25 August 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

okay so last story of the week:

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

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

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

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

Thank you all for the love, prayers, everything.

Sis Black


17 August 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sister Black


Thank you Australian Postal Service... August 4 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sis black