Friday, September 27, 2013

I Love This Work!!!

I just wanted to start off by saying how much I love my family, friends, and my ward family. You have all been supportive and shown me such kindness. I always can feel of your love and prayers and am so thankful for that.

This week I thought was going to be a little easier…and of course it wasn't. Funny how the Lord knows exactly what we need and what trials we need to go through so that we can learn. 

We now have only 8 sisters including myself in our zone. We haven't received any new sisters for the past 3 weeks. I think it is because school has started up.

Sister Hansen has been assigned as Sister Training Leader with myself. Everyone in our district jokes around that we have a "power companionship". She has been awesome and has helped me so much already. I feel as if we are the "mothers" of our district. All the Elders come to talk to us and share their experiences throughout the day. And then we visit the sisters every night and check up on them to make sure that all is well with them and their companions.

We have had to deal with a lot of impatience and sisters and Elders getting offended by certain remarks. I think it is because we are getting close to our time ending here at the MTC and we have become like family and there has been a lot of bickering. It is so awesome how fast I have come to love and care for the Elders and Sisters in my District. I definitely am going to miss them as there are some that are going to the Juiz-Jeffora and Belo Horizonte missions.

We have a tradition now here called P-eve. It’s the eve of P-day. Sister Hansen and I have brought snacks for the district on the night of P-eve and we celebrate. Last night we had Poppin' P-eve and bought popcorn and Pop Rocks from the bookstore for everyone.

This week we probably had the best devotional ever. It was so inspiring and motivational yet again. It's funny how all the talks here are mainly about the same things teaching by the Holy Ghost, being a better missionary, and obedience, but I keep learning something new or am motivated to be even more obedient after each time.

The devotional speaker was Don R. Clarke of the Seventy. It was the best and I want to share so much. He talked about sharing the gospel to our families and to encourage us to share what we are reading in the Book of Mormon. Our stake president has given us a challenge to read the Book of Mormon in the 6 weeks that we are here. So I am in Helaman and will be reading that book this week. During your scripture study if you could read in Helaman and share with me what you have learnt or how the scriptures has affected your week I would really appreciate it. I love hearing everyone’s spiritual experiences and it definitely strengthens my testimony as well. 

One story that I really liked was about a group of missionaries in the Salt Lake Airport. They were waiting and were talking in a group when he went in the middle of them and sent them in opposite directions to talk to people. I realized that I need to keep this in mind. Here at the MTC we are in a little bubble but I need to realize that I can still be a missionary here and I need to especially be a missionary when I step off these grounds. I can't be shy or hang out in a crowd anymore. I am expected to be a missionary and I want to be a missionary. I am expected to be friendly and go out and talk to others and "invite others to Christ". I am excited but nervous for the time when I will be able to go out and serve in the field! As Grandpa HoChing would say, we need to OYM (Open Your Mouth).

A quote that my branch president shared with our district is encouragement to "BE A LEGEND!" I have found this very motivational and have kept this in mind because if I want to be a legend I have to be obedient, use my time wisely, think and act like a missionary, and go out of my way to be the best that I can and continue to improve upon myself daily. 

I love this work. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all. 



Sister Loo
Part of our district on our Sunday Temple Walk.
Elder Christensen, you can guess who he is...
Continues to make us laugh at every moment of the day.
Sister Ames also going to my mission. She is the sweetest!
Sisters in our district
I love getting Dear Elders! Do you think I have enough? :)
My companions said that I was making it rain with Dear Elders.
My companion can't get away from me.
She decided that she wanted to sleep on the floor
 next to me instead of on the top bunk... ;) 
One with Sister Brotherson.
The STL that helped me out so much!
Sister Hansen decided to try on my hair.
They were very impressed by the "fro" 
We just love each other! Best companion ever!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Week 3...You Can Do This!, and Repentance

This week we didn't receive any new sisters. It was kind of sad. There has been a lot of up's and down's this week with sisters and it feels like yesterday it was just P-day. Sister Hansen and I have a new companion, Sister Holmes. She is from Utah and is 19 years old. I don't know too much about her, but she is a great missionary and has a powerful testimony. She is serving in the Belo Horizonte Brazil Mission. She actually just received her Visa as we are emailing so we don't know how long she will be here with us at the MTC.

Her companion went home earlier this week because she has decided to get married. I think a lot of sisters think that coming on a mission will be easy and fun. And it is fun, but it definitely is a lot of work and we are going, going, going all the time. One thing for sure is that even though we are surrounded by so many good missionaries and the spirit here is so strong, Satan still finds ways to discourage and tempt us. A lot of the times it may just be discouraging thoughts, tiredness, feeling like we are inadequate for the job, homesickness, and a lack of obedience.

This week as a District we decided to set a goal to do an English Fast for 24 hours. We actually did it for two days where we only speak Portuguese. Fale Sua Lingua is what we call it and it means speak your language. It has helped our district a lot to be able to gain confidence in the language and to learn sentence structure and new words. It is amazing how much we know and are able to speak. But after 24 hours we were so happy to be able to joke and tell stories in English. Funny because if we were in Brazil right now that would not be the case.

This week I learned a lot about Repentance. It's interesting how you think you know a gospel topic or essential, but then I go to class or a devotional and receive new insight daily.

This week at our Tuesday devotional Elder and Sister Schwitzer of the Seventy spoke. Sister Hansen and I had gotten there early so we got floor seats on the second row. It was such an amazing experience. Sister Schwitzer bore an amazing testimony and shared this quote that her dad said after she had failed her Nursing exam, "Stand tall, hold your head up, throw your shoulders back... YOU CAN DO THIS!" This is something that I could see my dad telling me after failing at something. We just have to be confident, move on, and continue to get better and better.

Elder Schwitzer gave a talk on being a missionary. But one of the points that he talked about made me think about Repentance in a different way. A lot of the time I think of repentance as for sins and mistakes, that this is the only way that I sometimes utilize and think of Repentance. But he said that we need to learn to repent consistently. We need to embrace it! It is for everyone because it is a way to go from good to better, and better to best. I love this because it is so true. Repentance is for everyone because we can always be better and improve upon our weaknesses. They may not be sins but it is something that we need to do to be able to make our weaknesses strengths and continually improve so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father.

I just want to again thank everyone for their support. Family, friends, and my ward family. You continually inspire and teach me and I love hearing from all of you. I know this church is true and is the most important aspect of my life. It makes me who I am and brings me all the happiness in the world. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a missionary, not only to share the gospel with others but to continue to strengthen my testimony. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. They are my best friends and I know that I can always lean on them and they will help make my weaknesses, strengths.



Sister Loo

Finally got a picture with Elder McRae before he leaves. We actually have classes on the same floor so we get to see each other often. It's nice to see a fellow Summerlake Ward member!

Some of the sisters in my District on our temple walks on Sunday. One of the best things about being a STL is getting to know the sisters!

Studying Materials... The desks are too small here.

What's the difference in this pic? Look better dad? :) ahh yes, the right brand of shoes!

Classic Studying pictures... New missionaries, don't get caught doing this during study time. :)

My new companion Sister Holmes and Sister Hansen. We are now a Tri-companionship.

One of the pictures from our lesson with our Investigator Edge. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation and needed to be a little creative so that he would understand the concepts with our simple Portuguese understanding and speaking. It went pretty well and we continue to keep learning more and more in Portuguese.

Picture with the famous MTC world map? I've never seen any pictures... But right now who knows where I'm going!

One of the Elders in my district. I guess it was naptime this week. Mason this better not be you when you get here so get lots of sleep! haha :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Awkward...Surprising...and the power of Prayer!

This week has gone by so fast! I can't believe that it has already been two weeks! Thank you all for your support and letters. :)

So first funny thing... Got hit on by my teacher in the MTC…Don't know if I'm supposed to be sharing this? But it was awkward and funny at the same time. I think it was a harmless comment but most of my district was laughing. Don't worry there's no feelings on this end from me. Definitely focused on my mission!

My companion and I are doing well and are teaching our second investigator, who is our teacher playing the role of one of his investigators on his mission. We are now teaching 30-minute lessons in Portuguese. Sometimes I say the wrong thing or completely forget what I'm supposed to say, but I am learning and trying to stay confident. All I know is that when my companion and I bear our testimony in Portuguese that I can feel the spirit so strong. It is amazing.

This last Sunday I was assigned as Sister Training Leader for my zone. It came as quite a surprise to me since I had only been here for a week when the branch president called me in for an interview. The other Sister Training Leader has been here for 4 weeks so she has been showing me what to do. Basically it means a lot of training meetings on Sunday and then conducting orientation on Wednesday nights for the new missionaries coming in to the MTC. I also make sure that all the sisters are okay, and every night I visit half of the sister’s residents to get updates, help with companionship problems, share a spiritual thought, and really just talk and get to know the sisters.

Of course my first day as an STL was overwhelming as a sister in my district got sick and has also been struggling with gaining the desire to stay here and serve a mission. It seems the case with a couple of the sisters this week and it makes me sad. I have never felt the Spirit so strongly this last week and have never prayed more in my life for strength to be patient and strength for the sisters in my zone. I have comforted sisters with words that I knew did not come from me but from their Heavenly Father. Right now they are all doing well, getting more and more confident with the language, and persevering through this hard phase in the MTC. I hope that I will continue to be able to feel of my Heavenly Fathers love and continue to help the sisters out in the best way that I can. I am thankful for the amount of patience he has already given me and the capacity to get all the things done that I need to. I know it wouldn't be possible without him.

I love the picture below of Sister Loo (Aunty Kehau). She keeps me company everyday and a desire and love for this mission. Thank you for being such a great example to me!

This week my message is on prayer. I had a definite "aha" moment the other day. I realized how much I always want people to clearly communicate to me but yet I have been failing to communicate with the one person I should be and sharing everything with. So it got me to question, "Am I giving the same kind of communication I am expecting from others to my Heavenly Father?" So I have been trying to talk to my Heavenly Father as much as possible. And now with this new assignment I realize why I needed to learn this lesson. I find myself praying all day and it has helped me so much. It's no wonder that I have been able to feel the spirit so strongly. Now why didn't I learn this lesson earlier? :)

Love you all! This is the best experience ever.

Sister Loo

I pass by this at least 3-5 times a day as it is in the hallway where I walk to the cafeteria, to church, and to other classes. It's so nice to be able to see a member of the family each day! She keeps me company and I can feel of her and our families spirit! This is one of the reasons why I'm not homesick because I get to see a member of the family each day! How lucky am I! So happy that I can see her picture at the MTC!

Classic companionship workouts. Sister Hansen is awesome and is keeping me in shape!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ooops...  Some excerpts we missed and failed to add from last weeks letter.  We cannot wait to hear from Sister Loo tomorrow!

... It has been such a busy schedule here at the MTC, I've hardly a chance to breathe.

One of the best experiences was on Sunday when my companion and I saw the re-broadcast of Elder Bednar's talk "Characters of Christ".  If any of you can see it or read his talk, I would recommend it.  It gave me so much motivation and inspiration to move forward this week.  He talks about how Christ turns outward to look at peoples good qualities and with love and devotion.  While we look inward with selfishness and pride.  We need to be more like Christ and turn outward.  That has been Sister Hansen and my motto lately.

Another good point of the talk is the difference between testimony and conversion.  Testimony is what we know by the Spirit, while conversion is consistently being true to what you know.  We need to be truly converted.

I have been amazed at how much we talk about conversion and obedience.  As I shared, there is a lot of "grey" area at the MTC that is left to each of us to seek obedience.  They aren't strict on enforcing the dress code and there is usually only a supervisor for 3-6 hours of the day.  So, as missionaries, we are able to exercise a lot of self-discipline to get the most out of our time and take advantage.

There are so many missionaries here that don't follow strict obedience and it makes me sad.  There are so many blessings from being obedient.  It is sometimes really hard to be strictly obedient but it is so worth it.

During out Sunday mission conference, I heard this quote:

Obedience is the price
Faith is the power
The Spirit is key
Christ is the reason
Love is the motive
Joy is the reward

This mission is the best and it is so awesome how many of us there are now.  It is truly incredible.  I love you all and appreciate all of your support.  It is what keeps me going.  Thank you for all the Love.

...Love, Sister Loo :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sister Loo sent this voice recording of her testimony (in Portuguese).  We cannot understand it, but the Spirit it carries is beautiful.  Enjoy!

Week 1 down!!!

Sister Loo is still figuring out this whole MTC writing with the limited time she is allotted on her preparation days (she only gets an hour of computer time); so for now she wanted us to share some excerpts from her letter.

Oi! Tudo Bem! Bom Dia!

Wow! What a week. I don't even know where to start. I may not cover everything that I can remember but I do have a week and half worth of stuff that I need to share with you! :) I can't believe all that time has already passed by. There's a saying here at the MTC that is the weeks feel like days and the days feel like weeks. I have come to know that that is sooooo true! 

The first three days here were the longest days of my life. They were horrible but I tried to persevere through them because I know that this is what I am supposed to do and I want to be here. But they were so long because it was constant non-stop studying and orientation. Just a lot of information that was being shoved our way. 

But the first day was long because I had barely a chance to breathe. It was go go go all the way up to bedtime at 10:30. And of course I couldn't go to bed right away because my brain was thinking about all the things that had happened and of course missing you all already. I found myself finally getting back to sleep but waking up at 5:00 in the morning completely awake. It's slowly getting better and better though.

On our second day here at the MTC we learned how to bear our testimonies and pray in Portuguese. Then the next day we were expected to teach an "investigator". We soon found out that it was a teacher but we were to approach it as if we didn't know that he was already a member. It was so nerve racking. On my third day here me and my companion were expected to share a message and communicate to a fluent Portuguese speaker??? Ahh I was so nervous. But we smiled and tried to figure out what they were saying. There was a lot of sign language going on the entire lesson. We taught him 5 times, trying to get better and better at our Portuguese and figure out what he needed and listen to the spirit so we understand what to teach him. It is truly amazing the spirit in the room when we bear our testimonies in Portuguese. If we can't leave anything or say anything besides our testimony it works! The spirit is so strong and so hopefully they can feel that as well. No wonder they teach us that on the second day. 

My Spanish has been helping slightly but it's also confusing me a bit because the Portuguese words and verbs are so similar but so different at the same time. Yesterday we did a mock street investigator and I ended up saying iglesia instead of igreja. He picked that up and was quick to correct me. :)

Thank you all for all your scriptures, quotes, and advice. I love it! It's funny because it completely relates to the things that I am learning in the week. And so I just add it to my memories. 

One of the best experiences this week was getting to watch a rebroadcast of Elder Bednar's Character's of Christ. He gave it at a devotional at the MTC on Christmas. It is awesome! It gave me so much motivation and inspiration for my mission. If you can find it I highly recommend watching the broadcast, but if you can just read that would be good as well. But seriously everyone should take his advice to heart. It has helped me so much already. 

Everyone is so nice here. We have been challenged to share our testimony to at least 5 people a day and everyone is so willing to listen and smile and help us out. It is so cool to see where everyone is going and hear missionaries try to practice and speak their language. 

Obedience has been the key subject of this week and I definitely understand why now. I didn't think there would be a lot of grey area here but there is. There is a lot of time that there is no one supervising us so we need to be obedient and driven ourselves to get the studying and work done that we need to. I see a lot of Elders and Sisters not using their time to their advantage and disobeying rules like writing home during the week and not being timely to the activity of the day. And I can see the result of that disobedience. They are more homesick and don't get full advantage of the learning that they can do here. Sister Hansen and I have made it a goal to be early to classes and set the example hopefully so the Elders and Sisters in our district can be more on time. 

My companion is Sister Hansen and she is awesome. Companionships are truly inspired and I am so lucky to have her. We work well together and she is so chill. We find that we have a lot in common and she has such a strong testimony of the gospel. She has already taught me so much and motivates me to have faith in this work and that my Heavenly Father is helping me if I but just ask him and have faith that he will help. I'm so lucky to have an older companion as I have already noticed a difference in age and maturity of other sisters.

Sister Hansen is so awesome! I think I already said that... But what's funny is that the first time I met her she told me that she loved to work out. Of course she would be my companion!!! There are options for Sisters to work out in the morning with Pilates, Kickboxing, Step, Yoga, and Cardio classes so we go and work out in the morning at 6! It helps us wake up our bodies and I feel like I am more focused throughout the day. We then work out again later in the day. I don't think I've ever worked out so much! But I actually like it because it is a break and I get to relax and think because we can't listen to music. Uncle Mike would be proud. I'm working out 2 times in a day! Crazy!!!! Sister Hansen pushes me and it's good because all this cafeteria food will probably make me gain weight. :(

Speaking of food.  The food here is horrible. I find myself eating a ton of salads, wraps, and fruit. It is BYU services so me and Tupu are sharing the same fabulous cafeteria dining. I feel sorry for you Toops. I'm so glad it's only for six weeks.

Thank you to everyone who has sent DearElder letters.  I was so happy that you were able to find out about that because it is so cool to get them the day that you write them. Then I am able to hear about the things going on in the week. I must say it made me a bit homesick but then I was off to the next thing and didn't have time to think about it. That's a really good thing. No wonder they only allow you to write on P-day because if you are obedient and focused on the work you get lost in it. It makes it easier to focus on the things that you should be.  So happy for all the support from everyone. I can definitely feel the love. It is what keeps me going when I really just want to take a nap halfway through the day. 

I received both the package from Uncle Mark and the package from you. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!! It's funny because not only the day after I sent the first letter I found everything I needed in the give away boxes. Coincidence right? haha. But thank you for sending it still. I will be very prepared for Brazil. Uncle Mark's package was of course a lot more little surprises then just the ziplock bags and soap. I got cotton balls, cereal, fruit snacks, chapstick, bandaids, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was hilarious and the best. So thoughtful of him.

Ahh running out of time. Miss you all. Till next week!!!!


Sister Loo

Oh and I am surprisingly not grumpy or impatient when I'm tired. I think my Heavenly Father is helping me out on that one. It's a good thing.  Patience- wow you would be surprised how much I have been patient. I think it is because I pray everyday to have patience and be obedient...

Sister Hansen and I...MTC Companions
The Sisters in our District
Our first P-day...clean clothes and the temple...
Sums up our district...18 & 19 year old missionaries...They are fun tho. :)
Happy 17th Birthday Nica...from the MTC!