Thursday, February 11, 2016

Week 17

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey. Things were closed for new years and we had zone conferences so this week's message is a bit delayed. So nice to hear all the updates. This week spiritual and general are mixed. We are planning on baking together with our investigators, so the Elders practiced making sugar cookies to see if you had to change the recipe for the elevation difference. It tasted so good; who knew elders could bake.

I am thankful. I am thankful to see that my investigator's have their own testimony and desire to go to church and participate in classes. I am thankful that it hasn't been unbearably cold this past week (nice weather!).

Yan will be getting baptized this Sunday. She has come so far. She really loves when I teach her how to play piano, and has a goal to be able to play in Sacrament meeting. She reads the scriptures a lot (so motivating!) and is growing her testimony little by little. Sister Choi will also be getting baptized on Sunday. She is such a sweet lady. She loves to buy us ice cream and pies at McDonald's. She always makes such an effort to go to church. This Sunday she went to church even though her family was in town (they are against the church) and she was on the Hong Kong side in the morning. So much effort put into it. It was funny, because she has been really busy lately... She had to leave her hair appointment early and so her hair was a big poof when she met with us the other day. She is funny. We love her so much!

Our other two friends with baptism dates (Irene and Sister Wan) are pretty humorous as well. They both tell me when I need to wear more makeup or when I've gotten a little fatter or skinnier (chinese culture... :) ). They both know the blessings of the Gospel. They are so touched by our friendship. I hope that they can grow closer with church members (their schedule is a bit complicated for many member lessons, and sometimes it is hard for them to come to church because they are often tired or sick). But they know it's important and want to be better.

Sister Ann is a dear lady who cannot get work off on Sunday. Yet, she has so much faith. She met with us this past week, and felt that we were God's way of sending angels to her (because of certain things that we've said, or certain times we've reached out to her). I'm thankful that we can be a tool in the Lord's hands, even when we don't necessarily know the exact reason for the ways we choose to serve (guidance).

We also have a friend named Kylie who is about our age. She is getting ready for final exams and a bit worried for English grammar. We had a fun time with her over Chinese New Years, and made some fish lanterns out of chinese money pockets (people have given us money, but missionaries give the received money as fast offering).

I know that people really feel the love that their Father in Heaven has for them when we are worthy and obedient in all ways. They always seem to want to give back. We get tins of cookies and treats, food, and even nice clothing to wear (skirts and jackets). It is really meaningful. I'm so glad to get to know my ward. They are like a small family. So sweet. I was able to bear my testimony this fast Sunday because there weren't many people there (Chinese New Years). I told them how much it meant to get to know all of them and that we could in fact strengthen our ward (and of course, bore my testimony). It has been really great genuinely getting to know them. The ward missionary is Less Active right now, so that is kind of ironic. But he seems like a really great person. And people who are less active are not any lesser than those who are. They still have such strong testimonies and strengthen ours as well. I think sometimes they just don't understand that going to church every Sunday is for their real benefit. That the sacrament will lift us for the week and help us to continue to become better, and that we need to get to know the fellow members to support them and so that they can support us. Maybe they forget the bigger picture.

I'm thankful that Heavenly Father answers prayers so specifically. I pray for the Gift of Tongues in the sense that as I study diligently and SYL (always speak the language), I will have the ability to communicate well enough to really grow a relationship with people and understand them/ their personalities. He has answered that prayer :) . People have asked me how I study/ how I have gotten my Cantonese so good, and I know it is only because of His answer to my prayers.

I'm thankful for service. My companion and I love cooking things for people (mashed potatoes and gravy, pasta, curry, etc) or giving flowers just to see the way their faces light up. There are so many good people all around us. We appreciate all the things they do and just want to give back. I also love the way a meaningful compliment about someone's personality/ being can lift their spirits. It is always my goal to strengthen and lift those I am in contact with, whether it be investigator's, members, my companion, other missionaries, or even leaders. That has always been something that I make an effort to do, is to lift others.

Zone 24s was awesome. Sister Shiffert (my companion) is so sweet. She really tries 100% to be diligent and obedient and makes such an effort to talk to everyone. It is great. Yuen Long has so much potential. I was able to meet two less actives, Sister Wan and Lam and their families. I already love them so much. They are so funny (one is a chinese Geisha; they both have teenage sons who don't like to listen and love to play technology). We also were able to meet so many lovely people randomly who were interested in the Gospel. I know that they will contact them again. It was a meaningful experience.

We helped a lady pack some things for moving who lives in Crossroads (works there... such an international place. So cool). She is not a member but still a devout christian and so uplifting. Such good faith. She is from Sri Lanka, so she made us some Sri Lankan food as a thank you. It was so good! She also had the Mozartkugeln that is so popular in Austria that she shared with us. That was so fun-- reminds me of my Summer abroad in Vienna :)

We also had zone conference. It was really good. Sister Villasin lost her Octopus card though (travel card... just paid 500 hk $ for the month of travel). The leaders are so sweet. Sister James and Sister Lam both helped us look through the trash (with sticky asian food) to see if she had left it on the table cloth when they threw it out. No luck. Their effort was so awesome though; if digging through the trash for someone isn't true service, I don't know what is. At zone conference, I got to see more MTC friends and we had orange chicken which I haven't had in so long (we surprisingly don't eat out a lot because our area is so small, We can make it back to the apartment pretty quickly). Taro and sesame are pretty popular flavors that I like. I have also tried a red pork bun and dumplings this week. So good! Also, I love asian desserts. Their red bean drinks are still to die for.

You might wonder how we read the Chinese when we sing or read the scriptures since they use characters instead of our writing system. We are given hymn books and scriptures in pinyin (our alphabet) so that we can follow along during church etc. We are also not allowed to learn characters until 9 months into the mission field and after being tested in our language. They want us working on our language skills first!

Love you all. Prayers to you all. Remember that I'm still normal, I am just growing a lot spiritually and so I like to share.

Sister Wilcox

Traditional plant with fruit that are not eaten. Literally only grown for Chinese New Year decoration and symbolizes fertility.

These and yellow flowers are everywhere. Everywhere. (For Chinese New Year obviously) Also has money packets on it.
View from other apartment during Zone 24s
Kylie and fish lanterns!
Taro, mushrooms, papaya soup, sweet sausage. A lot of traditional things (this sister often makes traditional food for us. Pretty interesting.)
Chinese New Year signs and plants:
Shopping selfie. All this walking is slimming me down. Yay

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