Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2 Parts Chinese, 1 Part Tongan

This weeks shout out goes out to the sun. You're a hot one. 

With the Ashworths

Week one.
Not knowing where anything is, and getting lost.
Not knowing who anyone is, and getting confused. 
Not knowing my companion, but totally working on it. 
Not knowing what temperature it is, and baking on a regular basis.

It was probably one of the longest weeks in my life. I've always thought about just buying a cheap ticket at an airport and traveling and thinking it would be the best idea ever. And I think it still would be, only as a missionary, it's not. Because we're here to work. And this is the Lord's time. So between getting lost and trying to find people, it's been a long week. 

But on the plus side! Me and Sister Lutui are awesome. We are kind of like the same person, only she speaks Tongan. And she's 6 feet tall. But we get along super well, and we're willing to work really hard in this area. This is a rough area. Not rough like hoodlum wise, but rough like. It's so hot out here. As Sister Lutui would say, it's hecka hot. I'm not entirely sure where the word "hecka" comes from, but it's probably a California thing. Or a Tongan thing. I don't know. But Sis. Lutui says I'm already basically Tongan. In that I love food and I'm dark and yeah. I can't remember her other reasons, but language study is super fun. This week I learned
Malo = Thank you
Lepa = Trunkee (a missionary who's lazy because they're going home) 
So really everyone is benefiting here haha

I met this lady named Sister Dryden and I was like "..there's no way this is the Dryden's that I already know..." So here's how the conversation went
Her: I'm going to visit my grandkids back east
Me: Are they in Pennsylvania?
Her: Yeah!
Me: Did they used to live in Vegas??
Her: ...yeah... do you know them?
Me: Jessie, Paulie...
Her: Faith, Thomas, Eve! Who are you??
It was hilarious. She's grandma Dryden. Such a small Mormon community.

There's a lot of potential in this area. We have been meeting a lot of people who are super nice and open. The sisters who were here last did a pretty good job. But this area is great! Besides the heat. That's the only thing that might kill me this transfer haha. But the ward is SO big that we have two sets of missionaries. So the Elders are on bike and we have a car. They have like the actual city of Brentwood. We cover the outside of it, which is still in the ward boundary, so there's the other side of Clayton (it's Marsh Creek and when you drive down from Clayton you end up here!), Byron (farm country), and Discovery Bay (where the rich people live). It's crazy. It's a huge area. If we tried to travel from one end to the other, it would take us at least 40 minutes. But where the farms are, it's seriously all fruit. Everyone's advertising that we can go pick our own fruit. I guess it's kind of cool. 

This week's spiritual thought is about Ether. It's like one of the craziest books in the Book of Mormon because everyone dies within pages. So then, I'm flipping through this book. Reading it, loving it. And so there's this guy called the brother of Jared. And God tells him to build a boat. And we're told at least 5 times that this thing is "tight like unto a dish." And first of all, I guess that's pretty tight, assuming these things are meant to hold water. Can't spill any. And then I read this (it's Ether 6:7)
 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah;
And all I could think was. Wow. They had to be tight. They were fully submerged underwater. And that's kind of like us now. Regardless of whether we're aware or not, we're always going under. The waters are rough and crazy, and so is life. We are thrown in all different directions with numerous obstacles. Are we doing all the right things so that WE are "tight like unto a dish"? Because if we allow the slightest crack, then we are going to be in trouble. So my question this week is: What can you do to keep those cracks tight?

Love you all

Sister Kwan

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Transfer Tuesday

This week's shout out goes out to hot cheetos. They've become my new addiction. 

So... I'm going to Brentwood 3rd ward! Which I guess covers something called Discovery Bay? It's the end of the mission! But my companion will be Sister Lutui. It's super exciting. Although all I've heard about it is that it's super hot. Hottest place in the mission. There's a ton of fruit there. It's cherry season. And they have the best corn in America. So we will see :) 

 I don't really have much to say this week. Farewells are so sad. Life is hard. I think that's something that I've come to realize here is that we really don't have control over much in our lives. And you'd think that we would learn that SO much faster but we never do. 

There's a sister in this area who was crying when we showed up. Her husband is having Alzheimer's and he randomly leaves and remembers where he needs to be, but otherwise, he goes off to find his wife who looks a lot like her. It's super sad and she's having such a hard time. She refuses to accept the gospel's answers and there you can see how much it would bless her if she would just take it. 

This week's thought is about the Book of Mormon. Here we have a blue book about these people who traveled from Jerusalem to America. And they fight. A lot. And they learn a lot. And yet this book is so much more than that. It's God's word. So really, The Book of Mormon is true or it isn't. Either I'm lying to you, or I'm not. Either Joseph Smith Jr was a prophet, or he wasn't. Either 80,000 young adults have given up the best years of their lives to serve God, or they aren't. Either 15 million people are in Christ's church, or we are all being deceived. My invitation to you all is this:

 3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things,if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart,with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Because I know it's true. I have read it many times and every single time it's true. This book brings peace. This book brings hope. But it's not just a book. These are God's words to us, today. Because He loves us, He's given us this additional help on our trip back to Him. 
Ask. And you WILL know. 

Love you all

Sister Kwan 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From Allergies to Agency

This week's shout out goes out to Sable the kitty. So. Cute. 

Well. This week has not enough time.

The temple was awesome. 

Met this lady at the store.
Her: This brand is super popular in Australia
Me: Are you from Australia?
Her: Yup
Me: Wow! What brought you here?
Her: Love
She's seriously my new favorite person haha

The high school here does this thing called "Every 15 minutes" and it was super awesome because it's like every 15 minutes someone dies from a distracted driving car accident, be it alcohol related or cell phones. Anyways, they actually pull people out of school and stage an accident and it's really crazy. People "die" mostly because their phones are taken from them (hahaha) and they go to a retreat away from family and friends. It's a super cool concept. Anyways, we were there helping out and this fireman comes and talks to us. We aren't sure if he was super interested in the gospel because afterwards he invited us to the firehouse for dinner. Luckily, it's out of our area so we "can't go." 

Everyone's been telling me I've become a "permanent fixture" here. It's ONLY been 6 months haha

Diamond Terrace seems to be a very Anti-Mormon facility. I'd say 50% of people don't care about us because they don't know who we are, and then 48% REALLY don't like us and 2% are ok with us/love us. But it's ridiculous how many mean looks we get. I didn't realize you could harbor hatred for someone who's really done nothing to you, but I've been wrong before I guess

Here's a conversation with a less active 18 year old
Me: So I have 6 months left and we exercise 30 minutes a day. How do I get back in shape?
Patrick: ...You can't
Me: What?
Patrick: Well. Depends how hard you want to work out
Me: I just want to lose the belly fat.
Patrick: Oh. Planks are good for that
Me: But those are hard...
Patrick: Wellllll

So this week we got to Skype home and stuff. And the interesting thing I was thinking about was this... "500 Days of Summer" is my favorite movie to hate on, but I still kind of love it. At least the filmography is wonderful. Anyways, there's a scene in there that shows Tom's expectations vs reality and it's my favoritest scene ever. Well I put my life on pause for 18 months and had this unrealistic expectation that everyone else's life would pause too... Which is totally false. But for some reason that didn't click for me until recently. Anyways, for those of you who haven't e-mailed me or written me, here is my thought for you: Alma 60:6

 And now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state.

And my thought for everyone else haha 3 Nephi 13:33

 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take care. Love you all!

Sister Kwan

Monday, May 5, 2014

We all pee on the tile sometimes

This week's shout out goes out to Maggie the puppy. It's because of her that we have this wonderful message title this week. So. Cute. And my mom! Hooray for mother's day! She's cute too. 
This week was a scorcher. It was like 100 degrees and I was only kind of dying. Allergies were on full blast and there must've been some really important things for all of us to do that day, because it was hard. But it was a good day. 
MY NAME TAG WAS FOUND!!!!!! Seriously, it was unbelievable. Remember the Alvarez family? Well they actually aren't relevant to this story haha. Jeff approaches us across the street and he's like "Hey! Sister Kwan! I have something for you!" And I was like "Chocolate?" And he had my name tag! And I was like "AH WHERE DID YOU FIND THIS" and he was like "Well, saw it in a trash can in the park! We were so concerned for your well being" And I was so touched. They are so sweet. But seriously it's a miracle. Most people don't look in the trash can. And it happened to be the right moment for him to look and see, and man the Lord works in such mysterious ways. 
Kolonie has a baptismal date! June 7th. The hope is that her brother will be able to baptize her, but it's been really neat seeing their whole family come back. They haven't gone to church and years and now they are working towards being together forever. It's really neat to see the changes and the spirit that comes with living the gospel!
Oh so while I remember, you probably won't hear much from me next week because we are going to the temple on Wednesday! Hooray for the temple! So not only will you not hear from me until later, you probably won't hear much from me either haha. Sorry. 
So we invited our chiropractor (who's a member) and his family to start working towards being sealed in the temple. That's him, his wife, his 18 year old son Blake, and their 12 year old son Max. Blake is planning on going on a mission, so we challenged them to work towards doing it before he leaves. Now they're taking temple prep! Fast forward to Sunday, where Bishop says, "Blake came up to me and asked if I had talked to his parents. I said 'I wish I could take credit for this one, but it was the sisters.' He expressed a lot of gratitude for bringing his family to this point. Thank you." And I had never thought of like how much more that invitation really was. It extends far beyond what I can comprehend, but here's what I do comprehend. So they will all be sealed together. Blake will serve a mission and share this with others. And really it just blows up from their, but it was just really neat. These small things that we're doing are actually helping. It blows my mind. But I'm so grateful for this opportunity to be here to do it. I think one of the most valuable lessons I've learned is from my mom. She's not perfect but she's always trying to help someone. And a lot of times, it probably doesn't seem like she's doing anything and she keeps at it. That's a Christlike love. These people hardly ever do anything in return for her, but she keeps doing it. Some people are just born with good hearts. And some people like me are just born with good moms. 
Happy Mother's Day to all you moms :)

Sister Kwan

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