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