Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016

Whirlwind of emotions, last week ended with a bang.  I got to witness Rui's baptism.  We baptized his father, Ryan last year around the same time and now things are coming back full circle with his son's baptism (his wife is the next step!).

It's been amazing to be out here these two years.  Going through the highs, the lows, the in-betweens of missionary work.  Met incredible people, made incredible friends.  Learned to love the Savior.  Felt closer to God.  Experienced a tiny fraction of what the original Apostles experienced in the form of really rude "born agains."  Worked through the hot days, the cold days (yes 50 degrees F. is FREEZING out here), the rainy days (when it rains, it pours).  Had crazy disappointment and inspiring success.

I think back to the start of these two years and can't believe it has already come to a close.  Feels weird.  Feels unreal.  Time truly does fly, and I've loved every moment of it.

The Gospel is true.  The plan gives us happiness.  When we follow the Savior, we have greater peace and happiness than we could ever imagine.  

See you soon.

rui's baptism!

allan came to visit one last time, he'll be a missionary soon!

at our Chinese group's goodbye party

With Elder Murray at a "dessert" visit at a member's home

last district meeting

with the district and the zone

jurupa zone is paradise

last English class

last p day!

the crew

Elder Foy

tired Elder Dyer

passing on the posterity gifts to Elder Zeng

tommy wasn't very happy

With Brother Powers, the man, the myth, the legend!

With the Thompsons! Awesome family in a different ward. We baptized Q, the Chinese guy on the right

another picture of zone training that I got a better copy of

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 25, 2016

Week 6 of the transfer here we go.  Gotta make it count!

There's been this huge thing about Pokemon Go recently.  The great part is, parks are some sort of hub for the game (goes to show how much I know about the app).  How convenient, because we do a lot of finding at parks, talking to everyone and sharing about our free English class.  So it's been great being able to go from talking about Pikachu, to our English class, to Jesus.

We ended up doing taichi with one of our investigators.  We were waiting at a park with another member that wanted to participate, then our 70-year old teacher walks up in full taichi garb - all white.  He looked very professional.  There were some other families at the park, and as he was doing a demonstration to teach us, one of the little boys (probably five years old) started to do it along with him.  Suffice it to say, I feel very balanced now.  We did another session with our old taichi friends at a park on exchanges too, so I got my exercise in for the week.

Our zone conferences were this past week.  It was a wonderful experience.  I had to give my outgoing testimony which was hard because my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest.  I can't believe how the time has flown this past two years.

My official 24-month mark, I got to go on exchanges back to my old La Sierra Heights area.  It was bittersweet driving through and seeing my old stomping grounds.  We visited some recent converts.  One seems like he's grown a foot!  It's really sad to see how family situations prevent people from being able to get out of their situations.  It's really not fair on him and his siblings that his parents' choices hinder their ability to progress.

We had our Chinese sacrament meeting on Sunday which was another great experience, being able to see the growth in the group since day one.

We confirmed one of our recent converts in a different ward on Sunday.  He got baptized a few weeks ago, but his host family went to the beach for a couple weeks, so we got it done.  Elder Warren did his first Chinese confirmation.  It was awesome.

writing down a "tender mercy" in the office (we get candy for everyone we give)

Getting our English classroom set up

got to crash a missionary coordination meeting in my old area! 

got to see Georgie one last time! He's grown a lot

and the Solorios!

our garden has grown!

last zone conference :(, 

didn't get my face on fast enough for the "funny" one

zone training from the Justs (senior missionaries)

office shenanigans

pizza at my last mlc! 

Throwback pictures:

flashback to day 1 in the mission. my incoming group

with my trainer (he's MARRIED now)

birthday celebrations! at a zone conference

gotta sneak in all the office pics

what am I doing with my finger? (training)

pictures I found from a training back in January

my pizza

sneaking in the pic at mlc

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 18, 2016

Had my last zone meeting this past week.  It was lots of fun and we all learned a lot together.  As an object lesson for our training on faith, we brought some pots, seeds, and soil so everyone could plant their own "seeds of faith."  Hopefully I don't kill mine before I go home!  It's sprouting!  We had everyone wear floral stuff for "Floral Fridays."  We're making this a thing - adding it to our "sock-tie Saturdays."

Gloria got baptized on Saturday and confirmed at church the next day.  It was a great experience teaching her.  You can just feel a difference teaching those people that are prepared to receive the message and those who are not.  She was one that was very prepared.  Her mother passed away recently and she is excited to do her temple work.  In her testimony, she gave a very powerful witness of God's love and that no matter what we do, as we repent and return to Him, he will forgive us.

We had a barbecue at a members house and had lamb meat-sticks (I guess you would call them kebabs in the US - not everyone understands Shanghai expat lingo).  They were really good, better than the ones I remember in Shanghai!  Probably because the meat was of known origin and they were really big pieces.  No rat meat here!

I realized this past week that I am the "oldest" missionary in the mission.  By length as a set apart missionary, I have a week on all the ones that came in with me because I stayed that extra week waiting to come out of the MTC.  That was a while ago, whew.

We were at Costco to pick up some snacks for our zone meeting (they don't call Jurupa paradise for no reason). I heard some Shanghainese as I was walking down the aisle.  I turn around and ask this guy in Shanghainese if he's from Shanghai and he just looks at me, blown away.  Turns out he lives close to where we live at home!  It's a small world.  He's talked to Elder Zeng at a park in Eastvale too.  It's always fun to freak Chinese people out with languages.  Especially when it's a dialect.

At church on Sunday, we had to translate for Relief Society.  Room full of women, but the lesson was on tithing.  We did mostly English to Chinese translation with the headsets, but it was awesome to hear from two sisters from our Chinese group.  One shared how excited she was when she was able to pay tithing for the first time.  They're both converts.  The other one is someone Elder Zeng and I baptized last year.  She raised her hand and said today was the first day her husband, representing her family, paid a full tithing and how blessed she felt.  Like that, other women started clapping, cheering, and even crying.  You don't get that in Elder's Quorum.  But it was amazing to see the faith of someone that I have worked with since day one.  She said about half a month ago, her husband decided they needed to do it (he was baptized about a month after her last year).  It's a miracle to see people's true conversion.


With Gloria at her baptism!

with our recent convert, Liu Ting Ting, right before she went to the airport to go to China

We planted these flowers with the zone as part of a training Elder Warren and I did on faith.  We also gave them "Remember Him" rocks to help them remember the Savior in their work. Had to get the camera out and be all artsy with my pictures.

floral fridays with our new plants

zone - floral fridays

very flowery

Bishop Garcia's last P-day a week ago :(

picking teams where am I?!

model shots at the temple, with Elder Pennington.  Throwback Monday

the whole mission when Elder Christofferson came.  Where's waldo (I mean, Elder Dyer)