Monday, February 24, 2014

Her Majesty's (creepy) Prison and a prepared investigator

Hello again my wonderful family!

This week has been a long one for me. I had to learn a lot and humble myself. I guess it's all about being refined, right? We are having a mission temple conference tomorrow so I get to go to the Preston Temple for the first time! I'm so excited. I need the temple. :) I'll have to tell you about it next week.

Last week for P-day we went on a tour of Her Majesty's Prison: Lancaster Castle. I've sent you pictures of the outside before. We walk by it all the time. It was beautiful, scary, and fun. Brother Holden took all the missionaries in the ward and payed for us! So nice of him! 





I say it was creepy because the prison is really really old. They had torture devices and really terrible cells.  The Pendell Witches were held there! Have any of you heard of them? They did this thing where they offered to shut us in one of the old prison cells to see how dark it would be. I didn't want to do it (I'm definitely a 20 year old who is still afraid of the dark) but Sister Lau did. So I had to! Not that the sight and sound rule applied inside that cell because it really was pitch black! So I couldn't see my companion anyways! haha The prison was used until 3 years ago. So there were modern parts too that still kind of creeped me out. I better not do anything bad because I would not function well in a prison. Right now it's used as a court for civil cases. They showed us the court rooms. Brother Holden has actually done jury duty in the castle. I thought that was pretty neat!

This week Sister Lau and I saw a lot of miracles. I also saw miracles in my own personal growth. Like I said, this week has been difficult for me. I got homesick again! Poo! So Wednesday and Thursday I felt pretty terrible. But I'm learning over and over again that if I will just forget myself and go to work that the homesickness goes away. I'm learning that I do this to myself. If I let myself dwell on home, on comfort, on ordinary life then I will inevitably be homesick. But when I focus on the work and giving my whole heart, might, mind, and strength to the Lord, I feel happy and like I can make it as a missionary for 1.5 years. 

One of the happiest things this week is just seeing our investigator Dos grow. She is the most prepared person I have even met for the gospel. She pretty much accepted it instantly and is going to be baptized on the 15th of March. Yesterday after the Sacrament she said, "I feel like I need the Sacrament to feel like my life is really clean." She just "gets" the gospel. She understands that it is going to change her life for the better. Last night she said, "I can't wait to be baptized!" I'm so so happy for her. I only have one picture of her with Selene. It's not the best picture but I'll send it so you can put a face to the name. :) She is on the left and is making a funny face. But there she is.



Sister Lau and I got REALLY soaked this week. It just rained and rained! I'm getting pretty used to being wet. I can honestly say I don't mind it. It seems like being wet and cold is just part of being in the England Manchester Mission. I'm trying to embrace it. :)



I love you all so much! I love reading your emails and letters. They give me such joy and strength. I know that the gospel is true. I know that it's the ONLY way to have lasting happiness in this life and in the life to come. It truly is joyful to share that message with others even though I still miss my home and family. I'm learning that with the Lord's help, everything works out. I love my Savior and I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve Him and be His hands.

Love,
Sister Bement  畢姐妹

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Baptism, Phone Call and Duck Pond

Dear family,

What a week! What a week! The highlight, of course, was Selene and Vic's baptism. It was a beautiful experience for me but more importantly for them. They both felt imminently pure and clean after they were baptized. What a beautiful reward from Heavenly Father! But I'm realizing that is how he works. He gives us a simple commandment that might require some sacrifice, but if we are obedient and faithful he blesses us so immensely that we forget about the sacrifice it required. Then our hearts change and we want to continue to be obedient and faithful. I love the way Heavenly Father works.

Here are some pictures from the baptism.






After the baptism, we went to the Smith's home for tea and a spiritual thought. They were so wonderful to have us over. Vic couldn't actually come (big bummer!) but Selene, Damon, and Ken were able to. I'm so happy that these recent Chines converts are becoming a part of the ward. That is going to be absolutely KEY into keeping them active. 




So the Lancaster baptismal font is pretty darn old and quite frankly, a little bit gross. So on Friday Sister Lau and I went to the chapel to try and clean it a bit. It was a freezing cold adventure but pretty fun. Also, it's probably the closest I'll get to swimming my whole mission ;) We made it a cleaning party. 



To prepare people for baptism after they have committed to a date, in our mission we have to make a baptismal calendar. This was the first one that I made mostly by myself (Sister Lau can't help but decorate. She is so crafty! Plus she has to write the Chinese) So we decided to document it.




Last week for P-day we went with some Elders in our district to the Ashton Memorial. You can see it all over Lancaster because it is on the top of a big hill. But we had never been up close. It was fun and so beautiful! It's located in a place called Williamson's Park. It reminded me of the park in the middle of San Francisco which I can't remember the name of. But anyways, here are some pictures. 




This is Elder Hill, our district leader. He has a thing with ducks. And has a stuffed animal duck. With a name tag. So we thought it was pretty funny in front of a duck pond. Sorry it's so cheesy, but as missionaries, we have very few forms of entertainment so we have to take what we get! 





That's basically my week in pictures! But here is the miracle :)
On Saturday before the baptism we got a phone call from an unknown number. I answered it and it was a boy who said something like, "Hi. I've recently gone through a hard time and I think I should learn more about Jesus Christ. I got your number in town when you gave me a pamphlet a month or so ago. Do you think we could meet up some time?" HA! I was said, "Yes, I DEFINITELY think we could meet up." We are seeing him tonight at Uni! Can't wait to meet him and start teaching him the restored gospel! Usually when we give out our number, people always say "yeah, I'll definitely call you!" But never do. So this was truly miraculous.

OH!!! I forgot to talk about transfers! SISTER LAU AND I GET TO STAY IN LANCASTER TOGETHER ANOTHER TRANSFER!!!!! We are so happy!!!! I couldn't believe it! This was my dream but I didn't think it would ever happen. Yay!!! 

Well, I'll leave you on that happy note. Being a missionary is NOT easy. Not at ALL. But doing something hard never hurt anyone. So I'm trying to just accept that my life is gonna be hard for the next while. And probably get harder throughout my mission...but I know through the Atonement all things are possible. I also know more than anything that this isn't MY mission. It's the Lord's. It's His work and He will take care of everything. I just have to be obedient and do my part. I've also been so blessed to be put where so many people are prepared for the gospel. It is both joyful and rewarding.

I love, miss, and pray for all of you.

All my love,
Sister Bement

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fake phone number, Miracle Friendship and Baptisms!

Goodness gracious this week has gone fast! I can't believe I'm back in the library emailing y'all. I have a lot of things written in my planner to tell you :) Which reminds me, I've discovered that for missionaries, their planner is their brain. It really is such an important part of the work. It's always in my hand, all the time. I like that every hour of the day there is something scheduled. I love my planner.

The first thing to say is that SELENE AND VIC ARE GETTING BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY. It has been an absolute joy teaching them and learning from them. Especially Selene. I met her very soon after coming to Lancaster and we clicked very fast. My first Sunday in the Lancaster ward was also her first time coming to church. So we walked together and talked about how we were both a bit nervous. She also has been really instrumental in helping me with Chinese. She is so excited that I want to learn and so patient in helping me. I love that she will talk in Chinese to me even though she knows I might not understand. Her doing this has really improved me listening and understanding. I love her and can't wait for her special day on Saturday. Last night she came to Brother and Sister Perry's house for tea with us. She goes there every Monday night for the YSA FHE as well. It's so wonderful to watch her become so involved with the ward. 

Sister Lau and Selene :)

Since I told you a lot about Selene I'll tell you a little bit about Vic because he is my miracle of the week. I love Vic so much. But for some reason I hadn't really fully developed a friendship with him. He definitely has a wonderful relationship with Sister Lau though which is absolutely wonderful. But I'd been praying this week for a way that I could develop a more personal relationship with him and let him know how much I admire his decision to be baptized and make changes in his life. I think the main problem with our relationship is that I can't understand his Chinese. I'm getting OK at participating in Chinese lessons. I can understand mostly what Sister Lau is saying (although it's still hard for me to jump in and speak when it's my turn) if she is talking about Gospel related things. But once we jump into the get to know you phase, I'm totally lost. I just don't know those words. So I'm mostly silent and just bob my head and smile but don't really participate. So I've been asking Heavenly Father how I can have a good relationship with Vic even though I can't really communicate with him too well. And it happened yesterday! In Gospel Principles I sat next to Vic. We were both on the end and he didn't have scriptures and I didn't have a gospel principles manual so we were sharing (although his manual was in Chinese so it didn't help me much haha). But it ended up that throughout the whole lesson, if he didn't know a word in English he would ask me. I would pronounce it for him and try to define it in Chinese. He also had an app on his phone that we used to figure out some words. So I would teach him the English word, and then he would teach it to me in Chinese. By the end of the lesson it was really comfortable and we both were so happy to have learned some new words. I know that sounds little, but it was a big miracle to me because in just 50 minutes, I feel like a big wall broke down between us. I know that was an answer to my prayer. So that's my miracle for the week :)

I also wanted to tell you about Damon and Ken's callings! Damon got baptized in November and Ken in December. Ken is now the president of the YSA association at Lancaster University. Up until now, the University hasn't recognized the LDS church as a religion practiced on their campus. But now the bishopbric has called Ken to start a group so that they can have FHE and institute on the campus. In order to have recognition from the Universtiy they need 16 members. And with the baptisms coming up they will have it! This is so exciting and a big deal because the nearest institute is 40 minutes away in a car. And with a busy uni students, none of them have cars and none of them have that time every week. So pray for Ken to be able to make this happen!

Damon got called yesterday as the 1st counselor in the Young Men's presidency. Right now in the Lancaster ward, there are 3 young men. They just barely got a young men's president a couple weeks ago. So the young men's program is really in it's infant stages. I know that the Lord has prepared Damon to contribute to this ward! It's so exciting to see the Lord's plans unfold.

Oh, also, remember Melwyn? I met him on the bus a few weeks ago. He came to church for the first time yesterday! He stayed all three hours! I believe he had a good experience. We will meet with him again this Saturday. Exciting!

This week has been wonderful. This next week coming up could potentially be my last week in Lancaster. I find out this Friday or Saturday if I'm being transferred. My training will be officially over! I can't believe how fast it's gone. I love Sister Lau so much and I hope hope HOPE we can serve together another transfer here in Lancaster but we will see what the Lord wants. Wherever He needs me, I will go. :)

I love you all so much and hope you are doing well. As always I appreciate SO MUCH your support and prayers. It means everything to me. Have a wonderful week!
Love,
Sister Jennifer Bement

Pictures:

We had tea with Selene last Tuesday. She made us a ton of food but let us help a little :) I was the assigned potato chopper. It took me a long time so I wanted to document it haha




 This is a picture from Thursday night. We asked Emily to come teach a new investigator we had found in city center last week with us. He was a miracle because he gave us his phone number and address and wanted us to come visit him and teach him! But it turns out, the phone number and address were fake so we ended up walking around in the rain for an hour and half. While we were waiting for the bus to come we documented our sad evening. But attitude is everything! So we were still happy throughout it all. Disappointed, yes. Discouraged, no. :)



This is after a district meeting. See the blue sky! A rare sunny day in England :)