Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Sleep? What Is Sleep?

Nimen Hao!!
This week was probably one of the busiest weeks I've had on the mission... but busy is good as a missionary right?😏
This week we've been all over the place. We have been teaching so many new wonderful people! Currently we are teaching 2 families, specifically the dads. Their names are Steven and Jerry and their faith is so amazing and they are very willing to learn! 
We also started teaching this sweet lady by the name of Guangwen Bao (Stop trying to pronounce it, LOL😁). She ran into us one day at the park this week and started bouncing up and down saying, "NIHAO SUN ZHANGLAO!" (that's me) She is super sweet and I'm way grateful I'm able to teach her! 
We also got our New Mission President this week. I haven't been able to meet him yet, so I don't have much to say about him! We get to meet him tomorrow so I'm very excited for the new things coming to the mission! 
The icing on the cake was Sunday for sure. We were so busy it was insane! We went and taught Winter at 9:45 am who has a major in Fashion Design. She told us what to do so we can be "in the trend" and what we need to be wearing. Its kind of hard when you're a missionary, but she liked my ties so we're good. 
Then we burned to the church as quick as we could, set up translation and started grabbing investigators. Elder Willes started translating while I was taking phone calls helping them know where they are! We ran all over the place getting them comfortable as possible. I am aging 20 years trying to help them all have a good experience! 
I then proceed to help the small army of children get to there classes so the moms can go to class and not worry! 
In conclusion as a missionary Sundays are designed not for us to have a good experience, but for our Investigators to be able to focus so they can see the blessings!
I am guessing I will be bald by the end of my mission... 
We burned out to Hemet, an hour drive, and taught Cher and Wendy. Her mom actually sat down this time so that was neat! We had a great lesson and they're doing great! We just need to find them a church since they are kind of in the middle of Mexico. LOL
After dinner we taught a members daughter by the name of Christine who is 10. She is a fireball and out sasses me in every lesson, which is quite impressive! We have been so blessed and I'm so grateful! The church is true, even in Chinese! 

Also... Happy Long-bed F-350 truck, blowing stuff up, everything fried dipped in chocolate, surrounded by Bald Eagles America day! (4th of July)

Love ya!!
Elder Nelson 孙长老

Ben is so excited about all the people that he and Elder Willes have been able to meet and teach. Their English class has a steady amount of 15 people coming each week which is AWESOME! 
They are also teaching a guy named Jacky who was actually referred to them from ELDER WHITE.  Elder White (Prince Hanz from the Frozen video 😁) is one of the guys from Ben's District in the MTC who has become one of his best friends! He is currently serving in the neighboring Arcadia, CA Mission. Ben was so excited because he was able to talk to him for quite a bit and get caught up! 
Jacky had a really cool experience. He wasn't able to come to church because of his work, but he said he was looking for a new job. Within a week of telling them this information he found new work that was closer that would allow him to go to church on Sundays! Jacky told them that God wants him to learn about this church if he was able to find work that quick! 😊
The Lord is blessing these 2 so much with so many opportunities, they barely have time to eat or sleep. As a Mom I worry about him all the time and worry even more when I hear he isn't eating well or getting the rest he needs. On the flip side, I know the Lord will bless them with energy and strength they need to fulfill the duties they have been sent to do. Plus, these types of lessons are great for them to learn the skills they need for adulthood. We all have experienced that time in our lives when you find yourself going without your own needs being met, but you know serving someone else is the only way to forget your troubles and to grow. These missions are doing just that for these kids. I am so proud of the man my son is becoming and I can hear the change each week through his emails. Even better, what a blessing it is that I get to live these experiences with him through his stories and testimony. 
He's right...GOD IS GOOD!♥♥♥  

Service at the Nature Center

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It's So HOT Even Our Sweat Is Sweating

This week was full of tons of sweat and more Asian hunting! I can't even express how busy we have been. We have had so many appointments and places to be that we haven't even had time to eat lunch most of the time! However, busy is good as a missionary- so I can't complain at all!
We have met with a lot of new people this week. All are so amazing and I will talk more about them in the following weeks to come! It has been 105 to about 108 every single day out here, which does not mix at all with what you have to wear as a missionary!  You can get out of a car or even walk for like 3 minutes and be sweating head to toe.🌞
Everyone thinks you're insane for being outside, which they are kind of right, but they are a lot nicer and give you tons of water- so that is good! 
We taught again this week our most entertaining investigator Winter.  She gets distracted super easy and runs around everywhere! 😁We all showed her pictures of our families to keep her focused LOL. She is super fun and way cool to teach. She has a Masters in Fashion Design, so she has some pretty dope lookin clothes! 
This Sunday there were 11 new investigators at church which was super fun! Especially that all of them are women but 1! Evangel and Blair were confirmed this week and she was grinning ear to ear! They are an amazing family and I'm so blessed to take a part in there journey!
Then we went all the way out to Hemet to teach a Chinese family in their restaurant they own, so that was fun LOL. They live an hour away from us, but it is worth it, even if it is 115 degrees in Hemet! 
Hope you all have a great week! Good luck with the heat! 

Elder Nelson 孙长老

Tag pic with the main course😁

Even though Ben and the Trio are receiving many blessings from the Lord, this week took a sad turn for them. Elder Crowther has been called to serve in Corona, English speaking. This news came as a shock and surprise to all 3 of them. Ben is really sad to see Elder Crowther go, but told us how much he loves him and how he will do such great things no matter where he is and who he is serving.

I can't imagine the confusion they must feel when things like this happen. Elder Crowther was called to serve speaking Mandarin. He trained for 9 weeks in the MTC and was Ben's companion that whole time and yet the Lord needs him elsewhere.  Hearing how positive Ben, Elder Willes and Elder Crowther are being in the face of this new adjustment is a faith and testimony builder for me. How great is it that these 3 young men have such a faith in this work and in their Father in Heaven that they KNOW things will turn out OK, for all of them. Our prayers are always with all of the missionaries in the world, but right now a little extra love and prayer is going out to Elder Crowther for this new assignment he is about to embark on and to Ben and Elder Willes that they can continue on the path they have already set forth. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Serenaded A Song Of Repentance

Time is flying by so fast and I can't even keep up with all the amazing miracles that are happening out here for us!
First this week our English class exploded! We have like double the people now and its twice as crazy to teach them LOL. We've met a ton of funny people through class and we hope to teach a lot of them soon, so stay tuned!
We then had to say goodbye to Hank and Tina who are moving for like 4 months. I'm going to miss them soooo much!
We taught Shanon again this week, she is amazing. She has a son on a mission right now who was converted in college so it sparked her interest to meet with us! We had a really spiritual lesson! We began to talk about baptism, which she has been scared about. She expressed how much she misses her son and how hard this is for her. We began to testify of our purpose and how we know these things will bless her! She broke down in tears and was sobbing. We know she knows these things are true, she even said so herself. We are going to continue to work with her and be patient!
On Saturday we had a Chinese BBQ which was way fun! It was a little overwhelming for me because there was like 60 Chinese people there all wanting to talk to the white kids that speak Chinese!😁 But it was so much fun!
Then the pinnacle of the week was Sunday. We had the baptism for Evangel and her daughter Blair. They are both so amazing and I'm so glad I got to play a part in her amazing conversion. Her testimony is amazing and is a huge example to me! 
I hope you all had a great week I'll have pictures for you all! 
Wo Ai Nimen!!
Elder Nelson 孙长老

Hank & Tina-See you in 4 months!😢

Ben's quote for the week was: "If you're not super busy as a missionary, you are doing something wrong!" 
I ♥LOVE♥ it! It makes my heart happy to hear that he is keeping busy doing good things. 
My favorite part of his recording this week was him talking about a dinner appointment where he shared a spiritual message and then he was serenaded a song about how he needs to repent. 
Haha! So funny!
Ben went into more detail of Evangel's & Blair's baptism and what a spiritual experience it has been and how wonderful it has felt to be a part of this with them. He spoke of Evangel's testimony that she bore and what a powerhouse she is. She was quoting many scriptures, some of which they haven't even taught her yet. He is so impressed with her love of the gospel and her example she has set for her family and him.  

What a GREAT Day!

Last Multi Zone with President Mullen

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

When God Steps In

I seriously love Chinese people so much! Their language is just about impossible, but I love them! This week was super good and we met so many amazing people.
First we got to teach a less actives wife named, Jian. Lorenzo (her husband) is Mexican and she is Asian, super interesting but cool! She is really amazing and super willing to learn the Gospel. She came to church by herself which was awesome!
Second we had an amazing opportunity to go with Hank & Tina to the Temple. It is awesome to see how far they have come and how much they have grown. What an amazing experience! I'm so grateful that I had the chance to teach them! 
Sunday was super fun, as usual. Just the normal stress and the wanting to pull all your hairs out! But we had 3 people come to church!
Evangel and her daughter Blair will be baptized this upcoming Sunday. We are really excited for them, they are so amazing! 
After church we were able to teach this couple named Winter and Norris (named himself after Chuck Norris, Haha) Norris had to leave so we taught Winter and her mom, Katherine! They are both amazing and she is super fun. Winter is quite the fireball and is a professional Fashion Designer!
But by far the most amazing thing that happened this week was yesterday. We had the opportunity to teach a lady by the name of Jenny. She recently lost her husband to cancer and she is really depressed and sad. Her friend referred her to us and went with us to teach her. Jenny didn't know we knew Chinese. She was so excited when she found out! We taught her the Plan of Salvation and told her she would see her husband again! She cried and cried and said, "You have given me this new hope! I have no family anymore and your church will be my new family!" She calls us her little angels. I'm so grateful for the amazing experience we had teaching her. She is super talented and has a beautiful home that she built with her own hands! 
Love you all- hope you have a sweet week! 

Sun Zhanglao! ​
Elder Nelson 孙长老
Good to know!😁

Special Day

So this week Ben informed us that his "competitive spirit" got the best of him. Nothing like a friendly game of kickball with the Elders to put you in the hospital! All is OK now, but it made for a fun few days of muscle relaxers and a lot of pain in his neck. I wonder where he gets that "spirit" from?😉
They had the opportunity to teach someone new named Bruce (after Bruce Lee). This now makes 3 Bruce's they are teaching. Needless to say, it can get confusing! Haha. 
Ben had his last interview with President Mullen this week. He leaves on June 30th and his new Mission President, Darrell Hammon is arriving that same day. This is such a bittersweet thing for Ben. He loves President and Sister Mullen and has appreciated all the things they have taught him. I pray for this new President and hope that he will have a smooth transition into the Riverside Mission.
Last Picture with President & Sister Mullen😢

One of the highlights of Ben's week was doing baptisms with Hank and Tina! They each needed to bring names and Ben talked about how fun it was to do Family History with them.
Ben mentioned in his email that they were able to meet with a couple named Norris and Winter. He went into more detail and told us that they have been trying to get in touch with these 2 for about 4 weeks and before that it had been years of missionaries trying to teach them. The miracle here was that Elder Crowther was able to connect with them while Ben and Elder Willes were at the Temple with Hank and Tina! Now they have appts. set up to continue to teach them and even though Norris had to leave halfway through, Winter's mom ended up sitting in on the lesson and was loving it! She was a welcome surprise and another unexpected investigator for them. 

The story of Jenny is heart breaking. I cannot listen to it without crying the whole way through. 
Jenny was referred to them from a lady named Sister Flynn. She called Salt Lake to find out who the missionaries were in the area. She told them about her friend Jenny and how she has lost her husband and is really sad and lonely. Sister Flynn felt like she would be prepared to listen to them because we teach of being eternal families and she can see her husband again. 
They asked her if she wanted it in English or Chinese. Sister Flynn said she knew a lot of English so that would work. Elder Crowther apologized and said they could refer her to the English Missionaries because they were the Chinese Missionaries. Sister Flynn FREAKS out and says, "Wait what? You guys know Chinese? How did you know she was from China?" They explained that they didn't know, but would be happy to teach her in Chinese. She was thrilled because Jenny was married to an American and had not been able to speak Chinese for about 20 years. 
They show up to her house and find out that her husband was a piano tuner. They go into the garage and they see all these piano pieces that she and her husband have been working on. He was very talented and had written like 37 piano pieces. They continue into the backyard and it is everything Chinese! Ben says it was one of the most beautiful things he has seen with a big bridge and a coy pond underneath, huge pillars, stone tunnels and big gazebo all that she made by hand! 
They start talking with Jenny who Ben describes as having the saddest countenance, it broke his heart. They ask her where she is from and she says, "Shanghai China." So Ben says in Chinese, "Oh so we can speak in Chinese if you want."  He says she just freaks out so happy and starts saying, "Oh you handsome boys, how do you know Chinese?" They explain that this is their mission and they start explaining their purpose. They go inside and start talking with her and Ben says, "She is so fragile right now and she is talking about her husband and you can tell she loves him so much and what a huge influence he has been on her in her life."  
As she is talking she tells them that the hospital killed him. They thought he had some heart condition and went into fix it but he ended up really having a lung infection and when they opened him up, the infection traveled to his heart and killed him. The hospital told her that it was 100% their fault and that she could take legal action if she wanted to, but she said one of John's (her husband) last comments was that he told the hospital he forgave them and he passed away, so she never took action. 
She told them of how Christ-like he was and that the Bible has played a really big role in her life. Ben said she went on to say, "I would give everything up, my house, everything! All I want is the clothes on my back and I would go sleep on the streets if I could have my husband back."  It was so sad and she started crying and told them she just misses him so much. They started teaching her the Plan of Salvation and the whole way through she kept saying, "I agree with all of this".
Ben had the last part and it was about the kingdoms and he tells her, "I know you're going to see your husband again and I know where he is right now and he is learning about the same things you are learning." 
She starts crying and crying and tells them that they have given her so much hope. She says, "My psychologist told me he thinks I am suicidal because I miss him so much and then you guys come in and you "Little Angels" have given me a new hope and I know I will see him again and I know this is true. You can say whatever you want to me and keep teaching me, but I already know this is true. I have no family here and I think your church is my new family." 
I can feel it, I know it's true and I know that what my husband is doing is right. I love God and he has been so good to me and I have been blessed with so many things. I am so happy that I am going to see my husband again!" 
Ben talked about how strong the spirit was in this moment. He said, "You could've probably grabbed the spirit out of the air and sat it down next to you! I have never had a more spiritual experience on my mission or in my life. This was one of the best lessons, there were no struggles, I knew all the words I was suppose to say, it was incredible." 
Jenny expressed to them that if her husband had been alive and they had contacted her she would've probably told them to come back another time and would not have really thought about it. But since he has died she knows this is her trial and she know Heavenly Father sent them there and she wants to come to church to learn all she can about it. 
So many miracles for these Elders this week! ♥♥♥ As Ben would say, "God is Good!"

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Facebook Flutters

It's funny as a missionary mom the things that get you excited. P-day emails, handwritten letters from your son, seeing missionaries out on the street, ANY talk that has to do with things concerning missionaries, a cool tie, the list goes on and on. For me, one of my favorite things is the pictures! The ones that come from Ben are awesome, but the pics that are sent to you randomly from someone who is close to your missionary, now those are the BEST! Whether they are being fed, hanging out or just a random person that thought you would appreciate the pic, they all evoke the same emotion...BUTTERFLIES! My ♥ is filled with so much excitement and love when I receive those images of my son. Seeing him and knowing he is being taken care of and loved on from the people of Riverside, helps ease this worried mother's mind. I guess that is one of the blessings of living in an age where with a touch of a few buttons, I can see my son at that exact moment sitting down with a family and his companions eating a nice meal.
Thank you so much Qingzhi Hu Family!♥♥♥

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Chasing Chickens & Being Chased😉

Weeks go so fast on the mission, it's kind of scary. I'm coming up on my 7 month mark I can't even believe it! 
This week was very crazy. I'm going to skip all the boring stuff and just get to the stuff you guys want to read! 😀
We had a service project this week on Thursday. We had to chase chickens and clean them off. I thought that would be easy but I was DEAD WRONG! Those little suckers should all be professional running backs for the NFL! We finally got a hold of them and had a lot of fun cleaning them.
Later that night we got to meet with Hank and Tina who are now doing Family History and moving along super quick! They both as of now have their Temple recommends and are looking forward to going to the Temple, hopefully this Saturday!
On Sunday at the UCR ward I was blessed with doing Hanks Aaronic Priesthood blessing! It is so cool to see how far along these two have come in so little time! 
We then headed off to our main ward in Eastvale. I'm going to try my best to explain what a Sunday looks like for a missionary. 
First we come in and set up all the translation so our Chinese members will have the slightest clue what the members are talking about. Then we begin to hope, pray and run all over the place grabbing investigators! One in particular whose baptism is very very close, her name is Evangel. She brought her 2 year old son with her and throughout all of sacrament he was running everywhere even up on the stand. Me and Elder Willes who right now are both perfect dads, lol took him out into the foyer and let him run around and cry a ton looking for his mom....
Oh what we do so our investigators can have a good experience. Then we had to teach the lesson in 3rd hour all while trying to organize Evangels baptismal interview! Church is super hectic and pretty much all in Chinese so it can be very entertaining!
To top off the week I had a 30 year old lady flirt with me and call me "Young Handsome Meat"!
I hope you all had a very exciting week, wish you all best!

Sun Zhanglao! ​
Elder Nelson 孙长老
Chasing Chickens

I ♥LOVE♥ the start of Ben's recordings! He usually starts with..."Ne-Howdy" instead of Ni Hao. 😁 
This week Ben gave us some information that made this Mom ♥ a little nervous. He said he has been living off of chips and water all week. They ran out of money, got paid but then couldn't go to the store for another 5 days!! While I realize these lessons are beneficial for him, I do not like to hear my kid is hungry! 😕 
Ben started talking about the service they did with catching the chickens and you could hear his smile through the recording! It is RARE to get a video of your missionary and to be able to hear/see him laughing, healthy and serving but an even better treat is to hear his companions laughing too! 
Seeing him in action serving the Lord, hearing and knowing things are going good with him and his companions makes this Momma ♥     so happy!
Besides the video another highlight of this week was the story Ben shared while he was on a blitz with Elder Golbranson. I know I won't do it justice so I will share it in his own words:
"I have a cool experience to share to let you know the priesthood is real. It didn't happen to me, but I was his companion at the time. Me and Elder Gulbranson were paired up as companions and we are just walking around trying to find people and we can't find anyone. We are looking around and we see this house with the garage open. An open garage is a pretty good indicator that someone is home. We walk up there and find out no one is there except this huge Pitbull with no restrictions on it. I am like, Oh Flip, I guess me and Elder Gulbranson are going home early! This Pitbull proceeds to full on head charges at us, super angry, frothing at the mouth and it goes to jump up and bite Elder Gulbranson. Elder Gulbranson puts his right arm up to the square and rebukes the dog and yells STOP!  
The dog literally halted in his position. It was about to bite him and it completely halts and then he says, GO and the dog turns and walks back in whimpering. My jaw dropped to the floor, it was INSANE! Just a little story from the mission that goes to show the priesthood is real!"
He spoke more about what a Missionary Sunday is like for them. I have to say...I will NEVER complain about my Sundays again! LOL He told us that their whole goal every Sunday is to make sure their investigators are having a good experience at church. 
Since there is a trio, they do this thing called, "Divide and Conquer". He talked about how some of the Asians get pretty nervous when 2 white guys start walking towards them but when 3 do it, it's usually game over! LOL So Ben will usually go by himself and Elder Willes and Elder Crowther will team up. The one day Ben was on one of these "Divide and Conquers" when he walked up in the middle of this group of 3 Asians and he just started talking to them. One of the ladies just starts yelling, "Hěn yīngjùn" (very handsome) over and over again while she is dancing around Ben. For Asians women telling a young man that he is "very handsome" is not flirting, it's just a compliment with no flirting behind it. But then she starts yelling, "Shuàigē" (that means very handsome guy, but flirting) and petting his shoulder and running around him. He says, "Mom, I was like, oh flip what is happening...I am just trying to tell you about Jesus and our English class!" LOL​ She then starts yelling it louder while her friends are all giggling and then says some "slang" Chinese word that Ben doesn't understand. She knew enough English to translate it to him and says, "You are handsome young meat!" Ben thought to himself, "Well that sounds super weird in English, let alone Chinese!" He wrote the word down so he could call Hank, who always helps him with Chinese words he may not know, and see what it meant. Hank and Tina told him that she was definitely flirting with him. Needless to say Ben ended his Sunday on an awkward and funny note! 
Service Cleaning Chickens

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

New Area=New Friends & New Food

Nimen Hao!
This week was super awesome and a way new experience, full of lovable Asians, and new food.
This week we met with a ton of people!! I was able to meet lots of amazing people and even more cool... lots of Chinese members! I know this sounds dumb to all my peeps in Taiwan but for California Missionaries like me, there isn't exactly a ton of them. So coming here and seeing a large group of them was really cool! 
One of them was our sweet investigator Evangel that we were able to teach this week! She is super awesome and getting baptized next week! The icing on the cake is her mullet! She has a buzzed top and long hair on the back. It's super cool and I love her so much. She treats us like she is our mom, feeds us and takes care of us.
We also had a home visit with one of our members, Brother Miao. When we went he proceeded to shove all of this food at us  and made us try it! I had Squid, Baby Crabs like the whole thing just cooked and dried! We had Salmon bacon? and Scallops that they called "Candy" in plastic wrapping like a jolly rancher, so that was fun to try! 
I've only been here for a week and I haven't even had a dinner with a Chinese Member!
SOO super great week full of many funny old Chinese people running away from us, lol. But I love it here and wish you all the best! 
Here is pics of the random events of the week and this service project we did at a Ranch!
Wo AI Nimen

Elder Nelson 孙长老

Ben the Warrior, Baby Crabs

In Ben's new area "The Trio" (Ben, Elder Willes and Elder Crowther) cover the whole mission since they are the only Chinese speaking missionaries, so they are driving EVERYWHERE all the time. 
My favorite part of Ben's recording was him talking about a new guy they met named Rocky, as in Rocky Balboa. Haha!😁 Ben talks about how huge he is and said he only speaks one phrase in English which is "I like to workout" LOL. He loves Rocky and gets to hang with him in English class. 

In the UCR area Ben didn't have any Chinese members except for Hank and Tina and few investigators at church. Going to Eastvale they have a ward with only Chinese in it so NO English is spoken unless it is with his companions. He is LOVING it though because it is helping him learn the language even more. 

So I have mentioned before how the Chinese people choose American names so it is easier for us to pronounce, hence the man named Rocky. But Ben met another guy who introduced himself as "Guns". Ben wanted to clarify so he asked him again, "Your name is Guns"? The man responded with, "Yes, like Guns and Rose!" Haha! Not Guns and Roses, Guns and Rose. 😁It is always so funny to me how they pick their names. I'm sure it tells a lot about their personality by the names they choose.