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


May 19 2011

Hello again!

This email will probably be pretty short. I dont remember what pics i sent but that movie should be from our almost-in-mainland experience.

Okay so this week was absolutely amazing. Sister D is learning SO fast and she's just go go go and has a ton of energy. I really feed off the energy of others too so working together is great. Elder Holland and Elder Bednar are coming this week, tuesday holland will speak to us missionaries, and wednesday bednar has stuff for the youth and young single adults. I'm pretty excited for elder holland to just rip us to shreds and then build us up into better missionaries. Thankfully sister D and I are working hard. :) We've had some pretty amazing stuff happen this week, like last saturday night there was a wedding reception. This guy who served in hk married a girl from Ma On Shan ward. Since the mom invited us like FIFTY times to go we finally decided to take our dinner hour and attend. Well, it turned out WAY good because we walked in and sat down in the back next to this young chinese guy, mid twenties probably. Anyways turns out he met the groom while doing study abroad at the U of U, he'd been to temple square and to church a couple times but never in hong kong. It was pretty miraculous because sister d was able to share some scriptures and the spirit was there, anyways... so good. We've just had a ton of people kind of plop right down into our laps, even though we've all of the sudden become so busy and dont have time for finding much, the Lord just keeps puttin people in our path. I'm SO grateful for heavenly father.. he takes such good care of his children. Even when things are hard, if we trust him and keep movin forward it all works out in the end.

This past weekend we went and sang at an old folks home with the Tai Wai ward, and sister d met s, a member's daughter who isn't a member. Well... she LOVED sister d so we scheduled her to meet us on tuesday and make muddy buddies. then she brings her friend j... and well, j is having some major family problems and wants to meet with us. I think she's just a pretty confused teenager, and the gospel can really change her life if she'll let it. Its pretty exciting for people to want to meet with us, because mostly people are too busy. You know the lord is helping you out when all the sudden people just pop out of the woodwork.

I was thinking about that the other day as far as missionary work goes. You compare the sons of mosiah's mission with ammon's. they all ended up having HUGE success, but ammons was after a bit of trial, then BAM. the sons of mosiah were put in prison, starved, had all sorts of bad stuff, and zero success for a really reallly long time. does that make them not as good missionaries? no. because some people have different challenges and levels of success in real life, does that make them any more or less? no. Ive really seen my individual challenges and blessings as something tailor-made to help me out. Like having un-motivated companions... i had to learn to push on even though its easier to just give in and be lazy. like being a trainer, i have a responsibility that is pushing me to be even better than I ever have been as a missionary before. I have more faith now, more trust in the lord, more motivation. and because of these things, we are LOVING the work. Every day we end and say, seriously... today was the best day EVER. and the best part is that we mean it. If we learn to love the work, enjoy talking to people, just have a good time and let rejection and awkwardness roll off us, missionary work is the best thing ever. pps. so you know how ive been in taiwai shatin maonshan for over 5 months already, well bishop m is like... yeah we dont want you to leave after you train... so he said he's going to ask president if i can stay till i die! hahaha... it was pretty funny. I wonder if i will get to stay here for the rest of my mission. I would be totally and completely one hundred percent happy with that. this is a great area and i feel blessed that the lord has given me the opportunity to see it go from nothing to somethin great so fast! yay!

okay anyways probably a bit over-enthusiastic, but its just things are so good. I am so grateful for parents that helped me go on a mission, for the examples they've been in my life, for my sisters, for church leaders and friends who have helped me. Im so grateful for a living prophet who has lived his life in such a way to give us a very close example of how to follow jesus christ. That's really all i want to do, follow jesus christ and find joy in the journey.

Love you all!! take care and thank you for the prayers. i wouldnt be where i am without them!

sis black



Hello Family!

How are you all? This week was so fantastic. We have had a lot of pretty cool experiences- I think having a trainee does that to you... the faith, energy, everything is just there! so we've talked to a ton of people and started seeing a few more. last weekend A got baptized! it was pretty stressful because as a sometimes(rarely?)-not-thinking-things-through missionary, i didnt check the church for baptismal clothing the day before- and there wasnt enough. luckily the person baptizing the 2nd person was willing to just wear his church shirt even though he didnt have a second change (he was planning on wearing the white one A is wearing). Anyways. it was great and both she and her mom are now members and they're awesome!! YEAH so being a missionary is awesome and its way hot and humid these days but im loving it. we went hiking today to where we can see schenzen (sp? i donno). and now im tired and just trying to rehydrate. we're a bit late emailing today because we were late to the hike. This morning we planned to meet at 730 to go hike as a zone, but 4 missionaries left early, and took a bus to a wrong place, then hiked there. well they're halfway up their mountain when we realize that we've also taken the wrong bus, but didnt start hiking because the last 4 people (the ones who were late?) they took the right bus. Anyways an hour and a half later than planned we finally started and it was so much fun but SO HOT. i definitely should have packed more water. sis la was cranky because she hadn't eaten dinner, which was HILARIOUS because she was snapping (and when sis la snaps its like jokingly poking fun?) at all the elders and they would poke fun right back.

Sis D is great. we get along well (so far haha) and work well together. her language is already pretty good, and she really wants to just get out there and work. Back a few weeks ago sis la and i started talking to this man Mr C, and he wants us to help his kid learn english. because his son, r (age 4) is so crazy, we've now decided to team-teach the family. sis d and i will help r learn creatively (because he's got a ton of energy. thats the best way to say it) and the elders are teaching mr C.
We kept role playing the vocab words he needed to learn which were completely random- Van, X-Ray, Lamb, Rain, etc. and then he started telling us that we needed to be quiet because the "angry cow" was coming to get us. obviously we took the "van" and drove away as quickly as possible. So fun.

One thing that was great for us this week is one day we were heading to ma on Shan and this lady calls us. She saw a poster on our church for our free english class and she wants to go to church, right? well she's come to the right place! we couldnt go to ma on shan on sunday but members told us she came and had a great time. we're seeing her on saturday!!! :) I'm really excited to actually meet her in person. I love being a missionary. It is a crazy time and my body is completely falling apart, but it is a really exciting to see more and more every day the way the lord works with his children, and see him help us. Just keep praying, keep doing the little things with a sincere heart, and it all works out. Everything works out. Just trust in the Lord and there's nothing else really TO worry about because the big things will be taken care of.

ps i saw there was an earthquake in spain on the MTR... how big was it? effects? theres preachers all over international here that say may 21 the world will end.. ha. dont think so. but reading their pamphletry is pretty entertaining.

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! thanks for the love/prayers/support/letters/etc

sis black


Cinco de Mayo 2011

Well I thought I was called cantonese speaking, but for some reason this past week has just been filled with spanish!! a peruvian less active i had to write a note to in spanish, a potential spanish class starting up, and then Cinco de Mayo! so fun! haha. I love being a missionary. This week was pretty different. We had 2 missionaries in our district "dying" (going home) and so everyone wanted to cheng us out. EVERYONE. no joke. we had so many meal appointments it was hard to get missionary work in, and then hard to move afterwards too. But sis La and I successfully made it through the week and she doesnt have to put up with me as a companion any more (which i will really miss actually...) but thats okay because... MOVES was today. and as we already know I've become a trainer. and even more hilarious is that my companion's chinese last name is also baahk, and she was in the same ward as me at BYU right before I left on my mission. the world is a really REALLY small place. So far its going well, even though its been a few hours only. Her chinese is rockin and she understands a lot. We had singing practice for when elder Holland comes and since our sopranos are struggling and she sang in women's chorus at BYU she's going to be singing with us. Its so funny because seriously like mirrors some of my experiences all over. sis e was in that same ward but the year before i was in it at byu, then the day i got to hong kong, she was practicing singing for an apostle to come and i joined in. its just funny. I'm really excited to start serving with her because she seems great and ready to work. Even more than I have stepped it up before I need to step it up now and i'm so excited, though a bit worried since well... im still so imperfect. We've got a lot of things lined up for this weekend which should be good, and next week is zone conference.

As for the missionary work part of things, A is scheduled to be baptized next sunday which is super exciting, especially since its mothers day and her mom just got baptized 2 weeks ago. Then N's cousin b has a date for the 22nd. however, before the giving of the date, we didnt know n's bff / bff's little sister are also scheduled for that day. so.... since they're like forever away, it could be a slight problem. BUT we'll figure that out later :) I'm just happy they are all SO AWESOME. we had our my conversion fireside on sunday and there were so many people there! like the chapel was almost full. And afterwards we took pictures and talked with our investigators etc. so great.

Oh another great thing that happened this week is that our washing machine broke. so we have to wash stuff by hand. I've never been so grateful for washing machines in my entire life. THEY ARE SO AWESOME. and a huge blessing. i realize how easy life is as a missionary in hong kong sometimes, like we have beds (hard as they might be) and real toilets (even though they're a little broken) and washing machines. oh dear wonderful washing machines. so everyone, when you're thinking of what to be grateful for, dont forget washing machines. they help us out so much. yeah.

Another interesting thing about my new comp is that she can't eat wheat. Which is fantastic because we'll probably be eating at home now more (aka healthier), and she also likes to run. she's probably got a lot more energy since she's so new, so i plan on utilizing that in the work. I'm super grateful for her already. yeaaah. and i have nothing else to say. life is so good. being a missionary is the best ever.

thanks for the support!!

sis black