Len & Kit's Missionary Adventures in California

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Quotes from Some of our Young Missionary Friends

It was a good week for us with General Conference this weekend, which we were able to watch on TV at home as we do once every April and again in October.  The speakers are church General Authorities (including the Prophet and the Apostles as well as others), and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir provides the music.

When I had the calling of writing twice monthly to the missionaries from our Scottsdale ward, a couple of times I sent letters made up of quotes from all their letters. To protect their privacy, I never identified the writers and sometimes tried to make sure place names or foreign references would not reveal who each one was.  I have decided to send a similar letter for this week’s blog.  The things they write really do show some of what it is like to be a young proselyting missionary.  I am often impressed with their wisdom and sincerity.  Sometimes they are also very funny. I still write (but less often) to the missionaries who left before we came on our mission.  Here are a few things from recent letters.  I see them as being somewhat representative of experiences that are common to missionaries everywhere..

With love from Len and Kit

           Wednesday we had a meeting for elder Johnson because he is new, so all the greenies met together and all the trainers met together and talked. It was really, really good and I learned a lot. The best part was that afterwards we got to go through to temple! And we had a recent convert get her Endowment on Saturday as well, so we Chinese language missionaries have been so lucky the past 2 weeks! We have gone through the temple 3 times!! Such a huge blessing. The temple is my favorite place.
            Another fun thing happened on Wednesday night at 10:30, right when we got in bed for the night, the fire alarm goes off in our house!!! And we had to evacuate and they made us go OUTSIDE at night!! I wasn’t expecting that so I was ill equipped to face the cold. But I survived barely. That actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because there are a TON of Chinese people in our apartment complex, and while we were standing outside we talked to this guy who said he has read the entire Bible before and is really interested in learning about religion! A little blessing for us having to lose sleep and stand outside in the cold. It was well worth it!

            Well, this week hit me like a wall. For some reason I thought everything was going well and everything was awesome. But then my kind companion opened my eyes. During one of our planning sessions, he brought up something that made me really think. He talked about how it seems I'm not motivated as much as I should be. How it seems I'm just going through the motions as a missionary and that he was trying to change and wants me to help him change as well, but first I was in need of changing. Was my motivation there? Was it truly? Have I really been going through the motions? If any of my previous comps, read this, I want to say I'm so sorry if I truly wasn't the best example as I should have been. And anyone else who reads this, I want you to know that this week was a Spiritual Crucible for me. If anyone is out there that needs to be more motivated in any aspect of life I want to tell you to get on it! More motivation is what makes changes happen, large and small.
Elder John Foss        As Jesus in Bible videos

            I truly feel I was called here to be an older sister, my favorite calling! I have so many little brothers and sisters here that love me and take care of me.
            We had a truly inspirational experience yesterday. A former missionary named Elder John Foss came to visit the branch. He was a branch president here 17 years ago and is now Jesus Christ in the Bible videos (see lds.org/biblevideos)!! The people loved him so much. So many foreign faces showed up to welcome him back home. They cried and laughed and formed a line to take pictures with him and talk to him (IN LATVIAN). I have never seen the branch so alive. I was worried he would be mad at us missionaries, as this branch used to be the fastest growing in Eastern Europe. It was filled with youth; it was happy; it was alive. I was scared he would take one look at what was left and ask us what on earth we were doing to ruin something so beautiful. But he didn't. He told us it was a different time now, and we were doing all that we need to do: love the members. And I realized that everything is going according to plan. 17 years ago, the missionaries had to come here and convert a ton of youth so that the strong ones could grow up and raise families in the gospel. We are now teaching and raising their children to be the generation that will solidify the roots of the gospel here. We may not have any youth, but boy oh boy do we have a primary. We follow the same model as the growth of the church in all other areas of the world. South America used to be the same way. We are right on track. This country has a bright future.

            A really cool experience happened earlier this week. My companion and I were opening up a few barangays (neighborhoods) here. We met some really cool people but the best part is how we were feeling. We had an outpouring of the spirit on us and we basically had no fear. We talked to everyone we saw and were very bold when we talked to them. We met some people from a certain local church that is usually very rude and won't even let us talk or say even mention anything about our church. We would say hello to them and like usual they would say they were members of this church. A common thing missionaries do here is they just don't talk to them because they don't listen. But my companion and I were so filled with the spirit we were bold in declaring what we believed. The awesome thing is that they were all willing to listen to us and were very good investigators. One prayed that we would be able to come back and share with him more and asked if what we taught was true right there in the prayer. Super awesome.
            Then there was New Years night, which was super loud. The way they celebrate it here is they just try to make as much noise as possible either by fireworks or sometimes even dragging metal roofing behind their cars. At Midnight it was insanely loud! New Years day was mostly just church and then eating food. But we did have an investigator who is now ready for baptism. So this Saturday is going to be his baptism. 

            So we had our final lesson with Zee and here’s a direct quote from his closing prayer, "Thank you for these sisters. They are pretty annoying, but they say what needs to be said."
            Chris – Chris just randomly texted us and was like “Hey, what time is church?” We let him know and then he told us he was a nonmember who was tracted into a long time ago and now he is interested! We gave him a church tour and explained what fast and testimony meeting was. I let him know if he felt impressed upon by the spirit he was more than welcome to get up and share his feelings, AND HE DID AND IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! He later told us he doesn’t have time to meet with us but he will be coming to church next week, so pray he will make some time to learn!!

            This past week we had a baptism!!! An awesome young lady named Bianca. Her boyfriend, Caue had just starting coming back to church after he moved back in with his parents. They are an awesome family and we created a great friendship. Their son Caue wanted to get his life back together. Eventually he introduced his girlfriend to his family. Bianca was so impressed with the feelings of love that she felt in their home, she knew there was something different and she wanted to have that! Caue was a little hesitant at first but his family made sure Bianca knew she was welcomed at church and could find peace and happiness! Since we became good friends with Caue's family. We got to meet and chat with Bianca, she then came to church and loved it! Bianca's mom is a pastor (yep you heard that right) so Bianca had a very religious background. But she was one of, if not the most prepared investigator I have taught on my mission! It was amazing experience teaching her and seeing her progress so quickly and truly immerse herself in the gospel. We went to teach her about the Book of Mormon and she goes, "Oh yeah, I’m in 2 Nephi already. I really like it!!" We were in shock! But it was so good. Her future father in-law baptized her and it was a great experience for the whole family! Cause not only did Caue come back to the family and church, now they have Bianca too! The thing that Bianca, and I as well, love so much about the church is the emphasis we put on families and that we know families are eternal. Everybody was in tears as we sang the closing hymn, ‘Families can be Together Forever. The friendship I have made with this family has been worth every second of hardship I have passed through here and I’m so grateful to have played a small part in Bianca’s conversion. Caue is preparing to receive the priesthood and they plan on getting sealed in the temple a year from now, and everyone (including me) really hopes I can come back to be a part of it!!!!