Monday, June 30, 2014

Little Miracles and Homemade Dumplings

It's truly been another wonderful week here in the magical city of LIverpool. I don't even know where to start. Sister Lau and I are learning so much and are growing in love for this area and eachother everyday. I'm slowly learning my way around this busy place and also trying my best to get to know this huge ward. I've felt the Lord at my side at every turn. 

There are a few quick miracles I wanted to share.
The first was on Saturday for our 4 Hour Consecrated Finding. Sister Lau and I decided to go through some of our millions of P.I forms, pick a couple names, call by those people, and then tract the streets where they lived. The first lady was named Ann. All we knew about this lady was her fist name and address. But for some reason we felt good about her. We both assumed she was Chines because she was in the middle of a bunch of Chinese names. So as we were walking up to her door I was practicing how to say, "Hi, are you Ann?" in Chinese. But I never got the chance to try it out because an English lady opened the door! She recognised us right away and said she had talked to missionaries before. We started talking to her and teaching her about how God answers prayers. She told us how she is worried about her daughter because she doesn't believe in God. So we pulled out the Book of Mormon and showed her the story of Alma the Younger. We gave her a copy and invited her to read that chapter before we came back again. She told us that that morning she had felt so low and terrible and she believes God sent us to her. We told her about how we had found her in a stack of huge names (something we don't usually tell people haha) and she was so moved and I could tell she really was amazed at how aware God must've been of her at that time. We are seeing her again this Friday. Yay!
Another miracle happened yesterday on the bus. I sat down next to someone but they were getting off at the next stop so I didn't really get to talk to them. The bus was pretty empty so I was nervously trying to figure out how I would keep talking to people. A woman got on the bus and I just decided to smile at her really big and see if she would sit by me. She ended up sitting right behind me. In my head I thought, well this is awkward. How am I going to subtly start a conversation with someone right behind me? So I decided to just not be subtle. For some reason I felt very strongly that I needed to talk to this lady and to get over myself and just do it! So I turned around, smiled again, and said "How are you today?" This lady was really suprised and said, "Do I know you?" (haha, gotta love it when that happens). I told her no, but that she looked nice so I thought I would talk to her. Before I could say anything else she said, "Where is your companion? I know you aren't allowed to travel alone." I pointed to Sister Lau who was talking to someone else in the back of the bus. We kept talking and I learned that she was a member of the church but hadn't attended for 13 years because of this and that. I didin't really know what to say to her reasonings. So I just asked her, "Do you miss it? Do you miss being a part of the church?" She surprised my by saying yes she did miss it. I asked her if Sister Lau and I could come visit her but she said she wasn't ready yet. She wouldn't even tell me her last name (probably because she knew I would go straight to the ward list when I got home haha) but I have faith that if it's God's plan we will meet again. I really feel strongly that God put us into eachother's paths.
We also had an AMAZING tea with some of our new Chiense investiagtors. Last week we met 3 Chiense students who are also flat mates the day before church. We taught them about prayer and invited them to come to church. They actually showed up! (This was 2 Sundays ago) And they not only showed up, but they brought another one of their flatmates. They liked church AND invited us to tea that week. They made homemade dumplings!! And I mean HOME MADE. Even the skins! It was SO SO YUMMY. Probably my favorite tea appointment of my whole mission.

We also had the farewell conference for President and Sister Preston. I will miss them so much! But I truly feel that President and Sister Ulrich are supposed to be leading this mission now and I will support them no matter what. I will just try and apply all that President Preston has taught me and learn as much as I can from President Ulrich.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Liverpool, Diligence, and Love

Hello family!
So much has happend in the past week I don't even know where to begin. So many miracles and tender mercies!
I'll just start with Liverpool. It is magnificent! I really love it. It's been so fun to procelyte on "new terf" (for lack of a better phrase). Around every corner is a different building or park that I've never seen before. It has really fired me up to find God's prepared children here. I just love it! We go finding at Universtiy of Liverpool a lot. It's a beautiful campus! Even though it's summer, there are masters and PhD students that are still here. Many of whom happen to be from China. Yippie! We have seen much success even in just half a week. A few of the peopel we found came to church yesterday. That was a MIRACLE. Our schedule this week is already filling up. Sister Lau and I are very joyful. We have been having fun and working hard. As a missionary, it doesn't get better than that.

Sister Lau and I have had a very happy reuinion! It feels very good and very right to be back with her. We make a good team I think. And I guess Heavenly Father agrees! I'm really grateful for her and we are so excited for this transfer.
I'm living in a 4 Sister Flat! So another companionship lives with us. I was a little worried about that when I heard about it, but it has turned out to be SO.MUCH. FUN. It is Sister Alston (who I've been on exchange with) and Sister Fonoifuah. We only have one shower between us all. But it's turned out just fine! We laugh a lot, talk a lot, and cook and eat together. It truly is great.
I've been pondering a lot since arriving here what it is that has made me so happy the past 5 days. And I've determined that it is because I'm being more diligent than I ever have been before. Something that has changed is I feel like I can honestly say at the end of the day I've talked to everyone God has put in my path. I made a promise to Heavenly Father before I left Lancaster that I would talk to someone on every single bus I took in Liverpool. And Heavenly Father has given me the courage to do it. As I've opened my mouth to more of God's children, I've felt a greater love for them very quickly. It has taught me that you can't love the people until you know them. On every bus I meet a new Liverpoolian. I learn about their life and what is important to them. I try my best to share the gospel with them. Sometimes it is successful, other times it isn't. But regardless, I feel true love for them. This realization has changed my mission. I feel such a fire that I've never felt before.
I read this in Preach My Gospel this morning.
"Nothing happens in missionary work‍ until you find someone to teach. Talk withas many people as you can each day. It is natural to be somewhat apprehensiveabout talking to people, but you can pray for the faith and strength to be morebold in opening your mouth to proclaim the restored gospel."
Heavenly Father really has answered my prayers to have greater faith and strength to be bold. It's been a wonderful blessing.
I'm really grateful that Heavenly Father knows what is best to allow my faith to keep growing. I grew SO MUCH in Lancaster. The past 6 months were filled with ups and downs, miracles great and small, and meeting people who are and will forever be so dear to my heart. But there is a time and season for all things. And my Lancaster season ended. I miss Lancaster a lot. But I'm also very happy to be where I am. A personal goal I have right now is to be where my feet are. I don't want to be constantly looking back or forward. I want to be in the now and enjoy it. So far, it's proved a very joyful way of living.

I love you all so much! Sorry for the lack of pictures this week. I forgot my camera at the flat. The one I sent is from Sister Lau and is of all the beautiful sisters I get share a flat with.
Have a great week!
Sister Bement

Monday, June 16, 2014

Big News!

Hello everyone!

Big news. Transfer call was Saturday morning. And I found out that after over 6 months of loving and serving in Lancaster, I'm leaving! I am moving to Liverpool! Crazy! And get this, my companion is Sister Lau! As in, my trainer Sister Lau. We are being reunited! I couldn't believe it when I was told. But hey, it's happening and I'm really excited. I'm really sad to leave Lancaster though. So many memories, so many trials, so many miracles, so many people. I feel so blessed to have been able to really LIVE in Lancaster and really love the people here. I'm so grateful for God having this plan for me. I never would have chosen it for myself. Heavenly Father truly knows best. I leave Wednesday morning to transfer to Liverpool. I go willingly, nervously, excitedly, and humbly. On to a new phase of this missionary experience!

This past week was wonderful for many reasons. I had a lot of lasts. My last time seeing Harrods, Ken, and Dos. My last time seeing the Lancaster Ward, and today is my last p-day with the one and only Sister Shih. I tried to just enjoy it all as much as I could. The most wonderful thing about this week was the Preston Stake Conference! We had a general authority, Elder Jose Reina, preside at both the adult and general sessions. We had investigators at both sessions and they all got to personally meet him. It was wonderful! I love this man! He was so obviously called of God and was inspired in the words that he spoke to the Preston Stake. The adult session was all about member missionary work. It was a powerful meeting. Elder Reina involved so many people during his portion of the meeting. Several missionaries, a young woman, a ysa, young man, and a ward mission leader. My favorite part was when he asked an Elder to teach the congregation the Restoration. So for about 5 minutes a missionary really simply and powerfully taught the message that we, as missionaries, hopefully get to share everyday. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. The Spirit testifies of truth.

One of my favorite parts of Elder Reina's talk was when he took the time to study the parable of the sower (Mathew 13:1-23). I was really happy because I had actually studied this earlier this week! He said that whenever we read this parable, our thoughts always turn to someone else we know who fits into that category. For example, when we read v.5-6 about how some seeds fell on hard ground and wither away we automatically think of someone else who falls under that category. He said this is wrong. When we read these parables we shouldn't be thinking about other people, we need to be thinking about ourselves! What parts in my life categorize me as someone whose heart is too hard to let a seed of faith be planted? Instead of, "So and so is like that". WE are like that. Elder Reina said that as he goes throughout his week, one day he is like the first seed, another day he has thorns around his seed, and finally the day he takes the Sacrament his heart is soft and fertile ground for the word of the Lord. He said we are all like that. It is not our place to judge others, we have to be self aware and recognise our own weaknesses and then strive to change. I just loved that.

Here are some pictures to document the week:
I had an exchange with my sister training leader, sister Manning. She was amazing. We had a great time together and saw many miracles!

My loverly companion and I enjoying the sun for a few minutes whilst waiting for the bus to take us to zone meeting.

Saying goodbye to Dos :(

​Walking to Stake Conference with the Carlisle Sisters!

And that is about it! I can't really fathom how this week is going to go. But I'm sure my email next week will be full of exciting news from Liverpool. 

I love you!

Sister Bement