Monday, November 30, 2015

All is Whale, All is Whale

Leih Hou!

     Outside of Thanksgiving, this week has been pretty entertaining. Our district decided to so an English fast which means we don't speak any English that day, only Cantonese. It was definitely a challenge because you had to talk around words you didn't know and it takes twice as long to get your thoughts out, but I actually really liked it! I even did a couple on my own because it is so helpful. I shows me what I do and don't know and helps with my fluency. We are going to be on a 24/7 English fast in two weeks (SO crazy to think about!), so we better get used to it now!

   We also woke up to a wonderful surprise of snow on Saturday morning! And it is still here today, so needless to say, I have had my fun this past couple of days :) I love the snow soooooooo much, and we don't get enough of it in Georgia so I am making up for lost time haha! 

     So here is my funny tones story for the week, and this time it's about me! Ok, so "mahn" means to ask but "m├áhn" means to smell. This whole time, I thought "to ask" had the low falling tone, but I didn't realize this difference until now. So when I taught my investigator about prayer, I said, "I know that if you smell God, He will answer you prayers." Hahaha! I almost died of laughter when I realized what I have been telling my investigators! Never underestimate the importance of tones in Cantonese! Also another fun fact we learned: rhino in Cantonese translates to amazing cow. 

    Sister Adams randomly drew a whale on our board the other day, and as the days have gone by, we have been coming up with whale puns (hence the title of my email this week lol). I have attached the picture of what we have come up with so far, so if you need a good laugh and corny humor, go check it out!

     This is just an FYI. the last day I would recommend send me any letters or packages is this Friday December 4th. Because of snail mail and the day of my departure, I probably would sadly be in Hong Kong by the time anything arrived if sent after that date.
      
     I love all of you and hope you have a wonderful week this week!

Scripture of the week: Alma 38:9 Christ is the light and life of this world, the word of truth and righteousness. Learn of Him because it is through Him that we are saved.
Quote of the week: We do not have to be perfect, but we need to be good and getting better (Elder Kim B. Clark)
Video of the Week: A Savior Is Born (check it out at christmas.mormon.org

Sister Maggie Shiffert


Me with my mini snowman that looks like an owl lol (I tried...)

We love playing in the snow at night!


I love my tuhngbuhn! :)


Part of our zone at the temple walk.
*****SNOW*****


​Only 14 days left until I'm in HK!​


All of our whale puns!
​​
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Thanksgiving at the MTC

So in case you're wondering what Thanksgiving at the MTC is like, here it is!

     The first thing we did was go to a devotional with a general authority a.k.a. an apostle! It was really funny because everyone wanted to get the closest seats possible because who doesn't want to sit near an apostle? So everyone started lining up like 30+ minutes before they opened the doors (our district included lol) and someone likened it to Black Friday because they predicted the minute the ushers opened the door, the mob of people would rush to the door and start shoving so they could get good seats. Hahaha! I will say that were very civil missionaries lol! So the apostle that spoke was Elder Dallin H. Oaks! He is so awesome! I don't have time to go into the specifics of his talk, but it was mostly about the history of Thanksgiving and how we should be thankful to God for everything, including our trials and adversities. We should give thanks for our adversities because it gives us to opportunity to turn to God and grow. If we are thankful, He will bestow even more blessings upon our heads (D&C 78:19). He also had his family there who performed musical numbers throughout the devotional. Jenny Oaks Baker and her family performed a beautiful arrangement of "Love Is Spoken Here." Look up the family's music video on lds.org and I promise you won't regret it! The instrumental talent in that family is amazing! 

     Instead of a Thanksgiving dinner, we had a Thanksgiving lunch so the workers could spend Thanksgiving dinner with their families (which is totally understandable!). I was pleasantly surprised by the food because it was really good! Nothing like the food at home, but I was still so grateful and so much I thought I would explode. We had super tender turkey, real mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and rolls. And dessert was pumpkin pie with legit vanilla bean ice cream which was to die for. I am so thankful to the workers were willing to spend part of their Thanksgiving serving us a meals instead of being with their families!

     So I was asked to give the opening prayer for our humanitarian devotional which was a little nerve wracking because I was saying a prayer on behalf of 1,500 people. However, the Lord was with me and I think it went well! We learned about our service project during this devotional which was such an amazing experience to be a part of. We made meals for families in Utah and packaged and boxed them up to be sent off. The meals consisted of lentils, rice, dried vegetables and rink Himalayan salt. fun fact: the pick Himalayan salt is the healthiest salt on earth and this meal is the cheapest and healthiest meal you could have. One bag about the size of a quart baggie can feed a family of six. Each table had a goal of 13 boxes with 48 meals in each box. Our table ended up doing 16 boxes with 35 meals left unboxed because they ran out of boxes for our group. We found out later that night we exceeded our goal of feeding 350,000 people and ending up making enough meals to feed 357,947! That is so awesome! I am so blessed I got to be a part of such an amazing project. 

     I mentioned that we didn't have a Thanksgiving dinner, but that's okay because we had sack dinners and everyone in our zone ate in the hallway together. It was a lot of fun and I feel like our zone is one big family so I can say that I had a family Thanksgiving dinner :) After dinner we watched "17 Miracles" which was about the pioneers so so watch it if you can! It's sooo good!

     Our Thanksgiving devotional was awesome. There were speakers, video clips, performances, and singing, and I just loved all of it! It was organized by "Gratitude for..." so some of the topics were family, music, the gospel, church membership, the Savior, etc. The Spirit was SO strong throughout the whole devotional!. I think one of my favorite parts was our closing hymn "I Believe in Christ." We were singing and about halfway through the third verse, people started standing up. By the beginning of the fourth verse, we were all standing and singing "I Believe in Christ!" The Spirit just overwhelmed everyone. The power of music never ceases to amaze me. 

     I hope all of you had an amazing Thanksgiving! I know I did!


The end result of our service project, and that's not even all of it!​


​Thanksgiving ​dinner in the hallway with my district and zone!

They turned on all the Christmas lights around the campus!

Happy Thanksgiving!
​ 

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy (Early) Thanksgiving!

Leih Hou!

     I'm afraid this week was not super exciting so this will be a relatively short email. However, Thanksgiving is on Thursday so I'm sure my email next week will make for for this week! :) 

     Here is a funny story! So tones and pronunciation are very important in speaking Cantonese. As we learned the other week, the word "kaisih" (k-eye-see) means revelation, but "keisih" (kay-see) means racism. So we were practicing teaching in class and Sister Leonard and I were teaching Sister Adams and Sister McNeely. It was our turn to be the investigators, so Sister Adams and Sister McNeely were teaching us about prophets and how they lead and guide us today. I asked them how they teach us about Christ and Sister Adams said "Taugwo keisih" meaning through racism. I have never seen our teacher turn around so quickly after hearing that as if to ask "What did you just say?!" I'm surprised he didn't get whiplash haha! Sister Adams didn't realize what she said until after Sister Leonard, Sister McNeely, our teacher, and I completely lost it. It was SO funny. Obviously she meant to say "through revelation" and just had a slip of the tongue. Not exactly the message you want to share with investigators, but I have been waiting for someone to do that ever since we have know the difference between revelation and racism. 

     This week in the language department has been very interesting. We went into a lesson with one of our investigators, but my companion took over because I understood absolutely NOTHING. I couldn't understand what my investigator or companion was saying. Even the simplest sentences sounded foreign to me. I was completely mute because I didn't know what was going on. And it has been that way the past couple days. I don't know what is going on. It's like I haven't been in the MTC or almost 6 weeks. I would be lying if I said it wasn't super frustrating. How am I supposed to help people if I can't understand them? I know all of this is for a reason. The Lord is giving me this obstacle and I know there is something I am supposed to get out of it. I just don't know what yet. However, it's a new week and I'm going to work harder than ever! They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I have a feeling that this challenge is going to do just that. It's probably preparing for the field and teaching to make patience and have faith in the Lord. I talked to my teacher about what I need to do and one thing he advised me on was that the Lord believes in me, my teacher believes in me, but I have to believe in me. So no matter what trials we face, it's just as important to believe in ourselves as it is to believe in the Lord. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."

     So last night, I watched "Joseph Smith:The Prophet of the Restoration" (the most recent version) and the Spirit was soooooo strong throughout the movie. Even if you are not a member, this is a great movie to see how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored and established on this earth. My testimony of Joseph Smith and this church just grew by a thousand! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I can truly say that I am so eternally grateful for Joseph Smith and this church. He was put through so many trials, persecutions, and heartache, but throughout it all, he was still 110% faithful to the Lord and His plan for him. He was not perfect, but he is an amazing example of the Christlike attributes we all need to possess. His faith was greater than that of anyone. He was humble in submitting to the Lord's will. He loved everyone. He was selfless and showed kindness towards those who persecuted him. He loved this church so much that he lost his life. He was truly a prophet called by God. Watching this movie reminded just how true this church is and how amazing Joseph Smith was as a prophet. This church is such a blessing in my life and I am so grateful that Joseph Smith restored it. This church is true. There is no doubt in my mind.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Count your blessings! Be grateful! I will talk with you next week! :)

Scripture of the Week: 1 Corinthians 13:2-8,13 Charity is the pure love of Christ. It doesn't mean love Christ, it means love others like Christ would love them.
Quote of the Week: If things go well, look to God. If things go wrong, look to yourself. This is the beginning of humility. (David A. Bednar)
Video of the Week: Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration (the most recent one)

Gamyanjit Faailohk! Happy Thanksgiving!
Sister Maggie Shiffert

Lacking in pictures this week, but here is a beautiful drawing sister Leonard and I made during companionship study. We called it companionship bonding :)

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Monday, November 16, 2015

One Down, One To Go

     So this past Saturday, I hit the halfway point for my time at the MTC! One month down, one more to go, and then I'm in the field! I love the MTC so much, but I am also ready to be in Hong Kong! 
     
     Funny story. I was getting ready for the day and decided I wanted to put on a different pair of shoes. Sister Leonard and I were rushing out the door so I didn't notice that my shoes felt kinda funny. When I got to the classroom, I put my stuff on the ground and looked down. Guess who was wearing two different shoes while walking to class. This missionary! Does that tell you where my mind has been lately? Haha! Luckily Sister Leonard was gracious enough to let us go back to our room so I could put on two of the same shoe. Our schedules have been crazy so it was nice to start off our day with some comedy!

     Ok so I took an online language assessment last week (kinda like a midterm so they can see how we're progressing) where I was given a question and had like 30 seconds to prepare what I was going to say and I had a minute to give my response in Cantonese. They compare your responses to that of a native, and I was rated as average. Considering this was my halfway point, I'm not doing as horrible as I thought! I seem to be right on track :) But I honestly couldn't do it without the Lord's help and the gift of tongues. As it says in Alma 26:11-12 "I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom...I will rejoice in my God. Yea I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things..."

     Elder Hugo Montoya of the Seventy came to speak to us last Tuesday. He gave a great talk about his 3 Be's (Be alert. Be genuine. Be obedient.) and his two suggestions for missionaries (Smile! and forget about yourself). The message was great, but something that stood out to me was how he delivered his message. English is his second language (with Spanish as his first), but he still gave his whole talk in English so that we could understand. He was not perfect at speaking and some words were more clear than others, but even this language barrier did not take away from the Spirit and his message. Realizing this gave me a lot of hope. Just like Elder Montoya, I will not be speaking my native language when I preach to others. My Cantonese may be broken and I may mispronounce something, but that's okay. I could still understand Elder Montoya's message and the people of Honk Kong will still be able to understand me. Different languages are not a barrier when it comes to the language of the Spirit. Elder Montoya had the gift of tongues, and I know I will too.

     I love all of you and hope you are enjoying life! Even though the world is already going Christmas crazy, I just want to remind you to be in the spirit of thanks before you are in the spirit of giving. Thanksgiving is only a few days away! :)

Quote of the Week: SMILE. This small action can help those who are overwhelmed or burdened (this includes others as well as yourself).
Scripture of the Week: Alma 26: 27-28
Mormon Message of the Week: Daily Bread Experience

Love,
Sister Maggie Shiffert



​IT SNOWED TODAY! Probably 2-3 inches :)


​Where did the mountains go? This is what happens when it snows. 


​District selfie in the snow! (minus the Elders and Sister Curtis)


​Check yourself before you walk out the door for the day...


​They put up Christmas lights before Halloween and turn them on before Thanksgiving....Grrr....

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Wohng Chihn Chong!

Leih Hou!

     I hope you have all had an amazing week! We passed the Week 3 mark last Wednesday which means I'm 1/3 of the way to heading into the field in Hong Kong! They weren't kidding when they say the days are long but the weeks are short. My highlight of the week: IT SNOWED last Thursday and a little on Friday! Ahhh! I am so used to weathermen messing up the forecast or being too far south to get any snow hardly, so I had serious doubts when they called for snow. But I'm in Utah and it always snows in Utah! That snow made my day 100x better!

     Ok funny story. We always start out class by singing a hymn in Cantonese and Sister Leonard chose the song "Carry On." Well... "Carry On" in Cantonese means "Wohng Chihn Chong." Hahaha! I can't imagine a more stereotypical song title! Needless to say nobody, not even our teacher, could get through the song with a straight face. We were laughing so hard we couldn't even finish the last line of the song.

     I am coming to LOVE my personal study time! I used to think an hour of reading the scriptures was too much and I didn't understand how people could say that they wish they had more time. But now I am one of those people! I love the scriptures! They give me so much personal revelation and I feel like I am coloring my scriptures like a coloring book, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! I don't find time to go into the details of how I discovered this, but if you read, Matthew 6:32, 3 Nephi 13:32, and Doctrine and Covenants 84:83 you might notice a similarity. I don't know why this blew my mind so much, but this was just a huge testimony to me that the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants are 110% true and they all support each other. 

     Matthew 11:28 talks about the Lord making our burdens lighter. During choir yesterday, our choir director Brother Eggett brought up this scripture. Aside from being a great conductor, he is comical, yet super insightful and spiritual, when sharing scriptures and the stories found in them. This is what he said about this scripture: "When people read this scripture, they usually picture two oxen of the same size carrying the yoke together. In reality, the Lord is Babe the Big Blue Ox! As missionaries you think you're doing all the work, but He is doing all the work." I loved his take on this scripture because it is so true! It makes me think of other scriptures where they talk about being "instruments in the hands of the Lord." I may be the violin, but He is the violinist who does the work to make the music.
I'm sorry this email is so short this week, but hopefully you have found it amusing and uplifting :) I use a lot of missionary and church terminology, so if you ever need me to clarify what something is, just email me! I will gladly answer your questions! Ngoh ngoi leihdeih! I love all of you! Have a great week!

Love,
Sister Maggie Shiffert

Scripture of the week: 3 Nephi 13:21 - "For where your treasure is your heart will be also" In this case, "treasure" means family :)
Quote of the week: When you have shown your willingness to obey, the Spirit will send you more impressions of what God would have you do (Henry B. Eyring)
Mormon message of the week: Bearing Our Burdens with Ease



​The reaction from two missionaries from Georgia and Florida when they see snow! Haha!


​Stripe Day Tuesday in our zone!


​#CHINGLISH 
We are always supposed to SYL or "Speak Your Language" and our teacher says "use Chinglish" (Chinese and English) in our conversations, so we decided to make that our district motto :)


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Monday, November 2, 2015

With All Your Heart, Mind, Might, and Strength

Leih Hou! Leih hou ma? (Hello! How are you?)

     I left you all last week with great anticipation as to who would be speaking at our worldwide MTC devotional... turns out it was Elder Neil L. Andersen! The cool thing was that we were singing "The Lord Is My Light" when he walked in and the Spirit immediately filled the room and it was SO strong. Even our singing was filled with the Spirit. It was great! Elder Andersen gave a fantastic talk about sacrifice, opposition, adversary, and deliverance. These were some of my favorite highlights from his talk.


- We must give something up to become something more. 
- Don't ask "What can I get from my mission?" but "What can I give?"
- 2 Nephi 2:11 There is opposition in all things.


- During opposition, we need to be like trees in the wind and become even stronger to resist it.
- The adversary is committed to our failure, but he is just an irritant that can never do great things.
- Doctrine and Covenants 3:8 If you want suffering relieved, you have to go to the Lord. 
- when we want to talk to God, we pray. When we want God to talk to us, we read our scriptures.


Since I have never heard an apostle give a talk live and been in the same room as him, it was an awesome experience. If they can have an apostle for Halloween (not really but close enough!), then surely they will have one come speak to us around Thanksgiving. we'll see! :)

     On Wednesday our district had the chance to host new missionaries coming in. It was so much fun! I loved every part of it! (But carrying 3 bags of luggage was a little on the difficult side haha!) We welcomed them to the MTC, helped them get their books, room key, ID, etc., dropped their stuff off at their room, and took them to class. It reminded me of my first day at the MTC. I hosted sisters who were going to Taiwan, Italy, Florida, Nebraska, and somewhere else I don't remember (oops!). 

     The language is coming along nicely. sister Leonard and I are getting to the point where we don't use our books as much and we teach by the Spirit more and more. Even though I have bad grammar and broken Cantonese, the investigators are still getting a basic understanding of what I am trying to say and more importantly, feeling the Spirit. I am surprised by how quickly some of the Cantonese is coming along, but I know it's the Lord helping me, that I am not alone in this. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Him!

     This week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me, but luckily I have been blessed with a wonderful companion who is super caring and loving! (BTW she is feeling better! Yay!). The topic for our mission conference yesterday was families and how God and this gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families. Here is what I learned: The Lord will flood the earth with truth and righteousness to gather his elect and bring them unto Zion. The Book of Mormon is the truth and us missionaries are the righteousness. My service will bless and strengthen my family. I cannot hold anything back because the Lord needs all of me to fulfill His work. Our charge as missionaries is not to find individuals. Our charge as families is to find families. I know I am where I need to be. My mission is to bless my family and the families of my investigators in Hong Kong. I truly believe that being apart from my family for 18 months is so worth it if it means that someone can be with their family for eternity.
     There is so much more I would love to say but know that I love all of you so much and I miss you! The blessings in your lives will come. You just have to wait on the Lord's timing :)












Quote of the week: Turn to Him and your prayers will be answered. - James B. Martino
Scripture of the week: Doctrine and Covenants 84.

Mormon message of the week: The Refiner's Fire

Sister Maggie Shiffert

P.S. I didn't get to mention before that I broke my camera my first week here but I got a new one so sorry for the flood of pictures that are coming your way! 

I love to see the temple!

My view every Monday morning after attending the temple. 

I love my tuhngbuhng! (that's Cantonese for companion)






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Happy (Belated) Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Ariel and Flounder! :)



This is how us Cantos party on Halloween... Eating popcorn with chopsticks! 




Sister Maggie Shiffert
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