Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 27, 2015

We had a great week that culminated in another baptism.  Our font is going to have people every week for the next couple weeks, which is great.  I confirmed the two members from last week’s baptisms in Church on Sunday in front of everyone in Sacrament meeting.  I did one in Chinese and one in English.  Only about 15 people in the congregation understood my Chinese though (not because it's that terrible though!).  It was a great feeling when I said, "receive the Holy Ghost" - felt like electricity pulsating through me.  

I'm sad to leave this area because it's been so fruitful.  There's so much work to be done! Hopefully I can continue that energy in my next area - that will have a lot more Chinese people!  

We got to visit the Temple in Redlands this past week as well.  It's always a great experience to sit in the Temple dressed in all white and just ponder - very peaceful, very calming.

As I've said many MANY times, one of the perks of teaching Chinese people is being able to eat at their houses.  I had a very delicious, very filling dinner at some of our investigators from Qinghai.  Too bad I'll miss their homemade noodles next time they feed the missionaries!

Si Li, one of the recent converts from last week, took the SAT on Saturday.  I had been working with him a ton to help him improve his score.  I now know what my mom felt like during the lead up to and on the day of my SAT.  I was more stressed than he was!  Thanks mom!

I got transferred, so my new address is:

Elder Jacob Calvin Dyer
5615 Daybreak Dr. Apt G
Mira Loma, CA 91752 

There’re tons of horses in this area... not a fan.  I'm a district leader now too - so more responsibility - It'll be fun though!

Big group at church

Elders Dyer and Schoonmaker at Redlands temple

Elder Dyer at Redlands temple

Temple perspective

With family from Qinghai

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 20, 2015

It was a stressful but rewarding week.  We had two baptisms, L. and M.  We were so tired after such a long week full of so many lessons, that after church on Sunday, we decided to take a quick nap.  When we woke up, it was 4:40 pm.  The baptism was supposed to start at 5 pm!  We didn't have a ride, and had to pick up L. 

Luckily, one of the members going there was close by so we were able to make it, a little flustered and a little late.  Our mission president was there too, because he had helped teach L. before.  Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience. 

I baptized M., while we had a recent convert baptize L.  I said the baptismal prayer in Chinese and forgot to tell M. to hold her nose as she went in the water.  When we got out and out of the baptismal font, she started screaming at me.  It was interesting.  But the most important part was she got baptized!

I've noticed that service unlocks a lot as a missionary, and just as a person.  When we show compassion and love for investigators, they're more likely to "come and see" the benefits of religion (they're mostly atheist) and realize that this gospel can help them in their lives.

When we were in a lesson, and were teaching an investigator how to pray.  We said, we say “amen” at the end to say we agree.  Later on in the lesson, she said "amen" to something we said.  It was very funny, because she was seriously saying she agreed and thought the best way was to say "amen."

I find my sentence patterns changing as I speak Chinese more.  I'm putting the subject at the start more frequently when I speak English now.  It's still grammatically correct, but it just sounds very Chinese.

One of our investigators brought up an interesting idea about "hearing" versus "listening."  He wanted to know the difference between the two.  I told him to hear is to have it register in your ears, you "hear" the sounds, but to listen is to hear and think about what you heard.  It's more of an active hearing where you more than just hear sounds, you understand what the person is saying.  After this brief explanation, the investigator said, "so God listens."  I said yes he listens because He can respond to our prayers and our communication with Him.

Sometimes it's hard seeing investigators sacrificing so much to be baptized.  One of our investigators has moved out and stopped drinking to be baptized.  He is getting a ton of flack from his friends for not drinking with them, and to put it simply, they're just being mean.  I'm so thankful for all my wonderful friends who didn't judge me for my decisions and never pressured me! Love all of you so much!

I will most likely be transferred this upcoming week, so all letters and packages should go to:

Elder Jacob Dyer
5900 Grand Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504

Until I know where my new address is.

Preparing for the baptism of several investigators

At the baptismal meeting

Teaching Chinese kids the names of colors in English using pool balls

Elder Dyer with baptized investigator

Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 12, 2015

I got my first baptism this week! It was from my last ward, but it was so cool to see someone I taught dressed in white getting baptized! Exciting preparation for the next two weeks.  We have three people getting baptized this upcoming Sunday, and two people the week after.  I'm excited.  All the time teaching and stressing over their progression is ending in baptisms! 

We still spend a lot of time finding new people though!  Last week, we had an older couple come to English class.  They're from Shanghai and have lived in the US for around five years, but don't really speak any English.  I had to work hard and exercise a lot of patience to improve their conversational Chinese.  At the end, when we shared our spiritual thought, they asked, why did they kill Jesus even though he was such a good person?  Very good question!  Jesus Christ taught it how it is, not how we want to hear it.  Sometimes people don't like loving their neighbor, but that's still the right thing to do.

Last week, we got stressed because one of our investigators didn't want to meet with us.  She was on date for [baptism on] the 18th of January and said she didn't have time.  I told her she had to work to prepare for the date, and she said she had already decided she wanted to be baptized, she just had tons of work.  That was a relief! I thought she was "dropping" us!  She passed her baptismal interview though! Can't wait for next week! 

One of our investigators, who's getting baptized on the 18th, is preparing for the SAT.  I've been working with him just about every day, helping him prepare.  It's like deja vu! Brings me back to high school.  He's going to get a high score though, God's going to bless him for making this decision to be baptized.  

Every week, we try to get as many people as possible to come to church.  Yesterday on Sunday, two of our people didn't come because their ride never showed up.  As frustrating as it was, I left sacrament meeting to go pick them up.  We do all we can in our power to help these people come closer to God.  It's hard work, but it's beautiful to see the fruits of your labors.

Elder Dyer steams Xiaolongbao dumplings

Xiaolongbao dumplings in process

Elder Dyer and his new Christmas gift ukulele

Friday, January 9, 2015

January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!  May this next year be full of fun memories and amazing experiences! 

This past week was hard work.  Elder Schoonmaker and I taught a record amount of lessons for us while finding a ton of new people to teach!  I was physically pretty beat.  Missionary work is tiring, but fulfilling at the same time!

One of the highlights of the week was an impromptu dumpling making party among us missionaries and the Chinese investigators/members in the area.  By impromptu I mean we organized it on the 31st and had it on the 1st. 

It was so fun!  I got to practice making "jiao zi" with my hands.  It's pretty hard to make them look really pretty.  At least I got a "hen bu cuo" ("not bad") from the lady teaching us.  Got to thank the Aunties for that!

One of the interesting things a recent convert said about God, is that God is a speaking God, not a closed mouth God (literal translation).  It's true though!  He talks to us, through feelings, through scripture, through a Prophet.  But you can talk to him too!  Just pray and ask a question, try it!

We brought this 11 year old member from a Spanish ward out with us to teach some lessons.  He really wants to learn Chinese so he likes to work with us.  It was funny, after explaining some principle to our investigator.  He said, "you understand it's true right?" It's amazing the faith of young people.

Today for our Zone's p-day activity, we hiked Mt. Rubidoux to watch the sunrise.  Had to get out of bed early, but it was really fun.  We got to enjoy the sun rising under a huge cross and a very large American flag.  Church and state – yay.  Got some very patriotic pictures though!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, have a great 2015.  My "black-out" year has started! (that means the year you don't see your family at all)

Holiday dumpling party group

Dumpling assembly line

It takes concentration to make nice dumplings

Finished product samples (thanks Aunties for training me well)

Mixing the dumpling meat filling

With some church member friends on their moving day

Holiday socks

Sunrise over Mt. Rubidoux

So patriotic

More sunrise over Mt. Rubidoux

Big cross on Mt. Rubidoux