Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 7

Gamyanjit Faailohk (Happy Thanksgiving)
Singdanjit Faailohk (Merry Christmas) My district sings Christmas Carols in Cantonese pretty much every day. It's white and snowy here.
Happy birthday to my mom.
I didn't know that Aunt Kim's email address is based on her Chinese name! That's neat.

For Thanksgiving we had lunch for our main meal so that the workers could eat with their family and friends. We had lots of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon, sweet potatoes, pumpkin/apple pie with ice cream, rolls, and the fruit pudding/whipped cream/jello stuff. Oh and eggnog. It was very tasty. Then we packed a sack dinner and ate it later in the hallway with most of our zone (peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chips, apple, brownie)

The whole day was so great. Elder Oaks gave the morning devotional and some of his extended family (grandchildren etc.) gave really nice musical numbers. During the afternoon we had a humanitarian devotional. One of the two speakers was from Sanford, Florida. I talked to him afterwards. He was the leader of the "Feed the Children" organization. He told us to picture the cutest kid that we know praying at night to Heavenly Father for food to feed his family. With the meals we were about to prepare as a service project, we are giving them more than food, we are giving them faith. I gave the closing prayer in front of about 2,000 missionaries. Afterwards someone said that I am now famous since I prayed in front of so many people. I surprisingly wasn't nervous because I prayed to be calm and just say what I feel/my testimony about charity (sincere love of God's children), gratitude (the ability to recognize the many, many blessings around us) and service (joy in helping and preparation of our own hearts for serving and finding those in our mission areas). We ended up making more than 350,000 meals at the MTC to give to poor families (more than ever before). That is what we did after the devotional. They had us wear red head caps that made us look like the mushrooms from Mario. Then for the evening devotional there were videos about every aspect of gratitude for the gospel and this life and musical numbers. Then my companion recited the first vision in Cantonese in front of everyone. We also had someone in Japanese, German and ESL do it. It was an amazing evening, and afterwards everyone stood while singing "I believe in Christ." The spirit was indescribable. You should listen to the last verse of that song.

We Skyped a Cantonese speaking member on Monday. It was nice. We focus on getting to know and really enjoying our time with the individual/loving them. And then we teach them something applicable to their life and that helps them come unto Christ. Our teacher put each person on speaker phone when doing the evaluation. The member told our teacher that we were one of the best companionships in the last 6 months, that she could really tell that we cared, had good eye contact, companion unity, and that she could feel the spirit so strongly. We felt really nice but knew that the success was only by and through the spirit because of the Lord. I am so grateful for that. He is always on our side. We need to choose to be on His. As we prepare ourselves to be receptive to the Holy Ghost through diligent scripture study and prayer, we can rely on it for every aspect of our lives.

Sat heui = to lose, Saat hoih = to kill. I don't want to mix those two up. jeui = the most, jeuih = sin. Sik = to know, sihk = to eat. beimihn = avoid, boumihn=maintain. Apparently one of the missionaries said "Will you maintain pornography?" to an investigator. Mahn (down tone) means smell. Mahn means ask. "Smell heavenly Father and he will answer you." We're going to make lots of mistakes teaching the gospel until we get the tones and sounds right. We've been making pictures of animals and animal puns to motivate each other. For example, with a picture of a lion we wrote "If I said you weren't a good missionary, I'd be lion." We discovered that rhino in Cantonese is sai ngauh, which means amazing cow.

This week I met people going to Russia, Albania, Finland, and Denmark. It was interesting to hear their languages. We also talk to people from other countries here to learn English or another language, such as China, Australia, Samoa. I also sat on one of my nametags and broke it in half.

"Remember how you felt" by Elder Holland has been a focus of mine this week. It is important to remember the past experiences or feelings that you have had and act on the promptings that you do receive. Put your mind and heart into searching, learning, and studying the scriptures and words of the prophets. The answers are there. You just aren't looking for them. It is the same with everything. If you WANT to know that the scriptures are true, or gain a better testimony, or feel the Holy Ghost, then you will with patience and faith. Heavenly Father doesn't prove himself to us. We prove our beliefs to Heavenly Father and He confirms that what we are feeling or thinking is true. The Book of Mormon is so essential to our conversion to the Gospel. I challenge you to read it diligently, meaning really thinking about what you are reading and likening it to your own life. Make it personal, write in the margins your testimony and thoughts while reading. 1 Nephi 6:5-6 makes me think how every single thing in the Book of Mormon was kept for this very day out of necessity. It was kept in the pages for a reason. As we read we should think of why the passage is significant for us and how it applies on our lives today.

The Lion King scene where Simba talks with his father applies to us. "You have forgotten who you are and thus forgotten me."

Thanks for your love and support. The thing that would make me most happy is if you would share your testimony with someone you care about. Help someone come more unto Christ this week by letting His light shine through you. Strive to have more of his countenance and be an example of the gospel.

Sister Wilcox

There are no pictures this week. I have others take lots of pictures but they forget to forward them to me. Sorry
Oh yes, when Santa says "Hou, hou, hou" he is saying "good, good, good," in Cantonese! That seems appropriate!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 6

Thank you, Grandpa, for keeping me updated on the family and doing the blog for me. I love your mission stories and advice. Thank you everyone (Aunt Kim and Aunt Debbie) for your emails through "dear elders". I do read them all and especially love your little stories. I will try to respond to a few but I mainly love reading them.

It has been fun seeing so many people that I know at the MTC! I actually tried to get a picture with a couple of them so I'll forward a picture if they send it to me (I mooch off of other people's cameras!) We are Skyping actual people in Hong Kong tonight and teaching members a lesson. I am very excited. My companionship taught an actual investigator on Saturday (a BYU exchange student from Hong Kong). We felt the spirit so strongly. I shared a personal story with her that I thought would help her. She is such a sweet girl. I told her maybe we will see her again at BYU after we come back from our mission. She said she would be in Hong Kong then but she gave us her information! I would love to see her there. Her name is Nikki. Oh, and I realize that we also have Viet Nam elders in our zone. Since we have the largest branch at the MTC, we are basically taking over for Thanksgiving. We say all the prayers for all the special meetings. I will be saying the closing prayer at the Humanitarian meeting in front of 1200+ missionaries.

I bought bright orange earmuffs because I get so cold every morning. Everyone says I look like a pumpkin. The mountains are gorgeous. When I walk to my class or to the temple, I feel like my life is complete. It is just so beautiful. Gamyaht hou leng (Today is beautiful) Grandma, I wrote a song about the gospel! Thanks for the advice. Sometimes it is nice to spend the last couple of minutes of the day at the piano writing music to wind down. I figure it would be a great way to write down testimonies as well. My district jokes about how Mandarin is on the bottom floor and we are on the top floor of the building (telestial, terrestrial, celestial) since the two languages are such rivals (which is harder, sounds nicest). I accidentally pushed a Thai elder over in his chair during lunch. It was so funny. I don't know sounds like OMG. (Ngoh mh ji). To say "my older brother is taller than that older brother" you would say "Gogo gohgo bei ngohge gohgo gou." Hence, tone are everything. Ching cho? (clear?)

I had a dream during my nap today that one of the elders in my district threw peanut butter at me. You might wonder why peanut butter was in my dream. I think my favorite thing to eat here lately has been the chicken patties (without the sandwich, then add tomato slices and pepper) and carrots with peanut butter!! yum! During one of our classes, our teacher was doing a teaching demonstration about tithing. He was showing that the church doesn't just spend the money on whatever they want, so he started making it rain $$$ but accidentally said "jipsauh saihlai" receive baptism. It was hilarious. Note: the church does not bribe people with money to get baptized. Oh, and I just realized that we have two celebrities in our midst. Apparently one of our teachers was a TV star in Korea before his mission. I'll find out more details on that later.

My goals this week have been to turn outward and stay positive. I think that no matter how you feel or what goes on in your life, it will all be solved if you turn outward. If you focus your life on loving and serving others, you will no longer be focused on your own worries or "problems." You can notice more fully the blessings around you everywhere and sincerely want to help those around you.

Moroni 9:10--what not to read to an investigator. A Laotian speaking elder in our branch did that accidentally.

I challenge everyone to find a way to be more like Christ! Enduring to the end (2 Nephi 31:16, 19, 20) consists of following in Christ's footsteps with exactness for the rest of your life. Having unshaken faith despite your trials (Ether 12:6). Always finding an attribute of His to follow; always finding service opportunities; always loving as He would. I have been asking in prayer, "What lack I yet?" He will make it known unto you. Even just the little things. I hope that each of us can look to His life example and live so people can see Christ in each of us. Mosiah 5:7-8. Take upon you the name of Christ. Have obedience and know that this is the guidance that is merely there for our own salvation because of His immense love. Have His countenance. Moroni 7:48...we shall see Him as He is because we will be like him. I can testify of Heavenly Father's ability to change our very hearts and attributes. We simply need to ask in faith and be willing to change. And what a blessing it will be at that day when we shall see Him, having become like Him. Alma 5:26...Can ye feel so now?

I love you all. I love this once in a lifetime opportunity. Of course it is hard, at times more than others. But I would not want to be anywhere else.

Sister Wilcox

Here's a preview of what I'll be seeing in Hong Kong, courtesy of a Elder who just arrived there from the MTC.

My roommates (some from another Cantonese district) and my class with one of our teachers Sister Kuok from Macau (short with the long hair_.
Here I am with my companion and with my two men teachers Brothers Smith and Johnson and another with Sister Kuok.
Oh, I forgot to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 5

I'm half way through my MTC training! Dec 15 I'm off to Hong Kong!

Life Style
We had Elder Hugo Montoya speak to us in a devotional. It was great. My favorite part was his line, "I teach by the spirit, so be prepared to cry." (Princess Bride reference.) The MTC director of media (Greg Droubay) also came and showed us the Christmas video they will release the end of this month, so keep an eye out for that. I told you that I sing in the MTC choir. It is lead by Brother Eggott, who often directs the Tabernacle Choir. He is such a spiritual giant. The lessons he intertwines into choir practice truly astound me.

Since the second week, every week on Saturdays we teach natives or people who recently served in Hong Kong, mostly members. We give a little lesson and get to know them. They are all very sweet.We give lessons, ask questions and chat, and testify throughout, give a commitment and pray again. It always turns out really well and they say they can feel the spirit in the evaluation papers afterwards. Every successful lesson is because of His help. Heavenly Father's ability to answer prayers and help us develop charity for all those around us (companions, investigators, etc.) is such a blessing and our successes wouldn't be possible without it. We also give lessons about 4 times a week to our teachers as investigators. We have 3 of them. They play characters from their missions that we get to know and reschedule meetings with. It has been a really great experience.

Apparently the only language harder here than Cantonese is Finnish. Yeah...On the positive side the Lord really trusts me to learn Cantonese, LOL. The only food word I've learned so far is "yinyuhk" bacon. I keep using it in sentences and my companion keeps forgetting it all the time. Then I tell her and we laugh. It's so funny. The word for cat is "maau" with a high pitch like you are meowing. I love it. The word for belief is seunyeuhng and the word for goat is saanyeuhng, so that is something to watch out for. It snowed a lot today. It was beautiful, like a winter wonderland. On the way to the temple today the field was white (ready to harvest!). I am already turning into an ice cube. I was not born for cold weather.

I enjoy the BYU Creamery ice cream every Wednesday and Sunday and the BYU mint brownies. They are tasty.

To help one another, we must point people towards the Lord. I recommend watching "The First Great Commandment" by Elder Holland. Love = Loyalty; life of devoted discipleship in demonstrating our love for the Lord. Also please watch "The Testament" sometime, if you haven't seen it already. It almost made me cry.

1 Peter 1:7. The trial of your faith is worth more than all else. It builds us into a disciple of Christ, who we need to be. "I sit like a refiner of silver." I think there is a Mormon message for that.

D&C 34:1-4...Darkness comprehendeth it not. We need Christ's grace to purify and perfect us "after all that we can do." 2 Nephi 25:23.

I think one of the things that I really loved learning this week was that of personal scripture study. The scriptures are a perfect book. I personally want to start marking really well and writing all my little testimonies and thoughts near the verses rather than in my journal. I think that makes it so special, being able to turn to a scripture and reading your testimony from the past. It just seems so strengthening and personal. I love the idea.

ngoh gamjeh muih yahtgo yahn waih bongjoh/support. ngoh ngoi leihdeih tuhngmaai yauh houdo faailohk. ligo chyuhngaau gegewui hou yuhnmeige. ngoh gone leihdeihge gathing leibdeih hou yahnchih joi gin.
Do you have the gift of tongues to understand this?
Sister Wilcox

Provo Temple

The sisters in my zone on "stripes day."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Week 4

I am so grateful for this missionary experience and how it has changed me so much already for the better. I want to live my life continually coming unto Christ, and always feeling like this. I love you all and I am so grateful for your support.

There are so many languages here. It's like another little world. The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. There are a lot of people from my BYU ward here, so I get to see a lot of people that I know quite a bit. Two of them are even in my Branch (Cambodia and Thailand). There is a cream soda tree here. It literally smells like cream soda. My companion and I saw two sisters smell it one day, so we went up to smell it after they left. Then, my friend from Austria came walking back from the temple with her whole district and was so confused as to why we were standing around smelling a tree. Eventually there was a whole crowd of missionaries smelling the tree. We caused a scene. Funny!

There is a past tense, but many of the words in Chinese don't need it. I tried to say "had" the other day (yauhjo) but apparently they only use "have" (yauh). I used instead the word "pregnant" in my sentence. My teacher was quick to correct me but can't use English around us. He just shook his head and motioned a pregnant belly and said "bibi, bibi" (baby) with a super high tone Chinese accent. It was really funny. We try to SYL a lot (Speak Your Language--speak only Cantonese). It's going pretty well but we are learning mostly missionary terms. So for lunch and dinner we say such things as "I know this food is true." Or we'll use phrases from songs "Wohn ching chong" Carry on, carry on + infinitive. Angels we have heard on high=wihhhhhnnngggg (hold it out). Sit sounds like ching chong. Hamburger = hambobo. I love Asians, so I'm laughing with them not at them. We ate popcorn in class with chopsticks because we met a district goal. It was awsome. But now we're trying strict obedience so there is no eating in the classroom. We have always kept the classroom clean but it is better to obey faithfully even if we don't agree with the rule.

I asked my teacher how to say "Good morning, beautiful" to other girls, but he said that people in Hong Kong would take that strangely. But it is perfectly fine for an Elder/guy to say to another guy "Good morning, beautiful boy." LOL. I still don't understand it. I've memorized the First Vision, the commitment to baptism, and the missionary purpose in Cantonese. Hooray!! Apparently they also do tai chi in the park in HK. I remember when we first got to the MTC, some of the sisters would get up 30 minutes early for an exercise class. We went one morning and the whole time we were doing tai chi/avatar the last airbender style moves and flapping our arms like birds. You can imagine how that went. "We woke up 30 minutes early for this?" Ha ha, never again. BTW, one of the elders in my group has fans who want to take a picture of him here. He is a member of a band called Beyond 5. Could someone look him up for me and tell me how famous he is? LOL.

Also, this is a side note. I've been thinking about what I want to do later in my life and my dream job would be to be the director/leader of a humanitarian effort. Perhaps I could do it in China with my Cantonese. I just really like the idea. I like the idea of helping individuals and seeing the impact in their lives.

SO MANY SPIRITUAL INSIGHTS. I will give my favorite ones but for most I'll just give scriptures that align with my life. You can read what you choose and find your own spiritual truths.

"Be still my soul:" every line of this song is perfect. "In every change, He faithful will remain." It has helped me so much. Psalm 37:7 "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him." Jacob 3:1 Christ is pleading our cause. Alma 5 Behold he changed their hearts (v. 6, 14, 21). Washed white with the blood of Him. His significance? Everything. He is the only way and He is here to carry us (as in the footsteps in the sand poem) "I stand all amazed." This is how I feel about Christ, and the more I learn of Him, the deeper love and gratitude I have for Him. Christ has set an example before us. If we follow in his steps with exactness, we will one day be able to look up and realize that he has lead us to the throne of God. 2 Nephi 31:13. Top of pg 5 of Jesus the Christ. "He shall represent us spotless and celestialized unto the Father." Have his countenance; remember his name in your hearts. Mosiah 5:7-8. Think of our commitment at baptism Alma 5:26. "How great Thou art."

"I need Thee every hour." We are singing this next Tuesday in choir. Matt 11:30 lean on the lord. Think of the BofM example of Lehi and his vision that his family must leave Jerusalem or of the tree of life. In both cases there were two reactions: Laman and Lemuel turned to each other for advice. Nephi turned to the Lord. Which path will you take? We have to help each other and point people to the Lord.

What not to read to an investigator, 3 Nephi 3:7.
Baldy and the She-bear 2 Kings 2:23-24

That's not 1/3 of what I want to share, but it will have to do

Ngoh ngoi leihdeih
Waih JiMuih
Sister Wilcox

The first picture is me with my companion. The second picture is me with some of my BYU ward friends that I met in the temple.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 3

Classes: Grandpa asked what our schedule is and how we learn the language. We sit in a small box of a classroom with one window all day. We start with gym, then personal study, then companion study, then language study, then class for hours, then additional study and planning. The classes are my favorite part of the day. The teachers are the most spiritual, fun, happy people with the best insights. I mainly learn the language from practicing sentence structures and memorizing commitment to baptism, purpose, etc. Once you learn the sentence structure, it's pretty easy to insert the words you've learned off of TALL (church computer language program) or the books.

Story: I ran into some friends from BYU when I was walking to the temple yesterday. It was so nice to see them. I told them, and now I'm telling you, this is the most spiritual, peaceful place on earth besides the temple. I love it so much. I love being able to take so much time developing Christ-like attributes and finding more and more each day how real this gospel is. It is the only way to be truly happy. Heavenly Father really does answer prayers and give revelation. I've experienced it here. If you live your life so that every decision you make is centered around Christ, you will feel the Holy Ghost so strongly that "your heart will swell." It really does feel so strong like that sometimes.

Some of the words and tones are really scary to get wrong. There is a word that the tones make you say either "Lord" or "pig." And the word "kaisih" means revelation and "keisih" means racism. Wouldn't it be great if in a lesson I said "If you pray to the Pig, you can receive racism"?

My friend who lived in Austria with me who recorded my mission call opening and is such a sweet spirit, is here in the MTC. She is going to Hungary. She played the piano for yesterday's devotional musical number and the whole building was silent. It was beautiful. Even the speaker mentioned how it filled the room with the spirit.

Ngoh ngoi ngohdeih deih keuiiii

Aunt Kim, you should watch the Patagonia Project, 180 Degrees South, or something like that. It is on Netflix. I would love to live somewhere like Patagonia.

Gospel: I love this scripture for the atonement: Alma 34:14-15. Neil L. Anderson spoke at a devotional and I love what he said. We all make sacrifices. This scripture tells us of He who made the greatest sacrifice. We must give something up to become something more. I also like D&C 45:3-5. "More Holiness Give Me" was the song I sang in the choir. I love every single line of that powerful song. Neil L. Anderson at the devotional reminded us that "Good roots do not grow with ease; the stronger the winds, the stronger the trees."

I think one of my favorite things I've learned recently is about meekness. I've been trying to develop Christ-like attributes. Meekness to me means not getting offended or annoyed or frustrated with people or things that happen by understanding that the only thing we need in life is the gospel. So long as we are doing the Father's will, we can remember that he knows our hearts and that nothing else matters.

"The future of your faith is not by chance but by CHOICE."

Sister Wilcox
Waih JiMuih

P.S. I invite those who are reading this to go to church this coming Sunday as a complete family. Then have a picnic somewhere afterwards. Nothing matters more than the family.

Our classroom

The Hong Kong flag