Sunday, January 31, 2016

Who Says A Mission Can't Be Entertaining?

Leihdeih Hou!

     So something I've had to explain more than usual this week is where I'm form. If people guess, they usually guess Korea. If they ask where I'm from and I say America, they're confused because I look Chinese haha! So I have my explanation down to a science now. I explain I am from America but I was born in China and my parents adopted me. And then because I don't think adoption is common around here, I have to explain my parents are American not Chinese. It definitely a nice conversation starter!

     Also, we have a new investigator! He name is Lam Poh Po and she is the cutest grandma haha! The We went with the ward to clean some nonmember's houses in preparation for Chinese New Year next week, and we helped Lam Poh Po. She loves to read the Bible and pray and talks a lot about the Bible. So scriptures are the way to her heart! But she wasn't really interested in a Book of Mormon but I know once she reads it, she'll love it just as much as the Bible. WE just have to help her see that reading both the Bible and Book of Mormon can bring her so much more happiness in her life.

     The poh pos here are so funny! I never had this happen until now but I've been waiting for it. We met Ngai Poh Po last week who is a very strong in the Baaisahn religion (similar to Buddhist). We taught a lesson to her but she is from mainland and her Mandarin accent was so thick it was hard to understand her Cantonese (she would also throw in Mandarin words and speak Mandonese lol!). We decided the Mandarin elders would be a better fit for her so we went with them to introduce them to Ngai Poh Po. There was one point where she was saying something to the Mandarins but they didn't understand her (no one understood what she was saying at all), so she turns to the only Asian in the room (me) and starts spitting out all this Chinese like I could help her out and translate for all the Americans in the room. It was so funny! I've been waiting for something like this to happen, and now I can say it has! Haha!

     This mission has been amazing so far and I absolutely love it! For those of you you are considering a mission, do it!!! I promise you won't regret it! You don't realize all the blessings the Lord has is store for you, until you serve Him. I have learned and grown so much and I honestly can't believe it is February already! Time is going by so fast but I am treasuring every moment I can. I love all of you and I hope you have an awesome week!
Scripture of the Week: Jacob 4:10 Never give counsel to the Lord; always receive counsel from the Lord. He knows where you're future is going and what is best for you. 
Quote of the Wee: 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)

 Sister Maggie Shiffert

Helping Lam Poh Po clean her house

Some of the sisters in the New territories zone during our temple day last week!

My companion is adorable!

​Temple days are the best days!
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Gamyaht Hou Dung!

Leihdeih Hou!

     The phrase of the week is "Gamyaht hou dung!" or "Today very cold!" The weather decided to drop all of a sudden and almost set a new record for lowest temperature over the past 60 years. It has been freezing but luckily we have a good heater. Going finding is not a fun anymore because of the cold, but we're still going strong! I can handle the cold, wind, and rain, but when you give me all three at once, that's a little harder to handle haha! 

     So I had the opportunity to go to a wedding reception this past week. They do things pretty traditional here, but it is super cheesy! But I do have to say, Hong Kong people love their food! There was so much food but it was so good! The person who got married is in our ward and his name is Geigo and he married someone from Taiwan. Here's the interesting part. He speaks Cantonese and she speaks Mandarin. They can speak a little of each other's language and a little English, but that's it. Somehow they make communication though! 

     Once again, we had an adventure yesterday: Locked Out of Your Apartment 2.0! This time it wasn't our fault though! The housing elders came by to drop off some mattress pads and locked the gate outside of our door, but we don't have a key to that gate. So we just chilled in the hallway again for a couple of hours while we waited for them to come. They are probably going to give us 5 spare keys now so they don't have to come all the way from Kowloon anymore haha!

     The language is coming along. I don't think I'm progressing, but then people always tell me it's better and improving. And in Hong Kong culture, they will tell you straight up what they think. If they think you're pretty, they'll tell you. If they think you're fat or gaining weight, they'll tell you. There is no beating around the bush here! 

     So I don't talk much about our investigators or less-actives, but I thought I would share a little about one of them each week. We are working with one girl named Christina and she is literally the modern day Joseph Smith. She met the missionaries on the street and just wanted to learn more about our church. She goes to a Christian school, so she already knows some of the doctrine which is good. However, her friends are telling her our church is bad and that she would be joining a cult if she joined our church (which is so far from the truth). She likes meeting with us, but her school also has church so she doesn't know if she should continue going to her school's church classes or join our church. She's 16 so I can understand this is a confusing time for her, but I know she will be a member at some point in her life. maybe not right now, but she is so ready to receive the gospel.

     Today we are going to the temple and temple days are P-Days, so that's why I'm emailing a day late. I am so excited to see the Hong Kong temple and I hope all of you have the opportunity to go to the temple soon! It is such a peaceful and wonderful experience and I am so glad we have a temple so close to us! Have a good week and I will talk with all of you soon!
Scripture of the week: Ether 12:12 If you don't have faith, God can't perform miracles, His miracles work according to our faith. 
Quote of the week: We need women who know how the make things happen by their faith (President Russell M. Nelson)

Sister Maggie Shiffert

Fun photo at the MTR station in Kowloon (don't know why it's sideways like this...)

Locked Out 2.0!

​Us with some members from the ward at Geigo's wedding

Geigo and his wife Anne 

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Crazy is the New Normal

Leihdeih Hou!

     I hope everyone had a great week last week! There is nothing really exciting going go, just the usual studying and teaching lessons. Our schedules are so crazy and I think we have forgotten what the meaning of time is haha! But seriously, when you go on a mission, your concept of time is so off. Sister Redd and I are the definition of so much to do, so little time. We definitely busy, we it's a good kind of busy. We try our best to keep each other sane :)

     It has finally started to cool down and feel like winter a little. But the cold does not stop the mosquitoes here I'm afraid. And mosquitoes love me. So when I go outside to exercise, everything is covered except for my hands and face, and somehow, the mosquitoes manage to find the only places where skin in showing a eat me alive. If this is what winter is like, I don't want to know what it will be like in the summertime!

     So Sister Redd and I have started teaching AMay's daughter Padmay about the gospel! Super exciting! She is a teenager and only gets to visit her mom on the weekends when she's not in school, so this was the first time we talked with her. She seems to have interest and received our message about the Restoration well. She's still unsure about baptism, but I can see she has a lot of potential :) 

     Sorry there wasn't much to report on this past week, but there are pictures below of all the different residential areas I serve in! I hope everyone has a great week! Talk to you next Monday!
Scripture of the Week: Romans 8:24-25 If we have hope that something will happen, then we need to have the patience associated with it and patiently wait for it to happen. 
Quote of the Week: You won't be of much to others if your own faith is not securely in place (Elder Neil L. Andersen)

Sister Maggie Shiffert

The area I serve in covers a wide variety of places. Yuen Long truly is a special place! We have places that are pretty typical and more lower class...

​And then we have places far from the city where there are houses which is the equivalent of a mansion in the U.S...

And then we have the more suburban area (this is Long Ping which is right next to Yuen Long)...

And then we have the more urban/city environment...

Forgot to add this last week, but here is a view from my apartment!

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Short and Sweet and to the Point!

Leih Hou!

     This is going to be a brief email because I am going to try and respond to all the personal emails I have received. If I haven't responded to you or don't get to you today, please know that I'm sorry and I love you and I can feel your love and support! I just haven't gotten my time management figured out yet, but I promise I will one of these days! The Lord makes our weak things stronger right? Haha!

     Quick update on A-May. She received the gift of the Holy Ghost this Sunday, so she is officially a member of the church now! She was so happy and you could tell a difference in her countenance right away. Oh, she is awesome!
     So nothing particularly funny happen today but Sister Redd and I have a funny daily occurrence. She is the champion of power walking. I am a slow poke. So her speed walking means I'm half jogging. Sometimes I'm not fast enough so she does what her trainer did to her and says, "Grab my bag!" So here we are walking the streets of Hong Kong with me holding on to Sister Redd for dear life haha! I'm sure we look quite skeptical to some people, but if it gets us to places on time until I can learn to power walk. then we'll do it! :)

     This week we had a zone training, so all the missionaries in the New Territories stake gathered for a training on how to be better missionaries. One topic we discussed was how to build stronger relationships with members. For those of you reading this, let the missionaries help you! We want to help in any way we can, whether it's with service or referrals or anything really! Strong relationships with trust are so vital to missionary work. Don't be afraid to reach out to the missionaries. I promise as you do so, you will come to know and love them, and I know they will show the same love and appreciation!

     That's it for this week, but I will talk with you next Monday! Have a great week!
Scripture of the Week: 1 Nephi 3:7 The Lord will never ask us to do something we can't handle. He will always provide a way for us to accomplish His will. Put your trust in Him.
Quote of the week: Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it. (Elder Neil L. Andersen)

Sister Maggie Shiffert

I'm lacking is pictures this week, so here are pictures of the apartment I'm living in!

Living Room​

3 bunk beds side by side so it's like a mega bed

Mine and Sister Redd's office

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy 2016!

Leih Hou Leihdeih!

     Happy New Year! It's a new year and a fresh start with life! So we have had some fun adventures this week. One of the first things Sister Redd told me is that Yuen Long is full of miracles and adventures. I didn't truly believe her until now!

     We started the week by providing service with the elders in our ward. A woman needed help moving some of her things out of her friends house and into hers. We got it done relatively quickly, but she lived waaaaay out in the boonies. We were joking we were in mainland she lived so far away. However, it was also nice to see something other than buildings. You could see the mountains and there were a lot of trees and grass. Not the wealthiest of places, but it was super peaceful and a nice change of scenery. 

     Later that night, we found out the plumber locked us out of our apartment because he locked the actual doorknob and we didn't have a key to get in. So we were just chilling in the hallway with the other sisters for 2 1/2 hours waiting for the housing elders to come all the way from Kowloon and open the door for us. It was quite comical, but we were definitely exhausted by the end of the night. 

     The language is coming along little by little. Now I understand why people speaking a foreign language would always say once they entered the field, they had no idea what people were saying. There are a lot of words that are different from what we learned in the MTC (the more casual/slang phrases), but I am gradually learning them so I can communicate and sound more like a native. I still have trouble understanding what people say, but I keep reminding myself that it hasn't even been a full 3 weeks yet. I will admit that patience is not my best attribute, but I know the Lord is helping me work on it and that is one reason why he told me to serve a mission haha!

     Even with this language barrier, I am surprised at how quickly I come to love the people I serve (investigators, less-actives, my companion, other missionaries, etc). I only meet an investigator or less-active once or twice, and I already care about them so much. Sometimes it's hard at first, but then I see Sister Redd and how she unconditionally loves all of them, flaws and all, so she is a great example to me. One of my goals this year to to really develop the Christ-like attributes, and charity is one of the most important because without charity, we are nothing. 

     I will end with the highlight of my week: We had a baptism! It was actually Sister Redd and her former companion who did all the work; I just happen to come at the right time. Her name is A-May and she is the sweetest lady. She's from Vietnam and had only heard of Jesus Christ once until the missionaries taught her. She has had a really hard life, but she was truly prepared by the Lord. Some of her past came up right before her baptism (darn Satan...) and we thought we would have to postpone her baptism. But God is a God of miracles, and she got baptized yesterday! I love her so much and she already has such a strong testimony. She is amazing! We haven't had any new investigators since I've been here, but I am so ready to find the people the Lord has prepared for us and be with them from the beginning of their journey to eternal happiness.

     I hope all of you have a fantastic week and if you haven't come up with New Year's resolutions, start now! :)
Scirpture of the Week: Mosiah 2:41 - Keep ALL of God's commandments (not just the common 10) and you will be blessed both temporally and spiritually. He promises you will have never-ending happiness.
Quote of the Week: We are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions (Jeffery R. Holland)

Sister Maggie Shiffert

​The face you make when you get locked out of your apartment... Haha!

​The middle of nowhereville/the boonies! But very pretty scenery :)

​The woman we helped serve (her name is Janet...I think...)

Sister Redd and I with A-May and the leders in our ward and the ward mission leader who baptized her.

Even President and Sister Lam came to show their support!

We love A-May! :)​

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