Thursday, December 11, 2014

I am working very hard to make sure this next week is the best one yet on my mission. Yesterday, we had eight appointments, which is practically unheard of in this mission! We have been working with several member families to try to go caroling, but unfortunately the rain put an end to our plans. However, I think it has made me become more determined. We will carol this week! Music can testify to our hearts of the Savior, and the spirit can soften any heart. I am excited to go sing the carols of the season and bring glad tidings to all of these people.

We have also really been using #heisthegift in our every day interactions. Tracting this week has not really been fruitful because people are busy, but whenever we are in members or investigator's homes, we always pull it up. It is such a powerful tool. Every time, right at the end of the video, the Spirit testifies with incredible strength. It does not matter what type of environment we are in. Homes that are clean or messy, loud or quiet, member or non-member; the Spirit still enters into the room. I love being able to witness this occur in so many settings. I feel so blessed to be a missionary at this time!

This past week, Sister Sim and I fasted and prayed for our investigator, Margi, to receive confirmation for her baptismal date (12/20) by Dec 6th. Unfortunately, on Friday Margi forgot and when she was gifted a cup of coffee, she drank it before remembering. Ah! Such a bummer. When I was thinking about what this would mean for her, I remembered Elder Falabella's training about involving the whole family. I encouraged Margi to pray about if her baptismal date should be the 27th, or Jan 2nd, and then as soon as she decides, to tell her family. I feel that as she involves her family, they will become more serious about their mother's/wife's commitment, and it could soften their hearts. Also, they can be a support to her through this time of the year when it is common to drink alcohol and have coffee. I know that miracles will happen when a family is united, and I just want the best for them!

Exchanges were this week, and I was in our Area with Sister Lee from Korea. She was so fun to be with, and a joy! One of my favorite things about Exchanges is a chance to serve another Sister. I think it is so fun, and so I loved cooking for her, and helping her with little things. She was so fun, and we had some pretty funny experiences that night. When we were tracting, we were in Fall City, and actually ran into a man who' wife was Community of Christ and went to college at Graceland in Lamoni, Iowa. I seriously was thinking, "Will these experiences keep on happening? What are the odds?!" It was pretty cool. Also, there were a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses that we tracted into since we were right by the Kingdom Hall. It was so funny, by the end of the night I had been asked thirteen times if I knew that Jesus was not born on Dec 25th! I am now quite familiar with their doctrine, and hopefully one day they might be curious and want to learn more. 

Something that has been really cool this week is an event that is going on in Bellevue. It is called, the Festival of the Nativity. It is held in the Stake Center, and for two weeks the building is decorated and filled to the brim with Nativities and features about Jesus Christ. There are 523 Nativities from 128 different countries, and there are 360 live poinsettias and 100 Christmas trees. It is held in an open-house style, where people can come walk in and enjoy the presentation. Also, every day there are performances from different local congregations, and it was so fun to listen to them! We went to help host this Saturday, and we had a little station where we talked to people about #heisthegift and to members about missionary work. It was so fun! There was also a brother and sister in their teens that were performing later that day that kept us company and very entertained. It was a great experience, and we are going again this weekend with investigators and to help host again!

I feel very blessed this past week to be in this Area. This week I have had several experiences where I know the Lord put me here for a purpose and a reason. Two times this week, I used German while I was teaching. The first time, we were tracting in the suburbs of Snoqualmie, and we ran into a man who I found out, was born and raised in Bavaria! As soon as he shared that tidbit of information, I said kind of quietly, "Deutsch?" He responded, and then engaged in a ten minute long conversation in German! Poor Sister Sim! She said later that she didn't mind since she did it to me with Korean, but still. When I was talking to him, we found we had many things in common, even though he was 71 and I am 20. But is was delightful talking to him, and I found out he loves music. We invited him to the different musical events this season, and even though he was not interested, he said that if I would not have started talking to him in German, he would have "closed us out with rudeness"! So, I consider that a success. 

Then, we were teaching someone this week who has been struggling, and found out that the couple had lived in Germany for eight years! Upon learning that I knew German as well, the husband then spoke to me all about the things he misses in Germany, Switzerland and just Europe in general. I was committed to visit Switzerland as soon as I can, since he was so shocked I had never seen the beauty of the mountains and the hills. 

Now another thing that really touched me this week was the testimonies borne in Fast and Testimony Meeting. One sister, who was the former Bishop's wife, told about how her past Saturday had gone. She was feeling a little overwhelmed because her husband was constantly gone, and her kids were acting up, and she had said a little prayer. Then, the missionaries (us!) had stopped by, and had shared a message with her and her family. She then talked about how the Spirit came into her home, and helped her to feel better. Then, two other testimonies were borne about us!!! It was incredible!

Then, yesterday we were helping a young mother in the Ward with a project, and she told us this story. So, the previous Friday, this sister was feeling a little overwhelmed. She wanted to be a good member missionary to her neighbor that was kind of interested in the Gospel, but she had this huge project to do and wanted to take care of her kids, and just had a lot going on. In the next hour, the neighbor ended up coming over and offered to help take care of her kids so the mom could put the baby down for a nap. Gratefully, she accepted and in that moment, decided to do some missionary work. She offered to have the neighbor come over for lunch in return for the favor, and was going to talk about the Gospel. So, about an hour later the neighbor is over, the kids are playing in the other room, and the young mom is trying to think of how to share the Gospel with her. She said she was kind of sad because she knew that now because she was spending time doing missionary work, she would not be able to finish the project in time. Then, ring! The missionaries are here! (us!) She said that we came over at the perfect time, shared the Gospel with her neighbor, and then gave her inspiration on what more she could do for her neighbor. Then, we offered to help the young mom with anything she needed doing, much to her delight, so we set up a time to come back and help her with the project. She said that we were just in the right place at the right time, and was exactly what she needed! 

I felt this helped to grow my testimony because I had been praying to help recognize the Lord's hand in my life. I did not really feel like He was leading me, and I wanted to make sure we were doing what He wanted us to do. So now I feel so blessed because with these members sharing these experiences, I can greater recognize our being lead by the Lord. 

To me, to hear these members talk about me just brings such happiness to my heart. I will admit, I was really, really sad to leave downtown Seattle. I just loved everyone there, and it was a little disheartening to think about ending my mission in a Ward where the members would not really know me, and no one would really care when I left. But, this week it seems like there are little moments sprinkled throughout the day where people express their appreciation towards us. It brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. I know that I am meant to be here, and I feel so blessed for the many experiences I have had on my mission. 

Love you all, and see you soon!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

This week has been pretty great! I am sorry, I am fasting and a little emotionally, spiritually and physically tired, so I will try to make this a good email. If not, I apologize!

This week we have had a few opportunities to do service, that mostly involve setting up Christmas decorations. So far my count for Christmas tree set up is: two 5-ft, four 8-ft, and one 18-ft! We have helped put up so many decorations and trees that that I am thinking of making it into a business once I get home ;) 

This week was also a really cool chance I feel to exercise my Member missionary work skills. So, we have been helping this family with service for a while, but they do not respond well to an up-front "This is the gospel and our message" approach that is generally used in tracting. So, we have been helping them with stuff around their house, and this last week the Dad started to soften up. We showed him how much we care for him and his family, and then he started to care about us! He asked us some great questions, and I was just able to answer his questions, but still lead him along. It is just the best feeling, because this is what I will be doing for the rest of my life, and it worked out pretty well! He and his family are now open to more conversations, and we are excited about this progress!

We had Thanksgiving at the Wadsworth home, which is the family of one of the Ward Missionaries, Brother Wadsworth. We had a great time, and it was so beautiful. We shared a message about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and also about #heisthegift. We are so excited about this initiative and have been trying to share it as much as we can!

We had a great lesson with Margi yesterday, and talked to her about joining the Church. She has made her official decision, and the only thing now is that she is nervous if she can live the Word of Wisdom for three weeks in a row. She just feels bad refusing coffee and alcohol people give her in public, and I agree- it can be a hard transition! So we are fasting with her today for her to have the strength to go that length of time, and receive an answer to the question, "Should I be baptized on Dec 20th?" by the day of Dec 6th. We like setting deadlines, because it shows our faith and effort to the Lord!

I think I have previously mentioned Paul Bateman or his family in my previous emails, and they are just the best family! Paul leaves for Japan tomorrow, and had his Farewell on Sunday. He did such a great job! It was also about Tithing, which was a bit of a miracle because it was also something Margi was trying to get an answer about! Hurrah! The Lord is in the details :) We are sad that Paul is leaving but know he will be doing great things in Japan!

Today we were able to go to the Temple, and it was a great experience. I had to search for 30 min to find a family name to take, but I found one! It was so good to be able to attend the temple, and I just love it there. 

I love being on a Mission and I love being in Snoqualmie! I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, November 28, 2014

I have to start off and apologize for last week's update being pitifully short. So, to make up for it, I will include the activities that I left out, and then I will tell about this week! 

So last week, 11/10-16, you saw on Monday that I went hiking with Sister Sim and Sister Bateman. On Tuesday, we had a really great lesson with Margi and committed her to baptism. She accepted, and is progressing along very well! More on that later in the week's report ;) 
On Wednesday we had a big Zone Meeting and Sister Sim and I were asked to give a training on "The Map". The Map is a huge list of things that you individually decide you are going to Start, stop, and continue this Transfer. You have to select fifty of the items, and then implement them. Well, needless to say when I was first introduced to this idea my first Transfer in Seattle, I thought it was a bit ridiculous because you are focusing on so many things. So, I think that Heavenly Father wanted to humble me and to help me honor and sustain my leaders, so he made me give a training on it. I had to study the virtues of "The Map", and then help others implement it. Turns out a lot of other missionaries had similar feelings to myself, and so I was able to help them come to the same conclusion that I was. Yes, fifty things to repent of seems a bit excessive if you do not have a central focus. However, if you do have a central focus or goal, then those fifty things come pretty naturally. I have taken my focus to being developing Christlike attributes. I also shared how I set positive goals, so instead of viewing this Map negatively, you can view it positively and like it is pushing and cheering you on. The training went well, and I enjoyed the other insights that were shared. 

Thursday was interviews with our Mission President, and I just have to chuckle. With every other missionary President Choi spent a lot of time with, and when it came to my turn he asked me three questions. This was literally our conversation!
 "How are you doing?" -pretty good President, adjusting well to the new Area and I am enthusiastic about the work.
" That's great. How is your family?" - Doing pretty well I think.
"What have you learned from being in this Mission?" - Uhhhhh *at this unfortunate time my mind went blank* Well President, I have learned more about being exactly obedient and the essential differences between sacrifice and obedience. I know have a deeper knowledge about how it blesses our life to be obedient, and not just making sacrifices. 

I was then going to say a little bit more, but I guess I paused for too long and he thought I was done :) Haha! It was kind of funny because he just complimented me, and then sent me on my way. I felt like it was a really short interview, and so I looked at my watch and it was only two min and forty seven seconds! I think it is safe to say it is the shortest interview I have ever had, because normally they are about 7-10 minutes long. 

After interviews and further training from the mission presidency, it was time for the meeting to end when Sister Choi approached us. Sister Choi asked us come to the Mission Home with the excuse of picking up Kimchi for my Korean companion. When we got to the Mission home, President and Sister Choi surprised us with lunch! It was korean spicy ramen with kimchi, and this yellow turnip and purple rice. It was pretty good! I have always known that I love foods from different parts of the world, and now I can say I like Korean food. It was kind of a soup and noodle dish, and pretty spicy. I loved it though! It was a great time to sit and chat, and we had a very enlightening conversation about gaining revelation. Afterwards, he headed on home to our Area and went to work!

On Saturday, we had a mini-golf activity as a District that they had been working on. Everyone helped contribute to ten holes of mini-golf set up in the Cultural Hall of the Church Building, and it was great fun! We had asked members from our Ward to "own" a particular hole so there would be a lot of variety. It was great! We had several holes that involved complicated ramps, and one was even full of plants. One had a metal horse in it, and another a huge paper-mache of a pineapple. The ending hole was a huge complicated part where the ball had to travel up a bicycle chain which set off different reactions from other small metal parts. I am sorry, I wish I could explain it better- just trust me, it was great! In the waiting room for the line to do mini-golf we had Mormon Messages on a TV and pamphlets out. It was not the turn out we expected, but it was still a lot of fun. 

Ok, then I believe I told you about the Member Missionary Fireside last week, so now, I am current! Hurrah!

Sooo, this week, 11/17-24. 
On Monday we had dinner at a Member's house that was out in the boonies of Fall City. It is so beautiful out there, and very rural! Their kids were adorable and committed us to reading the book series, Fablehaven when we get back from our missions. So cute! 
On Tuesday we had a lot of appointments and did service for a little while for an investigator named Bruce. I may have mentioned that he had 300 or so strawberry plants in his front yard a few emails back. Well, I stand corrected. He informed me that he has over 1,500 potted strawberry plants that he regularly maintains. Crazy right? There are so many! We talked about quitting smoking and the services the Church provides for the Addiction Recovery Program. I am so grateful that the Church has this inspired way to help people overcome addiction. How blessed are we to be a part of it!

On Wednesday we stopped by a man by the name of DuWayne, who is not currently going to Church. He has BEAUTIFUL property just on the outskirts of Snoqualmie. I am telling you, beautiful! Next time we go, I will take lots of pictures! He has these stumps of trees that were logged 100 years ago with "nursing-trees" on top. His ranch is so lush and green it looks like it is straight from a fairy tale. He also has this beautiful vintage ford truck from the 30's that is just a great looking car. It just fits right in to the feeling of his home! We talked outside while I tried to entertain his hyper-active golden retriever with tennis balls (my arm was sore for two days!) and we are now going to come over once a week to help him with his Family History. 

Later that day we went with one of our recent converts Joe to the Family History Center and got him all set up. It was really cool, because for his family history on his Dad's side they had a book, and once he put in the information he was able to find out he was a descendant of Norwegian Kings! Pretty awesome! He was really excited, and now has about 300 names of family that he is connected to now! He is so excited, and it just kind of fits. Joe is this man who is brilliant with cars and machines, has kind of crazy blonde hair and is a southern gentleman who wears boots and camo every day, that is located in the chilly mountains of Washington. For some reason it just makes sense that his ancestors were ferocious kings in Scandinavia! 

This week we have done a lot of service with helping non-members put up some intense Christmas decorations. It is quite common to hear, "No no, wrap it this way, like you see on the cover of the Home Goods magazine", or "We need this tinsel to hang just right! This needs to be worthy of Martha Stewart's website!" I am only slightly kidding about the analogies- these decorations are quite the project! It is a lot of fun though and a great opportunity to help people. On Thursday one of the ladies we were helping took us to a new authentic southern Indian food restaurant that just came to town. Our experience was just hilarious. I got the menu, had no clue what anything was, and just picked at random. It was pretty delicious! It was a hard crepe-thing with yellow potato stuff with a hot sauce. There was also a not-sweet doughnut and rice cake with some more sauces to the side. It was an adventure to try to eat it, and we all had a few good laughs at our predicament.

On Sunday we had another lesson with Margi, and we are helping her make her decision about joining the Church. She is progressing along so well, and it is so exciting!! On Sunday night we went over to the Ward Choir to help out (they were in desperate need of sopranos) and had some great conversations and lessons with the Ward Members who were there. One of my favorite members is Brother Marquis, who is really involved with the local Tea Party. He is just a riot! (no pun intended). 

Now for plans for this next week: 

Our Area is doing well! We are currently working on utilizing a new finding activity with members- Christmas Caroling! Sister Sim and I had the idea in weekly planning that in addition to being a great way to build relationships with the Ward, it would be a great chance to meet the Ward Member's neighbors, with the members. We had a Ward Member create sign-up sheets for us, and so far it has been a great success! Many people have signed up, and are excited to go out with us this Christmas Season. We are looking forward to scheduling appointments with the families and setting up a time to go and carol :) We also are excited because it will be a great way to not only tell with people in the community about the Nativity in Bellevue, but also about "He is the Gift". Sister Sim and I are working well together, and I am really enjoying being here in Snoqualmie.

So the reason why I am emailing on Tuesday is because we had a special Zone Conference yesterday with Elder FalabelIa from the first quorum of the Seventy.  I personally made a commitment to involve the families of those we are teaching, but also to help our two Recent Converts become missionaries. As Elder Falabella was teaching, the principles rested upon my mind and the Spirit testified to me of the importance of these two principles. I have of course previously heard and recognized the worth of these two individual practices, but yesterday the Spirit impressed upon my mind the importance, and the imminent need to employ those in my Area. I am now committed to helping our Recent Convert Joe, to be involved  in missionary work and to further encourage him to be a missionary to his parents. Also, with helping a Recent Convert by the name of Bud, have more unity in his family by being a missionary to his Less active daughter and grandson. With our investigators, we are really going to focus on inviting and helping Margi's husband and teenage son feel loved and the value of our message. 

It is great being here, and also warning- next week my Prep day will be on a Tuesday too! 

I love you all, and have a great week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sorry about this being really short, I felt bad last week about not being able to reply to everyone so it cut out time for this letter!
So this week was wonderful. We had a lot of great lessons, and put Margi on date for Dec 6th! The biggest thing is that we want her just to consider baptism. She is having a difficulty with the Word of Wisdom, but that will come with time.

Also, last night was the last Member Missionary Fireside I could go to! I drove with Jamie, Joseph and Aubrey, who are members in our Ward. They are just fantastic, and Jamie is such a great Ward Missionary. So we got there a tidge late, but I walked in the back and saw Sister Wawro up on the stand. I was looking to see if I was needed for ASL interpretation (nope!) and went back into the hallway where I saw Arnold! It was so great to talk with him, and the sweetheart made me my favorite cookies :) Then, I turned and Makaela was running towards me! I just hugged her and bawled. Even just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. She is so incredible, and has her answer that the Church is true. She is sharing the gospel with her parents, and might be baptized on the 29th. I am sad that I cannot be there, but what is important is that she knows! Chris was also such a sweetheart and brought Makaela here, even though he had a test the next day. He is so great! Because of their test they had to leave the fireside early, and so about 20 min till the end I thought I heard someone whisper "Sister Allred!" so I turned around and saw Justin! Justin was a Ward Missionary from the SYSA 2nd Ward, and my whole face just lit up! It was so great to see him again. I loved seeing all of these people again, I love them so much!
Funny Moment: In the car ride back last night, Sister Sim was quoting The Titanic, "Come back!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello everyone!
So, the official name of the town I am in is Snoqualmie Falls, and I am also covering part of Fall City and two streets from both Carnation and North Bend. It is a cute little place out here in the Pacific Northwest, and it is wonderful! Fall City is pretty rural, and all of the homes have a lot of space. The part of Snoqualmie that we cover is suburbs that have all been recently developed. The members here are great, and I think I am most impressed by our Ward Mission Leader- Brother Hammer. He is incredible and a fantastic example of a member who is truly converted and loves missionary work. He is incredibly on top of it. He reminds me of Bishop Chan from my last Area. Brother Hammer has this gift for getting down to business, assigning responsibilities and gets work done!

 I am enjoying being with Sister Sim. She is a diligent Sister Missionary and very pleasant to be around. She has such a fun and outgoing personality! She is also super beautiful, and so I openly call her my Korean Princess. It just fits, from how she dresses to her mannerisms. She just seems like she is straight out of a story-book! It is also really nice because she is open to all of my ideas, and supports me in my decisions. Turns out while Sister Sim was born in Seol, Korea, she moved to UT when she was 13 and went to Timpview, and then BYU! Also, she knows my sister Hailey! Small world! Sister Sim is just great and all of the members love her, and the members really trust the missionaries here. It is a wonderful place to be!
This last week has been great. We met with an investigator this week named Bruce, who has over 300 strawberry plants in pots in his front yard! He is very passionate about his composting, and he needed some help. So we went over with a guy in the Ward named Paul Bateman. Paul has his mission call to Japan and will be leaving on Dec. 3rd for the MTC, and while he is still here he has been a great help. It turned out that Bruce needed some heavy-lifting done for his compost, so Paul and Bruce went to work while Sister Sim and I weeded some plants. This is where the funny story comes in. You know, I never thought that I was a city-girl or a country-girl. I feel like I have just been an even blend of both. Well.... actually as I am writing this, I am having a flash-back to my first summer in Nauvoo and being in shock with how small of a town it was. Ok, I take it back. I am a city-girl, but I haven't been afraid of getting dirty, hard-work, or just the outdoors in general. Well, Sister Sim works hard, but the concept of getting dirt on your hands was a new concept for poor Sister Sim. She was so afraid of weeding the pots! It was hilarious! She was close to tears because she was afraid of the itty-bitty bugs in the gardening pots, and while she was squealing I was trying to not burst out in laughter while I was trying to talk her through it. It was a bonding moment for both of us I think!
My primary purpose these next few weeks is to put my investigators first! We have a goal of having daily contact with our investigators. The daily contact will come mostly through us with lessons or stopping by, and on days when it would just be too much we are having the fellow-shipper of our investigators follow-up with them. So far it has turned out really well! We have had a lot more lessons, and we are building trust with our investigators.
One of our new investigators this week's name is Sarah. I think this story is just evidence of the Lord putting us where we are needed!  Sarah is just a doll. She is going through so much, and is incredibly strong. We came over after she saw her son at school. Her son is mentally disabled, and she loves to support him with coaching his basketball team and helping out with his swimming class. He was still in school so I could not meet him, but as soon as Sarah saw my tag her face light up! She saw that I knew American Sign Language, and got really excited. She has been trying to teach him to help him communicate, and now *poof* I am here! Ta daaa! So I am really looking forward to teaching her son ASL, and continuing to teach her the Gospel. We shared part of the Restoration with her, and her homework for next time is to study the rest of the pamphlet and we will talk about it next time!!

The Area here is truly just gorgeous. I am going to try to attach pictures from this last week when Sister Sim and I went to Snoqualmie Falls, and then from this morning. This morning, Sister Sim and I went with Sister Bateman (Paul's Mom) on a 2 hour hike to Rattlesnake Ridge. It was beautiful!! I love being here in the forest. Our surroundings are just like the Sierra's, but with a ton of moss growing everywhere (that whole notion of moss only growing on the north side of the trees is nonsense!) and a bunch of green ferns for the undergrowth.
I love it here, and I am having a great time! I hope you all have a great week!!
Hello everyone!! So, first to start off with this week. I do not have a lot of time so I will try to do as much as I can!
This week was wonderful. I don't have my old planner on me anymore, so I will just put down as much as I can remember!! Thursday we spent the entire day in downtown Seattle, contacting and getting in touch with Less-Actives. Sister Wawro and I then taught English class my last time to the Chinese Students :( Every time I go into downtown I am struck by the beauty and it reinforces how much I love to be in the city. I love it so much! I feel so blessed to have been able to serve in an Area that covered all of the University District and all of downtown. We went to Pike's Place market every week for Preparation Day, and I love being by the water. Seattle is so wonderful!! I miss it already.
Friday we went to a dinner the Institute gives for the University of Washington students called Friday Friendship Feast. It is only $2.50 for a home-made meal, and these students love it! While I was there, I was able to have a really good conversation with a girl from Salt Lake City, who did not want to belong to the Church anymore. She had some issues with how she perceived women were treated in the Church, and I was able to share personal experiences of the joy of being a member. After that we had a lesson with Serafina, one of the Chinese students we are teaching. My mandarin is no-where up to par, but at least I can converse in a few short phrases!! It was Halloween, and so we were supposed to be in our apartment by 5pm. A member had wanted to feed us that night, so we got permission instead to go to their house and spend the night doing missionary work! The rules in this mission are if you want to feed the missionaries on Tues-Sat, you need to have a non-member present. Michelle and Krista really wanted to feed us because they would be gone on Sunday and not able to say goodbye to Sister Imai, and to celebrate Sister Wawro's birthday. So, Michelle rounded up some friends, and we had dinner with everyone at a burger place. 
After the dinner, we all went to Michelle and Krista's house to talk. What we were doing, is that SIster Wawro and I heard an idea from a missionary who had served in the New York Mission about having dinner with members with non-members present, and then after dinner practice teaching the member the lesson of the Restoration of the Gospel. It was very successful, and it was such a great idea! We tried it out, and it went so well. The Spirit was very strong as we testified about the Gospel blessing families. The Spirit was practically tangible!
not a lot of time, so I will write these in note form. 

Saturday was another downtown Seattle day but had a miracle in the form of Amber. We walked into a dry-cleaners to ask directions, met and talked with Amber about the Gospel for an hour and a half. She wants to learn more!! The rest of the day was a little bit sad because we kept on missing the bus- but we survived :)
Sunday was such a beautiful day. I just loved being in the Seattle YSA 2nd Ward!! Sister Imai, my Japanese companion has a special connection with this Area. She was trained here, and has served over a year in this ward. The testimonies were given by her converts and those she had reactivated. She is such a powerful missionary! She bore a sweet and pure testimony of the gospel that touched everyone's hearts. After Church we had a "Linger Longer" break the fast potluck, and it was so fun to be able to see all of the students for the last time (I did not know then I was being transferred, but still. It was great!) Then, Brother and Sister Tahmoresi (2nd counselor in the Bishopric) had us over for dinner and made us "hot-pot". It was so delicious! I really, really like Asian food. I am so lucky I was shown the ropes by my Japanese companion, and now I can (kind of) do it myself!

Monday- It was Sister Wawro's birthday and Sister Imai's last day so I surprised them with Crepes for breakfast. I made Sister Wawro a crepe cake! It was fun. Then, we had an interesting time street contacting because this guy who was really anti-mormon started to bash with Sister Wawro and Sister Imai, but they were able to end it peaceably. Then, we went for a meeting with Sierra, one of my favorite people! She joined the Church in April and has such an incredible testimony. She constantly inspires me! Then, we met with another one of my favorite people- Makaela! We had such a wonderful experience teaching her the Restoration (finally!) and agreed that when she recognized her answer for if this Church is true, she will be baptized on Nov 29th! I loved being able to set a date with her on my last night! Right after we finished the closing prayer, about twenty people burst into the library at the Institute and started to sing happy birthday to Sister Wawro. The Elders in our Ward created a surprise birthday party for her, and it was such a sweet thought! After eating a little cake, we had a lesson with Serafina again, and she surprised us with bringing Chinese food! It was very delicious- she is an incredible cook! I feel so blessed to have been able to have such a fantastic last day in that Area.
Later that night was Transfer calls, and I thought that I would be staying because I only have six weeks left but the Lord wants me somewhere else! I will admit I shed a tear or two. I really, really love the SYSA 2nd Ward. I know though that it is meant to be, and so I started preparing to leave. I called the people I am teaching to let them know, and it was the saddest thing! It broke my heart! They are just so close and precious to me! I love so many people here, and it has only been six weeks. Not long enough! I just need to serve my mission for forever!

Tuesday- today!! We were sending off Sister Imai since she left this morning at 6:30 AM. We had to get up early and get all ready, drive to Mercer Island, drop her off, drive back to pick up my bags, and then drive to Bellevue for Transfer Meeting. We had a little bit of time though in between getting back to my Area and having to leave for Bellevue, so Makaela and Sierra stopped by and said goobye. UGH! So hard. I love them so dearly!!
After we got to the transfer meeting, it was really hard to say goodbye to Sister Wawro. We are really good friends, but I know it had to end eventually! Either by transfers, or for her getting her visa to Taiwan.
Now, I am assigned to labor in.... Sno..loquemie? Snoqualmie Falls :) The guy next to me just helped me out with spelling! I am out in the boonies again, but it is BEAUTIFUL here. I love it! The mountains are huge, but it is really cold! My new companion is Sister Sim from Korea, and she is so enthusiastic! We are ready to take on the world, and help this Area bear fruit.
ON our way back, we got lost- it is a bummer we did not have a GPS! The signs are not well posted here in Washington.
Also on our way back, we stopped by the Falls and they are gorgeous! I loved it! I took pictures but no time to upload, I will send them next week.

I love you all, have a great week~!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Well, this week has been a little crazy. Specifically this Sunday, we had our Mission President and his wife come to our YSA Ward and speak in sacrament meeting. So, Michelle, one of our pre-missionary members came up to us on Thursday and wanted to do a musical number to I Stand All Amazed because it is President Choi's favorite song. So, with two days to go I had to arrange a piano arrangement to that hymn while Sister Wawro and Sister Imai sang with Michelle on the flute. It worked out decently, but my brain has never been so fried because of musical theory! Glad that is over!

We have been working to better advertise English Class on campus, and recently we met with the heads of the writing centers so they can become familiar with us and what we have to offer. We have had quite a few lessons this week (46!) and so we are just teaching like crazy. We also were given a list of all the less-actives in the Ward by our Bishop this week, so we called all of them and set up appointments with four of them! This is a success! It is so exciting. One guy picked up the phone, and said, "Oh ya, the missionaries. Well, I guess now is as good of a time as ever to come back to Church, so ya I will meet with you. What time is Church again?" Our jaws all dropped! Some people are just waiting to be invited back!! 

So this week we had a lesson with a new investigator named Caroline. She is such a sweetheart! She is from northern China, and became a Christian last fall when she was an exchange student in Florida. She is a freshman here, and after meeting the aforementioned Michelle, she decided to learn more about our Church. We had an appointment with her, but then one of our less actives needed to meet at the same time, so we went on splits. So I went solo with an RM from Taiwan, Laura. First off- Laura has been back for 7 months and is still rocking it. She has completely kept up with her Chinese, and her scripture reading. She was the best person for the lesson too, because we just team-taught the Restoration! Poor Caroline was really confused with Christianity in general, but the Restoration is perfectly set up to answer her questions. Then, I knew that teaching the Apostasy would be rough, so first off we really emphasized the Priesthood and how you need the authority to act with God's power. She was able to understand that, and then to show the apostasy I took a square piece of paper and compared that with Christ's true church. Without the authority from God, it fell apart, (so we ripped up the paper). Some churches took these teachings of the bible, and some took others (now we are grouping the pieces of paper together).

 At this point, it just clicked with Caroline! She had looked into a lot of different churches before and was not sure why there were so many different ones. But then she got really sad, and looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, "But Sister, does no one have the Preisthood now?" She was so concerned! It was so cute! So we then shared the story of Joseph Smith, and the Spirit was crazzzy strong. We then pulled out a new piece of paper, and put it on top of the little piles of torn paper from my planner! 

She asked more questions about the Priesthood, and so we taught her about the Priesthood line of Authority that the Church keeps track of, and bless the Chinese- they keep such detailed records as a culture that as soon as she heard there was one for the members of the Church, it just clicked! She understood it all, and then got concerned again. She asked, ''How essential is baptism? Do we need to get it to get to heaven?" I told her yes, but it was more of a step to get there and the ultimate goal was the temple (Caroline had been taken to walk around the temple last week with Michelle). She got a little smile and said about how she felt peace there, and wanted to go inside one day! Then Caroline got concerned again, and said that she did not think her host father, who had baptized her, had the Priesthood. So, we helped her to make the decision to be baptized when she found out that this was true for herself. She got so happy, and then after asking about the Book of Mormon she wanted to take it home and read it in one sitting! She was so excited! 

I am so grateful for awesome members that take the initiative and share the Gospel for their friends. It is such a great support for these wonderful children of God, and they feel more comfortable and open to learn about the truth.

We also have been taught a new way to teach the Lessons. I guess you could call it Preach My Gospel 2.0. It is a lot faster paced, and perfect for Western cultures. It is great with these college students, and we have had some success! Last night we went contacting on U-Dubb campus, and we had some great conversations and I taught a guy from Boulder, CO using the new method and it was great! Jake is interested now, and wants to find out for himself if God is there and this is true! 

Also this week we went down from the UDistrict to Downtown to meet with a member who goes to Cornish College of the Arts. She wanted to meet with us, even though she had her musical theater audition into her major in like 20 min! So dedicated! I love it :) She even performed a little bit of her song for us and she was fantastic. Everyone is so talented here! After that, we were running late and so decided to stop by McDonald's on our way to catch our bus to make it to our next appt. While we were there, we had a guy stop us, and want to learn more from us! Totally worth being sick the next day from the hamburger!

This week has been wonderful, and I have loved it!

 I hope you have a great week!