Last Pday

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,

Sis black


6 October 2011

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!

Sis Black

typhoon 8 misery

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.


Sister Black


22 September 2011

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!

sis black


15 September 2011

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!

sis black


8 September 2011

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!!


31 August 2011

at the panda park
can you see the panda??? hahaha
panda.... the best shot i got because then they both went to sleep
i hope someone appreciates this- personal air-con on the bus...

This week really flew by. EEfy finished and we had a hiking-adventure-competition thing for the graduation that we had to leave early from with E because she has to be home by 7. every day. I would go absolutely crazy if as a 17-yr-old i had to be home by 7. But I guess its cause a buddhist monk in Burma told her mom not to let E out at night... and now you have it. PS. E told us her family's story and its WAY cool. her dad was apparently working for the Gov't building government buildings in burma back in the day when he found out that the government was going to massacre all the students at a certain university who were protesting against the government and his girlfriend at the time (her mom) went there. so he raced home and told her NOT to go to school the next day. She didnt. The next day the gov't surrounded the school and not a single person that was there survived. So crazy. It gets a little crazier too but anyways... her story of how their family came to macau is awesome.

So graduation and EEFY over we went home, pretty exhausted from the week. We had also been feeling pretty sad that we'd have to leave all our investigators and turn them over to the elders in a week and a half. BUT. . . right after we got home saturday we got a call from the APs saying that we get to STAY IN MACAU!! Its a miracle! I love this place so much and we are so excited. Its great to be busy and now we're just working on really getting our friends to progress. There are so many with potential, I just hope we can make sure and have the spirit guiding us and that we can do our very best the last few weeks. My companions are great and this is probably the funnest, most exhausting, most amazing move so far on my mission.

okay so then sunday we fasted with E, because her mom is WAY anti-christian. she forces E to pray to these idols and wont let her out in the evening because of that monk you remember. Yeah. So E wants to get baptized so bad and wants to let her mom know she's been going to church. we also really dont want her lying to her mom to come to church because thats like sinning in order to keep a commandment and shouldn't be that way. But anwyays we're working on it. I know someday she'll be able to. Then during the fast this member was supposed to meet us and go with Sis C to visit someone, but she didnt show up and we had to walk a half hour in the heat to get sis c to the appointment. and then the members like "actually i cant take her back either, so..." but we had to walk all the way back to out apartment in the meantime anyways and i finally got the member to take her back. pretty sure she just didnt want to walk back in the heat and humidity but whatever. it worked out.

then that night i found out how they are working it out to allow sisters to stay here. 8 elders. 1 apartment. I feel SO BAD for them. (but not bad enough to want to leave). and they should all be training next move.

okay then comes monday- we had to go back to hong kong for the special meeting with brother Osguthorpe (gen. sunday school pres) and brother Ochoa (gen YM 2nd counselor). Our zone was singing and I was asked to say the closing prayer so were sitting on the stand with them. It was pretty cool and they had some good tips for our mission. Its interesting because lately we have the very least amount of missionaries we've had in hong kong in a long time, and yet we've been having record breaking results. I feel SO blessed to be working with such great missionaries and with such great people. They focused on the doctrine of christ and how even though we are in an area where most don't know a thing about Him or completely misunderstand his role, we really need to focus on this. I felt really inspired and we have some new ideas for how to help our investigators. Bro Ochoa's was particularly awesome. he started out in spanish for a few sentences and i thought of emily and elliott haha.. too bad my spanish is now limited to hola, como estas? muy bien y tu? hahaha.Anyways he gave us 7 ways to be better.

1. be one with christ.
2. be one with companion
3. be one with the bishop
4. be focused
5. take responsibility
6. Listen and Bless others
7. develop perfect faith

it was cool too because all of the asia area presidency was there and a couple area seventies. Its always uplifting to hear from people who are really devoting their life to helping others.

oh.. i almost forgot! how could i forget.

2 things. for the special missionary meeting, we had been told told it would be at wanchai. but. . . the week before it changed to kowloon tong (where we slept at in temple patron housing..) but nobody told macau zone. so we got up extra early and headed in 3 different groups to wanchai to practice our song. when we were almost to wanchai (during rush hour on the MTR with our luggage. just try to imagine) we ran into other elders that told us it was at kowloon tong. so we had to hurry back to kowloon tong and barely made it in time. phew! hahaha. (it was 45 min to wanchai, 35 back... not fun). but it was a little test i think, and i wasnt angry really except for like 5 min. and once the meeting started the spirit was just so strong so it was all right.

then.. on our way back here, they only gave me 10 more days in macau. visa problems. BUT i talked about it with them and they said next time i can have 20 days, and they made a note in my passport so the next person knows. phew! i thought for a minute i was going to get kicked out of macau for good in just over a week!!!

anyways. love you all! have a great week!!

sis black


25 August 2011

So first story of the week- this past week b's little sisters e and a came to eefy as well. And. well. we had taught e really briefly before (like 2 minutes, in passing kind of at the end of b's lesson she came in and we invited her to read the book of mormon as well). So this past week when she came we wanted to check to see if she'd read at all. It kind of surprised us when she said she'd actually gotten her sister's BOM out and read it. ok then we asked her to tell us what she remembers from what she read. So she begins- well, lehi is a prophet, and the people are really not listening to god. So he's praying for them and then he sees this fire and has a vision and he gets a book to read that tells him all about how jerusalem is going to be destroyed... 5 min later... so then lehi is really worried about his sons laman and lemuel, and he sees a river and a mountain and tells them that he wishes laman could be like the river because.. .. five min later... then Nephi's brothers want to give up but then nephi talks about how a long time ago god helped moses... . 5 min later... so then nephi puts on all of labans clothes and his sword and everything and goes to laban's house and asks the servant... etc.

so you get the picture. This girl is a genius. she in 1 day read up to page 32 in the chinese book of mormon and could explain it to us and make connections about it... our jaws fell and were down for about 30 minutes as she told us up to the part about the tree of life and everything. Then there I am thinking.. okay wow, so she knows the stuff, now she just needs to make sure she knows its true, not just a story or something.

me: "so you know, this book is REALLY special, because God's promised us that if we read it and we think about the messages in it, and ask God sincerely we can know if it's true or N..."
E: "oh! I KNOW its true! because Joseph Smith one night he was praying and then there was this light that started appearing in his room and.... 5 minutes later... but he couldn't just go get the plates, he had to wait and go back to meet moroni at the hill on the same day for 4 years.."

then 2 days later she was on pg 75 in the book of mormon. we asked her what she felt the difference was between BOM and other books she reads (because obviously she loves to read hahaa) "it feels like I'm really there, more than other books" okay the book of mormon is scripture. wow. so thats e. She's a genius. she and her sisters are probably some of the nicest people I've ever met too.

hmmm.. what else. Oh. I love macau. did i mention that? I LOVE macau. my companions are hilarious and we have so much fun together. We're SUPER busy, the weather has been nice, our district is good. we have fun activities...

speaking of which, this week we had an AMAZING activity. We watched the testaments on a projector screen with sound hooked up into the church sound system.. it was so legit. And we did it as kind of a "sneak attack" on one of our investigators. She believes in Jesus Christ but says she hasn't really FELT the spirit yet. So we had the movie night then asked her to go home that night and read 3 Ne. 11 about when christ appears to the people at the americas. Then the next day she came back and said she felt so touched when reading the chapter. and she has a huge desire to just be at the church more and learn more and be baptized. I am so grateful for the people who made that movie. seriously, if anyone knows ANYONE involved in that movie- you can thank them for our investigator because it probably will have been a turning point for her progression.

Its also really interesting being here in HK and Macau, because there are a lot of people who haven't ever learned about jesus christ before. many don't even know anything about God. and seeing the change in them, kind of like s. she said one time when she was younger she went to a church and just learned a little about Jesus Christ (buddhist background) and she just cried and didn't know why. she thought at the time it was so weird, but now remembered that experience and asked us to explain it to her.

okay so last story of the week:

i'll call this "how to kill a cockroach" by sister c

step 1: locate cockroach
step 2: scream hysterically as cockroach crawls into a bag of plastic bags
step 3: open the door
step 4: grab purple umbrella so you don't have to touch the bag yourself to throw it into the hall
step 5: accidentally disturb the said cockroach and see it crawl out of the bag of bags and onto the shelf
step 6: Scream even louder
step 7: scream so loud that the neighbor comes over to see what is going on
step 8: cry while sister s attempts to relocate the said cockroach
step 9. prepare your shoe to kill the cockroach
step 10. once the cockroach reappears hit it with your shoe
step 11. watch as sister s pours rubbing alcohol onto the cockroach and seals its fate.

Thats what happened last night. i was not fully dressed at the time and had to take cover when the neighbor appeared (also, chinese neighbors seldom communicate with each other. but seriously im pretty sure they thought someone was getting beaten or something sis c was screaming so loud. poor thing hahaha)

There we have my week. Things are going well. I'm sad that in 2 weeks I'll be leaving macau, because it really is a wonderful place with wonderful people. also next week we have a special missionary meeting with the general sunday school president and the YM 2nd counselor. It should be good!! eep and i get to say the closing prayer!

Thank you all for the love, prayers, everything.

Sis Black


17 August 2011

Wow I cant believe it. i only have 2 months left in the mission. Its going really really fast these days, especially since we just combined 2 companionships into 1 tripanionship. But its going really really good.

I dont think i shared this story before- but last week we were on our way home from teaching some lessons and a few nights earlier sister s had ran across this filipino store really close to our apartment. i had the thought like i wanted to go there, even though at that point i still hadn't ever eaten any filipino food but i just had the desire, like i wanted to go.. and for no reason i cant really describe it. because it was such a weird thought and we needed to get home i ignored it. Then as we got closer to our apartment sister s said, hey, i think i'd like to eat some filipino ice cream, i wonder if that store has any. actually no i can just get some later" or something like that. but, since i had the same thought, i wouldnt let her not go. so we went to the store. Last time we were outside the lady was kind of rude to us, but this time it was a new lady. we walked in, found out there was no ice cream and then as we were just about to leave she started asking if we were the mormons. and that missionaries in the philippines used to go visit her family all the time. Her name is n. then as we got talking i remembered that that morning i decided to put my photo album in my bag, but not really for any particular reason. In it were pics of my cousin who's in the philippines on his mission. we started to talk about how my cousin serves in the philippines etc. then she looked at the pic of my cousin and some people at a church getting baptized and she said they look REALLY familiar. so we asked her where she's from- the same place where the baptism was. yeah so If someone could get this to spencer and ask him who those people are... we may have a potential investigator who knows them or knows of them. Also we'd like to get missionaries to visit her family again because they all still live there. :)

i'd almost forgotten this because it was right before we went to hong kong and then my world just flipped around and i cant believe i didnt remember until now. but yeah that was a pretty cool experience. sometime the holy spirit works in mysterious ways... like having me put those pics in my bag and having sister s want to eat ice cream. can the spirit work through a food craving? i say yes.

Then what else, yesterday we also saw a couple of miracles. we had several lessons scheduled last minute at the church and no members to help us for 2 of them because it was so last minute. BUT twice members just showed up at the church, seriously right as we were about to get started. one was c and she helped us out with a my favorite burmese teenager. and then e showed up right as we were about to teach j, a chinese 16 yr old. yeah it was pretty cool. We had a commitment in district meeting to look for the lord's hand in the work, and ever since its been amazing to see all the little things he puts into place.

another example. Monday night we had FHE in Taipa, on an island that takes about 45 min from the church (walking, waiting for the bus, riding the bus, then walking again). Wellll we were a bit late because us sisters had a dessert appointment with some investigators about 15 min from the church. so we were already running behind and stressed. as we finally left the church with the entire zone of missionaries (ok theres only 9 of us actually so not like SO huge haha) as we crossed the street to the bus stop the bus was stopped to let us cross. and the driver wouldnt let us on because he'd JUST passed the bus stop. Our zone leader said, well, there's a bus stop just down the street right? I think there is?! and he starts booking it towards the next stop. i follow quickly and the rest of the zone struggled to run. Elder L made it just in time and waved for me to keep coming, i made it a few seconds later and waved the rest of us. The bus had to wait like a minute for all of us to get on, but it was really such a miracle. we made the bus and made miracle time to taipa for FHE. (that bus comes like every 20 min or so they said...) yeah, so heavenly father is watching out for us missionaries.

Other stuff- today we were supposed to go see pandas and then to get lunch and sightsee with the other missionaries but right as we were about to lave this morning it started POURING. like lightning and heavy rain and we couldnt see a lot of stuff we normally can from our apartment. so probably no panda pics next week, sorry. We have EEFY today again so our Pday is super short, but thats ok, EEFY is like a party anyways since the teenagers we teach english to are SO cool. This one girl and her boyfriend come and she has like a polaroid camera but a diff brand, and always is taking pics and giving them to us. i love those cameras.. so fun.

Lately I'm trying to just focus myself completely on the work, but its hard. my mind is so ADD sometimes that even though im trying to focus in my prayers even i start thinking about other random stuff. completely random. but whatever im trying and its getting better. I think its really important too, because like elliott and emily said this week, prayer is SO key to missionary work. when you pray things get better, you see the blessings God is giving you and the people around you. even though not everyone you pray about accepts the gospel or even tries at all to learn about it, when they are prepared and are willing to do their part, your prayers in their behalf are answered miraculously. Its particularly interesting when people who used to not believe in God at all start to learn about him, and all of the sudden if they are humble and want to know, they feel it. Like a few months ago when we taught three young mothers from mainland china. though tears are not necessary for a spiritual experience, they prayed and cried and felt the truth of a God in heaven who loves them very much.

Though at times we all have doubts, when you can look back on your life of faith and see how God has blessed you and how He's helped everything work out as you follow him, there is really no way to stop believing, because its true. Jesus Christ is our savior, he was the perfect example and showed us the way. I'm so grateful to be a missionary and realize even more deeply than i ever have before the importance of the savior in our heavenly father's plan for us. its just SO COOl!!!!

anyways thanks everyone for the prayers! See you in 2 months!

Sister Black


Thank you Australian Postal Service... August 4 2011

So I'll just start out with the most recent interesting story. Yesterday afternoon when our Zone leader got back from training in Hong Kong he said we had mail. I was pretty excited since it was for us sisters. "any for me??!" well.. the answer was yes, but he said "yeah but i think the one for you is pretty sad" no clue what that meant but then he pulled the letter out. take a look at the first picture... so elliott sent me a letter that got ripped to shreds in australia apparently. "damaged by machinery" is the official declaration. So elliott, if you get the top half returned in another envelope by the australian postal service, know that i have half of the letter hahaaha!

Okay other than that, things in macau are AWESOME. we're so busy but not at the same time. I think filipinos are more similar to chileans and mexicans, in that they are totally willing to talk to you but not as willing to commit to anything. Its a huge change from chinese work where no one even talks to you ahhaha. But I love it. Even when there are no international people around, the chinese people here in macau are SO NICE. They'll stop and talk to you a lot more often than hong kong people will. And there are tons of indonesians, filipinos, vietnamese, nepalese, thai, etc people that we talk to all the time. Its kind of funny too, because this week we had days where most of the people we met were of one or the other of these.

example. Day 1 of mostly straight finding- indonesians. We pulled back three to the church. M, one of them, had been a domestic worker in saudi arabia for several years and her employer would beat her all the time. then she heard about jesus christ and god and started praying every day. She felt like she should quit after a while and then when she said she was going to terminate her contract early, her employer apologized and thanked her for everything she did and asked her to stay. she stayed for a couple more years and they had a great relationship. anyways she was really good and translated for her friend K who didnt speak chinese or english. later in the day a member showed up with her indonesian friend who doesnt speak chinese or english either- we taught a lesson with her friend acting as translator. Its so difficult to teach lessons with a translator!! I need the gift of tongues to the MAX now.

Day 2 of mostly straight finding- vietnamese. im serious almost everyone we talked to turned out to be vietnamese. such nice people. Two were willing to come back with us to the church and were really excited that we have pamphlets and stuff in vietnamese.

day 3 of mostly straight finding- Nepalese (spl?) We met like a billion nepalese men yesterday. I went on splits and we walked around the reservoir. It was so much fun!! It makes me work hard to have to explain things in very simple english, but I love the challenge.

Its amazing the people we meet and their sacrifices for their families. I realize i prettttty much have nothing to complain about in my life- i mean, these people work so hard in these terrible conditions at times, so their family can have food, shelter and especially education. When i asked one of the nepalese men yesterday why he was here he told me because his teenage daughter needs to go to a good school. I have so much respect for that but it makes me think... there has GOT to be another way because their families need them there too. but i dont see a solution. My companion, worked in fields since she was 10 and then started working in hong kong so her brother and sister could go to school, and paid for 5 of her cousins to go to college. Luckily she had a great employer but many people are not so lucky.

It puts a whole new meaning into the work for me, because the hope and the joy of the gospel can help them so much! I mean, its important for everyone, but the urgency for me feels greater working in the international branch, and probably since i am nearing the end of my mission too. Macau is a more relaxed place, you can even feel it in the air, but that is what makes working hard so much fun. because you can work harder than ever but still feel like you're having a good time. The brazilian sister, sister b is AWESOME and she's our ward correlator. she's got some great ideas on how to help this branch and get everyone involved. Its like everyone wants to help, even though they have very little time and are probably so tired. the YSA in the branch want to have an activity to go finding this week. seriously theyre so excited about it. that would never happen like this in chinese work. haha. but i still love my chinese, especially the macanese. seriously. They're the best! I thought i would really miss my old area but i think this is just so exciting to be here in macau and working with these people, having a crazy, HARD WORKING filipina as a companion. im so grateful like sister d she's willing to get up early to go running (actually shes usually up a few min earlier than i am just waiting for me to get up.)

ok well theres so much more iw ant to say. sorry i had so little time to take pics this week. but maybe next week i'll have more. its so pretty here!!! ok love you all! the other pic is the view from our apt.

sis black


Welcome to Macau

Im in macau!!!

the sweeeeeeeet new touch screen display outside of the wanchai building, before I got to Macau.

the church sign in Macau. yeah. :)

Okay well that was a pretty big suprise. despite bishop requesting us staying and my best efforts to drop clues to the mission president, God, as always, overrode my selfish notions and put what's best out there. And guess what the outcome is?! I'm in Macau!! I am SO STOKED. Tuesday night at moves calls i went in completely expecting to just stay and then he pulls out Macau. Are you serious? And not only that but I'll be serving the 2nd branch which is English speaking. My mission language has changed, you know where it says you'll be serving in the blablabla language. yeah mine just changed and thats awesome. it should probably now read "simplified english" since i'll be speaking with non-native english speakers mostly. My new companion, sister s, is from the Philippines. I'll mostly be working with Filipinas and other people who have moved to macau to work. Its like stepping into another world. people still speak cantonese mostly, but all the signs are in chinese and... PORTUGUESE (dad don't laugh). but really, i'm pretty excited. i just wished i remembered portuguese since its everywhere. no worries though, im sure i'll pick it up again soon, especially since my mission language is now english. I'll probably work on tagalog as well. eep. maybe i should write spencer for some tips.. seriously though.. on how to work with filipinas, because chinese people are pretty much the polar opposites.

Yeahhhhh. The process of getting here was a little rough though. The plan was for me to stay one extra night in HK and then head over here, because my companion is currently going back for an overnight visa thing (for americans/filipinas? you can only stay 30 days then they kick you out, then you have to come back for like 20 days then they kick you out etc until time is up) But my apartment is in the process of being moved in HK so they just decided last minute for me to just go today. and im companionless. We took an hour long boat ride which made me queasy (sitting next to a man smelling of tobacco and beer... along with the waves) and finally me,and elders N (hk), Y(hk), and L (singapore). It was so weird traveling without a companion. so weird. And then pulling into macau, well its pretty cool. From what i can tell so far, its like this weird mix of east and west, but the thing is-- its like latin west. It reminds me a lot of madrid and of bits and pieces of brazil. but at the same time everyone is chinese. And on top of that, its like the Las Vegas of asia,HUUUUGE casinos and hotels, ive heard its bigger than LV but i donno wikipedia that and let me know. I'd love some history on Macau as well if you get a moment and can send me a letter. like as soon as possible because ill be goin back to HK in a week and a half for mission tour and temple so i could get the letter ;)

On my way in i met these swiss college students who were traveling the world for a couple of weeks.. pretty cool. then they started talking to each other in swiss german and well... i dont remember any german, or maybe i just dont understand swiss german. probably both.

I'm really excited for this new area though. Its definitely going to be a challenge and I'm going to miss sister D a TON but I think its a good transition into the end of my time on my mission. I only have 2 moves left. TWO? I realized also when i got moves calls that i had gotten pretty attached to my area, comp, investigators. A and k were able to see us last minute and I am really going to miss them. I hope they both keep going strong!! A has already started to recognize so many blessings from receiving the gospel, seriously i am learning so much from these people.

So other than that I can't really remember anything from this last week, probably because all i can think about is my new area and new challenges. President was talking about how he wants us to just keep working hard because the priesthood here needs to be strengthened. I know my chinese is going to suffer, but its also a huge blessing because i can be a benefit to these people the most right now this way. I havent even been to our apartment yet because we had to drop the stuff at the church, buy groceries, and then we headed to email. PRETTY SURE i'll sleep well tonight. The other 2 sisters here didn't have any Pday yet either because of a ward activity so we'll probably just go home tonight and crash. yeah a pretty crazy day to say the least.

So to sum it up, goodbye chinese, hello english and tagalog! haha! Hope you all are doing well and i'm really grateful for the prayers and support!

Love you all!

Sister Black


21 July 2011

I have 3 months left in the mission. Its so weird because I don't want to go home, but almost every day I think about it. like how weird it'll be and how much i'll miss hong kong- not like oh i cant wait to get home. but yeah. Its weird. i had a nightmare the other night about having to go back to a singles ward at byu. it was terrible hahahahaha. seriously though I have only 2 transfers left and everyone knows how fast that goes.

This past week was really good. We had the 2nd week with our summer missionary and she did really good. It would be tough to be a 16 year old girl and do missionary work for 2 weeks with 2 white missionaries. Seriously tough. She got pretty exhausted by the end.

Biggest/best story of the week is A. A is the one who prayed to know which church to join then her old classmate from high school facebooked her that night. Well.. there is a rule that they must attend church for 3 sundays before being eligible for baptism and sunday morning came and.. no a. Sister d gave her a call (since i was attending the other ward that day) and she said her daughter couldn't watch their son with a heart condition so she had no way to get to church, but could still get their in time for the baptism. To make a long story short, we ended up having to have our correlator call the mission president and ask him what we should do- then he put it in our hands. Can i say how grateful I am for leaders and bishops stake presidents everyone who has to make decisions in the church? I respect you so much. Because we went aside and prayed and discussed and eventually felt like she should get baptized, but its kind of a big responsibility. So yeah, I'm grateful God has priesthood leaders. seriously. So a shows up for her baptism. The ward likes to give the young men opportunities to do things like perform baptisms, so they had this young man planned to baptize her- his first time. and he's small. Anyways it took 7 tries before she actually was fully immersed-- talk about a stressful baptismal service. He'd also try to get her under by just holding her there longer and i'm pretty sure sister d almost died worrying if a was going to drown. later i'll have to act it out for you. oh dear. But it was really beautiful too because a has really waited a long time for this and she was so happy. SO happy. i didnt bring my camera today so. . yeah i'll send pics later.

Then in other things, I'm doing my 2nd english fast. no english for a whole week. Its KILLING ME. and probably sis. d too. Especially because yesterday some weird stuff came up that i should have dealt with but since i only speak chinese now i didnt know how to deal with it. anyways. its nice to do email. i can use english. haha.

I am really grateful to be a missionary. I was thinking the other day how awesome it is to be here and to have changed and learned this much. The idea of having eternal progression is really exciting but kind of exhausting as well. I'll have to really work at that. I was reading in the D&C manual the other day about becoming someone worthy to go to the celestial kingdom, and there was a quote i really liked.. i think it was l tom perry who said it? i donno. but it was about how there is a marked difference in the person who is conducting their lives in a way as if a citizen of the kingdom of God, and someone who is conducting their lives based upon the standards of the world and whatever everyone else is doing. Then i was thinking about how after going on a mission elder Jay E Jensen talked about keeping the change, and about how elder holland told us that this is the closest thing to real life we're ever going to get. And even so, I still feel like I fail so often at this "real life" of missionary work. Even when there are so many blessings, even when things are so hard you just want to quit for a day and have a vacation, even when you're happy, no matter what the circumstances are, there is always room for improvement, and that is tough. There is no "I've got an A+ already, no need to keep working" in the mission. there is no A+, just improvement. Soooo i guess the point of that was- dont give up, things will always get better if we dont give up. Put that into practice and youre good to go (note taken for myself).

And also, just one side note, I think its really cool how Heavenly Father arranged sis d to be my companion. next week is transfers, and I really hope I dont move. Though if i move, it'll be fine because its what God wants, even if its not what I want. :) I hope you all are doing well. I've got you all in my prayers.

Thank you everyone for your prayers. We missionaries need them! :)

see you in 3 months. bye!

Sis Black


14 July 2011

Well hello everyone.

Today I got to go to the temple!! It was SO AWESOME. I am so grateful that we can go to the temple once per move. yeah...
This week was so busy. We've just started this english summer camp called EEFY (english especially for youth) where we have one hour per day, five days per week, three weeks per session. Its SO MUCH FUN. its like being an efy counselor but just for an hour per day. and we teach english, play games, etc. Our group is called "The Lion's Den" and its the young women from Sha Tin/Ma On Shan/Tai Wai. I love it so much! It takes a lot of time (like yesterday we had to make cupcakes as part of an object lesson, just think about the prep time.. ugh) but it's so fun. we helped one of our investigators with her A-Levels test prep afterwards, and i'll be completely honest, it was nice proof-reading something. Using my brain in a different way I guess. Even though I pull out my random geography facts throughout the day, I am still in need of some additional brain exercises.

Speaking of which, I started studying daniel this week in preparation for THE LIONS DEN. Did you know that Daniel and Lehi were contemporaries??? and they lived in Jerusalem at the same time? (even if just for a couple of years before Lehi left). yeah. That blew my mind. And then i used my old testament manual and sister d and I started to just go into old testament history and kings and empires conquering and blablabla all that stuff. SO INTERESTING. I want to teach seminary someday. However, last friday i also taught a class in english on the history of the book of mormon in connection with biblical history and world events. and this university student (mandarin investigator) wanted to know more about what was going on in the world at the time the book of mormon came about. It was pretty cool but i think perhaps I'll need some more time to figure out how to teach using english if i ever want to teach seminary, become a teacher, professor, etc.

What else happened today-- oh yeah! My MTC group got together for our year in hong kong mark and ate lunch at pizza express which was DELICIOUS. It was so strange just sitting around talking because as missionaries we rarely have time for that. and it was too much fun! We swapped stories and reminisced about the good ol' days of the MTC (which i do kind of miss.. its actually really fun.. hmm maybe i'll become an MTC teacher? i honestly think that'd be one of the best transition-to-real-life jobs after the mission,, just saying). And elder K shared an interesting experience from when he was in international. One day he was at the church in Wanchai, and these two guys came in dressed as missionaries. one had a nametag called "elder dumb" the other was "elder dumber" and to make a long story short, they had spent the entire day pretending to be mormon missionaries except they were doing very inappropriate things, recording them, and then posted them on youtube. It makes me so angry because the work we are trying to do is so important, and is so uplifting and good, and yet there are people who are stupid and rude and immature who would do something like that. Pretty sure they'd been drinking too, but still... theres another reason you shouldn't drink. yeah.

on a happier note, when we went to the temple, the area president was in our session. I think it may be his last session before being released, i think i overheard the temple worker say something to him like that. I was thinking about what must be going through his mind at this time- I mean, overseeing the Asia Area is like 1/2 the worlds population. pretty big task, probably pretty busy. Then i was thinking about after his mission... ok like now. going back to real life? what does that even mean? then i was thinking about my time as a missionary- in a week i only have 3 months left. and three months goes by like the blink of an eye. How do you transition? e. jay e jensen when he came here said that this is the closest to real life we're ever going to get. but how do you maintain that? How do you maintain and still be normal? I guess I'll how when it comes? I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of anxious about the fact that people keep telling me I'm dying soon. But I guess when it comes it comes right?

Other than that, things are going smoothly in general. Our investigator A is getting baptized this coming sunday. We reviewed the restoration with her and her comments were "that's me, i'm exactly like joseph smith.. I searched for 12 years to figure out which church to join and find out what path to take. and God answered my prayers" yeah. people in HK usually don't make that connection. She's teaching me so much about how God works with his children, and how faith and patience and perseverance works.

Sister D and I are doing pretty awesome. She's seriously going to be like 10 times the missionary I am, or at least thats my goal for her haha. I totally think its true what e holland said, the lord's sending his best here, because HK is hard. However I have faith that with the Lord's help we can do SO much... i've seen it.

I was feeling kind of cranky and stressed this week because we just got a summer missionary, but our summer missionary is actually really amazing too. She's got such fire and drive for missionary work. yeah. Helping people come unto christ is probably one of the best things ever.

also i wish I/others realized younger how important example is. because example is probably one of the biggest factors in helping people come unto christ. Sorry to anyone who i've ever offended or any time I haven't been an example of what I believe. But seriously, there's nothing better than the gospel- its what God's given us to be happy. and its so amazing. and it works. and its true, we just have to figure it out for ourselves.

Hope you're all doing well!

love you!

sis black

I've been in Hong Kong 1 Year!

This week wasn't too eventful, just feeling pretty blessed, and at the same time pretty tired. I have been sick for the past few days and just seriously like no energy at all and i threw up monday, but at the same time, i still can get up on time and go to work when i have to, its just i get home with a headache and feel like im going to die. i think it might be caused by fast sunday and then getting sick on monday, maybe some little dehydration, so im drinking lots of water and praying even more. A is doing well, she'll have her baptismal interview tomorrow. she has such great faith! In a society where money=pretty much everything, usually tithing is a major stopping point for investigators. she doesnt have a job so can follow the commandment without paying tithing, but still said if she had a job or ever gets one she'd pay for sure because God has given her so much already. It is a perspective you don't usually see here in HK. There is a lot going on right now as well. Our mission president recieved some revelation about holding an english summer camp fashioned after EFY, but just for an hour per day on weekdays for 3 week sessions. Yeah its going to be so fun! But its a lot of work and starts next monday. we'll be playing group games for the first 30 min using english, then doing english study and learning portions. i was a little apprehensive about it at first but i think it'll really be good!

We also just got a summer missionary. her name is sister L and she just got back from being an exchange student in washington. Her older brother is a missionary in Hong Kong too. :) We should be pretty busy for the next few weeks, which is nice because it also means we'll probably be in air conditioned chapels quite a bit as well. I'm trying to step it up every day in this work, because i've got approximately 100 days left in the mission. only 100 days. thats pretty much ZERO time and such so i want to use it the best i can. President interviewed me last week on thursday before we had dinner at his house and let me know my dying date. I asked him if i'd be moving next move and he said "probably not, there's no reason to.." and bishop m told me at FHE he asked president not to move us out of Tai Wai. soooo... i have great hopes that i'll just stay here for the next 2.5 moves. even better if i get to stay with sister d. I mean, seriously probably no other sister in the mission would be willing to get up 30 min extra early so we can work out longer. seriously. I just hope I can help her as much as i can before my mission ends. Thats another thing i was thinking- I feel like the missionaries coming in are just extra super phenomenal. i don't know how to describe it exactly, but you know how they say like every generation is just a bit better than the one before? well i think that's true. Like when we had 2x the missionaries in this mission we were still baptizing the same. and now with the 8 foundation principles we are helping even more people.

That's one reason why I am so grateful for living prophets, they can receive current revelation, rather than just relying on the past revelations we've gotten. I mean, moses didn't need to reveal that the people in jerusalem needed to repent, but jeremiah did! God speaks to His people in their own time as well as helping us learn from the past. Man i just love learning about the scriptures ps. just saying. I think one of the coolest jobs ever would be a professor of religion. . . too bad that's probably not very feasible, but maybe i'll be lucky enough to be called to be a seminary teacher someday or something. I'd love that.

Other stuff.. not really that much. We had breakfast with k today- sis d and i ate congee and chicken in glutinous rice. it was delicious. I'm loving this not really eating wheat thing too, i think my body is so much healthier because of it. seriously. Also, if you have any requests for HK items to bring home, let me know. I've only got a couple of months left so i'd rather not waste my last pday or two buying stuff, earlier might be better.

Thanks for everything. especially the prayers, and the letters!!

30 June 2011

This week was AMAZING

in the past week sister d have had some major miracles. But mostly I'll just tell you about one. We've really been praying mightily that the lord will help us baptize some more people in the month of July. And at the time we emailed last week, we had zero people with a date. However that has changed. Last week we got a text from the office elders about a member referral, her name is a. Anyways this is her story- A has had contact with the church for quite some time. She's probably in her 50s and she has a friend from gradeschool that is a member. His daughter is actually living with us right now and is also a missionary in HK. So we set up a time to meet with her where she proceeds to tell us that for a long time she's been waiting to join a church, she's wanted to wait until her 26 year old son with a very severe heart problem is ready to join one with her, but last month she finally got up the determination to do it herself. She pretty much spends all of her time taking care of her son. She prays daily and asked God to help her which church to join, and told him that if he gives her a way, she'll take it. So that night Brother Y, her old schoolmate, after a long time of no contact, wrote her on facebook. She wants to get baptized and is so humble and prepared. We've met with her 2x already and are seeing her tomorrow. A is really a huge miracle. i feel like every time we see her she's teaching me more than i'm teaching her.

Sister D and i are still getting along really well. She's another person who is teaching me a lot. I've been trying to learn more about the atonement this past week and how it all works and then we've also had some pretty big challenges these past few weeks (like everyone dropping us...), but every time we are able to pray and rely on our savior and its pretty cool, since he's placed some really good people in our path. If we work hard and keep the spirit, everything works out.

Thats another thing that was really interesting this past weekend- one day we taught a lesson and it was so weird.. for some reason neither of us could figure out, the spirit was totally gone. and we had to work to get it back. i think satan was really trying to get sister d to doubt her ability as a missionary and she was pretty down. However, once we worked it back, the next day we met a and were SO prepared to teach her and she was so prepared to listen, so i think the fact that we had that trial really helped us be better prepared to help someone else come unto christ. Plus strengthened my testimony of the power of the holy ghost . . because if this was all made up nO WAY would we feel that way at the same time... the lesson was fine, it was just normal, but we just felt a lack of the spirit.

Anyways, things in hong kong are going well..

oh and brother A in tai wai ward let us come over for lunch one day and learn from his Thai helper lady how to make some DELICIOUS thai food.

I'm really grateful I am a missionary. There are so many things about life that make so much more sense to me now, especially when i get to teach people who know nothing about God or Jesus Christ or anything. I think it is especially amazing to see the gospel similarities and things that they originally had here, but have over time been changed or distorted, but the underlying truth is the same. God exists and he loves us so much! The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and He'll let anyone know that who is willing to try.

Love you all so much!

Sister Black

23 June 2011

Hello everyone! This week was so good!! We have been pretty busy and its awesome. But not just because we're busy. Yesterday was probably the best day ever--- this week TYPHOON SEASON started!! and we've got a typhoon 3 warning. well thats great because it is windy and rainy and stormy, weather I really like. But usually that means that our investigators are very likely to cancel their appointments or not show up. Rain is apparently a very legitimate excuse to not do things here. Sister D and I have been stepping it up by using our time better- minute by minute. However, we were particularily worried last night for two very important lessons- one with K, and one with the C family. K is anything but your average 18 year old girl, she likes to analyze things and figure them out, she is really searching to find out which religion is true and she knows it will take work but doesnt think she has enough "real intent" or faith yet. She just got back from Taiwan and in the HK airport spent some time talking to this brazilian designer about the bible. and what did this designer tell her, "you need to have more faith." exactly. So K comes to her appointment with enough faith to make it through the rain, and we felt to teach the 10 commandments. Pretty simple, right? Well turns out she unknowingly asked off the sunday after next from work, and after that her schedule will change to evenings so she can come to church. Its just cool because in that lesson so many things came out as far as how God is kind of arranging her life to help her obtain the truth. And I definitely felt the spirit confirming the truth. Life is so difficult sometimes I think because people have so many choices. And it's so hard to know which way to choose, and what is right because so many voices are telling us "this is right" "do this and you'll be happy" "all you need is to believe in jesus" "god doesn't exist believe in yourself" "work hard and earn money and you'll be happy" etc etc etc. There are so many different voices, it makes sense that we would naturally lean towards trusting our own instinct alone. But the cool thing is that what we share as missionaries is a fool-proof way to find it out. Determination to know if its true and willingness to change if it is true, faith in the savior, and an open heart to receive the answer from the holy ghost.

What else happened this week? Our friend R came with us to the M Family's FHE. Have I ever told you about the M family. well... let me tell you. They are wonderful people. Sis. D was saying the other day that sis. M is pretty much for sure going to make it to the celetial kingdom. Brother M is a very busy man. He works in trading and doesnt get home many nights until very late. His calling also takes up a considerable amount of time. And even with all of this, he and his wife have a Family Home Evening every monday night, and welcome anyone we invite to come. Sister M makes dinner and cake for 10 or so people, which probably takes a large chunk of her day. They have a date once per week and go to the temple/dinner. Other days, sis M works in the temple or serves in the temple. I mean, this family is such a great example of one that is dedicated to the lord. They are really blessed in their lives and always put the Lord first. Sister M scheduled us to visit and sing to an old woman this week who can no longer speak. We finished up and afterwards we were going to another appointment. We didnt have a lunch but even without knowing this sister m asked if she could buy us lunch. I mean its a small thing but it was a considerably large blessing because we wouldn't have eaten otherwise. She had no idea but because her first priority in life is to help others, thats just what she does. she doesn't think about it she just does it! I am really going to miss them when i leave, especially because i've been going to their home almost every week for over 6 months now, and I'll probably be leaving this area at the end of july.

Also I realized the other day that I only have 4 months left. FOUR MONTHS IS SO SHORT. thats like a blink of an eye! I hope to really go out with a bang! One of the things that has really helped me keep my drive and desire in this work is through prayer and loving the people. I feel like there are definitely people who i love more and trying to figure out how to get to the point of loving everyone like that. Its pretty cool when i care more about the people I'm teaching, and makes the time go by so fast!

Oh a story-

so the other day we were on the train and like we missionaries do i started talking to these students that were standing next to me. There were these two twin boys and a girl headed home from school. they were really nice. then as we got to talking I mentioned that actually our church has a few differences from other christian churches (because here people generally think that if you believe in a christian church its all the same thing). then this guy who was standing kind of behind me turns around and starts yelling at me "A FEW DIFFERENCES????? A HUUUUGE DIFFERENCE! YOU'RE AN EVIL CHURCH!!,," and starts just going OFF on me and how we're evil. The teenagers were obviously freaked out at that point and of course I'm not going to fight him because contention will immediately drive the spirit away, but i just wish i could make him understand. Or at least have a chance to think about it rather than just re-stating what he's probably heard someone else say. I was talking to sister d afterwards, and we were saying that it kind of almost makes it truer that there is that kind of opposition to our religion. Why target a religion that influences people only for good, helps families, communities, and the world become a better place? Even on a basic doctrinal basis, is there anything that leads people to misery, or whose end results are something bad? of course not. The kind of opposition is ludicrous compared to the actual results the religion has in the lives of its people. In my study and my feelings there is nothing that would lead me to disbelieve the testimony that I've recieved. And that testimony is founded on Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and continuing revelation in this day.

Thank you all for the love, support, prayers, letters etc,

Sister Black

june 16 2011

So this week there isn't too much to report, our baptism for this weekend fell through because sis. L (the one that was already in mosiah just a few weeks into hearing the gospel, even though she has zero christian background) feels like she can't pay tithing so doesnt want to do the rest of it since she can't get baptized without being willing to pay tithing. It was pretty rough for me because my feeling was that I had done something wrong. If she had been really building her faith and stuff, she would have made it through this. I committed her over the phone to keep reading and praying even if she doesnt come to church, and she agreed, but doesn't want to meet with us any more.

Sister D and I are doing well, we spent some time this week organizing things since we're dropping a few investigators and now we're just trying to find a way to help the ones we are teaching progress. These past few weeks people have been willing to see us, but haven't really been moving forward with their testimonies or progressing in the commitments they keep.

Sister d and i had an interesting story about scheduling people from this week, i don't know exactly how to describe it and make it as funny as it was, but we had scheduled the aforementioned sister La on saturday at 1pm, and sister La a member of the china hong kong mission presidency's wife was going to fellowship. On thursday we get a call from an unknown number and a sister La tells us she won't be able to make it to saturday's, and so we reschedule her for friday at noon. So assuming this is Investigator La, we then call sister N to fellowship. That night, we are confirming our appointments for the next day, and we have Member La scheduled to fellowship at 5:30 so we confirm.. However the next day, sister La doesn't show up to the appointment at noon. So we call her, and she asks us "isnt the appointment at 530?" we already had lesson with Investigator k and Member La at 530, and we thought this was Investigator La, so we reschedule for 430pm and ask sis N if she can help us later in the day instead. well.. at 430 we return to the church and are sitting there with Sister N and member La. Welllll... so i call that unknown number and a man picks up. President La. his voice is so distinct. . . ANYWAYS we just rescheduled those two wonderful members like five times because we thought it was Investigator la the whole time.

sorry so complicated, but it was pretty funny.

ANyways this is my letter for the week, sorry its so short!

sis black

9 June 2011

Okay so its kind of weird how quick time on the mission is going. I have just over 4 months left... and its WAY too fast. Sis D and I have been so busy this past week and haven't really had much time for anything even studies some days... (which isn't good because e. holland also reminded us to have good studies). We don't live in our area, and our area is huge, so it takes 30 min to 1 hour to even get to our area depending on where we are going, which slowly eats away at our time. We've started to split quite a bit with members (especially saturdays and sundays) and that helps a bit, but still.. a bit of a bother.

In other things, we have met a few really awesome people this week. The other night we had some time when our plans changed, and we were trying to decide whether to stay in and make some calls or go out and go finding. well... naturally we prayed asking for guidance and felt to go out even though it wasn't going to be for very long (like i said, at least 30 min until we're even in our area) so we're riding the train just trying to talk to people and stuff, we'd brought a book of mormon in simplified and one on traditional characters (simplified is what mainlanders read). anyways so we're on the train and this couple is kind of watching us, after the people next to them get off, i go sit down. welllll turns out they dont speak a word of cantonese or understand it. and my mandarin, well its not that great either. I know a few phrases but the only ones i could seem to remember were "i am sister black" and "i know this is true" we kept pointing and trying to talk and communicate and then i showed them the Book of mormon and had the husband start reading the introduction via pointing and gesturing etc. He starts reading, then starts reading 1 nephi, then i show him the pamphlet about moroni's promise, he takes a moment and then we had to go. quickly gave them our number and left. the wife tried to give the book back but then the husband snatched it back. SO funny and so amazing. I have no idea what the effect of that book will be on their lives, but later that night we got a text saying "thank you for the book" It probably would be their only time meeting missionaries in their entire life, and their only opportunity to hear about the Book of Mormon.

I've been talking a lot more about the book of mormon lately, and I've come to realize how INCREDIBLY important that book is. There are so many churches, and its so easy to find out if the book of mormon is true or not. Think about it. . . if you really do your part and read and pray and believe that God will answer you if it is true or not, you'll get an answer. If the book really IS from God, its pretty much the most important thing of all time, because it means that joseph smith really was a prophet and he really did restore Jesus Christ's church. if the book of mormon isnt true however, then really there's no need to read it. BUT... heres the thing, if you dont try reading it and dont try praying, you'll never know if its true or if its not. if its not true, either joseph smith (elementary school education only) is a genius, or its from satan. but pretty sure satan wouldn't give us such good advice. or want us to follow Jesus Christ's example so well. or do so many wonderful things. So my invitation to everyone, whether you've read it or not, is to read moroni ch 10 again or for the first time. think about it. its the very last chapter of the whole book of mormon, and it is amazing. the promise is v.3-5. and if it is true, and you are sincerely wanting to know and willing to act on it if you recieve an answer, God's going to let you know. because he doesnt lie. and he's helped so many people here recieve that answer and most people here don't even really have a christian background. Its amazing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that book. I'd stake my life on it any day.

I know im a bit passionate about that book, but the thing is, it means everything to me. It has blessed my life so much and my family and millions of people around the world. It helps us recieve guidance, it helps us understand the bible, it helps us come closer to Jesus Christ, helps us find truth, answers some of life's most tricky questions. its just basically the most amazing thing ever.

And once again this morning as im writing this, I am feeling so grateful for people in my life. I was thinking about middle & high school, and my exchange student time in the Netherlands with the Vissers family, going off to college, just how blessed I've been with the people I've met and learned from. I know I've been pretty selfish throughout my life, but it was because I just didnt get it! Sorry if I've ever offended any of you. I am soooo so so so so so grateful for all of the people I've met. so thank you everyone. especially my mom, dad and sisters. This gospel is the best thing ever. It has helped our family SO much I can't even explain it with words. my english these days is terrible but what I'm trying to get out is I am really grateful and I can't say it enough!

so yeah, thats how things are. hope everyone is doing well... thanks for the letters and the prayers!

-sis black


June 2 2011

Sorry this week's email might be a bit short... because i am adding pics and because i responded to a couple of other emails.. PLUS we got here late.

This past week has been fantastic. I don't know how else to describe it... fantastic. We've been working so hard and seeing so many miracles. I may share a few if I dont run out of time.

first. B was baptized!! and it was great. She shared her testimony of repentance and how it can effect our lives right after she was baptized. so cool. Anyways, yeah she's doing great.

second. story. a couple of days ago the elders met these two women who came to HK from mainland three years ago. they came the next day for a tour of the church and brought a friend. they all have small children and it was their first time learning about jesus christ when we taught them about church and about Him and why we believe in Him, what he taught us etc. anyways at the end we taught them to pray and two of them tried. it was really cool because we hadnt had a chance to talk about what feeling the Holy Ghost feels like, and the first one, Y, was like "i feel really comfortable and warm and ... " completely describing it. and then the 2nd one, A prayed and she just like started crying and stuff. I mean, they talk about how that happens and they were really feeling the spirit. it was so cool.

In other things, sis d and i are doing well. Today we went to the beach for Pday with almost the whole mission and made a sand castle. which turned into making slc temple + tabernacle, with a moat. and a great and spacious building provided by some elders. definitely a good day.

what else. OH worst thing of the week. triple cheng out. Okay so breakfast we basically had Dim Sum (call it yam cha in the morning) with a member. Dim Sum makes you so full you wish you were dead, just so you are on the same page as me. Then we had an appointment RIGHT after to visit a member's sister who is visiting from mainland. SURPRISE... she had lunch prepared for us, rice and meat and veggies and soup. ok so not bad. i already want to die. now im actually considering it. Then.. we have a few hours of studies, and an appointment that we just made that afternoon to visit A and her mom at 8pm. surely they wouldnt feed us? wrong. more rice, with mushrooms and meat and sausages and eggs... oh man. I thought I was going to die. i know i used the word die a lot in this paragraph, but i cant think of any other way to describe my feelings on tuesday. funny thing though, sis d and i were pretty much out of money on monday already and she prayed that ppl would feed us so we would have stuff to eat. i told her never to pray for that again. babies have way too much faith.

but yes. anyways i am really happy to be here and really excited for the next few months. We have a lot of exciting prospects and are doing a lot of work here in Hong Kong. My time is really getting short and I'm feeling it more and more every day. The weeks are SO FAST. its unbelievable. absolutely unbelievable how fast the time is going.

ok one last quick story... yesterday we ended an appointment late with one pair of elders and we had to rush to another one, a really really important one. we had already told them we'd have to be 15 min late, but surely we couldnt be more than that. but.. God put a philippina member in our path to help us know where to go, and brought the bus just in time to we could catch it. It was incredible. praying and running and then she just turns up like a little angel and is going to the same place as us, on the same bus, at the same time. it was really REALLY cool. The lords hand is in this work. I love Him more than anything. The book of mormon is SO true. this other stuff after this is stuff i wrote earlier. Love you all! take care!

sis black


May 26 2011

YEAH this week was probably the most amazing week of my life on my mission. Why? Because we have been having pretty decent success, really busy, and. .. . Elder Holland came! See this link Well.. so for those of you who don't know how amazing that is, Elder Holland is an apostle. Like Peter James and John. And this past week he came to hong kong and met with us missionaries as part of his schedule. Well this was pretty incredible. He recieves revelation for us. He talked about how we're an obedient mission and there are very few problems, and when he shook our hands he interviewed us because there was no time to individually interview us. Elder Jay E Jensen of the 70 was also there. anywayssss. . for my recap of the day here we go- I was part of the singing group so we got there early, 11am to eat lunch then had practice. we sang a pretty intense version of Joseph Smith's first prayer. Before the fireside at 3, Elder Holland took a pic with the mission. 1st thing that was awesome. he shook sis h's hand because she was in front of me, then finds out she's from palo alto while im shaking his hand. so... after they figure out some connection i get hand shake number 2. okay so that just starts it out all great. since im singing in the choir i sit on the front row.. which will be significant later. but more important than the wheres whos etc. is WHAT he talked to us about. I think I'll just fill you all in on some stuff he talked to us about .. well Jay E Jensen first:

He talked about how if we let the covenants we make work in our lives and really live them, the missionary rules that we live now become guidelines/patterns for our lives. We will continue to arise early, study scriptures, pray always, avoid temptation, etc. The Lord always asks his followers to "arise" we have to move up from the lower level that the world is at and be something better than that. So post mission, we can't just go back down. We have to keep moving upwards and forwards. Pretty true right? yeah.

then Elder holland. Well. he gets down off the stand and just walks back and forth the whole time talking to us with a mic in his hand. He has HUGE love for missionaries, for the Lord, for the Gospel. It means everything to him seriously. He was talking about how when he grew up, his family was less active. He didn't know much about missions or missionary work, but because he went on a mission it changed his life. One of the things he mentioned was similar to E. Jensen. "This is real life... as close to it as you'll get in your life." If we want to have the blessings forever, we have to live it foreever. He talked about our need to step it up and be better. we're obedient and we're doing well, but there's a higher level we have GOT to acheive.

Anwyays in the midst of all this.. he turns to me (walking back and forth the whole time) and intensely says something to this effect "Sister Black, what are YOU going to do to change, to move up? You are going to have to search your little soul. and its going to be hard... What is the savior asking us to do? he's asking us to arise " anyways totally recentered and given some serious counsel by an apostle of the lord. I paraphrased what he said but thats about it what he was telling me. He's so intense and its SO awesome. but now im in the process of searching my soul. He told us right then that we're going to have to work harder, work smarter, have more faith, move up the ladder of miracles, because that's what the lord wants us to do and that's why we're here, because he knows we can. Anyways yes very wonderful day. My life is definitely changed.

So the high expectations are now even more woven into what i need to do. The lord really expects a lot of his missionaries.

In other things, the hike last week was SUPER adventurous. We didnt end up hiking to the top of the mountain but it was WAY better. we met so many cool people just hiking through the mountains.
my favorite was probably F. We talked about joseph smith's experience and taught as we talked. His brother is a member apparently, which rarely happens, esp. meeting int eh mountains. And coolest thing other than that about f? He doesnt have a job, hes like in his 40s or 50s i donno i cant tell how old chinese ppl are still. and he just goes around and paraglides all the time. So theres a pic i included of us with f. Then on the way home we got lost a bit because our map didnt show all the trails we encountered. SO naturally we ask for help right? I'm grateful my companion is funny and quick cause she took the next picture while the shirtless old men (one holding a piece of corn?) helped us out.
about 30 min later we were lost again, and took the wrong turn. both of us felt that way about 5 min after running down the mountain. we prayed and felt like the other way was the right path so we hiked back up and went down. there was no sign that said how long it would take we just had to keep walking trusting that this would lead to civilization (and not out of our area...). well, i'm grateful God was watching out for us because we ended up finding Sha Tin and took a bus back home. The city pic is when we finally were in a little village and could see some buildings. ive never been so relieved to see those cement blocks in my life!

the other pics are just random ones from our hike. and the last one I think is hilarious. its at this store in the Sha Tin mall.. the mall that has the most people walk through it daily compared to any mall in the world. good advertising huh.... hahahaha


THank you for the love prayers letters (even though theyre few and far between these days) and support!!

sis black