First week in Cali!

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I’ve been in California for almost a week! The weather is PERFECT. It’s gone by so fast! Also this will probably be a longer email since I just got here… sorry!
So since I came in kind of on a last minute notice, I didn’t get to meet the mission president until my fourth day. So the first day, I was picked up by the APs. Elder Adamson went to Skyline (along with at least 3 other missionaries in this mission) and Elder Merrill is from the Chicago area (Wilmet)! Anyway, President and Sister Villanueva are the best! They are the nicest and I love them so much. When I had my first interview with him, I got another confirmation that this is where I am supposed to be.
And guess what? I’M IN A TRIO AGAIN! The day I get put in a two man companionship will be weird and sad. Trios are so great. It’s funny too because my trainer is also Sister Huang. So since we’re not allowed to have nicknames, it’s a rough time when people try to call one of us. But I just assume they’re calling her because I’m still new haha. Sister Huang is from Vancouver Canada (shoutout to Sister Chan!). She was also born in Taiwan but moved to Canada when she was very little, so we have that in common! She is an amazing trainer and I’m so happy and blessed to be her trainee. She has taught me SO much. My other companion is Sister Xia! A lot of people in the MTC told me to find her when I go out in the field so i was super excited when I met her and found out she’s my companion! Sister Xia has been out for almost a month but she seems like she’s been out for much longer. She’s from Cheng Du China and graduated in NURSING! She was baptized four years ago with her mom and she is seriously beyond awesome. The first time I met her, she was incredibly shy so I was kind of nervous. But it was because we were with the APs and we were all speaking English so she didn’t really understand. Story of my life except Chinese haha. But once we got home and it was just us three, she got super excited and happy. Both of my companions are such good teachers. And I really know that Heavenly Father put us three together. It is no coincidence. We all have different personalities and there is definitely a language barrier but it’s been so good so far and I know it’ll get better. I think the thing I love most about my companions, Sister Huang and Sister Xia, is that they are shy, but EVERY time they talk to someone, whether that be an investigator, member, or someone they contact, they glow and get super excited. You can really tell how much they love being missionaries and how much they love those they work with. They are consecrated missionaries and I hope to be like them! And it’s also great because I have not only one, but two chinese teachers. And Sister Xia has two english teachers!
I’m in the Arcadia area right now. It covers Arcadia, Temple City, Pasedena, El Monte, Rosemead and i think that’s it… We are on bikes now so we usually only stay in Arcadia unless the elders drive us somewhere. But yeah, in the whole Arcadia mission, Chinese speaking only has 3 areas and one of them is an elders only area. So basically I know I’ll be transferred to the Alhambra area, it’s just a matter of when. My district are the missionaries from Arcadia (our trio and the zone leaders) and the ones from Alhambra (2 sisters and 4 elders). There’s also an Elder Huang so three Huangs in one district! Our zone is just our district plus the other 7 elders in the other area.
I serve in the Mountain View Ward. The five of us cover one small ward. Very small. But it’s a strong ward. The people are very loving and friendly and humble. You can tell they all want to serve to the best of their abilities. Also, we had a Chinese New Years party on Saturday so I got to meet a lot of members there! The party was awesome and a ton of our investigators came. Our district also sang a hymn as one of the performances. And then the next day before church, we called a lot of our investigators to remind them to come to church. But none of them showed up and it was super sad. But the Lord is GOOD and EIGHT of the investigators we didn’t get to call came! Sister Huang said that was a record! Also, yesterday, I did my first baptism invite. It was super rough because my Chinese hindered me a lot but my companions helped and we were able to set a date! Companions are a huge blessing. And once again, the Lord is so good!
Like I said, the language is rough. But it’s coming along! When I came out, I thought that I would be able to understand the majority of what people say, but being out in the field, I think I understand like 30-40%. But it’s okay because I have my companions and I have the Lord and it will come in due time through faith and hard work! It’s funny though because Sister Xia and the elders in my area always make fun of my for my Taiwanese accent and say I have to change it because most of the people here are from China…
The work here is going well. Although we can’t do door to door, we have a lot of ways to find new people. One our most successful ways is through our English class! Us missionaries hold an English class at our church building on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm and Saturday at 1:00. I think teaching English is one my favorite parts of the day because i get to utilize my English, Chinese and we also get to introduce them to our church. It’s so fun! And when we street contact, we give out flyers for our English class that also has the church’s name so we can introduce both to people.
Sorry I’m so sporadic during this email. There’s just so much to tell! I love being a missionary! There have definitely been very happy times and times when it’s been very frustrating. But the good times overrule the bad times all the time! There is so much for me to learn and so much for me to improve on and that’s exciting. Daunting but exciting. I have been blessed with amazing companions, an awesome ward, great district and a wonderful mission president. And of course, I am blessed with the knowledge that I have my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to rely on and help me through my hard times and weaknesses.
I love love you all! I am grateful for each one of you!
Sister Huang

Second Week! And last day at the MTC…

My cute little Pilates class!!!

My cute little Pilates class!!!

Fast track and sister training leaders

Fast track and sister training leaders

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Our other teacher, Brother Wong

Our other teacher, Brother Wong

This is our teacher, Sister He

This is our teacher, Sister He

fun fact of the week: for those who watch parks and rec, the city council building that they always show the outside of is in my mission! It’s in Pasedena! So maybe I’ll be able to see it.

So this week:

-It’s my last day at the MTC! Like what?! I felt like I’ve been here for only 4 or 5 days. My first couple of days were definitely very slow but this past week went by crazy fast. We had our in-field orientation on Friday (we learned how to street contact, work with members, and a ton of other stuff) and we also had our departure devotional on Sunday. During both, I kept thinking how it only felt like yesterday when I got here! It’s exciting times even though I do feel nervous and anxious but I am definitely PUMPED to get to work!

-I’ve learned so much this week. I’ve learned more about the gospel, how to teach effectively, connecting with investigators, etc., and it’s been amazing! I go to bed happy every night! But I think the biggest thing I’ve learned here at the MTC is how these next 18 months will be an awesome learning process and experience. I remember the first couple of days here – I was so overwhelmed with everything I had to learn. And just when I started getting used to things, we had in-field orientation and I realized that I still have SO much more to learn! Then I realized that I don’t have to learn everything right now or even during the next couple of weeks. I have the whole mission to learn and utilize Christ’s Atonement to better myself every day and to stretch myself more than I could ever imagine. That’s one of the beauties of a mission. I feel like I am already becoming a completely different person (in a good way) but obviously I have a lot more room for improvement and progression.

-I want everyone to know that GOD’S LOVE IS BEYOND REAL. Another reason why being a missionary is awesome is because you’re like the middleman between God and others. Part of being that middleman is sharing the love that God has for each person. It’s like you become a vessel of love. The love that I have felt this past week is unreal. And we can’t even comprehend all of the love God has for us but the little amount that He allows me to feel for His children is just WOW. Valentine’s day was especially loving too haha.

-Speaking of love, I didn’t think it was possible to love a group of people so much in just 12 days. I really am going to miss my companions, district, and zone so much. But I’m so excited for them because I think 90% are going to Taiwan which makes my heart the happiest. And all are speaking Mandarin and they are totally rocking it because they are all amazing people. I am continually impressed by how fast people learn Mandarin here. The gift of tongues is real people.

-Since it’s my district’s last week, our four man team decided to do a special musical number at church. We sang “I’ll Find You My Friend.” I had never heard of it but my companions said it’s popular among missionaries. But if you haven’t heard it before, I strongly recommend you to listen to it! It’s about remembering the worth of soul is great and it’s beautiful. My singing abilities is far from great but the Spirit was definitely there.

-I’ve seen some more familiar faces this week! Sister Caroline Neville (from my freshman ward) came in this past Wednesday and I got to see her the first day! It was the happiest!

-I am so grateful for opposition in life. This week, I have felt the most discouraged but also the happiest. We had a rough lesson with one of our investigators on Tuesday and it left all three of us really upset. But then the next day, we worked extra hard and the lesson was so great! Like all missionaries say, the mission is hard. BUT IT IS SO HAPPY. It’s true when they say that you do have hard days, but your happy times make you forget why you were discouraged in the first place!

-They told us here at the MTC that you are your first convert. You have to be completely converted to the gospel and to Jesus Christ before you can convert others. And I have definitely gone through a huge conversion these past 12 days. My testimony, my faith, my relationship with my God and Savior and my capacity to do things I would never be able to do by myself have all grown so much. And now, I am so excited to go out and completely submit myself to the Lord and His work!!!

I love each and every one of you so much! Best of luck this week with work, tests, papers, school in general, missions, and everything else! Next time I email, I’ll be in Cali!

Sister Huang

First Week!

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Okay fun fact of the week: I found out that my branch president and his wife (President and Sister Teng) are a long time friends with my mom! When I first met them, they told me they immediately knew I was my mom’s daughter because apparently I look and act like her haha.
So anyway, MTC LIFE!
-I’m in a trio with Sister Chan and Sister Lee. They are both from Hong Kong so they are trilingual – English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Sister Chan is the sweetest and kind of like a modern day Confucius. She goes to BYU but is a year older than me. Sister Lee is HILARIOUS. She is super spunky and sarcastic and just fun overall. She goes to U of U but we still love her.
-My district is quite small. It’s made up of my trio and a solo elder. So when we are all finally in a two man companionship, it’ll be fun. The elder is Elder Huang and he is also from Taiwan! But he grew up in Australia so his accent is a funny mix between Australian and Chinese. We told him that he better enjoy this time when he’s with all sisters almost all the time because that probably won’t happen again for a long time.
-I got put on the fast track so I’ll only be here until next week. In fact, I just got my travel plans today! I will be leaving next Tuesday very early in the morning (3:30 am) and I’ll be arriving at Ontario, CA around 9:30! It feels ridiculously soon! But another fun fact: they started this fast track program for mandarin speakers just this semester. Before, you would be in the 9 week program or if you’re a native speaker, you would learn and train in English for 2 weeks. So I am very grateful to be in this program.
-I started a little pilates class during our gym time! It’s so cute. I printed off pilates stuff before I left and some sisters in my zone joined me in doing the workouts so it’s a grand time.
-I’ve seen quite a few people here at the MTC! Jonelle Sedgwick, Erin Rhodes (both from freshman ward), Christopher Keenan (home ward) and a lot of my old co-workers. Familiar faces at the MTC is the best.
-I’ve learned A TON. During the day, it doesn’t feel like it, but in hindsight, I’ve learned and grown so much these past 5 days. I now understand why people say missions are the hardest 2 or 1 1/2 years of your life and I’m not even out in the field! But I have learned to love how hard it is because it makes it an amazing learning and growing experience. I feel like I have found weaknesses that I didn’t know before but that is exciting because that is more that I can improve on! Also, I have awesome teachers and awesome leaders. I also am blessed with a very patient district since I am quite the amateur compared to them haha.
-We watched the Character of Christ last night by David A. Bednar. I remember all my friends who were at the MTC telling me to watch it but I never did. I wished I did! So if you haven’t watched it, PLEASE DO! Or if you have, watch it again. It’s amazing and I think we can learn something new from it every time. Elder Bednar talked about how we have to “put off the natural man” – stop thinking so much of ourselves and think outwards. He said that when we are dealing with our own adversity, we should not mope about ourselves, but turn outwards and think of others. He straight up told us, “Who cares about what you think or how you feel?” I thought that was hilarious but also profound. He said in order to be happy, we need to think of other people’s happiness and ours will come on its own. So this week I am going to try to not be selfish and think of me but to try to help others and care for others and be more sensitive them and I encourage you to do the same! You will be happier!
I love you all! Thank you to each one of you for your support and love. I keep telling myself that I am truly TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED! Happy Valentines day! I am sending all my love and more to each one of you!
Sister Huang