Glad Tidings!

Hello world!!!

First off, thank you all so much for the birthday cards and wishes! I
am really grateful to have spent the majority of my last year as a
teenager as a missionary. It’s been an amazing birthday so far – a
member/old family friend took us out for lunch and we had a zone
activity and then later on, we will go caroling with President and the
Sister Xia and Sister Mann!!!

This week has been a whirlwind! We had our mission Christmas party on
Saturday which was a blast. It was so good to see our Chinese family
again! We started off with some training and a testimony meeting. I
love the special spirit that is present during Christmas time. And it
was extra present as all of us missionaries in our mission gathered
together and sang and bore testimony of our Savior of whom we
represent. After that, we had our Christmas program in which each zone
performed a Christmas song. Oh man, we were all in tears; it was
hilarious. And then we got to hit the pi√Īata! The best was seeing
President go at it. I love that man so much.

We also had a pretty bomb week. Two weeks ago during PDay, we talked
to a lady at the laundromat and invited her to do a church tour with
us. We met with her this past week and she is so great. She was
baptized in another church two months ago, but she came to church
yesterday and said “I feel different in this church. I like it so much
better.” I knew that it was the Spirit testifying to her that she
found the restored church. We will be meeting with her again this
Friday! On Christmas!!

We were able to set a baptism date with our friend who we met at the
park a coupe, weeks ago. At first when we would teach him, he seemed
like he wasn’t really paying attention. We then decided to put more of
an emphasis on the Book of Mormon and it made a huge difference. It
made a huge difference in all our lessons. Our friend was more engaged
and was able to understand and get so much out of it! I love the Book
of Mormon so much and through personal study, God has definitely
helped me to better know how to use the Book of Mormon in our lessons.
Our friend also wanted to go to the temple so we got to go yesterday
and see the lights!! So so so wonderful!!

I love love love Christmas. I love Christmas hymns. I love my Savior.
This past week, I spent a lot of time studying His Atonement and the
real reason behind Christmas. Words can’t express my sincere and
ultimate gratitude for Jesus Christ. His love for us and His love for
Heavenly Father is SO pure. He is the greatest gift! And we need the
glad tidings! I love being a missionary at this time of year. And it’s
nice because Chinese people don’t make Christmas as big of a deal as I
am used to so it gives us more time to reflect on the true meaning of
Christmas.

Also, if you haven’t watched this year’s Christmas video on
mormon.org, watch it! And if you haven’t shared it, share it! We were
told on Saturday by our President that there have been over 6,000 self
referrals just from that video! Be a missionary a Christmas and share
the happiest message and gift given to man!

I love you all! Have a merry merry Christmas!!!!

Love,
Sister Huang

Learning to Counsel with the Lord

Hello world!!!

The weeks go by faster and faster. I can’t believe this transfer is¬†already halfway over… Time needs to slow down!

We had a miracle lesson with our 10 year old friend. We have been¬†meeting with him for a while now but this past month, he has¬†progressed so much. It was always hard for him to focus on the lesson¬†and to keep commitments like praying, reading the Book of Mormon and¬†coming to church. There were so many times when we thought of dropping¬†him – so glad we didn’t! In our lesson with him this past week, we¬†talked about the ten commandments and following the prophet. It was¬†like teaching a completely different person. He brought up his¬†concerns as we went through the commandments – for example, his mom¬†accidentally signed him up for a chess class on Sunday mornings (when¬†we have church). BUT, he said he wanted to change it so he could go to¬†church and when we talked to his mom after, she said she was going to¬†change it because he wanted to go to church!! Wow wow wow. So¬†proud of our little friend. In that same lesson, he finally agreed to¬†a baptism date!

As for our main investigator, G, we are still trying to figure out how¬†to better help her get her answer. We have had so many amazing,¬†spiritual lessons with awesome, solid peikes, but the timing’s still¬†not right. Like I said last week, we feel like we have been doing¬†everything we can but she still can’t get over the first step in¬†believing in God and Jesus Christ. However, whenever I get¬†discouraged, the Spirit reminds me that she’s lived 58 years not¬†knowing anything about God. Two months is short in God’s eyes.

Speaking of her having so many peikes… She’s already part of our¬†ward family. I have never seen so much support from ward members in¬†helping an investigator. During Gospel Principles, the members¬†literally had a discussion as to how to help G. It was so touching to¬†hear them trying to discern and help our dear friend and her needs. We¬†also gained a lot more insight from our members as to how to better¬†teach to her needs and interests. I love this ward so much.

All in all, it was a hard week, physically, emotionally and¬†spiritually. However, I have realized that counting my blessings has¬†been a great remedy. I have also been reading a lot on consecration.¬†One thing about a consecrated missionary is that they are extra¬†milers. They give everything they got until there’s nothing left. And¬†then they rely on the Lord for the extra reserve of energy. So this¬†week, I tried harder to access that reserve of energy and that was by¬†learning how to counsel with the Lord. Sincere prayer is key. I feel¬†like this week, I have come to know my Savior on a closer, dearer¬†level. I need Him everyday! We all need Him everyday. And He is always¬†always always right beside us. I am grateful for this Christmas¬†season. I am grateful that our Savior was born.

Have a blessed week, my dear friends and family! I love you all!

Love,
Sister Huang
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Patience and Desire

Hello world!!
We had an AMAZING week this past week! I feel like I say that about every week, but this week was seriously BOMB. I think I’ll go backwards starting from yesterday.
Yesterday was Zone Conference and it was all about getting the California Arcadia Mission on FIRE. Our leaders focused a lot on being more sincere and diligent in contacting as well as working with church leaders and members. Man, I felt like I was on fire (figuratively) when we left. Sister Gong and I have been working on balancing out our contacting so this Zone Conference was perfect. A lot of helping Sister Gong with being a successful missionary comes from building up her confidence. And I don’t know what happened during Zone Conference since she didn’t understand anything (and they didn’t want me to translate during the meeting) but after, she was literally a different person while contacting. She took initiative in talking to people and just having a normal conversation with them. And as we walked from one place to the next, I did English boot camp with her. AND SHE REMEMBERED IT ALL!!!! We had a whole conversation in English!!!!! I am probably the proudest and happiest companion right now.
Also, being in a trilingual zone has been such a big blessing. I know I was insanely sad about the Chinese zone splitting, but now, I can see how much of a blessing it is. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging in helping Sister Gong learn English. I am determined to get her to be able to contact in English before we get split up. I feel like Heavenly Father has given me so many opportunities to help and put my companions first and I feel like I just haven’t been able to do that. But I am grateful He has given me another chance to help Sister Gong gain enough confidence so she can be the successful missionary she wants to be. And at the same time, she is teaching me SO much! We were talking about it last night and both of us agreed that just in the past two weeks together, we both have grown the most out of our whole time on the mission.
We have a dear less active friend who hasn’t come to church for over 20 weeks. She is very diligent in reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday, but due to some unnamed circumstances, it’s very hard for her to come to church. She has expressed many times that she wants to share her testimony at church though so we told her last week that she had that opportunity since it was testimony meeting. When we met with her last week, we decided to have a mini testimony meeting. We were all touched by the Spirit and it definitely pumped her up to bear her testimony on Sunday. Sunday came and she bore her humble testimony. Can you just imagine the happiness that comes from seeing a dear friend come back to church after 20 weeks and hearing her testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the Book of Mormon? Blessed.
So remember how I was stressing over our progressing investigator who was keeping all the commitments but still not knowing if God exists. I feel like we have been doing everything we can to help her develop and strengthen her faith for the past two months. It’s definitely been testing our faith and patience, but after fasting for her on Sunday, I felt peace with where we were all at. I know that Heavenly Father has a specific time for her to receive her answer and I feel like He has given me the patience I need to wait for when that time comes.
Nevertheless, we are continuing to have great lessons with her and with AWESOME members present. During one of our lessons last week, I was struggling HARDCORE with Chinese and speaking in general. After I stumbled through the explanation, our peike, Sister Chen, bore a sincere and fervent testimony that what we said was true. My speech, plus Chinese, is definitely a huge area of weakness and it has been a struggle during my mission, but Sister Chen reminded me that God has given me other strengths so I can still help people learn and love and convert to the gospel. And she brought such a special spirit into the lesson that I know touched our investigator’s heart.
I felt like we came home every night so exhausted. Nothing feels better than coming home after a hard day’s work of rejections but even more tender mercies. I love love love being a missionary!!!! It is the biggest blessing ever and it is the happiest work.
I love you all!!!!!!! So happy that the Christmas season has begun!!!
Love,
Sister Huang

Sister Gong is Awesome!

Hello world!!
First off, were you able to write 100 things you’re grateful for? I hope you did because gratitude really is the best attitude! It’ll make you a lot happier, I promise!
So the first week of this transfer has come and gone and it has been so awesome to work with Sister Gong again. She’s grown and improved so much since I was last with her three transfers ago. We still have a lot to adjust and learn together, but I am grateful that Heavenly Father planned it so that we could be companions again – I feel like that doesn’t happen often.
Some highlights of this week:
Wednesday: I love my companion and I am so proud of her! She said a prayer in English that morning and it was great. She also rode her bike like a pro and even though it was only her third day in the area, she was able to lead us to the church building! As I was riding behind her, I just felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy. It was just three transfers ago when Sister Xia, Sister Gong and I would spend 1 1/2 hours “biking” home from church because Sister Gong couldn’t bike. But now, she is a pro and can bike anywhere. Not to mention, she can bike pretty fast! At the end of the day after planning, we had hot cocoa (also huge tender mercy because Sister Gong doesn’t drink anything except for hot water so I was so happy when she was willing to drink hot cocoa with me!).
Thursday: THANKSGIVING! That morning during personal study, I just happened to be reading Alma 26, which is basically the perfect chapter to read on Thanksgiving as a missionary. I have decided that Alma 26 is my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon and that Ammon is my hero! He acknowledges EVERYTHING to the Lord and never complains! He has the ultimate attitude of gratitude! And it gets to the point where he “fell to the earth”!
We also had our first English District Meeting. Elder Chui’s first sentence was “I have never been so stressed during my entire mission” and he’s served for 20 months. But his English was fine. And the APs joined us so Elder Huang translated for Elder Chen and Sister Gong.
Also we stressed the elders big time that night. After our ward’s Thanksgiving potluck, there was A TON of leftovers so of course, the members gave it all to us. We drove to the elders’ pad to drop some of the food off, but when we got there, the elders told us they were going to be running a bit late. Since we had some down time, we went contacting! I was really driven to reach our goal of talking to 10 people that I didn’t even realize how dark and kind of sketchy the area was. And there was no sign of people. Nonetheless, I really believed that Heavenly Father would provide for us since we were diligent and faithful. When we got to the park, there was a man who was walking around so we started walking and talking with him. And Heavenly Father really did provide because he agreed to meet with us again to learn more about the restored gospel! As I was typing in his number on our phone, I saw that we had eight missed calls from the elders and one text that said “Please reply. We are worried about you sisters.” So after we said bye to our new friend, we started walking back to the elders’ pad. Turns out they legit thought we got kidnapped because we didn’t answer any of their phone calls and there were some sketchy people in the neighborhood and it freaked them out big time. But everything is okay!
Saturday: As I was reading the Book of Mormon, I came across Alma 29:8 which says,
“For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.” And then it hit me once again that serving in Chinese work is the BEST. We are literally preparing for the day when China opens its door. We are preparing for the big harvest! Each person we talk to, teach, and/or baptize is one more person who can take the gospel back to China. The Lord said that every nation and tongue will hear His word in His time and way. The big picture is sometimes overwhelming to think about but I am so grateful I get to be a part of the hastening of the work of salvation among the Chinese people.
Sunday: We went with the English sisters to do a pass off lesson with someone they found while tracting. I was so amazed by how they taught, especially with the fact that one has only been out for 4 or 5 months and the other has only been out for 3 months. They taught with love and boldness. Their testimonies were on fire and the Spirit was so strong! It was such a great learning opportunity and I was so grateful. Also, our new friend that they passed to us is the sweetest. She is still in high school but she really wants to develop a closer relationship with God. She has that real intent!
Also, remember that member referral we got a few weeks back? We gave her to the Alhambra sisters since it would be more convenient for her to go to the Valley Branch. And guess what? She got baptized last week and confirmed yesterday!! She was so prepared and I am so grateful for our member who recognized that and helped her receive the gospel!
Being a missionary has its golden times as well as its hard times. There were many days this past week when Sister Gong and I just felt dead beat. But when I remembered to count my blessings, things felt easier to handle and it gave me one last reserve of energy and motivation to continue doing the work. So count your blessings, people!! Even though Thanksgiving is over, we can still be in a mindset of thanksgiving every minute of everyday!
I am grateful for you all!!!
Love,
Sister Huang