Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sister Nemrow, a temperature change in his heart, work to do, awesome!

October 20, 2014


Thanks for the photos! So fun to see. I'm so glad you and Dad were able to come with me to the MTC! I know I tried to talk you out of it to save the money or whatever but I was so glad to have your support to the very last second before I walked into the MTC and said goodbye. And thanks for the package! It's so exciting to get a pink slip of paper saying there's something waiting for me in the mail room.  And the shirts look perfect! 

Here's my first email letter of my mission.

Sister Nemrow
My companion's name is Sister Nemrow.  She's from Hawaii and she's 19 and she's done 2 years at BYU Provo so far.  We actually have a lot in common so that's worked out nicely! We both like to exercise, she doesn't eat meat either, she drinks soymilk too, she dances... So many similarities have popped up that I can't even remember! She works very hard and she's super dedicated. She uses every second to study she hardly takes breaks and doesn't really mess around like the rest of our district which is a good example.

First companions: Sister Nemrow and Sister Hancock
Super Fun
But the district! So a district is basically a group of people you're put with and we all go to class together everyday.  There's 9 of us: 5 elders and 4 sisters and interestingly, we've all had a little bit of Chinese before so that definitely helped on the first day and even now because our teacher never speaks English.  The closest to English we get is "Okay ma?" As in "Is it okay for me to move on? / Did that make sense?" But the elders are hilarious.  We just laugh at the stupidist stuff and we're having a lot of fun.  At first we were pretty quiet and by my 3rd night I started thinking that these 9 weeks were going to drag on and on... but then we all became closer friends and now it's super fun here! And it hasn't even been a week yet!

A Temperature Change in His Heart
One highlight was the very first night that I got here.  We went to a workshop and were put in groups of maybe 30 or 40 new missionaries.  And an investigator walked in and the teacher read us his background.  For example Carlo Bomba whose wife has been dead for 7 years is best friends with Tony who has been inviting him to meet with the missionaries for over 10 years.  Eventually he finally agreed so that's why he came to the MTC because he heard about this "happy plan".  It was awesome as we all took turns raising our hands and teaching him and answering his questions.  His responses were hilarious! And very sweet. He said "Sign me up! I would rather have that plan and be able to hug my wife and pat her on the bottom instead of shake hands and say goodbye see you on the next cloud." But it was awesome to see how much he wanted to be sealed to his family and how he would do anything for that. He lost one of his 6 kids as a baby and we told him that unlike his previous church we believe that his baby is in heaven because he did nothing wrong and that he could see his baby again.  He was amazed to learn that all babies can go to heaven and he said "Wow! Heaven must be crowded." After someone asked how he felt about the things we had taught him he said he felt a temperature change in his heart. It was really neat to see! I'm not sure if he was a fake investigator or not... he looked real to me but I've heard it both ways.  Either way it was still a really cool experience to be thrown in and practice teaching someone and to see how special our doctrine can be in their lives. 

A lowlight? I got a bit sad one night just realizing that it's hard to work with people.  I sort of noticed that really I was going to be spending these 9 weeks with the same 9 people and that thought scared me a little because we're all so different and I know we probably will get irritated with each other at times.  Between that and missing home and a comment someone made to me that frankly just wasn't helpful on my third night, I started to understand why so many people warned me that my mission would be hard.  I finally came to the realization that everyone here is amazing and they're such good people who are willing to serve and we're all trying to do the same thing but it gets hard because we all think our strategy or method is best and so agreeing on the way to accomplish the same goal can get tricky.  But we're figuring it all out! 

Three things I've learned so far:

Work to Do
I told you a little about it in my letter but last night we had our first devotional and it was sooo good! Former NFL player and Mormon, Chad Lewis, and his wife came to talk to us and they were so good.  They were awesome! I loved hearing all his experiences about his different coaches and teammates and the light they had in them and how he learned to let his light shine as he was often the only Mormon on his teams and many players would bully him. But I liked his interpretation of D&C 88 about hastening the work. Sorry I can't remember the exact verses right now but he had a great quote "Before we hasten the work, we got work to do." And that's exactly what we're doing in the MTC.  We have to do our part to prepare and we sure are working hard.  When the alarm goes off every morning at 6:30 I can't believe it's already time to get up! But I'm able to get through it all because I know that my preparations will bless people that I'll meet in the future and if their salvation depends on me studying the language or waking up early or whatever it may be, then it's worth it.

Invite...and Help
Our missionary purpose says we are to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." In another workshop one teacher pointed something out that is so true. She said missionaries always "invite invite invite" but not all missionaries "help." Oftentimes missionaries will ask if they've done their assignment and the investigator will say no and then they'll invite them to again read whatever section of the Book of Mormon.  This is not helpful.  Instead of just inviting over and over and over again, we also need to help.  Instead we could say "Why not?!" and talk through it with them and perhaps give our own witness and testimony of how it can help their lives and then again ask them if they would read it.  But that's what I'm trying to do with our investigator right now instead of invite her to all these things I'm sure she's been asked hundreds of times, I want to help her come to Christ and help her realize the importance of what we're teaching her and help her have a desire to give it a try.

Chinese is Awesome
I've learned that singing the hymns in Chinese is awesome! It's so powerful when our district starts class with singing a hymn in Chinese and then praying all together in Chinese.  It's beautiful to see the Gospel being spread to all parts of the world and to read all the church material in another language.  As Chad Lewis pointed out last night, how cool would it be if during our missions China opened up to the church and halfway through our mission we could be reassigned there?! This might not happen but I know it's close and it's cool to be able to help the cause.


Sister Hancock

My district of missionaries at the Provo Temple

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