Thursday, January 16, 2014
I have so much news for you! I'll try to go in chronological order.
On Saturday I had a trade-off! I had to leave my companion, who is also my trainer, who is also my mum here in my mission, who is also totally the bomb and take my lovely sister training leader around! She's from Taihiti! Here is a picture of us :)
She taught me so much but I'll highlight with you only a few of the things I learnt. She taught me what it means to really put everything at home on the altar of sacrifice. That means that you don't think about home, you don't let it distract you from the present, from the people you are trying to find and teach and love. There is no room for people at home in your heart because you must give it all on your mission. She told me that even as you do that, it doesn't mean you don't love them any longer. In fact, she says, she loves them more. But she doesn't think about them. It sounds so paradoxical but she is a living example of how it works. You don't worry about the people or life you left behind because you know that the Lord will take care of them. The day was so jam-packed! But the next day was even better.
On Sunday I was so privileged to witness and be a part of the baptism of this lovely lovely lady named Young. Young is so gorgeous. Inside and out. She's 21 years old and an international student from China studying nursing here in Adelaide. The Elders met her in another area, but as she lived in our area, we were able to finish teaching her the lessons and to help her prepare for baptism. I forget that not everyone reading this understands all of this jargon but if I had to describe baptism simply I would say that it was a way that we can follow the example of Jesus Christ (by being baptised by immersion) and it represents the commitment you make to follow him for the rest of your life. You take upon His name, you truly become Christian. You promise to strive to always keep His commandments. Baptism is a necessary ordinance for your salvation in the life hereafter. It is followed by the ordinance of the gift of the Holy Ghost. I hope I haven't lost anyone here. Feel free to comment and/or reply if I've lost you!
She was able to bear her testimony. In her testimony she explained that in China, she knew nothing about God. But now she knows that regardless of who we are, regardless of nationality we are all children of God. And she is so incredibly eager to share her experiences with her family at home! The whole program was so lovely. The musical item was so touching, as were the talks. I learnt something that I know I can apply for myself in the talk and maybe someday I'll share it with you. Here is a photo of us and her friends! I'm going to remember her always :)
And one more thing. Boy, driving. Driving driving driving. I hope you can hear what I'm not saying as I just repeat the word. Hehe. But everyone has their own struggles and challenges. It just happens that mine is driving and direction. (Don't laugh, you know I had trouble with directing you to my house with your GPS so you can imagine how much patience I teach my companion as I struggle with this....) but I love her a lot! And here's a photo of us :D
I know it looks like I'm smiling but it's actually a grimace, a please stop now I'm trying to drive kind of grin. Also I am so grateful for my car/licence because next week the temperature is all in the 40s..... but I am no Laman or Lemuel! No murmuring! The work will go on! I am so grateful to be a part of this work :)
I'd like to close this weekly entry with my testimony. I know that I am in the right place. I know that the gospel blesses families, it blesses individuals and it can definitely bless you, dear reader. I hope you all have a lovely lovely week!
Love you heaps!
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
I would also like to share something that my companion shared with me! She shared with me how to truly experience joy. She gave me three coloured stones, each with the letters J, O or Y written on it. She told me that the J stands for Jesus. The O stands for others. And the Y stands for yourself. Only when you prioritise your life in this way - Jesus, others and then yourself - can you truly experience joy. When you put Y first, it spells something nonsensical. So that's the theory, let me tell you how we apply it. When we put Jesus first, we do as he would do.
We walk and preach not just the dignified or wealthy, we go among the poor areas, the people with disabilities are problems and addictions and we love them. When we consider others, we preach to people that scare us, we listen to people when their list of complaints are endless, we always ask how we can help and we live up to our word. And when this happens, then we are blessed. Then we get the opportunity to meet blessed souls such as V, who is paralysed because of something in her brain but who told me she was so grateful for the movement in one of her arms, so grateful to live in Australia and then describes the horrors of Vietnam, Cambodia, South Africa in times past and tells us she is so grateful. She tells us of her plans to help teach children how to read when she can barely move unassisted and the opportunity she has been blessed with to give a talk in a public setting - because she is that inspiring and I've never met a sweeter spirit in my entire life. And whenever we offer to help her out of her chair, whenever we try to help or we ask if there is anything we can do for her, she tells us, 'yes there's something I'd like you to do! Can you get the photos from the fridge because I want to share with you my Christmas?'
When we follow this order, we are blessed with the shining innocence of a 13 year old who wants so much to learn about God, we meet a new little sister whom we love so very much. When we follow this order of priorities, we are blessed with the opportunity to meet a new friend as she prepares for baptism. The light of Christ shines so brightly from her. She positively beams as she shares with us her experiences, how she felt the comfort and knowledge of her Heavenly Father's love for her personally and her eagerness to share this message of hope and love to all of her family back in China.
This is real joy. This is why I said I haven't been happy like this in a long, long time. I know that when you truly love people, serve people (maybe you can start with your family or with just one person - which is how I think I was able to taste a bit of joy at home) then you can be more than temporally happy, you can know that these things you feel will never pass away, but will go with you into the eternities.
I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and the opportunity I have to share my thoughts and feelings and experiences with all of you! I love you all, and I especially love the people in Adelaide!
All is well in Adelaide! I have been so blessed because of amazing people, amazing ward members, my amazing companion! I kind of want to give more details next week because next week perhaps a very exciting event is happening! So I think this week I just want to let everybody know that all is well and I want to share my testimony.
To be a missionary, like the white handbook is the beginning of rules. You don't just change your behaviour, you change your very nature. It's kind of a rough process, this purifying business and perhaps many tears are shed along the way. But a missionary who serves with all of her heart, might, mind and strength will be able to stand blameless before God at the last day. And this is my ultimate aim.
I love my mission! I am so happy. I don't remember being so happy in a while. I know that true joy comes in forgetting yourself, in watching and witnessing the light of Christ shine so brightly from others, in being a worthy vessel of the Lord so that miracles can be achieved.
Hope everyone had a lovely new year :)
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Man, I didn't really bring very many clothes the more I think about it... We just went to the op-shop and I got a bright blue blouse for like $3 so that's good. I'm just looking for a simple white blouse and a white cardigan but I couldn't find any at the op-shop... :( It's pretty impossible to keep to budget when you factor in the fact that I want to go shopping. We buy everything at the absolute cheapest. Homebrand all the time. And we really don't have very much time to go shopping around. I don't like to be a burden and I don't want to drag my companion on a shopping spree. I mean, my clothes will suffice, I just realised I missed a lot of things at home... Oh so just to summarise, it's okay. Mum always complains about shipping. Everybody thinks I'm so lucky because my family is so close, it's hard to explain that they totally take me for granted because they think I have the freedom to get whatever I want just like I was at home. That is so not true. They think I don't need letters or cards or packages. That is also not true. I was so upset the day after Christmas. I think the lack of hearing from anyone, the lack of receiving anything this past month just like built up until Christmas day but I handled it like a soldier. And then on boxing day during Opening Hymn (I know that my redeemer lives) I just cracked because I knew that my redeemer lived but I felt so impure and unhappy. Part of me was mortified by my behaviour but I also couldn't stop sobs from tearing out of me. Unhappy because I wasn't receiving anything from family, from friends or anyone. And impure because I couldn't erase this feeling and I wanted to be a consecrated missionary. Anyway, the mission president's wife was there to comfort me. I think I still struggle but I know the solution is to forget myself. Much easier said than done I am afraid, but I will try! Because this is my trainer's last transfer and I want her to leave with absolutely no regrets! I don't want to hold her down! I will stretch myself and overcome these insecurities and emotions that have plagued me all my life.