March 31 2011

Wow I just typed 2010 in the heading... weird. Anyways this past week was a fantastic week and a week of miracles. SO.. since sister La got here we've essentially had to re-start an area from the ground up because sis L and I focused on the other 3 areas out of the six before they split the area. We started with just 2 investigators and a couple of less actives. I can't tell you all the things that have been put together as we've been working hard and doing all we can, but now in just a couple of weeks we have around 14 investigators and 4 with baptismal dates. And this past week has been the most awesome of these few weeks. See, our mission has been focusing a lot on planning and really setting goals with the lord and then planning with Him how He wants you to achieve them. So this past week we started a new move and I also got a copy of this great talk about how to acheive your goals and how to really do what the lord wants you to do. SOoo... basically sis La and I had an amazing planning session and fri-sun worked ourselves *almost* to death. We ended up having some pretty cool experiences like S bringing her mom and her little sister to FHE, a contact wanting to come to church and really accepting what we taught, a family just essentially walking into english class in Ma On Shan, yeah... it was pretty awesome because we were doing all we could just talking to people and calling people and then the Lord provided. When you do your part the Lord isn't going to let you down. Now it is just getting the desire and the faith to do your part thats sometimes the tricky part.

BUUuuuut luckily I'll have some help getting the desire and the help because.... Dun dun DUN... Tuesday night the mission president called (after i was asleep because i always go to be a few min early, and at like 11, our mission is 30 min later than other missions in our schedules) and called me as a trainer for next move! So I get a month now to essentially prepare myself and really step up to become the absolute best missionary I can be before I get to teach a new missionary how its done. :) I'm really excited and really grateful that the Lord trusts me with this responsibility. Yesterday we had to change plans completely so I could attend the leadership training meeting and I learned SO MUCH. Each of the zone leaders and some of the district leaders were asked to give sharings on the new 8 foundation principles, and relate it to planning, as well as share their own miracle story in relation to their sharing. It was really cool because, after knowing these missionaries for a while and serving with many of them (you kind of get that way in the mission when you;'ve served 11 areas....) I can see how their hard work and their faith have allowed the Lord to literally work miracles through them.

So then, for a little miracle story of our own. We are all taught to make plans and goals and stuff... but also an important part of that is that we need to be willing to change those plans when the spirit directs. SO last night after the trainings we came home at like 7ish and had dinner. Sister La had been on exchanges all day teaching (her and the TST sisters covered all our and their appointments, luckily they just bounced back and forth and it worked perfectly) so she was exhausted. I had been in trainings all day so I was also exhausted. After dinner we had planned to make calls and just kind of take it easy but as i was gathering my stuff to go into our office i had the feeling/thought to go finding. But i was like UH NO im seriously so tired right now and we planned to make calls and its already 8:08 and we have to be back by 930 and we'd only have a half hour once we get to one of our areas so there is basically no point. Then one of the elders' miracle stories came into my mind how they left their weekly planning session mid-way because they had a prompting to do so. But i was still like whatever. Then before we started calling we said a prayer right, well the thought came again, finding, sha tin park. kind of like i could just feel myself being drawn to go there... it was so weird. So after the prayer i was like sister La... if i said right now we need to get ready to go and go finding at sha tin are you willing to go? OF COURSE she's the BOMB.COM and said yeah, so we left. seriously praying the whole time I was right about the whole prompting thing...Anyways we talked to a few people and then at the end there was this like 20 year old guy sitting on a bench just sitting in the park. We went and started talking to him, taught him a lesson about the purpose of life, and he's willing to meet us again on saturday night. We only had about 30 min to contact, it was late, but because of the lord leading us we were able to meet him.

I read a talk the other day that was talking about really devoting yourself to the work. If missionaries around the world would truly give their heart might mind and strength to this cause, there are miracles to be seen every single day. So thats my plan, i only have a little bit of time left because sisters' missions are SO SHORT, but I'm going to give it my all and work on trusting the lord to do all I can't. I'm WAY excited to be a trainer because trainees are new and have huge faith and have no idea what mission life is like. If we can both devote ourselves to the work and make our mission meet our personal expectations... there's really no limit to what we can accomplish. SO.. praying that my 'baby' will be a hard worker and quick learner! Ps. Elder d, Elder W, sis Smith and I are all training. Seriously SOOO awesome to be training with them at the same time because they're all missionaries I really look up to. yeeeaaa! But until then I can't wait! Sister La and I are re-doubling our efforts and really pushing ourselves to help this area and these people. I am just so, so grateful.

OK in other news general conference for us isnt until the 9th-10th here because they have to like send the translations here and stuff or something. so.. we'll be watching it in a couple of weeks. I am pretty excited!! It seriously feels like yesterday we had general conference, time is going by so fast. Let me know anything big that happens though!!

Love you all tons!!

Sister Black/Baahk jimuih


March 24 2011

Another week gone by and its the end of the move. Which meant move calls on monday. So it turns out sister L is moving to Tsim Sha Tsui, and sister m is coming out of international. WEeelllll.. it means the end of our reign as queens of tolo harbor, but also welcoming sis m. Then we also lost elder d in our district which means the Sha Tin fun factor just went down about 76% but really.. yeah........

I'm still looooving being companions with sister La, she just loves everyone its kind of ridiculous. We've gotten a few great new investigators in the past week, one 16 year old girl who we met when the elders brought her to english class on saturday. She came to church the next morning and loved it! Which usually no one wakes up for, much less LOVES church on their first time. It was amazing.
But as with every week we also met a bunch of new crazy people. We taught a lady on the street who was pregnant and smoking about the word of wisdom, and then when we told her about not taking drugs she was like... nope i can't not take drugs, especially sad cause she's pregnant! she's crazy and its super sad. anyways such is the life, all us missionaries can do is help one person at a time.

Then there was another girl who couldnt stop talking about anime and japanese stuff and crossplay (?) i think its called... like dressing up like anime characters or something. it was such a strange lesson. she'd like just keep asking us questions like "is it wrong to . . .. " and then something random. Oh well, we'll see her on saturday and see if she can progress. It's funny because like last summer i got that stuff all the time, the lady who thought she was elijah and that everyone was a prophet, or the one who couldnt stop taking pictures during our lesson, or the one who follows the elders around? oh man.. such interesting people here in hong kong.

Last week we had a sisters party out in Kwun Tong and just chilled and ate food and made planner covers. it was awesome, and weird too because i totally didn't feel like i was on the mission for like 4 whole hours. i ate the most delicious indonesian food and it was wonderful..

As for updates on my foot-- i did NOT listen to the chinese doctor and ive been stretching it (he said no), going running (also a no), and we've just taking the street contacting factor down (from like 6 hours a day to probly 2 or 3) and my foot feels a ton better. hmmm... still not 100% but pretty alright.

I also had some good stuff I wanted to share with you all but i left it at home in my notebook on accident... so.. next week? But i do have my book of mormon and Ive been learning so oooooo much from 1 nephi. in ch 17 v 13-14 the lord is telling him that if they keep the commandments they'll be led to the promised land, and they'll KNOW that it is God leading them. but v 14 is like.. its only AFTER they've arrived that they'll really understand how much the lord did for them. true. amen. yes. Its like when you're in the trial its so hard, but afterwards you realize how much the lord really was there for you. Throughout the mission there are trials and challenges, some of them big, most of them smaller, but afterwards its a lot easier to see the blessings from the trials. THen i was also thinking about how sometimes the lord doesn't test you in the ways you want or even expect, but it all helps you in the end.

I was thinking about my life in general and how i tend to start something, get good fast, then as soon as it gets hard i quit and go look for the next thing. Like playing the piano, i never had the perserverance to keep going and practicing. Im SO glad i have the mission so I can learn how to get over that... because when you're doing the Lord's work, you can't quit. Like e. calder said a while back, he doesn't even want to taste lazy. Its true! There is nothing more important in this world then helping other people, whether it be helping them come to christ, be happier, learn, etc. I just have 7 short months left!! I did the math the other day, if I talk to 10 people per day about the gospel, by the end of my mission I will have given over 2000 people the opportunity to have a better, more fulfilling, happier life and eternity. Even though that number is so small in comparison to the millions of people in hong kong, at least maybe some of them will be willing to let Jesus Christ change their life. yeah,, so thats what im thinking.

ps. the summer is coming so people will be more free.. I am SO excited you have no idea. even though it'll be hot and humid and i'll be sweaty and uncomfortable... it is going to be SO AWESOME!!!! no more exams and projects and whatever else keeping them from scheduling us.

anyways the next person is here to email... Hope everything is going well i love you all and miss you!!

sis black

St. Patrick's Day Photos


St. Patrick's Day 2011

Pictures to come later today

Hello Everyone! Happy St. Patrick's day!!! (Yes I still remembered to wear green). This past week was so awesome!! We were able to build up our investigator pool from 2 to 9 this week, which was a huge miracle!!! I'm pretty darn excited about that. Hiking last week was a blast (as you can see from our pictures) we found frogs a little ways down from the waterfall and that of course was fun. Then Friday we had this missionary activity with the Ma On Shan primary (6 kids) and since I know a li'l spanish I taught them how to pray in spanish!!! anyways afterwards they wanted to know some other stuff so i taught a little. There is this one girl her last name is Yu, i dont know if it is the same character as fish but the way to say fish is the same. Then when you say yo soy, it sounds kind of like yauh seui (to go swimming) so they thought that was hilarrrious and she kept going around saying "yo soy hermana yu" and making these fish faces and pretending to swim. yes she's 11 but it was sooo funny. so thats a vid of 2 of the primary kids i told them id send it to my friends who are speaking spanish on their missions and they were really happy about that.

so Friday-Sunday we had a TON of contacting time still, and after a week of being out on the streets all day my feet started to have a ton of pain. THey've been hurting for a while, a month or so, especially when i walk to much or just when i wake up. so I finally talked to the mission president's wife about it and well, she's chinese. she told me to go see a chinese doctor. I dont know how much you all know about chinese medicine, but i pretty much dont believe in it. They like poked my foot a few times and asked if it hurt but wouldnt listen to me when i tried describing what was wrong. Then they heated it up, rubbed some oil on it and put this banana-peelish smelling black goop on it and wrapped it up (see picture). told me to rest and itd be fine. no exercize, and no stretching it. ANYWAYS... they also did the same thing for the boy sitting next to me, who PROBABLY had a broken foot. I'm going to buy some inserts because maybe that will help. my foot still feels the same or worse today ps.

Then the rest of the pictures are.. from the hike; with a frog; a bottle of juice i had with a hilarious explanation... did you know you have a daily recommended amount of goji berry juice? neither did i; then another frog pic. i love being a missionary!!!

Ohhhh but one of the best/worst stories of the week... I've pretty much gone my entire mission without eating anything TOO terribly disgusting. But this past week on monday we had a REALLY painful cheng-out to dim sum. And they ordered so much food for the table. it was with the Tai Wai elders m/d, and me, sis La, and then 4 ward members and one of their helpers. I don't know how much they ordered but it was more than i'd ever eaten in my life i think. included was: Duck webs (yes i have a pic but its on the elders camera), chicken feet, pig feet, cow tendons, and other random meats i dont want to know what it was. and afterwards i was so full i pretty much wanted to die. the thing is they expect you to keep eating until its all gone, but im not a chinese person and do not have a magical stomach. even when we were all suuuper full, sister c kept on like eating more pork buns. it was amazing. i think she had like 3 or 4 extra even. family, when you come to visit, we're definitely going to get dim sum. haha. but i wont make it so painful. oh and i had cow stomach earlier this week too. not terrible but i definitely wouldnt order it myself.

Then miracle of the week- we were calling through people who met the missionaries a long time ago and said they might have interest to learn about the gospel, between 6 mo and 5 years ago. Anyways we called this man J, who agreed to meet with us. We met with him once last week and then again this week to turn him over to the elders. but he's so good. he's reading the book of mormon, has really good questions, and i would say is a really earnest seeker of truth. He's in his 60's and has learned about many religions bits and pieces. But hes like they all say/teach different things, and some of them don't follow what the bible says and he thinks its very confusing. Well J, if youre looking for truth you've come to the right place, that was all i was thinking. yeah... so awesome.

then something that boosted my week as well.. YESTERDAY I GOT A PACKAGE!! yaaay! and a really really good one too!! thank you family! i laughed so hard when i saw the cheese, it still looks like its ok. and the cds, ipod, WONDERFUL! however i dont have a plug-into-the-wall charger for an Ipod and i was wondering if it would be best for you to buy one that plugs into an american plug (i already have converter) then send it to me (or order it online? send to this address?) because otherwise i'll buy one here and then just have to leave it here when im done because htere's no point taking it home. but the music is great thankyou thank you thank you!! and im definitely having a mexican fiesta ASAP.

and please send grandma my happy birthday greetings!!! yaaaa!! i hope she's feeling alright and i love her and am praying for her. Hope she has a good birthday!!!

anyways I gotta go!! i love you lots!!!

thank you so much!

Sis Black

March 10 2011

Sooo.. Today is my older MTC district's year mark... which means in 6 weeks I will have been on my mission for a year, weird, it doesn't feel like its been that long (except every once in a while there are those days...) So.. wow, 7 months to go and I'll be home and back to being a normal person. Its SO short! I feel more than ever the need to work as hard as possible because every day is one less day to share this message with people (full-time).

This week was actually really good, despite the street-contacting for hours and hours per day. Since we have split, this area has essentially no investigators (all were in the other half pretty much). Anyways so this is the 2nd time starting from ground zero. I am grateful for the challenge and that Sister La is here working with me. She has such a positive attitude and I'm learning a lot from her. She joined the church 2 years ago while studying in the US and she's a great person. So overall this week was great. We were able to teach a lot of people on the street, and even though we still have very little numbers-wise to show for it, we are confident in our efforts.

Last friday we taught this recent convert sister W, and her 2 year old son and baby daughter were there too. So halfway through our lesson, the baby starts crying so sis w changes her diaper right? but babies, they sometimes do this, pee mid-diaper change right? Anyways then theres pee all over the bed and the 2 year old is trying to help his mom clean it up and comfort his crying little sister, it was the cutest thing ever but SO funny. I felt bad for sis W though because she's young and has 3 young children to take care of (the oldest is in kindergarten or something). She told us about how her relatives have been trying to convince her that our church is evil and giving her anti-mormon stuff to read. She says she doesnt feel good when they tell her it and she wants us to help her strengthen her faith. We started this week to read the book of mormon with her from the beginning and it was really good. We talked about how important family is and read 1 Ne 1 and how Lehi taught his children to trust God, and followed God himself so he was able to protect his family. There is so much good stuff at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, ok actually the whole thing is good, but since Im studying there myself... its especially fantastic.

I actually was humbled a lot reading 1 nephi 5, because of Sariah's experience. Even though she was following the Prophet, her husband, and going into the wilderness, she still had her doubts and complaints. But why did she have them? Because she misunderstood. "For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness.." She didn't have the faith, trust, or patience to find out the truth that they were safe and the Lord would make good on his promises. Sometimes when I complain about things or am frustrated I think its because of these same things. When the Lord promises us things, he will provide a way for it to be accomplished-- we just have to trust Him. That's huge, because when we trust the lord completely, we dont worry as much, we don't stress or tense, because we know that somehow things will work out.

Other stuff from this week- I know there were a ton of things. Yesterday I met a man on the MTR who was born in the US but hates america and stuff. He started talking to me and was like, I've been wanting to be baptized into your church for years because i know its true but there's no way. See.. since he speaks english he'd be going to the english ward for foreigners, lots of americans that he doesn't want to associate with I guess. It just made me so sad because I can see that his pride and his anger is keeping him from being able to recieve the blessings that God is ready and willing to give him. At the same time though, don't we all do this sometimes? Allow pride to keep us from doing what we should? yeah read this talk... Its pretty much the best most humbling thing ever for me because every single time I read it, I remember, oh yeah, I need to work on this or that.

Good Stuff: I moved down to the bottom bunk, which means I can sleep 10 BILLION times better (haha and so can every one else because without fail I always wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom). But I've also realized something funny about my mind. Sometimes when Im falling asleep or if i wake up, I'm like "Sih-Faahn"ing in my sleep. Basically like role-playing missionary scenarios in my mind. Like in my mind im talking to someone on the street or teaching someone about a gospel principle. Its actually preeetty funny. Kind of how when you play (ok yes im nerdy) DDR for like hours then you can close your eyes and see the little arrows.. i just do this so much i close my eyes or start to sleep and im still doing missionary work haha!!

I've also started to read the book of mormon in chinese- now i don't understand a TON, i can follow what's happening and stuff, but basically its my goal to read it every day and eventually as i learn more characters I'll understand more so by the end of the BOM i'll be able to know all im reading. This is the goal. Im in 1 Ne 11 now in the chinese book of mormon!!

So other than that not much special to report this week, just talking to people all day every day. Last night we had dinner at the mission president's apartment because his son is our Sha Tin ward correlator. So we had a meeting with him after dinner. It was so weird because they like, live in the temple. Not the temple temple part, but it pretty much looks like your in the temple, its so nice, and there is like CARPET? which is so weird because no one here has carpet. Oh dear it was fantastic. I hope we get to go there again,plus his wife is an excellent cook. then the APs and office elders and Sam shui po elders live across the hall in another apartment. Its just so fascinating to me- what would it be like to live across the hall from the mission president?? weird. really, really weird.

I'm still really grateful to be serving a mission and pretty much love hong kong. The work is tough but its fun at the same time, and its the most important work in the world. Maybe we can't change the world, but we can change ourselves for the better and then help other people be better too, and in reality that is the only thing that can change the world right? So be happy and honest and help people.. . :) aka follow Jesus Christ's example, and that's the most important thing!!

Thanks for the love and the support!!

Sis Black/Baahk Jimuih

ps. today we have zone activity! we're going hiking to a waterfall!! woop woop!! and going bike riding afterwards, yup its going to be awwwesome.


March 3 2011

Well this week is bringing a lot of changes! but first: This past week sister L and I have been working pretty hard trying to find new investigators to teach because all of our investigators are pretty much in 2 areas of our 6: Sheung Shui and Tai Po. In a mission where getting 2-3 new investigators per week is what our mission president would like us to achieve, we generally have about 2? Well.. this past week we had 5 and it was absolutely wonderful. we were able to reschedule, finally, some people we've seen before, we were able to start teaching the cuuuutest 7 year old girl ever, J, who her and her mom have been coming to church for 3 years already but the mom's husband doesnt want her (the mom) to get baptized so she isn't but still wants her daughter to. Anyways, it was really awesome to start teaching her. She's super smart and pretty much could teach us everything but whatever ha.
Then we have also continued going on splits this week a lot. Its nice because then we can cover more area and talk to more people, etc. It also gives members more opportunities to help out with missionary work, especially because most of the ppl we are going on splits with are either recently returned missionaries, Young Women, or Young adults who are preparing for missions. This one girl, E, is amazing... she like wants to contact longer and longer like, we needed to head back to meet up with sister L and shes like... wellllll can we just talk to a few more people? Man I hope she comes to hong kong on her mission because she'd be great since a lot of the time we are contacting for hours and hours per day.

Yesterday was probably the most miraculous day... After our lunch appointment with L (a less active who has to work on sundays) we headed to Ma On Shan a bit early to maybe do some calls before our lesson at 330 with a potential new investigator, Mr. Y. Ok... well we get to church and the Mandarin elders are outside, and as soon as we walk up to the door, the mandarins stop these two men probably in their 50s-70s (i cant tell here, seriously) who had interest to learn about our church. we gave them a tour, taught them, and rescheduled them for saturday! Then our Mr Y arrived and we had planned to do a "turn over" lesson with the Sha Tin elders because he lives in that area and as sisters we teach females and the elders teach male investigators. Its basically so we can make sure there are never any problems in the mission with finding fellowshippers and stuff so people can always be taught (but i personally think its also because the hong kong girls love elders and we need to make sure their interest is in the gospel not in the elders, and vice versa). Im actually really grateful anyways because it makes things easier in general for everyone. EXCEPT we didnt know Mr. Y's wife also had interest and he was going to bring her, so we didn't need to turn them over. Either way, i dont care as long as they get a chance to hear about the gospel. So-- another miracle is that had we not turned them over, we would have already had 4 new investigators... in one day. yes life is good in the china hong kong mission.

So for the bigger news, on monday night we found out that sister L and I will be splitting, and I was completely and totally spot on on everything that would change, except i had no idea they'd move the Tsim Sha Tsui sisters out of our apartment. Sister L will have my old companion sister C (the one from tahiti) and my new companion is from Macau. Her name is sister La and she seems really really nice. I haven't been around her too much, but I have good expectations of the next few weeks. We don't know how temporary this will be to be split, because on sunday president attended Tai Wo ward where I was at, and he told me IF we were to split it would be temporary. Anyways.. its awesome to have more sisters in the Tolo Harbor area, but... the tough part- I am going to be working in Sha Tin, Tai Wai, and Ma On Shan. And the other thing is.. . .. we essentially have ZERO investigators in those areas right now (like earlier i said they're all in the sheung shui and tai po areas). Anyways, these next few weeks, we get to start from zero again. But thats ok, with hard work, obedience, and faith we'll be able to get this area going. Also I'm pretty sad because one of my favorite investigators, V, lives in tai po. actually she's probably the funnest/funniest person ive taught on my mission. I just feel like really good friends with her, but now i have to leave. She has a baptismal date on the 3rd of april though, so maybe if they put tolo harbor back together into one companionship at the end of this move i can be there for it! it'd be a miracle!!! no but really v is the bomb. yesterday we taught her about the word of wisdom, which generally goes over really really well here until you mention that Tea is mhdak (not ok) and theyre like ITS SO HEALTHY YOU CRAZY. but v was just like, yeah... i agree with all that stuff. and she's starting to live it this week. Seriously she's so awesome pretty much a member already just needs to get to church. :) Ps I also promised her that if my family comes to Hong Kong to pick me up we'll take her to dinner. yeah because she's that awesome i want you all to meet her.

Another interesting tidbit- so the mission president's home ward is Sha tin, and his daughter recently got home from her mission. Well we found out on sunday that she's pretty much got nothing going on because shes waiting to go back to school at BYU hawaii... sooo.. yesterday I went on splits with her. She's totally awesome its just so interesting like.. hanging out with the mission president's daughter. I donno, hope my example's alright! haha.

So todays plans are: move new companions into the apartment, and then we're going to Korean BBQ because this elder from Taiwan has to go home because the military might need him or something, so he has to stay in Taiwan serving his mission just in case htey need him. Sad!! he's like one of the most awesome mandarin elders too. Ah well, sometimes things in life dont turn out as we expect.

Ok interesting insight from my studies this week: I finished the book of mormon for the 2nd time on my mission and have decided to read it through one more time before i go home next october but this time much more thoroughly. I got a hardcover copy of the BOM and im making notes and writing in stuff as I go. So pretty much first nephi 1 and 2 are so full of stuff!!! Missionary application: Thinking about the How To Begin Teaching points from PMG, if you read the first 3 verses, nephi like does some of the stuff. anyways its kind of cool. And i was thinking about lehi from a missionary standpoint as well.. so he's already like serving and stuff, and then he gets his call to step up and do something a little different: aka leave jerusalem and go to a new area. It is as he is serving and doing what he needs to do that he recieves this and then chapter 2 v 2-4 as soon as the lord calls him, he is obedient. he leaves it all behind, because im sure thoughtout his life hes had experiences that have lead him to trust the lord. When we learn to trust him, and we continue to follow his guidance, seriously... we may have problems but we know we're doing the right thing. I just love the scriptures!! so many awesome examples. sorry this is kind of all over the place but maybe i can write my thougths out better next week... . because as of now i have 30 sec left. ok love you all!! theres a lady waitihng,. bye!

sis black

Feb 24 2011

This week was pretty alright, we spent a TON of hours out on the streets trying to talk to people, going on splits so we can get more done, and had a several appointments fall through. The weather has been pretty nasty and not many people are out and about, but even with this, we were able to finally pick it up in the last few days and meet a few really great people. My favorite is probably this girl H, who is Hong Kong people but went to high school in New Zealand and is now studying aviation in Australia. Yeah, she's going to become a pilot. and suuper nice, and best of all she was like, sure! I'd like to learn about your church! aaand then we found out she's going back to Australia (after being here for 3 months already) on satuday. Anyways she was way nice. We also met a girl from Peru a few weeks ago, but she's heading back and wants missionaries to visit her there! hmmm.. what else.. oh yeah, I feel like an eighty year old woman right now. These past few days its like my body is completely falling apart. my feet, knees arms head, everything has been aching and stuff. I mean walking around for 12 hours per day is bound to do something to us right? Hopefully it won't persist though, because I still have a long ways to go and a lot of things yet to accomplish.

Also I'm glad granddads funeral was nice. I wish I could have been here. I've been praying for you all a lot.

So there are 7 native missionaries coming into the mission next week, which is halfway through the move. Which means... things could potentially change for my companion and I next week! I have loved serving with sister L and could definitely continue for a while with her, however, for her sake I think itd be good for her to go senior and have that responsibility to keep helping her move forward. And sometimes i'm pretty sure she gets sick of me haha. But being 24/7 with someone that's bound to happen right? eh anyways, it'd also be nice to have at least one more person out here in tolo harbor, a tri-panionship would be good especially for sundays. but if they had 2 companionships? woah it'd be awesome. Speculation aside, i'm fine with whatever the Lord has in store for me, I've learned enough that even when we're in the toughest times we can learn stuff and it will benefit us if we choose to let it.

K so as to what I've been studying this week, I've been trying to find ways to help me and sister L stay motivated because I will NOT accept being lazy as a missionary. Theres no time to waste, seriously. Anyways... some interesting stuff i read from the life of Heber J. Grant... He said "I believe unless we have ambition to accomplish things and to do things that we amount to but very little in the battle of life. I know of nothing at the present time that seems to me sadder than to find the number of our people who are losing the spirit of integrity and devotion and ambition to do things. It seems to me all wrong. Every individual should have a desire to grow and increase in capacity and in ability to do things. Certainly by mere exertion of the will, by mere desire, we accomplish nothing. We must put with that desire the labor to accomplish the things we desire. I am convinced that every individual can improve from day to day, from year to year, and have greater capacity to do things as the years come and the years go."

I know thats kind of long, but I really like it. In sunday school last week or some weeks ago or something, I remember the teacher talking about how as we use our agency to follow God's commandments, we have increased agency. If we have choice A and choice B, and god commands us to choose "A" he already knows that A will lead to a better life and more opportunities for growth. So when people look at commandments as things to block us or stop us or tie us down, that's totally wrong. Example- smoking. It is part of the word of wisdom to not smoke. At the time God gave us this commandment, people didnt know smoking was bad for their health and could give them cancer etc. But God knew and gave us the commandment not to, because he already knows where smoking leads- an addiction and eventually death. So if we choose to follow that commandment, it leads us to a healthier, happier life, right? When we can see little by little each commandment helps us out, it makes it easier and easier to keep them. Sorry about this commandments vs. agency tangent, but I'm really grateful for agency- our ability to choose for ourselves. Because we have this ability, we CAN change every day, we CAN choose who we're going to be, where we want to go. Yes sometimes this means others choose to do things that effect us, but we can choose how to react right? we can choose whether we want to just lay aside and roll down the hill, or if we want to climb, step by step, to the top of the mountain. And when we stumble, we can choose not to give up, but just pick ourselves up and keep trying. yeah agency is aweeeesome!

Another quote I like from my studies this week... "Every kind word spoken gives you greater ability to speak another" (also heber j grant) because when you help someone, you learn how to comfort someone or lift someone, you can do it more in the future. yup. ok so I'm not out of time this week buuuuutttt i am out of things to say. so I'm praying for you, I'm grateful for you all. and I'm just trying to keep working hard and remember what's most important.


Love you all!

Sister Black/Baahk jimuih.

February 17 2011

So this past week has been really great, I don't remember what all was from the week before or from last week, but I'll try to fill you all in as best as possible. We've had a lot of time to go talk to people on the street this week, which hasn't been particularly effective since the weather turned cold and people are mdakhaahn (busy, pretty much what everyone says to us). S, a girl i taught last fall, was baptized in Tuen Mun last sunday. She is pretty much amazing. She is from hong kong but studied at cornell, suuuper sharp girl and always had the best questions. She had some challenges to overcome before she could be baptized but she changed her life and is happier and blessed for it. So way to go S!!! Anyways, I'm kind of drawing a blank as to what has happened in the past week, because its all a blur. We study, talk to people, teach lessons, eat, teach some more or call people who've told us they have interest to meet with us, and then we sleep. Seriously. Its the life... 7am-11pm every single day we're going going going. But it's the best. I donno how else to describe it. I had a dream the other night I was back at BYU and starting school the day after I got home from my mission and I was super sad I couldn't be in Hong Kong talking to people who reject my message! ha! Even though every day has new challenges, every day has new blessings too. We just have to look for them!

So I's mom got sick and had to go to the doctors on sunday so she didn't make it to church, but its fine, her testimony is still strong. Her best friend M just left to serve a mission and is in the philippines MTC right now, so she's super sad about that but is still holding strong to the things she knows. We met with her last night and read parts of Joseph Smith-History together about his experience and what led him to the point to actually ask God which church was right. To summarize, he saw a lot of churches, he attended a lot, and he had a really strong desire to do what was right and follow Jesus Christ. He did his searching in a trustworthy source- the Bible, and learned that if we ask we'll recieve, if we lack wisdom, God will give it to us but we need to ask. Trusting in that knowledge, Joseph asked in faith and recieved his answer. We may have challenges in finding answers to our prayers or our questions, but through Joseph Smith's experience we can learn that if we do our part, God will ALWAYS answer. It may not be in the way we expect, it may be through small experiences or little feelings like "yeah that seems like a good idea" and it may change the outcome of our lives. If there is anything I've learned on my mission, it is that there is a God, he is mindful of all of his children on earth, and that if we seek Him and His guidance, it will be given, but we have to do our part too.

I'm also learning what I feel is most important in this life. Have you ever thought about universal values people across cultures and continents hold? Family is important, helping people is important, treating others well, etc. Killing is wrong, abuse, stealing, etc. Why are these so intwined with who we are? Because relationships are central to who we are as people, and central to God's plan for us. We are all His children, we can develop our relationship with Him through prayer and scriptures. We have family relationships with each other to help us learn and grow, give us joy and peace and comfort. We have the human family where we also can support each other by being kind, by lifting each other. Think of a world without these relationships, and what would it be like? it would be nothing. We all need these relationships whether we know it or not, and each of these relationships can help us have more joy in this life. We met a woman this week who has fought cancer over the past 10 years. She never considered getting married because she couldnt have children with the medicines she was on, and whether she would live or die was uncertain. However, she still recognizes the importance of family. She helps her niece every day and has kept a close relationship with her younger sister. Why? Because we all have an inherent, original need for family relationships. I am so grateful for my family. I'm grateful for the blessing that the gospel has been in our lives. I know that we can an eternal family because it is part of God's plan for us if we will choose to follow His Son's example. I know that the family unit is a blessing from God, and if we respect that blessing and work to keep family relationships strong, we will be able to see how huge of a blessing families really are. If we work to help other people around us too we will understand how much of a blessing the human family is. And if we work to develop a relationship with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, if we love them and respect them enough to follow the guidance they have given us, we will also understand how huge of a blessing it is to know them. I know Jesus Christ is my savior. I know that he gave us a perfect example of how to treat others, how to be happy, how to live. We can learn about this in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. Through His life and His works he showed us the way. Have you ever met someone who truly strives to follow Jesus Christ in their actions, words, and thoughts that isn't happy, who doesn't have joy in their life? Of course not. When we seek after Him, we'll find. Like Joseph Smith-- if we search Him out, if we ask him, if we strive to follow his example, we'll find Him. I have no question in my mind about this because I've seen it, one little experience at a time.

And that's what life is all about too, each little experience. Each little choice. They all matter in the end. :) I hope you all are doing well. Thank you so much for the support and the help you all have been in my life. every little experience is a piece of our lifelong puzzle. They all fit in in the end. So thanks for all the puzzle pieces!


Sister Black

Feb 10 2011

I know I wrote just 3 days ago, but I'll write a little more in detail. Chinese New year was awesome except for the fact that everyone was either in the Mainland, or unavailable to see us. My favorite part about missionary work is the actual teaching and helping people understand who God is and how we can develop a relationship with him, etc etc etc. Anyways so while it was sad we didn't get to do that, we DID however, have a mission activity to Big Buddha. We all met up in Tung Chung (close to where the HK airport is) and took these gondola (?) things up the mountain.. liek those hangy things that have glass windows so you can see out, kind of like a ski lift, whatever those are called. Anyways Sis L and I got separated because I was in line before her and she didn't fit on mine, so I ended up riding up with a bunch of other sisters and 2 elders. At the top, we walked through this little tourist village full of shops and stuff until we got to BIG BUDDHA! Its HUGE! haha and on top of a mountain amid other mountains (not the highest one in the area, but still, top of a mtn..) And after wandering around the buddha for a while we all went back down to the village near all the buddhist temples and had a vegetarian lunch. Lots of veggies, lots of tofu, and mom, you would be amazed to know i took seconds of mushrooms of my own free will and choice, because they were actually pretty good.

Then we went down to this other village, like a fishing village and had a boat ride for an attempt to see pink dolphins. the group 2x before us saw them, but we didnt :( thats okay though, they got to see them which is cool. so we do know that pink dophins DO exist.

Sunday I was baptized and it was awesome. I really was super stresed because she had been in the mainland and had gotten sick so we didnt know if she'd make it to her own baptism, but she came!! and it was fantastic. The spirit was really strong and I could just feel the love of the ward members welcoming her. I am learning a lot more about how to treat each other and how to better help others, because honestly everyone needs a friend. Whoever thinks they don't,,, well .. i beg to differ.

anyways, so this week started a bit slow, but tuesday was awesome. First off, we had a bike riding activity that the Kwun Tong ward organized but would be in our area, so they invited us if we had any investigators who wanted to come. Basically we have a hard time finding people to come to activities last minute, but this time... 5 investigators came, 1 recent convert, and 2 members. It was amazing! I got pretty sunburnt because it was the first warm day we've had in a while, aka the first time ive seen the sun in a long time haha. No but really, its usually hazy and overcast ish but never rains. at least at this time of the year. but these past few days... beeaautiful! then afterwards we had a lesson with v. weve been teaching her for a while now, and she comes to english class. anyways she's pretty much one of my favorite people EVER. and this week she chose to accept a baptismal date to work towards. I am so excited for her and she said she'll start coming to church on sunday. After V's lesson was moves calls, and Sis L and I found out we are both staying (YAY!) Which is good. Yesterday we were talking about how we can help ourselves work harder and harder every single day, and we decided to focus on the day. every morning if we go out with the attitude that this is the hardest we're going to ever work on our missions, just for today, we'll probably work harder. Sooooo we tried it yesterday! and miracles happen with faith and hard work! It was such a good day and then in the evening I and M chenged us out for dinner at a japanese restaurant in Sheung Shui. We talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost and what I should expect and how she can little by little learn how to recognize promptings etc. But at the same time how huge of a gift it really is.

Speaking of which, I've really been working on recognizing the spirit and learning about personal revelation. It's fascinating and something that can really help us grow in knowledge and in faith if we do our part. I was thinking about my personal testimony, and how much a lot of the time I have these urges to kind of like, prove the book of mormon right. Like there is all this evidence: the fact that Joseph smith couldnt have written it because he had a 3rd grade education and there is chiasmus and ancient writing styles in the book of mormon that people didnt even know about when he was around, or the fact that a place name from the Book of mormon, Nahom, was found in the middle east around where Nephi and his family would have been at the time, or the fact that the book of mormon was completely translated in such a short time, etc etc. I always want to be like SEE! its just so obvious! But in fact the most important thing about finding truth is inevitably the Holy Ghost. Because the Holy Ghost's responsibility is to testify of truth, to comfort, to guide, etc. So when I really think about why I believe in this book, as extraordinary as the story of how is came to us in modern times, and as much physical evidence I can think of, all things taken into account, the reason I know the Book of Mormon is a true book from God is that I've read it, I've studied it, I've applied the principles in my life, and I have felt the Lord teaching me through the spirit when I read it. My eyes are opened to new information and new ways to apply the gospel in my life each time I read. I can feel that it is true, and that is more convincing to me than the fact that I can, in my mind, also reason that it is true. And because I know it's true it changes my life. I hope everyone who has this gospel and who has had a chance to learn of the book of mormon can understand what a precious gift it is in our lives. Because it is absolutely wonderful. It testifies of Christ, of the love of God and how fair he is to his children. It helps us learn from the challenges of prophets and people from a long time ago, and also from their blessings. It helps us recognize how we can be happier and have more peace in our lives. Seriously, Book of Mormon = huuuge!

anyways, that's my thought for the week. I love you all and am so grateful for you and your support. My mission feels like its just flying by, i have just over 8 months left... anyways, everyone keep helping other people and showing your example of how you choose to follow jesus christ. It's so important, and our lives are so much better when we are helping and supporting others.


Sister Black/ Baahk jimuih

Happy Chinese New Year! Feb 7 2011

So there are like a billion pictures i want to send. sorry im so late in emailing this week... essentially hong kong shuts down for 3 days for chinese new year so we couldnt email last week. We had mission conference on wednesday, then went to see big buddha on thursday and to try to see some pink dolphins. we didnt see any pink dolphins but we got a boat ride out of it on the sea so that was A-okay with me.

This week was really fun. a lot of people had us over for dinner, and on saturday before last we had a huge lesson with I. At first we weren't sure if she had completely quit smoking, but turns out she had and she was ready for baptism. ANNND... drumrolll... I was baptized on sunday!! it was so awesome. she was super sick and had jsut gotten back to the mainland, but made it back in time for her baptism. I also made tong seui (sweet water) or this like sweet soup stuff. and im so chinese. i put in white fungus, and dried bean curd skin and egg. it was so yummy. anyways.

ok so i'll write more in depth on thursday when i email again. im doing well i love you all and i have a quote for you from president monson "along your pathway of life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. there are others who need your help. there are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire and souls to save"

yes. i love being a missionary. i love you all so much! thanks for your examples an dyour love!!

sis black