Tuesday, February 25, 2014

There are no great things, only small things done with great love

This week's shout out goes out to Drew, who's 3. And shamrock shakes. 
Me: "What does the holy ghost feel like?"
Drew: "A drink!"
Me: "...yeah... like a... cold drink on a hot day!" 
Well, I've got another 6 weeks here in Clayton with Sister Underwood. 
Bob is doing awesome. He came to church this week! And we had some pretty awesome lessons with him. Steve, who's the chief of police in Danville, came with us and was able to make some pretty awesome connections with Bob. As of right now, it's not a matter of IF he gets baptized, but WHEN. Which is super exciting! Woohoo! 
This week was full of quotable things.
Woman: "No soliciting!"
Me: "We aren't selling anything!"
Woman: "You're selling religion, hun"
Me: "If we're selling something, I'm not being paid enough to do this..."
I thought it was weird she called me hun. I thought you only said that to people when you like them haha
Karen's doing amazing. She said she feels calm and refreshed reading the Book of Mormon, which is great. Most people are confused and want to throw it against the wall, but I guess not her! She is so great. She gave us a lot of advice on life. I mean, we didn't ask, but it's definitely good to know for the future you know? There's a lot of things that you won't learn until later, but again, being on a mission is like gaining 50 years of knowledge all at once, and it totally makes sense now. 
So girl scout cookies are $5 a box here. And it's only the bay area- if you go to Sacramento, you can get a box for $4. Which is still kind of outrageous, I think I sold them for $1.50 and that was a lot. But now you get less cookies. And they finally went back to the original names, which is great. And even though I'm whining about this right now, yes, I do currently have a box of thin mints back at the apartment... can't help it. 
Warren kind of freaked out at us. He started pounding the table and it was kind of crazy. It's odd though, because he basically believes everything we do. The only hard part for him is that he refuses to believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings. But ultimately we believe the same thing... we are working on it. Our members have been frustrated with him, so we have been rotating people to see him. 
Did everyone else know that Nelson Mandela died? No one told me! 

Kim is golden. Her husband is less active but she's basically activating him. She is the driving force for church, and she's doing it for her 2 year old son. She had a dream that they were in the temple all in white, and it was amazing. She's really wanting to do this and we are so excited to be working with her! She has a lot of potential. And she went out of her way to get materials to study, and she's reading the lessons the night before (which basically not even active members do) so that she can understand what's going on. It truly is a miracle. Holy cow. 
Me: "Hey how are you!"
Woman #2: "I'm spraying pesticide, you might want to move on."
Me: "Wait was that a threat?" 
This week we taught 11 less active people. Considering we have a whole week to do it, and 9 hours a day to do it, I guess it's not much but. People are impossible to catch at home, especially when they're actually trying to dodge you. I like to think these people were all uplifted by our visits, so that's what matters. But it was so great that we were actually able to catch all these people at home. Amazing. 
Miracles are seriously everywhere. This week I've been thinking a lot about how there are no coincidences, just small miracles. But it's like... there's no way everything falls into place this perfectly. And with the big bang theory, let's think about it. Chaos begets chaos. You can not have order from chaos. An explosion is ultimately chaos. There's no way the explosion could've created all of this perfectly, such that we aren't so close to the sun that we have no water or burn up, and we aren't so far that we freeze. It just doesn't happen like that. 
Anyways, hope you all are doing great :) Love you all!
Sister Kwan

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"The Mormon Situation" - (Feb 17, 2014)

This week's shout out goes out to Penny, who's 4, and reads the Book of Mormon because "it's the only book I can read where people's heads get cut off." 
Karen and her family met with us and we had like the best dinner ever. After pizza, that is. She made the best mashed potatoes... ever. And she made brussel sprouts and everyone ate them because they were yummy. She is that good. Her husband was a little resistant to the message, but he was open to reading, as was she, so that was good :) 
So this week I was able to confirm again that everything happens for a reason. About 2 weeks ago, someone hit our car. As a result, we needed to find a way to get it to Oakland to get fixed. However, the opportunity did not arise until a couple days ago. So we traded our Cruze for a Malibu, which is a boat compared to our little Chevy Cruze. Anyways, we had volunteered to help a member move, and we showed up to the house and no one's there. We were about to leave, when our member's mom shows up and lets us in. What happened then was that we packed up rooms in the house... by ourselves because she had to leave. But it was all good. And we got some good pictures! But we realized that there's no way we could've fit all the things we packed into the car. We didn't have the foresight to do all that, but guess who did? Yup. 
Bob told us he thought Joseph Smith had a really plain name for an angel. That was a really odd moment haha but we were able to sort of help him sort it out. We printed some things out for him to look at. Hopefully it helps him, the thing is, is that he still refuses to come to church and stuff and we can't get him to do things he doesn't want to do. And thus we see that agency is, in fact, very real. 

Had Greek food with this family, and their children are like Energizer bunnies. It's funny though, because their oldest daughter, Sydney, who's 3 sees us in church and her jaw drops. She tugs on her mom's skirt and she's like "MOM IT'S THE MISSIONARIES" and I mean, I'm not sure where she thinks we go on Sunday's, but clearly it wasn't church hahah we were really spoiled with food this week. We had pizza twice. That was our Valentine's Day dinner, which was awesome. I guess it was a great week to be a missionary in the  Clayton Valley 2nd ward!

So I guess I've never really explained what I've been doing in the whole 8 months that I've been here haha. Ultimately, my purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. And that's all I do, ultimately. I knock doors, I talk to people, I teach people. I start at 6:30 AM and go to bed at 10:30 PM everyday. We study for 2 hours in the morning, eat lunch, head out and work, and then we eat dinner at 5 and keep going. Not gonna lie, it's hard. It's discouraging. It drains you. If you don't get rejected at least once during the day, you aren't doing your job. Some days, we sit here like, "What in the world did we get ourselves into." And now the question is, why do we stay? Why would anyone sign themselves up for rejection on a regular basis and keep doing it? The answer is quite simple, really. It's because this matters. This will help me more than movies. More than Taylor Swift. More than the shore. More than anything. And even then, it's not about me. It's about everyone else. We're all brothers and sisters. We're here to help each other. And despite my flaws and imperfections, I know that I'm here for a reason. I am where I ought to be. There are people out there who need to hear this message and I've been blessed to be the one to take it to them. There's no place I'd rather be. 

I love you all!

Sister Kwan

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Week of St. Valentine!

This week's shout out goes out to the lady from Benicia who payed for our lunch at Costco. You are the best. 
It was a long week, let me tell you. But it was good. 
I planted a tree this week. One of our less actives asked us to help her, so we went and Sister Underwood raked and I dug to plant a tree. It was actually really fun. She has been coming to church for the last couple weeks, which is so great. She is really noticing the change that comes with being obedient, and she was able to testify to us of the truth of it. So good. 
Met with the Kinghorn's, and Sister Kinghorn has basically a clothing business that's going off the charts. She's signed on with some pretty big names, which is incredible. The quality is great and she is quite the seamstress. But she's only been doing it for about a year and she said she's going to teach us how to make our own skirts. Haha. It'll be interesting. I probably really shouldn't be allowed to even touch a sewing machine, but we will see :) 
Speaking of skirts, Sister Higdon told us she bought one! And she said herself that now she has no reason not to go to church. She just won't do it if we tell her to haha she wants to do it on her own time. I knew she'd come around. I'm excited and nervous for it just because she is a very interesting woman. But I love her haha
So the Barney's that have a huge Norwegian dog... They're interesting. She doesn't really believe in religion, she thinks it's too much hatred, and he's a Jehovah Witness. He also backed into our car, but that's another story haha. Anyways we met with this family and they were super nice but they had a lot of things to say about their religion, about our religion, etc. We aren't really sure what to do because we aren't supposed to fight, but we are supposed to share the truth we know. 
Saw Bob, and met his friend Adrian, who tried to tell us what we believe. I hate when people tell me what I believe. It's like. I will tell you what I believe, you have no right to tell me what I believe. That being said, I took it upon myself it spiritually floor her. Which I did. Because despite what you think you know about someone or something, you're probably wrong. And if you're not open to hearing the truth or even actually knowing what they really know, then well. You should rethink some things. But Bob is doing alright, he's having a hard time because he decided to read after catarac surgery and now he's kind of suffering the consequences for not listening to his doctor. Personally I would have no interest in reading anyways, but he really does. He didn't come out to church, and he's having a really rough time :/ Hopefully things will start looking up for him soon though. 
We taught Warren, who told us that he wants evidence of everything and basically only believes the Bible and the trinity. I had a really hard time understanding him because he was so logical, yet he believes in the trinity. Anyone want to help me out on that? I can't really grasp that notion. But he was very nice, very open and he invited us back. He said, "If you guys know something that will get me into heaven, I'll be eternally grateful." Booyah. 
This ward has some of the cutest families. And the funniest. One mom was telling us that the Book of Mormon scares her because every time she reads it she feels like she's going to be damned. Legitimate excuse I guess. But it just threw us back a little. She's hilarious though, and we can't tell if she was kidding or not, but we treated her as if she wasn't kidding haha but these members are so good. They are starting to trust us and really work to work along side us. That's how it's supposed to be you know? We can't do it by ourselves as missionaries. Too many people are scared of the tag.

We got to see Elder Cook this week!!! Holy cow he is so cool. Our drive there was. Lets say I wasn't driving and we were with the Hermanas from El Salvador and Mexico and we probably should've died multiple times but by the good grace of God we made it there safely. We drove to San Francisco! Only it was so foggy out that we couldn't see squat! So it was kind of lame and super dangerous but it was so good. The whole mission was there, which was crazy. I loved it though. Elder Cook shook everyone's hand. EVERYONE. That's a ton of hands! The biggest thing I got from his message though, is "You are where you ought to be." It's so true. Where ever we are is where we need to be, and I firmly believe it. There is a reason for everything, be it good or bad, but that's where we need to be, and this is what we need to be doing. It was just really good to be able to hear him testify of that to confirm my own testimony, but I know that applies to everyone. 
Happy Valentine's Day! It's better to be single anyways!

Sister Kwan

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Canada: The Land of Cold and Suffering"

This week's shout out goes out to my mom. No one else is going to send you a postcard with your face on it and quote you. If anything, this is a big lesson on being careful what you say, because you might find it on a postcard one day haha

So, picking up where I left off last week, the golden family. We were going over to a member's home for dinner, and they invited a family over. Turns out the mom was prompted to invite her friend Karen and the husband was concerned about the amount of food but did it anyways. Then, what happened was Karen and her two daughters show up and it was kind of really awesome. The daughters had been going to church with their friend in the family, and one of them prayed for the food! And then we talked with Karen and she has such a strong desire to be closer to God and to learn more. It was glorious. I don't think we deserved to have this happen at all, but God saw fit to bless us. So. Cool.

A lot of people have been down with this insane flu. Probably 1/5 doors has someone sick behind it. We aren't entirely sure what to do but good news! We are healthy. So we must be doing something right haha

Geoff and Joan are doing well. They asked us a ton of questions about Adam and Eve so that was nice that they finally opened up. She fed us lunch, which was very nice. She's so awesome. I feel like she treats us like her grandchildren. That or she's fattening us up so she can eat us later. I kid, I kid. But I think for the first time they actually contemplated praying. Which is HUGE considering they have straight up said no the past couple times but this time it was like "...ehhhh" so it was great. I can see them having a good time praying :) I mean, why wouldn't you have a good time?

We picked up a former investigator. His name is Jason. We're starting to find that well. So I guess he got out of prison a year ago, he's still on parole, knows the Bible inside and out and backwards. But he's not really wanting to learn. He just wants to teach us, but the question is always, "Is this going to get me into heaven?" Because if it's not, why are we lingering on it? And I guess it's important to him, so it should be important to us, but I don't know. He's a tough one, let me tell you. And he fell asleep while Sister Underwood was talking haha. He considers himself Jewish but he accepts Jesus Christ. Which I guess I can kind of see, but the Jews killed Jesus...

Taught a pretty awkward family. Mom is a member, dad isn't, teenage son and daughter. Surprisingly, the non member dad was more open to listening than the rest of them. We aren't really sure where to go next because it doesn't really seem like they were too keen on us coming back, but who knows. We asked if anyone had read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, and they all said no, so we were shocked. I guess we expected someone to be doing it, at least the mom to have done it, but no. We are working hard though, and I'm sure there is an end in sight, we just need to find the tunnel.

So the Lee's are probably one of my top 3 favorite families in this ward. The other night we needed a house to teach at and she opened up her house. She's seriously the best. And then yesterday in sacrament meeting, she got up and she goes, "Well, are we all ready to go home now and have some afternoon fun?" It was hilarious. And she comes on splits with us. And she's really just great. And she invited us over for her superbowl party haha but someone had already invited us over for dinner/their superbowl party, so that was fun. They were nice, they paused the TV when we came over. The food was great though. Superbowl food is way good. And totally awful for you, but that doesn't matter haha

Bob. He got cataract surgery, so he shouldn't be reading, but he did and couldn't come to church because he was in a ton of pain. But he still went to church with his friend, so we're kind of like "..what's going on here" We had a really great lesson with him though. Our member told him a lot of really complicated things, so I was trying to figure out which to touch on first and simplify, but ultimately I just needed to simplify baptism for him. The spirit was so strong and he finally got it. He was like "I finally get it, and I know what you said is true because I feel it" Booyah. Hopefully that helps him out, he's still struggling with his faith, and considering he wasn't listening to the doctor, he might have to wait awhile, but I'm hopeful :)

This Sunday we got to participate in a statewide fast for rain! So basically we all didn't eat for 2 meals and prayed together for rain. As a state. And it was pretty instantaneous because it was raining Sunday. Thing is, it's not easy to call a statewide fast for rain. You definitely need a ton of approval for that, which requires months of planning, which means the prophet saw the need for rain already and here we are fasting and now it's really happening. It also snowed up on the mountain, which was neat. But immediate answers to prayer! And how blessed are we to have a prophet who knows exactly what we need and when we need it. So blessed, like seriously. And prayer is so powerful. God is so mindful and he's always listening and I'm always amazed at what He does. And we don't even know the things that could be happening but don't because we've been blessed!

Love you all and miss you :) If you miss me too, I can arrange for a postcard of my face to be sent to you hahaha
Sister Kwan

And the theme for this week's pictures is... small animals! Yay!

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