Ben looked so happy. He is so pure at heart. He will be a great strength to the ward. Our time at the baptism was short because we had to leave to catch our train back to Manchester.
BUT we will be back again next week for another baptism. Luo Xing had his interview for baptism and he is ready to be baptized on the 15th! Crazy! Seriously one of the hugest miracles I've seen on my mission thus far. Sister Loh and I have both asked Luo Xing why he wants to be baptized all of the sudden and he has said he wanted to repent and it is for some other ''personal reasons'' he hasn't revealed yet. I suppose Heavenly Father has told him something he isn't comfortable sharing yet.
This week our Zone hit an all high of 64 member present lessons! I am pretty sure that is the highest its been in at least awhile all through out the mission. We are truly uniting our efforts with the members. Love it.
The end of another transfer has steadily crept back on us. This transfer has gone incredibly fast and I am not ready to leave the Manchester YSA or serving with Sister Merrill. Regardless, I will go where the Lord wants we and serve with who He wants me to serve with.  
Funny moment of the week:
As we were getting a lift back to our flat after church yesterday, we saw this black man in a spider-man colored suit. I thought it was funny and made the comment ''Wow! I didn't know spider-man was black!'' The YSA member driving us asked ''Why is he walking?'' Then I said ''it must be because it is the Sabbath.'' Yep. Spider-man lives here in Manchester, is black, and he keeps the Sabbath by not swinging on his web on Sunday. Hope that gave you all a good laugh.
The more I study the gospel and the Book of Mormon, the more I realize how beautiful it is. If we have faith in our Savior, we can overcome our weakness. We all have the opportunity to repent because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When we repent, our guilt is washed away and it is replaced with peace and joy. We can follow the example of our Savior and be baptized and have a fresh start. We will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost after we are baptized and we will have the right to his companionship as long as we remain worthy. We can endure to the end, but we don't have to do it alone. We can go to the temple and receive the power, knowledge, and protection that comes from keeping the covenants we can make it the temple. The gospel is simple. The gospel is true. Heavenly Father lives and loves us. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior. His truth has been restored in its fullness here on earth. I hope all of you will come to feel just how precious the gospel and its truths are as I have.
Love you all!
Sister Jordan

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!

新年快乐!Happy Chinese New Year everyone! 
(^^Sister Merrill taught me how to type in Chinese. hehe)

Well, I need to start off with a little bit of bad news: the new building's opening week has been postponed... again.. The builders still have a few minor things to fix and there is no telling when it will be opened. The Bishop told us he won't be giving another opening date until he has the keys to the building in his hand. The date has been pushed back way too many times now and they don't want people to lose trust that it will open. Too bad we already told half the Uni population here that it was opening next week.. We are all being tested for our patience. Whenever the building opens, which I hope will be soon, I know it will open the doors for so many to learn about the gospel and it will be a great blessing to the work in this area. I will be praying a little harder that it will open.

A blessing of being here in Manchester as the building is being prepared to open is that all of the missionaries in the area are being trained on how to help others with their family history. They are planning on having family history activities the week of open house and the family history center will continue to help those seeking to do family history. There has been a growing emphasis on family history in the YSA ward as well. If the work is hastening on the earth, it also needs to hasten on the other side of the veil as well. I have always wanted to do family history but I have gotten frustrated with not knowing how to do it or where to start. The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to learn how. I can definitely feel my ''heart turning to my fathers''. (Dear family, please help me out! I would love to take family names to the temple while I am on my mission) :)

Yi is doing great and progressing well. We will be seeing him everyday this next week to prepare him to be baptized on the February 20th. One of the things we love about Yi is that he always asks the best questions during our lessons. He is just so eager to learn!
Speaking of eager to learn, we have an investigator,Stephanie, that was a referral from another set of Sisters. Her grandmother is a member and she has met with missionaries for awhile now. This time with us is a little bit different because now she really wants to learn and know everything about the gospel. She has the sincere desire to become more like her Savior too. I can't wait to see how she will progress. 

Last P-day, Sister Merrill, Sister Pew, and I went shopping with the Elders'(dated for baptism) investigator to help her choose a more modest wardrobe and boy, is she a shopper! I've never seen someone zoom across a store so quickly. And I thought I was a shopper.. I told myself before accompanying her to the stores that I wasn't going to buy any clothes. My will power worked! haha.
I got to talk to Sister Loh this past week over the phone and she told me one of the hugest miracles in the workings-- Remember Luo Xing? Our investigator in Liverpool that we had to drop because after meeting with him for a month or so and reading D&C 20:37 about the qualifications on baptism he told us he didn't have the desire to be baptized? Well turns out he has had a change of heart and has the desire to be baptized now. Yeah.. I just about cried tears of joy when I heard this news. Sister Loh and her new companion are teaching him everything all over again to prepare him to be baptized. I hope he is really ready though. There are more qualifications than just having a desire.. 

While bus contacting this week I met his man from Italy and as I listened to him, he ended up telling me his whole life story and told me about a spiritual experience he had 4 or 5 years ago. He told me about sequential experiences after that that he felt were divine intervention. He saw me talking to him as another one. Definitely someone prepared! We were on our way to meet an investigator for an appointment but I was determined to get his information before I got off the bus so we ended up taking the bus way further than we planned. The good news is we caught a bus back in the right direction and still met our investigator in time.
Speaking of bus contacting, a young man I shared quite a bit about the restoration with on the bus my first week here came to church, was passed to the Zone Leaders, and is now dated for baptism for this month. Woah. Bus contacting has become a strength of mine. I, course, owe this strength to the Lord. I was nervous coming here the Manchester and to bus contact because of the many instances I was told where the people weren't the friendliest here on buses. As I have continued to talk with people on the bus I have meet some pretty incredible people. 

I am grateful that I get to represent my Savior, Jesus Christ, here in England. The gospel is true. The Lord has a plan for all of us. Remember that faith is incomplete if we choose not to act. The gospel is full of blessings that can be ours if we accept and apply the teachings of Christ in our lives. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. I feel their presence through the Spirit.

Sister Jordan( 高姐妹)