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Monday, August 26, 2013

Walk up to the door like "What's up? I'm a Mormon"

This week's shout out goes out to Sophie. Strep bites. Stay cool.

Despite some ultimately outrageous setbacks this week, I think we are doing well. We had another exchange, and we knocked so many doors. Classic missionary, what up. Lots of people were "busy." And then, this is new, some people were like "Uh you're pretty young. When you have like 30 more years of life like I do, then you'll know what I'm talking about." And I guess he's right, but any normal 20 year old wouldn't give up the best year of their life (so I've been told) to run around and lie to people, right? Church is true.

We've had a lot of spiders lately. We found these bats (they were labeled "for companionship inventory" haha), so we've been battering the spiders. Literally. It's effective. And there are pictures, but they're on Sister Slaughter's camera since I was the assassin. I will work on getting those haha but seriously. There was like an egg sack in the shower and I think I killed it with some Tilex. For clean showers, and quick destruction of stupid spiders.
 Speaking of miracles, we have some new investigators! Woohoo! A lady turned up at church that Sister Slaughter had found probably around 4 months ago? And she's like "So does this church do baptisms?" And we were like "Psh yeah" anyways, we've been trying to meet with her, but she's got a crazy work schedule. She's totally ready though. She stayed all three hours and participated more than some of the ward members. Only she's Muslim, which could end up being a problem, unfortunately :( But we're excited!

Then there's Amanda. We took some time to get to know her and man. She's crazy. But we love her haha she's 19 and she's super funny. We haven't started teaching her yet, so we've been trying to meet up with her, but I think she's been dodging us. And she skipped out on church. What's funny is that she works at Starbucks, so we've been having a member who works there text us her schedule. It's odd walking into Starbucks as a missionary. But we found her there and we talked to her and I think there are worse things we could do. Like walk into a bar or something, which we haven't done so no worries.

And we were going to visit this really sweet old lady, but we saw this white van in front of the house. Not like a creepy white one that I drive, but a mini van. We park it and this kid hops out like "Yo don't call the cops, my car broke down and my dad's coming" so we didn't call the cops, we just talked to him about the gospel and his girlfriend and his dreams and aspirations. His name is Shawn. If he could do anything with his life, he'd be a clothing designer. That's the kind of conversation we had. Haha no, it was more than that, but that was a completely serious statement. He was a super sweet kid and he just seemed a little lost. He lives out of our area, but we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he'd read it! 

Ultimately, everyone hates us. But not really, they just kind of. Hmm idk haha but on a better note, we got to help out with a wedding reception! They went and got married in the Oakland temple for eternities, and we set up their reception and got to eat awesome wedding food. Seriously. I was like "We should help with receptions more often..." because wedding food is great. There wasn't any cake though, they had a tart. But the couple was super cute. We have a picture with them! ...on Sister Slaughter's camera.
    
Man this was long. My thought for this week is on desire. Which is odd. But as missionaries, we can't do anything for anyone. These people have to want it first. All we can do is present the material as best we can, and they have to go for it. The thing is, is that this kind of goes for everything. If you want something, go for it. There's a quote that says, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Now go do it." And I think there's a lot of power in that. How often are we inhibited by ourselves? Too frequently. So get out there and take some chances.
You're all the cats pajamas :) 

Love,
Sister Kwan

And it came to pass that, I, Sister Kwan, taught Relief Society (August 19, 2013)

This weeks shout out goes to the Postal Service! I don't mean the band, I mean the mail carriers, but the band's pretty good too. And also Akiko! Who I just found out is going to Salt Lake City Temple Square what what. And this is all related because I got my mail on Tuesday but I got a letter from mid-July. I think they've been hoarding my mail but whatever. Forgive and forget right? So sorry if I haven't responded yet, I tried to write everyone back today!

Embarassing moment of the week- All of it. No actually it was more like the when we were talking in the car about country singers and I was like "Well most singers do, but not Sister Swift" and I was like holy. I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it but maybe it's foreshadowing. I think that means I'll get to meet Taylor haha

Foodwise, it's been a spectacular week. Holy cow I love food. I had the best lasagna ever the other day at a member's home. I ate too much. And while I was on exchanges with Sister Chen, a member took us to dinner at Denny's and it was dinner and a show. I haven't laughed that hard in awhile, she was hilarious. She was old, so she could say whatever she wanted but I sure love her haha. And at Denny's they have this make your own pancake thing and guess what I got. Bacon pancakes. Yeah, there was bacon IN them. It was awesome. And then today, there's been this shady taco truck parked outside the chapel everyday around noon and it's kind of been like my dream to go there. Dreams do come true. And that burrito was super good. Words can not describe. Hopefully food addictions won't get me kicked out of my mission haha

I went on two exchanges this week, super fun. One was with Sister Ierubwara from Kiribati. She's brand new and she's gotta learn English. Haha, sucker. She's super sweet and I haven't seen a dark skinned person in awhile. But her English is actually super good and we went out and met with some people and went tracting. We didn't do very much. It was hot outside, and even when people were home, they refused to come to the door. And we got a fake address. Then I was with Sister Chen and she's been out for as long as Sister Slaughter... maybe like 5 months? She's from Toronto, which I'm not sure qualifies as the east coast since it's not in America, but it's close enough. She's hilarious. Honestly, we spent a lot of time laughing, and I don't think we could've made it otherwise. Both days were kind of the same- super hard. Honestly, I haven't had a week like this on my mission. We did a lot more knocking and walking than we usually do and people were actually pretty mean about it. One lady was like "Do I know you??" And we were like "..no" and she just sped off into the horizon. She vanished. I swear she couldn't get away fast enough. These nametags are lethal. Or something. I've never had people trying to get away from me faster than they are now haha. But as hard as this week was, with all our investigators bailing, and the less actives being home and refusing to open the door, it was still alright. We felt like we were at the right place at the right time, talking to the right people and I think that's all that matters. We needed a good lesson on persistence and we got it haha. And it's a good thing we have companions to laugh it off with, otherwise it would've been that much harder.

And the relief society presidency made the rookie mistake of inviting us to teach relief society. Ha. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into. It was hard because we were told to stick by the book and not veer off into the abyss. Which happens a lot with me, so good call. 10 points for relief society. But our lesson was on unity, which actually ended up being super cool. Anyways, we were teaching and they were all super eager to participate, it was fantastic. I was kind of unfiltered, not gonna lie. I called Mormons "peculiar, like the freak show at the zoo everyone stares at." They thought we were cute. Which I'm not sure was what we were going for, but no one was offended. And I think they were all awake, which is impressive. 95% of the ward is over 50. It's ridiculous. But it's a great ward, I love it. Everyone's kind of like my grandma. Or great grandma.

My thoughts this week were kind of a lot on unity. But mostly there's this part in the section about how quickly you can build and destroy a relationship. It's so true. What's funny though, is that it takes two people to build a relationship, and it only takes one person to burn it. I think this is for a purpose. Realizing how fragile a relationship is should make us all treasure the ones we have a little more. Be a little more grateful and stuff. The last thing you want to do is take it forgranted. But if we don't have this genuine care for others, how can we expect things to run smoothly? You can't. Unity- it's what's for breakfast. Haha just kidding. Unity- it's what keeps us together.

I hope you all have a super sweet week! Go back to school and go home so the missionaries can knock on a door with people behind it.

Love,

Sister Kwan

Everything I know, I don't (Aug 12, 2013)

                                    Sister Kwan, Sister Slaughter, Bro. & Sis. Lloyd, Elder Beck, Elder Bradshaw



This week's shout out goes out to whoever came up with the tetanus vaccine. It's a pain in my arm, but if I didn't have it, I'd be tetanus-ing all over the place now. And also Katherine, who I think is getting married this week. Yay for eternal commitment

It was a week of miracles. And not like pizza from heaven, but of people. Literally, I'm on exchanges and we are in the middle of watching one of the videos from "The District" (highly recommend it) and the phone rings. I pick it up, and this member says, "There's a man here and he just walked over here because he wants to know about the gospel." And I was like "KEEP HIM THERE WE'RE COMING" so we're out the door and we taught the first lesson! Honestly, how many times does God lead a person to the chapel to teach? Mind blown. It was great. Exchanges are great. Life is great.

I went on another exchange up in Northgate, and it was fantastic. It kind of reminded me of Norristown (Yeah for the homeland). The people there are so humble. This woman who was bipolar and didn't have enough money for a divorce gave us tights and bath salts. When you have nothing to give but you're still giving, that is really something. People like her keep me going, seriously. We had a lot of success in that area and their ward council is super great at helping the work go forth. 

Ok so the tetanus. I'm not sure if we've talked about Wendy, but I'll just recap like a bad episode of Glee. This woman is 48 and is taking care of a 60-ish year old man who drinks from 10am to 10 pm everyday. He drives and he walks around drunk and really it is just not ok but she can't stop him or he will probably hurt her. He already has a couple times. But if she doesn't watch him, no one will. Wendy is fantastic. She is so driven (and maybe a bit crazy). She's covering her lawn with 3 feet of mulch, so we are helping her. We went over one day, and there's this 100+ lb rock on her front lawn and this woman. She didn't even need us to help, she basically did it herself. She's a force to be reckoned with. Then the other day we went over and she wanted us to help install a sink. I looked at it and said it wouldn't work, but there's no stopping her. So we took apart her whole sink and she was like "oh wait. this isn't going to work" and I just sort of nodded. This sink was super rusty and I came out of it with some small cuts on my hand. I don't really know what tetanus is like but I don't think I have it? That day we realized how dangerous missions are. We walk into random people's homes and teach them but like. We walked into Wendy's bathroom and there was a knife on the counter. Didn't question it. Should've, but didn't. Anyways, we love Wendy. Sister Slaughter told her I need to practice the discussions and she volunteered. As tribute. Little does she know we're actually like saving her soul. Ha. 

Then there's Glendoris, our recycling superhero who's been investigating the church for 30+ years. I got the prompting to invite her to a baptism so I did. She's never been to one. And I was like WHAT 30 YEARS AND YOUVE NEVER BEEN. But she went. She is getting closer everyday, I can feel it. Even if we aren't the ones that find a way in to talk to her, I'm not going to give up. We find excuses to go over like "hey we just found these bottles for you!" but actually we've been like buying drinks so we have an excuse to go over. Love your missionaries. They're trying so hard haha. Service and love are seriously the best. I've weeded so many gardens and painted so many fences over the past couple weeks but I love it. It's so much fun. I'm a dork haha but it's so great. 

I think there are spiritual thoughts weaved throughout this whole thing but I'll just give you one more. At church this guy just got back from his mission and he was saying how we all have personal trials. I can testify of that, like you have no idea. Anyways, he was saying how awesome God is for personalizing our trials. I mean I guess if I had someone else's trials, I wouldn't care because they wouldn't be trials. But then I have my own trials and I'm like pounding my head into the wall over them. But, God has promised that we won't be tested above what we can handle. And I'm sorry if this is a repeat thought, but I can't remember things really well. Oh well

I hope you all are doing great! 

Love and peace and unicorns

Sister Kwan

I hate computers (Aug 5, 2013)

This weeks shout out goes to computers. They're so necessary but such a pain ugh. I have like 23 minutes to write this now. 

This week has been kind of rough just because we have been trying to keep busy since we are only in one ward. Like, I know the field is white and ready to harvest. We just need to find the field.

At the start of this week, we went to an FHE with a family that has incredibly sassy children, like you wouldn't believe. However, we show up and their tree is TP-ed and the children are throwing themselves into the tree to get it down. Weird right? Well then they recruited me and I'm sure that looked pretty interesting too. I got most of it down though :) Then we had a nice lesson about how we are all children of God. With some kids that aren't members! They were so cute.

Then we were at our recent convert's house and her niece brought a dog over. And I'm standing in this room, and Sister Slaughter says, "It kind of stinks." And I was like hmm yeah and boom. The dog pooped in the room and of course I stepped in it. I was in barefeet too and I was like uhhhhh. I guess I could've used the bidet, but... yeah. It was a real trip haha. Not like a trip down the road, more like sitting on the counter of your recent convert's bathroom sink and using a bar of soap. 

Funny story, I got to be in a quartet of missionaries. All of our companions are training leaders and then there was a trio. I learned there's a reason there's only a companionship. Four missionaries is intimidating. We got a lot of slammed doors but there was one super nice lady who gave us water. Tender mercies, what up. AND guess who I saw? Sister Becca Evans, shout out to BYU YSA 55th! It was so nice haha

This week I've been thinking a lot about the atonement. I mean, for one person to take on the mistakes of everyone, that's crazy. And not just mistakes, but also like how unfair it is when other people's mistakes impact us. It's a lot to take in. And despite popular belief, I'm not perfect. And I've made more mistakes than I can count, but it doesn't matter. If we are willing to lay them at the feet of our Savior, then everything will be alright. And I'm so grateful. It's hard for me to imagine why He would do that when I haven't been the best, but I sure am grateful. 

Hope you all have the best week ever!

Love,

Sister Kwan

Sunday, August 4, 2013

All you need is lo- Jesus (Jul 29, 2013)

I've almost been out for 2 months. Holy.

This weeks shout out goes to the Italians. I am so grateful for your contributions to society. Leaning tower, Mona Lisa... Pizza. More than anything, pizza. 

It's been crazy! I'm warning you, it might be a long one. But I can promise that this one will actually be entirely serious and not funny. Hahahaha I couldn't do that even if I tried. 

First off, God has decided to spare his children so no, I will not be training. Which I'm glad, I'm just nervous to lead anyone astray haha. I'm still with Sister Slaughter and now we are only over one ward. All our investigators are in the other ward unfortunately... There is a lot of work to do though, so I'm excited! And she's a sister training leader so I get to exchange alllll the time. I'm so stoked. This is going to be awesomeee


I got to paint fences this week. It was so much fun. I mean, I didn't really get to paint, I just ended up sanding them. Which was still way awesome! I was on exchanges, I will send pictures. I was like covered in this weird paint and I basically sanded off my thumbprints. If I wasn't on my mission, this would be a prime opportunity... haha jk. Crime isn't on my list of things to do anyways. But I had so much fun. I was on exchanges, but I was just out talking to everyone. There was this National Charity League that does like mommy-daughter service. It was way cool, everyone was so nice. I love painting. 

The next day there was a gas leak near our house. Luckily, we were helping someone pack boxes. It's funny because the people in the house got texts like "EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY" only we were 3 miles away, no worries. But our district leader called, the other sisters called, and a member called. The member had to be evacuated but she was actually wondering where we were. So we were like "oh we are (insert location near the gas leak here) what's up?" and she was like "OH MY GOSH YOU HAVE TO LEAVE YOURE GOING TO DIE" we love her so much haha she's the cutest. 

The other day I learned the coolest magic trick. Tied into the gospel, obviously. You carefully take apart a tea bag right? Then you carefully stand it up on someone's hand and say "Do you trust me?" And then before they can say yes, you light it on fire! Haha actually you wait for them to say yes and then you light it. And it's crazy, but at the last second it flies away! SO COOL. But it has to be a certain teabag. And your investigator has to trust you. 

BecauseImayormaynothavealmostsetahouseonfiretryingthistrick. It's way cool though, perfect for family home evenings as long as there isn't an air current and/or a lack of trust. It's kind of a perfect demonstration of faith. You put your trust in someone who has a little more knowledge about it than you do, and hope you don't die. This same family also taught me a bar trick. Which I haven't found a gospel application to yet so I won't share haha but it was actually really gross because I ended up spitting all over their counter and that's another story. That family loves me, let me tell you. 

Remember how the other week I wanted to play guitar and then God gave me a guitar? Well this week I wanted pizza. And seriously, ask and you shall receive. We got it 3 days in a row, I was sooo happy. It was like manna from heaven. Only better, because we got to take home the left overs and it didn't get worms. But I haven't had pizza since the first week I got here basically and I was so grateful for this pizza. It was so good. I love pizza. 

Oh so this weeks message is about the goodness of service. I met this lady while we were painting and she was super awesome and working really hard. (Side note, these three teenagers were like "ugh this sucks I'm just doing this for college credits." And I hate that. I hate when people do things for the wrong reasons. So I was like "If you're doing it, you have to mean it at least a little bit." Ultimately, if I was a motivational speaker, I'd have a 33% success rate. That sounds solid to me. One of them stopped talking and was just doing the same wimpy sanding. One sat down and didn't do anything. And the last one grabbed TWO sheets of sandpaper. What a boss) So this lady was just talking to me and we had a really nice conversation about life and I figured we would never see her again, but then she was at the nursing home we volunteer at! She's way cool. She took my picture with this nice old lady and took pictures of us and she gives me her card after and she's a professional photographer. Legit. This card is the most real thing I've ever seen. It's not even on like the dinky card stock, it's legit. But see, when you serve, you will be blessed, even if you didn't need a photographer. However, she gave us all her contact information (unknowingly) and boom. Potential investigator what what. Haha not really. At least not yet. Unfortunately she's not in the boundaries that I'm in now. But service brings blessings! You can forget about what you're going through and help people out. It's only the best thing ever.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer!

Love,
Sister Kwan

Ps- I never proofread these. I would say I'm sorry, but I'm not...

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