Wednesday, May 10, 2017

That Wasn't Chicken

Good 'Ol Cali...
This week wasn't too crazy just the same old missionary work. However we did have two sweet things happen that I want to talk about. Both have to do with Hank & Tina. First we got to have dinner at their house this week, which was my first experience with Chinese food! I know all my homies in Taiwan have already forgot about American food. Even though being a Chinese missionary here, American is all we eat. So I was super pumped and as they are telling me all the stuff I started to panic! In conclusion...cow stomach isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! 😁I love them so much and they are such amazing examples to me! I'll drop some legendary pics below of them and the dinner.
Second would have to be Sunday when they got confirmed. It was also fast and testimony meeting, our last in this area. I got up and bore my testimony, and like about 5 minutes later Hank gets up out of nowhere and walks up to bare his testimony! He did it all in English and spoke about how amazing the church is. He said how grateful he is for the wonderful Elders that brought the church into his life! It was really cool to see them come from someone we contacted on the street, all the way to at the pulpit testifying of Christ and the truthfulness of the Church.
Wow what a great blessing I have to be out here!
Love you all! Church is true, Book is Blue!
孫長老 Sun Zhanglao!
Elder Nelson
**Real quick how often is Isaac wearing my clothes LOL

Elder Willes, Ben, Elder Yang, Elder Crowther

Ben on his recording talked about going and doing "Blitzes." (where missionaries get together in one area and everyone goes and talks to people and helps out in this one area) He broke it down and said,"One thing I have found out on blitzes is: Some white people can be so rude. Black people you have no idea what you'll get. Either a rattlesnake who doesn't want anything to do with you or a teddy bear who loves Jesus and wants to talk all about it. The Chinese people are usually pretty timid. So, in short, I'll stick to the Chinese people. Haha! 
Later in the evening was dinner with Hank and Tina. "Mom I couldn't wait to spend time with them and try authentic Chinese food! They were so excited to have us over for dinner that they waited outside for 15 minutes and when they pulled up they started jumping up and down. They invited us over for "Hot Pot" which is exactly as it sounds. They have a hot pot in the middle of the table with all kinds of sauces and spices in it like a big soup. You have different types of raw food around the hot pot like lamb, steak, tofu skin, (which looked like zombie flesh), fish meatballs, fish tofu, cow stomach, yep you heard me right Mom, and about 10 more things I have no idea what they were. You take these ingredients and throw them in this boiling pot and the sauces in it add a bunch of  flavor and then you pull them out and eat them. They had me dunk it in this pasty, salty green sauce-(Wasabi LOL) I don't know, I was just doing what they told me to do. I am eyeing the cow stomach and seriously worried and was scared of the fish tofu. But you know me, you raised me with manners and so I would never disrespect someone and not eat something that was offered to me. Elder Willes gave me a tip before he left. He said, " If you are ever eating anything that you don't like, just chew as fast as you can and quickly throw in something you DO like." 😋 Turns out it was DELICIOUS!  I was trying it all and eating but I am watching Hank and Tina and Elder Yang and they eating so fast and twice as much, I can't keep up. Every time I would quit eating to talk or something Tina would take my bowl and fill it back up to the top. Haha! I am dying because I am so full but I don't want to be the first to stop eating. Finally after so many bowls Tina says she is full! I thought, YES, we can stop. Later we played darts with them and just had a fun time laughing an talking. It is so nice to talk to your investigators on a different level and different topics besides church lessons. I just love these 2 so much and I feel so lucky to have them in my life!

Elder Yang, Ben, Hank, Tina

On Sunday when I bore my testimony, I bore it on trials. Before my mission I always took them wrong and blamed God or whoever I felt gave me the trial. I was mad anytime I had to deal with one. When I first got out here President Mullen asked me, "What should you do when you have a trial?" My answer was the Primary answer, "We should pray to Heavenly Father." He said, "No! You should thank Him." I said, "WHAT!" I thought that was the opposite! Something bad is happening and you say THANKS? But he reversed my mindset about them. Without trials there is no way we can grow. This is the way we become who we are. We can look back at who we were before the trial and I guarantee you are not the same person. The mission has definitely made me appreciate trials because the whole thing is a trial! It's a trial of your faith. Some days I  think, "Why the freak am I out here!" I'm speaking Chinese, I don't understand what you are saying to me, people can be super mean etc... but you get through these things. You rely on the Lord and you become a way better person than before. When I picture myself the first day of my mission, I am not even the same human. I have a different perspective, the Lord has blessed me so much. My Chinese compared to when I first was in the MTC til now is unreal. It is an amazing blessing that if we approach our trials correctly and we are grateful and if we try to overcome these things then we can grow. There is a talk by President Eyring called "Mountain To Climb". He quotes Spencer W. Kimball and talks about asking Heavenly Father for mountains to climb everyday. And as we climb these mountains it's what we become and how we grow. My testimony of Jesus Christ has grown so much since I have been out here. There are days that we fall on our face. We all do it, we're all humans. There are days I am super sad and I want to punch a wall, I fall down but I know Jesus Christ is right along side me to pick me back up. He dusts me off and says, "Hey, get back out there, you got this!" I know Heavenly Father loves me and I feel the spirit so much more and that my Savior is there along side me. We have trials because Heavenly Father loves us. 
This was the testimony I gave in sacrament meeting. When I sat down the other investigators started bugging Hank to bear his testimony. Hank starts panicking and I told him it was his choice and to not worry about it, but then Hank stands up. I about start to cry and I tell him it's OK to do it in Chinese if he feels more comfortable. I know this moment of Hank bearing his testimony is going to be one of the gems of my mission! He stand up there at the pulpit and starts bearing his testimony in English and he says, 
"I want to give you a quick synopsis of my convert story. I remember the day when the 2 Elders found me, Elder Willes and Elder Nelson. They were out walking and it was super hot and I was wondering why there were walking around with it being so hot. They walked up to talk to me about an English class and I could tell that they were super happy and they were excited about what they were doing, so I was willing to meet with them. As we met with them I began to realize that these things can help me, that my faith can grow. I remember the first day, they invited me and Tina to be baptized and we were scared. We didn't know what was going to happen and we didn't think we needed it, so we said no. Then Elder Nelson invited me to pray about it and to read the Book Of Mormon and that the Lord would confirm to us that being baptized would be the right thing to do, so we did. As we read we both felt really good and like it was the right thing to do. Then Elder Willes left the area and Elder Nelson continued to teach us and he read the BOM with us and invited us to be baptized again. We knew it was right and we trusted him so we set a baptismal date. Tina and I have never been happier. I feel like a new person. We definitely feel the Lords love in our lives. We are going to continue to learn and to grow in the gospel and I could not be more grateful for the Elders who brought this into my life."
Hank sits down and 4 other people jump up and bear their testimony about Hank's testimony. One of the members told everyone: LET HANK BE YOUR EXAMPLE!
All I could think was WOW! How amazing is this that I got to meet this guy on the street. I didn't know his name, all I knew is that he was Asian and I needed to contact him and speak to him to practice my Chinese. But to go from seeing him on the street, to him being at the pulpit and testifying about the truthfulness of the gospel, I was in AWE! What would I have done if I had not served a mission? I would have missed out on this opportunity. It is just a reminder that I am where I am suppose to be and I am out doing the right thing. 
Our family has really been having some rough trials in so many aspects of our lives lately, but mostly with our little boy Sam. He recorded his message to us before he knew the extent of Sam's illness. What an inspiration and reminder that Heavenly Father is aware of us and what we need. Heavenly Father knows my closeness with Ben and how he would have supported us and been right by our side had he been home. But even though he is out serving and doing exactly what he should, the Lord helped Ben feel and know what we would need to hear from him this week. Again...THANK HEAVENS for modern technology and the blessing I have to hear my son tell me he loves me and that things are going to be alright. That he is praying and fasting for us and then to have him speak directly to Sam and help him feel like his big brother is loving and supporting him from a distance. ♥♥♥ my heart is full!

May the 4th be with you! 

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