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Monday, December 29, 2014

Spoiled, snow, family friendships, press and feast



First snow of the season in Moscow, Idaho

December 29, 2014
Moscow, Idaho


Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas! It was so fun to be able to see the family again on our Skype call! Everyone looked great. The house was beautiful as always and Toby was fat as always :) Everything exactly where I left it. Send me photos of the academy! I'm sure it's beautiful.....


Here are highlights of my week: 

Spoiled
Christmas Day:  ugly sweaters at district meeting
Christmas was fun! We were spoiled :) We started off the day with a district meeting. We had yummy treats and wore ugly sweaters.  Then we went over to a less active family's house and they fed us delicious spaghetti. After that we went Christmas caroling to a few houses and then in a rest home. Then we went to the Schofield's house and they fed us dinner and used their computers to Skype home. That was definitely a highlight! 

After that, we went to Bishop Woodbury's house for more food! We had Mexican food and delicious dessert. I don't know if I've ever had so many sweets in one day before! People told me the mission changes you, but I never thought it would change me in this way :P 

Snow!
Snow! It finally snowed. It's usually much colder this time of year here so I really lucked out. But the snow has been beautiful! It's expected to drop to the negatives later this week so that will be interesting. I didn't know people lived like this! I don't know how they do it! 

Family Friendships
Seeing the Garrisons. The Garrisons lived in Palo Alto years ago and I haven't seen them since! We visited their ranch when I was in 5th grade and that has been a fun family trip we've remembered all these years later. We bailed hay early one morning with them, rode horses, shot guns, Mom and Dad slept in the saddle room, we sailed down Snake River... 

Today they took us out to lunch and were so generous and took us shopping to get warm gloves and scarves. It was great being able to catch up and laugh about old times like when Dad caught his first fish but while trying to look tough and show off the tiny thing in a picture he actually got cut and started bleeding or the time Tom pushed mom into the water while she was holding her lunch and she managed to hold her plate above water and everything else was drenched but she saved her food. 

He even walked me out to the parking lot so he could show me the very same truck that he let me drive years ago when I was so little I could barely see over the steering wheel. I'm so grateful for family friendships like these that can last over so many years :)

Press and Feast
My scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 31:20: 
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 
This is a well known scripture that we often used when talking about enduring to the end. But I was able to think about it more deeply this week and I love the scripture even more than before! 

I love the wording that we must "press" forward, not keep moving along.  Because if we want to improve and if we want to stay on the course, it really must be a conscious effort. Because there is "opposition" in all things, if we are not consistently pressing forward, we will be moved backwards or in some other direction. It is also interesting because when I think of the word "press" I picture pressing against something, or that perhaps something is pushing back against me too. I think that's how it is in life with the Gospel too, there are consistently other forces and other things that may be trying to hold us back and that we really do need to press against all these things and that it won't necessarily be easy.

2 Nephi 31:20

I also love how this verse says we need to feast upon the word of Christ for the promise of "eternal life." This is so true! The way we get to know Christ is by reading the scriptures. Just as reading family history or stories about my ancestors gives me the feeling that I truly know these people, I think it is the same with Christ. Or perhaps like looking through somebody's entire Facebook profile (like I did before I met my roommates) I felt like I already knew the person even though I had never met them. Through reading about the Savior, we come to know Him. 

I think that often the way I communicate with my Heavenly Father is through prayer.  But the way that He responds to me and answers my prayers is through the scriptures. That is why feasting on the words of Christ is so crucial to gaining eternal life. 

Hope everyone has a happy new year! Sending all my love! 

Sister Hancock

Merry Christmas, Skype reunion, pure love





3-way family reunion via Skype

December 25, 2014

A merry Christmas together as a family via Skype:

- Channing and Spencer in Vietnam (where they are spending Christmas with Uncle Gerrit and Aunt Susan and Gong cousins Sam, Chris, and Matthew)

- Grandma Gong, Rusty, Sterling and me (and Toby) at Saint Michael Drive in Palo Alto

- Sister Sinclaire Hancock in Moscow, Idaho!

Sister Hancock with Sister Worthen (from New Zealand) and Sister Chuang (from Taiwan) 

As the finale to our long call, Sister Hancock and her 2 companions sang in harmony the hymn, "O Love that Glorifies the Son".  Their voices sounded like angels as they sang "...pure love....come, fill my soul today."







Monday, December 22, 2014

Moscow, goodbyes, My Time with Christ, tripanionship




On the plane to my first area to serve!






December 22, 2014

Hi everyone! 


Moscow
This was an exciting week. On Thursday we found out we were being reassigned, so after dinner we got our papers from the travel office which told us we were going to the Washington Spokane Mission. 

We all wrote down predictions for each other and it was actually crazy because one of the elders in our district had a dream that we would all get reassigned to Washington, and sure enough! And then the prediction my district made for me was that I would end up in Idaho, but I told them they were crazy. But they turned out to be right! I'm in Moscow, Idaho right now because it is part of the Spokane mission.


with our reassignments

Goodbyes
We said some quick goodbyes and then hurried home after class to pack! It was hard for all of us to get our bags to under 50 pounds, but we got there eventually. Then we left the MTC early the next morning! 

It was really sad to say goodbye to everyone. I loved loved loved the friends I made there and I'll miss them for sure. It was sweet because everyone woke up early and ran out in their blankets and pajamas to wave goodbye to us, as we rode away in our van. 

It was definitely sad being separated from my district. We've spent over 800 hours together! We really became like second family. But we already have reunions planned so I'll look forward to those :) 


My Time with Christ
The MTC is a special place and I'll look back at that time with fond memories. Most of all, I'm grateful for how much I learned there and how much my testimony grew. The MTC truly was MTime with Christ. 

Goodbye District 25-A!

Spokane Mission President
We flew to the Spokane mission and our mission president and his wife picked us up. They're awesome! Their personalities are hilarious and they have a lot to teach us. We had a short training after that and then went to the mission home for dinner and then to meet our new companions! 

Tripanionship
Because they only found out a day in advance too, transfers had already happened so I'm in what they're calling "tripanionships". It's actually fun with 3! One of my companions is from Taiwan and the other is from New Zealand. They're both wonderful! So far we're getting along well and having a lot of fun :) 

It's neat because I can practice with my companion during language study so I'm not too worried about keeping up with my Mandarin.  At the same time, it's definitely a relief being able to teach in English! It has made this transition less scary for sure. 

Members are great!
We're actually in a young family ward so everyone is around 20 or 30 years old and recently married or with a few kids so it's interesting trying to work with them to find people to teach. But they're helpful and it seems like they're totally supportive of us! 

Last night one of the couples had us over for dinner even though they're both only 19 (!!!) Funny story, actually. He joined the church less than a year ago so we have been trying to go over frequently. Because they're so young and recently married or whatever, when I walked in I saw that it was a one-dish meal. Sweet & sour pork. 

I didn't want to make them feel bad by saying I was vegetarian, so I whispered to my companions not to say anything. So I ate it! I chopped it into very small pieces and mixed it with a lot of sauce. Luckily I didn't gag! But it was so chewy. I didn't know it was always that chewy. Then on the ride home I found out that I had just eaten a pig which was really weird to think about so I ran home and brushed my teeth because I was not used to anything tasting so... animaly! But I'll call that a success! 

The members are great! It's sweet to see how even though they're busy with work and establishing their family that they make time to encourage and support us and that they're so willing to help! 

D&C 84:85
My scripture for this week is Doctrine & Covenants 84:85
Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
I love the promise that Heavenly Father will help us know what to say even though it can be intimidating or uncomfortable when we are put on the spot or have a flood of questions to answer. I have already felt the help from the Holy Ghost and I know I'll need it even more when I get to Taiwan and will be trying to do this all in Mandarin! 

Have a very merry Christmas! And remember what we are really celebrating :) 

Love you all!

Sister Hancock

Thursday, December 18, 2014

to Spokane Washington!


Spokane Washington Temple

December 18, 2014
Thursday, 7:13 pm

Hi family :)

So after dinner today we got temporarily reassigned until our visas to Taiwan get approved! 

It all is happening very quickly: we just finished class and will head back to pack right now.  Then we're leaving the MTC tomorrow morning (Friday) at 6:30. Our flight is to Spokane, Washington which is where I'll be serving! ...

More exciting news soon!

Love,
Sister Sinclaire Hancock

Here is my new address while I'm serving in Spokane:

Sister Sinclaire Hancock
Washington Spokane Mission
820 South Pines Road, Suite 101
Spokane Valley, WA 99206

(Be sure to include my first name.  Usually mail will be forwarded to my apartment on the same day it arrives in the mission home. Packages should be sent Priority Mail via US Postal Service so they can forwarded to me. Packages sent Parcel Post cannot be forwarded without extra postage paid.  Anything sent UPS or FedEx cannot be forwarded.) 


Not in Taiwan yet, whatever's supposed to happen, faith in our zone





Last photo of our district all together
15 December 2014

Hi all!

Whatever's supposed to happen will happen
So I'm still not in Taiwan yet. We didn't get our visas, so our travel plans were cancelled. We were told that we would most likely get reassigned, but still no news for that either. One of the elders in our zone somehow called Salt Lake today and whoever they talked to said that we'll most likely be waiting it out in the MTC until we get them, possibly until New Year's Day. We're all hoping that's not what happens, but we'll see.

Everyone is anxious to get out because we want to start teaching real people and serving! But I know that whatever's supposed to happen will happen. 

A few of the districts in our zone are on week 11 now, so they're dying to leave, but we're all trying to stay positive and keep working hard. 

There sort of isn't a curriculum for us any more since we've all reached our 9 weeks now so that's interesting. Also, we're getting a district 25 A on Wednesday, but that's our district because we're supposed to be gone by then, so they're calling us Alma the elder and them Alma the younger. 

We also will most likely lose our teachers tonight since they have to keep up with the schedule and go teach the new districts. Oh, and we're moving buildings because there's construction in our residence so we're moving to a new building. It's sort of crazy right now! 

We're all packed and probably won't really unpack in case we get reassigned and told that we're flying to a state side mission with one day of notice. It's a bit hard not knowing what's going to happen and having the expectation that we would be flying to Taiwan tonight and then told that we're not, but it'll all be alright. 

Our zone
Faith in our zone
It's amazing how much faith is in our zone. We all believe in God's timing and that He's aware of what's happening right now and that it is all for a reason. So for now, our district and zone is getting even closer which is fun. And on the bright side, we're all going to get even better at volleyball! 


3 Nephi 11:7
My scripture for the week is 3 Nephi 11:7 

"Behold my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name-- hear ye him." 

I love reading this passage of scripture when the Savior visits the people in the Americas. I love how personal it is and how much He cares about each one of us. I love how Heavenly Father introduces his son. When I read this verse, I can't help but thinking how proud Heavenly Father must have been. I know how much I hope that my parents will be proud of me, and even more importantly, I hope that my Heavenly Father will feel that way about me one day, that He'll be proud of me because I have done my best to follow His will too. 

Thanks for all the support! It means so much to me!

Love you all and happy Christmas season! 

Sister Sinclaire Hancock

P.S.  
Elder Chan leaves tonight to Irvine, California and we'll miss him terribly! But here he is being a turtle

eternal families, reunions, leaving on the 16th, God's love, He's reaching out to us



Sealing eternal families in the Provo Temple


6 December 2014

Hi!

Eternal Families
It's been a wonderful morning. We did sealings today [in the holy temple where families are sealed to each other so that if we are faithful to our covenants with God, our family relationships will continue for eternity].   There was such a great Spirit in the room. All those participating today were especially friendly and happy which made such a big difference to me. 

I really tried to put myself in the shoes of child being sealed to their parents (I think we all were because each time the sealer started saying the blessings the proxy for the dad would look at me and smile and then the proxy for the mom would do the same) and I felt so much love and perhaps caught a little glimpse of how amazing those blessings are. 

Elder & Sister Tom Taylor
on their way to Mongolia
I tried to picture how [our adopted cousins] Emma or Nauvoo felt [when they were recently sealed to their parents in the Nauvoo Temple] and of all the wonderful promises they now are able to be a part of. And of course I wore the special pearl earrings from you Mama and thought of our special eternal family :) 

Sister Romy on her way
to serve in Japan
Reunions
I saw Tom & Katy Taylor this week! It was neat because I had received a note from Dad the day before saying there was a get together in their honor because they're leaving to serve in Mongolia. The next day I received a Christmas card from Hank and Colette Taylor and then at lunch I ran into Tom and Katy in the cafeteria and we were able to take a picture together. Tom told me he was posting it on Instagram. So fun! 

Please thank Hank and Colette for me and also Lisa Pearson who sent me a little goodie this week -- it's so nice knowing that people care and are thinking of me here! I also found Romy [who came to visit Palo Alto just before starting her mission to serve in Japan]!


Travel Plans
We got our travel plans! If all goes according to plan, we're leaving on the 16th! We were the first district in our zone to get them even though we haven't been here for the longest. No one quite understands what's going on with the visa situation, but for some reason we're fortunate because we get to go straight to Taiwan. Many districts before us were reassigned and are currently in the states and others had to stay in the MTC longer. But we were secretly happy about that because we didn't want any of them to leave or we'd miss them too much! 
It's also fun because now we get to travel together! We'll be in the same airplane and have a layover together in Tokyo and we'll stay in the mission home together for four days when we first arrive in Taiwan (everyone in my district except for Elder Chan & Marcelo who are going to California).

John 3:17
He is the Gift. If you haven't seen this short video yet, you can find it on Mormon.org and I love it! It's about Christmas and the true meaning of it and it's great. We watched it probably 20 different times last week and we have all the music and lines memorized.  But I feel of God's love every time I watch it so it never gets old!

Merry Christmas from our district

Bow Ties!
Sister Kwong's mom is an amazing seamstress and this week she sent about 30 bow ties she sewed for us and they're all fun Christmas patterns. So we've been having fun messing around with all of them! We even took a district Christmas photo in them :) 
Alligator skin cure

Alligator Skin Cure
Last little highlight is that one of the elders this week shared his coconut oil with us so we lather up everyday! It is so dry that we all have alligator skin and even some little rashes so we seriously treat this stuff like it's our baby... our teachers think we're a little too obsessed.

He's reaching out to us
D&C 88:63

"Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." 

This Christmas let's all try a little harder to come unto Christ. I know He's reaching out to us and wants us to listen. If we seek Him and draw unto Him, we'll find Him. That's a promise. 

Love you all!  Have a wonderful break and enjoy the Christmas season!

Sister Sinclaire Hancock

P.S. More fun photos:


"Cheers!" Elder Padilla left this week and I miss my buddy :(
We would go through on average 4-6 
bananas a day. Throughout the day we would go out into the hallway
 and yell down for each other to come out whenever we were ready for a snack "B
anana Buddy!"

Shenanigans--having fun :)


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Movie night, food insecure, joyful noise, be still my soul, one-on-one





1 December 2014


Hi! 

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving! Ours was awesome here. 


Movie night and Christmas lights
On Thanksgiving night, we were able to watch the new movie "Meet the Mormons" and they passed out a bag of popcorn to every single missionary! The movie was great. I thought it was really uplifting and also funny :) I'm glad I could finally see it. After the movie as we were walking out, they handed all 2000 of us missionaries a candy cane and then on our way back to the dorms we got to see the Christmas lights. They went all out! All the trees are decorated and it's so pretty. Everyone went wild on Thanksgiving--people were shouting and singing and laughing...
Assembling food packages to serve community members



Serving "Food Insecure"
During the day we had the opportunity to assemble little food kits for the Utah Food Bank. This made me feel a little more at home because every Thanksgiving with my Grandma we serve lunch to the homeless, so I felt like I got to do that in a way with my family still.  We assembled over 350,000 casserole kits for 'food insecure' families which made us all really happy.


A Joyful Noise
My scripture for the week is Psalms 100 and it is perfect for wrapping up Thanksgiving: 

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truthendureth to all generations.

An Answer to Prayer
Elder Bednar came on Thanksgiving! For those of you who don't know who that is, he is one of the twelve apostles of our church so is like a celebrity in the Mormon world. But he really is an incredible person by any standards. He is a fantastic speaker -- he speaks boldly, simply, and clearly and he is a deep thinker.  He and his wife came to speak to us for the devotional on Thanksgiving and it was amazing! I was so so so excited! 

MTC missionaries at Elder Bednar's talk
I wish I could type a transcript of everything he said, but some of the things he said were definitely an answer to prayer for me and helped answered things that had been on my mind. 

Yesterday, Sister Sheri Dew came and spoke to us in Relief Society. Again--incredible! There are some people who speak and you look at your watch, and you zone out, but then there are some people who talk for an hour and it feels like it was only 15 minutes and you wish they could talk all day! She's one of them. She's absolutely amazing and we're so lucky here in the MTC that we have so many awesome opportunities to hear from all these people. 


Be Still My Soul
We're really on a roll this week because last night, Vocal Point came! Again this might be another "Mormon bubble" thing but they're an a capella group and they're really good! You can find them on youtube :) They sang to us for last night's devotional -- "Be Still My Soul". They have the voices of angels. It was so powerful to hear them live and to hear their testimonies before each song that they shared with us.


One-on-One
My last highlight from the week is doing interviews. Recently my companion and I were called as Sister Training Leaders (we're responsible over all the sister missionaries in our zone). So we conduct interviews each week to see how the sisters are doing and to try and help give advice for any problems they might be having (obedience, homesickness, language, getting along with companion, etc.) It was so fun for me to be able to talk to them one-on-one and get to know them better. Each time I walked out of the room and looked at the time I was always amazed at how long I could talk to them for and how quickly we could connect even though we came from different places in the world and previously didn't know each other. I'm excited to get to know them and they're all wonderful. 

Love and miss you all! 
Sister Hancock

Thursday, November 27, 2014

10 things I'm grateful for, He'll give me back a bigger heart





killin' it in our traffic jackets


24 November 2014

Hello! Another week down. It's the 24th today and if all goes according to plan, we're leaving on the 18th of December which sounds so soon! Time is still going by fast and this week will be a fun one because it's Thanksgiving! One of my favorite times of the year! 



10 Things I'm Grateful For

1. My family: I know it was no accident that I ended up with my specific family members. They have been such a blessing to me and I could not design a more perfect situation if I tried.

2. My wonderful friends: I'm so lucky to be receiving so much support from home and I appreciate everyone's prayers!

3. The Scriptures: My love has grown for the scriptures so much since I've been here. I'm always amazed at how each time I take the time to read and study I'll find questions to the answers in my mind. 

4. Music: Music is so powerful! Especially lately I've loved singing the simple Primary [children's] songs that I have not sung for years and pondering what once seemed like simple messages I'm now realizing are actually quite profound.

happy
5. Differences: As hard as it can be to agree with people sometimes or to understand their point of view, differences truly are a blessing. They help me become a kinder and more patient person, and I'm always amazed at how much I can learn from people when I'm willing to be humble enough to work with them and really become a team.

6. Food! Since being away from home, I miss our cooking so much! Being able to have fresh ingredients and come up with recipes is such a fun part of life and one that draws people together :)

7. Nature: Utah is gorgeous! And each Sunday when we get to go on our walk, I love being able to look at the snow-covered mountains and the fall-colored leaves.

8. Personal Revelation: I'm so grateful that I have a God who loves me and knows me personally, even better than I know myself. I'm grateful that He cares enough about my needs and my worries and my questions to help me in just the way that I need it and in a way that I will understand

9. Art: I miss being able to do my crafts and draw and create things on the computer :(  Art is such a beautiful way to express ourselves and I'm glad that other people are so talented and that I can appreciate their creations.

10. Water: I love the beach and swimming pools and I have already had a few dreams since I've been here of swimming down amazing waterfall rapids and I've enjoyed the rain and snow in Utah. Perhaps I've been thinking about it since California is in such a bad drought? 


He'll Give Me Back a Bigger Heart

This week I've been thinking about hearts -- how different each of our hearts is, how I want mine to be, what the Lord wants my heart to be... 

To make sure the point got across, several times throughout this week the song "Come Thou Fount" has been played either at devotionals, in movie clips, etc. If I was supposed to receive a certain message, I think I got it!
I love the words: 
"Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above."
As a missionary, that's really what each of us has done. We've given our lives and our hearts to the Lord--being willing to be completely vulnerable and go into a new situation that is unfamiliar and maybe a little bit uncomfortable at first. Because we love Him, we're willing to put our entire lives on pause and to try our best to do what He wants us to in order to serve. 

I desire to be an instrument in His hands. I know in order to do that I truly need to give Him my heart so He can shape it in the way necessary to help the people I'll meet in Taiwan. 

I know in order to make it through these 18 months I'll need a more patient, loving, humbler and softer heart.
I'm willing to give Him my heart and I know that at the end of my time serving He'll give me back a bigger heart. 

....I hope it's a wonderful Thanksgiving at home:)  Praying for you everyday!  

Love you!!!

Sister Sinclaire Hancock


                           
                                  looking like sisters with
                                 Sister Anita Leiva
don't leave me
(before Sister Leiva left the MTC
to go to the Texas Houston Mission)


family portrait?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

losing my English, newbies, habanero jelly, first snow, our army coming over the hill, cool analogies, be ready always

First snow!


November 17, 2014
Monday

On Wednesday I begin my 6th week! All the new missionaries come in and think we're sooo experienced but we still feel new and like we don't know a ton of Chinese. But I'm already losing my English. I anticipated that this would happen months from now in the field when I'm fluent in Chinese, but it's happening already! Right now I don't even have a language--I'm not fluent in English or Chinese!

But we are becoming pros at the MTC -- we basically have this place down to a science. This week we got called into the travel office and we knew it would be something about our visas. All the districts ahead of us called to Taiwan have been re-assigned to the states because apparently Taiwan changed the number of missionaries they're accepting.  So basically we have to wait until missionaries go home for new ones to go over. 

But, we heard that things are going better and that they're optimistic things will be figured out by the time it's time for us to leave the MTC. So we had all of this in mind when we walked over to the travel office, wondering if we would open up letters saying the state we were re-assigned to... or wondering if they would tell us everything was fine with our visas to go to Taiwan. But it turns out they just needed us to sign a couple of papers and that there was no news :(  Talk about anti-climactic.

But it was a fun week-- time went by the fastest ever so far here.

Highlights:

Newbies
On Wednesday we had the opportunity to host new missionaries. This was exciting for us to welcome and meet all the newbies.  It brought me back to the day I got dropped off by Dad and Mama and had a smiling sister come welcome me and help me bring my luggage to my residence. It was sad to see all the missionaries have to say goodbye to their families, but it was good to be able to empathize with how overwhelmed they were and tell them everything would be okay here. 

Habanero jelly!
Deep thinker + Habanero Jelly
Elder Millet (the one who looks sort of Russian with his crazy hat on in all the photos) is awesome! He is such a cool person. He's an extremely deep thinker and each time we have district testimony meeting or sharing time or anything, he always has some sort of speech prepared with all sorts of crazy symbolism. In the past he has related Beatles songs to the Gospel, explained to us the entire first half of Les Miserables then explained how the merciful obtain mercy, etc. This week his family sent us some of their habanero jelly. I had never heard of it. It's spicy and a little bit sweet and you eat it over wheat thins. Seriously amazing! I single-handedly ate half of the jar!

First Snow!
It's freezing here now! Because we're all going to Taiwan, we don't have super warm clothes so we've been bundled up all week. It snowed for the first time and it was gorgeous! Everyone went crazy.

Can all Mormons sing?
I'm getting excited for Thanksgiving :)  Apparently it's awesome here. There's a Thanksgiving program and I heard there might even be show tunes! Many times throughout my life I've been asked "Can all Mormons sing?" But it's sort of true. For some reason, most Mormons are decently musical! And in the MTC people are so talented. I've heard some of the best voices in my entire life here. Way better than many celebrity voices, so it's always exciting to hear the special musical performances.

Our Army Coming Over the Hill
Last night at our devotional, Sister Nally (the MTC President's wife) led us in a cool musical number. We all sang "Called to Serve" but she told us to picture ourselves as part of an army, hiding behind a hill. 

Called to serve
So we sang the first verse as quietly as we could: "Called to serve Him, heav'nly King of glory, Chosen e'er to witness for his name, Far and wide we tell the Father's story, Far and wide his love proclaim".  

Then we got a little louder on the chorus and sang the second verse medium volume:

"Called to know the richness of his blessing--Sons and daughters, children of a King--Glad of heart, his holy name confessing, Praises unto him we bring."

Then the last chorus forte: "Onward, every onward, as we glory in his name; Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing..."

For the last 2 lines, we stood up and sang as loud as we could, picturing our army coming over the hill: "God our strength will be; press forward ever, called to serve our King."

It was so cool! Just picture 2000 missionaries in one room singing those words as loudly as we can.

Cool Analogies
One of Elder Millet's cool analogies this week was about a car. He's into cars and he told us about how after the car is created and completely assembled, it's a beautiful masterpiece. But what they do with it then is run it into a wall. Many people wonder why they would do that to such a fine invention, but that's a necessary process in order to improve the car. After running it into the wall, they see the car's weak spots and then they know what to change in order to make it better. 

He said this is like the Atonement in our lives. Many people wonder why God would give or allow His children trials and hard times if we are His greatest creations and He loves us. But we are given trials so we can improve as people and learn what we can change to become better. Even though it's painful to go through this process, we always come out stronger afterwards and we have Christ to help us.

Be Ready Always to Give an Answer
My scripture for this week is 1 Peter 3:15:15
" Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you...."
I like this because I've had so much time here to think about what I really believe. I have so many hours each day to further study my beliefs and ask many big questions in pondering as I think about these beliefs. I know that I need reasons for my beliefs and that I need to be ready to share them with others when they ask. 

I hope everyone has a great week! Love and miss you all!

Sister Sinclaire Hancock


Sometimes we're just exhausted
With my BYU roommate, Sister Megan Brown called to serve in Brazil!

Monday, November 10, 2014

45 minute lesson, gypsy princess, Lord is laboring with us, what I've learned, Sun Laoshi





"We've all been working hard here, studying and trying our best
to learn the language, and we're all exhausted. 
But I know that... the Lord is also laboring with us. 
This is His work and I know He is doing it His own way."


10 November 2014

Monday

Hellooooo!

Excited to be able to write today. 

It was a good week! Time went by the fastest it has so far here. 

On Wednesday we'll be starting our 5th week which is crazy to think about. We can mostly understand our teachers during class now which is nice because there's a lot less of charades going on. However, when we teach our investigators it's difficult to know what they're saying much of the time. But in general, we can hold conversations now and teach a 45 minute lesson no problem! 


Teachers

This week we got 2 new teachers which was hard for us because we loved our last ones, but these new ones are great too! For whatever reason, they've switched our teachers a ton already. Sometimes in 1 day we'll have 5 different teachers which is sort of odd but it's fun getting to know them all! We joke around with them a ton so they probably get sick of us and go beg another teacher to come in :P No, I think they actually like us a lot. And surprisingly they've all said we're pretty behaved! Our teacher actually started crying when she told us she was being moved to a different district :( 

But now we have Ke Laoshi and she's awesome. We call her the gypsy princess because she's probably the most hipster person I've ever seen. Everyday she wears leggings with patterned high socks over them, some sort of paisley poncho thing and then another patterned scarf on top of that. She's really sweet and she's a great teacher! 

Our other new teacher is Ge Laoshi and he's hilarious. He's extremely animated when he talks which is actually helpful even though we laugh every time he says something to us. He's famous for "Women meiyou henduo de shijian" (We don't have a lot of time) but with each word he acts out a different motion. First he points to all of us, then he waves his hands in front of him for "don't have" then he puts stretches his arms all the way out to his side for "a lot" and then points to his wrist for "time". But it works! None of us ever forget how to say that now. 

Scripture that has made a difference 

Jacob 5:72 "And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things." 

We've all been working hard here studying and trying our best to learn the language and we're all exhausted. But I know that as this scripture says, the Lord is also laboring with us. This is His work and I know He is doing it His own way. We just need to be willing to keep up with the pace. 


How I am growing

Most of all I think I've been humbled since I've gotten to the MTC. I've learned that things I might have thought before were earned I'm now learning are given. 

Last night after devotional my companion and I went to watch one of Elder Bednar's previous devotionals given at the MTC. And who doesn't love Elder Bednar?! He has a way of teaching clearly and simply and candidly. Exactly how Dad is too and perhaps that's why Elder Bednar is one of my favorites (I know we're not to have favorites but they even look alike!) 

Basically in his talk he talked of many things and told of a few stories that frankly, were harsh at first. It seemed like he was being a little hard on us but at the same time I knew all of his words were true. 

He said, "Every mission is good for the missionary, but not every missionary is good for the mission." I know he's right: the mission will be a tremendous learning experience for everyone, but not everyone becomes the type of missionary that we really need to become. 

But after that he talked about how any success that we will have on our missions is a gift from God and it will be in His timetable, and if we are finding success on our missions we must give all the credit to Heaven, and not get arrogant. 

I love the scripture Alma 26:22 "Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works,and prayeth continually without ceasing--unto such it is GIVEN to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be GIVEN to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be GIVEN unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been GIVEN unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance." 

So to sum up in one word what I've learned at the MTC so far: humility.


People here who are influencing me 

Sun Laoshi. This was one of our teachers and the one who we became close with and cried when she had to leave our district. She really is amazing! When she was a teenager she went to live in Japan with a host family. That host family was Mormon and she became interested in their church and started taking the discussions. It took a year and a half, but eventually she was baptized. 

She's from Shanghai so the idea of God and of prayer, etc. was all very foreign to her. She said it's just not something they're taught about in school and she didn't really know much about religion. But it's incredible to see how much she's changed her life! 

She went on a mission to Australia, now she goes to BYU and teaches in the MTC! She's incredibly enthusiastic and she's hilarious. She has a super high pitched voice and is full of shrieking laughter and squeals. We miss her as a teacher but we still run into her every once in a while :) 


LOVE YOU!!!