"I've never realized so direct an answer..."
I had my first Sacrament meeting at the church by the temple here, and it was great to see the unity in the members, despite the small membership. I was reading a lot yesterday in english, staying to myself since I couldn't get the mass of the mandarin, and I was struggling with a sore throat for the past few days. I'd had enough of it, and I sat in secret prayer, thanking my God for the help and strength he'd given me the past few days, for letting me try my faith, and I simply thanked him for helping me out with my own worries. I then asked simply God to stop my throat from hurting. I've never really asked anything so simple or specific, and I felt silly for doing it, not really knowing if he would do it, but I knew my faith in Him was stronger. I ended in Jesus Christ's name, and immediately, I felt relief, a difference, and the feeling of the spirit that came with it.
"real power in simple prayer"
I've never realized so direct an answer to a prayer, and even though it was menial and very small, I think God really wanted me to know I had him with me. I thank my God, and I know His power is real. I pray that this story can comfort some of you, and I'll be praying with a greater faith that you will all be well, and recognize that there is real power in simple prayer and faith. We have great trials for great people, so recognize you have chosen to deal with these problems, that we might test our faith and praise in our blessings. God will not give you that which is above that you are able. Alma 13:28
Love you all, so much, send me how you're doing; I'd love to hear; and I hope you all are good.!!!
Sorry if it all don't make sense, i'm still trying to make sense.I'm not ignoring you, I just have no time!!!!!!
My companion works me hard; Elder Han from Busan, Korea, he's gone through a very interesting life. Supposedly so does everyone else here. He's been raised in the church, and his parents both served missions in Korea; his Mandarin is fantastic since he's gone to school in Mainland China, and also has studied a ton as well, he can read and write, and he speaks great. He's a great trainer, and he knows how to work hard for sure, just a question to how effectively he does it.
"I am unique...Cantonese called missionaries"
Elder Han is very simple, and that's because his father got cancer near his nose, so he's had to work since 14 to support his father. He loves God, but he's had a hard time expressing it in English. His English is amazing as well, so well that it surprises me at times when he asks for English help. But yeah, he's very organized and on time, and has made great changes on his mission. He was called English speaking, but got transferred Chinese branch four months ago. Chinese branch actually has a lot of those, internationals who are called English speaking and get transferred. I am unique, in that there are almost no Cantonese called missionaries in our mission. So I get to work extra hard to learn Cantonese. It'll be fun, and Mandarin as well, which is really fun.;P I do love the people here though, it's starting to look like a really Ghetto Hong Kong - with a lot of mandarin speakers, and black people gangsters, and beggars. It was a culture shock, surprisingly to me. I'm starting to forget my worries. I'll still take any Cantonese and Mandarin help from anyone, desperately, and even more importantly, doctrine. Any talks or thoughts, scriptures would be devoured. I know God is helping me see my mistakes, and I know I was only scared because of my unwillingness to change. God has given me great resources, and I should work with them in any way that i can to show my gratitude to God.
We don't have that big of anything concerning the Church in Oakland, but supposedly we're the biggest. So I'm kinda worried, but oh well. we have an English class in downtown Chinatown to use as a way to meet new people and investigators. It's cool and way fun, and it's one of the great ways to reach out to the public. We also have been proselyting in Chinatown the past few days at their Chinese street festival, handing out hundreds of flyers and pass-along cards. I talked to 43 people. A huge rush, but most in english... Gotta practice. We had a baptism scheduled, and with a really solid investigator, but her family applied her for a job, so she has to work Sundays and can't do the baptism. Elder Han was crushed by that, and he needed to take a moment to gather it all in.
"I drove today with no problems"
President said he needed driving missionaries, so he was elated that I could drive around the mission. I've gone through safety procedures, so I drove today with no problems. I realize the mission is not as hard as I thought it was, I just wish I had more time to work and study.
Packing the night before was a bit of nightmare, stayed up to 2am just worrying about how I was going to fit everything, and even though I had some comfort in prayer, I still worked to exhaustion. Woke up to the sound of my missionaries in my zone shaking me awake and telling me I was late. Dreary eyed and clumsy, I threw on everything and ran out the door. (Dad, you were right, I forgot to grab my flip flops; hopefully they serve the next elders well.) Traveled with some ASL elders, and traveled to the airport. Talked to Mom and Dad, which was a great comfort, and boarded my flight with a 40 lb carry on full of my training books. I do not know now how I will have all the time to read these, or even understand them.
Leaving the MTC, the first thing I noticed is that everyone looks at me, and I mean everyone. As I walked down the aisle of that fully loaded jet, I could feel everyone's eyeballs on me (we're all from Utah, duh they know who I am). It was interesting getting used to that pressure, but I've kinda accepted the idea, and I know it won't go away, so I must make sure I look good and represent Jesus Christ the best I can, despite my weaknesses. It didn't help that I was alone, so the feeling simply felt very overwhelming. A lot of thoughts sat in my mind, and I thought of all the things that were in store for me in Oakland, simply pondering how God would have me feel about this mission. Knowing your purpose and that it was your decision is very important, and God's given every man the gift of agency to learn that. I've made alot of bad choices, and alot more good choices, but life is really about making it all right. So look towards our decision to live this Plan of Happiness, and Salvation, and remember your purpose in living with these trying times and situations. I know that this is hard now, but it's easier to handle knowing I can not only overcome it, but I can be stronger in it. Simple truth that I have a loving God for a father, and that he does all only in love and care, as does his only Begotten, and his Spirit.
Anyways, President and Sister Meredith picked me up, and stepping out of the airport, I wasn't that scared. Then I stepped outside. First thing I noticed, the overcast sky that chills everything here was relatively nice, the fact that I was in a massive bowl was a bit strange (mountains are so far away). The ride up was interesting, found out our mission has over ten languages in every area, but that the Chinese branch only has three areas in the Oakland/San Francisco mission; Oakland, San Francisco, and Union City. The Mission home is right by the Temple, and it is on Temple hill, overlooking the entire city. A really gorgeous view.
Oakland - A Melting Pot
If you wanna know one thing about Oakland, it's that everyone here is so diverse, and the town is like that too. We have an investigator from Brasil, who speaks Portuguese the best, Cantonese second, and English the worst, so my companion has been teaching in english the past few weeks. I haven't had the chance to teach him yet. But He's also kinda crazy. But oh well. Oh yeah, and we have a member named Mary; she's 60 something; Born by Chinese parents who spoke a dialect of Cantonese in Cambodia, raised in thailand, married a Vietnamese in vietnam, and lives in Oakland, worked in San Francisco, and speaks Broken English. She's super interesting, and very cool; great cook, but here communication is really interesting. She switches from Cantonese and English when we teach her, and she speaks the best in this order. Cambodian, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Thai=Mandarin, and English. So our last lesson was taught in Cantonese and english while she read out of a vietnamese Bom, So fun!
Hey family, sorry I haven't been so up to date in my writing; this week I got my flight plans and my new name tags, the mission is becoming so real!! I leave next Wed, Aug 20th, at 4;30 am, flight DELTA to Oakland airport. I wasn't really excited about it at first, but the Spirit is growing within me, and letting me feel for my brothers and sisters, so I'm getting anxious to get out and test my testimony and faith. I'm traveling alone, which is alittle daunting, but I stopped my fear right there with the Holy Ghost's help, and remembered that I will always have my god to support me, and that I can call upon in my need. This simple thought has worked beyond the sphere of traveling alone, and has strengthened my faith even more. The simple ideas and doctrines of the Gospel are powerful, but they are nothing without a testimony; and that's why I'm on a mission, to share the experiences of god's hand in my life, and to testify to others that Christ lives, and he will save us. So please, write back to me any situation of my childhood that was a miracle, or simple, or astounding, for I am a boy of small remembrance. Help me. I can testify that Charity never faileth, and that by living in it's manners, I've come on quests for answers of the simplest nature, but that needed to be known and answered. So look for when you first recognized a god in your life, and then realize that he has always been there for you. I am happy to see the world though his eyes, and to know that his children are the greatest joy. I hope we can all ponder the feelings of our heart as Enos, that we might be made to look to god always, for answers, and for guidance. I love you all, and the letters, packages, and sketchy drop off packaages; they do me so much joy that I really don't think you may understand. I hope I can include you all in my thoughts, and I love you all. I'll be calling you on the morning I leave, and I would love any talks, advice, or testimonies so that I can grow my faith.;)
I am dedicating 2 years to be a missionary for the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints. You'll read my stories of dealings with God and with men who I call my brothers.