Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Some people think I don't know a butt-load of crap about the gospel, but I dooooo"

(Sent May 26 | Photos on Facebook)

So that quote from the prominent film of "Nacho Libre" is essentially the story of my life right now. Let me tell you why:

There are three particular individuals that Sister Billings and I ran into last week. Each of them are different scenarios of simply being a missionary.

Situation 1: G is a Catholic who doesn't agree with everything in the Catholic Church but still asserts that he is Catholic. We had an appointment set up and we brought a member with us to teach him. He ended up directing the entire conversation with a lot of what's called "anti-Mormon" material that he read off the Interwebz. He kept talking and professing about what he thinks we believe, most of which were untrue. We were glad that we brought a member with us who's had the same exact questions G has now before she joined the Church. Every doctrine we taught G, he would shut down. Even about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being the one true church on Earth.

There's a talk, by the way, called "17 Points of the True Church" where a group of friends with diverse religious backgrounds - from Christianity to atheism to Islam - gathered together to read the Bible and come up with different key doctrines that Christ taught when He established His church here on Earth. Therefore, the one true church here on Earth must contain all of these 17 points that made up Christ's church. Do they happen to be in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? IDK. They just might. Find out at and!

Situation 2: J was moving some things from his garage when we went up to talk to him. We offered to say a prayer with him, but he turned down the offer and, instead, began telling us what we believe. He kept talking and professing about what he thinks we believe, most of which were untrue. I still didn't quite understand what he was trying to say, though, because we agreed with a few of the doctrine he was talking about. I compared his lecture to an essay without a thesis, because I had no idea where he was going with his argument.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Miracles Do Happen!

(Sent May 19 | New photos on Facebook)

K AND N WERE BAPTIZED! I got permission to go to their baptism and, lemme tell you, the baptismal service was just PACKED with people who wanted to witness their baptism. People had to stand in the back and outside the door. I expected that, though, because it was the first baptism(s) the Parkview Ward has had in 7 years! WAHOOOOOO! #miraclesdohappen

I'll never forget their baptism. I was able to see all the members of the Parkview Ward that I'd grown so close to. Everyone was just so excited for a new addition to the Parkview family. The Spirit was so strong during the service that anyone who attended would've felt His presence.

It was a weird feeling, though, because I didn't feel any bit accomplished; I just felt happy for them. I don't think I've ever really felt that kind of happiness before. It wasn't like the feeling of finally learning how to ride a bike, nor was it like getting accepted into BYU. Really, I was just happy they were making the decision to be baptized. They've been ready for a long time. Sister Hoynacki and I just happened to be the missionaries who taught them.

After they both immersed into the water and rose in symbolism of their spiritual rebirth, I went to the dressing room to congratulate them. Sister Hoynacki was there and she asked K and N how they felt. N, being 11, said, "Good," and her mother said, "Clean! Fresh! New!" And it was true! She was then a new person! She was able to put her past mistakes behind her. All that guilt washed away! In entering the waters of baptism, she officially made the covenant, the promise, with God that she will take upon herself the name of Christ, that she will always remember Him, and that she will keep His commandments.

All in all, it was a very humbling experience.

I testify that miracles do happen every single day in all of our lives as long as we have faith and as long as we act upon that faith by continually progressing in our commitment to God.


Sister Wen

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gators that swim but don't bite

(Sent Monday, May 12

For those of you who don't know, missionaries are allowed to call/Skype home twice a year on Christmas and on Mother's Day. So yesterday was the best. It was weird, though, because I felt like I just said goodbye to my family last week...not 3, almost 4, months ago.

But it was a gloomy Mother's Day because it snowed. Yes. Exactly. It snowed in the middle of May. And guess what? It's still snowing right now.

Anyway I think the title of this post was pretty darn clever. Let me tell you why:

B. I've only met with her once since being here. She's progressing very slowly because she has quite a few questions about religion, life, and truths, and they are some very reasonable questions and concerns that she has. But she's only come to church once since February. She hasn't been to church since and her main concern is that since the church is so family-oriented (because the family unit is the most sacred of all units), she wants her family in on it as well. A legitimate concern.

J. We've met with him twice since I've been here the past two weeks. He's also progressing very slowly because he also has legitimate questions on the fullness of the truth that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just happens to hold. His main concern, however, is that he doesn't know quite yet if baptism is the thing God wants him to do right now. He says he's still waiting on an answer from God.

So, with a brief description of two of the investigators here, I'll go on to explain my brilliant title. A "gator" is simply an "investigator," or someone who is looking into the church and seeking for truth. J and B are these gators. They're swimming, moving forward, and progressing, but they're not biting onto anything that will provide food or nourishment or even just an anchor for them. They don't feel prepared to bite onto that one commitment of a baptismal date until they've received a sort of knowing that it's the right thing to do.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sweeping the Nation

(Sent May 5 | New pictures up on Facebook)

My first week here in Newlin Meadows has been pretty amazing. God has blessed us so much and I am continually grateful for Him for helping us find people to teach!

So, since we are essentially starting fresh in this area, we decided to contact a bunch of people who previously investigated the church. We contacted a couple and set up appointments with both of them! So this past week, we met with D who was a former investigator. He said he didn't want the missionaries coming over previously because he had a drug addiction and didn't want to be high when missionaries were over. But now he's more than 2 months sober! (WOOHOO!) Hearing that made me so happy! Even though I'd just met him, I knew that he was already beginning to make right choices! #bestfeelingever

He said he worked on his addiction mostly because of his daughters. He didn't want them to grow up in a family with a father trapped by an addiction. He's so awesome. That's one of the best reasons to begin investigating the church because God would only give us a church that focuses so much on the family and how to strengthen the family.

We also volunteer at a life care center where we help distribute food to the residents. We have the opportunity to help them out and to talk with them as well! There's one man named J who was sitting by himself. I noticed that no one had helped him yet so I went over to talk with him. Most of the residents don't like to talk to strangers, but J was willing! After talking for a bit, he thanked me for talking with him but, frankly, I thanked him for talking with me because, as a missionary, not many people enjoy talking with us....It's hard to believe, I know. Just look at me!