Sunday, February 21, 2016

Power Week, Sister Xu, Sister Li, Steve

Guess what? I'm English leader again!  The English unit in Tainan has a ton of potential.
I'm excited to see what can happen with it during these next few weeks.
22 February 2016

Fun week! 

Power Week
There's a tradition in our mission:  every year, the week after Chinese New Year, we have a "Power Week". We have tons of crazy challenges to get the missionary work going again after a big slump during the holidays. Our studies and meal times were cut in half this week, so tons and tons of time outside trying to find people. Each day had a different focus, such as a certain number of families to talk to, things to testify about, Book of Mormons to hand out, new investigators, etc. And crazy high goals that we were trying to hit. It was fun to be able to talk to so many people each day--way more than we would normally have time to talk to in one day. We met some really cool people who I'm excited to start working with! 

This week I really touched by a few members.

Sister Xu
The first, Sister Xu. She's frankly just a little bit out there, but boy, she is an awesome missionary. She's the type of person who gets really close to your face when she's talking to you and will grab your arm and tell you everything you're supposed to do. But she's a wonderful example to me of someone who wants everyone to have the gospel and knows that every member is a missionary, the same as us, even though she doesn't wear a tag. 

So we scheduled a time to go proselyting with her and told her she could take the lead. We biked with her to what was sort of like a mini library, a place that rented out cartoon books. She just walked in and started talking to the worker at the front desk, then the boss got nervous and came out so she started talking to the boss. And she never gave up! She talked for probably 40 minutes about God and called these people to repentance! 

By the end, they said they'd be willing to meet with us and gave us their number. I was touched by her willingness to help us and by her burning desire for these people to have the gospel and how determined she was to help them realize why our message was so important and to help them understand why they need it.

Sister Li
Sister Li signed up to take us to lunch last week but at the last minute had to reschedule. So we met her at Pizza Hut on Wednesday. As we sat down with her, she said she had to make a phone call. She called her friend up-- actually her middle school English teacher--and told her to come to lunch with us right away to meet some of her friends. She was able to talk her into it, and her friend joined us 10 minutes later. Sister Li guided the conversation and told us what she wanted to share about with her friend. 

I was so impressed that Sister Li would trust missionaries with one of her oldest friends and that she viewed our lunch as an opportunity for her to share the gospel. Most of us would never even think of doing something like that, and would just feed the missionaries. But it was the perfect way to meet her friend and we were more than happy to get the referral :) 

Fun lunch with 3 of our recent converts.  Neat to see them help each other.
So happy Anika is finally back. She was out of town for a few weeks for New year and we missed her!
Our Ward Mission Leader, Steve, got released yesterday. Steve has taught me what it means to magnify a calling. You think you know until you meet Steve. He's always watching out for us and does all he can to make our job easier. He knows everything about everyone in the ward and is involved in each investigator that we tell him about. He's made thorough maps for each part of our area and is frequently in touch with us. 

He's a great example to me of someone who has made a huge difference. He hasn't just done his calling because he had to, but someone who became passionate about every detail of this work and someone we can always rely on. 

Excited for the next brother we get to work with, but I'll forever be grateful for Steve and all the countless hours and effort he's spent helping us do missionary work.

And I'm grateful for all of your service too, I assume you're doing great things in your callings and having wonderful missionary opportunities as well. Next time you invite the missionaries over, try inviting a friend to come along too! 

Sister Hancock

Monday, February 8, 2016

Earthquake, Chinese New Year, God needs you on His side, Saviors for the whole human family

7 February 2016


Thank you for all the prayers about the earthquake! We are all safe and all our members are okay. 

Our ward mission leader,
Steve, checking in on us
It definitely surprised me though! I've never experienced anything like that before in my entire life. It hit in the middle of the night, around 4 am so we were in a deep sleep. But the entire house was shaking so we jumped out of bed and ran to the door frame. I and Sister Beus looked at each other and kind of said "that was weird... oh well, it's probably fine" and just got back in bed. 

Shows how missionary work brings you to a new level of exhaustion. Not even exhaustion--I'm surprised that I still feel okay and by how much energy I still have after doing this for so long. I think it's just knowing that no matter what happens, you still have to get up at 6:30 am no matter what. 

Recent convert from Taizhong,
checking on me
But right after we got in bed, our phone rang and it was Ruby (our recent convert) asking if we were okay. It was about a 4 second phone call, but she just asked if we were okay. I said back in my groggy voice "yes" and she said "go back to sleep!" I was touched that she thought of us and called that immediately after it happened.

Following my conversation with Ruby, we woke up to the door bell ringing. It was the couple that lives below us who are members saying we needed to run downstairs immediately. I just looked at him and said "it's probably fine-- are you sure it's that serious? We just want to sleep!" :P But of course he made us go downstairs because they're the type to watch out for us all the time. So they said we were going to wait outside for an hour to make sure it had all passed. We waited for a long time, shivering in our blankets. Then finally I just told them we were fine and that we were going to go back upstairs to bed. 

So grateful for everyone's love and touched by how many people thought about us.

Chinese New Year
Had a fun week trying to do as much work as we could before the huge Chinese New Year slump. Absolutely nobody will schedule lessons and the streets are going to be empty.  So it's going to be a slow week for missionary service ... but we're really excited for all the festivities. 

Guo nian (New Year) begins!
This week our zone did a fun "Defeat the Nian" activity with a different challenge for every day, such as how many Book of Mormons to pass out, etc. We have a lunch and dinner appointment scheduled for every day of this week so it's going to be a week of feasting! Our members are so kind to spoil us and I'm excited to be able to get to know all of their non-member families. Time for referrals!!! 

Admire Sister Beus and her desire to serve.
After asking lots of members, we were able to help  do some cleaning this week
God needs you on His side
This week we had a couple of powerful lessons with 2 investigators that we've been working with for a while now. Both of them want to be baptized at some point and know they need to, but aren't quite there yet. There might be a little bit of fear and a couple commandments standing in the way. I'm to the point where we have a close enough relationship that I could talk pretty bluntly with them. 

The lessons went something like this "God gives everyone spiritual gifts. I know you have special talents to offer. These are the last days. We're in a war right now. If you're not helping God, you're helping Satan. By not fully accepting the gospel right now, you're not only missing these blessings but you're also causing all your loved ones and those around you to also lose this opportunity. We need your help and God needs you on His side." Of course I tried to share this message lovingly, but I think the point got across. I really hope we're able to help them have enough courage to act and make the necessary changes that they need to and be baptized.

Saviors for the whole human family
I enjoyed studying this week about how we all need a cause, something that makes us feel valuable. I loved this quote that I came across by Elder John Witdsoe: 
"We agreed, right then and there to be not only saviors for ourselves... but saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father's work, and the Savior's work, but also our work." 
I know each of us is important and has something to offer. Our purpose in life is to become our best selves and reach our potential by developing the special gifts God has blessed us with. Once we do that, we are in a position to help those around us to not only save ourselves, but those around us and those we love. God trusts us with this huge responsibility. 

All my love! Happy Chinese New Year!!! 

Sister Sinclaire Hancock

During companion study, we treated ourselves
 to brownies from a box my aunt sent
Love cooking with Sister Beus.  Our best creation yet--
burrito with quinoa, salsa chicken and veggies