General Conference - 天父爱你

9:27:00 PM

I have never had a more tiring weekend in my life until the last weekend. That's because General Conference here starts at 6 am, meaning we have to wake up at 5 am to get ready. And usually people get to take naps at home after conference, but there's no napping on a mission except for today (preparation day). The struggle is so real as I tried to listen with real intent from 6-8, and then again from 10-12. Being set apart as a missionary has helped me to stay more awake (almost 100%) as I watch conference than I have ever before in my life. Haha

Some cool announcements made:
  1. There are now 150 operating temples all over the world! That means temples are getting closer to members and they can enjoy the blessings of the temple more often. 
  2. President Weatherford T. Clayton, the mission president in the Toronto Canada Mission, was just called to be an General Authority Seventy in the church. I only served there for a transfer, but I've seen the love that both him and Sister Clayton have for missionaries, and for our Heavenly Father. I know that He is called of God, just as other church leaders are. And I'm excited for their new adventure after they finish their mission in July. 
General Conference every time is amazing. I feel like a theme that was reiterated over and over was our divine identity as children of God and that there is always hope as a lost sheep. Because He is our Heavenly Father, He will never forsake us, and we aren't meant to face opposition alone. If we draw near unto Him through daily obedience in our thoughts, intentions,and actions, we can gain a better understanding of who He needs us to be in this life and in eternity. He know us individually, knows everything about us, and still loves us, despite our past decisions. I know that Some of my favorite lines from conference (not exact words because I'm too slow at catching it all):
  • Elder Dale G. Renlund, "the greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more likely the receiver develops a sense of entitlement," if we are relationship with Heavenly Father is close, we can be humble and be happier
  • President Thomas S. Monson, quoting the cat in Alice in Wonderland, "If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn't matter which path you take." But since we know our end goal is to live in the celestial kingdom with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we know the path we take in this life is crucial to get there, we're given the tools to help us, we just have to use them
  • President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "obedience is the lifeblood of faith, if our faith does not influence the way we live, it is in vain" and "there is nothing good unless you do it"
  • Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "we get credit for trying, even if we don't always succeed," "If we love the Lord with all our hearts, tomorrow and every day after will be amazing"
  • Elder Dallin H. Oaks, something along the lines of how opposition is meant for our growth, for our faith to be tested, for us to rely on the Savior's teachings, and necessary!
I love hearing from the prophet and the apostles and other general authorities because they speak with authority from God, and because of the Holy Spirit tells them what we need to hear and know. A mission is by far not easy, but it becomes easier when we put our trust in Him, and just try our best. We were able to watch one session with the Miller family, and Sister Miller has been less active for several years, so it was nice to see their whole family really listening. And our landlord Aunty Diana and our new investigator Vivian watched it too! :)

Now about Vivian, she's super cool. President Warner left us a message one night and said that Sharon's friend is interested in learning more about the gospel. And they live in Waikiki(outside our area) so he gave us permission to drive out there to teach her since I'm the closest Chinese speaking sister missionary. Turns out Sharon is a member and she's Vivian's landlord, so we had our first lesson with Vivian on Saturday! Sister Warner came with us to the lesson, and I was nervous because my I could definitely use some more practice with gospel terminology in Chinese. Vivian is only a few years older than us, and she's actually from Hubei too! (where I was born) She has the seed of faith that I've never really seen in a Chinese person (at least on my mission so far), and is already asking how she can feel the Spirit more in her life. My jaw almost wanted to drop. But we are sooooooo excited to keep teaching her, and Sister Blackner is having a blast just listening to us speak in Mandarin. Even though she doesn't understand, she still double testifies and is so in tune with the Spirit. :) The week before, I told Sister Blackner I needed to start doing language study, and I wasn't too good at it, but she said the Spirit prepared me to teach Vivian. I just love her already, she's super sweet.

This week was also funny because we are trying to find more investigators and we actually found some children to teach. Some have parents that are less active, and some have grandparents that are members and parents who aren't. But we know that as they continue to learn about the gospel, the Spirit will help soften their parents hearts, and their examples will influence the whole family for the better. 

I love this restored gospel. You know why? It's definitely not easy being a follower of Jesus Christ (if you're actually trying to be exactly obedient), but I know that has the possibility of giving us happiness that lasts for a lifetime and eternity.  But the thing is, it's not some naive foolishness, it's what helps us be happy in any circumstance, to give direction in our lives, to bring us back to His presence one day. I love the church because it is exactly constructed as how Jesus Christ established His church when He was here, and He is at the head. The organization, the teachings, everything we believe comes from Him, not from Joseph Smith, not from Thomas S. Monson. But Jesus Christ himself. I know that peace comes from living the gospel teachings. It strengthens families. It changes lives. So I love being a missionary. Because it is the best message anyone can receive.

I challenge you to watch General Conference if you haven't had the chance to yet. And if you did, share your testimony with a friend who isn't familiar with the gospel. :)

Some of my favorite talks:

We're going to start teaching him this week, Josiah took us to a pond and he caught something.

Wednesday nights are always activity nights for the young women and primary! I love them.

The young women surprised us with this that same night! I wanted to cry, because I won't be serving in this ward for much longer :( They are the best.

The things we do when we are bored...

Sister Gorai and her son are the cutest. 

Homemade garlic chicken, but it's got Korean seasonings and ooooo so yummy. Sister Fatiaki is one good home chef.

I like to think this is the "Hawaii Honolulu Mission" and "007" like a spy. Call me lame, whatever. 

Much aloha,
Sister Wu

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