Monday, July 28, 2014

"You know where you shouldn't go to get Chinese food? China."

This week's shout out goes out to the pioneers still- because I'm assuming they were still traveling at this part of the year. 

But here's my little rant about pioneer day... why is the only Mormon holiday we have in the middle of summer? We should put one that takes us out of school. Maybe like a week in March, because we all know that BYU doesn't celebrate Spring Break. So let's celebrate.. Missionaries. Let's take a week and all go out with our missionaries and love them. And take a week off. 

This weather is pretty extreme. We were above 100 all week and I think it's supposed to be the same this week. Pretty crazy. BUT not as crazy as the fact that we had 12 set appointments this week, and they ALL fell through but 1. It was really tough. This whole agency business is really killing me. Obviously numbers aren't everything (I actually get really mad whenever people ask me how many people I've baptized. That's not even the point of a mission.) but when people are kind of laying into you because your numbers are low, it's kind of rough. If there's one thing I've learned so far on my mission, it's that no matter what you're doing, people have agency, and we can't control that. And as much as we'd like to do everything in our time, it's all on the Lord's time, which we have no control over. 

The good news though, is that school starts up again this week! So everyone's home! We've been able to catch a lot of people and set up more appointments. And remember the Harvest Festival from awhile back? We all got referrals from it, and we contacted a lot of them and they said that they didn't want help, but one lady said she could really use it. She told us that she's currently going through a divorce, and you could tell from her voice that she is really struggling. We are going to head over on Wednesday, and I'm really excited because I know how much this is going to help her in her life. More than just amateur lawn care, but for the eternities. I'm excited. 

We met with Kris this week, who we helped move her stuff like crazy about a month ago. She's so sweet. She's between a rock and a hard place, but she has such a positive attitude. She really is a good example for us. You wouldn't know that she was struggling until she said something. Always got a smile on her face, she's so cool. She told us that she's not really into the whole religion thing, but people change all the time :) haha

Lynda is a hilarious less active in our ward. Oh my goodness, she's so funny. She told us about how she can't stand hot headed people, so one time she was at this concert (under some influences..) and she yelled at the lead singer of the band for not taking the time to sign something for someone. And she said that she wouldn't have gotten escorted out for yelling at him, but she did because she yelled at him 6 inches from his face. Man. She's so real though, I really appreciate it. She has a testimony, she just has a lot of other things going on in her life that pull her away from church. We're going to start working on it. 

Went to the stake picnic in celebration of pioneer day this week and it was pretty fun. Sort of. I think the only fun thing about it was how much cotton candy I got to eat. I miss eating clouds. It was really funny because they had all these kids making it for us, so they were all up to their armpits in cotton candy, and there was so much floating everywhere. It was kind of hilarious. And we were sitting under this wooden structure with benches and suddenly we start getting misted. Like vegetables. I'm pretty sure that's what broccoli feels like in the grocery store. It felt nice because it was over 100 but it was probably by far the weirdest picnic I've been to in awhile. Or ever. 

My thought this week comes from a wonderful Relief Society lesson on "What Are You Thinking" from General Conference. This quote I wanted to share is this:
All of us, though covenant children of a loving Heavenly Father, have regretted jumping headlong from the high seat of self-righteous judgment and have spoken with abrasive words before we understood a situation from another’s perspective. We have all had the opportunity to learn how destructive words can take a situation from hazardous to fatal.
I am sick of dealing with judgmental people. It really bothers me and I hate that it does but I'm like. What makes you better than anyone else here? And even if you are better, what would Jesus do? I'm going to stop ranting before I get mean. But I hope we can all take a second and check out the motes in our eyes before we try and pull out each other's splinters. 

Love you all!
Sister Kwan 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"'re breathing really well today"

This week's shout out goes out to the pioneers. I didn't realize how big a deal July 24th was until half of my companions came from Utah and told me. 

I went on exchanges into the Spanish program! Everyone thinks I'm Filipino. And they told me I eat like a hispanic haha just send me to Mexico already. But it was really neat. I was trying really hard to pay attention because EVERYTHING was in Spanish and I don't speak Spanish. So I was sitting there listening, and I would understand. It didn't happen all the time, because at dinner, Sister Hernandez was sharing the spiritual thought and the wife just started crying out of nowhere. Turns out she is having a super rough time and I guess we shared just the right thing. It was a blessing to be there. But even though I didn't understand everything, I understood enough. And we had some service to do and the lady was so grateful. 

We helped a bunch of people move this week. This is a super transient area. My muscles are getting bigger. Or something. 

We were able to meet with a bunch of less actives this week. They are always welcoming to us but when it comes to actually going to church, they won't do it. For the most part, they're either having too much fun, or they were offended. We really do have a million reasons to leave the church, but the reason we stay is the reason we should cling to. We have eternities to lose for moments. 

The ward put on a hoedown this week. It was a great opportunity to meet the members! There are so many and they were so happy to see us there. We got to know them on a close level and interact with them. Super nice. In addition, we also got roped into square dancing! Me and Sister Sotele were just kind of chilling there so I was like "We should just do it" and she was like "No." repeatedly. And so I gave up but then this old man in our ward came over and said he needed a partner, and Sister Sotele pushed me over to him so I got stuck. Then after that another guy went over and asked her to dance and she couldn't say no. I just about died laughing. It was the best thing ever. However, we were also able to meet with our recent converts and a bunch of non-members. It was truly a blessing that we attended the ward activity. 

I guess I'm super behind but last week I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting! They gave me an open topic, so I just talked about my life story and how I was converted over time. The ward really enjoyed it because well. I'm kind of funny sometimes. But also I think they enjoyed how real it was. Overall it was a success. I had actually written 3 different talks before because they felt like good topics at the time, but none of them ended up being good. So I sat up there on the stand and waited for the inspiration to come... and it did. 

Despite the fact that all our appointments that we set fell through, and my companion's emotional struggles, we still had a good week. We were really blessed. And it brings to mind President Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude from this past general conference. He talked specifically about being grateful IN our circumstance. We acknowledge the fact that we have a problem, but at the same time we can see that things are ok. Being grateful is supposed to be proven to make us happier (Oprah? I don't know who said that). But I'd like to challenge you all this week to log three things that you're grateful for each day. I know it works and I can promise you that things will lighten up. 

Love you all!

Sister Kwan 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Oh! Advertising. You're either going to be happy or suicidal."

This week's shout out goes out to the postal service. If you have time you should write my companion.. she needs it more than I do haha

 So this week's weather is supposed to be upper 90's low 100's. We are going to bake. Like cookies. 

We are having a bit of a hard time working with our ward mission leader. When he's no telling the members not to feed us, he is cancelling rides that the Elders have set up for the day. We are struggling to work with him. He has good intentions, but he also refuses to listen to anyone but himself. 

We had an incredible FHE with a family in our ward. They are so cute. There's a set of boy twins and a younger daughter. We spent some time talking about burying our weapons of rebellion and how we could be more like Christ. They really took to it. Then they started playing sports and dancing and singing. Hopefully it was effective, they are the cutest! And then they made us a rainbow cake. I didn't know how easy it was until they told me. You can dye cake! 

Last week was the 4th of July right? Embarrassing story. We were invited to a member's home for dinner, and I forgot what house number he was. So, me being all prideful and what not, led us to the first open gate we saw in the general vicinity. I just walked right in, looked around, and no one was familiar looking. So I slowly backed out and saw my companion just bust out laughing at me. Turns out they were less active though, so it's a good interaction with the missionaries, right? :)

We met with Kassie, who is the cutest ever. She recently got baptized and she's on fire after girls camp. She's amazing. She loves the scriptures and she's so excited. It was neat because we started reading The Book of Mormon and her sister came downstairs (she's 9, her name is Max) and she started reading with us. We had a great conversation and she was super nice. Super cute. And her family is less active, but they are willing to support her in taking her to church. What a blessing. 

So the big thing of this week as the Brentwood Harvest Festival! Formerly known as the Corn Fest. We had two booths, one for the gospel and one for family history. It was really a great demonstration of how the members and the missionaries can work together. They were at the booth with us talking to people, and they kind of got to experience missionary work. Then we had a bunch of missionaries in Mormon Helping Hands shirts asking if people needed help with anything. We really got to know a lot of people and it was really nice. People saw us and they recognized us as good people, not the people who come knocking at random hours of the day. It was really a great time. And of course there was music. So we danced. A little. Haha but my advertising was showing. No one was coming to the booth. So I was trying to think of ways to get people there. Most of the festival was outside and so we were inside in the back corner. Kind of ridiculous. So I was moving around signs and I tried to have my companion walk out with me and hold a sign but she wouldn't go for it. I just thought it was funny. 

This week's thought is about missionary work. We have such a great gift, why aren't we sharing it with others? It's actually kind of rude. Haha but for real, what's holding you back? I challenge you to think about it and ask the Lord to help you overcome. He will. 

Love you all!

Sister Kwan

"It's July 4th, I have to look pretty today"

Jul 7, 2014

This week's shout out goes out to America. What a country, and we are so blessed to live in it.

So Sister Sotele... she's an interesting one. She's absolutely insane. But I love her haha. No, but really, she's awesome. She has a super strong testimony of the gospel, and we'll be having late night pillow talk and she will testify of Jesus Christ while I'm dozing off. She takes care of me though. Sometimes. We are having all the awkward growing pains, especially since she is just coming to the English program and it's totally different from the Tongan program. She hasn't seen this many white people in awhile.

Miracles though. We meet random people and they want to learn more. It blows my mind every time, I need to start being like "Right answer. Let's roll." But I still kind of wonder haha the Lord blesses us so much... We meet people who want to come back to church, only they're scared of the ward.

July 4th was awesome. We got to see fireworks and I ate like a little fat kid. We had two dinner appointments and I was dying but it was really fun. We got to meet a lot of members and I really like this ward. It's so hard to figure out who to go visit when you have 26 pages of membership, but I've committed myself to trying every house on the list at least once.

We met Janyce this week, who is the sweetest lady. Old people are the best. They just say it like it is and don't worry about it at all. She's awesome at painting and things. She doesn't really seem to have a testimony, so that's what we are going to be working on with her next.

This week's thought comes from fast and testimony meeting on Sunday. The girls went to girls camp and had an awesome iron rod experience. What was interesting, was that most of them talked about how they didn't even realize that they had let go and that they only realized when they were talking to someone about repentance. It was crazy. What especially stood out to me was when they said that someone whispered that they were done and that they could leave. Then they let go, but they found out that it wasn't. That's the importance of enduring to the end. In the first 8 years of your life, you've done almost everything necessary. The hardest part is sticking with it. And that's where going to church and reading your scriptures and praying comes in. Just do it.

Love you all!

Sister Kwan

Of Transfers and Tanlines

Jun 30, 2014 

This week's shout out goes out to Sis Lutui. She's awesome.

So here it goes again. We get a call on Thursday telling us that Sis Lutui has to go to the Tongan branch in Oakley because a sister can't drive. So now my new companion is going to be Sister Sotele from the Tongan program. We're excited. We've sort of been hanging out with them this whole time so that's kind of fun. 

We took our investigator to the temple this week! Her name is Sandy. She's really close to being baptized but honestly we have no idea why she hasn't done it yet. But we had a great time and her mom doesn't usually come to church, so it was a great experience. Not only that, we were able to have a member bring us, so we saved miles AND she had friends. It was a really great thing. The member volunteered too, and we all had a really spiritual time. The visitor's center is a great place for us to feel the spirit and invite others. For those who have on nearby, I would highly recommend it. 

So this same day, we decided to give the Elders the car since they never get to use it. But we come back to find that the Elders cancelled our dinner appointment and they are not picking up the phone. We called our dinner appointment and everything ended up being alright so we still had dinner, but we had appointments in Discovery Bay that you can't bike to. We hitched a ride with some members. But man were we angry. Eventually I was just disappointed that it happened at all. It really just wasn't that fun. But we learned a lot about patience. 

We've been trying to hunt down people lately. I guess since it's summer time, we are kind of stuck trying to find them when they're a world away and what not. But we did have some cool proselyting opportunities. We were driving down the road and this small, long-haired dog ran in front of me. I stopped the car and we pulled over to try and catch the thing. It ran under the fence and we decided to knock all the doors in search for the honor, while sharing the gospel. No one was interested, but a lot of people were super nice. We did find someone we could do service for and they were super nice. We will hopefully be back soon! 

Man. I can't remember anything that happened this week. 

So I've been super into sharing videos lately so here's one:
In life it's so hard to look ahead. So much of life is about here and now, and what we're going to do 10 minutes later. That kind of mindset is almost like there's no end in sight- nothing to look forward to, nothing we have to do, no end. But in reality, having an end in sight. A goal. A path. Helps us to make the decisions so we can accomplish our goals. The first step to a tour of Europe isn't to fly there. That's where you want to be. So make the decisions to get there. You know you want to be there, and you know it will be good. So why not?

Love you all!

Sister Kwan

They See Me Rollin...

This week's shout out goes out to Sister Dillon for this conversation
Her: I saw you girls on bike the other day!
Us : ...really?? (Shoot we probably flashed her)
Her: Yeah! Why were you on bike!
Us: The Elders needed our car
Her: They needed it?
Us: Um yeah. Why didn't you honk at us and say hi??
Her: I couldn't believe my eyes!

I don't even know what we did this week... obviously missionary work but I'm not even sure what to highlight. This was my official year mark, and as of right now, I have less than 6 months until I'm home! I wasn't really counting until everyone else started counting and now time is slowing down. It's a weird thing. 

We have seriously met the nicest people ever here. We were helping out with a funeral, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people are willing to pitch in and help. We were asked to house sit because apparently people have been robbed as they leave to go to their loved one's funeral. How awful is that? I have a bone to pick with those people. But this man was an artist. We were at his home, I'll attach a picture. 

All of our investigators have vanished. I'm pretty sure they have all disappeared on their boats and the only way to get them to church is probably if we started a branch on the water... which we are considering. Three hours of church on a boat? I wouldn't be against it. 

I don't know how many people have yelled at us for not going over to their house to eat when we don't have dinner. We'll be sitting there like "Yeah we didn't have dinner the other night, so we went to McDonalds" and suddenly it's like we've burned down the house. It's nice how much they care for us haha but actually I am totally sick of chicken nuggets and french fries as of right now. 

Wednesday we got to see Clayton Christenson, who wrote, "The Power of Everyday Missionaries." It's a great book, from what I've heard. Everyone who went felt super uplifted and enjoyed it a lot! He talked about five key things to remember as we try to share the gospel:
1. It is not our place to judge.
2. I succeed when I invite, not when they accept
3. These are not godless people, they are just people who have rejected falsehood
4. People need to be needed
5. Teach them how to prayerfully and privately read the scriptures
Despite the fact that no one in our ward went to this fireside, me and Sister Lutui felt it necessary to share with everyone. And it's been a great opportunity because everyone loves it. It makes missionary work less scary and totally doable. This ward has a desire, so we are ready to roll :) 

This week's thought is about patience and charity. I'm not going to lie, I totally thought I had it down. The Lord knew otherwise. There's an Elder in this area that's been...trying... And we kind of lost it with him. He wasn't following the spirit, he wasn't helping the work, and we were not ok with it. So we asked the Lord what to do. We ended up sitting him down and just telling him what we felt was wrong. The interesting thing was, when we did it, there was no feeling of impatience or hatred there. It was odd because literally 24 hours ago we probably might have killed him. That sure is an important life lesson, let me tell you. 
1. The Lord loves everyone, even if you are super annoying
2. The Lord doesn't expect you to like everyone, but you have to love them all because they are children of God
3. In times of need, the Lord will help you if you recognize what you need to do, even if you only do it out of responsibility.

Take care! Love you all!
Sister Kwan

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