Monday, April 28, 2014

Exchanges, Best tea ever and True Happiness

Hello everyone!

This week has been FAST. Time seriously moves at a different pace as a missionary. 

The best thing about this week was our exchange with the Carlisle sisters! Carlisle is about an hour train ride north of Lancaster. I've never been there before but this week I got to go! My exchange companion was Sister McDonnell who is my best friend in this mission. I absolutely LOVE her. We will definitely be life long friends. We are about the same age in the mission too which is so nice. She is from England and has a beautiful little accent which she is helping me develop ;) 
The lovely Sister McDonnell!

I was really lucky because the night I was there, a member took us to a restaurant called Toby Carvery. It is THE BEST PLACE ON THE PLANET. It is a roast dinner buffett. What could be better? The best thing is the yorkshire puddings which is my favorite English food. It was lovely. Just to show you how much this starving missionary can eat:

Best. Tea appointment. Ever. 

This week has been a pretty good one. Something I'm really happy about is our investigator Harrods came to church for the first time yesterday and loved it. The members were SO nice to him! Sister Shih and I are very hopeful about that and it was a great way to end our proselyting week.

I've been learning a lot this week about happiness. I have determined that Heavenly Father wants me to learn how to be happy no matter what on this mission. He is teaching me to determine my happiness by how strong my faith is in Jesus Christ, and not by outside factors. I'm trying really hard to learn to be grateful in all things like President Uchtdorf taught us at General Conference. As I am trying to do that, my happiness truly has increased! Even though things are still hard, a bit panicky, unfamiliar, and trying, I'm STILL happy. My whole life has been pretty cushy. I've always had free time, family, friends, and other things I could turn to for happiness. But now that I've been stripped of those things I'm seeking happiness in a deeper and truer source: My Saviour. This is the happiness that will sustain us through sacrifice, deliver us from despair, and lift us from the lows of life. I'm so grateful to be learning this lesson because I know that it will help me achieve the fullness of joy that is available on this earth because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I love you all! I hope you have wonderful weeks full of true happiness that is coming from the Saviour and not from other sources that fade with time.

All my love,
Sister Jennifer Bement

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blue sky, door knockers and understanding the Atonement

Hello everyone!

I write this email in a very cheerful mood. The sun is out and the sky is as blue as it has ever been since arriving in England! I'm not wearing tights for the first time! Yippie! But I'm also cheerful because I have had a week full of tender mercies from the Lord and greater understanding of the Atonement.

Funnily enough, the weeks where I see the most tender mercies are also the most trying ones! Heavenly Father really knows how to make us grow. Serving with Sister Shih is a complete joy. I feel like we get along great! (Hopefully she is saying the same thing in her family email right now hehe). I've made it through the first week of training and I think that will be the hardest (fingers crossed) because now we are in a routine and we have met a lot of people together. I'm really seeing how the Lord makes up for our weaknesses. Because where I'm lacking (in Chinese and many other areas) Sister Shih is wonderful. Where she is lacking (in being comfortable talking to people on the streets for example) I can try to help her. Heavenly Father is so smart! 

As I said before, I'm learning a lot about the Atonement right now. In Preach My Gospel ch.1 it says that: "As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase."
I've used that promise as a basis for my studying this week. I read a talk called "Broken Things To Mend" by Jeffrey R. Holland and I learned something wonderful! When Christ says to all mankind, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28) he isn't joking! It's not some prank, it isn't a trick. He REALLY means it. He is saying "Get closer to me. I will help you. I will lead you." It isn't a conditional promise. If we "Come unto Christ" He will help us for His yoke truly is easy and his burden truly is light. I've felt that this week as I've reached out to experience the Atonement. I need it everyday on this mission! Looking back I realize that I needed it everyday BEFORE my mission as well but I just wasn't using it. I'm really grateful that Heavenly Father is teaching me about the Atonement so I can use it every single day for the rest of my life.

I'll use the pictures I took this week to describe what we did.

I had an exchange with my Sister Training Leader, Sister King. It was a wonderful exchange! She taught me so so so much. She has trained 3 times so she really had some great advice. She was really loving and we saw miracles together. It was a great 24 hours!

Grace came finding with us on Thursday. We ended up meeting a Chinese girl in town who Grace sort of knew. Her name is Gloria and she has become a new investigator! We taught her for the first time on Saturday. I'm really excited about her :) Miracles of finding with members!

We also went tracting with a girl in the ward named Bella Evans. She just put in her mission papers and is really great to work with! We had fun looking at all the funny door knockers we saw. This one was my favorite. I'm not sure how wise it was to take a picture on someone's door step, but now I have documented the whale door knocker. So it was worth it.

Grace also cooked us a really really yummy tea on Saturday night. Oh my goodness she is an amazing cook.

 Well that is the news of the week! I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and support. Oh! And Happy Easter! I hope that this week is filled with thoughts of the Saviour and that you are able to follow His footsteps a little more closely as a result. 

Have a great Holy Week!
Sister Bement

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Companion, American accents and General Conference

Hello wonderful family!

I'm alive! I survived my first transfer meeting. Woot woot! This week has been a whirlwind. But wonderful. My new companion is the wonderful Sister Shih!

She is from Taiwan, but when she was 15 moved to California for high school. Then she went to BYU for 2 years before her mission. She is great! We really have been having an adventure here in Lancaster. I'm trying to pretend like I know what we are doing and where we are going and so far she seems to be fooled ;) Just kidding. Haha.

We really get along great together! She is helping me with Chinese A LOT. She speaks it pretty much all the time. Even when we are studying. I think that she is the answer to my prayers to Heavenly Father to help my Chinese. She also has been so patient with me as I deal with the stresses of missionary life! If she sees that I'm getting stressed she will pat my shoulder and say, "I love you Sister Bement." She is the best! We've been teaching, finding, getting to know members, and a lot in between and everything is going just fine. The Lord makes up for my weaknesses (thankfully!) and that is all that matters. 

Did everyone just LOVE conference??? I did! We watched it at funny times because of the time difference but it was still wonderful. I have yet to watch the last session but they are playing it at the chapel Tuesday night so I'll watch it then. So far my favorites were Elders Uchtdorf and Bednar. But I loved it all. Something I realise I'm becoming really aware of since coming to England is accents. It's never occurred to me that our prophet and apostles are all American. And boy do they sound American! It just made me chuckle. By the way, I will be expecting reports on your Preach My Gospel study ;) I'm going to FOLLOW UP! 

That's really the news for the week! Sister Shih and I are getting along just fine. The only other picture we took was eating our lunch yesterday. She LOVES pasta and so we get along great! :)

I love you all! I hope you are well and safe :) Keep praying, studying, and smiling!

Sister Bement

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Transfers, Easter Activity, and lots of pictures

Hiya my wonderful family! It is another rare beautiful sunny day in England!

I will start with the biggest news of the week. TRANSFERS! Sadly, Sister Lau is leaving me to go to Liverpool! I will miss her SO MUCH. But, I have a big adventure ahead myself. I will be training a new missionary here in Lancaster. I won't know who she is until transfer meeting on Wednesday, but there is only 1 new Chinese speaking sister missionary coming into the mission this I'm assuming it will be her. To be honest, I'm scared to death! This is going to be a big test of faith, humility, and trust in the Lord. But I do have a testimony that Heavenly Father has a plan and that if I will do His will, everything will work out. Tomorrow I got to a meeting at the mission home called "Train the Trainers". I'm really excited for that! I get to be with all the newly called trainers in the mission and we will have a meal and be trained by President Preston, Sister Preston, and the Assistants. I know I need all the help I can get so I'm really looking forward to it. 

Another big thing that happened this week was The Chinese Easter Activity! It was a success! It was held in the new Manchester YSA building. There were 80-90 people there. Most of them Chinese investigators or recent converts, others English YSA, and missionaries. We started off with a meal made by Sister Preston and some of the senior missionaries. They were amazing! Then we split everyone up into groups and sent them off in a rotation of 4 different activities. Team bonding, English Easter Traditions, Around the World Ping Pong, and Human Foosball. Sister Lau and I were in charge of the Team Bonding activities so I didn't get to see how the other ones worked out, but from what we heard they all went great. Everyone was laughing and having a good time. We ended the activity in the chapel with a spiritual meeting. We watched a Bible Video from about Easter, heard from President Preston, heard some testimonies of Chinese Recent converts, and had a missionary musical number. Grace (Selene) was one of the ones asked to bear her testimony. They wanted her to do it in Chinese so I translated for her. That was SCARY!!!! We practiced a few times before hand throughout the week but I was still scared stiff! But it went fine. Her English is better than mine so I felt kind of silly translating for her, but I think the Spirit was strong and that's all that matters. 

I was also in the musical number at the end. Sister Merrill (FROM BOULDER COLORADO), myself, and Elders Hawks and Chong sang "He is Risen" in Chinese. 4 parts! It went pretty well I think. They all have good voices and ears. It was fun to be in a group like that again. I haven't done that in awhile! 

Click Here to see a video of the musical number

All in all, the activity was wonderful. :) Here are some pictures:

Some fun on the bus ride there. It was long because we had to pick up people from Preston and Liverpool before going to Manchester! 

This is Brother Kay (one of the YSA from Lancaster) who so graciously came with us!

And this is Bella Evans. She is also a YSA in the Lancaster ward who came. I love her! She is working on her mission papers right now!

This is YinYan. She isn't even an investigator! We just met her at Uni and invited her and she said yes and showed up! Woo hoo! She is so sweet and wants to meet with us again!

Here are some more pictures just taken throughout the day.

This is a picture of ALL the Chinese speaking missionaries in the EMM!

So that was the Chinese Activity! I'm happy we did it but also happy it's over. Activities are stressful! We do 2-3 Chinese activities a year so the fun will just keep on going ;)

Something else fun that happened earlier in the week was we had tea with Dos and Grace. They made us really yummy food. It was sort of a good bye dinner for Sister Lau because we all assumed she was leaving and Dos is out of town right now. So this night was the last time Sister Lau could see Dos :( It was bittersweet! Oh! But Dos gave me this really pretty pair of chopsticks. And I love them! I'm not going to eat with them, I'm just going to look at them and keep them pretty :)

Goodness I have so many pictures to send this week! Since it was Sister Lau's last Sunday, we took a lot of pictures with members of the ward. Here are a few of them.

This is Brother and Sister Hester (Brother Hester is our ward mission leader)

This is Jo Pullen and Sister Fawcett. 

This is all the missionaries in the Lancaster Ward. Sadly, 3 of them are getting transferred out this week. 

I think that is all the news for this week! I'm pretty nervous for this next transfer. I'm going to have to really step up and rely on Heavenly Father. I will also miss Sister Lau A LOT. I've been with her 24/7 for FOUR WHOLE MONTHS. It's going to be so strange not talking to her everyday. But I'm ready to give my all to this beautiful new missionary coming in! We are gonna have an adventure together that's for sure! There are people to invite to come unto Christ in Lancaster and we are gonna find them! 

I hope you all are well and safe. I miss you terribly but I'm more and more engaged in the work here everyday. I so appreciate your prayers and support. The gospel is true! Everyone needs to know about it. Don't be afraid to share what you know. 

I love you all,

Sister Bement