At Peace Amidst The Disappointments

MOONCAKE!!! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!!! This was from a dear member.

MOONCAKE!!! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!!! This was from a dear member.

Okay I just had to take a picture of this because a member invited us over to her house and we had barbeque and it's just been so long since I've done an outdoor barbeque and I don't know when the next time this will happen on my mission (or if it ever does). So I was super excited haha.

Okay I just had to take a picture of this because a member invited us over to her house and we had barbeque and it’s just been so long since I’ve done an outdoor barbeque and I don’t know when the next time this will happen on my mission (or if it ever does). So I was super excited haha.

Hello world!!

First of all, Harriet, you looked great in your homecoming pictures! But still, stop growing up so fast, it’s kind of freaking me out….
I am grateful. The Lord has definitely been trying us these past several weeks, but I feel so grateful. Usually when disappointments happen, I get really stressed and frustrated. However, I feel like my nature is changing. Rather than feeling disappointed, I feel at peace because I know that God has His own timing and as long as I am doing my best, He will take care of the rest. I am really grateful for my companion, Sister Mann, who prays for me and my well being everyday. I am grateful for my ward mission leader, who gave me a wonderful priesthood blessing full of comfort and counsel. I am grateful to serve in this special mission where I have served in the same two areas and one district/zone for my whole mission so far (also I think Heavenly Father knows how much I can’t handle change, so He’s blessed me on this one, haha). I love seeing the missionaries change and improve, seeing Alhambra and Arcadia change and improve and seeing the missionaries changing and strengthening the areas. I am so grateful for prophets, seers and revelators and for the leaders in our church. I am so grateful we get to hear their words semi-annually. The General Women’s Broadcast last weekend was the most uplifting. I love how President Uchtdorf used a whole story as his talk to share with us how to let ourselves be happy.
Also, from this past week, I can testify again that there are no such things as coincidences! Everything is perfectly laid out by Heavenly Father! So on Friday, a member treated us to lunch at a restaurant. While we were in the parking lot, looking for a spot, I noticed a lady wearing shoes that looked super familiar. I felt kinda creepy slowly driving behind her, but then as I pulled up next to her, guess who it was?!? JUDY XIA!! If you don’t remember, she got baptized back in July and then kinda MIA-ed for a long time. But we saw her!! And boy was it a happy reunion. Haha I almost cried. At that moment, I just felt a huge surge of love for Judy and a confirmation that Heavenly Father really does love and look out for each one of His children.
On Sunday, none of the investigators we invited to church showed up. But guess who did? Our less-active friend who served in Taiwan! Earlier this week when we met with her, she shared with us things that without a doubt, pained and hurt her badly. We have been meeting with her weekly since May and now in September, she started opening up. Everyone has their own time and Heavenly Father also has His own time. As she was sharing though, I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest – guys, people have reasons as to why they become less active. Enduring to the end is not easy. But she is on her way to becoming active and it is so exciting to see every time she takes a step towards it. I am so proud of her! Plus, she makes us really good food so that’s always a plus.
Speaking of food, I want to share a funny story that depicts just how sweet and thoughtful these members are. On Saturday after the General Women’s broadcast, we were talking to an elderly sister in our ward. Since we didn’t go to the dinner before the broadcast (because we had another dinner appointment), she was extremely worried that we were hungry. So imagine this. This elderly lady yelling at us (her hearing isn’t too good) asking if we had dinner and us yelling back at her saying that we did and we were really full and then she, not listening to us, casually takes out a tupperware of food from her purse and gives it to us. Chinese people will ALWAYS make sure their friends are fed, even if that means carrying around a tupperware of food in their purse, hahaha. Sister Mann and I were laughing so hard. These members are just so dear to me!!! I love them so much.
AHHH General Conference is this weekend!! Everyone go listen to the prophet’s voice! This is so so exciting. And we will be getting three new apostles! Conference can’t come faster! This church is true! Thomas S. Monson is God’s prophet on the earth! He has the keys to receive revelation for all of us so let us listen to and heed his words!
I love you all so much!

Love,
Sister Huang

Works Without Faith is Dead

The one picture from the week: We had to chase a dog around a neighborhood and my bag strap ended up doubling as a leash. Tender mercy haha.

The one picture from the week: We had to chase a dog around a neighborhood and my bag strap ended up doubling as a leash. Tender mercy haha.

Hello dearest friends and family!!

First off, happy belated birthday to my brother, Shane!! So weird that you’re 18 now….

It’s been another solid week here in Arcadia. We have been seeing so many miracles and blessings. They don’t show through our numbers, but they are big blessings in our eyes. In the past few weeks, we have been having to drop a lot of people and we were also having a hard time finding people. However, we continued to try our best and be exactly obedient and diligent and boy did Heavenly Father pour out those blessings upon us this week. We got referrals and our potential investigator list basically doubled. We are excited to start meeting with them this week! There are some pretty solid ones who already have fellow-shippers!
Speaking of fellow-shippers, our ward’s attitude and drive toward missionary work is improving so much! I think a lot of it was from our stake conference last week. Anyway, we had a great and delicious potluck on Saturday to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival (even though I think it’s this coming Sunday?) and so many of our investigators came and several members brought their friends! Other members also helped us give rides to our other investigators and it was just awesome. That’s something Sister Mann is really good at. Delegating. Many times, we cannot take care of everyone ourselves since there are just 2 of us. So delegating and members are so important! Asking for help is so important! I think I often forget that we can’t do everything. Also, Ward Council yesterday was the bomb. There was such a noticeable sense of love and care as we discussed our members, less actives, recent converts and investigators. I really felt like this was a true team effort and I just sat in there with a happy heart.
We also had Mission Conference on Tuesday and Elder Echo Hawk from the Seventy came in and talked to us! We learned so much. I wish I could type everything that we learned because it was so inspiring and so full. However, to sum it all up, everything that was talked about all boiled down to two things: 1.) EXACT obedience and 2.) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sister Mann and I were talking about it after conference and we agreed that we were doing a good job with the exact obedience part. We also agreed that we have been working hard like crazy. But the thing we needed to do better on was having more faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is also dead. So this past week, we studied about that everyday. Preach My Gospel has a great definition of faith:
“Faith in Jesus Christ is more than a passive belief in Him. It means believing that He is the Son of God and that He suffered for your sins, afflictions, and infirmities. It means acting on that belief. Faith in Jesus Christ leads you to love Him, trust Him, and obey His commandments.”
I know that Jesus Christ is at the head of this church. I know that He is also at the head of this work. He knows what He is doing and through small and simple means, He lets His missionaries know what He wants us to do. I know He lives and I love Him, trust Him and I want to obey all His commandments.
In other words, we finally got a hold of one of our investigators that came back from China about a month ago! And when we met with him, HE set his own baptism date for the end of October! This is literally the second investigator we’ve had this transfer who set their own baptism date. He is golden and prepared. He lost the habit of reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday while he was in China but after our lesson with him last week, he recommitted himself to get back into the habit. AHHHH blessings and happiness abounding!!!
Being a missionary is the best, even though everyday is hard. I really don’t want to be anywhere else. Many times, I wish I could do this for the rest of my life. I love wearing my name tag with Jesus Christ’s name right under mine. What a blessing and what a privilege.
I love you all!! Be a little more grateful in your prayers this week ๐Ÿ™‚
Love,
Sister Huang

Faith: Submissive Ambition

Hello everyone!!

My thoughts are all over the place right now so I’ll try to keep this email somewhat focused…

It’s kind of crazy how fast things can change in just one week. The two weeks prior to this past week were full. We felt like we were finding so many prepared people everywhere. Everything was coming together. Then this past week rolled along and lessons were dropped one right after the other. So much of our proselyting time was taken away since we had New Missionary Orientation, Zone Meeting and Stake Conference (all good things that gave us much inspiration and direction, but it the fact it was all in the same week was like ahhhhhhhh!). By Friday, I was getting pretty stressed. We had set some high goals and we just weren’t even close to reaching them. I started stressing out over the thought that maybe it was because we weren’t working hard enough, we weren’t using our time well enough, we weren’t being obedient enough – basically I just felt like I was doing something wrong or that I was not good enough to help our area. I went to bed every night drained but not satisfied. There was always the question “What more could I have done today for Arcadia?” “What more can I do tomorrow?”

However, it’s a new week. I am so grateful for that. I am also so grateful for the meetings last week. I received answers and confirmations. I have a clearer idea as to what direction Heavenly Father wants us to take. It’s hard to submit to God’s will sometimes, but I know it will all work out in the end.

So at the beginning of the week, Sister Mann shared with me another one of her wise thoughts. She told me she often likes to make oxymorons or paradoxes with gospel terms. One example that she shared was she likes to think of faith as “submissive ambition.”
Submissive: ready to conform to the authority or will of others.
Ambition: a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
I love it! And I felt like it was so suitable for this past week. We are doing the Lord’s work, His way. As missionaries, as Latter-day Saints, we have the responsibility to consecrate ourselves to Him and His work, aka, be submissive. But we need to be ambitious in doing so!

Another thought I wanted to share from this past week came from Zone Meeting. During the meeting, the Zone Leaders talked about serving and loving everyone, whether they are nice or mean, like or dislike you. They made a great comparison. They said that when Jesus Christ healed the 10 lepers, He already knew that only one would come back and thank Him. However, He still healed all of them. When He atoned for every single person to walk on the face of the earth, He knew many would deny Him or not believe in Him. However, He still atoned for all of us and He did it willingly and lovingly. So guys, think of someone who might not be the nicest person to you and think of a way to love and serve them this week. Pray for charity because He will give it to you. I’ve experienced it.

In other words, I was asked to help translate for the sisters who spoke in Stake Conference this past week. I just kept thinking “I hope my mom’s translation abilities got passed down to her kids.” Haha, my Chinese still has so more room to improve.
I love you all so much!!! I love Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know He atoned for each one of us. I know that we can feel their perfect love for us as we pray, read the scriptures, go to church and keep the commandments.

Love,
Sister Huang

“So Come What May”

We got to take Sister Huang to the airport! I miss her so much already.

We got to take Sister Huang to the airport! I miss her so much already.

the member who helped us the most with fellow shipping Zhang Li. She's amazing.

the member who helped us the most with fellow shipping Zhang Li.
She’s amazing.

Zhang Li's beautiful baptism

Zhang Li’s beautiful baptism

more baptism pictures :)

more baptism pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

Hello world!!

This transfer is off to a great start. Yesterday, Sister Mann and I were saying how our friends and family must be paying a lot of tithing because this past week, we received so many blessings that we basically had no room to receive them all. But at the same time, I feel like another blessing was that Heavenly Father helped us be able to receive them all. I. Love. Being. A. Missionary. Everyday this week, we just went to bed drained but satisfied. It’s the best feeling. I really feel that life is perfect. Yes, people and situations are imperfect, but God’s plan for each of us here on this earth is perfect.
Zhang Li was baptized yesterday! Her conversion story was what President Yen said was a very successful example of member-missionary work. She has so many friends in the Mountain View Ward and I know her branch in China will take good care of her as well. And her conversion all happened very fast and slow at the same time. Sister Huang first met her in February but then she went back to China. She came back in April and we met with her a few times and right before she went back again, she said she really wanted to get baptized. However, she didn’t know when she was coming back again. And then about 3 weeks earlier, she came back but said she was going back to China 9/6. But then circumstances happened and she is now going backย 9/20ย and she basically planned her own baptism/confirmation schedule. Miracles. I know that she is going to play a big part in moving the work forward in China. She has such a solid testimony. She told us that she felt like she had been searching her whole life for the right church and now she’s found it. And the baptism service was absolutely wonderful. So many members came and supported her and she was just full of happy tears. Words can’t explain how much I love Zhang Li, how proud I am of her and how excited I am for her.
I was reading Jacob 5 again this past week and I just felt so touched. I felt like the allegory was the story of Arcadia and I felt really grateful to have been in Arcadia to see how it all panned out during these 7 months (minus 1 1/2 months). I remember at the beginning of my mission, there were so many times when Sister Xia, Huang and I were like the Lord thinking “what more can we do for our vineyard?” It was a struggle to say the least. But as we continued to “diligently [labor] with [the Lord] in [His] vineyard […] and kept His commandments,” we are seeing the fruits of our labors! It’s all coming together. We are seeing more members involved in missionary work, we are finding more prepared people and our companionship is becoming even more unified. I am so grateful!!
Sister Mann was telling me how she really liked the line in “I Believe In Christ” where it says “I believe in Christ, so come what may.” She said she didn’t want to say it at first because life is ROUGH and it’s not like we ever say “please give me more trials or challenges.” However, as our testimony and relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ strengthens, we can have the courage to SHOUT “So come what may!”
Also, I want to thank the Brookfield CTR 7&8 class for the cutest letters! I teared up reading them ๐Ÿ™‚ And just thank you thank you thank you all for the support, love and prayers. I know that is so much of why we are seeing so many miracles.
Love,
Sister Huang

When Things Fall Into Place

Sister Huang's last District Meeting

Sister Huang’s last District Meeting

SISTER CHAN!!! So so so happy to see her again!

SISTER CHAN!!! So so so happy to see her again!

The two people that were baptized yesterday! Brother Zheng and Sister Jing!

The two people that were baptized yesterday! Brother Zheng and Sister Jing!

 The baptism!

The baptism!

Hello world!!!

My heart is full. Really really really full. I have seen the Lord’s hand and the fruits of our labor and it’s a wonderful feeling. The Lord is revealing to me the bigger picture. Every week, I just become more and more in awe of His magnificent and perfect plan and how all these pieces just fall into place! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. Also, my heart is full because of all the love and support I feel every week from my beloved friends and family. But P-Day was crazy today (transfers and all) so I don’t have enough time to respond to everyone individually! Hopefully I’ll have more time next week!
So to start off, Sister Jing was baptized yesterday! We had to get through a lot of hurdles in preparing for the baptism, but the service was wonderful. The elders also had a baptism so it was just a beautiful day. We were just about to start teaching Sister Jing right before I left for Alhambra and when I came back, she already had a baptism date set and was going to church every week. Then we came in and just kept progressing! I have seen such a huge difference in her and her family between the first time we started meeting her and now. I have also seen the Lord’s hand in helping her understand the gospel. Like I said before, she can’t really remember things very well so we would have to repeat principles many times. But by the time she was going to do her interview, she knew everything and believed everything. She loves Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much. I am so grateful to have been able to play a small part in her conversion story.
Her baptism also brought many miracles as well. We had been meeting with a less-active who actually served in Taiwan a long time ago. We invited her several times to join us in Sister Jing’s lesson so that she can feel that spirit of being a missionary. When we were planning the baptism we thought that we could invite this LA to give the opening prayer. One, because she played a part in Sister Jing’s conversion story and two, it could give her another reason to come to church! When we asked her, she said she couldn’t guarantee it. But Sunday comes along and she comes to church and the baptism!! Turns out, she knows a couple of people from our ward from way back when in Taiwan which means more support and love and encouragement to come to church!!! SUCH A MIRACLE!!!!

We also thought that Sister Jing’s baptism was a great way to get her daughter to come to church. Her daughter got baptized last year but hasn’t come to church for a really long time. So once again, while we were planning the baptism program, we thought to give her daughter the assignment of giving the talk. She was hesitant when we asked and didn’t really want to do it, but with the Spirit’s help, she agreed and on Sunday, she came to church and also did a wonderful job with the talk! I just can’t even express the joy that I felt when I saw those two less actives walk into the chapel on Sunday. The gospel is true!!!

We also had a great last half of the week! Why was it so great? Because we had many lessons with a member present! It makes all the difference. And one of our members that came to our lessons was a 9 year old kid and his dad. I’m pretty sure this 9 year old boy makes the peike (fellowshipper/member present) ever. I love member-missionary work. Also, one of the members in our ward decided to hold a ward potluck/testimony meeting. It was a GREAT opportunity for us missionaries to strengthen our relationships with the members and to hear their powerful testimonies! I have come to love the Mountain View Ward like it’s my own home ward. These people are precious.

Oh and speaking of transfers haha. I’m staying in Arcadia with Sister Mann and Sister Xia is going to Alhambra to be with Sister Gong! After 6 1/2 months, the conjoined twins are separated. It’s bittersweet, but I know Sister Xia will do great things in Alhambra. Also, Elder Pao is our new Zone Leader with Elder Chui. ALSO, we lost two of our Huangs ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Sister Huang (my mission mom!) is going home (time flies so fast!!!!) and Elder Huang became AP (hooray for a Chinese AP!)! But we’re getting another Elder Huang tomorrow so basically, there will always be at least 2+ Huangs.

Arcadia is growing and blooming with miracles and prepared people! I am so grateful I get to stay here for another transfer. I’m also so grateful to be with Sister Mann! We have high expectations and we are going to work really hard to reach our goals and to do what the Lord wants us to do! The work is moving forward!

Love,
Sister Huang