This Place is on FIRE

Hello world!!

Well, it felt like a week-long exchange here in Sunland. But it’s¬†starting to get real now. English work is super different, but in a¬†good way! I am learning SO much as to how to better work with members,¬†the ward and the stake and it is AWESOMEEEEE!!! President Villanueva¬†has been pushing us missionaries to be more on FIRE and it is¬†happening here in Sunland. Also Sister Robinson is on fire all day¬†everyday and it’s so contagious. It is seriously the biggest privilege¬†to work with her. She’s been an STL since she was five or six months¬†in and we go home together. So she knows what she’s doing and she’s¬†good at it. She gets stuff DONE and it’s awesome. So even though I¬†have no clue what I am doing and I don’t have a single leadership bone¬†in my body, it’s okay because I have Sister Robinson to learn from and¬†Heavenly Father will help me.

Haha oh remember how I went on about how inadequate I felt in last¬†week’s email? Well, I had the stereotypical inadequate breakdown on¬†Friday night (Sister Robinson is a trooper) and then was called to¬†repentance by President Villanueva. He told me to get rid of those
feelings immediately because they are from the devil. I love him. He’s¬†the best at reproving with love.

Okay so right before I came in to Sunland, Sister Robinson and Sister¬†Tilini dropped all their investigators because none of them were¬†progressing towards baptism. So we are starting from scratch and it’s¬†awesome. They have a huge potentials list so this past week, we spent¬†a lot of time finding them and contacting on the street as we went.¬†And from that, we picked up EIGHT new investigators! Four of them were¬†from yesterday. Okay yesterday was just awesome. We were able to go to¬†the Stake Correlation meeting with President Villanueva, the APs and¬†the Zone Leaders. Then we had a rockin’ dinner with our Bishop and had¬†an awesome discussion about member missionary work and how to be¬†better at that. And then we had a cancelled lesson so we went out to¬†find and found two SUPER prepared people who we will be meeting this¬†week. Also we have a bomb ward mission leader.

And we walked and walked and walked and walked and it was awesome. There are so many hills here!!! It down poured Wednesday night and we trekked 1 1/2 hours uphill and it was great. We laughed the whole time.

OH I can’t forget my favorite tender mercy from this week! To preface,¬†there are zero Chinese people here in Sunland and I feel deprived.¬†Okay so we were walking on ednesday when I saw two Asians and I just¬†prayed in my heart that they were Chinese (because I still can’t can’t¬†tell the difference) and when they got closer, I just said “šĹ†Ś•Ĺ!!” and¬†they said it back and it was definitely the happiest!!! It felt like I¬†found a long lost friend haha. We talked and turns out they are from¬†Hacienda Heights (in our mission, just an hour away) and knew the¬†missionaries down there! I told her to go to church and then she told¬†her son to take a picture of us. It was so so happy. Words don’t do it¬†justice.

We went to Alhambra to do studies with Sister Gong, Xia and Mann. It¬†was so wonderful to be with these three dear sisters/previous¬†companions of mine. I love each of them so much. And it was so awesome¬†to be able to say the mission scripture and pray in Chinese with them.¬†Sister Xia started crying when we were saying the mission scripture¬†and it was hard for me to hold my tears back. It felt so good for us¬†four Chinese sisters to be together after a long time. And can I just¬†say that Sister Xia’s English has gotten SO good!!!! I am so grateful¬†I get to work with these Sisters! They are obedient, hard working and¬†amazing in their own way. It was a privilege to work with each of them¬†as their companion.

So the President has changed the way we do exchanges. Besides normal¬†exchanges where one of us goes to the sisters’ area and one of them¬†comes to ours, we also have to do one where we bring both sisters to¬†our area for a day and the four (or five) of us work in Sunland. We¬†also have to do a planning session and study session with each companionship. It’s a lot but luckily we have seven weeks this¬†transfer and only four companionships. I am so excited to learn from¬†each of these companionships and sisters and their areas!!!! We have¬†great sisters.

Okay well it’s been an adjustment and it still is but I have learned¬†to love the work on a whole different level. I LOVE BEING A¬†MISSIONARY. Also, my testimony of the Restoration has increased and¬†strengthened so much this past week. I love Joseph Smith and I know for a fact that he restored Christ’s true church and the priesthood¬†authority back on the earth. I know he is a prophet of God! I know The¬†Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s kingdom on the¬†earth. And even though Chinese work and English work are very¬†different, the gospel and its principles are all the same. How amazing¬†of a blessing and privilege it is to be Christ’s representative and¬†boldly declare His gospel!

Hope you all have an amazing week!

Love,
Sister Huang

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No More Arcadia and No More Chinese.

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Hello world!!!

Transfers. I still haven’t had time to process it. And I think I’m too¬†scared to because I will break down haha. I think I just laid in bed¬†for 2 hours after we got the call that night. I couldn’t sleep!¬†Literally, I was 99% sure that Sister Gong and I were staying in¬†Arcadia for another transfer.¬† It was a reminder that Heavenly Father¬†knows how to push us out of our comfort zone.

So Sister Gong and I are leaving Arcadia. Sister Gong is going back to Alhambra to be in a trio with Sister Mann and Sister Xia.

I am going to English work in Sunland to be a Sister Training Leader with Sister Robinson and to be honest, I am terrified. First of all, English work is a whole different ball game and speech is one of my biggest weaknesses, especially in English. Second, I am the most
unqualified person to be called as an STL. These past two transfers, I¬†spent most of my efforts on helping Sister Gong so my missionary¬†skills – teaching, finding, planning – are probably back at the level when I first started my mission. And I feel like I still haven’t
developed Christlike attributes so I don’t even know how I could help¬†the other sisters. So inadequate.

But every time I think that I am inadequate or that I’m scared, I feel¬†like the Holy Ghost reprimands me that I don’t have enough faith in¬†Jesus Christ because if I did, I wouldn’t be so scared. Yesterday, we¬†had a Stake Broadcast one of the talks was about not being afraid.
Right now, I feel like Peter as he was walking on the water and then¬†the wind came. In the talk, he reminded us that as long as we keep our¬†eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, we can do anything the Lord asks us to. So¬†that’s what I am going to do.

Since both Sister Gong and I left Arcadia, Arcadia will be whitewashed by Elder Oh and Elder Ng. And I am so happy because if I could choose any two elders to whitewash the area dearest to my heart, it would be them two.

I am going to miss Chinese work so much. And I don’t know if I will be¬†able to go back before I finish the mission. I really hope I do! Sorry¬†mom and dad if I still can’t speak Chinese when I get home…

On another note, Heavenly Father is so kind and loving. He gave us a¬†miracle last night so we could leave Arcadia on a good note. We met¬†with the Li family. Oh my word, this family means the whole world to¬†me. So remember how the dad agreed to be baptized on the 28 but the¬†mom and son were still hesitant? Well, earlier this week, we met with¬†them and then the dad said he wanted to reconsider because the rest of¬†his family still wasn’t on board. We didn’t know what to say so we¬†just told them to keep praying about it. Then yesterday, we brought up¬†baptism again and guess what? The mom said that she has decided that¬†she will be baptized on the 28 with her husband!¬†AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Prayers are answered! I am so sad that we won’t¬†be able to see them get baptized but you can bet that I am going back¬†for their sealing. It was so bittersweet to say bye to them. As I was¬†hugging the mom, we both just started sobbing. I love her so much. I¬†love this family so much. I really believe one of the reasons I stayed¬†in Arcadia for 10 months was to find this family. They will forever¬†and ever and ever have a special place in my heart.

I can’t even remember what else happened this week. My mind is¬†frenzied right now. It was just incredibly hard to say bye to Arcadia¬†and the Mountain View Ward and our investigators. Sunland is so¬†different. Missionaries call it “outer darkness” because it is so far¬†from the rest of the mission. Well for our mission standard because in¬†comparison, we have one of the tiniest missions geographically¬†speaking. Anyway, it’ll be different than being in Arcadia where we¬†were within 10 minutes of 7-8 companionship. Here, it takes about¬†30-40 minutes to get to our sisters. Also apparently, there’s been a¬†lot of changes in missionary leadership so we are planning to do two¬†exchanges with each sister companionship (we only cover four so that’s¬†good) plus studies with each companionship. It’ll be busy.

Well, despite being so terrified, I am so excited to work with Sister Robinson. She came out two weeks before me and she is definition of CONSECRATED and HARD-WORKING. I am not even exaggerating when I say that she is the hardest working missionary. I am so blessed to work with her and most of all, learn from her! She is the bomb.com and I can tell this will be an awesome transfer.

Okay well, here goes the first week of English work!! Loooooove you all so much!!!

-Sister Huang

PS: neither of us have a USB adapter so I don’t know when the next¬†time I can send pictures is…. Sorry!! And I took a ton this past¬†week so ūüė¶

Happy Happy Happy

Hello world!!!

Firstly, HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!!

Secondly, I hit my year mark last week! I am still in denial that I¬†only have six months left. I’m just going to keep telling myself this¬†mission will never end. I love it too much.

Thirdly, Brother Li accepted a baptism date for the 28th! He’s the dad¬†of the awesome and sweetest family we are teaching. We have been¬†teaching them for about a month and it’s been the best experience.¬†They’re the first actual family I have taught so it makes it extra
sweet. I’ll just list some of the happy moments we had with them this¬†last week.
-On Tuesday when we followed up with them on their Book of Mormon¬†reading and prayers, they told us that they have been praying as a¬†FAMILY every morning! And the mom and son read the Book of Mormon¬†together every night!! And if the parents forget to read a chapter we¬†assigned them, their son reminds them to do it!! Again, I had the giggling problem – but I seriously can’t help it! SO HAPPY!
-We went over one night and only the mom was home so we read Alma 32¬†with her. We stopped in the middle and asked if she had any questions¬†or comments. She was quiet for a while (I’ve been learning to be okay¬†with silence. It’s still a struggle for me) and then she said “Is¬†there really a God?”
Instead of saying yes, we asked her “What do you think?”
Silence again.
“Yes, I think there is a God.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I have read the scriptures and prayed.”
“There really is a God and He loves you so much!”

The Spirit was the sweetest. Literally two weeks ago, she didn’t know if there¬†really was a God because she’s never been taught or told about God. And now,¬†she can say firmly that she believes that there is a God. And it was by doing ¬†those three simple things: going to church, reading the Book of Mormon every¬†day and praying every day!! This gospel is so true.

-We invited them to be baptized last week and they were all still hesitant. We ¬†invited them to pray about it and we would follow up in two days. Two days later,¬†we followed up and they didn’t pray about it. We then asked Br. Li to offer a¬†kneeling prayer right then to ask if they should be baptized on February 28. I am pretty sure he got an answer during¬†his prayer because right after, he said,¬†“I am going to do my best and work hard to be baptized in 22 days.” The mom¬†and son are still a little hesitant but we are planning on using the same approach with them tomorrow when we visit them. And you bet WE are going to the best we can and work the hardest we can to help them be baptized on February 28!

Fourthly, I can truly testify that Mormon’s promise that if we “pray unto the Father¬†with all the energy of heart, [… we] may be filled with this love.” It might not happen in a day or a week or even a month, but He will grant it to you. I’ve been praying for charity in every prayer for the past I don’t know how long… But I feel like this past week, Heavenly Father has given me a bigger heart and more¬†capability to love. And patience – another attribute I’ve been trying to work on –¬†has come along with it. I’m definitely still not the most charitable or patient person, but I am so grateful that Heavenly Father answers prayers and because¬†of Jesus Christ’s Atonement, I have the potential and hope that one day, I will¬†be a charitable and patient person.

Fifthly, I forgot to mention this last week, but we had a Stake Women’s Conference that I was able to help translate for (haha my Chinese is still not up to par for translation….). The theme was “Finding Joy in the Journey.¬†” It was exactly what I needed to hear. For those who know me, I am definitely not the happiest person. But through that conference, I was reminded that it is so easy to find the little joys in life and tender mercies and that itself can make your day so much brighter! Often times, I forget to count my blessings and I think that’s one of the easiest ways to be happy! God has given us so much and there is ALWAYS hope because His plan is the plan of happiness and it is perfect.

Sixthly (is that even a word?), contacting brings miracles. On Thursday, we¬†were finally able to plan a chunk of time to park contact. We walked and talked to people, but there wasn’t much success. By the time we finished¬†walking around the whole park, we still had about an hour left. We prayed¬†to know where to go next and then after, I had the impression to go back to¬†the park. At first, I was a little hesitant because I thought we would just see the same people but we still went. And lo and behold, we found a family who¬†had just been in America for 10 days. We are planning on meeting with¬†them tonight so I’m super excited!!!!

Oh so since yesterday was Chinese New Year’s Eve, all of our investigators¬†had plans so none were able to make it to church. Nonetheless, another¬†miracle! Our less active friend came!! We were singing the sacrament hymn¬†when I saw her walk in with her two daughters and their stroller. SO HAPPY.¬†And right after, she asked us to help her fill out the tithing slip! She has¬†had so many challenges and restrictions that make it really hard for her¬†to come to church, but I feel like her faith is stronger than many people who¬†do come to church every week, including mine! She is a powerhouse and I love her!

So this week is the last week of this transfer and it’s going to be awesome because we are going to work hard and make miracles happen. I’m so excited!

“He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored¬†unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.”¬†(Helaman 14:31)
Do many good things out of your own free will this week and you will see more good in your life!! Heavenly Father loves you so much!

Love,
Sister Huang

Light ALWAYS Overcomes Darkness

Hello world!!

So many ups and downs this week. Opposition is so real. I don’t even know where to start with today’s email. SO MUCH HAPPENED.

Well, we can start with Linda who got baptized yesterday!!!!! Satan threw so many curveballs at her before she got baptized. My heart felt like it was being ripped and healed over and over this past week. On Tuesday, she had a bit of a situation which didn’t allow her to be interviewed on the original set day – Wednesday. We tried to figure something out, but she just said that she didn’t want to do the baptism interview anymore. I just prayed and prayed in my heart to know what to say. The gift of the Holy Ghost popped into my head so I just testified of this divine gift that can help her so much, especially when she returns back to her crazy life in China. We then invited her to pray to know when Heavenly Father wants her to be baptized – this week or seven months later when she hopefully comes back.

We then told her friend (the member who introduced her to church) and of course he was devastated. We then tried to come up with other options of when she could get interviewed, baptized and confirmed. He told us he would talk to her tonight. We prayed so hard¬†Tuesday night¬†that everything would work out. I felt like I really understood the meaning of placing it all in God’s hands.¬†Wednesday morning¬†comes around and the member calls telling us that Linda decided that she will do the interview on Saturday! Words cannot describe how I felt. I just kept thinking light will ALWAYS overcome darkness! So we got permission for her to be baptized and confirmed on Sunday and we had a beautiful service. It was so hard and sad to say bye to her since she is leaving for China¬†tomorrow, but I know God will take care of her as well as those members in Shanghai. I love Linda so much and it has been the greatest opportunity and privilege to teach her and see her faith and testimony grow in such a short amount of time.

Also, being in a trio with Sister Dunn was the biggest blessing ever. I was so sad when we had to split up on Saturday. I learned so much from her in just this past week and she was everything I needed to keep on going. She really was God’s angel in helping me when I was about to break. I love her!!! And even though my Chinese decreased a ton in just one week, it was worth it. It was amazing to see how she could help discern our investigators’ needs even though she couldn’t understand them! It was also really cool to do some English work. It’s so different and I definitely understand why God put me in Chinese work rather than English. Basically, last week was like a one week exchange and it was awesome. It was also nice to eat some American food when the Arcadia Ward members invited us over for dinner.

Thursday was a day of counsel, support and advice. We had district meeting which is such a great opportunity to tune up our teaching skills. Then we had interviews with President Villanueva (which is always THE best!!!) and then interviews with our Zone Leaders. Then Friday, the Sister Training Leaders came over and did studies with us. So much inspiration and learning as the five of us sat in our living room discussing about the gospel and how to better help our friends.

We weren’t able to do as much as we wanted/visit as many people as planned since we had to divide our time amongst two areas. But can I just say again how much I LOVE our investigators? Heavenly Father has blessed us with the best (and cutest!) ones. I probably talked Sister Dunn’s ear off about all of our investigators this whole past week. I love them so much. We have an awesome family – a mom, dad and their ten year old son – who has so much DESIRE! We were able to explain to the dad about Satan and how he doesn’t want us to keep the commandments because he doesn’t want us to be happy (the dad wasn’t reading the Book of Mormon because of his busy schedule). It then just clicked for him and he was like “So every time I think I’m too busy to read the Book of Mormon, that is Satan trying to make me not do it!” The next time we followed up, he read the Book of Mormon!!!

We also have the sweetest lady that we are teaching. However, it’s been hard getting a hold of her and meeting with her because she’s so busy. On Tuesday, we decided to just call her to see how she’s doing and when I asked her how she was doing, she just started bawling. She told us how she just felt so overwhelmed and alone and lost. The not so good thing about loving people so much is that your heart hurts a lot when you know that they are hurting. But that goes under the covenant of mourning with those that mourn. It was so sad because we weren’t able to visit her that day but we visited her the next day. When we followed up on prayer, she said she felt more peace and more confident. Then we introduced the Book of Mormon and explained to her that it was another way of receiving more peace and guidance. She was excited to read it! I love the Book of Mormon.

Hm hm what else happened… Sister Gong’s English is improving! She was able to read Moses 1:39 yesterday all by herself (minus the long words like immortality and eternal). So proud of her.
Oh one more thing! Yesterday when I was reading Book of Mormon, I read an awesome chapter on member-missionary work – Helaman 5. Nephi and Lehi were AWESOME missionaries and so successful, but when they were preaching to the Lamanites, they just couldn’t get them to repent. God even straight up told them from the heavens that they needed to repent! THREE TIMES. And they still didn’t! It wasn’t until one of their own people – Aminidab – told them to repent that they finally softened their hearts, repented and then were able to feel peace. This is exactly why members are SO CRUCIAL in missionary work! As missionaries, we have the power and authority to teach, but it is the members (who are in the community and just in the “in”) that soften these people’s hearts so that they can accept the Holy Ghost and the gospel and feel that peace that only the gospel can bring.
Okay I am pretty sure this is the longest email I’ve sent. But I love you guys! Everyone can do hard things with the Atonement. It is BEYOND real.
Have a great week!
Love,
Sister Huang