Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chinese program, one week left in the transfer

Nimen hao!
I feel like this week has been long!  Not that it wasn't a good week--it was just a tiring one!  Going on three exchanges a week can be a little exhausting, but we'll get a little bit of a break from exchanges this week. 
This was the week I've been waiting for my entire mission... the week when I got to go to the Chinese program!  It was just for 24 hours, but it was really cool.  I even got to ride the train for the first time here.  It felt like Taiwan!  We spent a couple hours teaching a beginner's English class, which was interesting.  I felt like I was back in my Mandarin class at BYU, because everyone was speaking Chinese and I couldn't understand anything!  I really liked going on this exchange because I was with a sister that's only been here in the field for about 12 weeks, and this was her first time ever being in charge of her area.  It was interesting to think back on my first experience leading the area on an exchange, and then really weird to hear the same advice I'd received coming out of my own mouth as I talked with this sister.  It's interesting to think about how much I've changed in such a short time as I've come to understand my calling a little better and trust more in the Lord to help me to do His work.  I also loved being in lessons on this exchange because it made me realize that the Spirit speaks in a universal language.  In one lesson, I couldn't understand a single word of what was being taught (despite my 6 weeks of Mandarin experience...because the lesson was in Cantonese :D) but I could completely follow what was happening with the investigator.  I could tell that she felt the Spirit.  After we got out of the lesson, I commented to the missionary, "She knows it's true!" and the missionary said, "How did you know she said she believes it?"  I honestly could tell just by looking at the investigator and feeling the Spirit myself!  The Spirit works amazing changes in people, no matter what language we're speaking.  It was a cool experience and a good reminder that I need to do everything I can to teach by the Spirit and never rely on my own words, no matter how much Spanish (or English) I think I can speak.
We've continued teaching the family that came to church last week.  Leslie, the aunt, is super prepared and I feel like she's really going to progress a lot... as long as we can keep teaching her.  We taught her this week and invited her again to be baptized and she said that there are things she wants to arrange in her life before she gets baptized.  She mentioned several changes she wants to make so she can feel worthy, and several of them go right along with commandments we haven't even taught her about yet.  It's always so amazing to see people develop a natural desire to live the commandments as they're taught by the Spirit.  Leslie's also doing great with the Book of Mormon.  She told one of the ward members, "Don't you just love how this book grabs you and you want to read more and more?"  She's so great!  However, we were really disappointed yesterday because she didn't come to church, and neither did her cousin or nephews.  We've been trying all weekend to contact them but haven't been able to get a hold of them.  We don't want them to disappear!  They're so special and so prepared, and we know they can progress.  We just have to track them down!  We're praying hard that we'll be able to find them again today.
We also had a really good experience with a recent convert here who's been struggling with old temptations.  This week he made huge amounts of progress.  He's re-started reading his scriptures every day and praying, and the difference is amazing.  He even carries the Book of Mormon around in his pocked all day long to help him resist temptations.  It's absolutely beautiful to see how much of a difference the "little" things like reading the scriptures, praying, and keeping our thoughts clean can make.  Those "little things" really are the big things!  It was so cool to see evidence of that in this recent convert.  He's made many changes in very little time, and has put forth a huge effort to stay on the right path.  His faith inspires me.
I hit 10 months yesterday....  Eek.  That's extremely bizarre to think about.  Yesterday we ate dinner at a member's house.  The daughter and one of her old mission companions (they served in Washington DC North!) were reminiscing about their missions.  It was kind of a surreal situation, to hear people talking about their missions as something in the past.  Sister Osborn and I looked at each other and had the same thought--"What?  Missions don't end!"  We may both be in denial....  I really would love this time to last forever, but it doesn't, so we have to make the most of it!  But that is all I will say about the "end" because as far as I'm concerned, the end doesn't exist for me right now. :)
Anyway, have a good week, everyone!  Tomorrow we'll be hearing from Elder Gay of the Seventy during zone conference, and we'll get to have a special meeting with him as leadership of the mission.  It should be a really amazing week!  Take care, and good luck with school!  The house is going to be so quiet! Weird!  Love you!
Hermana Croft

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