Sunday, November 22, 2015

A new start, missionary church, we all need to find God, conscious choice, leads us to our knees, search for me with all your heart

With Ruby, the investigator we found in the park [see story in last week's letter]
23 November 2015
Jiayi, Taiwan

A New Start
It was a good last week of the transfer. It's crazy how fast the transfers go by! Went on an exchange, went to a missionary training meeting in Gaoxiong, and visited some great members this week. 

November 19: Specialized training session by President and Sister Blickenstaff on
various leadership skills, including ministering, teaching, time management, companionship unity etc. 
I'm excited for a new start! It's move day today, and we'll be having some new sisters move into our zone and a new district leader which I'm excited for. I'm also very happy I didn't have to pack! That's the worst!! 

Missionary Church
Yesterday, the Bishopric gave the entire sacrament meeting to us missionaries. So we had about 45 minutes to talk about missionary work and it was a great opportunity! My topic was "the Lord's church is a missionary church" and I enjoyed thinking about that topic last week in preparation. 

Our district
There have been times on my mission where I've thought to myself that missionary work is terribly inefficient and that because it's God's work, "There's gotta be a better way."

Some days we talk to probably over 100 people and maybe if you're lucky 5 of those people will have a real conversation with you, 1 is willing to set up [an appointment] with you, and whether or not that person will even end up getting baptized, we don't know. The point is that we get rejected all the time, but every missionary knows this is what they're signing up for because that's how it was with Jesus Christ too, and our purpose is to focus on each one person. 

The Lord's church has always been a missionary church (Moses 5:58, Mark 16:15, D&C 66:5). I believe that's evidence that this truly is God's church. 

Of course God would require us to preach His gospel because He knows every single one of His children needs it, no matter what country they live in.

He loves us all the same and hopes that we'll all be able to return to Him. 

We all need to find God
I think there are a lot of reasons God's church is a missionary church, but I chose to talk about one: God's church is a missionary church because we all need to find God. 

For me, this is not an easy thing that God requires of us. We know that in order to go to the celestial kingdom, we all need to have faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and I personally have never found that an easy thing that comes super naturally. 

Hard work, conscious choice, diligence, trust, humility
Sister Wawro and me: two peas in a pod?

In my experience it has been hard work--a decision that is intentional, one that takes a conscious choice and much diligence.

Believing in things that we can't see takes humility, to trust that there is much beyond our understanding--that just because we can't see things or comprehend them, doesn't mean they are not real. 

I think that God requires us to search for Him because it helps us go against our prideful human nature which is to doubt, and be skeptical, and to want to trust and rely on ourselves and no one else. 

Leads us to our knees
It leads us to our knees, to the scriptures, and it strips us of pride. 

Searching for God opens our eyes and broadens our perspective. 

It makes us more loving. 

It makes us realize there's so much more than we realize and there's more to life than just ourselves. 

Search for me with all your heart
The scripture I chose before leaving on my mission was Jeremiah 29:13, and it's still one of my favorites for all these reasons.
"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
The search is never over! There's always more we can do!

All my love,
Sister Hancock

Sisters in our district

Sister Wawro and me
English party--we love Costco muffins
The Elders in our district

Monday, November 16, 2015

Exchanges, spoiled by how much people appreciate missionaries, flower pot, miracle: this is God's work, Elder & Sister Wong

16 November 2015

Good week! 

Exchanges Went on 2 exchanges [where we swap teaching companions for a day] which were super fun. 

Reunited on exchanges with Sister Proffit from my MTC district!
Spoiled by how much people appreciate missionaries
Went to a fancy Thai restaurant with a member in our ward who is a pediatrician and it was the best food I've eaten my whole mission! The red curry was to die for! And they even took us out to Coldstone's after wards too :) 

Treated to a fancy Thai restaurant by a member in our ward

Best food I've eaten my whole mission! The red curry was to die for! 
It's awesome how spoiled we are and seeing how much people appreciate missionaries here. Especially because most people are converts here, they really love missionaries. 

Flower pot
Another member took us out to an all you can eat pizza place on Friday which was pretty dangerous. 

Funny story! We had an hour slot, so we ate tons and tons of food because she told us to keep eating. Taiwan loves dessert pizzas, they have all sorts: mochi, fruit, peanut butter, cinnamon and apples, marshmallows, etc. They had 2 really yummy dessert pizzas, one with pumpkin and oreo on top, and another with apple and taro. 

Taro is probably my favorite thing about Taiwan. I love it to death! So naturally, I kept getting back and going for more and more pieces. Eventually I got to piece number 8 and realized I had practically eaten the entire pizza. And we had eaten tons of other stuff besides that too. 

Somehow my stomach was okay, but my companion was having a hard time. She just laid out on the bench and rested for a few minutes before we finally decided to try and bike home. It was the slowest we had ever biked because we had never tried biking so full before! 

But we were cruising along very slowly when I went to make the last turn before the street our apartment is on, and when I checked behind me, I couldn't see my companion. So I pulled over and stopped when finally she comes into view and I ask her what happened and she said she accidentally went over a bump in the road and that it was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back. After hitting that bump, her stomach couldn't handle it, so she stopped biking and threw up into the nearest thing she could find, which was a flower pot 4 feet in front of her bike. I just about died when she told me that! 

The Family Home Evening group -- every Monday

Miracle: this is God's work
I wanted to share one quick miracle from this week's exchanges :) 

I was at lunch with Sister Porter and we randomly got talking about how tiny decisions affect the course of our entire life.... It's fun to think about and we both kind of sat there in awe for a second just thinking about how interesting life is.

After that we went to a park to contact, still conversing about this a little bit as we walked around contacting different people. There's been a big mosquito problem lately so people are still pretty paranoid and avoid the parks, so there weren't a ton of people to talk to. We contacted all the possible options and started walking to our bikes to go somewhere else when we saw 2 people who weren't Taiwanese. We're always curious when we see other foreigners in Taiwan and want to know what they're doing here, so we sort of laughed to each other and asked "Should we go ask them why they're in Taiwan?" and we decided to go for it.

Our recent convert, Lu JieMei 
Turns out they are from Morocco but both live here and have lived here for 10 years and are even married, but we had a great conversation with them and then walked to our bikes to leave again.

But as we were walking back, we saw a lady sitting with 2 dogs who hadn't been there 5 minutes ago. We decided to try her before we left, and we ended up talking with her for an hour! She was really nice and she was hilarious, we were all cracking up and she loved hearing our message. She's willing to keep learning and she's coming to the chapel on Tuesday

It was awesome to see how when we were being obedient and trying to follow the Spirit that we were able to have success. It was especially cool to see how small decisions actually turn into big ones because we had just been talking about that. If we hadn't decided to talk to those 2 guys, we would have never met her and would have been contacting in a different spot and would have missed each other. 

This is God's work!

Elder and Sister Wong
Here are some photos from our special training by Elder and Sister Wong of the Quorum of Seventy that I wrote about last week.  They were visiting from Hong Kong where they serve in the Asia Area Presidency. Do you remember him speaking in Cantonese at the October 2014 General Conference? He talked about Jesus healing the man with palsy to teach about "Rescue in Unity":
"In order to assist the Savior, we have to work together in unity and in harmony. Everyone, every position, and every calling is important....
 We can all help one another. We should always be anxiously engaged in seeking to rescue those in need....
I testify that Jesus Christ is a God of miracles. Jesus Christ loves us all and has the power to save and heal, both physically and spiritually. When we assist Him in His mission of saving souls, we too will be rescued in the process."

November 5, 2015 Jiayi Zone Conference training led by Elder and Sister Wong:
:  goal to help establish stake in Jiayi
Jiayi Zone Conference lunch
Elder and Sister Wong Mission Tour in Jiayi: November 5, 2015
Leadership meeting with zone leaders, district leaders and sister training leaders prior to conference
Hope everyone has a great week :)

Sister Hancock

P.S.  More photos to catch up on
Fun P-day 2 weeks ago in An Ping-- met this guy who makes leather everything... 
...and can burn in anything you would like him to write! 
P-Day adventures at the dentist for my companion

An Ping
Beautiful fans in An Ping

Friday, November 13, 2015

Exhausted but love what we do, Vietnamese feast and cookies, didn't know I had it in me, consecrated, ridiculously hot

Sister Wawro and me with Elder and Sister Wong (member of the First Quorum of the Seventy)
9 November 2015


Exhausted but love what we do
Great week. Had a fun p-day on Monday and went sightseeing a bit with another companionship and had a great day. Really, p-days aren't restful at all. They're usually just as busy as regular days.  We look forward to them thinking they'll help us recover from the week, but then realize you start the next week just as tired, if not more tired. We're all exhausted, but we love what we do!

Vietnamese feast and cookies
Tuesday was my companion's birthday so we booked up lots of eating appointments! We made banana pancakes for breakfast, then went over to Kathy's house for lunch. She's our investigator from Vietnam so she made us Vietnamese food.

Delicious Vietnamese food cooked by Kathy
Food coma

Then we went to our RC's [recent convert's] house for a "snack" which turned out to be really filling too and she tried a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe that she found online for the first time. She lived in Canada for a couple of years so her cooking is the closest thing we have to American food (she's the one who makes us guacamole). 
Yummiest chocolate chip oatmeal cookies I've ever had
Turns out her cookies were probably the yummiest chocolate chip oatmeal cookies I've ever had! Way better than any I could make. So naturally we ate the entire batch and when she found out we loved them so much, she made them for us 3 more times this week.

Zao gao! 

Didn't know I had it in me
We started biking from her house to the chapel for our next lesson, when my skirt got stuck in my chain. This happens a lot so I just kept biking because it usually will come out eventually. But this time it didn't. More and more kept getting stuck and deeper and deeper in my chain, until my companion was cracking up at me from behind.

Getting my skirt out of the bike chain
So finally we pull over and I start tugging on it as hard as I can, but it won't come out. This Grandpa looks at me and starts laughing and telling me not to bike, but of course I just brush him off and start biking again. But this time it pulled practically my whole skirt off, so he just walked by laughing at me.

Luckily Sister Wawro had a pocket knife in her bike box, so she literally cut my skirt off and then we biked home really fast and the elders helped get it out of my chain. 

I just think it's a miracle that I've worn a skirt every day for the past year and to add to that, that I've biked every day in a skirt for such a long period of time.

I didn't know I had it in me!

Then to top it off, we went to Korean BBQ for dinner and basically rolled into our apartment that night we were so full. It was an eventful birthday!

Happy birthday Sister Wawro
The spiritual highlight was mission tour! Elder and Sister Wong from the [First Quorum of the] 70 came and visited our mission and we received a few trainings from them and President & Sister Blickenstaff. 

What stuck out to me was repentance, faith, and the Atonement. Those were talked about a lot and are areas we can all improve on.

Sacrifice was something that touched me too.... I also know how much President loves the Lord and how willing he is to be consecrated. I felt the same thing when talking to the Wongs. They give up so much to serve for the church and it is not easy for them, but they do so anyway.

Lots more happened this week, but I'll write some more about it next week :) 

Much love,
Sister Hancock

P.S. Ridiculously hot
Also still ridiculously hot for November.....
Current Temp: 88°F 31°C 
Nov 09
Nov 10
Nov 11
Nov 12
Nov 13

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ke Jiemei's story, will you not accept God's help, 3 days, God's power, change and love, little miracles every day

Photos from the Mission President:  "Mission Leadership Council: Welcoming our newest mission leaders" 
2 November 2015

Hi everyone!

It was a great week. I realized that because I ran out of time last week, I didn't get to fully explain Ke Jiemei's story! 

Ke Jiemei's story
She met missionaries last year for the first time through our free English class and started meeting with them then and so had gone through lots of different missionaries and had dropped a lot of baptismal goals. She loves the Bible and studied it for 2 years with some Jehovah Witnesses so she knows it really well. She was good with all our doctrine, but her biggest hang up was giving up coffee. Everyone at her work drinks it so it was kind of a social thing for her and plus she was addicted, so she never hit her baptism goals because she couldn't get the strength to give it up. 

Then, Sister Wawro moved to Tainan about 2 weeks before I got here. It's funny hearing Ke Jiemei tell the story, but when Ke Jiemei saw Sister Wawro for the first time her initial thought was "Oh, she looks pretty and nice. I won't mind meeting with her." Little did she know! 

Will you not accept God's help?
The first time Sister Wawro met with her, she really caught Ke Jiemei off guard! She pretty much insisted that she set a new goal and didn't let Ke Jiemei talk her out of it this time. Sister Wawro told her that she could have a priesthood blessing and Ke JM tried to make some more excuses that were of no use. Eventually Sister Wawro looked her in the eyes and said "Will you or will you not accept God's help in your life?" 

Ke JM finally gave in. Ke JM walked out of that lesson saying to Sister Wawro "Laoshi ni hen xiong". (Teacher, you're aggressive/fierce/stubborn) 

3 days
Our elders gave her a wonderful priesthood blessing to help her be able to give up coffee, and the results were immediate! Though she had tried and failed countless times before, this time it worked quickly and smoothly! It was really special to see. 

She said that 3 days went by and she was confused because normally her co-workers would offer her coffee or tease her for trying to give it up, but none of that happened for 3 days. She said she could always smell it in the cubicles next to her and then she would have to go and drink it, but she didn't smell any of it for 3 days. 

Finally she couldn't take it, so she went and asked her co workers why they hadn't been drinking coffee like usual for the past few days and they looked at her like she was crazy and said they hadn't been doing anything differently and that they were still drinking their coffee everyday. 

God's power is real
I'm not sure how it worked, but God's power is real! She was able to give up coffee and is now a baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has never looked back! 

Change and love, little miracles every day
I love being able to be a part of this work which is all about change and love. It's full of little miracles every day if we have the eyes to notice them.

Love you all!

Sister Hancock

It's been a seafood-filled week!

October 2015 Taichung Mission Leadership
Mission Leadership Council lunch at the Mission Home in Taichung