Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mision BBQ, Heysham Village, and Making sushi

This past week has been so so busy. We had so many great things happening! The first was we had mission activity day last Wednesday. It was with half the mission and we met in Chorley. The frist 1.5 hours was a training by President Preston. It is one of the last ones we will have from him (maybe the last) since the new mission president is coming soon. So I tried to really listen to every word he said. I love that man! He spoke a lot about how we should act as missionaries. Things like being courteous and on time, not talking bad about people or other areas, living up to our full potential, etc. I loved it! I My favorite thing about President Preston is he knows our worth and wants us to live up to it. He doesn't get mad or angry. At the end of his trainings he usually says, "If there is something you have to change, then change it. Don't wait. Do it now. Make it right. I love you." He is similar to the Saviour in that way (and many others).

After President's training, we had a BBQ! It was so fun and we got to wear casual clothes. Then we had a talent show (Sister Shih and I sang "I Am A Child of God" in Chinese and English. We just arranged a really simple way to do it and a senior missionary who is very talented on the piano just followed us and made it sound pretty. I think people liked it). After the talent show we did a rely race out on the field by the temple. It was SO. FUN. It was a wonderful day that I will remember a long time.

I also got to go on an exchange with the Manchester YSA Sisters! They are Chinese speaking. It was the first exchange I've been on with other Chinese speaking missionaries. It was great! Manchester is an exciting place. My exchange companion was Sister Sun!! I served with her for the first two weeks when I came to England so it was a fun reunion. She taught me so much and we worked really hard. I'm so grateful for her example. She only has 2 transfers left after this and she helped me have a greater perspective on how fast missions are and how I should just live it all up, good days and bad!

Another exciting thing this week is that I made sushi for the first time! Grace had us over for tea and taught me. She is the greatest. Also, Grace is so amazing because she brought a friend to church with her last Sunday! A couple weeks ago we taught her the after baptism lesson on missionary work and challenged her to pray for an opportunity to invite someone to church. And she did! She is so amazing. All the Chinese student will go back to China the middle of next month. They have become such a huge part of my life, I don't know what I'm going to do without them!!!! :(

Last p-day Sister Rae took Sister Shih and I to Heysham, a village about 15 minutes away from Lancaster. It was absolutely beautiful.

I think that is about it for this week. Sister Shih and I are trying our best everyday and we feel Heavenly Father's love for his children here in Lancaster. It's great! I hope you all are having a marvelous week. I miss you and love you a whole darn lot!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Member Missionaries, Spring Weather and Obedience

First of all, a blurb from last week's email since I (Elisa) didn't get it up:

It's funny how I see things so much differently now that I'm a missionary. I don't remember ever fellowshiping new members or investigators growing up in the Clark Lake Ward. I'm sure they were there, but I was too much in my own little world to notice them or care about them. That is so wrong! As a missionary, it is SO NICE when a ward member sits with someone we have brought to church, offers to show them to their next class, invites them over for dinner, etc. It makes all the difference in someone's conversion. I'm so glad to be learning this because I will be a member for the rest of my life and can remember these things and do them in the future wards that I live in. I'm truly realising that missionary work is for EVERYONE. Not just the full time missionaries. I just never got that before (even though I heard it in general conference and from all my leaders my whole life). Heavenly Father obviously needed to teach it to me! :) 

And this week's email:

This week has been wonderful. The weather has been absolutely beautiful! I love not wearing tights! (Sister Missionary Problems). I'm so grateful to be here in beautiful Lancaster.

This week was another 4 hour finding week. It was my favorite one since starting my mission! Sister Shih and I really prepared for it mentally and spiritually and it was a success. We saw many miracles. One of my favorite miracles was a boy named Leo. We were street contacting Uni with Dos (a recent convert) and we had been going about 10 minutes without anyone who was willing to stop. I was worried about Dos because she was so nervous as it was, and people being rude and not wanting to talk didn't help! So we passed the outdoor basketball courts and we saw a Chinese boy just sitting by himself doing nothing. We passed by him, but then both Sister Shih and I got the impression that we needed to actually walk into the court (which is gated) and go speak to him. Much to Dos' horror, we did it! We walked right up to him and just said, "Hi!". He looked up really quickly and said, "Do you want to play basketball?" so we said sure and started playing a little bit (yes, in our skirts). We ended up playing and getting to know him for about 5 minutes and then we stopped and started talking about more spiritual things. We ended up teaching him for 20 min right there in the middle of the court. We got his phone number and he said he would come to church with us! It was great! He actually didn't end up coming...but we are working on setting up and appointment so we can still teach him. That whole experience was such a tender mercy because Dos got to see that missionary work can be fun and exciting.

Something I've learned gradually throughout my life is the principle of obedience. When I was little I knew not to disobey my parents. When I grew up a little more I found it difficult to obey some of Heavenly Father's commandments (like modesty or other things). As a missionary I am learning to fully embrace obedience to Heavenly Father. And that has come as my love for the Saviour increases. The more I love the Saviour, the more I yearn to obey and follow Him. Since staring my mission the relationship I have with my Saviour has changed a lot. I'm so much closer to Him and I would do anything and give anything to follow him. Anything He asks me to do, I want to do! In the song, "Our Saviour's Love" there is a line that says "We love thy law, we will obey". And that is how I feel. I want to live the gospel law because I love the Saviour. And He makes it so happy to live his gospel! I'm grateful for this lesson and many others that I have learned since becoming a full time missionary.

Generally, I'm doing really well. I know the Lord is with me every moment, He never leaves. I'm also just so grateful to be in Lancaster. I love the ward, people, companion, everything. Blessings are really overflowing!

Here are some pictures!

Tea with Dos!

​The lovely Sister Rae, my favorite Scot! I love this woman!

This is my favorite path to walk in Lancaster. It's right by the castle and has become even more beautiful in the spring!

I love you all so much! Thank you for all your letters, words of encouragement, love, and support. I love hearing from each of you every week. Take care!

Sister Bement

P.S Next week is ANOTHER bank holiday. So I will be emailing on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

German Nuns and Joy in His Service

It has been a GREAT week. These past 3 weeks have been really really happy for some reason. My desire to be a missionary is increasing and I'm feeling more capable of fulfilling my purpose. I think that I finally have the right amounts of stress, work ethic, and spirituality to make for a mentally and physically healthy missionary. Whew! What a relief. I'm sure things will still go up and down throughout my mission, but the past month has taught me a lot about how to be happy in any circumstance. 

Sister Shih and I had a few really neat experiences this week. The first one that comes to mind is that on Saturday evening we helped a group of nuns carry their luggage from the train station to the bus station. We saw them from a far, and they were trying to stack their luggage on top of each other because a wheel had broken or something. We hurried over and offered to help and ended up carrying the broken suitcase for them. It took about 5 minutes so we talked to them for a bit. They were lovely women! They were from Germany and taking a 2 week "Salvation Course" in Preston. The one I was talking to had just returned from a 3.5 year assignment in Brazil. Talk about dedication to the Lord! I asked one how long she had been a nun and she said for over 20 years! And then said, "And I'm SO happy!" I told her I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (she didn't know which church until I said Mormon) and she said, "Oh! I could tell because there is something special in the way you laugh." It was such a quick experience but I've been pondering it a lot this week. I really loved those nuns! I wish I could have talked with them for hours. I think it was such a change to speak with someone who was also trying their best to live set apart from the world. Who would have thought I would ever have such a connection to a group of German nuns. 

We also have started teaching 2 girls who are Born Again Christians. They are both English and studying at Lancaster Uni. This has been SUCH a contrast from teaching the Chinese students. We found one girl, Charlotte, through street contacting. And then on our second lesson with her she brought her friend from church. It has been a really positive experience for me and I'm learning more about the Bible as a result. It has strengthened my testimony of the restored gospel because I can see how much these girls are missing in their understanding of the whole eternal scheme of things. They have both started reading the Book of Mormon and we will be meeting with them tomorrow to teach them the 3rd lesson. In Preach My Gospel ch.5 it says: "Every person who sincerely reads and prays about this book (The Book of Mormoncan know with certainty of its truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost." 
So I'm just trying to put my faith in that promise and hope that they will feel the spirit as they read and pray about what we have taught them.

Like I said at the beginning of my email, I'm so joyful right now! A lot of my stress throughout my mission has come from feelings of inadequecy and panic because I thought I couldn't do what my mission leaders were asking me to do. On SaturdaySister Shih and I were invited to District Leaders Council and I started to feel overwhelmed as they discussed all the new things that would be happening this coming transfer. I started thinking, "There is no way I can do that. It's impossible. I'm just not good enough to make that happen." But then out of nowhere the thought popped into my head, "Why couldn't I do those things? I have absolutely nothing else to do on this mission EXCEPT to do the things my leaders ask me." I know that is a simple thought, but it gave me so much comfort and happiness! Because I realised that this mission is such a special time to dedicate everything to the Lord. And that used to stress me out because I don't think I truly even wanted to give everything to the Lord at the beginning of my mission. But my heart has changed in a way that now allows me to see the command to give my whole might, mind, and strength to the Lord as a HUGE blessing. There will never be another time quite like this one. I will never be a single sister missionary living in Lancaster, Lancashire County. NEVER. When I think about my mission like that, I feel such an excitement! More excited than I've felt my entire mission. Anything could happen! I can use this time to miss home OR I can use it to let the Lord shape me and others to be worthier to live in His presence someday. And I can have fun throughout the whole process. I love the Lord. And I'm learning that the absolute BEST way to show my love for Him is to serve him. And missionary work is serving him in the most literal sense. I'm SO lucky to be a missionary.

Here are the pictures that I've taken in the past week:
Sister Shih and I at Specialised Training

​President and Sister Preston at the "First 5 Weeks" training for Sister Shih

​A fun lunch yesterday with the Chinese recent converts and elders

​The Preston Zone

​Sisters Shih, Bement, McDonnel, and Alston at zone meeting this morning

​Sister McDonnell and I

And that is about it! I love you all and, as always, am so grateful for your love and support. I'm so glad to give you all this happy report of my time here in Lancaster. Sister Shih and I were informed on Saturday that we will be here another 6 weeks! Which means I will be in Lancaster for 6.5 months of my mission. What a treat!

All my love,
Sister Bement