Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's A Small World

Email home #9, sent March 24; new photos on Facebook

We found 2 new investigators this week! *cue shouts of rejoice* and not only that, but one of our investigators came to church AND a less active member did too! *cue roars of exclamation*

If it's one thing I've learned since being in Denver, it's that it's basically only the people from outside the country that are accepting of our message. Of all the investigators we have, TWO of them are from the states. For instance, we have a family from India, a woman from Soviet Russia, a man from Africa, a couple from Nigeria and Jamaica...etc. Even though I'm not serving a foreign mission, I'm getting all the countries here all at once!

With that in mind, we came by a house that was clearly Asian. We're talking pictures of cartoon Asian girls in traditional red clothing stuck on the door with the Chinese character for "luck" sticking upside down. Not to mention the shoes lined outside the door. So we knocked on their door just hoping their hearts would be softened to see another Asian. Lo, and behold, they were softened! They're Vietnamese BUT they know a little bit of CANTONESE! Woohoo! So she told me to return later that night when her daughter who knows English is home.

We returned that night and offered a prayer for the daughter, C, and her family. We asked her to invite her family to join but I heard the TV on in the background. It was the Hong Kong channel! I guess their Cantonese is pretty good!

But after we said a prayer with C, we asked her how she felt. She said, "Relaxed." That's probably the most amazing thing about prayers. No matter how horribly un-eloquent I am, the prayer always invite the Holy Spirit in and provides us all comfort and calmness. There's actually something we recite every morning called The Standard of Truth. The beginning says, "The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing." And that is so true. And also so very relieving because even if I don't explain everything clearly, the Holy Ghost will always come to testify to the individuals that what we are saying is true.

That night we visited a members' home. They'd just gotten their piano tuned so they let me play it and sight-read some songs. It made my heart melt because I didn't realize how much I missed playing the piano. So advice to those piano players who want to serve a mission: bring some pieces to play on P-day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Let Them Eat Pi

Email home #8, sent 3/17/14

I'm here for another transfer! Last Saturday was my first ever "Transfer Doctrine" where the zone gathers round and listens to who's getting transferred. The entire week, Sister Hoynacki and I were thinking that neither of us would be transferred because we both just got here! That was up until we got there and an elder said that a lot of the new missionaries are getting a different follow-up trainer and I started freaking out! I didn't want either me or Sister H to be transferred! So when the zone leaders read out the list of people, my stomach knotted! I was so nervous! But the only sister that ended up transferring out of the zone is actually going to be with my MTC companion, Sister Mills! Crazy! 

Anyway, let me continue onto the best story of the mission, thus far: Monday night, we had 3 appointments set and all 3 of them cancelled that morning. It was crazy how they all cancelled all at once....So Sister H and I were stuck with no appointments for the evening, which is the worst thing in suburbia because no one wants you at their door at 8 o'clock at night...

So Sister H and I decided to visit a member of the ward who is less active. We knock on the door and the sister opens the door, walks out, and closes the door behind her. I say, "Hi! How are you?" and while expecting a simple "good" or "okay," we got, "I'm doing HORRIBLE." Whoa. "So many things have happened in the last few years and-- well, come inside and I'll update you on the past few years." So we got in! Then she said, "I'm truly sorry. This house is a disaster!"

She recounts to us all the things that's happened to her since 2010 including breast cancer, whooping cough, shingles, passing away of her mother, AND one of her daughters even barely survived the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012. It was crazy. (Side fact: that movie theater is apparently totally deserted now....)

THEN, she says, "OH! And I lost my daughter's pet hedgehog!" Uhm, come again? Okaaay. And let me remind you, this house really was a disaster. She said, "Ever seen that Hoarding show?" when referring to the cleanliness of her house....So when we'd spent a good hour and half (yes, an hour and a half) trying to find this spiky ball of a rodent, Sister H and I tried to think like the hedgehog. We came to the conclusion that he must want to crawl into a dark area, cuddled up somewhere. So I go into one of the bedrooms, close the door, and turn off the light. And I say a prayer. I was desperate. It was getting late and we definitely weren't going to leave without finding this hedgehog. I ask Heavenly Father to please PLEASE show me a sign that this hedgehog is alive...or dead for that matter! And I stand and listen. And I hear rustling sounds. I walk over to it and see an old stereo perched slanted on who knows what. I tell Sister H to come in and listen. She hears nothing and basically thinks I'm crazy. So we lift up the stereo and, yes, there he was. Tuck the hedgehog.

And we were invited to come back two days later. Moral of the story: #prayerworks

Dang, typing all of that out brought back the stress. Oof. But, we also attended a wedding. A 17-year old girl who we met our first week here had twin boys about 7 months ago. And she and her boyfriend decided to get married before he enter the army next Monday. They wanted something really simple like go in, marry, get out. No decorations or anything. But our Relief Society Presidency really wanted to make it special so they completely transformed the RS room into a wedding ceremony! Check it out!

[View pics on Facebook]

But the wedding was just so beautiful! It took the RS presidency a lot of last-minute planning and setting-up but they totally pulled it off and it was just beautiful! Bishop gave great counsel to both the bride and groom AND didn't mess up their names! He's known for messing up people's names REALLY bad. For instance, he called Sister Hoynacki (really pronounced hoy-naw-ski) Sister Hoy-Nazi. Yeah.

We had dinner with the M family whose boys had punny pi shirts on and it triggered in my mind that I almost missed Pi day! I would've been devastated if I didn't acknowledge Pi day ON Pi day. Phew, I was so close! But when I told them I'd memorized 55 digits of pi, one of the boys was pretty much speechless/in awe of my amazingness (I'm pretty sure that was it). They ended up talking about pi and math and school a lot that night and Sister M said they usually never talk about that stuff. I just think they wanted to impress me and my highly intellectual mind.

That night we had home-made grilled pizza (pies) and peach and apple pies. They apologized that the pies were store-bought. Brother M is known for his home-baked pies but he didn't have time to make one. When he took a bite of the pie, he slammed the fork down and said, "THIS IS HORRIBLE!" And it was just regular pie....He refused to eat it. But, understandable, understandable. 

So this past week was crazy but we've had the highest number of lessons this past week of all the weeks we've been here! It just goes to show that attitude is everything! Keepin' it classy.

Love you!
Sister Wen

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Livin' la Missionary Life

Email home #7, sent March 10

So last P-day, we went shopping for the rest of the day. And let me tell you something. Shopping as a missionary is the weirdest thing ever. It's probably weirder for other people to see, though. People with black tags roaming around the shopping mall. But it's still weird for me because it was like...normal life.

But I got a cool panda watch. It's beautiful.

It snowed a couple times this week. But the nice thing about Colorado is that even if snow piles up, it melts within hours. It's amazing. One day we went to crossfit at 6 in the morning and our car had a huge pile of snow on it but by the time we left the house again at 10AM, it was all gone. 360 days of sun! #OHYEAH

We had a potential investigator that we met probably our second week here. She was diagnosed with cancer and told us to come back during the weekdays. So we did. We prayed for her and we were so excited to teach her about the gospel because we knew it would help her through this difficult trial. Buuuuuut she ended up rejecting us. She just didn't know how to say no so she felt bad turning us away the first two times we visited her. My heart sank. It was painful to see her turn it down....Then I realized the new lyrics I wrote to that Frozen song had a whole new meaning to me now. Oh man, it was so sad to see her push away the message of the gospel.

An elder in my district said something interesting: the only thing that trumps the Atonement is agency, our own free will to choose to accept or not.

On the bright side, we visited the family with a baptismal date last Saturday. Vince asked, "What do I need to do to get baptized?" It was so amazing hearing that. He thought he needed to fill out some paperwork or something. Heh. But we just explained to him that in order for someone to be baptized, they need to show they're obeying the commandments of God including diligent prayer and scripture study, attending church, obeying the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity, following the prophet...etc. As for the Word of Wisdom, Vince was all in. He said he'd stop drinking coffee and tea, though he doesn't drink that much anyway. As for Kathy, however, she drinks tea at least 3 times/day so she was a little hesitant. But we know that in obeying God's commandments, she will be blessed with the strength to overcome and to add onto the knowledge that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is by our side rooting for us on our journey back to Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Email home #6, sent March 3 / new photos in Facebook photo album

The email title is "Aurora" in baby talk. I might name my child Aurora just so I can say that all the time.
So none of the investigators came to church yesterday. The family from India that committed to coming but their daughters got sick like last Thursday/Friday. We were bummed but we're still praying that they'll get well soon.

There are 2 other investigators we've been trying to visit for the past 3 weeks now. We ask them for their phone numbers but they won't give it to us...they say they'll just call us but, as usual, they never do. So Sister Hoynacki and I thought it'd be better to drop them and stop trying to visit them. So we gave them one last visit. We saw one in his garage fixing his bike and (wait for it) he actually invited us back to visit next week (what!). Yeah. I learned about perseverance. I also learned that I sometimes get too lazy to persevere.

There was a sister in our ward that we met the very first week we were here. She was offered an amazing job in Utah so she's moving down to Provo near BYU! Sister H and I helped her move and pack and clean and basically everything else. I told her and her husband that I'll find them at BYU after my mission. It's happening.

One of our ward missionaries gave us 4 referrals. We've contacted 3 of them and 2 of them invited us back! One of them is a nice Jewish woman whose brother joined the Church when he was 10 or 11. Her parents divorced when they were little so her brother went with her father who joined the church while she went with her mother. She remained Christian, like hard core Christian. She went to school and became a minister so she's very well-versed in the Bible. She ended up questioning a lot of Christian beliefs and now considers herself practicing Judaism.

She's so knowledgeable but she's just missing the entire core of Christianity! She has the intellectual and logical side down but she's missing the emotional and spiritual side of relying on the Atonement of Christ. Jesus Christ wasn't just a teacher or a prophet. He did so much more than that. He performed the greatest miracle of all: the Atonement!