Monday, December 30, 2013

What do you say we leave for California...

This week's shout out goes out to the New Year. I will own you. 

What a week. It's been insane and we've got another great one coming up! Woohoo!

So first off, forgot my camera cord again. Not that I'm really taking pictures. But I bought this Taylor Swift perfume set, right? And I open the box, and the perfume bottle is empty. You got me good. I think this is some sort of weird karma for back when I was really intent on selling bottled air on eBay. What goes around comes around... 

This week was a lot of nail polish. Which is weird, but I can't say no. These little girls just really wanted to use their Christmas nail polish on me. So I had my right hand and my left foot painted for awhile. Unfortunately, they weren't really up to mission standards so I had to take it off... It was pretty well done though, only half my finger and half my nail were painted :) 

We went caroling on Christmas Eve! It was super fun. We aren't that fantastic, but we caroled in front of a big crowd of people that were just standing there. They sure got the show of their life haha we stood in front of Mr. Christmas's house, and he changed his name to say that. The house was decked out though, it was really sweet. Then we went to this apartment complex, knocked four doors at once, and started singing. They really really liked it. It was super awesome though, I guess people don't really go caroling anymore, because everyone was telling us about how great it was that we were keeping up tradition. 

Our fridge is full of food. Members are so nice. We have pizza, KFC, a freaking ham, Hawaiian food, basically everything. It's insane. And I took a picture of our fridge and it's chock full of food. But we seriously got a ham. Our investigator gave us a ham. I have no idea. 

Bob is doing really well. Like he's basically ready for baptism only he hasn't come to church at all. He's committed to his friend, but we took him on a tour of the church, which he really liked. He has a hard time walking though, so we are working to over come that with him. He believes all the doctrine and knows it's true! He's golden! But he's also called us a bit depressed a couple times, which is sad because he's struggling. We pray for him every day, and I know he will be supported by the Lord. Our members can see the change that's happened in him, and it's really exciting to be a part of. 

Dann called us up and asked to take us out to lunch. He gave us the ham. It was a really good lunch and he tells us that he is a womanizer. No lie. And I almost started laughing, and he saw it, so I felt so bad but it was just really funny. We had a nice talk about how no matter what we've done, we can be forgiven because God loves us. He likes that. He doesn't really have a background in religion, so everything is basically new, but he loves it. It's really great, he's so willing to learn, but he told us straight up that he doesn't want to be baptized. 

The Risden's, the less active family, are so sweet. They got us gifts for Christmas, and she uses the old school film rolls and used the last one to take a picture of us. So sweet. We've had a lot of success meeting less actives this week. We've been talking to members and asking them for advice, and it's really paid off. I'm so grateful. They have really been taking care of us, and as a result, we have return appointments with families that might potentially come back to church. We are so excited and humbled to have this opportunity! 

Alright, so Christmas day. Skyped the fam, and Ashley and Jenna were there. Punk kids :) It was really good though, my sister is the cutest, and my family is just really funny. We went and spent time with the Lee's, who painted my toenails and we played some board games. Then we went to the Ireland's, who we just kind of sat there and talked a bit. Then we went to the Doman's for dinner, and they are so nice. We went around and shared thoughts about Christ, and it was a really spiritual meeting. Then we went to the Guillen's, and they showed us Just Dance 2014. It's a good thing I can't dance, otherwise... Haha but it was a great Christmas. Probably the first one where I was actually able to reflect on Christ's birth vs other things, so it was really really great. 

This week is New Year's Eve, so we get to watch 2 movies! I haven't watched one in 7 months. 7 MONTHS. It's crazy, but surprisingly I haven't really missed it too much. We are watching Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University. I'm pretty excited haha

As we start making resolutions, I'd like to encourage you all to follow through. Which is probably the hardest thing, but making goals and accomplishing them is the hardest thing in life, but it is the most worthwhile. I know it is. This year has so much in store for each of us, and if we take advantage of it, we will have success. 

Happy New Years. I sure do love you all. 
Sister Kwan

Monday, December 23, 2013

"So it's December 20th and our air conditioning is on..."

This week's shout out goes out to Jesus Christ. Because duh. 

As of right now, there's 2 days until Christmas, 9 days until New Year's, 16 days until my birthday, and a little under a year until I'm home. Man does time fly. 

Bob has a baptismal date!!!! He's finally putting the pieces together and he wants to feel the spirit 24/7. Once we get him to come to church, everything will just fall into place. I'm so stoked. He's such a sweet guy. We were going to go to the visitor's center with him yesterday, but his family is going to Disneyland for Christmas, so they visited him yesterday. We will get him there though! 

Title. Direct quote from my life. Seriously, I'm outside sweating. And we get in the car, and my companion goes, "Sister. Turn on the air conditioning, I'm DYING." It's December. This is California. Not gonna lie, this is a pretty good deal. Lovin it. 

Jeff and Joan invited us over for lunch. Sweet sweet people. What's funny though, is they invited over some less active members from Martinez. It was interesting. But then she gave us so much food to take home. So nice. I think they're secretly reading the Book of Mormon. And I totally sound ridiculous right now, but I watched her pick it up, and I just know she's reading it. And she bookmarked the chapter on faith that we read about. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm pretty sure I'm right. 

It's been an odd week for talking to people on the street. Some lady drove by and snapped a picture of us. Weird. Then we met this guy who was schizophrenic, and we were just like ...back away slowly... just because you have to be super careful. And then we ran into another lady and she was so nice. But she kept telling us all about her car. I very distinctly remember sitting there like, "This woman... she... she's definitely a couple chicken nuggets short of a happy meal." I thought I was just being judgmental, but her neighbor's the relief society president and turns out she's actually certifiably crazy. Figures. Very nice though, we're going to go back and visit with her some time. 

Dann opened his lesson by asking us how many siblings Jesus had. Heck if I know. So we had this really awesome member who just floored him with "This isn't going to get you into heaven" and man am I grateful for her. She tied it into the Restoration really really well, and I'm glad she said the things she did, because I wanted to say things but.. couldn't. We went to the visitor's center with Dann. It's gorgeous, just in case you were wondering. I forgot my camera cord. But we were able to look at the picture's from Christ's life and have him ask questions, which we would answer with the Book of Mormon. He has a lot of questions about the Bible, but he knows the Book of Mormon is true and that reading it will help him understand the Bible better. Booyah. 

Got to go to 12 step this week! Our less active wants to kick the addiction. She's so awesome. She comes out with us all the time. But I love 12 step. This seems really repetitive because I've definitely said this before, but it's so great. It was just really great to hear the stories of people and their struggles and it was awesome. The Lord works in all our lives in such mysterious ways, but He's always there no matter what. 

Guess who I ran into at the visitor's center? Aunt Jeanette. She's not really my aunt, but she was on the phone with my dad. She goes, "He wants to talk to you!" And I was like "Nooo" but it was way cool to run into her. She like raised me. And then I ran into Sister Chen, who's kind of like my crazy aunt. All was good. 

The best part of every Christmas program is the kids. The kids, the kids, the kids. You always have the one kid who's yelling, the kid who's trying really hard to sing perfectly, and then everyone else. And everyone else either falls into "Why am I here" and the miserable people. So so funny. These kids stand up there and you look at them, and they glare back at you. Or you look at one, and she looks like she just got abducted and the church is the UFO. Needless to say, I really enjoyed myself during this program. 

This week's thought is just going to come from my brain... So I consider myself pretty lucky. My family's doing pretty good. My friends are pretty good (when I hear from them). I'm on a mission. For God. I only get slammed doors occasionally. I get fed daily. I mean, what could be better? But lately, just realizing that all this is from God. I mean, I've been feeling pretty dang good. And sometimes, there really is no reason for it. Not that you always need a reason to be happy, but it doesn't hurt to have one. But yeah. Life is good, and I'm so grateful for everything I've got. Especially all you good people. Sure do love you all. 

Merry Christmas :)
Sister Kwan

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Blast From the Past

This week's shout out goes out to vests, or sleeveless cardigans as my mom calls them. I totally look ridiculous, but they're crazy warm. I'll bring 'em back, just wait ;)

So I'm slowly remembering people. And with that, as we go over to their houses, I'm like "Yeah... wait I've been here before" and then the members go "Yeah! We thought we knew you, but the sisters said we'd never met you before so we didn't want you to think we were crazy." I still don't know most of the people in the ward. I can't even remember that I've met them before haha

We had a huge zone conference, which is basically where a bunch of missionaries all gather together and we get to hear from President Meredith and get trained all day. It was great but it's also very spiritually draining. I learned a lot though, and I'm planning on being a better missionary because of it. One great thing that happened though, was there's this lady in the area, who hand stitched a bunch of towels. So there's a patch on the towels, and there's California and a star where our mission is, and then there's "Oakland/San Francisco California Mission" and it was just so awesome that someone would take the time to do all that for us. So so sweet. I don't even want to use the towel. 

The ward had a Relief Society Christmas party, which was nice in that we got to meet a lot of members, and the food was great. We also had a ward Christmas party, which was awesome. We had some less actives show up, and the whole thing was service based. Like people came in, and they were tying quilts, or putting together hygiene kits, or wrapping gifts. There was just such a tender spirit as we stood there watching this all happen. It was kind of overwhelming. All the ward members were so willing to participate, and they didn't care that they weren't going to benefit from them. Then the whole program was really focused on Christ, which was so great. 

We taught Bob this week! He was so so close to coming to church. I know that once he comes to church, he'll feel the spirit and know that it's undeniable. It's just true. But we had two really great lessons with him, and we brought awesome members with us each time. He actually was like "Well, I can tell Sister Park is pretty serious, and Sister Kwan is kind of... Well, she's the kind that makes jokes and pulls pranks" I just started laughing. He's so funny. He's really receptive, but he's not willing to take the plunge (yet) and as of right now, it's kind of a waiting game. But it will happen. Soon.

The Guillen family is so so great. I love them. There's the mom, her boyfriend, and her son and twin daughters. They're so funny. And really smart. They have these two cats, Simba and Jasmine, who they just love to death. But we were sitting there making cards for cancer patients since we talked about charity, and one of the twins says, "Simba's really really fat. Maybe he should fast like Joseph [her brother] so he can lose weight." And I started busting up because who even thinks of that? It's genius though, I will say. But they are such a cute family. Joseph is a really really nice boy. But he's a typical 10 year old boy. Then there's Alicia and Sophia, who I still can't tell the difference between until I talk to them. Sophia is kind of a punk, but Alicia is the sweetest. She's always asking us if we need anything, or if she can do anything for us. And their mom is really just trying her best, and I think she's doing a great job. It must be really hard though, so I'm always amazed that she holds it together so well. 

We had dinner at the Lee's this week, and they are the cutest. Sister Lee went off on how BYU removes agency and her daughters were singing and playing piano and her husband was telling us about how he applied to John Hopkins and didn't even want to go there but got locked in to going. It was kind of a crazy night. But their daughter, Emily, can sing SO well. We were like "Hey... can you sing for us?" She goes "NO" but then as we're heading out the door, she goes, "Well... maybe I can sing you a little bit.. this song is from that new movie 'Frozen' so here goes..." yeah, she can really really sing. And the other two are just cute haha 

So I woke up one morning and both sides of my chin are bruised. I don't really know what happened, but I guess I punched myself on both sides of my face one night? Weird. 

Met with a less active who told us she doesn't believe in the after life. But she believes in heaven and hell. But she wants to be cremated and have her ashes thrown across the ocean so she can fly away. But she also wants to ride a motorcycle. I have no idea if this makes sense to anyone else, but we are going to follow up. I was like "You know, when we get there, I hope you let me ride with you on the motorcycle, because my mom would kill me if I did that anytime soon." And she just looked at me and smiled. Lots and lots of follow up questions... 

Yesterday's dinner included peasant that had been shot by our member. I know it was fresh because I found some of those little like pellet things while I was eating. Peasant is kind of tough, I don't really recommend it. That and buffalo. We also met with our recent convert, Shuwei, who I actually taught that first time I came here as an investigator, and he's so funny. He's an exchanges student from China and he's going home next week, which will be interesting since China isn't really all about freedom of religion. He was telling us his favorite music artists and he says, "Well, I really like Taylor Swift, but there's also Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Rihanna..." hahahaha

This week's thought is on joy. It was the theme for our Christmas party- Jesus Others and You. Tricky right? But I was thinking about what really makes us happy. And not just content, but joyful. And ultimately, it's the things that last forever. Relationships with family, friends, God. Working hard all day every day for a good cause. Not many things will bring that lasting happiness, but I do know that Christ can provide that. Despite our flaws, God loves us unconditionally. And thank goodness He does, because otherwise it'd be pretty hopeless. But that's only one of SO MANY things that I'm grateful for at this time. Especially all of you good people. 

Keep the Christ in Christmas

Sister Kwan

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dieting: The Plan of Starvation (12/9/2013)

This week's shout out goes out to Five Guys. I sure have missed you. I will never diet. Unless I gain 20 pounds within the next 6 months, because then I need to start dropping it like it's hot. 

Well. Clayton Valley 2nd. It's pretty overwhelming being in a new area and trying to learn the area and meet the members and do the work. But, it's going to be awesome. We already found a ton of people to teach! It's awesome. 

Super funny. My last day in Alamo, we went to the Coon's and Sister Coons goes "Did you eat yet?" And we mumbled something about how we already ate, and she goes "I'll get you something. Sister Kwan is always hungry." And then she gave us a ton of napkins with the food. She knows me, she really does haha favorite family... 

Transfers were insane at Oakland. It was like that riddle where you have the fox and the chicken and the seeds that you have to get over the river and you're trying to move them to one side without them eating each other. Anyways, this whole thing happened because everyone parked all over the place, and people were coming and going, and people's luggage was everywhere. And there was a second level added because we had cars to switch. It's like telling the farmer in the riddle he has to switch boats too. Anyways, that was insanity. You'd think that it would get easier, but it's just so many people each time. But we got out of there, and here we are. 

So Julie is a potential. She's so sweet. Her son died a couple months ago in a car accident, and she's so broken. We haven't taught her yet, but we went and scrubbed her wall. It was super great. It was really hard though, because I think we probably scrubbed at least 30 feet of wall. She really appreciated it though, and I think it's starting to soften her heart. I think this gospel will bring so much happiness to her if she will just let it. 

It's freaking cold out here. When they said California, I thought I'd be in like maybe a cardigan all year. False. We are hitting like below freezing. It ALMOST snowed. We were so close. But there was ice and I almost slipped the other day taking out the trash. And I finally caved and put on a jacket. It was a huge step over my pride, but I did it. I don't even know how it gets so cold but I guess it is Northern California. Someone was telling us that California is the only state where you can hit the hot beach and go skiing in the same day. Kind crazy. 

Jeff and Joan are our new investigators. They're the sweetest. They have so many questions about the gospel, but they refuse to pray. Jeff says he's an agnostic, and Joan was raised Catholic. We don't really know why, but they're so nice to us. They treat us like their grandkids, so nice. They are open to learning more, and they really like the way it feels, but they have no idea how much this will bless their life yet. I'm so stoked for them. 

We got to clean gutters! I don't really know if we are supposed to be on ladders, but it was awesome. I didn't realize that's how we do it. You just get up on that ladder and pull all this crap out of these gutters. It was so nasty but way cool. Sister Park held the ladder and I might've accidentally dropped some sludge on her. It's alright though, because laundry. Holy cow so I've been super tired lately. I don't really know why. But it's been like every day so I have no idea what's going on. I'll power through it :) 

So these ward members are so nice. They are already booking us for Christmas. They're the sweetest. Sister Park is still having a bit of a hard time speaking English and she really struggles with that language barrier. I want to help her, but I'm not really sure how to. Just because I mean. Sister Chen says I have an accent. But anyways, personal goal to have her be fluent. By the end of.. the transfer. My brain is kind of fuzzy right now, so hopefully this all makes sense. Oh, me and Sister Park are going to send out Christmas cards! Send me your address and I'll be sure to get one to you :) 
So last night, a bunch of missionaries got together at President Hunt's house, who's the guy who's in charge of all the members in the Walnut Creek area. It was so cool seeing so many missionaries! There's this sense of unity that comes from all working the same cause and understanding each others struggles. But one thought that really stuck with me was when he said, "It's not what you do, but who you become." And that really struck me, especially since my brain has been overloaded with pure insanity lately. Sitting there, I realized that sure I make really really stupid mistakes. But that's no judge of my character, nor does that make me a stupid person. Unlike machines, we aren't the sum of our parts. We are who we are, and as long as we're trying to be better each day, then that's all we can do. The Lord doesn't require us to run faster than we're able (Mosiah 4:27) and change doesn't happen like that either. I can only hope that God accepts my slow but sure change. 
Hope you all are taking it easy and not stressing out over the holidays :)
Sister Kwan
PS here's a preview of the Christmas card. Trust me, they will get better.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Remember [the] Alamo

This week's shout out goes out to the Alamo 1st ward. You guys are seriously the best. 


So as you might've guessed, I got transferred! As of tomorrow, I will be in Clayton. I honestly have no idea where that is, but I guess it's relatively near by haha. Everyone says it'll be great, so I hope no one is lying :) When I found out, it was like this:
Me; Sister Olsen, something's wrong with me.
Her: What's going on?
Me: My chest. It's like. Aching.
Her: It's your heart. It's hurting. Hey, you're human! 


Thanksgiving was pretty awesome. We started the day at Sunrise, the assisted living place. That was very nice, I love it in there. The people are usually happy. Maybe not all the time, but on Thanksgiving, most of them were. Then we went to the Coons' house. Seriously, favorite family in the ward. They were hilarious. We didn't eat, but we helped cook. Which was insane. I don't know if I'm up for doing all that when I have a family. There's so much food for so many people. So. Many. Potatoes. Then we dropped by the Greenan's, who had a HUGE family gathering. That was a lot of people. But they were all SO nice. And the food was really good. We ate a ton. We sat at a table with us, the Alamo 2 elders, and 2 little girls. They were hilarious. In a little bit of a mean spirited way, but still pretty funny. Afterwards, we went to go meet up with some elders at the Target, and there were people already lined up trying to buy things there. It's 6. Black Friday is going insane. Then we went to the Saxton's. Becca's the funniest. Her dad started playing her music, and she ran and hid in the bathroom. It was a really nice visit, with everyone home and what not. It was a really great Thanksgiving. Lots of time to reflect on what I'm grateful for, but no time to sleep. I'm grateful for that, but as much as I am grateful for it, I never seem to get enough of it. 

We have a couple new investigators! There's Isabella, who we met at the wedding. She's so sweet. She told me she would make me a ring haha but she took a Book of Mormon! And she said she'd read it! She's from Columbia, so I almost wish I took Spanish. Almost. Then there's Peter and Mele. We tracted into them and at first Peter was like "Naw, you'll never sell me on this." But then he sat himself down and just listened for a little and he says, "Oh man, you guys are getting me. What do I have to give up to be baptized?" Boom. Only, they didn't come to church on Sunday, but that's okay. We will meet with them again. They are so ready it's crazy. They're looking for a church and most of their family is already Mormon. 

We met with this lovely lady in the ward, Margarita. She's lived a really really hard life. But sitting there with her and hearing her testimony, it just blew me out of the water. She's so so sweet. And humble. She recognizes God's hand in her life and never takes it for granted. I hope I can be more like her someday. She just has so much faith, especially after everything she's been through. It just astounds me. She is a wonderful wonderful person, love her. 

So here's my thought for the week. Bishop announced that I was leaving yesterday, and suddenly everyone starts telling me how much they love me and how great I am. Yes, yes, inflate my ego. I had a conversation with a girl and it was like this:

Girl: Will I ever see you again?
Me: Well of course you will! 
Girl: I know in like the spirit world after we die and stuff but what about in this life?
Me: Uhhh (still shocked at the question) well...

And it's not like I don't want to see her again, I just had never thought about it, Know why? Because I really didn't know she liked me that much. I wish I'd known the whole time. If you feel that way about someone, why not let them know sooner? Major character flaw of mine, but I've decided to work on it. Who ever it is needs to know how you feel about them BEFORE they leave so they can appreciate your appreciation. It's very simple, really. So life goal from this point on is to let people know how I feel about them before it's too late! 

Hope you all had a tryptophan filled Thanksgiving!
Sister Kwan

PS- Christmas is coming up. Missionaries love packages. And mail. ;)

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