Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Pros and Cons of having a Tongan companion

What's it like having a companion from Tonga, you ask? Well, let me inform you.

1. It's okay if you eat a lot (not only because I work it all off via biking), but also that your Tongan companion does as well
2. You get away with a lot of things just because she's Tongan (we got permission from our mission president to watch The Other Side of Heaven so I can learn more about Tonga and their culture. It was actually really amazing to see such a difference in our way of life and even more amazing to see that my companion's adjusted well to the American culture. You should all watch that movie, btw.)
3. You learn Tongan phrases such as, "I'm gonna punch you" or "Shut up" or "You're wasting time"

1. You eat a lot
2. You get punched a lot
3. When your companion performs a hula dance for a ward's lu'au, people expect you to join along with them

So last week, Sister Moala had to teach me the hula to the song in Lilo and Stitch (at the very beginning). The missionaries in the 4th Ward were putting on a lu'au for their youth's activity and this happens to be the only transfer where there's an elder from Samoa, an elder from Tonga, a sister from Tonga (my comp.), AND a Samoan sister (from California) within the same stake boundaries. So within one week, we planned out the whole lu'au.

It was a GREAT turnout, though! All the youth invited their friends to come and almost half of the people who attended were not members of the Church. At the very end, we taught them the whole hula dance. It was great! New finding idea!

As for the work in our area, all of our appointments with potential investigators of the Church fell through. It really is the hardest when you build up all this hope for these potential investigators and then they fall through at the last minute. It's still difficult adjusting to having to walk to all of our appointments (but still great that we can eat as much as elders because we walk it all off anyway). There's just so much work to do here but there's not enough time to do it all!

There are, however, many recent converts and less-active members here. If it's one thing about missionary work, it's that strengthening the members are a huge part of missionary work as well.

Sister Wen

The Power of Follow-Up

In the April 2014 General Conference, Elder Ballard expressed his feelings on the power of follow-up in missionary work. And that's what I'm going to do with you here today.

Last week, I talked about three people/miracles that occurred. This week, I'll tell you about their progress.

The woman in the park: We taught her again just this last Saturday the full first lesson about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She talks a LOT, but she's so eager to learn more that she's setting up our future appointments with her!

The high school senior: She dropped us. ("Drop" is missionary lingo for saying she doesn't want us to come by and teach her anymore.) There's too much going on in my life, she says. It was devastating. Heart-wrenching to hear that. I couldn't believe it. My heart sunk and created a pit in my stomach. That may or may not be exaggerating, but that's just exactly how I felt. We followed-up with her on her reading and praying. She even read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and the testimonies. She prayed about it. She's prayed every night. She used to pray once a week. She was progressing! Then she dropped us. She did say that she might want to learn more sometime in the future. Just not now. I hope future missionaries in Arvada 6th will be able to witness her take those steps toward baptism.

The Temple Square tourist: No updates here. The elders tried to contact him, but nothing's come from their contacts.

On the other hand, HOWEVER! We did pick up 2 former investigators! One of them, we didn't know was a former investigator and the other we pulled in with family history! The latter was so fascinated with our vast knowledge of family history and our equally as vast library of family history resources. SO GREAT! They were quick to judge the missionaries who visited them first because I think they dived right into the first lesson without seeing where they're at in life. Both of our first lessons with these former investigators were just downright, hardcore listening. There's a quote in Teaching, No Greater Calling that I enjoy. Not sure what it says exactly, but it's something along the lines of: sometimes we need to sacrifice expressing what we know in order to listen to the person....It was a lot more profound and eloquent than what I just said, but it was something like that.

Love the eloquent,
Sister Wen

Muracles in Amurica

Last Sunday, Sister Moala and I both had the faith that we would see miracles if we showed the Lord that we are willing to do whatever it takes to see the work build up here in Arvada. So we decided to fast.

And, guess what? He answers your prayers and your fasts.

Wednesday: We had an appointment with a recent convert in a nearby park on a beautiful, sunny day. We walked to the park and saw, from a distance, a Hispanic-American lady in her 40's talking with an elderly woman on a walker. As we approached them, we said, "Hi! How are you?" They hesitantly greeted us back, but then the lady noticed our name-tags and said, "Maybe God is finally answering my prayers." UHM YES, YES HE IS. "Can we sit down and talk?" UHM YES, YES WE CAN. We sat down at a pavilion where Jamie began to explain to us her situation. She has many difficult familial and financial problems and has been looking for guidance. Her father had her come to Arvada to take care of his mother, but some things happened and now she's car-less and phone-less and even afraid to walk into the house with her father at home. The recent convert drove by and picked us up to bring us to her home (because it was too windy). We taught her about our purpose as missionaries and how our message will help her and change her life. She was worried that the religion she was raised with isn't helping her anymore and concluded, "I really want to learn more about your religion."

Saturday: We contacted a friend that a senior in high school referred us to. And it was a miracle. We've been trying to work with the youth because the youth are the future generation of this church and of this world, really. Anyway, we knocked on her door and her mom greeted us. We asked if her daughter was there. She said yes, but she's sleeping. We told her we could try back another time. She immediately said no, she'll go see if she's okay to visit. We agreed and waited. Then the daughter came down and invited us in. We informed her that we could just set up an appointment if she's busy. She refused and wanted us to share our message with her that night. My heart LEAPED! We were like, holy, we will definitely do that! We taught her. She felt the Spirit, we felt the Spirit, we rejoiced and were edified, AND she accepted the invitation to be baptized on November 29.

Sunday: After sacrament meeting, two men approached us, one of them asking if we were the missionaries. For a moment, I thought I'd forgotten my tag because that's usually a really big indication that I am a missionary. But, the man referred us to the man standing next to him, who introduced himself to us. He explained how he'd just returned from a trip to Salt Lake City and toured Temple Square. He was so interested in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that he asked the sister missionaries there about where he could attend our service. They referred him to the location and time of the church service. I asked him why he's so interested. He replied, "I feel like I need to expand my spirituality. I know that's really broad, but it's the shortest way to explain it." We accepted the answer and referred him to the elders serving in our ward. And the man attended the remainder of the church meetings.

Develop faith + mighty prayer + action = Miracles.

Sister Wen