Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nourished by Faith

Last Tuesday I went to something called ''Train the Trainers'' where newly called trainers go to the Mission Home for the evening and are ''trained'' on what to do as we train a new missionary. On a board was all of the 12 incoming missionaries, 5 being Sisters. One of them was Chinese and it became pretty obvious to everyone who I was going to train.. haha.

The next day at transfers, the trainers all lined up in front of the chapel as the new missionaries walked into the chapel and we shook all of their hands and hugged each Sister. The Chinese Sister who I saw on the board the night before came to give me a hug, had a quick glance at my double tag and said ''oh! we are probably going to be companions!'' The cat was out of the bag and there were no surprises when President Preston announced who was training who:
My trainee is Sister Chu. She was born in Taiwan but has lived near Toronto, Canada for the past 10 years.

This transfer meeting was President Preston's last one as our mission president and  for 20 missionaries that were departing. By tradition, the closing hymn was Hymn 152 ''God Be with You Till We Meet Again'' and there wasn't a dry eye in the chapel. I felt bad for the new missionaries that were surrounded by so many emotional people for their first day in the field. I I said goodbye to Sister Merrill and about 5 or 6 other missionaries I have been privilege to serve around. It was sad know they were all leaving but the work must go on.

On a happier note, Sister Chu and I have been working really hard this past week and taught 21 lessons from Wednesday to Sunday alone. Sister Chu has so much energy! She is really bubbly and sweet which reminds me of Sister Loh a bit.

Training a new missionary is not as scary as I thought it would be. I know the Lord trusts me to do a good job and I know with His help Sister Chu will be an amazing missionary in 12 weeks time, even more so than she is now. I love being able to go through the first 12 weeks booklet again and relearn the basics.I was worried about training and having to instil missionary attributes in my new companion but Sister Chu is already super diligent and has so much faith. She shows her diligence by calling PIs that we have met, filling out the area book, and talking to everyone on the street. The amazing part about all of this is she does it with out being asked. I am a proud ''mom'' :)I feel like a parasite feeding off of Sister Chu's faith because I love being able to see missionary work from her eyes where all of these experiences are new and exciting. With the diligence and faith of a new missionary, our area is definitely being blessed and we have seen countless miracles each day.

Some of the biggest miracles we saw this week include having FOUR investigators at church! A high since I have been here in the past month and a half. We also found a new investigator because we stayed out contacting all the way until 9pm one night. Her name is Camilla and she is from China! She went to a Christian school growing up and considers herself Christian. While talking to her she asked us first about where our church was. She came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. She goes back to China at the end of this week for summer holiday and we are going to prepare her before she goes back home so that when she comes back she will be super solid.

Teaching our investigators laws and ordinances before baptism is definitely inspired. I was fasting for Lukman last week and felt impressed to give him my mother's conversion story. At the end of the story my mom writes about our family being sealed in the temple a year after she finally joined the church. Lukman read the story in one of our lessons this past week and asked what being sealed in the temple meant. It was the perfect opportunity to teach to his needs and share about Eternal Marriage. I think this lesson really softened his heart even more. Family is really important to him and what we have been teaching about eternal families now make a little more sense to him. We were also able to testify about the Priesthood being restored through Joseph Smith making temple sealings possible.

Another great teaching experience we had this week was when we met with our investigator Zak. Sister Lee and I were not able to meet with him all that often because he had been super busy. As Sister Chu and I were planning our lesson for him I remembered Zak sharing with us his desire to learn more about Christ. We turned to PMG for some inspiration and decided to read one of the chapters suggested we could read to help others come to a knowledge of the Savior.  We read1 Nephi 19 together in the lesson and it was incredible getting to feel the power of the Spirit enter the lesson as we taught and testified about the Savior directly from the Book of Mormon. Zak seemed to learn a lot about Christ and he offered the closing prayer. He gave such a sweet and sincere prayer. He apologized in prayer for not reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day as he was invited to do by missionaries. It was just such a sacred moment as we listened to an investigator repent because the influence of the Spirit that was invited during the lesson.

I had a really great personal study this morning as I read Alma 32. I have probably read this chapter a bazillion times but I got so much out of it today as I read with an investigator in mind. The Spirit taught me a lot from this chapter this morning  but I would like to share this short and powerful insight I had: Alma 32 is all about how to plant a seed, growing, and strengthen our faith. As I read verse 37:
''And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit''
my mind then went quickly to the end of the chapter and verse 42:
''And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.''
The connection to these verses 37 and 42 is that as we nourish our faith, our faith will nourish us. As we nurture our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it will bring us the peace and happiness and so many other blessings from Heaven that we can then partake of. This Gospel is filled with so much goodness and I love sharing it with others that they can have this great blessing in their lives.

I hope this long letter didn't bore you! haha.

Love you all!
Sister Jordan

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finding Joy in the Plan

Transfer update:
So the time has finally come for me to train a new missionary. I will be training in Wrexham and Sister Lee is leaving for the Ashton Zone. This has been one of my favorite transfers. Sister Lee is such a hard worker and has such a powerful testimony that has changed the life of everyone privileged to hear it. It is hard for her to leave this area she loves but I have been helping her understand that she has fulfilled her purpose here and it is time for her to go and do the same in another area. I don't know what to expect next transfer but I know the Lord will help me in this important assignment. I think of how my trainer Sister Loh has impacted me in so many ways. Some ways I probably haven't even noticed yet. I hope to have just as big of an impact on my trainee.
British term of the Week: Chav (noun). Definition- a teenager that is a delinquent to society, typically referencing to those of the male gender. Mode of behavior- smokes, drinks, loves to pull pranks. Most active late at night. Synonym: punk.
This week Sister Lee and I park contacted a big group of chaves. It was quite the bold move. We went up to them, held up a Book of Mormon and asked ''have any of your ever heard of this book?'' (disclaimer: I have heard of a missionary doing this before). To our surprise, a nice hand full of them had heard of the Book of Mormon. Sister Lee and I both ended up teaching lessons to different people in the group. The chav I was talking to had a lot of doubts about the existence of God and has lost faith in the principle of prayer because he feels like his past prayers have gone unawswered. I had him read the prayer page in a pamphlet. He had many questions but wasn't really willing to accept the truth of my answers and turned down my invitation to him to meet with us and learn more. During our conversation, I noticed his girlfriend that sat to his left was listening very intently. When her boyfriend was distracted I asked her if she would be interested in learning more. She said she was! I got her address and phone number. I prayed with them and I asked afterwards how they felt. To my surprise, the chav said he felt some of the feelings of the Spirit that are listed in the pamphlet.
An update on our most progressing investigator, Lukman. Sister Lee and I have been working really hard to prepare him to be baptized on the 28th of June. I have full faith he can still make it to that date but I think it is best that we push it back to July. He has a few concerns that we are helping him resolve by inviting him to pray about the truthfulness of what we had taught. We had a really powerful lesson with Brother Pattenden the other day and it was just what Lukman needed. I left this lesson with a renewed witness that this church is true. I felt so full of the Spirit the rest of the night. By the end of the lesson, the weight of his concerns seemed to lift. Sister Lee and I are fasting that Lukman can overcome his doubts with greater faith. This morning during personal study I received a lot of revelation on how to help him to continue to progress. I have a lot of hope he will be dated again by the end of this week.
This week I have seen a lot of miracles that have come from applying different ideas on how to find new investigators in our missionary planners and PMG; We have found a new investigator by offering an unplanned act of service. We helped an elderly lady carry her heavy groceries to her home. She is Christian and wants to get to know other believers in Christ in the community; We were doing our best to smile to everyone on the street one day. A lady we smiled and waved at stopped to talk to us and complimented us on how cheerful we were. She gave us her address and we have since called by and set up an appointment! Lastly, we tried an even more uncommon finding strategy and offered to teach a family how to hold an FHE. It was pretty successful.
Lately I have realized how much joy comes from when we are following God's plan for us and when we put our trust in Him and become who He knows we can become. For instance, I have always questioned why I have always been a leader and if I am even up for this challenge at times.  As I have come to see myself through my Heavenly Father's eyes, however, I understand that this quality is apart of my divine and eternal nature. I have discovered time and time again that He knows me better than I know myself. I know from experience that what God sees in me is true. He will always give us the strength we need when He calls us to fulfill His purposes. His plan is perfect. This gospel is true.
Sister Jordan :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Windows to the Soul

It has been a really great week. A lot of good things are happening in our area.

Lukman is doing quite well. We have been keeping his lessons well fellowshipped. Lukman is practically best friends with Brother Reynolds, a member in the ward, which is perfect. We had invited Lukman to attend Sunday's Missionary Fireside earlier in the week and he said he would come. Saturday when we had our lesson with him and when we followed up on church he told us he would either go to church or the fireside--not both. My heart was saddened that we probably would not have a way to the fireside with out him but I knew church would be more important, especially as were are preparing him to be baptized at the end of this month. He came to church with us yesterday and it was a miracle! Brother Reynolds ended up giving a talk in sacrament meeting and I think this really helped Lukman feel the spirit. He enjoyed sacrament so much that he changed his mind and was willing to go the fireside. He said he enjoyed the fireside as well.

We also had a really great lesson with our investigator Lin Yun this week. We brought a Relief Society sister to come teaching with us and she was so vital to the lesson. We are still teaching Lin Yun the Plan of Salvation and we read in Alma 42 together since she hasn't been reading in a while. Yun still isn't sure if what we are teaching her is something she believes is true. We spent time talking about the Holy Ghost and how He will help her know the truth. The member we brought along shared some really great experiences about how the Holy Ghost has protected her family. Lin Yun seemed to gain a desire for the Holy Ghost after hearing these stories. She always prays that her children will be safe and healthy. We explained that after baptism, she can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Sister Lee and I are remaining diligent with inviting all of our investigators to church each week and we have seen the blessings of doing so because one of our investigators that we haven't seen in forever just showed up to sacrament on his own. Miracles! I am grateful the Lord is helping us reach the standard of excellence for sacrament attendance so far this month.

This week I went back to Manchester YSA for exchange . It was weird going on exchange in an old area but I loved it. I loved being able to see both of my recent converts and so many of the YSA members I have come to love so much. I had a bit of deja vu and it confused me so much when I woke up in the middle of the night trying to figure out where I was and why I was back in my old flat haha.

A lot of the miracles we had this week was when people letting us into their homes when we were tracting. I haven't had many experiences like this so far on my mission and I am just so grateful for the great hospitality these people showed us. Those that did let us in weren't ready to accept the gospel just yet but I know the Lord is helping them be more prepared as we help their hearts continue to soften.

This past week I am working on personalizing the atonement to my life. I know if I am to teach about the Atonement, I need to have more experiences of feeling the power of the Atonement help me to change. I know I have many weaknesses I still need to work on getting rid of and in my scripture study this past week I came to a realization of how important it is to replace our bad habits with something good and the pure power of the Atonement will do its job.  The Book of Mormon is filled with stories about real people that were the vilest of sinners but experienced a marvelous change as they came unto a correct understanding of the Savior. These stories in the Book of Mormon give my soul so much hope that I can change and become a better disciple of Christ. I know the Book of Mormon is true.

As I reflect on my week, something that stood out to me is how looking into the eyes of people we talk to has really helped me to connect with the people I meet. The eyes really are the window to the soul. I feel like my soul can connect to their souls, awakening them to hear the truth of our message as missionaries. I know deep within everyone we meet is a memory of what they once knew before this life. As I consciously peer into their eyes I silently pray that the Spirit will communicate to them as I speak. Each time I do this, I have seen my prayer answered. There is just something so special about looking into someone eyes, something that helps them linger there with you just a little bit longer. Even if it only means I am  able to talk to someone for just 10 extra seconds I know it is because I looked into their eyes and caught their attention by the Spirit.

Being a full time disciple of Jesus Christ is such a privilege. I love my Heavenly Father and I love my Savior. I know they are inviting us to come unto them every single day of our lives.

Sister Jordan

                             My new split tag! Gotta love havin connections ;)

                                                The Wrexham Chapel

Monday, June 2, 2014

1 Nephi 4:6

Another week has flown by and so has the year mark of my mission. Woah. I can't believe it was only a year ago that I started my mission. My perspective about missionary work and myself has changed significantly since I first came out. I have meet so many wonderful people and had so many great experiences thus far on my mission. I hope that these last six months will be some of the greatest.

So this week, we committed Lukman to prepare himself for the 28th of this month. I felt impressed in one of our lessons last week to give him this date. We have felt that he really needs something to work towards or otherwise he won't progress. He has meet with missionaries for over 3 months now but there is a lot that needs to happen in these coming up weeks for him to be ready for the 28th. I have full confidence in the Lord that we can help Lukman be ready for that date. He has such great faith in the Savior. The biggest hurdle to his conversion right now is finding out for himself if the Book of Mormon is true. Please pray for him to receive an witness that the Book of Mormon is true.

Lin Yun is a Chinese mom and a former investigator that we have been teaching for a couple of weeks now. She came to church on Sunday! She hasn't been in almost a full year. It was a great experience for her to have. She is going to have a slow progression. We are breaking down the lessons and teaching her bit by bit so that she can have a more complete understanding of the gospel. She told us she will be baptized if she came to understand. We are also going to start helping her English so that she can become more self reliant. There are too many Chinese moms that have been baptized and fall away because it is hard for them to communicate and connect with the ward. That being said, we are also going to be working hard to get her well integrated with the relief society sisters and bring them out fellowshipping. We love her and her two children.

We are going to start teaching a scripture study class since a lot of our investigators seem to have the same concern about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

The Lord has been putting a lot of Chinese families in our path lately. I am so excited to teach them all!

I had an exchange this week with a sister that served here in Wrexham a couple of transfers ago. Sister Steinagel and I saw many miracles over exchange. The Lord was fully aware that she was going to be here on exchange and everything just worked so perfectly for her to be able to visit or run into members and her recent converts. We went to tract this street Sister Lee and I were led by the spirit to. The people placed in our path on the way to and from were undoubtedly placed in our path. Among those people was a less active we ran into that said he has doubts about his faith and testimony. We invited him to pray to know and invited him to church. Sister Steinagel and I made a great team. I was impressed and inspired by the great love she developed in only a transfer towards the people she taught while she was here and for the members in the ward. This exchange strengthend my faith in the principle that although things may not go as we had originally planned, the Lord always has a way for everything to work out.

This week can be summed up by this simple verse in 1 Nephi 4:6:
''And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.''

Our district's weekly focus was to pray each morning as a companionship that the Lord would 'loosen our toungues'' that we might work through the Spirit. The Spirit seemed even more present in our lessons and our finding as we applied this weekly focus. As a missionary, it is easy to worry about saying the right thing to people and before you talk to someone or teach a lesson you never know what reaction you will get. As we rely more on the Spirit and plead for the Lord to have the Spirit, He has guided our words as we street contact and guided our lessons.The same thing applies to our daily lives. Every day presents a whole new array of choices we can make. Some big, others small. Some times we do not know what things we are to do. I know that as we take a step of faith, as did Nephi in 1 Nephi 4, the Spirit will lead us to where we need to be and guide us to what we need to do. Trust in the promptings of the Spirit.

Sister Jordan

''I "Will Make an Instrument of Thee in My Hands''

Today is a good day. It is just one of those days you have as a missionary where you are simply happy. The Lord has blessed me a lot on my mission and I have a lot to be grateful for.

Our investigators are finally starting to show some real progress. Most if not all of our progressing investigators have the same concern about already been baptized and they don't quite yet understand the importance of the Priesthood. The good news is they are all doing really well at gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know that if they can recognize their answer to whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, then these concerns will dissolve and they will come to understand how important it is to be baptized by the proper authority.

I am really excited about one of the lessons we taught this past week to our investigator Wei Fan. If you could not tell by the name, Wei Fan is Chinese. A lesson we had with him two lessons ago did not end so well. For some reason, all he wanted to do was challenge everything we said and I could tell that the Spirit was not there. Wei Fan has a heavy northern China accent and it is hard for me to understand him at times as it is but I have noticed that when the Spirit is absent, I am on my own to understand what he is saying and I have a hard time thinking of what to say to him in Chinese. This past lesson was exactly the opposite. The Spirit was quite powerful and I had the ability back to understand him more and speak the thoughts that the Lord put in my mind. I offered the opening prayer and asked for Heavenly Father to help him understand the lesson and I know that He answered my prayer. We read in Alma 32 about faith and by the end of the lesson Wei Fan made a comment about how a particular verse of scripture was easy to understand. I bore testimony to Wei Fan that Heavenly Father will answer his prayers, a concept he struggles to understand because he is not sure what his answer will feel like. He hasn't been praying so we invited him to pray every night. In connection to what we read in Alma 32, we also told him prayer was the first step to faith. Wei Fan gave the closing prayer and after we all said Amen he looked close to tears. I asked him how he felt and he told us the prayer was meaningful to him. This lesson was powerful and meaningful because of the Lord's help and His Spirit

This past week I went on exchange with Sister Riley in Rhyl. Sadly, I was sick over exchange but we saw miracles nonetheless. Our first night on exchange we went street contacting for an hour and met this man named Phil. We had a wonderful conversation with this man and found out he had been searching for a fresh start. We bore testimony on the power of the gospel to change our lives and give us a fresh start, even everyday if we needed. He became a new investigator but the next day when we went to teach him, he told us over the phone he had ''heard some things'' about the church that he didn't agree with and asked us to delete his contact info. So sad! He has so much potential! Opposition can be the worst. We also met this young man that lives down the street from a member in their ward. He is interested in learning about the gospel and he lives in the perfect location for the Sisters to get him well fellowshipped. The Sister that lives a few houses down is really excited to go meet him and said she will take the initiative to talk to him and introduce herself.

Funny Exchange Moment:
We were at a bus stop talking to this teenage boy when he looked at our name tags a then asked ''Do you work for Jesus?'' Haha. More or less..

I went back to Manchester this week for a mission activity day we had. On the train ride over I taught this man on the train named John. John has seen us around town trying to stop people and he told me how he has seen people don't stop perhaps because they are too busy to stop. This comment he made reminded me how important it is to always be a good representative because you never know who is watching you and what they observe. It is so important never to let our guard down. Anyway, John wasn't too keen on meeting with us so we could share more but I will say this was one of the best lessons on the train I have ever taught. Before I got off the train John told me I left him with more questions than answers. I pointed to the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and promised him that he can start find answers to his questions in that pamphlet and on our church website. I am sure I will see him around in Wrexham.

This past week was not the easiest for Sister Lee and I; our investigators did not come to church, we faced rejection and were mocked by a few atheists, and we are struggling to find sincere new investigators. The Lord was at my rescue this week in my personal study and I stumbled upon Alma 17:1: ''And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.'' I know this to be true. I know that if I continue to be patient in my trials and afflictions as a missionary that by my example the Lord will be able to bring many souls back unto Him. The Lord is always able to make the negatives of our lives into positives. When we face trials and things are hard, we have His assurance that things will get better. They have for me and that is why today I feel at peace.

Family and friends, we are instruments in the Lord's hands. May we all allow him to work through us to accomplish His work.

Love you all!
Sister Jordan