Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Festivities

December 9, 2013

Mis amigos,

So some interesting things have been happening here in Bakersfield. First off, with transfers! Drum roll..... I'm staying here in Bakersfield! Hermana O will be here also. But we're moving into an elders apartment! Talk about gross. We'll be doing a lot of cleaning tomorrow. We're excited to start off this transfer strong. We have good goals for this transfer, and we're hoping to see miracles!

We had a baptism this week! Her name is M. She is amazing. She grew up going to primary. She found the church through her teacher and wanted to be baptized. We were there to teach her. We got her ready for her baptism in 4 weeks. The service was amazing! The Spirit was so strong and there were so many people that came to support her. The room was full. Which is never heard of. She was so excited and happy to be baptized. I wish you all could meet her. Her testimony is so strong!

Along with the baptism, she invited a bunch of the girls that live in her group home. We're teaching two of them and one of them has a baptismal date for the end of the month! We'll be really busy with that, but I'm super excited to teach her!

We also had our ward Christmas dinner this weekend. It was great, but overwhelming! We had 4 investigators, 2 recent converts, and lots of less actives we are working with who showed up. It was great to be so busy! One of M's friends asked us how to be baptized. So we set up a date with her.

As transfers are coming up, we decided to give gifts to our district. We picked up a lot of random stuff from service projects, so we thought out which gifts would be best for who, and gave them gifts. One got a unicorn snowglobe (just so you have an idea of the type of gifts we gave). They all loved them and thought it was hilarious.

We were able to go watch the Christmas devotional last night! We watched it with a family that acts a lot like ours, so it was great to be there. We got to do part of their Christmas tradition with them, so it felt like I was home for a little bit.

But I wanted to talk about Christmas! Particularly the talk from Elder Nelson. Christ is truly the Prince of Peace. Through this Christmas season, when times our hard, we can remember that Christ is always there to provide us peace. We just need to turn to Him. He can give us the hope we need if we just turn to him. And it's not just the Christmas season. It's all during the year. He loves us, and that's why He died--for us. Don't be afraid to use that wonderful gift of the Spirit. Isaiah 9:6.

I love you all! Have a wonderful day. You're in my thoughts and prayers constantly!

Con amor, 
Hermana Lau

Monday, December 2, 2013

Donde esta el bano?

December 2, 2013

I love the Christmas season. It makes talking to people so much easier! You just say Merry Christmas to random people, and they are blown away! Breaks the ice so much faster than usual. And then you can talk about how Christ isn't in Christmas anymore, seg-way into the Gospel, and have a street contact! I like to teach the Gospel as mischievously as I can (without them knowing I'm teaching them). It's like I'm a spy! I guess I am on a mission.... :)

So let me tell you about my week! It's been a great week. Especially Sunday! Ah, let me start with some of my favorite people....

“M”! She's the 15 year old investigator we have that's getting baptized this week! She's super sweet, and everything is inline for her baptism. Small miracle: she was sick this weekend, but she needed to go to church one more time to get baptized on Friday. So when she told us she didn't feel very well to go to church, I promised her if she went to church, she would feel better. I put faith in the power and authority of my calling. When she was at church, she bore her testimony, and said that as soon as she walked out the door to come to church, her cold went away. I was super excited! The Lord is definitely a God of miracles.

And let me tell you about “A”! She's a ton of fun. She's as much of a friend as an investigator. We had a great lesson with her where we watched the Joseph Smith movie (the hour long one). The Spirit was extremely strong during the lesson. We were able to testify about how Joseph Smith is a prophet. She's still struggling with the concept, but it helped her understand a lot better. I don't blame anyone for struggling with the concept. It took me a while to gain a testimony of it, but with lots of prayer, I was able to know for myself that Joseph Smith is a prophet.

One of our less actives we've been working with. She works in the prison system, and due to her job, she hasn't been able to come to church for months/years. We've been visiting her and while we have, her job changed, and she isn't working on Sundays! She has such a strong testimony and she came to church yesterday. She bore her testimony and it was great! She also told us she would buy us mace and teach us how to use it. She got us a mini real Christmas tree, so the tradition is still going strong!

For Thanksgiving, we went to 3 people's homes for dinner. They were all delicious! To answer Mom's question, it was a little combo of them all. The first one was all members, the 2nd one was members, less actives, and nonmembers and the last one was members, less actives, and an investigator!  We were stuffed, to say the least. I baked probably a hundred pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to take to less actives. It went well and we got into a lot of doors! And they were delicious also.

On the Spanish front: another funny story! You know how I talk in my sleep? Well, Hna. Ostler told me that I've been talking in Spanish recently. She says it's pretty good. Last night, for example, I guess I asked "donde esta el bano?" Then I got up to go use the bathroom. I didn't know I said that before I woke up. Haha. I'm trying to change my thought process to Spanish. It's been good and it's helped me keep up on my Spanish. 

I'm so grateful for all of you! Thanks for all of your support. I'm so glad that I'm a missionary. I love the opportunity to change and help myself become a better person, but almost to help others feel joy from coming closer to God and Christ.

Also, one thing I've learned this week. Attitude and perspective is everything! If we are optimistic and positive, then it's easier to go through life and it's much more enjoyable. And you're much more happier.

Con amor, 
Hermana Lau

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's a Christmas Miracle!!!

November 25, 2013

Mi familia y amigos!!!! Como estas?

This week has been amazing! Are you ready for a great letter? I need to make up for last week. Fasten your seatbelts... and here we go! 
I'm going to go by day as much as possible. Sorry if it's a little bit bumpy! That's why you're wearing a seatbelt, right?

Let me tell you about our investigator, “D”. “D” is in his late 30's and goes to seminary. Yep, that's right. He goes to seminary. So we've been going there a few times during the week to teach him. I extended my first baptismal commitment to him... and he excepted!

We we're able to help one of our recent converts (my only baptism) this week with some service. She and her husband feed hundreds of needy people during the holidays, so we wrapped silverware one day and then helped serve food. It was rewarding and hopefully helped her family warm up to us a little bit more (they aren't members... yet). She's 81, and reminds me a lot of Grandma. I love being around her!

On the front of missionary work, this week has been full of miracles! We got 3 new investigators in ONE day! Our area has changed entirely in one week. How? Well, mostly due to a newly returned missionary. He's setting us up with tons of people to teach and is helping us with some of our other investigators. We've seen him about everyday this week. He's a heaven sent! But look for him next year on the BYU football field; he's a linebacker for the team. But let me tell you about one of his friends that we are teaching: “B”!

“B” is a student. He's been feeling a need to become baptized and we had a great lesson with him talking about the Atonement. The Spirit was so strong, and he agreed to be baptized if he comes to know that the church is true. And he wants his close friends to join us on his journey! Talk about a great investigator. 

Also, we got another new investigator this week: “M”! She was a referral and is a teenager. She wants to be a member of the church SO badly! She grew up attending, but was never baptized. So she has a baptismal date for the 7th of December! We're stoked to have her. And her friend that we taught also! We're meeting with them on Tuesday. Miracles!

And another huge miracle. “A”! I found her (through a member referral, her best friend left for a mission the week I got here) and have been with her this entire time. We we're hitting the point where we knew we needed to ask her about baptism. And we were terrified. Not only is she our investigator, but our friend also. We didn't know what to expect. But when we extended the invitation to be baptized, she accepted! It was one of the most beautiful lessons I have ever been in. The Spirit was SO strong, and I could feel God's love for her so strongly. She's afraid that her parents won't support her in her decision, so we fasted for her. Yesterday, she talked to her Mom and her Mom agreed for her to be baptized! We were so happy!!! She now has to talk to her Dad, but otherwise she is super excited for this change in her life!

Some cool things about the Spanish culture: since it's holiday season, that also means it's tamale season!!! I'm super stoked. I love tamales. SO much. And when Hispanic women talk to you, they rub your hands. It's different, but I like it a lot. Also, there's this cute little Hispanic lady in our ward that speaks English really well, and she calls me her hija! She brings food for us each week and adores me. I love it! 

One thing that I'm really thankful for this week is repentance. I'm so grateful for the opportunity we have to be forgiven for the mistakes we make. It helps us become better people, and I love it. What an amazing thing that we have a Heavenly Father who loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ here to bear all of our sin and heartache. Jesus Christ always understands how we feel. My favorite scripture of this is Alma 7:11-13. 

Speaking of being thankful, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! I'm going to 3 dinners that day: a Hispanic one, and 2 English ones. I'm stoked. We'll be eating all day! So don't worry, I'm taken well care of here in 2nd ward. Pray that I'll be here for one more transfer!

I love you all! I hope everyone is enjoying the cold weather and the holidays. I'm still wearing t-shirts, so it still feels like September to me. It's the strangest weather I've ever seen.

Well, I must go. Enjoy this week! I really love you all. Enjoy Thanksgiving! Remember all that the Lord has blessed you with, because He gives us SO much in our lives. I can see how He has blessed my life everyday, especially with friends and family like you!

Con amor, 
Hermana Lau

Monday, November 18, 2013

You gotta keep your head up

November 18, 2013

Oh, also, I forgot to tell you some cool cultural things! I had tongue one night. It was good, until I say the taste buds, then I lost all my appetite. And something that is interesting. When Spanish sisters talk to you, they'll hold and massage your hand. So I'm overcoming my "don't touch me" phase. Also, one of the sisters in the ward called me her "hija" (daughter). They like me! Haha, she brings us fruit every week and she is so sweet.

This week we had a baptism! It was super spiritual meeting. The Spirit was super strong.  She's really cool! It was a great experience.

I spoke this week in sacrament meeting! I found out the night before and I got to choose. I talked about being grateful for the blessings we have and how we need to be humble to realize them in hard times. I talked about how once people realize the blessings of the gospel, they'll want to share the gospel with others.

We had a church tour this week too! It was successful. There weren't too many people who came, but it helped people who came to understand the functions of the church more. We thought it was success and learned a lot from it.

A young man from our ward came home this week from his mission in Argentina and he's on fire! He's a God send. Two of our investigators are living with them, and we have had the hardest time scheduling times with them. So now we have an inside person helping us! We're hoping they'll be baptized on the 7th of December.

Keep strong and know that I love you! Pray always, that you may come off conquer.

Con amor, Hermana Lau
                                     With Companion
                                   With New Convert
                                    Sister Missionaries Rock!
                                     At Members House for Dinner

Monday, November 11, 2013

Summer never ends in California

November 11, 2013

This week has been good. The man we're teaching that came to seminary said he wanted to quit smoking and drinking, and we hadn't even talked to him about it! The 18 year old girl likes the church a lot and believes everything except Joseph Smith. We're going to watch the hour long video with her. That's how I started to gain my testimony of Joseph Smith!

We've been doing a lot of service still. Because of all this service, the ward is really coming to love missionaries. Boo-yah!

We sticky noted all the elders in our district, the zone leaders, and the Assistants to the president's doors. We didn't go out of our area either! We said nice things about them. It really uplifted them. We can definitely see a change in our district. Hoorah!

Oh! Something neat. We got a referral from Elder Christofferson this week. When he was staying here in a Residence Inn, he talked to the front desk about the church, so we were the follow-up people this week. The lady wasn't interested right now, but we might try again later. It was pretty cool to have a referral from an apostle! 

We went to a Spanish family yesterday for a party. The Spanish elders were with us, and one of them is a native. So he made fun of me to some of the other members. It was funny, but I want to know this language so badly! I understand what they say, but I can't speak back. Any tips on how to learn Spanish in the states would be helpful.

I want to talk about how much I love the scriptures. I love the Bible. I haven't read much of the Old Testament, but I love the beauty of Psalms and Proverbs and Isaiah is so powerful! The way he talks about Christ is beautiful. I love the New Testament even more. I love the teaching of Christ and his apostles. The parables have so much symbolism and depth. I love the ability I have to learn from it in so many different situations of life. The Bible brings me closer to Christ, helps me understand his life and his teachings more. I'm currently reading it in my personal study and I love it so much. 

I also love the Book of Mormon. It testifies of Christ also. It's another testament of him, and is the other branch talked about in Ezekiel 37:15-17. Every page talks about Christs and testifies of him. Reading this gives me the power to resist the evils of today. We all face "darkness" or gloom of today's evils, but the Book of Mormon provides a "rod" for us to follow. It helps us stay where we need to be to be happy. It's symbolic of our day. The stories are like parables. They are deep in meaning and I learn so much from it each time. 

I know both of these books are true. They bring me happiness and joy each day, even when I have difficult trials in my life. The Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God. As Elder Holland says, "No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." Millions have given up so much in their lives because they know it is true. I've given up 2 years of my life because I know it's true. And you know me, I'm smart and don't just believe anything. I've grown up with this, yes. But I've wondered for myself, questioned it, and prayed about it. And I've felt in my heart that it is true. 

I invite all to read from its pages and pray for themselves, whether you are a member or a non-member. Just like it says in 2 Nephi 33:10-11, believe in Christ.

I love you all! Keep trucking along and I know God will help you with whatever you are going through.

Con amor,
Hermana Lau

Monday, November 4, 2013

You can't really see the mountains today. But I swear, they are there!

November 4, 2013

I love my mission! It's the best experience ever. Come on a ride with me of this past week!

I decided to do this with all my companions: I write a good thing about them each day on a card and a good thing about me each day. It's really helpful! It helps you get over the things that annoy you about people really quickly.

On Halloween, we had to be in by 7. So we went upstairs to the senior couple (the Jensens) and had pie with them and talked to them. It was super cool!
Miracles this week! We had one of the girls we were working with tell us over a text she wants to become a member of the church! We've seen hearts soften in our other investigators, and we started teaching a man who has been taking the initiative to go to seminary! So we went to seminary twice this past week. Props to the high schoolers that go every day. It's SO hard. But blessings come from it!!!

And one more thing. The power of prayer is amazing!!! I'm learning that more and more about its power as I am out here. Trust God and have faith! What else can we do?

I love you all! Keep up the good work. 

Hermana Lau

Monday, October 28, 2013

If that doesn't make you feel good, I don't know what will!

October 28, 2013

Mi familia y amigos!!!

So this week has been full of warm fuzzies!  I've felt the impact that I'm having on people this week and the love of the Lord. Let me tell you about it!

We've done a lot of service this week! We helped out the senior couple (who are our neighbors!) move 2 new apartments in this week. We also did service for a LA family that has a 9 year old boy that is unbaptized. We hope it softened her heart so we can go back to teach them. They are the cutest boys (she has older ones that are already baptized--14, 12, 9; just like our boys!). I hope it goes well.

But transfers! Drum roll please........ I'm staying in Bakersfield! I'm still in my ward. But Hermana T is leaving! :( I should still see her around, since she is a sister training leader (they help missionaries be better and switch companions with you periodically, to help you).

But oh my goodness! This week has been amazing! We had 2 members of the 70 and 2 apostles come to our mission! (For those who don't know, our church leadership goes like this: we have Christ at the head of the church, and he governs it through inspiration and revelation that the president [or prophet] receives. The prophet has 2 men that help him (First Presidency). Then there are 12 apostles, and that's what they are, apostles! Just like in the Bible. Then we have quorums of the 70 (just like the Bible) that help out in running the church too, which Christ is at the head, and he guides it through revelation and inspiration). Elder Cook (apostle) came to Lancaster last week and talked to the missionaries down there (I didn't go). 

Then this week Elder Golden of the 70 came and did a mission tour. Our mission is broke into two areas, so we have 2 sets of APs and everything. It's Bakersfield and Lancaster. He went to Lancaster on Wednesday and was here in Bakersfield on Thursday. He taught about some really great things. Like how your attitude is everything. And other great stuff that I don't have time to write about. After the conference, we had a lunch. While I was eating, the APs came over to me, and told me Elder Golden would like to have an interview with me. Me meeting with a 70? One on one? Made my legs shake a little. I was the only sister he interviewed (he met with one other elder and the APs). It was a great interview! Oh, I felt so special. He asked me how my mission was going, how my family was doing. He asked me if I had any questions, so I asked him about the sermon on the mount and about the higher law. Then he asked me my favorite scripture, so I told him Alma 26:12. We read it and he told me how it was a great scripture. Then he told me I needed to write home my family and tell them this: "For such a young missionary, you are extremely exceptional." I was on cloud 9. Someone who is so high up in the church leadership telling me I was an exceptional missionary. Wow. One of the highlights of my mission.

Elder Christofferson was amazing too. I wish I had time to talk about what he said, but I was mesmerized by how much the Spirit poured from his face. It was amazing! Maybe I'll talk about it more next week.

I love you all so much! I miss you a ton, but I want you to know that I know this church is true. Christ is our Redeemer and I am so grateful for all that He has done for me. Alma 7:11-13. 

Have a great week! Remember, God and Christ love you! You can do anything through them.

Con amor, 
Hermana Lau