The "Crybaby Sister"

Leih hou ngoh ge gatihng! Ngoh ngoi leihdeih!!! (Hello my family! I love you guys!)
How is everyone?! I miss you so much! Grandma and Grandpa Wilcox - thank you SO MUCH for your care package!! I was so happy to see those O'Henry's! And the elders in my district loved them too :) I shared. They were like, "Oh my gosh! These are like the best thing I've had since I've been here! Tell your grandma I love her!!!" haha. So thank you so so so much! Misti, thanks for the dearelder! I love getting mail! And everyone else - thank you so much for your love and support. It means the WORLD to me. I love you all!
Some bad news we received this week: two of our teachers are leaving. :( I started crying when Daai Ji Muih told us she was leaving this week. And Haa Hing Dai is leaving too! They both leave Saturday. It's going to be horrible. It's funny how emotionally attached we are to our amazing teachers. They are just SO strong and help me so much. But I guess that's what your mission is: a lot of goodbyes. Just when you get used to the MTC, you have to leave. Get used to a companion, time for a transfer. Love the people you teach, transfer out of that area. It's going to be hard, but it's a huge blessing in the first place that I get to meet and associate with all of these wonderful people. I constantly try to imagine what my life would have been like had I not decided to serve a mission. I can't even imagine it. This is the BEST decision I have ever made in my entire life, hands down. I love being a missionary SO MUCH!
Soo... I'm known as the crybaby sister. Not crying as in sad or discouraged or homesick, but crying as in every time I feel the Spirit, I cry. My eyes just leak. I don't know what's gotten into me! haha. Every single time we have a devotional or something, Sister Morgan, Sister Johnson, Sister Palmer look over at me and they say, "Every time." Because I'm always crying! I just feel the Spirit here SO MUCH. It's so amazing!

On Tuesday, ELDER RICHARD G. SCOTT came and did our devotional. Yeah! How awesome!!! It was the most sacred, special experience I've ever had. He spoke about prayer and receiving revelation through prayer. I've been feeling like I wanted to make my prayers more meaningful, so it spoke right to me. It was so neat being in the same room as an apostle. Haley, I sing in the choir so I get a seat in 18M every single time! It's great! :) Anyway, Elder Scott spoke so eloquently on prayer and then.... he stopped his prepared remarks. He told us that he felt very prompted to give those of us speaking a foreign language an apostolic blessing that we would be able to do it. The Spirit in the room was almost tangible right then. It was honestly the most sacred feeling I've ever had. I don't think anyone was daring to breathe, it was so neat. My face was soaking wet with tears. I KNOW that was God speaking through His servant. He said things that I know were meant for me, and for our district. It was so special!
Sundays are the BEST day of the week, by far. I feel like I'm feasting on the Spirit all day long and I love it. Half of our branch is Philippines bound, and 3 districts left early this morning for the Philippines! So yesterday during sacrament meeting they sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." Boom. Me crying. Who's surprised? Nobody here. Then we went to Relief Society. Sister Cheryl Esplin spoke (general primary presidency) and it was amazing. She spoke about filling ourselves with the right things so that Satan can't crush us. D&C 88:67. Such a good scripture. I remember Heather Murdock speaking at YW a few years ago and sharing that scripture and I've absolutely loved it ever since. Anyway, at the end of that meeting? Boom. Me crying. Bawling, in fact. It was so good. THEN we went back to our room and watched some conference talks. To answer your questions, yes in every classroom there is a computer that's hooked to a huge TV screen. So we can log on to the computer and access our mail accounts, lds.org, some other missionary resources whenever. Except we're only supposed to email on P days. Obviously. So we decided to watch Elder Callister's talk from this conference's priesthood session! We chose that one because Jaren, you wrote me and told me that talk really got to you. So I wanted to hear it too! :) You're right, it was really good. He is a great speaker. Isn't it cool that we met him? One of the other elders going to Hong Kong is obsessed with him. He LOVES his books and all his talks and we were talking one time and he said, "If I could meet him, that would make my life." So I said, "I've met him." He almost DIED. It was great. :) I told him Elder Callister told me he'd be coming to the MTC sometime in May, and he almost DIED again. Haha! Anyway, then we watched President Monson's talk from priesthood session, which was also AMAZING. You should watch it again. It's phenomenal! All about missionary work :) I loved when he said, "A mission is a family affair." After that, we had district meeting. Our district is incredible. I love all our elders. We talked about revelation and how to recognize the Spirit. Boom. Me crying. AGAIN! None of the elders were surprised. They all say, "Oh, there goes Sister Wilcox..." haha. So THEN Sunday night, our devotional was done by BYU Men's Chorus. SO AMAZING. I love music. One of them said, "Music is the language of heaven." I totally believe that. Music speaks to me! I love that Mom made us practice piano :) haha. THEN on Sunday night, we watched The Testaments. And I was sobbing. I absolutely love that movie. I heard someone behind us after it was over say, "That was so cheesy." And I kind of wanted to hit them. Why would they say that?
 It's such a neat movie with such a good message. I always put myself in the position of the Nephites. When Christ comes again, it is going to be a glorious day!
I made a list of Do's and Don'ts for the MTC. Thought you guys might like it:
DO love your companion to death.
DO absolutely adore all your teachers.
DO write notes in every meeting you go to!
DO eat at the salad bar
DO try to SYL all the time
DO bond with and love all your roommates
DO sit with your district at meals, and hang out with them as much as possible.
DO LAUGH! A lot! :)
DO study your brains out
DO pray. More than you EVER have.
DO write lots of letters on P day!
DO go to 2M for gym time - you can watch conference talks and mormon messages while you do the bike or eliptical! (however you spell that...) they have headphones you can get in the bookstore. LOVE THIS SO MUCH!
DO be positive, not negative!
DO study your scriptures and love it!
DON'T judge others before you get to know them
DON'T try the cafeteria's "better than anything" cake... because it's delicious and you'll want 10 pieces.
DON'T get discouraged -- that is Satan.
DON'T be frustrated by know-it-all elders..... aghh. Working on this one :)
DON'T be afraid to make mistakes!
DON'T forget your shower shoes. Because the shower floors are disgusting. Lots of gross hair. I think you'd throw up, Dad. I almost do.
DON'T rip your nylons. Yup, did that. It's lame.
DON'T give up!! :)

Oh my gosh, did I tell you guys about the BAT in our residence hall the other week? A live bat. I'm not even joking. It was flying around -- get this. It HIT ONE SISTER IN THE FACE! Is that the most disgusting thing you've ever heard??!!! I was FREAKING out. The sisters in my room were making fun of me. But honestly, bats are the grossest thing in the world. If someone in Hong Kong offers me fruit bat soup, I'm going to refuse. I'm sorry. I just can't do that.
I hope i haven't been too negative about the language. It's difficult, yes, but I don't feel like it's impossible or that I can't do it! I feel pretty good about it, actually. You're right, Mom and Dad, memorizing comes pretty easy to me! I think that's been a spiritual gift I've been give to prepare me for this mission. It's cool to see how the Lord prepares us for these experiences.
I feel the Spirit so much here, I could just BURST. I am so thankful to be here. This mission will truly affect me forever - and my family, and my future family, and on and on. It feels so right to be here! I love it so much! Please keep writing me - I thrive off mail and news from home! I love you all more than I could even express. Whit, I hope you and Jare Bear have a fun prom! Please email me pictures!!!!! :) I want to seeeeee! Pakrer, less than a month till you date and drive. SAY WHAT?! ahhh! that's nuts! Oh man, I miss you guys. Jaren, I miss talking about books with you. The other day I did this weird thing with my tongue, and Sister Johnson said, "You look like Barty Crouch.... Junior." And I almost DIED laughing. Then we quoted Harry Potter for like 10 minutes :) It made me miss my brothers!! Sister Morgan has a laugh attack every time I say, "Ramses! How are you?" she says I sound just like Nacho. Guess I've got that accent perfected :) anyway, i gotta go. I wanna see if I can send pictures!
I LOVE YOU ALL! I pray for you every morning and night. And lots of times in between :) You keep me going! Love you!

xoxoXXOOxoXO :)

Papa's Green Silky PJs...

My lovely family!!!
Oh my goodness emailing you is the HIGHLIGHT of my week. But i can definitely see why they have a rule for only emailing/writing once a week. Because when I email it makes me miss you! Not too much, but I absolutely love you so so so so much. I can't even begin to express how much you mean to me.
Also, THANK YOU for all the letters!! I feel like I am being showered with love when I get a letter or dearelder or package. I have the best family and friends in the entire world. Thank you so much Emma, Josiah, Max, and Gideon - I LOVED your cards! Megan Greenhalgh Probst sent me a package of mini cupcakes and a dearelder! Taylor Psalto, Mina May, Marcene, Marianne, Matt Rogers, Haley, Grandma Wilcox, Spencer Waddoups, and ESPECIALLY Whit Twit, Dad, Momma, Jaren.... hmm who's missing... uh Parker!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WRITE ME YOU GOOFUS! :) I want to hear about your life! But seriously, if I forgot anyone (and I probably did).. Thank you times a million. Letters lift and encourage me so much! Keep em coming! Mom, I especially liked your list of things you had to tell me. That was awesome. I do that too, in my journal. I love hearing from you. I tell my companion and my roomies every day how much I miss eating green smoothies and going to Zumba together. I miss you!
BUT... the MTC is amazing as ever. I can't believe how blessed I am to be here. It's the most incredible place in the world. Every single day is such a spiritual high - by the end of the day it's exhausting :) But I wouldn't trade it! I LOVE being a missionary! Being able to help others come unto Christ is the greatest feeling in the world. Let me tell you about my week! Sorry it's so long (and hopefully not boring...) but I just want to tell you EVERYTHING. I wish you could be here so I could just tell you all in person!
This week we continued teaching Pauline. Wednesday was ROUGH. During our lesson, we didn't do very well at all. We had a lesson completely prepared on Christ and then Pauline said, "I know God doesn't love me because my sister died." Uh.. yeah.. okay.. not prepared for that. I felt so bad because I wanted to convey Heavenly Father's love for her SO BADLY but I don't know enough Cantonese yet. So our lesson wasn't very good at all. Sister Morgan and I felt absolutely awful. We prayed but couldn't really focus the rest of our language study time. We went to dinner and it was the most incredible tender mercy to see familiar faces. Cale Strong and Jake Segura came up to see me and I told them all about my day. Jake was really helpful and told me about his first week. He said, "How long have you been here? Calm down." He said if I focus on Pauline and her needs and the doctrine, then the language will come. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Then I went and said hi to Ben, and he helped me out too. It was such a boost! It so nice to have some familiar faces at the MTC with me (except Ben left today... sad!!). It's also comforting to hear that others have the exact same experiences. When we got back from dinner, I had 5 dearelders and 3 cards sitting on my desk. BEST THING EVER! Hearing from people in the "outside world" is soooo motivating and helpful! I got teary reading your letter, Mom. I also had a note from two sisters in our room that I've been struggling to love. They wrote some scriptures down (Mosiah 4:27, D&C 84:88, D&C 11:21) and wrote, "Remember God loves you and will not try you beyond your means. We love you!!!" I was seriously so humbled by that. It was a huge reality check to be like, okay. They love me. They're supporting me. I felt bad for not loving them as much. (But ever since then, things have been WONDERFUL. I absolutely adore them!)  So, then Sis Morgan and I asked Elder Barker (our DL) to give us a blessing. It was a wonderful experience. He told me so many times in my blessing, "Our Father loves you, and He is proud of you." It was so special. Elder Barker has really stepped up to the plate as our district leader. It is so neat to see how the gospel changes people. I hope I can change myself. I really want to be an effective missionary for the Lord. I want to do this work to the best of my ability!
Anyway, Thursday was sooooooo much better! In our lesson with Pauline, the Spirit was there in abundance. I said the opening prayer and prayed that she would be able to feel God's love for her and feel the Spirit. I could tell she was touched. Then throughout the lesson, we just kept getting promptings by the Spirit. Things that I didn't even know how to say kept coming out of my mouth. I testified of our Father in Heaven's love for His children, and for Pauline. We told her we KNEW she'd see her sister again. There was an especially powerful moment when Sister Morgan said, "I KNOW God loves you, Pauline." and I said, "WE love you." Sis Morgan and I were almost in tears by the end of the lesson. It was so powerful.
On Friday, Pauline became our other teacher haha. Sister Tai! She's AWESOME. So our teachers are Sister Chang (Jeung Ji Muih), Sister Tai (Daai Ji Muih), and Brother Harper (Haa Hing Dai). I LOVE THEM ALL. Ps... all of us might possibly have teacher crushes on Brother Harper... hahaha. Especially me. He's pretty cute. And super patient. And very nice. And he has a great smile. But we're missionaries.. soooooooo. Yeah. Can't help but think of your parents Morg! ;) your dad was your mom's teacher in the MTC.. oh man.. hahaha. KIDDING EVERYONE. I'm totally focused. Okay. Anyway. So Daai Ji Muih's testimony was POWERFUL on Friday night. When she finished with class for the day, she said, "So how you feeling?" and until that moment, I hadn't realized that I actually wasn't "houh houh" (good good - you say it "ho ho"). I was pretty overwhelmed. So I said that out loud. Daai Ji Muih nodded and shared Alma 7:11-12 with us and bore the most incredible, heartfelt testimony I've ever heard. She told us that she knew Christ suffered for us so that he would KNOW how to succor us. She told us we could do it and that God called us to this mission and God does not make mistakes. She told us how glad she was that we were going to serve in her home, Hong Kong and how much that meant to her. I was crying the entire time. She is so sweet. It was a powerful testimony to me that, yes, Christ loves me! He is there for me! He knows EXACTLY how I feel and he will hold my hand every step of this crazy journey. How thankful I am for that. I am so thankful for Him. He is the center of my testimony. I know He lives. I know He descended below all things so that He could help me in my greatest times of need. I am going to repay him the littlest bit I know how by serving him with my whole heart these next 18 months.
Sundays are the greatest day at the MTC (besides P-day ;) ). They are SUCH a spiritual high! We went to sacrament meeting, then went to Relief Society where Mary Edmunds was the speaker. She was incredible. Her testimony of missionary work was wonderful. Then for the closing hymn, we sang "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd." PLEASE GO LOOK UP THE LYRICS. They are amazing. I cried my eyes out during the hymn, I could barely even sing. I felt so strongly what I am doing is RIGHT.
"Out in the desert they wander
Hungry and helpless and cold
So to the rescue we'll hasten
Bringing them back to the fold."
I feel so much compassion and love for the people of Hong Kong, and I haven't even met them yet. I want to bring them back to the fold! They are wandering, hungry and helpless and cold, missing the most important thing in their lives: the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to go share this beautiful message of happiness and peace with them! I can't wait to be able to do that. I can feel my thoughts, my actions, my heart changing already. I will never be the same again. And how awesome that is! I also thought, during that song, of Stacy and Sheldon. Maybe you should give me their addresses. I'd like to write them a letter.
So, after RS, the elders were at priesthood so we went back to our classroom (when I say "we" I almost always mean me, Sis Morgan, Sis Johnson, and Sis Palmer- my besties here at the MTC!) and watched mormon messages and just had a cry fest for a while. The one that made me cry the most was called "Power of God" I think. You guys should definitely go watch it. It made me think of you, Parker and Jaren, and how you hold the priesthood, and the many wonderful things that you are able to do with it. Honor it! Remember what a blessing it is that you have it! I am so proud of you broskis. I love you to pieces. PARKER YOU BETTER WRITE ME OR I'M GONNA BE UPSET. :) anyway, after the mormon message cry fest, and after lunch, we went on our temple walk! Greatest thing ever. I'm gonna try and send pictures but this card reader I'm using won't read my SD card. It's weird. I'll try and figure it out! On our temple walk I saw Becca! I've seen her every day. She's in the same building as me! Anyway, I talked to her for a little while and she was crying to me for a sec. She said, "Are you homesick?" and i said, "No! Not at all!" and she is. She's kind of having a hard time. I hope I helped her out a little bit. I just was encouraging her and telling her how much I loved her! Whit, you should write her.
I sing in choir here! It's fun! The choir director is incredible. He is a great guy. He always shares a spiritual thought and it's always so inspiring. I love that everything here is so uplifting!!!! :)
The elders in my district are good missionaries, Dad. Especially Elder Barker. He's awesome. But they're all great. I love them so much! There are 3 districts here going to Hong Kong (did I tell you that already?) it's like 24 people. It's the most people they've EVER sent to Hong Kong from the MTC. EVER. How cool is that!?! So the 6 of us girls in our room are the only ones going to Hong Kong in the whole MTC. We feel pretty special :) It's so fun! We get along SO WELL. We laugh all day, and do everything together. I feel like I've known these sisters longer than just a week and a half! We are so bonded and so close. It's great :) Everyone here is so nice, though.
Funny story. Hilarious, actually. I hope you appreciate it. So I got a package on Friday, but I didn't know who it was from. They just give you a slip that says "you have a package" and you're supposed to go pick it up. Friday we didn't have time, and then Saturday when we went the place was already closed. I was bummed! But I was like, oh well I'll just get it Monday. Well at 10:00 on Saturday night, I hear my name over the loudspeaker that goes to the ENTIRE MTC. "Sister Shaylee Wilcox, please come to the front office." That's embarrassing. And let me give you a little vision: I had wet hair from the shower at this point. I was wearing Papa's green silk pajamas. (thanks for sewing up the fly for me, by the way Mom. haha!). The front office is in 1M. I live in 17M. Long walk with wet hair in silky green old man pajamas.  I was like, "if it's just my package I want to wait till Monday!" But my coordinating sister said, "uh.. they wouldn't call you to the front office for just your package... you'd better go." So at this point I'm kinda freaking out. What did I do? Eat too much salad at every meal? ahhh!! So sister Morgan and I throw on hoodies and our nametags over our PJs (yep, I wore the green silkies!) and walk cleeeeeeear over to 1M. We get up to the front and they hand me my package. Haha. It was cupckaes from Megan! So I was totally happy about that, but Sister Morgan and I were dying that we looked so ridiculous so late at night in our pajamas clear across MTC campus. I'm proud of those silky pajamas from Papa :) I love em! I bet he had a good laugh watching that :)
Oh, my time is about up. I have to go. I love you all so much more than I could say! I miss you! But I am SO HAPPY here. I love it more than I ever thought I would. I know my Father in Heaven lives and loves me. I KNOW He is guiding my life. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. I am doing the most important, sacred work in the world! I am so thrilled with this opportunity. I'm working hard. I'll continue to do so. I hope I can show the Lord that I love Him and that I will do my best during this mission.
I love you all! Keep writing me! xoxo
All my love,
Gwok Ji Muih


First Letter!

My dearest family!
Leih hou! (Lay ho!) This is hello in Cantonese. (so we were wrong, mom...oh well! ) and plus, i can't write the tones on here. the tones are crazy! i feel like i'm singing :) haha it's great. anyway...
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! I am sitting here in the laundry room at the mtc still not believing that i am actually here doing missionary work. this is the happiest place on earth, i'm convinced. happier even than disneyland ;) I LOVE IT HERE!!! i wish i could put into words how incredible it is here. and i wish that i could tell you everything about what i'm learning and doing. i'll try my best...! and by the way i'm not going to caps anything anymore because this shift key is jammed. boo.
the first day was great! they got my RIGHT into class, where my teacher (sister chang - i love her) was only speaking cantonese. intimidating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but i met my companion there, sister morgan. LOVE LOVE LOVE HER. so much! she is so great. we get along like 2 peas in a pod. she is from highland utah. oh, and melina her first name is mandy so you can facebook stalk ;) our roommates are all going to hong kong with us! we are becoming best friends with two of our roommates, sister johnson (i'm facebook friends with her, remember?!) and sister palmer, SUCH cute and wonderfully spiritual people. sister palmer (loren so you can facebook stalk, mina may hahaha) is a convert of only 2 years! she is the only member in her family and she is one of the strongest people i've ever met. i love rooming with these sisters and feeling of their spirits and their testimonies. we have so much fun together. we laugh all day long :) i love it! our other two roommates, sister probst and sister tidwell, are always off on their own. i have found myself becoming closer and closer to everyone else and not as close to these two, so i know i need to make a better effort to be friendlier and warmer to them. they are great, though. and OH MY GOODNESS our district! there are 3 districts here at the mtc going to hong kong and learning cantonese. only 3. and there is only one companionship of sisters in every district! so our district is pretty small, sister morgan and i and then 3 sets of elders: elder barker, elder nestman, elder black, elder howell, elder martinez, and elder smith. i love them all so much already. i feel like we are a family :) elder barker is our district leader and he has STEPPED IT UP since being called as DL. he is very good to keep us on track and lead us in prayer and giving our testimonies. it's wonderful! i'll try to send pictures so you can see all of these amazing people that i already love so much.
SO... thursday we had our full day of learning the language. sister chang is our main teacher, but there's also a brother that comes in to teach us sometimes too. sister morgan and i can never remember his name so we call him "brotha teacha" haha. anyway, they talk to us ONLY in cantonese. thursday it was hard to try to figure out what they were saying. they would say something and then look at us as if we knew what it meant. HA yeah right! but we played "charades" so to speak, and figured out some words. with a lot of study, at the end of the day i felt pretty good about cantonese! i was very positive about it and have enjoyed studying it a lot. but then they told us that friday we'd be teaching our first "investigator" (mom, they're all actors so you know) on FRIDAY in CANTONESE. okay, terrifying much?! brotha teacha kept saying "daam sam" which is "don't worry". he told us the Lord would be with us. i have never prayed so hard in my life that i would know what to say to pauline (our investigator) and be able to touch her heart.
well, friday rolled around. sister morgan and i were so nervous for our lesson, but both felt that it would be okay. we went into the room where pauline was waiting for us, said "leih hou!" and asked her how she was, and then she went off. and i had NO IDEA WHAT SHE WAS SAYING. honestly, it was terrifying and embarrassing. but i had a prayer in my heart, and we went forward with our lesson. basically sis morgan and i just read from our notes what we were going to say. and i don't think we did a very good job, because pauline kept looking at us and saying, "huh?!!!" she literally did that 5 times. finally, i gave up on my notes. i felt the spirit very strongly and looked pauline in the eyes and said, "ngoh jidou YeSou GeiDuk haih weutjeuhk." which is "i know Jesus Christ lives." she looked at me and nodded, "ohhh." it was very spiritual. then i said, "ngoh jidou leih ho yih jidou." which is "I know you can know." she smiled a little bit, and nodded. but then i didn't know what to say. we asked her to pray, and she said No, so sis morgan said the closing prayer and then we left. when we got out, we both felt extremely discouraged. i had felt the spirit and felt good that i'd testified of what i DID know, but sister morgan and i agreed that we'd let fear overtake our faith and not strayed enough from our written notes. we were both extremely down. i finally felt the weight of this calling and of the language. up to that point, i'd felt great about it! but after our lesson i felt awful. our district had a district meeting after that, and we agreed to fast on Sunday to be able to learn the language and be positive about the great work that we're doing.
saturday was a very up and down day for me. in the morning before conference we did language study and both sister morgan and i were so discouraged! cantonese is difficult. then we went to general conference, where i was boosted so much. GENERAL CONFERENCE AS A MISSIONARY WAS THE BEST! i wish i could put into words how much it touched me and made me want to be better. anyway, the first session of conference was great, then language study was difficult again after that. the second session of conference was wonderful, but then language study was difficult again. at one point, i went into the bathroom stall (the only place i can really be alone) and prayed so hard to our Father in Heaven. i had been humbled on friday, and i could really see that there is absolutely NO way i can do this mission without the help of my Heavenly Father. there is no way! it can't be done. in that little bathroom stall, i prayed harder than i have in my life. i pleaded with my Father in Heaven to simply help me get through the rest of the day. i knew i wasn't going to make it without Him. well, a miracle ensued. the elders went to priesthood and the sisters went and watched a re-broadcast of the YW general meeting. WHIT, you have to watch it. it's the most amazing meeting! the spirit was so strong. i felt like that was my saving grace that day. Heavenly Father told me that He loved me and cared for me and was helping me and supporting me. the young women choir sang "more holiness give me" and i was so touched by some of the verses:
more faith in my Savior
more sense of his care
more purpose in prayer
and then especially:
More, Savior, like Thee.
i just sat there and cried. oh, and they also sang "In that Holy Place" which i played on the piano back in the Heber 1st ward and i LOVE that song. i felt like that song alone was a tender mercy for me! oh, i wish i could describe these things to you all. these feelings that i have. this spirit that i feel. i love this place.
Moving on to sunday... the BEST day of the week. Sunday was amazing. Sister morgan and i started our fast on saturday night and fasted 24 hours. embarrassing to admit... but i'm not sure that i've ever done that before. and it was incredible. Sunday morning before conference we spent working on the language. we were able to memorize a lot of vocabulary and we felt great about it! i know that wasn't us, either. that was a direct blessing of fasting and diligently studying and praying to God for His help. it was wonderful. and general conference was so great! i'm not sure if it's because i'm a missionary or if it's because a lot of their messages related to missionary work, but i took SO MUCH from it about being a missionary, walking in faith, trusting in the Lord, carrying His word to every corner of the world. it was a magnificent conference, wasn't it?
my favorite tidbits from conference...
i don't remember who said it and don't have time to look it up in my notes, but one of them said that those who serve the Lord will find that the Lord watches over their families. i thought of our family, and how dad puts in so many hours as the stake president. mom, who spends many hours being the relief society president. me, serving a full time mission. our family is being watched over because of our service. that struck me. and also, matt and misti. when the general authority said those words, my mind immediately jumped to matt and misti. M&M, i know the Lord is watching over you because Ben and I are serving. His hand is guiding your lives. i pray for you guys every morning and night and put your names in the temple this morning. i love you and am thinking of you!
another favorite. elder bruce d. porter of the seventy said, "I DO NOT FEAR THE FUTURE." i am going to adopt that as my motto. i loved that! before my mission, i think i feared the future a little too much. i don't like change. but i am going to have to get over that because i am a missionary now. i KNOW with all my heart the Lord is guiding me. He is with me at all times, i feel that so strongly here in the mtc. it's an incredible feeling. i know he will lead me into a bright, bright future. all i need to do is put my trust in Him.
okay, so the rest of Sunday. aghhh i wish you could all be here so i could tell you everything. or better yet, that you could all have been here for Sunday night! our devotional was by BYU's Vocal Point. it was nothing short of spectacular. they sang beautiful music, and some of the members of vocal point bore their testimonies and it was POWERFUL. i felt filled to the brim with the Spirit, and love, and light. it was awesome. THEN (yes, it keeps getting better and better!!) we went to a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland. Sunday night movie night at the mtc is as everyone says -- THE BEST! anyway, i wish you guys could somehow access this talk. it's the most powerful, spiritual, magnificent, amazing talks i've ever heard. it changed my life. it's called "Missions Are Forever" and Elder Holland is just a powerhouse, as usual. he doesn't even use notes or anything, he just talks for an hour and fifteen minutes about missionary work. i wish you could listen to it! but it was given at the mtc, so ya can't. dang it :(
he talked about how great our potential is as missionaries. he talked about how we need to understand how BIG and great this work is! this is GOD'S work. He is in charge. He shared a poem:
"Come to the edge, He said
No, we said. We'll fall.
Come to the edge! He said
No! we said. We'll fall!
So, we came to the edge.
He pushed us...
... and we FLEW."
isn't that powerful!? i loved it. it gave me such an empowering feeling. i can do this. the Lord told me to go on a mission, i said no i don't want to, i'm scared. he ordered me, and so i came, and now he has pushed me, and i'm not flying yet, but with His help, i'll be able to. i KNOW this to be true.
something else that i loved from his talk was when he asked us, "why is this so hard? why don't we have people knocking on our doors, dressed in white, ready to be baptized?" i was thinking, "yeah! why don't we?!" haha. but he said something that i will never, ever forget. i took really good notes so that i could share it with you, because i loved it so much.
he said: "Why is this so hard? Because salvation is not a cheap experience. Why should it be easy for us when it was not easy for Him? The road to salvation goes through Gethsemane."
Read that in an Elder Holland-filled-with-power voice. I sat there and just wept. How true it is! Why should i think that my mission to Hong Kong, or even my mission in life, should be easy? It was not easy for Jesus Christ. It was not easy for Him to suffer in Gethsemane, to bleed at every pore, to be whipped and bruised and beaten for our sakes. IT WAS NOT EASY. and so, with that, i have given up my complaints. i have given up my longing for an easier mission. i have given up my grumblings when the alarm rings at 6:15 (or, in today's case, 5:00... i know right, who woulda thought). i have given up my life for my God. that touched me in such a way that i will never be the same person. That's another thing Elder Holland said, "You MUST not come home the same person. You BETTER come home having at least one convert, and that MUST BE YOU." ah, it gives me chills just to remember it. it was absolutely incredible.
aw, fam, my time is running out. i love you so, so much. i appreciated your letters and dearelders so much! and mom, Marcene sent me a care package!! how thoughtful is that! i'm writing her a thank you letter today. I've seen so many people i know. it's so awesome. I see Jessica Harmon every day! I see Ben all the time. I've seen Nellie Kacher, Jake Segura, Cale Strong, Kayden Hicken, a bunch of people from my freshman ward at BYU - Marisa Barth, Liz Hilton, Venice Jardine, gahh i forget who all i've seen. i've seen so many people i know! it's so fun to see everyone. and DID YOU GUYS SEE THE KATZENBACHS IN BETWEEN CONFERENCE???! that made me cry haha. we're sitting there, and i had totally forgotten that would be on! and all of a sudden i was like "sister morgan! that's my family!" and i started crying. haha. little nicholas! josh, and zach, and marci and ben and sam. ahhhhh seeing them was so great, even if it was just on TV ;) i cried. and i saw Deonn in the choir at conference! did you see her? that was fun. and i saw brother heywood at the temple this morning!! SO GREAT.
i love you guys with ALL my heart. i don't think anyone could love their family more. it's impossible. haley, melina, morgan, i'm sorry i don't have time to write you an individual email today! but know that i love you and i pray for you guys every night and morning! and i'm so glad i have the scarf!
miss you so much, but this is SO RIGHT. i love it so much here. i have never been happier.
with all the love i possess,
Gwok Ji Muih (Sister Wilcox)


Here I Go!

I'm so excited.  Tonight I get set apart as a full-time representative of Jesus Christ and get to go preach His gospel in CHINA!  Hong Kong, to be exact.  I couldn't be more thrilled.

Please write me!

Sister Shaylee K Wilcox
MTC Mailbox # 122
CHN-HK 0604
2005 N 900 E 
Provo, UT 84604  (until June 4th) 

After June 4th: 

Sister Shaylee K Wilcox
China Hong Kong Mission
18 Dorset Crescent
Kowloon City
Hong Kong

I know this gospel is true.  I feel so blessed to be able to go and share it with the world.  I know my Father in Heaven lives and loves me, and that His son, Jesus Christ, lives as well.  I know He suffered for my sins so that I can repent and live with Him again.  I love the Lord and want to do what He would have me do. 

I love you all!  Thank you for your continued love, support, and prayers in my behalf! (I'm gonna need 'em!)