Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 25, 2015

Great week, with another baptism.  Unfortunately there were only about eight people there.  All of our members had other stuff to do.  It was very intimate though.  He shared his testimony about how he found the missionaries.  Elder Murray found him.  He was driving somewhere and had on the wrong shoes, so after five minutes, he came back and ran into missionaries.  Destiny!!!  Elder Zeng and I ended up having to prepare some snacks, so we made cookies! Fun stuff.

We helped a recent convert translate as he was buying a new car.  It started smooth, he'd say something and we'd translate, but apparently the salesman was taking too long to give him the OTD (out the door price - did not know what that meant until this last week) so he decided to forgo the translation and say the price he wanted OTD or no, so he ended up walking out.  

Our Mission President challenged us to read the Book of Mormon while highlighting pretty much everything that talks about Jesus, and oh boy is there a bunch of stuff.  It's fun you guys should read it.


Zone conference

With Elder Haslem.  He was my Zone Leader when I came into the mission, and he's going home already! (Sister Bjork behind us)

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015

You can check out our mission's blog, find all the pictures of me: 

Elder Zeng had his first taste of American Chinese - Panda Express. He said it wasn't bad, so he's fitting in nicely in Southern California

Saturday night we met with an investigator family.  The dad/husband is getting baptized on the 31st.  They took about 15-20 minutes telling me about all the schemes Chinese people have to get passports and green cards (they're not fans of China, but they're from Shanghai).  They told me not to marry a Chinese person from China because they're "definitely" trying to get citizenship.  I was just laughing the whole time.

We finally were able to set a baptismal date for this one investigator whose husband is a member of 6 months. You wouldn't be able to tell he's only been a member for that long because he's just so knowledgeable about the church!  He does his reading.  It's amazing to see the way the church can change people.  He even asked his kids, do you like it when Dad helps you or Mom helps you.  They said dad, because "he's patient."  Not that he was a bad person before he was baptized, he was a great person, but after being a member for only 6 months, even his 7 year old daughter and 3 year old son notice the differences.  Families are so important!  She said her concern is that once she gets out of the font, she'll get a cold because it's been a bit overcast recently.  I promised her that the 13th and the 20th of June (her prospective dates) will be Sunny and not just "not too cold" it will be "too hot!" So if it's over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, she said she'll get baptized - the conversations you have as a missionary.

I found out what it's like to run 1.5 miles in missionary clothes.  We met this Chinese woman and her friend at the park last Monday and walked with her for 40 minutes.  She had a lot of questions about our church.  We ended up 1.5 miles away from our car at 9 pm, so we literally jogged back.  It was surprisingly not tiring, and we did it in a cool 13 minutes.

I went with Elder Murray to go give a baptismal interview to one of his investigators in Mira Loma - mini Mexico (he's doing English work right now).  So here was two Chinese missionaries going in to this house with tons and tons of dogs - not an environment we're used to.  But it wasn't the big pit bull that was causing problems.  This little tiny dog - don't know what breed it was, was just biting my shoe as we were waiting at the door.  All of them were crowding us too, and I was like you have got to be kidding me... Until I was like Murray okay I'm done, this is ridiculous. My shoe's going to rip. So he pulls out this long staff thing that was next to the door and pushes them all away.  While I was giving the interview, he had to draw the dogs away with that magic staff so it wouldn't keep bothering us.  Only in Mira Loma...

We've been getting a lot of work the past couple weeks.  I think it's Elder Zeng getting so many blessings for going on a mission.  My whole process was pretty smooth.  For him, his dad's not even a member, he's only been a member for five years himself, so I'm enjoying seeing miracles with him in Eastvale.

Apparently my Church translation isn't that exciting.  One of our investigators said I was putting her to sleep, so I'm working on having a really animated voice during Sacrament meeting.

It's crazy, it's rained like 3 times in the last few weeks.  I have this huge golf umbrella that I found in our apartment from Price and Waterhouse, it's really nice. I don't like small umbrellas anymore.  It hasn't gotten hotter yet, but it will soon, it's been really overcast recently.  We have a sun visor [for the car windshield] but we don't use it.

It's cool that small acts of kindness add up and can change the results way down the line.  As one example, one of my recent converts in Riverside had missionaries talk to him on the street 6 months before he got baptized, but we only taught him for one of those months.  His various positive contacts with the church helped prepare him to eventually be baptized. Some of our investigators, or just people on the street are just being prepared by me and my companion.  Don't get me wrong, I'm here to reap - that is, to baptize people, but planting these seeds just comes naturally with missionary work.

Mango sticky rice! I'm in heaven

My weekly special - Thai red curry tacos

Krispy Kreme!!! It was raining outside, so my hair got really spiky

I feel like a policeman

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 11, 2015

This week, we had the baptism of Brother Feng, which was great.  I don't know what it is, but recently, younger husbands have been getting baptized while their wives are totally not interested. It was a great baptism though.  He was taking a bunch of pictures and wanted to get a video so his future kids can see him on the day he got baptized.  He said that was one of the most important days of his life.  

We had hot pot right after the baptism.  Elder Zeng was anxious about getting everything prepared in time.  It turned out pretty good.  Zeng brought a spicy hot pot packet to put in the soup so it was of course, pretty spicy.  I miss that taste!

We spent another day at the DMV.  It's really annoying because the results you get, really depend on which worker you see.  We went in the morning and they said we needed a bunch more information.  When we came back in the afternoon, they just processed their license like a normal license without needing that extra information.

It was Mother's day on Sunday, so got to Skype the family.  Thank you mommy for being the best Mother I could ever imagine.  Your constant support and love has allowed me to achieve so many great things throughout my life.  Love you!

Brother Feng's baptism

Busy prepping for our hot pot party

Everyone together!

Got my sauce ready

Don't judge me, it was spicy

Ma jiang noodles

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 4, 2015

So my companion is from Sichuan China, where they eat really spicy food.  Obviously that gave me the inherent challenge of finding some hot sauce that's TOO spicy.  So I found this sauce "en fuego."  I went to our room one day last week, as he was making his noodles, and came back to a red faced, crying Elder Zeng.  He was saying how much he liked the taste of the hot sauce! I could not stop laughing.  His lips were all swollen too.  

It's interesting seeing his reactions to Chinese people "running away" from us.  Chinese missionaries have been in this area for so long that some Chinese people recognize us from a long ways away and deliberately try to hide or run away.  After this happening multiple times, Elder Zeng said "WE ARE NOT MONSTERS, why are they hiding from us!" He'll get used to it!

One of our investigators ran into some problems with the people renovating their house.  They needed us to help them out and translate.  The wife made a funny comment.  The night before we had asked by text if we could visit the next day.  She said maybe in 3 weeks after her renovations are done.  Then they ran into this problem the next morning.  She said every time you guys don't come around, we run into a lot of problems, so you need to come often!

I had to translate for a big Stake Conference this past Saturday and Sunday, it was a lot more "legit" because they had us in a booth with a small TV.  It's really hard, especially when your Mission President talks about technical mountain climbing vocabulary in a talk.  At least he gave us the talk beforehand.  It helps a lot to have something to look at when you're translating!

Dad - I love that quote about this church being founded on a 14 year old farm boy asking a question.  President Mullen said back in the day when he went on a mission, the Prophet (I don't know who it was at the time) took all the missionaries from the "mission home" in Salt Lake (no MTC back then) and took them to an upper room in the Salt Lake City Temple, took his scriptures out, and said “Ask me anything.”  Oh, what I would do for that opportunity!
[Our recently baptized convert] is good, we're trying to help him get to the temple. I'm working hard, salvation isn't a cheap experience. It's interesting because my scriptural knowledge has just exploded out here. Not that I like to argue, but they can't really stump me like they used to be able to do.  

I loved this past stake conference we had this Sunday. Elder Murray and I were in a "translation booth" translating but we had some amazing talks.  One of the counselors in the stake presidency who's getting a PhD in the Old Testament talked about the meaning of Adam and Eve's names. They focused a lot on the family this conference. “Adam” literally means “dirt” in Hebrew, red soil.  “Eve”, though, means “life”. She is the key to his eternal life and salvation.  In Moses 5, it talks about "they" Adam AND Eve hearing the voice of the Lord. He is talking to both of them as equals.  Family is so important.

I probably felt the spirit more than another other training meeting in a training I gave last week.  It was based off part of “The Power of Everyday Missionaries” [book by Clayton Christensen] – getting our investigators to have conversion experiences outside of our meetings (missionary meetings); how to get them to continue to feel the spirit throughout the week.  It was really good (I thought)!

Translating for stake conference

More translation

Making chocolate strawberries for my district

Putting the finishing touches on