Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving Dinner
 More pictures from our visit to 10,000 buddahs in my last area

 Scenery from my previous area
Hi Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna! 
Wow!  You've had a crazy week!  I can't believe you're not the Bishop anymore Dad!  I guess I got so used to it that I thought you would be Bishop forever!  I hope you enjoy the change, the extra time and the new opportunity to serve in different ways!  Any idea what your next calling will be?  I've been struggling lately to find the balance between humility and perfectionism.  I realize that perfecting ourselves needs to be a sacred experience.  When we are humble and RELY on THE LORD, he will perfect us in the manner and at the pace that is best for us, but if we just seek to "be perfect," we just get overwhelmed and often have unrealistic and prideful expectations of ourselves and others.  I am also so grateful that Dad has been able to be the Bishop, I know it has really blessed and strengthened our family.  Thank you for your example.  
I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving!  The sisters are so cute!  I'm glad they were able to go hiking with you!  How fun!  And Nathanael since when are you so HUGE!!!!  You're pretty ridiculous leih ji mh ji dou (don't you know?)  Did you do the Shopping Cart Brigade this year?  Hahaha! I just thought of that! 
This Thanksgiving week has been sooooo good!  We've had so many miracles and so much to be grateful for!  We've been able to meet a lot of cool people every day and it has been a blessing to share with them the gospel and tell them how it will bless their lives.  First of all, on Thursday, we went finding after our Thanksgiving dinner.  We found two sisters and ended up teaching them a lesson right there in the park!  Then, as we were walking away we met another great lady and shared about the Book of Mormon with her.  We kept walking and met a lady who was just looking at the pond nearby.  When she saw that we were missionaries she said, "You're Christian?!  Can you give me a book or something about Christ?  I am Muslim, but it hasn't been that lucky and someone suggested that I try changing my religion."  Of course we had just the book for her!!!  We ended up sitting down and talking for a while.  She has had a really hard life, her parents and her husband have died in the past 5 years and she doesn't have any siblings, so she is pretty alone.  She is just here trying to find a job.  We shared about the Atonement and Plan of Salvation and taught her to pray.  It was amazing to see how she already felt comfort from the message we were sharing with her.  After she finished praying, she said she felt that her parents were happy with her, and that she felt like this could help her.  It was one of the coolest finding experiences I've ever had!  Well, we rescheduled her to meet on Friday.  Because she is Muslim we have to be very cautious with how we teach her because if she gets baptized and then has to return to Indonesia, if the government or any of her acquaintances find out that she is Christian, it could be very dangerous.  We talked with President Hawks and had a plan for how to handle our meeting on Friday.  We were all ready and excited, but she didn't come!!!! She didn't have her phone with her on Thursday night either so we were not able to call!  We were all so disappointed.  The miracle doesn't have an immediate happy ending, but the seed has been planted.  She has a Book of Mormon, and our number, so hopefully when she has a permanent visa and a better chance to learn and accept the gospel she will!  
We've actually had several sisters come back with us to the church for a tour and a short lesson this week.  We're supposed to meet with one of them, on her holiday on either Tuesday or Wednesday.  We texted her the other day and she said that she is reading the Book of Mormon already!  It is amazing to meet with these women. They are all so friendly and hardworking, and really dedicated to the gospel and their families.  
Another miracle of the week is that we had a 22 pound turkey for Thanksgiving and we didn't have to pay a cent for it!  I was in charge of food assignments and assigned 3 elders to represent the "turkey" category because I knew Turkey would be hard to find in China.  But they did it!  I saw Elder Blake and Elder Kranok in the store last Monday and they said, "Uh. . . Sister Nelson, we found a 9 pound Turkey for 500 pataca. . ."  I was like, "Well, don't buy it!!! You don't have to have Turkey, ham or chicken wings is fine. I trust you, you can figure it out."  The Elders responded, "Sisters, we will NOT have a Thanksgiving without Turkey!"  and "We will not rest until we find a Thanksgiving turkey!"  Hahaha ... driven by their stomachs.   Another Elder assigned to find a Turkey just followed them around, kind of bored, trying to figure out why these crazy Americans wanted turkey so bad!  The Elders called me that night and said that they called around to a bunch of members, and finally one of our bishopric members, who is from Canada, DROVE (that's already a sacrifice, no one has cars here) them to a place that supplies the casinos with their food and they found a 22-pound Butterball turkey for 300 pataca!!!!!!! What?!!! AND Brother Knowler said, "I won't be here for Christmas, so consider this my early Christmas present to the missionaries!"  Of course, we wrote him a nice Thank you note!  We had enough for our zone of 13 missionaries, and Elder and Sister Welling's family who joined us!! AND I've had 2 turkey sandwiches this week-end!! hahaha
Well, I love you so much and I am so grateful that I can e-mail you every week!  I love you so much!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

There was a big car race in Macau this weekend.  This is a square named Top Sehk (we go finding here a lot) the big TV screen showed the race.  I thought it was funny how many men were just standing there watching. It happens a lot here, I think the funniest is in malls outside the
electronics store!! There are often 5-10 people just standing and watching!
 View of fisherman's warf from the ferry
I think these plants looked cool. It is Tai, which I think is one of the prettiest languages
 These are pictures from last p-day we walked along a beach in Tai Pa and then hiked a mountain up to a statue of a Goddes named A-ma and then walked around an AMAZING Chinese Temple. By far the funnest I've seen yet! (includding Big Buddah!)


Hello Mom, Dad, Kelli, Nathanael and Savanna!!
Happy Thanksgiving!  I can't believe it's that time already!!!  A little over a month until Christmas!!!  Crazy!!!  I'm glad you have a fun plan for Thanksgiving!!  And you get to go hiking with the Sisters! I bet they will love that!  Is Thanksgiving their P-day?  Do you know?  I feel like proselyting might not be that effective for them.  Kind of like Chinese New Year here.  
It's amazing to hear how the missionary work is going in Ottawa!  I can't believe how many miracles are happening!  I'm so glad that Heavenly Father is blessing Ottawa so much and that the Sisters and the ward are doing such a great job to find and teach these prepared people!!! It's soooooo exciting!!  

What is the weather like in Ottawa?  Has it snowed yet?  Guess what?!!  I got to wear a scarf and a blazer on Saturday!!!!  But I was a bit toasty towards the end of finding.  hahaha we bundled up because it finally looked cold and rainy outside and then we realized it wasn't that bad!

Questions -
1 - How long is your visa for Macau?  
When I first came in, they gave me a 30-day visa, and they kept that visa when I re-entered Macau after Zone conference.  The visas are 30-day, 20-day and 10-day and as far as we know, it's up to the discretion of the guy at the immigration desk as to how long our visa is.  Obviously we want as many days as possible, so we just stand there, smile as big as we can and pray that they will give us a 30-day stamp.  President Hawks is trying different things to get more days.  For example when I came with the Zone Leaders, he had me go before Elder Denos who had been here awhile hoping that the guard would give us the same stamp because we were together.  (It didn't work.)  But somehow Sister Hintze has gotten 3 30-day stamps which never happens!!  Sister Clements got 30 days and then 20 days.  So, I'm in at least until December 7, and then probably into next transfer, because President Hawks said my companions will likely move and then I will help the next people get adjusted.

Serving in Macau is such a new experience!  It's so weird to teach in English.  I love it because I feel like I really can be myself and get to know the people I work with better, but I express myself differently in Chinese, so I miss that too.  The Filipinos are soooo loving.  A lot of them have really hard lives.  Most of them have families in the Philippines who they are working to support.  They have a fire for the gospel and for missionary work which is just amazing.  M's day off is Wednesday so she can't come to church, but we invited her to help us do missionary work on Wednesdays.  She said, "Yes, I'll be here.  Every Wednesday I'll be here!!! Except for 2 in December because I need to do. . .(I forgot what) but every other Wednesday I'm here at the church!!!. . . well I guess maybe I should text you first to make sure you'll be here, but then I'll come!!"  She was so cute!  We've met so many cool people finding too.  On Saturday, Sister Clements got to speak French 3 times!!!  We also end up speaking Chinese quite often too.  It really helps a lot to know Chinese even though we're serving in an English branch!  We also met a lady from New Jersey!  She said she sees the missionaries in her neighborhood all the time!

We are teaching an adorable girl who is 21, and reminds me a lot of another girl we taught in one of my previous areas.  She's practically a member (most members don't know she isn't)  but is just afraid of some of her extended families reaction to her getting baptized.  But she is soooo good!  We're meeting her tonight.  We're planning to go to dinner together at a food festival and then have a lesson afterward.  We hoping to help her set a goal to be baptized on December 23, pray that she agrees!!!  

Oh no!! My time is up!  I've got to go!! I love you all and hope you have a good week!  (I'll get 1 more set of pictures loading and send it right after I write my report!)  

I love you!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

I am now in Macau!!!

Hello Mom, Dad, Kelli and Nathanael!
Wow!  It sounds like you did have a good week!!  Thank you so much for sending me all of the pictures and telling me all about it!
Did you know Obama's the new president!  Well, if he is good or bad, I can't take any blame or claim because I still haven't received my absentee ballot.  Oh well, I guess it's good not to have to worry about.  
Are you ready for my new move call?
Drumroll please. . .  
I am now in Macau!!!  With, wait for it. . . SISTER HINTZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  and SISTER CLEMENTS!!!!  AND I'm serving in the International branch!  add to that!  I'm in the same apartment as Sister Cook and her companion is Sister Chan who is also AWESOME!  
I'm realizing now that I had been in Tolo Harbor for 7 months and although I love that area, I needed a change!!!  It feels sooooo good to be in a new place and even doing a new kind of missionary work!  Macau is really cool.  There's is a lot of different architecture so it's a bit more European.  It has a totally different feel to it.  Sister Chan (our roommate) described it well, she said, "Macau is like a hospital for your heart." 
Our apartment is HUGE!!! There are only 5 of us, but there is a huge room that is pretty much just for our clothes, 2 bathrooms and a very nice living room/desk area.  AND we have a balcony!!!  It's soooo cool!  Thursday morning we went running to a place called "broken church."  It's the front of an old Catholic church and it has a cool fort nearby.  Did I mention that we went RUNNING?!!!  Haha this morning we went on a hike.  We started at a beach on an island called TaiPa and then we hiked up a mountain to a cool Buddhist temple.  It was the biggest and coolest I've seen yet, even the temple at Big Buddah wasn't as cool!  We were going to look at some pandas, but the place was closed.  Other great things about Macau include a US mart which has Westen Family brand cereal in big bags!! and CLIF BARS and Grapenuts!!! Saturday night we had a Birthday party with our ward and Sunday was church.  Our ward is so fun!  The majority of the people are Filipino, and  they are all short, adorable and hilarious!! They call me and Sister Hintze the "Twin Towers" and several times I heard them say, "Excuse me Giant sisters."  We have 11 missionaries in our district and one senior couple.  They are Elder and Sister Welling.  I couldn't think of a more fun senior couple mission.  They fuhjaak. . .(shoot I just forgot how to say that in English) oh they are responsible for some of the organizational stuff here, like finances, Family History  and such. Sister Welling teaches free piano and ukulele lessons AND they also get to teach investigators.  In fact, an adorable old lady that they taught got baptized on Sunday.  It was cool to see how excited they were.  It's also fun to have 11 missionaries all serving in the same chapel.  We have a set of Elders and Sisters for both the Chinese and International branches, and then one set of Mandarin Elders who I think kind of cover both.  
In church on Sunday I got to try interpreting for a sister from Indonesia, she doesn't speak English, but does speak Cantonese, so we interpret for her.  It's not great, but we can get the idea across, and we can still use our Chinese.  Even though we don't teach in Chinese, it is still very nice to know Chinese to get around and talk with people on the street.  
Finding here is so much fun, we get to meet a lot of cool people and we have had a lot of miracles already!!! For example, we went finding in a garden on TaiPa on Saturday.  As we were walking, I heard a Philippine man say, Hello Sisters! (of course people only say that if they are familiar with our church!)  It turns out he is a member, but just hasn't come since he moved to Macau, and also wasn't sure where the church was.  We explained where it was, exchanged numbers and invited him to come to church the next evening.  We finished talking to him and not even 2 minutes later, we found another Sister who was also a member, but hadn't come in awhile and we had a similar conversation.  THEN! less then a minute after we finished talking to her another lady came up and said, "are you from the Mormon church?"  We said, "Yes!" Then she said, "Where is your church?  I've been here 3 weeks and haven't been able to find the church!"  She started crying as she told us about her 2 sons who were getting ready to serve missions.  One is deaf and will probably be going to Utah.  She told us how she joined the church several years ago and has been to the temple and sealed to her family.  We were able to explain where the church was.  Her Holiday is on Thursday, not Sunday so she can't come to church, but she said, "I will come to the church as much as I can!"  She was also able to get in contact with the Branch President.  Later in the day, we found a family who said they would come to church!  The man used to go to church before with his friend.  I'm not sure why they weren't there yesterday, but we'll call them again tonight and see if we can start meeting with them!
We met a man from South America yesterday, and as we were talking, the only 2 Portuguese-speaking members of our branch walked up!  It was so perfect!  We saw the man on the street today.  Hopefully we can teach him soon!
Moving went well. I did send a box home, with some letters and my old planners and some other things (including your Christmas Gifts!!!). It cost about 25 US, and I sent it by ship because I figured there was no rush and it was a lot cheaper!  I'm really hoping/wanting/endeavoring to make this  the only box I mail home.  My suitcases are pretty full right now though.  A lot of it is stuff I am planning to leave here.
Well, I've got to go!!   I love you all! 
Sister Lin and I in Sha Tin at a place called "10,000 Buddahs"
Sister Hintze, Siser Clements and I using some playground equipment we found near the beach today.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Halloween Celebration!

Our Halloween Celebration!

A thank you note I wrote in Chinese

Hi Everyone!

I'm glad that you all had a good week and a good Halloween and that you had so much good stuff to do this weekend!

Thank you for the package! I was sooooooooooo happy to get it! I got it Saturday night which was perfect timing! Sister Lier and Sister Law and Sister Lin enjoyed watching me open it and I've been enjoying the new music! You didn't delete the pictures so it was fun to show them my high school pictures. However, some of them won't delete, and we were joking about whether or not we need to delete the ones of models that I used for haircut ideas, or the pictures of me and my roommates in our swimming suits when we went swimming in Katie's Aunt Barbara's creek! and if so, how I can ask the office elders to do that. . . hahahaha really not a big deal, but we had a good laugh over it.

I bought muffin mix and Halloween muffin tins to celebrate Halloween. I also bought a pumpkin and baked it in our toaster oven with apples and cinnamon!!! We ate dinner as an apartment. It was so good to have a fun Halloween dinner! They're starting a new pilot program in our area with online webcam teaching! Crazy? Right? There are 3 companionships involved right now. This program involves iPhones!!!!!!! Crazy!! Our Zone Leaders are part of the program and were pretty excited Friday to ask if they could "take our picture for their caller ID" haha. I think it will be great! Especially because we can have all of our information about investigators and members in the palm or our hand!!!

Yesterday, I went to church in Tai Po with the other Sisters. It was kind of nice, but also weird to go to church and just follow someone around. I didn't have to worry about investigators or remembering people's names! It was great! I also sat next to a lady in Sacrament meeting who I think was deaf or hard of hearing. I could tell because of the way she talked and that she kept looking at my lips while I spoke. I don't know how on earth a deaf person can learn to speak Chinese with all of the tones, but she did great!!!

1 - Did you get your absentee ballot:
Not yet

I think I'm going to stop there so that I can send you some Halloween pictures! We have a fun afternoon planned! We're going to a place called 10,000 buddahs in Sha Tin. I've wanted to go ever since I got here!

I love and miss you all!!!