With that in mind, I would like to share the two epiphanies I had last night while watching the Christmas First Presidency (but not so much first presidency haha) devotional last night (they play it a week later in Europe I guess).
The first one is that the best gift I could give Christ this Christmas is to serve a faithful full time mission. I keep hearing and reading that I'm supposed to give Christ my heart. And since arriving in England I have been confused on how to really do that. But last night I realized that I'm in the perfect place and the perfect circumstances to give Christ my whole heart. It's going to take time, practice, and patience. But that can be my prayerful goal and I know that will increase my happiness as well as my effectiveness as a missionary.
The second thing is that serving a full time mission is not necessary for my eternal salvation (ordinance wise that is). But it IS necessary for a lot of other people's eternal salvation. The prophet didn't just randomly put his finger on a map and pick England as my mission place. God told him and he told me where I needed to serve because there are certain people here that I promised in the pre-earth life to find and teach the gospel. There is a purpose for me here! And I just need to remember it. Even when it is tough, even when I'm homesick, even when I'm tired, that doesn't really matter at all. That doesn't change the fact that there are people here that I need to talk to and that I'm on the Lord's time. Every single day I still I feel uncomfortable and nervous. But I also feel God's love every single day. So it's okay. It's really okay.
This is from the "Christmas Training" we had in the mission home last week. It was a really fun day! It was with a tenth of the mission (Poor President Preston and Sister Preston had to do it 10 times!!!) and we had a lesson on the Atonement by President Preston, ate a delicious Christmas meal, did skits, watched the film "Ephraim's Rescue" and did a lot of other fun things. Surprisingly, this was one of my most homesick and miserable days of my whole mission. I thought I was going to cry all day! I think how fun it was made me miss home and my own family. On the train ride home I was supposed to be talking to people but instead I cried in a seat by myself haha. Great missionary, eh? But I've since recovered. I still feel homesick everyday but it gets a little bit better everyday and like I said earlier, it just doesn't matter if I'm homesick or not. I'm on the Lord's time!
This is Selene! She is the sweetest girl. She is one of our investigators with a baptismal date. But she is back in China for the Christmas holiday (as are a LOT of our investigators) so we will pick her up again when she gets home in January. She helps me a LOT with Chinese and is definitely a real friend and not just someone investigating the church. I love her!!!
These next few pictures were taken at our investigator Gary's home. He has an autistic son named Theo who is 11 and full of personality. He served us Hot Pot! Which bascially means everything is thrown in to a boiling pot of water in the middle of the table and everyone eats out of it. We had our own little bowls where we could mix up our own sauce. But you just dip raw mean and vegetables in the boiling water for a few seconds and then pick it up and eat it! It was definitely an adventure for me but I found it really fun and actually tasty. I even ate mushrooms and deshelled my own shrimp with a head!
These are some home made dumplings that our investigator named Linda made. I thought dad would be interested it. They were YUMMY.
These are some pictures of night when we hat Hot Pot and made ginger bread cookies with some recent converts and investigators. It was a lot of fun except for the fact that I could not understand 95% of what they were talking about the whole time which discouraged me a little. I feel like my Chinese isn't really improving...but I'll keep praying about it. Language study time definitely needs to be more productive and I need to figure out a plan with Heavenly Father. I'll keep working on that.
Also, someone asked me this week how much Chinese we are speaking at home and how much Cantonese I hear. Basically, we don't speak enough Chinese at home because we forget. But we will do better this week! Cantonese I only hear when Sister Lau meets someone else from Hong Kong. Gary and Theo are from Hong Kong so at their house I hear it a lot. I understand pretty much nothing. But that's okay I'm getting used to that haha ;)
This is our companionship Christmas card! We love you all! Merry Christmas! :)
Well, that's about it from Lancaster! Sister Sun is being transfered to be a sister Training leader somewhere else. :( I'm sad but really excited for her new journey. She has been in Lancaster her ENTIRE MISSION which is 9 months so far. So this is her first transfer. Pretty crazy! So this week will be a whole new journey being in a normal companionship again.
I pray for you all and miss you all LIKE CRAZY! I LOVE YOU! The gospel is true! Jesus Christ lives and loves you. When things are tough, that is what should keep you going. Have a wonderful week amazing people!
Sister Jenni Bement
Sister Jenni Bement