So Close, Yet So Far
So... some bu hao de xinxi (bad news): my visa is delayed along with the other 31 missionaries who are supposed to leave this Friday. So we probably won't leave until next Friday haha. But you know, God has a plan. So I will diligently xuexi Zhongwen he Yesu Jidu de fuyin (study Chinese and Christ's gospel). This week FLEW BY. Wow. We had TRC on Monday and we skyped again, but the skype wasn't working so we couldn't see him. But he was in Taiwan! It was so cool! He was hard to understand, but the Lord definitely helped me and my companion(: In class Tan Laoshi told us that we don't have to be perfect at every commandment. She said, "We don't need to be the ultimate example; we just need to help them see the ultimate example: Jesus Christ." I love that! I know I'm far from perfect but I can point others to the perfect example!
My whole Zone (all going to Taiwan)
The devotion was so good Tuesday night. It was by James B. Martino of the Quorum of the Seventy. He told a story from his mission. He said that when he left the MTC he felt like he had the language down and he could go out and speak to anyone! But when he taught his first family, he didn't understand a single word they said. He sat there in silence as his companion taught. Then the companion turned the time over to him, and he said the family asked him this BIG, deep, doctrinal question. He looked at his companion in panic and said, "what did they ask me?" The companion gave him a "are you kidding me?" look and then said, "they asked you 'what time is it?'" hahaha! That gives me hope. Elder Martino talked about Enoch, and how Enoch felt unqualified to do the Lord's work (Moses 6:31-32). The Lord gave him 3 commandments: 1. Go to work 2. Be obedient 3. Open thy mouth and it will be filled. In Luke 17:5-6 it says that if we have faith like a mustard seed we can work miracles. We need to believe in things that seem unreasonable (like learning a language). It was so comforting to me. As long as I continue to exercise faith the Lord will make all things possible for His work to go forth. We had a devotional review right after that, and our district leader, Elder Jensen, stood up and told everyone in the room what he admired about them and what their strong points were. One thing that stood out to me was that he said that even if I only know 5 words of Chinese the people will still love me. It was so sweet! He has grown so much! I absolutely love my district.
My Cousin Mallory
MALLORY CAME ON WEDNESDAY! I was sitting on the creeper bench (the bench that me and my companions sit on to stare at all the new missionaries coming in) and then I hear Mal's voice "Courtney! Courtney!" (For the record, I'm not used to people calling me that). It has been so great having her here! She seems to be doing great(: I'm so proud of her. In class we did role plays where one companion picked a problem to be solved and we had to be led by the Spirit to try and figure it out and solve it. I testify that if we listen to the promptings of the Spirit we will be led where we are supposed to go. The Spirit prompted me to say the perfect things and then led me to the perfect scripture. I have such a strong testimony that the Spirit will help us if we listen! Elder Wheeler and Elder Robinson gave an awesome lesson about striving for perfection. I don't remember who said these quotes, but they were awesome: "Don't worry too much about trying to be better than someone else. Learn from others, yes. But don't just try to be better than they are. You have no control over that. Instead try, and try hard, to be the best you can be." Also: "Striving for perfection is the journey, not the destination in this earthly existence. It does not need to be an obsession. We must learn to exercise faith in the Savior and seek His help in making our weaknesses become strengths (Ether 12:27). It was seriously such a good lesson!
I'm going to miss her. She goes to BYU and I want to be her friend forever.
Thursday night was our last class with Tan Laoshi :( She was seriously the best teacher ever! She let us have a paidui (party) in class. We each wrote our name on the top of a piece of paper and then passed it around and everyone wrote what they learned from each other. I have gotten so close to my district; it's going to be so hard to leave them all! Tan Laoshi said, "Remember what you have to offer. God gave you gifts and experiences to bless His children." We then proceeded to spend half an hour talking about her mission and her love story and then took selfies. She even let me take the selfie! (By the way, I'm doing fine without my phone, really. It's quite incredible how much the Lord is helping me break my addiction).
Friday was quite the emotional roller coaster. We went to infield orientation (it gets you prepared and excited to go out into the field). It was really good! But near the end of orientation they told us that our visas were delayed, so that was super disheartening. Right before I taught Zhong Wang Quan for the last time Elder Heaps and Elder Elliot were comforting me and stuff. For reals though, Elder Heaps is so wonderful. He's definitely one of my best friends and has helped me grow immensely in the language and in the gospel. He told me that I've progressed so much and that I can do this. So of course I started crying. My companion and I go into our lesson and halfway through he says, "OH, I have some bad news. I'm going to China tomorrow with my family so this is our last lesson." So I started crying again. Haha I'm ridiculous. I had gotten so close to this investigator and felt God's love for him. I just bore my testimony about how much God loves him and that we also love him. Then I bawled my way through the prayer and went to class. It was our last class with Wu Laoshi. He came up to me and told me that his last lesson with Zhong Wang Quan went the same way; he just cried his way through it. He gave us the advice to allow our missions to change us. I hate goodbyes.
Saturday morning we met our new teacher, Yan Laoshi.
He started talking in very fast Chinese to me and my companion and the only part I caught was, "Wo yaoqing nimen..." so I turned to my companion and said, "He just invited us to do something." We found out he invited us to teach our new investigator right then. So without any preparation we walked into our first lesson with Biao. It was incredible! The Spirit was so strong! The Spirit helped us with the language! I started reciting Joseph Smith's first vision and at first I was stumbling through it, but then the words just started coming! It was so neat! The Lord's hand was definitely in that lesson. Sunday in Sacrament meeting the three districts that are leaving stood up and sang "How Great Thou Art" and sang the final verse in Chinese. It went really well(: The devotional was by Richard N. Holzapfel (what a name!). He told us that our mission presidents are going to love us like their own children. He also said it's important that we keep a study journal so we can figure out how the Lord communicates with us.
This was a super good week, and my testimony has grown even stronger! I know that my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, lives and loves us. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson. I know that he receives direct revelation from God and leads Christ's church. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I love all of you so much! I cannot thank you enough for all the support and love I receive. It helps me get through my week!
Hopefully this is my last email in the states, and then on to Taiwan I go!(:
Wo Ai Ni!
Wo Ai Ni!
Jian Jie Mei
Most of the sisters in my Zone
President Woodfield and Sister Woodfield