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

Monday, October 21, 2013

"I didn't even know we had mountains here!"

October 21, 2013

My dear family and friends,
Wow! This has been quite the week. First off, thank you all for your prayers for me and for the family of Elder Page. Even though it's still hard, I've received a lot of comfort through your prayers. The power of prayer is amazing. I doubted it in the past, but now I know that it's one of the best things we can do for others. It's been interesting to read emails from other members of my district in the CCM. One of my other good friends, Elder Haws (the one from North Platte) was actually in his district in the field. He told me they got to go to the temple the day before and he had an interview with the mission president the morning of the accident. I wrote a letter to his family and printed all the pictures I had of him. I felt that it was something I should do. I have the address of the mission office in Arcadia, so I asked them to forward it to his home.

I guess one of the most important things I've learned from this experience is how fast life goes. I know this may sound cheesy (it's the first time that I ever lost anyone I've known and loved), but life goes by so fast. We don't have time to focus on the unimportant things in life. As I've had this, and other experiences from my mission occur, I've realized what is important and what isn't in life. Having good grades or success in work is great, but if you are missing out on the opportunity to get to know and spend time with the people you love, then it's not worth it in the end.
Let me tell you about this week! It's been full of miracles and awkwardness. The miracles have been amazing! It's been good to see success, especially since Hermana T said we basically opened our new area. All the work was done in the other area by both sets, so there was very little work done in our area. We've been working really hard on working through members. I don't want to go knocking. But I know I need to get over that, because it does bring success, like the two people from our ward and Elder Page's father. Hearing those stories helps me change my attitude about knocking.

First off, I've learned a lot of lessons this week. I've realized how much I love my companion! She is awesome. She helps me a ton learning how to do this work and we work well together. I also learned that perfection can rob joy. It's good to want to be better, but if you only focus on the your weaknesses and how you keep failing at overcoming them, you begin to digress and are much more unhappy. I've noticed that with goals on my mission, particularly with Spanish. And I realized that I've done that frequently throughout my life: focus to much on my weaknesses and trying to overcome them that I forget to have joy and recognize my strengths. It's been a hard lesson to learn, but I'm glad I'm beginning to realize it and that it's something I can try to begin to overcome during my mission. So don't let perfectionism rob you of joy! Here's a quote I love from General Conference by President Uchtdorf: "Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we stand up, dust ourselves off, and stride forward." I loved what Steven said about how it's hard to see our success all at once. I can't wait to read through my journal or letters home after my mission to see myself grow. How cool an experience that will be!
Ah! I don't have much time left. Well, here are the miracles. We had an investigator come to church that I didn't think would come! She had a great experience and is coming back next week for the primary program. Then we had the member we were eating dinner with that night invite her over also. It was a great experience.

But the big miracle! We've been trying to get the chance to meet with some solid investigators that the elders gave us for the longest time. She's been super busy, but her and her son (who is 9) come to church almost every Sunday. Well, the primary president (bless her 1000x!) gave the son an assignment to write a talk for the program about the 1st vision. She wanted us to help him with it, so we called the Mom, and we scheduled not one, but TWO appointments for next week! We were jumping for joy!
We've been doing a lot of service these past few weeks in order to find people to teach. We even taught our district about using service as a finding tool. It's been a really neat experience. It softens hearts and helps people recognize that we are good people and servants of God.

The awkwardness! Well... sometimes missionary work is just awkward. Like when you and your companion have to break into your own apartment because it was locked by the other sisters, or knowing the people are home whose door you are knocking on. You don't have to pretend you're not home..... Oh the stories I will tell after the mission! I laugh a lot here.
But let me quickly tell you about the weather! It's gorgeous. It's in the 80s or high 70s. It feels like one extended summer. You can tell it's fall from the leaves changing color and that crops are being harvested. Grape season is almost over, but pomegranates and citrus are coming up next! Oh! And the pollution here is awful. You can barely see the mountains. For the first few days, I didn't even know there were mountains close by, until Hermana T told me you could see the mountains that day. Thus, the subject line.

Well, I must go. I love you all! I hope all is going well and you are staying strong in your relationship with God and Christ. A friend told me that we always need to be working on that relationship everyday. It's true! The mission is flying by fast.
Con amor,
Hermana Lau

Monday, October 14, 2013

Elder Andrew Page

October 14, 2013

Buenos dias family and friends!  Let me tell you the good news first! 

We've going through the ward list working on visiting the Less Actives.  We've also been using Family History as a way to find people and do missionary work. Really cool thing I found out this week: I have Mexican cousins! How, might you ask? When Edward Bunker came out west, he moved down to Mexico with part of his family. I assume over time they inter-married with the Mexicans, so I have Latino family! That was pretty exciting.

But the reason this week has been hard. Elder Andrew Page, one of my closest friends from the MTC in Mexico, was hit by a car while biking on Thursday in Arcadia, California. He didn't survive through the night.

For all those of you who didn't get the opportunity to know Elder Page personally, let me tell you about how great of a missionary and friend he was. He deserves a little more recognition than he was given in the paper.

Elder Page was one of the most loving people I know. He went through a lot during his short life. His Dad died 4 years ago while he was a freshman. He was the only man left in his family. He was the youngest of 4, having 3 sisters older than him. Because of this, he had such a love for others, especially girls. He treated us hermanas with such respect. I admired his love for others. It made me think about the way I love other people and how I can better improve.

Elder Page was one of the funniest people I know. I had the great opportunity of sitting right next to him for 3 weeks of my time in the MTC. During the struggles of MTC life, Elder Page would always make me laugh. Thankfully, I wrote down a lot of the things he would say, because I thought they were priceless. I was always in a good mood with Elder Page.

Elder Page was my friend. Hermana Stott and I were really close to Elder Page and his companion, Elder Nielsen. We would play sports together a lot (usually soccer or ultimate frisbee). We would always sit next to these two during devotionals. He played the alto sax too, so we had fun talking about that, our future plans at BYU, and how excited we were to get to California and start working. Elder Page, Elder Nielsen, and I were all going to attend BYU after the mission, and we were excited to get together after the mission and speak Spanish to each other. There were a lot of nights after our classes where our companionships would walk toward are houses together and talk.

Elder Page had such a strong testimony. He was an 18 year old elder from Charlotte, NC. He struggled a lot at the beginning of the MTC with confidence in his abilities, particularly about learning Spanish. But after a few weeks, something changed in him, and he grew more than I believe some people do on their entire mission. He was extremely dedicated to the gospel and had an immense love for Christ. I know he had a relationship with our Savior because it showed with the way he would bless the sacrament and give priesthood blessings. He respected his priesthood and used it worthily.

I found out about his death during district meeting on Friday. We were able to do service after that, so I was able to do some physical work and try to process that one of my best friends, from such a recent, hard, yet rewarding part of my life was gone. Even though it's been hard, I know he's in a better place.

I'm so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I'm so grateful that God loved us enough that He has given us the opportunity to live with Him again and with our loved ones. I know that Elder Page is teaching those who have died that haven't had the chance to hear about Christ. I know that he is working with his Dad and is continuing his mission. D&C 138:57 fits him perfectly. I'm so excited to meet him again when my mission in this life is over.

I know that God lives. I know that he sent His son, Jesus Christ on this earth to perform the Atonement. This Atonement not only gives us the ability to be forgiven of our sins and relieved of guilt and shame, but there is a healing aspect of it also. Christ knows how each of us feel during the hard times we face. I'm so grateful for this, and even though I'm struggling in the loss of such a good friend, I'm learning a lot about my relationship with God and about myself. 

I know that people who are on the other side are not far from us at all. I know they come in times when we need us and protect us until our time on this earth is up. 

I'm so incredibly grateful for the wonderful opportunity I had to know Elder Page for such a short amount of time. He is a great missionary, friend, and man. I feel so blessed to be apart of the training he received before he left this world. I love Elder Page as much as I love all my close friends. But I know that there is life after this mortal duration on earth, and I will be able to see him again.

I love this gospel. I love my Savior and my God. And never forget, I love you SO much. I can't wait to be with you all again!

Hermana Sami Lau

Picture: This was my district at the MTC. Elder Page is the one on the bottom row at the left. He has glasses. And that tie he is wearing, it's his Perry the Platypus tie.

I would send the pictures I had of just me and him and our companionships, but I don't have my cord, so I'll send more pictures in the future.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Did your red light turn off?

October 7, 2013

Hey family! Hello friends! I hope this letter finds you all in the best of moods. Even though life is busy and chaotic, it is great, so smile!

Now about me! To answer your questions: It's been a balmy 89 degrees here the past few days. And people think it's cold. The elders I serve with are both wearing sweaters today. I... just laugh at them. One of them is from Iowa and goes home in 3 weeks. He is going to die. 

Investigator "G" is doing great! She reads from the BOM everyday and prays. She comes to church. She is golden. Her baptism is a week from Friday. I'll send pictures of that too! We also have a new investigator named "A". We taught her once, but she was super cute, and wants to keep meeting with us! Her best friend just left on a mission. We meet with her tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes! 

This week we went through the ward list; trying to figure out who lives in our area and who is less active. Our ward list is 27 pages long, with lots of  Less actives (english speaking). So there's plenty of work to do there! We are going to try to visit a bunch of them this week. Our ward is the "inner city ward." I'm living the ghetto life in Bakersfield! Haha, we don't live in our ward boundaries, and it's really not that bad. And our area is the nicer area of the ward (like Millard), so Mom and Dad, don't worry.

Ah! So much to say, so little time. Let me tell you about a cool experience I had, then conference!

We had Zone Meeting this week too! We did this really cool activity where someone pretends to be the investigator and they choose the topic and who speaks. They can switch between the missionaries midsentence. It's suppose to work on companionship unity. I taught with an elder, and I was nervous! First off, it's an elder, so I haven't had much opportunity to practice with them. We taught the restoration, and we were on fire! I prayed for the Spirit when I was teaching, to help me know what to say. When we would switch midsentence, I would begin to talk right after the switch, not really thinking beforehand. People, the Spirit really does give you what you need to say when you need to say it! They called me Sis. Power afterwards since it went so well. Haha.

I LOVED conference. If you haven't had a chance to see it, it's where the leaders of the church talk about things they feel that God wants us as a church to know. Go to this website ( and choose a random talk. I promise you will hear something that applies to your life. 

Conference was amazing this year. All the talks were fantastic! Especially all the ones about members and missionary work! Oh ya. I'm super stoked to have the prophet calling members to get more involved in the work. All of our investigators were member referrals. All of them. We watched it at the stake center. I really like Holland's talk. I haven't suffered depression, but when he talked about watching and helping others who are started on that path, it really touched me. I thought back to Fall Semester last year, and at the beginning/middle of the semester, I was definitely on that path. Just barely starting it. But I was SO blessed to have girls on my floor who consistently insisted that I do stuff with them, other fantastic friends (particularly in Budge) that helped remind me to be happy, and of course, a wonderful family that loved me from a few thousand miles away. I am so grateful for you all, you have changed my life for the better.

One last thing: kinda funny, explains the subject line. After Sunday morning session of conference, I began to feel itchy. We were going to eat with the Latinos (they brought a delicious lunch and invited us to partake) and we were waiting to say a prayer. All of the sudden, my skin turns super red (as red as the boys were in California), super hot, and pretty itchy. I don't know why I broke out in hives, but one of the Hispanic ladies asked if I ate something spicy. And then my district leader asked me later that day if my red light turned off yet. The hives weren't splotchy, my whole body was just red, hot and itchy. Is that still hives??? But I thought it was pretty funny. I guess I'm just allergic to stress or something, and I don't even know what I'm stressed over!

Well, I love you all SO much. I miss you, especially my family. But I know this is where I'm supposed to be! Read your scriptures and pray every day. This is the only way you'll gain protection against all the evil in the world. I have seen how they have strengthened my life, and I know they will strengthen yours.

I love you all!

Hermana Sami Lau
Alma 26:12