Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015: Miracles

This week has been amazing. WHen Elder Ballard came, he encouraged every leadership companionship to have a thriving area tp set a good example for everyone else. We were a little unsure of how that was going to work, because at the beginning of this past week, we literally had no investigators. Our work with less actives and recent converts has been well, but investigators have been less than what they should be. We prayed long and hard for the miracles, and they came!

Brother Chan is doing amazing. Every time we see him we hand him a stack of flyers and pamphlets. By the time we see him again the next week, he asks for more. It's crazy. The man is a flyer-giving-out machine. He just loves to share the gospel with the whole world and I think it is awesome.

We miraculously got a hold of a less active sister that we'e been trying to contact for a long time. Thank goodness! We saw Lee Wing Yan twice last week, and though she isn't quite ready to come back to church yet, she is willing to meet with us, which is the first step. She's super cute and the young women are really willing to help us visit with her.

Kenson (LA) is doing okay, but we decided he's a little hard to fellowship with. He is a little immature sometimes and just makes dumb comments during the most spiritual moments of our lessons. It's a little frustrating, but we will just have patience and deal with it. Someday he'll learn that he wants that feeling all the time.

Sister Chan (LA) is doing well. We were able to visit her in her home and even meet her daughter who is very nice- just no interest in the gospel. We are so blessed to be able to visit their home. There is no better place to teach than in the home, for sure!

(RC) Ding Ding is also doing okay. She came to church this week after a couple of weeks of not coming, so that was a blessing. We love to work with Ding Ding. We just finished teaching her after baptismal lessons, and now plan to work with her visiting teachers to keep helping her prepare to go to the temple.

Joe (LA) is also doing well. He even came to part of church yesterday- something he hasn't done in a long, long time!

So our miracle investigators right now are 3! Ivy, Sumi, and Kelvin. WE also have a newish invetigator named John, but we aren't really sure how big his interest really is. We need to see him again and decide if he's really commited to learning the gospel.

Ivy is a former investigator that we saw last week and then called up and scheduled. We made Mexican food with her and the relief society president, and then we taught her about prayer. We aren't sure how great or big her gospel interest is right now, but she is really willing to meet new people and have new experiences, so I think she'll be willing to continue to meet with us. She starts school this week though so she's a bit busy.

Sumi is also a former- her whole family is actually. They don't have much interest but she wants to be baptized. The only problem is she's only 13 and still very influenced by her parents. We want to help her gain her own testimony and be able to start coming to church on her own. She is so cute and though it may be slow, I think she'll make good progress.

The last is Kelvin. The Mandarin elders contacted him on the street last week and we went to take him on a church tour. This week we've taught him twice. He's doing really well. Right off the bat he asked about the word of wisdom (has heard that we don't drink coffee) and asked about working on Sunday. After we briefly explained that yes, we don't drink coffee or work on Sundays he said "Okay. I'll work on changing my schedule to get Sundays off. And I'll quit coffee." That is a MIRACLE because we haven't taught either of those commandments yet. Our second lesson was so spiritual and he agreed to prepare for baptism on November 1st. We personally believe it can happen faster, but we will start there.

The Lord truly provides for you when you're doing your best to be obedient and follow his commandments. I know without a doubt that if you truly ptu forth your effort, the Lord will provide for the rest. We did our best to quickly prepare our trainings for zone meeting. Though they weren't perfect, our zone members learned from them and the spirit helped teach the rest of the lessons. I'm truly so grateful for the support the Lord has given me in all that I do here in Hong Kong! It truly is a miracle every day to see the Lord's hand in this wonderful work of salvation.

Thanks everyone for your prayers! I love you all! (:
Sister Crook

(In reference to the family's new bunny and mom's email): What the heck. I can't believe you bought them a bunny! I agonized nearly 16 years over wanting a puppy, and they just go to a fair and bring home a bunny. what the heck. haha. that is so random. you, a bunny lover? is Paige gonna spin woll our of their fur? haha. looks like a cute bunny.

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015: HK Transfers...dun dun dun!

I think moves calls this time came as such a surprise to me. Mostly because literally NOTHING HAPPENED. Haha. Basically, it's almost guaranteed that I'll stay here until I finish my mission because my companion goes home at the end of this transfer in October. Which means unless I move somewhere in the middle of this transfer (which is possible but not likely) I'll be here till December. I was given a bit more responsibility. Sister Tu'avao and I have been assigned to be our zone's sister training leaders, so we're in charge of making sure our sisters are taken care of and we plan zone training meetings and things with the zone leaders. It's a privilege to be called to serve in a leadership position. I certainly wasn't expecting it.

I feel like last transfer went by way too fast, and I certainly wasn't expecting to be able to stay in my area, let alone be a sister training leader. I'll be completely honest with everyone, at first I wasn't sure I could do it. I mean, I know that the calling came from the Lord, but I was definitely a little afraid that I wasn't going to be able to handle it. After a few days of processing, lots of prayers, and a few planning sessions with the zone leaders I feel a lot more comfortable with my calling. I know that I have a lot to learn and I am grateful for this opportunity to learn how to be a better, more humble leader. I already know I have a lot to learn and have already learned so much, so I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve and will continue to pray that the Lord will give me the strength and skills needed to fulfill my calling to the best of my ability.

We had a miracle this week! When I first got to West Point (in May) we were given the information of an older less active woman who had just moved back from Canada. We tried so many times to call her and tried to visit her house, but it was no use. No one ever answered the phone and no one was ever home. After a while, we just tried to call every once in a while, still with no success. Well, Tuesday afternoon I was pretty sick with some kind of stomach bug and really just didn't feel like doing much. After trying to eat a tiny dinner we went to the chapel to wait for a lesson. We were a little early so I just laid down on the floor and prayed that I could be feeling better by the time she came. She never did show up- but bless my companion's heart she just did phone calls while I just laid on the floor. For whatever reason, she called Sister Chan (this lost sheep less active we've been trying to find) and a) she answered! and b) she scheduled us! Had I not been sick at that very moment, we probably wouldn't have called her and probably wouldn't have scheduled her.

Turns out, this less active woman has a non-member daughter, son, and a husband! She lives with the daughter and husband and lo and behold- they're willing to let us visit them in their home! Together! WE've been really struggling to teach part member families- even though we really want to. We have such a miracle in our hands. We are going to see her tomorrow and then schedule a time we can visit her and her husband together. I've talked with him several times on the phone and he is so so so nice. It's so hard to find part member families in which the family members are willing to listen to the missionaries. What miracles and blessings!

Brother Chan (our RC) is still doing awesome. He came to both sessions of stake conference and seemed to enjoy it. He just loves the gospel. He even called us yesterday and asked us to bring more flyers to our next lesson, because he's already given out the stack that we gave him the first time. The man is the best missionary I've ever seen! I'm so excited to help him get to the temple and start doing family history work. I know that is yet another wonderful way he can learn to be a missionary.

We finally got ahold of Kacey Chan (LA) and read scriptures with her. I think she's doing okay, but there's clearly something that holds her back from coming to church. She always promises that she'll come but then she never does. We really need to figure out what is keeping her from coming back. The ward council suspects it's because she doesn't feel like she has any friends. But we just found out a recently returned sister fellowshipped her when she was an investigator, so we are going to try to see if that helps her at all.

We had two amazing new investigator miracles this week. The first is Ivy. She's actually a former from about a year ago and her record says absolutely nothing as to why the missionaries stopped contact. We suspect she got forgotten as missionaries moved and went home and stuff, but we're not sure. She was so nice and is willing to continue to meet with us. I'm so excited. She's a 19 year old girl who really has some amazing hopes and dreams for her life, and I know without a doubt that God can help her achieve them.

The second came after a long, long hot day of finding. Sister Tu'avao and I were pretty discouraged after about 4.5 hours of finding with literally no success. We met nice people but none of them stayed around long enough to talk about gospel principles. We finally decided to take a few minutes to sit down, eat ice cream, and then restart our finding. As we were eating our ice cream, the Mandarin elders called and asked if we were in the area, because they found a Cantonese speaking man who had a ton of interest. We hurried to finish and went out to meet them. His name is Kelvin. We gave him a tour of the chapel and found out that he's already downloaded basically every app our church has to offer. He's already looked at the church websites and everything. WOW. He already downloaded the Book of Mormon and had started to read it a little. We're seeing him again tomorrow and are so excited. He truly has been prepared!

Stake conference this week was amazing. Though I obviously didn't understand 100% of the things that were said, the messages the spirit taught me were strong. Each and every one of us, no matter whether we're missionaries, members, or whatever definitely needs to make a renewed commitment to be at church early and to really try to get the most out of sacrament meeting. Especially as we've been preparing a sharing for zone meeting on keeping our covenants, it just really hit me how important our baptismal covenants are and how we really need to be better at showing the Lord our commitment to keep them.

Thanks for all your support! love you all! (:

-Sister Kuk

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015: Different

AS far as finding this week, we had a rough time. With the past few days of crazy rain, people just weren't wanting to stop. But we taught a full lesson in the Welcome Center of a really great lady from Mainland, China who is really prepared to hear the gospel. She's heard all of the bad things about our church from her older sister but she just doesn't seem to care. She said "I don't really care what the people say about the Mormon church. I feel good there, and I think that's what matters." Sometimes it's really hard to be out there 24/7 in the real world, talking with people who have access to the internet, and thus have access to every bad thing that anyone has ever said about our church. This woman's simple testimony reminded me that that's true- it doesn't matter what other people think. If we feel good about it, then it's true. It's all a personal testimony- which is not something other people can change.

We got to see Brother Chan twice! Ah. He is the cutest old man ever. It's a little frustrating because he likes to recount the stories he's already told us like, a bajillion times, but it's fine. He's lonely and doesn't have anyone but his church friends to talk to these days. He's so cute. He really wants his entire family to have the opportunity to hear the gospel. I know without a doubt that if he continues to live the standards that he is living now, his family will accept the gospel someday- even if it's in the spirit world.

Last night our correlator invited us over for dinner. We were talking about people and their problems, and Sister Tu'avao just joked "I have something that can solve your problem- if you just pray and read about the Book of Mormon you'll know _________. (insert concern here)." She said it several times in regards to different peoples' concerns, but it's true. I know without a doubt that our testimonies just go back to the basics- the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and of course most importantly Jesus Christ. If we have a testimony of Jesus Christ, everything else will come in its own due time.

We met with Brother Fung again and the entire lesson was really...just not that good. He consistently laughs at us because he thinks that it's funny that our church sends out 20 year olds to teach about our church. Though I don't really think that's all that weird, I am a little annoyed that he doesn't respect our time. We are very seriously considering dropping him because he wants the whole world to revolve around him and he wants God to change his life, but he isn't doing anything in his life to show God that he wants those changes. It's a little frustrating, because he just has no motivation to change. We're probably going to give him some more time to himself to take care of his problems and figure out if he really wants to change his life or not.

We had a really cool experience in our lesson with one of our RC/LA's, Vicky. She's a recent convert of almost a year but the last few months she's been pretty inactive. It's so sad to see how fast that can happen. We met with her last week and were thinking of watching the Testaments with her to help bring the stories of the Book of Mormon to life. But when we got to our lesson, we found out she'd already  seen it. So we invited her to look through the chapel movie selection and find something  she hasn't seen before and we'll teach a lesson from it. She picked out "The Mountain of the Lord". As we watched the story of the Salt Lake City temple unfold in front of us, we were amazed at how much we didn't know. Of course, we watched the movie in Chinese so I probably only understood 60% of the details, but I knew the outline of the events pretty well. At the end of the movie, all four of us (missionaries, Vicky, and fellowship) sat for a few moments in total silence. The spirit was so strong. None of us even knew what to say. I have never seen that movie before, and neither had anyone else, and it was truly amazing. I was so surprised at how moving it was, despite the fact that I didn't completely understand it. Though it wasn't the lesson we planned, I think Vicky really needed to feel the spirit that was there. I was so grateful for that experience and learned so much about teaching by the spirit.

I think overall its been a really good week. I've definitely learned a lot and I know my summer missionary has as well. It was sad to drop her off at the office this morning, but it was partly a relief. I love her so much and it has been a fun experience, but I'm exhausted. it's all good though- I learned a lot and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to help her learn how to be an obedient missionary. I hope if there's anything she learned, it's obedience. It's such a huge part of my mission and hope others will be able to see that as well.

Also, this week marks 1 year in Hong Kong! I can't believe it. One year ago tomorrow, I landed in Hong Kong. 1 year ago Thursday I met my trainer and went to my first area. It all goes way too fast. I remember thinking the days and weeks were dragging on forever and I just wanted to go home so bad. But now, everything is different. I look different. I feel different. My testimony and attitude is different. My college plans are different. I am a completely different person, and I know it is because I have allowed the Lord to change me. I've served in some different areas and met some different people. But you know what- the gospel is the same. No matter what language you preach and teach in, no matter what race of people you serve- it is the same. I ams o grateful for this experience till now, and am excited to make the next four months count as much as they can because I know it's going to be gone way too fast. Love you all!

-Kuk Jimuih

(note to mom):I seriously cannot tell you how excited I am to come home and help Jaiden prepare for a mission. My preparation was CRAP and I had a pretty hard adjustment once i hit the MtC. if I could even help him prepare a tiny bit better than I did, it'd be worth it. I have so many amazing miracles and stories and cool things and I wish I had time to just tell him all the things that happen in the week.

There is a 50-50 percent chance I'll move this week. I really don't know yet. Because Sister Tu'avao goes home next transfer, it's possible I'll leave and they'll bring in a new missionary to take my place. It's also possible that I'll stay here until I go home (this option is the best and I'm praying for it but it's the Lord's will, not mine...) Sister Killpack lives really close to Monkey Mountain. I really want to go but because of where I live, getting there on a p-day is really hard. It's pretty far- 40 mins on a  train to Sha Tin and then even farther on a bus and then a  hike- which my feet do not exactly enjoy. I want to make sure I get there before I leave Hong Kong though. I'll make it happen sometime.

Well, tell everyone (grandma and grandpa Profaizer) I say hi and that I love them! and give the stinky pet a hug for me. thanks! love ya.

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015: More Miracles

Its been another week full of miracles.

Mission Tour and Zone Conference were SO GOOD. I cannot even begin to describe how much I learned from Elder Gong in those few short hours of training. I especially loved Thursday night's trainings about how to include the Savior in our teaching. It answered some questions I didn't even realize I had. I now have a renewed energy and desire to focus my teaching even more on the Savior than I have been. Someone said something to me once- that if our investigators don't understand God or Jesus Christ, they'll definitely not understand anything else we teach. I feel like it's so true- we taught an investigator a few weeks ago who we'd tried to teach the Restoration...only to find out he just doesn't really even understand God. I think he understands it on the surface, but not really internally. So we had to backtrack. And I think that's the best thing to do. I know that a better focus on teaching with a stronger focus on the Savior will truly help our investigators come unto Christ.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Elder Gong (in the Asia Area Presidency) one on one for a few minutes after our mission tour. He wanted to speak with one sister and one elder and just get to know us better. It was such a wonderful opportunity and I'm so grateful I got to counsel with a general authority of the Lord. It just strengthened my testimony that he is called with the same power and authority I am and he knows, he truly knows, what is best for our mission. So cool! I had a panic attack at first, because as we were eating dinner President Lam came behind me and bent down and said "Sister Crook, would you like an opportunity to speak with Elder Gong?" For a second I panicked that I'd be in trouble- but then I was like "That's so stupid. I'm an exactly obedient missionary. I'll be fine." Turns out he just wanted to chat for a second. So good. haha.

We met with Kacey (LA) this week. We had an amazing lesson. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with her and all throughout the movie and the discussion that followed, the spirit was so strong it was almost tangible. I am so grateful for that lesson. It helped her feel the spirit that I don't know she's felt in a while. She still didn't come to church yesterday, so there's clearly still something holding her back, but we can't seem to figure out what it is.

We taught a really good lesson in the Welcome Center this week as well. We weren't having much success- it seemed like everyone was just running to and from work and nobody seemed to want to talk. But just when we were thinking we needed a water break and some time to think, a man approached our table. I said hi to him and it turns out that he's met missionaries before a few times and wants to learn more. He had so many questions that were answered by the message of the Restoration. Turns out, he even lives in our area! ...sometimes. he's actually homeless. He really wants to learn the gospel but knows that his lack of a home right now is a little bit of a challenge. We gave him our number and he said as soon as he finds stable housing, he's happy to contact us again. That was a little miracle that we were grateful for.

Summer missionaries are challenging and wonderful at the same time. I've never been a trainer, so I don't know really who to train a new missionary. But so far it's been going really well. Sister Kong is working really hard. I won't say she's fearless- she does get afraid- but she's strong and doesn't let that fear get in the way of the work that needs to be done. She is already such an example to me and I am learning so much from her. We've had a couple days where our coordination with the other set of sisters (my normal companion and her summer missionary) has caused some stress (one phone, one set of house/church keys, two companionships!) but I think we're coping pretty well. I know that Sister Kong has already learned a lot as well. We were out finding one day and I challenged her to approach the next person, which she agreed to. She did, and the woman invited us to sit on the bench with her and teach a lesson. After teaching a bit about our purpose and prayer, we invited her to church- and Sister Kong was so so so happy when that woman walked into church yesterday morning!

The highlight of my week was when Brother Chan was baptized!! He was so excited and we are so happy for him. He truly knows that baptism is a change of life and he was so excited. The poor guy was so tired because he worked all night Saturday night and came to church without having slept, but he was great. After he was baptized, we sang "I Stand All Amazed" in Chinese and it was wonderful. Then they invited Brother Chan to share his testimony, and both companionships of sister missionaries just panicked. In the madness of coordinating two different companionships teaching him, we missed teaching him how to bear his testimony. OOPS. Totally our bad. So he got up and shared his testimony...... for 20 minutes. I think he literally told his whole life story and then some. And then at the end, he wasn't sure how to end it (at this point we are feeling really, really stupid because the whole ward is looking around like "what is this guy doing?") and so several people are trying to whisper that he needs to close in the name of Jesus Christ. But for him, that was a cue to pray. So at the end of his testimony, instead of just closing it, he starts to pray and says this great, long prayer about how he wants God to help his family receive the gospel. At the end, he said "Fung Yehsou Geiduk dik mihng, amuhn." and the whole ward was so relieved. It was quite funny, but at the same time it was really sweet. He knows this church is true. He knows it. and he wants EVERYONE to have it. I love that, so much. His testimony is such an example to me.

It's been a really good week. I'm grateful for the experiences we've had- the ups, the downs, the amazing spiritual moments and the moments you want to cry. I've learned so much from every second of it. Thanks for the wonderful trainings this week. I know I learned a lot and I am sure the other missionaries did as well.
Love, Sister Crook

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015: Inspirational tacos and syukeihs

This week has been full of miracles. I feel like a robot when I say that, but it's true- every week we see miracles around every corner and in different ways. It's been a kind of rough week as far as numbers go, but those don't really matter- we helped lots of people come unto Christ this week and that is what is important.

Brother Chan is doing awesome. He passed his baptismal interview and he is truly so so so excited for his baptism. The members were really supportive on Sunday when they announced it and they are all so excited. He's scheduled to be baptized on Sunday right after church. We are going to review Joseph Smith with him this week and keep helping prepare him to share his testimony. We're even preparing a musical number with some ward members to sing at his baptism. It'll be really good.

We didn't get to see Elizabeth last week. Her mom is having some health problems and I think she's really stressed about it, and she has a niece preparing to get married this weekend so she's just really busy. But we're seeing her tonight and hopefully can keep teaching her. She is really willing to learn, just really busy.

We taught our less active Kasey this week, and she says she wants to come back to church. She promised she'd come, but didn't come to church this Sunday. We are going to keep working with her and support her in her decision to start coming back to church. She's been really, really good at reading her scriptures and praying though, which is good because she used to not really read her scriptures hardly at all. We're so proud of the progress she made.

We're working with a couple of less active brothers, Joe and Kenson. (They are not related.) They both have the same problem- they're less active and they know it and they know it's not the best choice for their lives. Both feel awkward during lessons when we share with them messages that are tailored to their needs. If you have any suggestions about how maybe we can help them feel a little less awkward about meeting with us, that'd be great.  They're willing to meet, our lessons are just awkward.

We decided to give Brother Kwok a little bit more time. He told us that even though his desire is there, he wants to wait until he's really old to be baptized- probably because he wants to wait for his mom to die first so he doesn't disappoint her. Someday some missionaries will pick him up agian- that's what they do with an eternigator. Its definitely an interesting process. I know he'll be prepared to heat the gospel again someday.

We spent some time out on one of our outlying islands, Cheung Chau this week. SO dumb. There are so many tourists and the island is so complicated to find your way around. I am glad we went out there, because it helped us know that it's not really worth it to go out there very often. Past missionaries have told me that but no one has been out there in months. We tried to track down some lost sheep but didn't have too much success. We probably won't go out there again for a few more months, at least.

So for the title. First of all: A syukeih is a summer missionary! These next two weeks I'm on permanent splits with an 18 year old member of the Tung Chung ward named Sister Kong. She's super cute and I'm way excited to be serving with her. It gives members a chance to get out and experience missionary work in the real world. Pictures to come later or maybe next week. (This dumb MAC is too small and has no usb plug. SO LAME. macs are SO LAME.)

So inspirational tacos. Last week I lost the ring that my parents gave me for graduation/Christmas my senior year and I was absolutely devastated. I don't EVER take it off so it literally fell off my finger and I can't comprehend how.I was so sad. It happened right as I started really working to pray for patience, so I figured it was a trial of my faith. I prayed or the strength to not be distracted by it and just let it go, and prayed that I'd find it in the Lord's time. Well, I had the thought to make lettuce wraps for lunch one day and started cooking the stuff and had the inspiration to use some taco seasoning my mom sent me to make taco lettuce wraps. As I was pulling out the taco seasoning, my ring fell off the top shelf of our cupboard. I don't have the slightest clue how it got there, but I know that I found that ring as soon as I gave my entire will to the Lord and wanted to forget about world things. I am so grateful for the lessons we learn as missionaries, no matter how small and simple they may be.

Thanks for all the love and support. You're all the best! Love you all!

-Kuk Jimuih (: