Friday, March 21, 2014

A Visit From An Apostle

This week has been full of greatness:

Fred was baptized on Thursday! He was the Zone Leaders' investigator but I was the one that found Fred back in January. It was the first week Sister Merrill and I had been here in Manchester when we decided to go to a different area to do some street contacting and we needed a bus to get there. One the bus I met Fred and we had a great conversation that led to me sharing about the message of the restoration. At his baptism, Fred bore his testimony and shared how he had started his search for the truth and began fasting and praying to find an answer. Not too long after that, he had met me on the bus and I shared about Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith and invited him to church. He was determined to go to church and continue his search. As he came to church and started meeting with the Elders he was able to come to know that this gospel is true. I didn't know I had been an answer to his prayer until he mentioned it in his testimony. I am so grateful and humbled that Heavenly Father trusted me to find him, to give him an answer to his fasting and praying, and to show him the way to the blessings of the restored gospel.

As for our dated investigator, Stephanie, she passed her baptismal interview and her baptism will be on Wednesday. She has made so much progress and has overcome so much trial and tribulation to get to where she is now. In one of our lessons with her this week we shared a scripture with her from D&C 58: 2-4 that talks about how after tribulation comes the blessings.
After much tribulation, Stephanie has been able to witness a multitude of blessings; She was had interviews from a nursing internship and is that much closer to getting the career she desires so much, her best friend that has been dealing with depression finally went to the doctors to get help in treating her condition, and so much more that I currently can't think of. She offered the opening prayer during our lesson the other day which is huge because when we first starting meeting with her she was uncomfortable doing so and here she is volunteering herself to pray now. Her mother took her shopping this week to help her have a more modest wardrobe because her mom has said that the clothes that she has won't be appropriate after she is baptized. Bear in mind, her mom is not a member. Being able to teach Stephanie has blessed my life. I love her so much and I am so excited for her baptism and the blessings that will follow for her.

Stephanie's birthday was last Monday. She texted that she didn't really get to do anything special and so we went to the rescue.  We surprised her at her house with her favorite cake and a birthday card. We ''kidnapped'' and blindfolded her and a member of the YSA was able to give us a lift to the new building where everyone was for FHE. When we got to the top floor we unblindfolded her and everyone jumped out and surprised her and we started singing happy birthday to her. She loved it. I am so grateful that the members took care of her the rest of the night and helped her celebrate her birthday.

Sunday was monumental for many reasons. One, Sister Merrill and I taught a P.I with a member of the Seventy and our Ward Mission Leader. He is now a new investigator and he attended the dedication. Two, 5 nonmembers from our own efforts came to dedication. There might have been more we were not aware of. Three, we surpassed our dedication attendance goal of 400 and 570 people were there with a large majority being nonmembers! Wow. Our investigator, Jia Hui, said she felt peace during the dedication. Excited to see how she will progress now after this special and rare experience.

Elder Christofferson is such a funny and tender hearted man. He came to visit each room on every floor in the building before the meeting started. I am sure Christ would have done the same. Our investigator Stephanie told us after the dedication that as Elder Christofferson was leaving, he complimented her on her newly bought modest outfit and told her ''nice dress!'' haha. That will be something she will always remember- an Apostle of the Lord who liked her bright pink outfit.

Missionary work is hard but it is so rewarding. My mission is helping to grow in so many ways. I know that our Savior lives and that he can give us his strength in our trials. His gospel has been restored to the earth and by living by its principles we will be blessed and receive greater happiness and joy.

Sister Jordan

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fit For The Kingdom

The sun is shining outside and it is a beautiful day here in Manchester.

It was an amazing week and being able to open the new YSA building. It was a draining week but rewarding nonetheless. Each day we went out ''finding'' and invited everyone to come for a tour.  I would not be surprised if I invited more than a thousand people to come to the new building. We were also able to invite many to baptism when we got to the baptistery floor. The Spirit was definitely the strongest in the chapel and by baptism font. I pray that those that came on the tour left with a sense of renewal and that their hearts with be changed and prepared to receive the gospel. 

Sister Merrill and I gave many tours in Chinese to the Chinese students that came to the new building. Us as tour guides that speak Chinese has left an impression on them and from someone we heard that the Chinese students that have come on tours have been talking to their friends and we are now more aware of and known as ''the two American girls that can speak Chinese.'' haha. I think that is a great way to be known.

Sister Merrill and I saw many miracles with using the family history centre during the tour. On the first day, we gave a tour to this older man named Steve and we asked him if he knew the name of a grandparent so that we could search it. He gave us a name and the very first search result was a record that belonged to his family. It took less than 5 minutes to find this record! Incredible! It turned out to be the marriage certificate of his grandparents and he learned some things he never knew about them. 

We also gave a tour to this girl named Lydia and once we got to the family history centre she told us how she became very interested in doing her family history a year or so ago and her desire kind of fizzled out when after a lot of research she wasn't able to find anything. Her ancestry is unique and her great-grandmother was born in Belgium but came to England in her 20s or 30s and lived and died here. Other than that basic information, she knows not much else about her. We spent maybe 30 minutes on the computer with her trying to help her find a record with her family on it and we found nothing. We suggested that she ask her grandmother that is still alive more about her family so that she could come back with more information and we would be more help to her. I think her drive to do family history was refuelled and she said she would come back soon. 

The first ever church service at the new building was yesterday and the sun rays that shinned through the chapel windows was a great compliment and parallel to how we were filled with greater spiritual light during the meetings. We invited people like crazy to come to church this Sunday. Saturday we had around 4 confirmed they were coming and a list of about 8 others that had said they would come earlier in the week. Although we invited many to come to church, Sister Merrill and I had no investigators (key indicator wise) that attended sacrament. I see the greater picture though and we did have at least 5 nonmembers that came because of our efforts to invite. It is so disappointing as a missionary when you feel like you did so much to help people come to church and none of them show up or last minute aren't able to come. I think I speak for both Sister Merrill and I when I say that we are going to use this experience to learn from and work harder this week to get more people to church this following Sunday. 

The member of the seventy, Elder Stevenson and his wife announced that they want the YSA membership to double by December. Wow! It's going to be a stretch but it is possible. The bishop took no delay on inviting the YSA members to make a goal on how many people they were going to bring to church and help come unto the waters of baptism this year. Next week for the dedication they want 200 non-members there. Speaking of the dedication, Elder D. Todd Christofferson will coming to dedicate it. Wow! What a privilege it is to serve here in the Man YSA at a time like this. 

Last night, Sister Merrill and I hosted a musical fireside. I am so grateful for the members in the ward that participated and helped us to organize it. It was a huge success. I am sure the Spirit touched the lives of everyone that attended. For the final performance, Sister Merrill and I with two other sisters from our Zone sang ''Come Unto Christ'', the youth theme for this year. I don't feel like I am much of a singer but when it was my turn to sing a solo, the Spirit completely took over and I was able to sing with the power of the Spirit. This was my first time being in charge of an activity like this. Putting together an activity as a missionary can be quite stressful but I have learned that when things don't go exactly as planned or may not be as perfect as we want them that we should just enjoy the moment and let the Spirit take control of the meeting. 

This past week I have been earnestly praying for a greater sensitivity to the Spirit. I already see my prayers being answered. We taught our investigator Stephanie the law of tithing and during the first time we went over it I had a feeling she did not really understand that even though she lived with her mom, she would still need to pay tithing on her income from work. I shared my thoughts with Sister Merrill and we decided to review tithing the next time we saw her. I had truly discerned her misunderstanding and she now understands when and what she needs to pay tithing on. Stephanie is worried what her mom will think about her paying tithing. It was a very good lesson because we had a member there that was able to share her experience with preparing to be baptized and tell her mom that she was going to pay tithing after she was baptized. She too was nervous to tell her mom but when she finally did, her mom was fine with it. 

One last experience I would like to share about being more sensitive to the Spirit took place on a night we had an hour to do some finding before returning home for the day . We left our flat and I had this strong feeling that we were to meet someone, as in someone that had specifically been prepared by the Lord, that night. The dark and empty streets that night contradicted that feeling. Nonetheless, Sister Merrill and I continued to talk to those who did happen to be out. We weren't finding much success on the side of the road we were on and we decided to cross the street. We came to a fork in the road and Sister Merrill stopped and suggested we head down a side road that seemed really empty and not too promising. I stood there asking silently where Heavenly Father wanted us to be and I had a subtle prompting that we needed to go down the side road so I agreed to go down that path. There was no one ahead of us so we searched the opposite side of the street to find some one Chinese to talk to. A minute later we spotted this Chinese girl and as discreetly as we could, we crossed the street to go talk to her. She was surprised that we could speak Chinese and quickly opened up. She was definitely in need of the comfort the gospel brings to our lives. She told us she had been in a fight with her boyfriend and she felt really lonely. She asked how Christ could help her and we shared a scripture with her and walked her to the new building so she would know how to get to it. We invited her to come back the next day since it was getting late and we needed to return home. She did not come back the next day but when she does will discover that it is a place of refuge. 

This week I had a wonderful personal study and read a talk about the Atonement. The general authority that wrote the talk talked about how sometimes we may believe that Christ is who he is but we don't necessarily believe his claim that through his Atonement we can be forgiven and make it to the Celestial kingdom. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through faith in him we be forgiven of our mistakes, become clean again. Christ can and will save us and help us become fit for the kingdom of our Heavenly Father. This is the great message of hope of the gospel. I encourage you all to give this talk a read because my short explanation of it won't do it justice:

Love you all!
Sister Jordan 

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Week of No P-Day

This week is the grand opening of the new YSA building here in Manchester. 5 sets of missionaries have been asked to help give tours all this week, including Monday. So today we didn't have a P-day but it was for a good cause so I won't complain. At least we still get to email!

Happy belated birthday shout out to my baby brother, Austin! Happy 18th! I hope you got my card in the mail or you will get it soon. Love you!!!

Short update, our investigator Stephanie is still facing a ton of opposition keeping her from coming to church, each week for different reasons. Other than that, she is doing great. Hopefully she can still make her baptismal date. 

On Thursday, we got to go to the Preston Temple! It is such a blessing having a temple in our mission boundaries. The temple is such a place of peace and I wish I could go every week. 

Saturday was our 4 hour consecrated finding as a mission. A few members of the YSA came with us again, and boy, did we see miracles because they did. In my personal study the morning before, I read a lot about faith and I knew that I would need to pray for the faith to find those that had been prepared. I went on splits with one of the sisters in the ward and we met some amazing people. We decided to go off the main road since there would be so many of us on Oxford road, which is the busiest roads in Manchester. We faced a lot rejection but I continued to have a smile on my face because after much opposition always comes the blessings. Heavenly Father truly placed us in the right place and we met Jun and Rene. 

Jun is from South Korea and currently a masters student. I was looking for ways to be creative with my finding so I started talking to people by asking people simple questions that could later relate to the gospel. I asked Jun why we need the sun. He shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know so I moved on to a different question-- do you like the sun? Now most people would say yes but Jun, however, said that he didn't. Turns out he likes the rain instead (your in the right place, buddy). When I asked him why he like the rain he told me it was because it is clean. I was then able to tie in the gospel and started teaching him about how through the gospel of Jesus Christ  can become clean, I even invited him to be baptized on the spot. He accepted the invitation to be baptized and told us he is very interested in learning more just really busy with school. More to come on him in the future!

Rene is a student here in Manchester and she is from China. Her family is Christian which is of course super rare for Chinese. She as well is busy but interested in learning and coming to the new building.

While Sister Merrill and I were heading to an appointment one day, this Chinese boy that was walking in front of us turned around and was like ''Jordan! Jordan!'' I looked at him thinking ''oh no.. who is this?'' because honestly we meet so many people each day and it is hard for me to remember them all. Luckily for me he told me his name and I remembered him and where I had met him. His name is Ke Jun and I met him on a bus 3 weeks ago. When I had called him awhile ago to invite him to church he gave his friend as a referral who we are now teaching. This time when I saw him again he was with a girl from China who knew no English because she had only been in England for 2 weeks. He told us to invite her to some activities and we quickly got her information. Ke Jun is our referral bank. He also told us he has invited at least 2 other friends and he is going to invite more to come to our church. Miracles. 

Currently in our district, most of our investigators dated for baptism this month in March are black. Looks like black history month carries on into March! haha. 

This week is going to be amazing because the new building is finally open. I know blessings are going to pour from heaven because of it. We have already given many tours today. We actually had a miracle with when a man we gave a tour to found his ancestors in less than 5 minutes. It can be done! He is thinking about coming to the building to do more family history in the future. I am truly blessed to be in the Manchester YSA at such a time as this :)

Love you all! 
Sister Jordan 
Tour Guide Missionaries

New Building

Sister Merrill and I after the Temple Conference

New Building