Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 20

Thanks Wilcox family for the Valentines Day package! It was so sweet. I loved the cards. It definitely was really great to have. And the money converts to 700 HK $!. I'm rich! (My favorite bread with sweet coconut filling costs 3.50 HK$). Mimi is so special to me (hopefully she reads this). Love and miss you all.

You asked what our kitchen is like. Our apartment has a stove, a toaster oven, two fridges, and a microwave. I actually really love camomile, and peppermint herbal teas, and of course hot cocoa. But when we are with people, they don't really give us herbal teas, so we ask for sodas instead.

Seeing the apostle last week was so great. Such a neat experience. It was a very peaceful and meaningful experience for me. Especially to see his wife. She is an ordinary woman, but with such a big responsibility. She supports her husband. She has a strong testimony of her own. I was praying for her at one point during the meeting because I could sense there was stress or sadness or something and after I was done she looked right at me and smiled. It was really neat. The spirit was very strong and it was neat to shake his hand/ hug his wife, and to see their example. I love our mission president's wife Sister Lam as well. Such strong women. My companion sister Villasin taught a sister (elderly couple) to make fish lanterns, who in turn gave one to the apostles wife (the apostle was having meetings on the same floor as they work in the Wan Chai chapel). So cool.

Sister Hoxer's, one of the other missionaries in our apartment, birthday was Tuesday. We had Milkees (peach milk soda... so good) floats (with vanilla icecream) and cake and gave her icecream mochi and a head massager. It was fun. Thursday was transfers. We now have a baby missionary in our apartment (fresh from the MTC) and Sister Hoxer is training her (only 4 months into the mission!). Her name is Sister Hansen.

Tuen Mun got two new Elders (whitewashed). They are really good. They are enthusiastic and positive. Really uplifts us to not drag them to do the work :) They help us. God is aware of our needs. The new Tuen Mun Elders have changed the atmosphere of the ward. It feels like they are working with us to really build relationships with the members and love them and get to know them. They are positive and hard working and dedicated to obedience/ building the member records and area book (much needed in this area). I can already feel a difference in the ward because they have a good attitude and it doesn't feel like we are dragging them to do the work. I am so thankful. Tuen Mun ward will definitely be growing in unity and strengthened this next transfer. Exciting. We invited them to come with us to a part-member family dinner. Those people were so fun and sweet and made us American food (super yummy).

We had service at Crossroads and English class again this week, of course. Fun things. I lost my bag for a while but I have it now so it is all good (though my investigator with a baptism date stole some money from it!!! Oh no. Pray for her). We also had a fun ward activity where they taught us how to make 72-hour kits (they served this fun chinese frozen pudding dessert thing and pizza with peaches on it!!! so good). I love the Lau family (both of them). One of them has this cute baby who we call "the Boss" because he is so stubborn and doesn't smile and always walks around like he's a boss. He is 2. I almost got him to smile the other day and he didn't walk away from me when I talked to him. So close to being his friend! Next week I'll give him icecream. The other Lau family has cute kids too. I always ask one of them who his favorite missionaries are and he says we are :) I tried to give him durian icecream last Sunday and he got scared and ran away because it smells bad but next week I'll get him and his brothers mango icecream (his favorite). It is fun to see people open up and to actually feel like a member of this ward. I love to hug everyone. The new elders (Elder Jensen and Klein who is British) are really genuine with people so the ward will be good.

I wrote to our mission president: "I suggest that missionaries use those new hoverboards (they have 2 wheels). I think that it would be effective for proselyting because it would grab attention in a positive way and help us to talk to more people. Missionaries would get less sick, because they wouldn't be worn out from walking and would get to their destinations quicker (less time in the heat or cold). Some missions have bikes and iPads. Our budget could be used on hoverboards." What do you all think? Lol. But seriously.

Love, Sister Wilcox

Went to see an apostle! Hopefully they will send pics we all took together

My mtc comp
Sis V and Sis Pack
Big City
Christmas lights near our apartment
Wan Chai
Sis Hoxer bday
Sis Allison lighting cake (she is gone now)
Last picture of the district together before transfers
Jessica do you like this skirt? Everyone else disregard the random mirror selfies haha
Hong Kong ads in a nutshell
New Sis

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 19

Thanks David for the cool picture post cards. I have been showing them to youth members or to families that we visit. Everyone is so amazed by the big fish you are swimming next to. All the pictures are so cool and fun to show to people. Can someone send me the picture of me doing a scorpion in cheerleading (it is in my cheerleading photo folder on facebook). Thank you! I am so proud of Joseph (spelling bee champion for central FL?)! That is so cool, and if he was praying to do well in this competition (which I feel that he was), then I think he was blessed in his studies to go over that word "tchotchke". You are so cool, Joseph. I am excited.

I think what you grandpa said about stubborness is so great and true. As long as the extended Thompson family has stubbornness as a family trait, we might as well decide to be stubborn on the Lord's side. Funny.

Today (Feb 22) we will be going to Wan Chai and seeing the new apostle Elder Stevensen!! So excited. We will also get a group picture with him. Wan Chai is the skyscraper that looks like a chapel the whole way up, in the main city. (That is the stake center with the English branch you, grandma and Kim went to church in all those times when you were in Hong Kong).

I'm excited to be in Provo and Hawaii after the mission. I will be doing family history work and service!! If you have family stories/ memories (especially of people who have passed away) please write them down and save them all! I will be asking for them when I get back. Also, always to remember to look to your patriarchal blessing and develop those qualities that are mentioned :) Inspired.

I realize there are actually a lot of really good foods here. My stomach is starting to get used to the noodles and meats and I like them (sometimes). Abelone is strange, my companion was given it at a house the other day, but apparently it is very expensive. I love taro/ube flavor desserts!!! Especially mochi. So good. And the drinks of course are still my favorite thing. Some of them have pearl which are like squishy things (idk, I will send a picture). I gave some durian ice cream to some kids who we met on Saturday (visited the members home-- parents are great, went to BYU-H together, grew up in Tuen Mun). The kids were so funny they smelled it and got scared and ran away. I had never heard of durian... I didn't know it was a gross flavor. Oops. Btw, aloe works miracles for your skin!

At the mall a random guy came up to me and said "Hello, wife! I haven't seen you in so long. Can I cheng you both?" (Pay for a meal) We said we had to go and he tried to give me the key to his house. We ran away. Also, at church, an old man from another ward came up to shake my hand and got so surprised and said "hou chih gung jai!" I didnt know what it meant so he spent two minutes finding someone to translate it. He said I look just like a doll (barbie). Maybe the blonde hair? When I explain the story it just sounds really uncomfortable and funny.

I was thinking about a couple weeks ago when it was freezing and windy and we helped Sister Choi to church. We passed this tunnel at one point and the wind was so strong I thought she was going to fall over or blow away. That same week we were sitting in church and looking out the door/window and tumbleweed was rolling across the sidewalk. Last week we were sitting in the same spot looking out the window while making calls, and a lady walked past rolling a pink suitcase behind her. There was a child's head sticking out the top. My companion and I were just watching, so confused. No words. Had to be there kind of moment (very funny).

Also, I love that all the asian dads have baby straps to carry their baby on their stomach when they walk around. I think it is hilarious. Future husband: you will be wearing that everywhere you go. Lol. But really I'm buying one.

We were able to have the elders give Sister Choi a priesthood blessing. She has been so sick and her eyes/ foot/ other areas as well are all in pain. She has to go to a different hospital every day. Her baptism is postponed to next Sunday. The blessing was very meaningful to her. She is so sweet. Luckily her daughter is living with her now, so she is being taken care of.

The Young Women of our district made icecream the other day and gave us a tub to share in our apartment (banana flavor) yum! Every Sunday the members have a basket for the missionaries, and this week it was filled with chocolate, ramen noodle packets (their flavors here and different types of noodles are actually really good), different fruits, cans, drinks, and tons of the delicious hong kong bread from the bread store. A member also gave us a bag of kitkats. Last week I got a huge bag of musli and a fish lol. They are so generous.

This week I was really able to understand people more. I realize addiction is such a hard thing to overcome. We are so blessed to have the commandments which keep us safe from such a hardship. It really limits your free will and self control. It is important never to lose hope in people. They want to change. It is a hard thing (smoking, coffee, etc)... because you are trying to regain control and overcome those habits/ urges. All we can do is support them and encourage them (hopefully to replace the tendencies with healthier habits). So at this point we are trying to help two investigator's overcome their addictions. We will need to postpone their baptisms. They have such good hearts and all the right desires. We know they can do it; they just need time.

Sister Villasin and I were able to really get to know some of the members and gain their trust. I love the new tips for the member book; we need to write the things we have learned about them, not just what has been taught. It will make it easier for the next missionaries, because right now there is no information on any of our members. We have learned about their friends in the church, their future goals, the needs and lives of their families, the reasons for their joining the church, etc. We have been able to encourage them and show our appreciation for their service. Good things. We went to Yuen Long to the oldest/ first chapel in Hong Kong (they are in our zone). We met a random guy on the street in Yuen Long on the way home from a stake youth activity (missionary activity), and he is now a new investigator in Tin Shui Wai! He went to church on Sunday. We are so blessed to have finding made so easy (find at all times!!!... they come to you as you live the gospel).

We have another baptism date! We brought an investigator (Kylie) to a member FHE/ meal. We talked about prayer and then got the youngest one (7 years old) excited about baptism. We then said that Kylie would be getting baptized as well (had prayed beforehand and felt that we should prepare a date for the member meal)... and when they asked when, she told them in May (the date we had decided). Miracles. She gave herself the baptism date. Always follow the spirit's promptings :)

Yan's phone still isn't working, but she showed up at church again on Sunday (another miracle; I love her so much and have so much faith/confidence in her) and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was very special. She even bore her testimony afterwards (she was very nervous)! Two other investigators, Sister Wan and Sister Wong were present and were so touched. They talked to her afterwards. I think we were all edified by the experience.

Sister Wilcox

Remember that if you click on the picture, you can get a bigger close up view.

In our area

The bowl has a sweet pork bun (love buying them).
Mochi and mochi ice cream (ube flavor). Heaven on earth
I like sending pictures of my outfits... so here
Fun outfit. Sorry I'm not smiling.
Sister Allison in our apartment (Butterfly ward). Transfers are soon so I wanted to make sure I had a picture with both of them.
Sister Hoxer
Yuen Long First chapel in Hong Kong
Pic of it way back when
Walking in YL
Some areas are super rural out near Hung Shui Kiu (way back to Tuen Mun)
If you know what kind of dog this is, you get a prize (this will be my future dog).
Path that we walk every day on the way to the chapel (has bike path as well)
Lau family
Kylie and yummy asian drink with pearl.
People sitting watching their bird cages.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week 18

Grandpa, I love your stories about living in the Philippines, especially how your example of a "privileged" American family walking a mile to get to transportation, crowding into jeepneys, balancing on the back of motorcycles with sidecars, walking through mud and rain and street construction to get to church every Sunday without fail rather than being chauffeured to church every Sunday was such an example to the members that they told you that they had decided they needed follow your family example to come to church every Sunday no matter the conditions whether they had an assignment or not. As a result the attendance doubled in a year and the branch was made into a ward.

I almost forgot it was Valentine's day. I don't think they celebrate it here. We had a baptism on valentine's day :) Tuen Mun Ward's first baptism in 4 years, Sister Yan. The whole ward was so excited. We had a Young Man who is about to serve a mission baptize her. He is always involved at church (bearing testimony, going to activities etc) and is a new convert. It was his first time baptizing someone. The youth were so excited and he and Yan were both so nervous. Everyone was excitedly taking pictures with Yan like it was a photoshoot (not super irreverent though). Yan was under the water for quite a long time because they couldnt push her head under. But it was great.

For Chinese New Years last week it was pretty much very quiet with no people in the streets and a lot of the shops closed in the morning. It is one of the only times they have off work and everyone is visiting family or indoors with their family. People eat together and enjoy each others company. During the day you see a lot of families walking together to go somewhere. I don't know if there is more celebration in other areas.

We have Sister Training Leaders who are like zone leaders but for sisters. We do zone 24s, exchanging companions for a day for fun, so that people can learn from other areas and companionships and ways of doing things. Because we have so many sisters, the main rule is that sisters teach sisters, elders teach brothers. That's why all the investigators I tell you about are sisters.

Here is how we find people to teach: English class gets us investigators. We also have a large pool of less actives and former/ potential investigators to choose from. Less active work is huge in hong kong, generally because people become busy with work at some point or have problems with the word of wisdom. It isn't really like work for us, because these are people. It is nice to get to know people. (That doesn't mean that we don't get tired or that it isn't hard at times, lol).

Funny: Sometimes when we are out teaching, it feels like we spent the day shopping. The other day we came home with two big bags of clothes and two big bags of food from the different people we had visited that day. Of course, we give a lot of it a way (able to use it as an opportunity to serve/ give to others). Finding is a funny experience. Usually we simply find during travels, because we have a lot scheduled during the day. The other day we had a bit of free time to sit in the park. We sat next to a nice old man, and while we were talking to him, another person came up and started asking us about the church. The whole time we were sitting in the park, people just came up and talked to us and sat next to us after we would smile and wave to them and ask a question. It was very neat. One of them even came back and gave us New Years money packets because he was so pleased to meet us. It reminds me of our experience this whole time with investigators. They always call and schedule us. They tell us they miss us. They enjoy talking with us on the phone and hearing our prayers for them (one of them didn't even answer the phone for missionaries before, but now she trusts us and also likes phone prayers). They give us so many things. I think that as we really live the gospel and strive to have that perfect love for them, missionary work is made easy. It can be applied to anyone's life. Live as an example. Love those you are in contact with. Apply the principles of the gospel.

Irene is so special to us. Her family refuses to talk to her or visit her because they say she is crazy. She is not even allowed to visit her child. We celebrated New Years with her (cooked a bunch of food and ate it like a picnic), and after played her karaoke CD's on our mini dvd player (she does not have a CD player). She has been sad for so long (sick/ only friends are smokers as well, so she has been lonely/ no job), but was so happy as we listened to her sing. It was really nice to see. We are supporting her to quit smoking. We also know that going to church will help her to feel better (peace, health) and to receive personal inspiration for finding work. She finally really was excited to come to church and make friends and support. She got lost on the way there though. I am so happy to see her begin to be happy again.

It is so true that the best way to gain your own testimony is to share it. When we listen to our friends who are interested in the gospel and ask them inspired questions, they begin to comprehend the gospel in their own way; as they share their feelings/ testimonies, they receive a confirmation of the truth of it. They grow in testimony. It is special to witness.

Sister Wan is so great. She really just wants to help and serve others. Despite how little she may have, she simply thinks of the needs of others, and in turn is so happy. She and Yan have supported each other throughout the whole process of learning of the Gospel. When Yan was unsure about baptism, Sister Wan just happened to show up randomly at the church that day (we hadn't been able to find her or get ahold of her for a week and had been praying to find her). God answers prayers in His own ways. It was funny because she barged in during the lesson and excitedly said that the Gospel finally clicked for her and that she wanted to be baptized (missionaries have been visiting her for a couple years now, and she had never had the desire before). Her excitement and testimony she shared during that lesson, allowed Yan to realize it wasn't scary or impossible. Since then, Yan's strong will to go to church and to keep commitments have been an example to Sister Wan as well. Sister Wan was able to attend Yan's baptism yesterday, and I could see the love that she had for Yan. She cannot stop asking about when her baptism date is now-- so excited. It has been amazing to witness the miracles involved in one individuals life. In one individual's conversion. We have seen each investigator really grow in the Gospel and in testimony, confidence, happiness. They feel the love that we have for them. They feel the light and example of Christ that we pray so fervently to be worthy of. This past week was Chinese New Years; Yan was with her family, and we hadn't been able to meet with her. We then lost contact with her on Thursday. We did not lose faith in her. The zone kept her in their prayers. I received the comforting witness in my prayers that she would show up to church on Sunday, despite not being able to get ahold of her. I knew that she would. Words cannot explain how happy I was when I saw her walk up to the chapel doors. I could not stop smiling and hugging her. She is now committed to follow Christ's path. It was such a special day.

The funny thing is, Yan has had this emoji face that she has been obsessed with since we first knew her. She loves to draw it and thinks it is so funny. Sister Wan just happened to bring the exact face in the form of a pillow to church the day of Yan's baptism and wanted to give it to us (didn't know about Yan liking it). The only difference is this face is smiling. I think it will be the perfect memory of her baptism, and kind of represents that now she is made clean and happy. Little inspired things.

Sister Choi will be getting baptized next week. She has been falling a lot, and keeps having to see the doctor. But despite everything, she still makes it a priority to come to church (this week, her grandson was leaving to study in Taiwan on Sunday, but she still came to church before having to go to the Hong Kong side). I think she is exhausted though, because she kept falling asleep.

My companion, Sister Villasin, is amazing. I am so glad she has been my trainer. She is so committed to the love of the investigator's. I think one of the most important things to remember is to Teach People, not Lessons. She has been such an example with that. I have confidence that our success is because of that. We really get to know and love each person that we meet, whether it be finding in the park or visiting a less active. Serving them allows us to really see their worth as God's children. They become such important individuals to us. And that allows us to understand their needs and apply the gospel to their lives; the principles are applicable to every challenge and need.

We are on this earth to be tested. Jesus Christ has walked the path before us, so that we can know the exact way to go. Success and exaltation has been made simple. We must simply follow Him. I am so thankful for my Savior. I love my Father in Heaven, and cannot wait to live with Him again with eternal light and glory and happiness. We can achieve anything we set our minds to; His kingdom can be reached, and it will be. :)

Sister Wilcox

Someone fixing a light/ where we were sitting in the park

People bring their caged birds and hang them in the trees for fresh air.
Shopping area near Leung King (apartment buildings in our area). We meet people at the McDonald's here a lot. The special ice cream cone flavor this month was purple sweet potato. Sasa is a popular store.
Ate with a less active and a member. This is a squishy dessert they like.
Sister Wan and Yan.
Sister Choi.
Our first baptism
Young Men/ elders.
Some clothes that people have given (semi duck face, no shame)
This was from a while ago. When Carman (member) and I got our hair permanently straightened.
Relief Society BBQ
My fork melted
Super cold! At RS BBQ