hey I think I may start blogging again- if you want to read up on my life and my craziness... this is the link! http://burstoforange.blogspot.com/
This past week and a half has been pretty crazy. as you can tell there have been lots of things going on probably. I packed and left macau and cried a bit, then came back here to be companions with sister S!! :) I am really happy- we've been comps in 3 different areas now! She's such a wonderful person. Anyways, after i came back we had 24;s exchanges with the hong kong island zone and I went with a new missionary. Last week when i was really wanting to stay in macau i felt like i wasnt going to get the extra 4 days anyways, so I guess there was a purpose for coming back. It was a really useful 24s for both of us and I am becoming more and more grateful for my mission. The thing is, missions dont just change the lives of the people you are helping recieve the joy of the gospel, they change you. I can't even tell you all how grateful I am for my mission. Anyone who is considering serving a mission, especially any sister- well just do it if you feel like maybe itd be good for you to do, because it is.
Last night we had the my conversion story fireside, and it was really cool to see everyone from the mission. my whole mtc district FINALLY had a picture together again. I really dont know what to say right now actually since i;'ll see you all so soon. I'm grateful for everyone who has supported me. I'm grateful that I've been able to see Heavenly Father's hand in my life and the lives of others more than any time in my life. I'm grateful for the blessings that have been poured out upon my family. I am grateful that I'll never be the same.
i dont want to go home as much as i love it back there. theres nothing better than the life of a missionary, and probably nothing harder. So work your hardest. There are a ton of people waiting for you (and a few more for me here too).
All in all, I've known that I'd end my emails like this, but i never knew how true it'd be. I knew that that single grain of rice thing is true. One person CAN make all the difference. I thought before it'd be ME that would make that difference to someone, when in reality, the only person who changed me or anyone else was the Savior. He's the reason we can have that hope. He's the reason we know how to change. And I'm grateful that He's changed me as I've helped others come unto him and helped them.
Love you all,
Posted by Rach at 9:09 PM
Okay so this week was probably one of the best weeks on my mission.
Saturday we had a ward activity because it was a public holiday. We went to the beach and played and bbqd all day with the members and our investigators. That night I had to exit for my visa, and so we left a little early. I had asked the Int'l sisters if they could pick me up at the ferry terminal, and they had agreed, but when we confirmed right before I left they said they were too busy and had too many lessons, so I told them it was ok and i'd just wait around at the terminal in HK i guess. But luckily my wonderful companion decided to call another companionship of sisters to come get me, which was a nice surprise when i got off the boat. That night, some big chinese holiday i guess, we went to the harbor in wanchai and watched FIREWORKS!! Thank you China for inventing the firework, and thank you for still being so good at them! Seriously it was AMAZING. If I was chinese last saturday, I would have been SO proud of it. The coolest ones i thought were these fireworks that did the Jung Gwok characters (=China). I'll put a rather pathetic picture I took of them up here. Seriously. can you imagine seeing fireworks on the 4th of july that say "A-M-E-R-I-C-A" ? it'd be so sweet right? So fireworks were amazing. I felt really blessed that was my day to exit.
Then since then sis Y and I have been doing a LOT of street contacting. Lots being, thats pretty much all we do now. During the days its really slow, but at night we've enlisted the help of the other sisters companionship to go on splits. In exchange we help them do their english class activity, since neither of their english is very good.
Today is probably my last pday in macau (unless the extra 4 days get approved) so we're going to lunch with the elders. Their babies all headed back to HK last night because they have to get their ID cards. I am sad that its ending, but I feel like Heavenly Father is easing me out of my mission, first leaving Tolo and going to Macau with international, then changing me to both branches, chinese and english, letting me have to exit all the time and travel around, and then having me go back to HK for just a few days before I leave. Its easier to let go when you're kept on your toes all the time.
We had a really cool experience last night on splits. As we were going home from an appointment, we stopped to talk to this lady with 2 dogs. as we were talking a 15 yr old kid walked by, someone she recognized but hadn't seen since he was 3 years old and lived next door to her. He was dropping off a friend and then walked back a few minutes later. We found out his father is blind and his mother is a cleaning lady to support the family. The lady left a couple minutes later and we told him about our free english class so we can help him in school. He was interested and we just kept talking a few minutes. We found out that his parents were in the mainland and they left him home, but there wasn't any more food at home and he hadn't eaten all day. I've never done this on my mission, but we took the kid to a restaurant and bought him some dinner. I don't quite know how to put this, but as a missionary our responsibility is to represent Christ. We are His hands on the earth. And as he left I felt such a confirming feeling that this is what heavenly father wanted us to do, thats how it feels to do what Christ would do. Then we kept walking, and met a young philippino man. We started talking. he works two jobs to support his brothers and uncle back home. Its windowwashing which is pretty dangerous, so in his only free time between jobs, he sleeps so he will be safer on the job. We talked to him about hope, about how the Book of Mormon teaches us more about Jesus Christ, and that with the BOM and Bible together, we can really gain this faith to face the future. As we walked away I felt again that "this is what it feels like to do what Christ would do" feeling. Its really a huge blessing to be a missionary. It is probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but its also one of the most natural, happiest times I've ever had. I'm sad its ending, but working hard to make every day as good as it can be, and to help as many people as possible. Heavenly Father has given us the way, its not one of confusion, its not one of fear, it is a path of faith and obedience that brings us and those around us happiness. I'm so grateful. Thats pretty much all I can say about my mission. I'm really REALLY grateful. I'm grateful God reached out in love to us and gave the world the Book of Mormon, Prophets again on the earth, and the guidance we need to find peace in this life. Jesus Christ is not just a happy-pill to make us feel good about ourselves no matter what we do, but if we believe in him, if we change our lives to follow him, we will have that happiness and hope. yeah. i'm so grateful.
Anyways, I hope everyone is doing well. Things I'm sure back home are kind of crazy with the funeral and everything but know I'm praying for you all! Thank you so much for all the support and love! I'll see you in 2 weeks!
Posted by Rach at 10:10 PM
So in our mission there is a rule that if it is typhoon 8 (highest level) we can't go outside of our apartments. No leaving. I remember reading about elliott's having to stay inside for a holiday or something and i thought, hey, that'd be nice, have a little vacation on the mission. NOT NICE. especially on Pday (hehe). So the reason the email is a day late is because yesterday there was a typhoon 8 warning. the winds started wed night just before we went to bed and i had the worst nights sleep ever. things banging around outside and the wind whistling really badly through our windows. In the middle of the night i woke up and was super stressed because i remembered that our kitchen window was open a little bit, and went to close it. knowing that there were probably a few cockroaches who got into our kitchen, i closed the kitchen door before entering and turning on the light, grabbed the broom for protection, and then entered. I only saw three of them but they were HUUUUGE. seriously me with my broom it was like going into battle- the wind howling and making the 5 steps to the window, shutting it, and leaving the room.. my adrenaline was pumping big time, and of course going back to sleep wasn't much of an option at that point. So the next morning the level 8 warning started, and we got to spend the entire day inside. and since we had no food (no GOOD food) because we hadnt bought that weeks groceries, our food choices were interesting.
Anyways its okay because we're all safe and stuff, and we were able to teach a recent convert over the phone so it wasnt completely useless. but seriously, i'm definitely okay with never having to stay inside all day again.
In other things, we are getting a new sister today (she was delayed because of the typhoon, otherwise she'd have been here yesterday) and i'll be only serving international here again. So once again starting from nearly ground zero. haha. But i'm excited about it because i'll still be in macau and i LOVE it here. and i'll be living with 3 natives. Basically its going to be awesome.
And the highlight of the week, is that it was t's baptism.
I don't really have much to say. We're working hard (unless there's a typhoon) and we're having so much fun. It'll be cool to serve with sister H because her best friend is my recent convert I.
Andd... hmm.. I just wanted to let everyone know because mormor passed away this week and you'll be getting together soon, that I know this gospel is true and that we'll be able to see her again, and I hope when we do that it will be a happy reunion and that everyone will have been true to the covenants they've made with God. I'm really grateful for mormor and the sacrifices she made to bring the light of the gospel into her own life, even though it wasn't easy and even though she wasn't perfect, she was doing the best she could. I'm really grateful for the plan of salvation. I know its true. My testimony of that plan is pretty strong, probably stronger than any other part of my testimony other than of the book of mormon and jesus christ. I'm so grateful for it. I'm grateful families can be together forever. I want to do everything I can to make sure we can have a family forever. I hope you all care enough about each other and about our savior and our heavenly father to do the same. They mean everything to me. :) Know my prayers are with you all!
I hope you're all doing well dealing with everything. I love you all!! Thanks so much for the support and love and prayers.
Posted by Rach at 10:08 PM
at mormon morning! its this ward activity once per month where we go somewhere, do exercise, have a testimony meeting, and then eat food. this time we went to a beach in coloane.
a famous portuguese church
a mooncake. last year when i ate one i threw up. this year, i kind of actually enjoy it a bit.
Hellooooo everyone! I am so glad today is Pday!! We've been working so hard this week. A couple of weeks ago when president asked us to try and focus on the 2nd branch more I started praying to Heavenly Father to let us know which of our investigators is ready now and which aren't going to be progressing now. it was cool because its like black and white- we've been able to see this gap between a lot of them and are now helping several acheive their baptismal goals while letting others go. which means... more time for finding! more street contacting again! Its nice because when we were busy teaching so much and had no time to call/findnewinvestigators/eat/etc it was like we were stuck in this whirlpool. We have an investigator who will be baptized this weekend and another investigator, K, who is amazing. She has a really tricky situation but is moving forward with the faith that Heavenly Father will take care of her. It is so wonderful to see the progress.
A couple of cool experiences/funny ones/sad ones.
1. One investigator is 15 years old and has so much faith. Earlier this week she still hadn't talked to her parents about baptism, but she'd been praying about it and was asking heavenly father for strength. Then she had the thought "read alma 38:2" She hadn't read up to alma, and didnt know what was there. she told us "i thought it'd be like about a war or something cause every time i flip to alma itsa lways about a war" but it said very clearly, and specifically to her "And now my son (daughter? haha), i trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end." yeah. cool huh. then she asked her parents yesterday if she can get baptised and they accepted.
2. We lost an investigator. she just moved here from mainland and after seeing her 2 times she missed her 3rd appointment. when we called her the phone was always off. Anyways we were praying about it and we felt like we should go back to taipa (the island where we met her) and contact on the bridge again where we met her at around the same time. Then we met her again! her phone (and our number) was lost and the day she met us she couldnt leave work yet because they still had people eating at the restaurant. So anyways, we met her again yesterday and she's doing SO good. :) yeah. miracle.
3. We havent had hot water at our aparmtent for almost a month, which isnt a big deal because its been so HOT that we wouldnt want to take a warm shower even if we could. But 2 days ago the weather started to change, and a cold shower wasnt so nice. so yesterday we scheduled the water heater guy to come over, went on splits so we could keep covering our appointments and went back to the apartment. He comes in, walks to the kitchen, maybe 45 seconds later he walks back out and says no charge and its fixed. Well turns out there are batteries in the water heater (who knew?) and they needed to be changed. we paid him for the batteries anyways and felt SO dumb. But now we have hot water. yeaaah.
4. One of our investigators has been meeting with us for a couple of months but her parents are burmese buddhists- pretty hardcore. anyways ive probably mentioned her before. but we found out yesterday if she doesn't get her parents permission we can't keep meeting with her or contacting her. Needless to say i'm pretty sad but hopeful that she'll find a way to talk to them. She's probably one of my favorite investigators i've had on my mission and I know she wants the gospel so bad in her life. but it is really important for her to respect her parents as well... anyways, I'll keep praying.
So yeah this week was good, we had some fun times and the new missionaries are full of fire and working hard. Its a wonderful time to be a missionary in macau and I'm excited for the progress we can make in this area and the help we can give to people. I am so grateful that i'm serving and learning SO MUCH. One last thing- I'm working on memorizing scriptures in chinese and in english- right now I'm working on Ether 12:4. love this one: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yeah, 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."
yeah. i believe in that. The only way to really change the world is through the principles of the gospel being applied in individual lives and families.
love you all! thank you so much for your prayers love and support!
Posted by Rach at 4:59 PM
I can't believe its already september 15th. This week was pretty good, its been nice having half the zone full of new missionaries. There is SO much fire in Macau!! They are pulling back tons of people every day and working so hard, it is really pushing us too. I am so grateful to be able to end my mission here (almost). Last week my visa was up and i had to exit macau for a night. It ended up on a saturday that i had to leave so Saturday night sister siddayao and I took the boat to hong kong and stayed in the int'l sister's apartment in wanchai. It was fun to catch up with sis c (one of my 1st companions in the mtc) and meet her baby... sister K, who just happened to be in my freshman ward at BYU. ok lets just talk about this for a second- weird missionary connections- first my roommate before the mission/rs pres went on her mission here. my trainer lived in the apartment next door to mine the year before i lived there. My baby was in the same ward as me when i got my mission call. and now freshman ward.... weird. but cool, i love it.
So sunday morning i went to 2 sacrament meetings at Wanchai, got to see one of my recent converts, and then headed out to the ferry terminal to catch the 1:15 ferry with the senior couple missionaries. When we finally got to macau the lines to go through and get your passports stamped was SOOSOSOSOSOSOOOO crowded. luckily i was with 4 sr missionaries, who are all over 65 and get to go in the seniors line, which had a grand total of 2 people in it when we got there. Then to top off the blessings of the day- they gave me until October 1st to stay in Macau!! which means (probably, speculations here) i will get 10 days when i come back on the 2nd, so until the 12, then on the 13th when i come back they should give me 5 days till the 18th. aka i pretty much can die here if it works out right :)
Sorry this email isnt very interesting. we have a few investigators with upcoming baptisms but a few of them need parental permission. we have an AWESOMe new investigator named a and she's so sweet. then yesterday i talked to this old australian man for like 30 minutes about life and stuff and he is catholic but he basically believes everything we do except he doesnt think God can tell us that smoking isnt good for our bodies because people who dont smoke can die from lung cancer too. (?) i donno he was pretty cool but no interest. and thats nice because usually australians have tended to be pretty rude to me.
but anyways I'm loving being companions with sister c and sister y. we pretty much never stop having a good time doing missionary work. I am pretty exhausted and was feeling sick last night, but feel a lot better today... hopefully i can keep my strength going another month.
I am really grateful i can be a missionary. seriously probably the greatest learning experiences of my life. I've never been more happy and I've never learned so much in my whole life. Last night while i was falling asleep with a terrible headache I could hear our neighbors above us screaming at each other. I know they have kids too cause ive heard them before. but it was so sad because i thought... i have been so blessed to have never heard my parents yell at each other. i've never had to fall asleep scared and sad just trying to block out the angry yelling and stuff. last night it was seriously terrible, it felt so sad. and i wish every family could have the gospel in their lives, and learn to love each other and deal with their problems not yell and fight. Its true that satan is trying to attack the family, i see it here, i've pretty much seen it everywhere my whole life. So fight FOR your families!! :) Be kind to them, love them, have fun with them. i knwo i havent been the perfect daughter or sister, but i know its important to always love your family.
anyways those are my thoughts.
love you all!
Posted by Rach at 8:09 PM
ok 2 of these are of us and our zone at the science museum. yeah. SO FUN. haha it was telling us the water content of those foods and stuff. i love the one where im a durian. and lard. just funny.
This past week was so busy. Saturday we were pretty much straight booked all day at the church teaching lessons, and then ended it off with a branch YSA activity watching Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. (i love that movie). Our investigator a prayed to know if joseph smith really was a prophet or not and told us afterwards that she knows he was. Basically I highly recommend anyone who has doubts about joseph smith to watch that, especially since every occurrence is documented in journals and personal histories and recorded etc. yeah pretty legit. And S, the girl who was touched last week by the testaments is planning on being baptized on the 25th, as well as our investigator T. The people in macau are really special, I seriously just love them so much. Today starts a new transfer and i'm still here, but have to go back on the 10th for a night and then come back (the weird visa stuff again). Its so strange to start my last transfer... knowing in just 6 weeks from tomorrow i'll be flying home. I wont lie and say i dont think about it (its obvious from my emails that i do, especially during email time) but at the same time it also makes me just want to live every day to its fullest.
We are getting another sister and sister s leaves on the 10th to stay in hong kong.. so i'll be in tri-panionship #7? I donno i almost have lost count by now, but i've still had more companionships with 3 than with just 2- i donno why, but its been interesting and usually pretty fun! 2 friends to always work with instead of 1!! :) Last week we went to the science museum so i'll send some of the pictures from that (WAY cool science museum too, especially the sports part. there was this one "game" (?) where you got to be judges for olympic gymnasts and compare the scores you gave to the ones in real life- basically i was reminded of how much i love watching the olympics. and i was pretty close when i judged! So glad my mission didn't interfere with watching the olympics haha.
Nothing really interesting happened this week except that its a new move and there will be 4 new missionaries coming to macau. I think they're trying to infuse this place with fire because it has SO much potential. 4 companionships of elders and then our tri-panionship. I'm really grateful i get to be working here now. pray that i get more days for my visa when i come back this saturday!!
I am really excited also for general conference. It is such a huge blessing to have a living prophet who can recieve revelation for the whole world. It will also be nice to watch it right before I finish my mission, get lots of inspiration for my life. Also- if you want to email me instead of writing these next few weeks, that'd be cool. Hope you are doing well!!
Posted by Rach at 9:24 PM