Monday, January 27, 2014

Following the Spirit, rainy streets and more miracles

Hiya Family and Friends!

This week has been really great. I learned a lot and I've really seen evidence of the Lord hastening His work in England. Sometimes I forget that this really is HIS work that we are doing and He is truly directing it. It's very humbling and inspiring to be on His team! :)

Here is the miracle of the week!

Yesterday Sister Lau and I decided that after church we would finish tracting a street we started on our consecrated 4 hour finding on the 18th. We had asked a member to pray for a street we could tract and he told us Golgotha St. During the 4 hour finding it wasn't too miraculous but we did meet some great people and had a few lessons. But yesterday when we went back it was a different story! Even getting to the street we had a miracle!

I sat down on the bus next to a boy who looked like he was probably going to Lancaster University. I was really tempted to just not talk to him and make some phone calls I really needed to make to confirm plans for the next day. But I felt for some reason that I really should talk to him. So I did. I learned that he is from India and studying at Lancaster Uni. We had a fun conversation about Bollywood movies and I told him about my sister going to India with her husband next year.We just kept talking and talking and it turns out he is Catholic, his name is Melwyn, and he is living a street away from Golgotha! So Sister Lau kept walking with him when we got off the bus. We ended up having a lesson with him and he told us we could come back next Saturday. So he also became a new investigator! He was so kind! I don't know if he knows it yet, but he is definitely searching for the gospel. I'm so excited to meet with him again next week and I'm so glad I didn't just make stupid phone calls instead of fulfill my purpose as a missionary!!!

Once we got to Golgotha, the miracles continued. Pretty much every door we knocked we had a lesson with. It was truly miraculous! We met a girl who said, "I don't know anything about Mormons. But I'd like to find out more. So you can tell me more." And she said that before we had even hardly said anything!!! It was such a fun, spiritual, and faith building experience. Yay for involving members in the missionary work! 

Something fun we did this week was have tea with Priya and Cee Cee. Priya is a waitress at the Chinese/Malay restaurant that Sister Lau and I really like. It turned out from the tea appointment that she and Cee Cee really aren't interested in the church so we probably won't be seeing much of them in the near future, but they cooked us a yummy tea so that was nice! Plus they truly are our friends and we have a lot of fun together. :) Here are some pictures of the night! Priya invited Ken too so he was there as well. It was a fun night!

I also got to go on my first exchange leaving Lancaster!! I went to Rossendale Valley. My exchange companion's name was Sister Fitia. She is fantastic! She is from Madagascar and I got to be with her during her first snow! I took a picture because it was so exciting! The snow didn't stick, but for someone who had never seen snow before it was still a pretty momentous moment. You can't really see the snow in the picture but it is there I promise!!!

During that exchange we were outside finding pretty much the whole time. And of course, it was raining and freezing the whole time! But we managed to meet a lot of people and even find Rossendale Valley an investigator (they didn't have any at the time! So sad!)! I really love Sister Fitia and we had so much fun together. Here is a picture of me the wettest I have ever been on my mission. Everything was soaked! Even my socks and bag! But it's okay, it's all for Heavenly Father :)

Here are some pictures Sister Lau and I took waiting for our train to come before our exchange. I like the first one because you can see the Lancaster sign in the back! And I love Lancaster! :)

Here are some pictures of our last night with Bianca, our German investigator who is moving back home today. Last night Sister Evans through a big dinner for her. We got to bear our testimonies to her and Sister Lau and I sang "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" to her. I am going to miss her so much! I know she will except the gospel fully one day. I also know that I will see her again. I don't know how, but I just know. It was a sad night but also really happy because Bianca will be back with her husband and son. And we also have her Germany address that we will give to the missionaries there (one of which is Sister Rachel Wadsworth!! Small world right!?). So she will continue to progress in the gospel! :)

Well I think that is it for this week! I hope you all are doing well and are safe and happy. I love you all so much!!!! I thank Heavenly Father for all of you :)

Love, love, LOVE
Sister Bement

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another Week on the Mission

I am happy to report that this week I have been SO MUCH happier than before. Miraculously, my homesickness is pretty much gone. What a blessing!!! I'm getting more confident in missionary work and starting to get a glimpse of how these next 15 months are going to be some of the happiest and most fulfilling in my life. Every single day is an adventure with it's own trials and frustrations. But it's amazing to know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each day. And each day there are people He puts into our path that are ready to receive the restored gospel. 

Ever since starting my mission I've felt myself slowly changing. I feel like I'm slowly but steadily being shaped into the kind of person Heavenly Father needs me to be for the challenges that are to come during the mission and post mission. I'm learning so much about how to be patient, put myself last, and serve with EVERYTHING holding nothing back. I'm not great at any of those things yet. But I know I'm better than I was before. And I think that is all Heavenly Father asks of us everyday. We just need to be a little bit better than we were before. 

I'm also learning that the more I understand the Atonement the happier I am. And that is wonderful because I love learning about the Atonement! This week I invited all of you to try to understand the Atonement better. I promise that as you do, your life will seem more fulfilling and your contentment will increase.

Miracle of the week: 
On Saturday we spent the afternoon at Uni. We had a great few hours up there. We were able to teach 4 lessons, all of them with a member (Ken, who was baptized a few weeks ago). We actually had planned to teach Ken as well but we ran out of time and we were starving because we hadn't had a good lunch that day and it was getting late. We decided we would go eat with Ken in town and teach him there. We had a yummy Chinese meal (I forgot to take pictures, sorry) and afterwords taught Ken about the Sacrament and Atonement (because he was passing the Sacrament for the first time the next day!!! yay!). Even in a restaurant I really felt the Spirit so strong! But that isn't the miracle. It's coming!

Sister Lau and I have been to that restaurant a few times and have become good pals with the owner and some of the staff. They always ask me about how my Chinese is coming and they know we are missionaries for our church. It's actually a Malaysian/Chinese food restaurant so the people who work there all speak like 5 different languages! Cantonese, Malay, Mandarin, and a few others that vary. One girl in particular named Priya really got along well with us. When we were about to leave on Saturday night the conversation turned to missionary work and what are church is etc. etc. I asked her if she wanted to come to church with us the next day and she politely said no that's okay she has her religion (Hindu) but she just likes talking about Christianity and has gone to a Catholic Mass before. So I thought, "Oh okay, that's nice" and dropped it. But we continued talking for like 5 more minutes about our church but since I had already invited her to come to church and she said no I was just gonna leave it. But then Ken asked her again like a champ! And she said yes and that she would bring her friend too! I was excited, but I'll just tell you striaght out that plenty of people tell us they are coming to church and then don't show up. But she did! And she really did bring her friend! They could only stay for Sacrament meeting but they both partook of the Sacrament and felt of God's love in that chapel. 

This experience really taught me the power of members in missionary work. Notice how when I, the missionary, invited Priya to come to church she said no. But when Ken, just a normal uni student, invited her she said yes. So if any of you are going out teaching with missionaries right now, don't be afraid to extend commitments! It really makes a difference. It's actually our transfer focus right now to have members extend the invitation to come to church. And wonderful Ken didn't even have to be told!

Anyways, like I said before I'm really getting over the homesickness. I LOVE Sister Lau and I love Lancaster. The other day we were walking home and I was just looking around at the street we were on and I thought to myself, "I really love this street." And I'm realizing that I slowly but surely am coming to love this area. I'm so glad I get to stay here for at least 6 more weeks. There is so much work to do and Sister Lau and I are ready to do it!!

I love you all! Sorry I don't have good pictures this week. Here is a couple of Sister Lau making me yummy English food the other day. I don't think I've ever sent a picture of the kitchen in our flat and also, you need to see what beans and toast is! It's yummy is what it is. Mmmm mmmm. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

This week has had it's ups and downs like usual. But looking back, I can't really pin point any down moment and mostly just remember the wonderful parts. I think that is a blessing of being on a mission. Heavenly Father lets you forget about the bad times pretty fast. I remember my MTC teachers telling me that happens and I think Dad has said something similar to me as well. It really is a blessing! So seeing as I can't remember anything bad happening, I'll just tell you all the great things that happened!

New Years Eve was a really fun night. The whole day we were in Manchester for my 5 weeks training. That was a great training with President Preston and his assistants. We learned how to bus contact better (although in Lancaster we aren't allowed to bus contact) as well as street contact better. We also practiced teaching The Restoration. It really got me pumped for contacting which is a miracle because that is the scariest thing about mission life so far. Mom-I think you would be a good street contacter! That time when you started talking to the motorcyclist in Utah asking him about helmet laws? That is what we do to street contact! Find a way to start a conversation with every person you meet and then bring in the gospel! Better yet, just start out with the gospel! Sister Lau is a pro street contacter though. She can talk to anyone! So I'm in good hands and she is teaching me a lot. Oh, but back to New Years Eve. We spent the evening with the other elders in our district at the Fawcett home! I love the Fawcetts. Sister Fawcett is one of my favorite ladies in the ward and someone I feel I can just relax and be myself around. So it's always fun to be with her. 
This is at first 5 weeks

This is a ferris wheel in Manchester we saw when we were heading home! Beautiful! 

This is at the Fawcett's home! (there were 2 cameras and apparently not everyone felt like looking at mine..myself included. whoops).

We also got some yummy Chinese food this week! There is a place pretty near our house that a member took us to on Friday night. Dad! I got Ma po's been curd there!! And it was SOO YUMMY. So yummy that Sister Lau and I went back with Ken the next night. :) It's fun going to Chinese places with Chinese people because they order things I would never think of getting. Fried squid for example. And it was SO tasty! We also got bubble tea (not real tea, no worries) and lots and lots of other yummy food. Sister Lau makes Chines food for me at home sometimes too. She is good to have around ;)

Oh! Transfers are this week! Sister Lau and I are staying in Lancaster! Woot woot! I wasn't really worried that we were leaving since I've only been here about 5 weeks. But it is good to know for sure. 3 elders in our district are leaving though so there will be some changes. 

I've decided that I'm going to put one miracle missionary moment in every email. So here's this week's:

Last night some appointments fell through at Uni and some people were late. So when we were done teaching our last appointment we had about 15 minutes before we needed to head home. In my newbie missionary mind I thought, "Oh, we can just talk with Ken for a few minutes (he was helping us teach) and then go home." But Sister Lau put on her coat really fast and was like "Come on! We are gonna street contact for 15 minutes!" I looked outside. It was rainy, windy, and cold. Nobody was out there. But I followed my trainer and tried to get pumped for a cold 15 minutes! When we got outside we asked Ken which way he thought we should walk. We said a prayer and then he pointed. We went the way he said. Within about 3 minutes we met someone. His name is Emmanuel and he is from Africa. We had a lesson on the spot with him and he is meeting with us again next week. About a minute after we left Emmanuel we met another boy. His girlfriend is Christian. He is from China and doesn't know much about religion. He wants to meet with us again too. It took about 20 minutes but we now have 2 new people in our teaching pool and more importantly, 2 more people who want to become closer to Jesus Christ! And to think, I wanted to sit inside! It just showed me that we really are on the Lord's time and this really is HIS work. I hope I'm never caught guilty about wanting to stay inside again! There are SO many people here in Lancaster that are ready for the gospel. I'm so blessed to be here. :)

Some of you have been asking about the weather. I think this picture sums it up.

It is windy and rainy!!! It also gets dark really early here. But I honestly don't mind the weather. I have a good coat and it reminds me of Seattle. Although I don't think Seattle is as windy! 

I think that is all for the week! I love you all so much! :) I feel all your love and prayers.

Sister Bement

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas on the Mission

Hello family and friends!

Christmas week as been a lovely one! The members here have been so kind and made it feel really special. We got to sing carols with the ward, watch Disney movies, and eat A LOT of food. Here are some pictures of the festivities.

We received our packages on Christmas Eve at District Meeting so we had to bus home with all of them. It was quite the adventure!

Christamas Eve we went to the Bowlers home. She is the Relief Society President and is so wonderful!!! I love that home and family! We made homemade chocolate, ate lasagna, Christmas Cake (an English tradition), and watched Beauty and the Beast. What could be better? 

Christmas morning we got to sleep til 8am! Woot woot! Then we opened our packages and walked to the church for a Christmas singing and scripture reading with the ward. Then we went to Sister Rae's home and watched Narnia and ate! Then we went to the Smith's home and ate, and ate, and ATE. Damon and Ken (recent converts) and two other investigators got to come with us. So fun! 

They really take good care of you in Lancaster, that's for sure! Something I love about English people is they always feed you dessert (or pudding as they call it). They have the yummiest treats as you can tell from the picture. I LOVE mince pies, and cream, and the little cakes and pastries. It's a good thing we walk a lot and exercise because these English treats are gonna do me in!

Sister Lau's parents sent her a lot of Chinese food for Christmas so I've been trying a few new things. One of them being dried octopus. It was pretty fishy...don't know if I'm gonna be putting it on my next grocery list but it's good to try new things...hehe

Well that's about it I think! Sorry this email is mostly pictures. The work is progressing, I'm learning so much every single day, I love the members and our investigators. Missions are tough but I think they are supposed to be. As I trust in the Savior, I know that everything will be alright. And honestly, time is flying. Did you know that 1/6 of my mission is already over? 3 months of my life have passed by in a split second! I feel like Dad and Marianne were dropping me off at the MTC just yesterday. God is real. Christ lives. And that is why I'm here. So come what may, and I'm gonna love it.

I love you all! Have a happy new year! Make goals that will improve your lives and bring you closer to the Savior. 

All my love and MORE,
Sister Bement