Hello everybody 感恩節快樂！
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It is always one of my most favorite times of the year and this year was no exception. On Thursday, we had our Zone Thanksgiving celebration which was really nice and one of the few times we can just relax and enjoy everyone's company, it was very refreshing. Elder Sy and I were in charge of the stuffing and it was great! Or maybe it's been so long since I've had stuffing that I just think it was great and forgot what it's supposed to taste like haha. On Sunday, as a Thanksgiving gift to our branch and the members, we had a real American Thanksgiving FHE cooked by the missionaries and it was really fun and only slightly disastrous, only a few mistakes like using salt on accident instead of sugar in the apple pie, burning the pie, burning boiling noodles (didn't think that was possible) burning fingers etc. But the meal really did turn out great and everyone had a good time. I definitely learned to be grateful for my mom and all the hard work she puts into Thanksgiving meal!
The rest of this week was relatively normal, our investigators are all progressing along rather nicely, we have several preparing for baptism in December and January and are excited to watch them progress! Our buddy Chen Guo Wu is done with alcohol and cigarettes which is amazing! He is really changing, and has the most solid date for mid December. I can't wait!
We had Guo Dx, one of our recent converts who got baptized the week I left for Sham Shui Po, come to help teach him and I was amazed at his testimony and growth. He taught like a missionary! He shared great comments and thoughts without having to be asked, and even invited him at the end. I was blown away! It is especially good because 3 weeks ago we met with Guo dx and he was down and sad, something was really pressing down on him and it seemed like his light and normally happy demeanor were down. I was worried! We had a strong lesson with him and learned he wasn't doing the basic habits very much and that he had come upon some hard trials and big decisions in his life and he didn't know what to do. We emphasized the importance of the basic habits, and now three weeks later he is all smiles, all light, and bearing powerful testimony of Jesus Christ to our investigator. Amazing. Small and simple things, the basic steps make all the difference. They really do! We didn't even have to answer his question or tell him how to decide, he found it out for himself by feasting on the word and by communicating with His Father in heaven, who knows far more than we ever will. I am so proud of him! He told us that the whole day he really wanted to come teach the lesson with us and he felt pressed to come, and at the last minute his previous appointment cancelled and he was able to come and have a testimony strengthening experience! The Lord loves us and knows our needs, I know he will give every one of us testimony bearing opportunities if we are seeking it and if we desire to strengthen our conviction.
I already talked about this last week, but I just love Thanksgiving and the Holiday season, it is the best time of the year! I've been trying to take to heart the verse in Alma 37:37 -".. when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.." and just praying and thanking for all the blessings I have been given, and for all the wonderful people I have been blessed to work with and know in my whole life and in my mission. It has made a difference every day to start off with my heart in the right place, thankful to God for all He has given me. I read an excellent talk called Living in Thanksgiving Daily by Joseph B. Wirthlin, and there are 3 ways he listed to help us be more grateful and more happy.
1. Open your eyes- look for the good notice all the things around us to be grateful for. I love President Hinckley and his ever optimistic perspective and counsel - "My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we “accentuate the positive.” I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort."
2. Open your heart- Wirthlin gives this great counsel - "Pray with all your heart. Consider the love your Heavenly Father has for all His children. Open your hearts to His cleansing word. Feast on the words of holy writ. Cherish the messages of modern-day prophets and apostles. Forgive others who have offended you. Don’t waste another moment feeling self-pity. Every day drain from your heart the feelings of resentment, rage, and defeat that do nothing but discourage and destroy. Fill your heart with those things that ennoble, encourage, and inspire."
3. Open your arms - Go and serve others, work for them, be grateful and express gratitude for all who have ever opened their arms for you!
I am so grateful for the mission opportunity because it has forced my eyes open, to seek all small blessings in the greatest disasters, for having opened my heart, allowing me to really experience Christ's love for me and others, to understand the atonement, and for giving me an opportunity to open my arms to all the people of Hong Kong and China and do my best to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.
The three steps really connect well with the Church's Christmas Initiative, interesting how this year, unlike the last two, is not focused so much on teaching people about Christ, but in inspiring Christians to go out and serve, teaching others about Christ through their own examples. It is the best way of teaching. The video is inspiring and makes me want to get out and serve more! Each day of December has it's own little invitation and video, we are going to try and impliment it into the mission as well, you should all take a look! I love this season and hope everyone can love it a little more by serving as Jesus Christ served, to be lights in others lives, and lift them up as he has lifted us all up countless times. I love the Savior, and love Christmas where we can all think about him a little more.
Watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJmAV0gTp_Q
Love you all!
as per request from my dad, more pics!
|Zhao JM (Sister Zhao)|
|Thanksgiving activity games|
|Scot and his little guy!|
|Kitchen cleaning crew|