My New Area - Love It!!

Leih hou all you people!

First off, I got the postcards you all sent from the family reunion! I LOVED them so much! I am always so amazed at how much my family loves me and how awesome they are. Man. I just love you guys. I died laughing at Mikell's postcard ;) and all of you! I just LOVED them! Thank you!

I have soooo many things I want to say about my new area! I absolutely love it here. It's awesome being back in the middle of everything. I didn't realize just how isolated it was in Macau until now, when I get to see other missionaries every single day! It's awesome!

On Monday while we were at the mission office, I saw Elder Barker from the MTC. It was hilarious to see him because he acted like I'd died. He was like, "Hey! What are you doing here?!" haha he also thought it was really funny that I had a British companion as my trainer because of how often I did a British accent in the MTC. hahaha. Then we went to the church on Tuesday for district meeting and I saw Elder Nestman from the MTC! He also acted like I died. He was like, "Wow! I haven't seen you in forever!!" And also Elder Beal from the MTC is in my district now! it's so great! I've missed my MTC friends! :)

I absolutely love living with Sister Pearl, Tidwell, and Aldana. We have a lot of fun together. It's a little bit weird because we're in two different areas (in Macau we all went to the same branch together and saw each other a lot more). It's pretty different here. We live in Kwai Fong, but our area is Cheung Sha Wan, which is like 15 minutes away. And the church for our area is like 45 minutes away. We're on the MTR sooooo much every single day. We spend a TON of money on traveling. Like $550/month. But that's in HK dollars. Anyway, as far as both Sister Aldana and I know, we are the only companionship that doesn't live in our area OR have the church in our area. Weird. Super different from Macau.

Anyway, this area is awesome! We are in a ward now instead of a branch! Yippee! We work really closely with our elders, something we didn't really do in Macau. That's been really fun! I like our elders, Elder Allen and Elder Liu. They're also the zone leaders. They're super funny and both from America (AZ and UT).

Sister Aldana and her comp just barely opened this area last transfer! So we've been doing a TON of finding. I haven't done finding like this in awhile. And it's WAY DIFFERENT HERE. In Macau, people were way more laid back. They were way more willing to talk to you. It's been pretty hard, hot, and discouraging. One day this week, no one would listen. I mean NO one. And when it's already 7:30 at night and you've been finding since 12:30 and you still have an hour to go before you can go home, sometimes it's all you can do to keep going. I had to stop Sis Aldana and say, "Can we pray?" Prayer is so powerful. I know that's what keeps me going through all of the hard days. It's amazing to see what miracles Heavenly Father gives us when we humble ourselves enough to ask for His help.

We do have one investigator that is pure gold. Her name is YJ and she has a seven year old son named K. They are AMAZING. They started out with absolutely no gospel interest, but because of English class, they started having interest. and now she has a baptismal date for the end of September! Okay I wanted to die yesterday, they are so awesome. They came to 3 hours of church and then later last night we called them to schedule them for this week. Sister Aldana talked to her for a while, then K wanted to talk, so she talked to K, then YJ asked if she could talk to me! So then I chatted with her for a while and then K wanted to talk to me, so I talked to him for a while. Oh my goodness I wanted to cry. I love them so much. I LOVE being able to love so quickly and so fully! When I hung up the phone, Sister Aldana and I just looked at each other and were like freaking out because they're so AWESOME! Gosh. I wish I could describe it.

This week we did an English fast (only speaking cantonese. obviously.) from 12:30--6:30 on Wed and Fri. It was SO good! Seriously. We never did that in Macau and I felt like it helped my Chinese a lot! It gave me more confidence too. Like I can actually do this! It's gonna be okay! Haha, at one point we were by this mall around dinner time. We went inside to see if there was a food court, but we didn't see one, so we walked up to the Information Desk. The lady behind the desk watched us approach with a terrified look on her face, like, "Don't come over here, I don't know English!" So I walked right up to her and said, "Leih hou!" and immediately her face totally relaxed and she asked how she could help me. Then we had a full on conversation in CANTONESE! And I did allllll the talking. I was soooo happy! I LOVE when people don't expect us to be speaking Cantonese but then we are anyway. Ahhhh :) love it!

So, there you have it. The challenges and good times of this week. I absolutely LOVE being a missionary. Struggling through the hard times to experience the joy of bringing people unto Christ is the best feeling in all the world. I can't get over it. I love this so much! I love all of you! Thank you so much for everything you do for me. I feel all your prayers. TM, 1st ward, I love you! Thanks for your prayers! :) I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!

Until next week!!

Love forever and always,

Shay Bay Bay

I forgot! Next week we get to go to the temple! YAY! But that means that our P-day isn't till Thursday. So you won't get an email till Wednesday night. Just didn't want you to worry ;) I love you all! xoxo



Hello family and friends! I love you all SO much! Your letters keep me going and support me SO MUCH! You have no idea. Except PARKER and JAREN. Write me NOW. like, right now. Before you forget. Kthanksbye. :)

SOO! Who's excited to hear where I am?!! I am in Cheung Sha Wan! An area of Hong Kong -- it's like right in the middle! And my church building is the same building as the mission office! Crazy!! I'm so excited to be back in the middle of everything! In Macau we're super isolated so it's so exciting to be back here! AND my companion is American! AND she got here.... get this.... THE MOVE BEFORE I DID. So she's only 2 months ahead of me. Oh my goodness... hahaha. We need the gift of tongues and we need it now! It'll be great though :) Her name is Sister Aldana and she's from Springville. And the BEST part is...... I'M LIVING WITH SISTER PEARL AND SISTER TIDWELL!! Sister Pearl is my best friend from Macau and I was with Sister Tidwell in the MTC! I'm stoked! We actually haven't been there yet... we're at the apple store in Kowloon Tong. I just got over here to Hong Kong and we couldn't wait to email! :)

But oh my goodness... I am going to MISS Macau. It's like heaven on earth. Last night I was saying my prayers and I said, "I never want to go home." And then I was like, wait what? Did I just say that??? But yes, it's true. This is the most wonderful experience I've ever had. Ever. You have to hear what everyone did for me in Macau:

1. G.M. gave me a really cute necklace made of pink jade in the shape of a rose. She just held my hand for a really long time and gave me this pretty necklace and kept hugging me and speaking in Chinese that I didn't understand. She kept saying, "Heimohng leih wuih faan leih!" (Hope you can come back!) Ahhh I just love her. She is such a special lady.

2. One of the YW in Macau 1st Branch that I've become really good friends with, H.K., did the SWEETEST thing. After church she came up and she was like, "Come here!" So then we go to a corner of the church and she pulls out of her backpack a tupperware thing of spaghetti. K this is so cute. The very first time we met, she was practicing her English and she asked me what my favorite food was. I said spaghetti. So SHE MADE ME SOME before I left! Oh my gosh I wanted to cry. Isn't that the cutest thing ever?! Ah I was dying. I love her so, so, so, so much. She is so cute and such a good, good girl. And she wrote me the sweetest letter. I took pictures of it but I can't send the pictures today, boo :( Next week! Ahhhhh I LOVE HERR.

3. S, one of our investigators, came to English class on Thursday and brought me a cake. So nice! She's great. She's getting baptized in October. She's SO golden. Man. She was kind of hard to teach because she has so many questions, but she is so ready. She'll be such an amazing member. She's so willing!! Anyway, then on Sunday she brought me more gifts! This really cute Chinese electric fan! Haha i love it! And an umbrella and some tissues! Perfect! I love love love them.

4. B gave me a cute journal :) You know me, I love my journals. I think I'm going to have 50 by the end of my mission. I just love to write! Anyway, we had a great lesson with B last night. She is so awesome. She doesn't believe that she really can get an answer about whether the church is true or not. Sister Lau and I had a huge impression to show her this Mormon Message "Waiting on the Road to Damascus." It was SO perfect. I love seeing how we're guided by the Spirit :) It's so cool.

5. I also got a cute letter and bookmark from another YW in our ward, T. I'm really going to miss H.K. and T. They're so awesome!! They're willing to go out with us ALL THE TIME. They have such strong testimonies of the BOM. They're both such good examples. Both of them want to come to BYU so maybe I will see them again! I hope so. :)

And wow, I'm going to miss my Macau sisters so much! Sister Cutler, who's been with me from my very first day in Hong Kong. Sister Capucion, such a cute Philippina who is like the sweetest person I've ever met. Sister Palmer, who just got to Macau a week and a half ago but is sooo much fun. Sister Yeung... gosh I lOVE Sister Yeung. I almost cried saying bye to her. She is so much fun. I love her to pieces. And of course Sister Lau!! My trainer! It's weird that I'll be with completely different elders and sisters, but I'm so excited to start in this new area with Sister Aldana!

This week there was a typhoon.. nothing new, really. There are typhoons all the time. But this one was a signal 8! Which means we had to stay inside BASICALLY ALL DAY. It was sooooooo boring. The rain was pounding against the windows and the wind was howling. After our studies and calling everyone we'd ever talked to before and everyone in our records, we were bored stiff. There's only so many calls you can make. We cleaned our apartment from top to bottom, did some phone lessons, and then FINALLY were able to go out! But it was still raining like crazy so we did some door knocking. I'm going to miss door knocking SO bad. I really like it. Oh well. New ways to find here!! :)

Hmm.. what else from this week...

Oh HAHA. I haven't really told you any language flubs yet. I've got some good ones. So in Chinese, 12 is "sahp yih" and 20 is "yih sahp." So I get them confused. I've told a lot of people I'm 12 years old :) haha. Sister Lau would always go into fits of giggles and I knew I'd said it again. I think I've got it down now ;) Also, I was doing my language pass off with one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Chan. I was teaching him the plan of salvation, and accidentally said, "Yuhgwo ngohdeih gancheuih YehSouGeiDuk, Tinfuh wuih beih ngohdeih hou hou ge chingfaat." Which means, "If we follow Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father will give us a very good punishment." Elder Chan was laughing so hard :) whoops!

Man, I just really love this work. I can't believe I've been here for one and a half moves already! WHAT?! It's flying by. I love what I'm doing. I've never, ever, ever been so happy in my entire life. I wish everyone could experience this happiness. There is nothing like it in the world! I know the Lord lives. He loves me. He is guiding my life, and He is guiding this work. With God on our side, who can be against us?!

I love you all. Thank you for your support and love. It means the WORLD. :) Until next week!!

Love always,
Sister Shay


I Almost Got Arrested...


Before you get too concerned about the subject of this email.. I'd better tell you the story:

This past week was moves, right? Right. So they announced moves and SISTER LAU AND I WERE TOGETHER AND STAYING IN MACAU! Yay! I was so excited. Sister Lau and I were like hugging and sooo super happy to be here together still :) Sister Pearl got transferred though. I was so sad. She is my best friend here in Macau and I love her to death! But a mission = change. So it was all good.

So then Friday I had to do my second U-turn. I was a little nervous because I had to do it MYSELF... buy my tickets in Chinese by myself and go on a boat by myself for an hour over to HK and then turn around and come back. But it was no big deal. I kind of enjoyed having alone time actually.... shh don't tell anyone. Companions are awesome but it is nice to be alone sometimes :) hehe. ANYWAY. so I got back to Macau fine and I was standing in line to go through customs. That's when they stamp your passport and give you however many days or whatever. I knew I would get 20 days and there would be no problems, but when I stepped up to the counter and gave them my passport, they started freaking out because I got two 30 days in a row. They had like 5 people come over to look at it and they were all speaking really fast Chinese. And I was BY MYSELF. Finally one guy came around the counter holding my HK ID and my passport and said, "Follow me."......

I went to the "Interview Room."

It was so scary. It was this little white room that had a code to get in and a little metal bench and a desk. The immigration officer sat down at the desk and then did something on the computer with my passport and HK ID for like 45 minutes. I was trying so hard not to cry. Haha it sounds like it wasn't a big deal but it was really scary. At one point he was like, "Why you here in Macau?" and then he saw my nametag and said, "Ohh... Mormon." and then typed on the computer again. So there I am in a little interview room that looks like where they question convicts on movies.. in CHINA... can't speak the language very well... can't remember my own name for crying out loud, I was so scared. After 45 minutes, the guy showed me a paper and said, "You have to leave Macau in 10 days. Go to immigration today at 4:00 and get your visa for 10 days. If you forget, they will kick you out today."

10 days??!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I went back and found my companion and the other sisters she was with. I cried. Ha. It was so embarrassing, but A) that was a very traumatic experience, and B) I don't want to leave Macau!! So yes. I am here in Macau still -- soo happy about that! -- but I have to leave on Monday :( I don't know where I'm getting transferred yet so I guess you'll have to wait for that news AGAIN!

I read a quote today in the Ensign from April conference that has changed my life. I think I'm going to make it my life motto:

"As we follow Him, He blesses us with gifts, talents, and the strength to do His will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things we've never before thought possible." --Elder Robert D. Hales.

I have thought of that quote every single day since reading it. I thought of it sitting in that little interview room. I have shared it with all of my investigators. I KNOW that to be true with all of my heart. I never in a million years thought I'd be serving a mission... let alone speaking Chinese. When I got my mission call, I was scared spitless. But I chose to follow my Savior. I chose to give Him everything I have, and He truly has blessed me with the ability to go beyond my comfort zone and do things I've NEVER before thought possible. Whitney, I know He'll do the same for you at college. Mina, same for you. Dad, your time will become easier to manage because you are choosing to follow Him. Mommy, you will be given extra strength in whatever area you need it. Parker and Jaren, if you put the Lord first, everything else will fall into place. I know this is true with everything that I am. I feel this with a conviction that is hard to describe. I love my Savior. I love my Eternal Father. I know they are with me on this mission. Wherever they need me to go next, I will go, because I know they will allow me to do so without fear. It's such a comforting, wonderful, empowering thought!

Our investigators are doing SO GREAT. Man, I just love them. I tell them all the time, too. Haha they might get sick of how many times I tell them. But they're so awesome. They have such huge desires. I love seeing the gospel change people. I LOVE this work. It is the best thing in the world!

This morning we watched "Joseph Smith: the Prophet of the Restoration" with B and I was filled with the Spirit. What a way to start P-day!! :) At the end, we just bore a simple testimony of Joseph Smith and of the Restoration. Then I said the closing prayer. I said, "Chan ngoi ge Tinfuh" (dear Heavenly Father), and then I started BAWLING. I could barely even speak. But I prayed that B would feel the message of the Restoration was true and that she could know that Heavenly Father is real and that He loves her. I know she felt the Spirit. I hope she really can know those things. I love her soooo much!!!

We've been having a little bit of a hard time getting our investigators to church. This week we're going to work on testifying of the importance of being at church and partaking of the sacrament. It truly is the most important part of each week. Even in China, when I can't understand 99% of church, the sacrament is still a special and sacred time when we get to renew our covenants and remember our Great and Loving Savior.

Family, I love you soooooooooo much. I hope you know that. I hope you feel my love across continents and time zones! I am so thankful for you and the strength you give me. Keep the faith! It's worth every bit of adversity! :)


Love love love love love,



Leih hou!!! (or as Park would say, Lay who. haha)

How are you all this week?? I miss you so much! Thanks for sending me letters from the family reunion! I loved getting them! I hope you guys had NO fun at all without me and Ben there. I know you didn't ;)

Can I just start this email out by saying.... I LOVE THIS MISSION! I love what I'm doing sooo much. I love my companion, I love my mission president, I love this branch, I love Macau, I love these sisters I live with, I love our investigators, I love the two senior couples, I love the people we walk by on the street, I love everything about being here. I can't imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else. This is the best thing I've ever done in my whole life. It's so rewarding and SO happy! :) It's tough, but man. COMPLETELY worth every tear I've shed :) haha.

I wasn't on earlier because guess how we spent P-day today?? With Gou Mama. I can't believe I haven't written about Gou Mama yet. She is the best lady in the entire world. She's 79 years old... and she's taking piano lessons from Sister Welling (senior couple) and she comes to teach member present lessons with us ALL THE TIME, she invites the missionaries over to eat all the time, she's taking classes from Macau University... she's just amazing. I want to be Gou Mama when I grow up. Anyway, she invited the sisters over for lunch today and we were there for 2 hours just hanging out at her house! It felt like going to grandma's house. Except this grandma speaks Chinese :) it was so awesome! We played her piano and then she played the simplified version of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" that she's learning and we all sang. It was so awesome :) best P-day ever! She is my idol. I will send you a picture of her so you can appreciate how cute she is. She's the best :)

SOOO! The "dark transfer cloud" as Sister Hawks calls it is upon us! We find out the transfer news TOMORROW! So I find out tomorrow if I'm leaving Macau or not! I can't believe it. I could be leaving this wonderful place with all these wonderful people that i love! WHAT. It's crazy. I'm so sad. but also so anxious about where I'm going I can't handle it! Sonext Monday I could be emailing you from some new place in Hong Kong! If I leave, I will leave on Thursday. CRAZINESS! Guess you'll all have to wait until next week to find out!

Okay, this week was just awesome. I wish I could better put it into words. Actually, I wish I could just film me telling you all about this week and then send it to you. That would be better. ANYWAY.

Monday: We had P-day, shopping and stuff. And then we had a lesson with B that night. Oh my goodness it was an amazing lesson. We decided to have a little testimony meeting with her. It was so powerful! We all cried. Then we challenged her to get baptized. She immediately started shaking her head and saying she couldn't do it, and I said, "Stop. Before you decide you're not going to do it, pray about it. We felt strongly that we should invite you to be baptized. We want you to think and pray about it. When I decided to go on a mission, I was terrified. I've never wanted to serve a mission before in my life, but when I made the decision, I knew Heavenly Father would provide a way. And look at this. I'm here, in Macau, learning Chinese. I don't know how, but Heavenly Father has provided the way for me to do this. He will provide the way for you too." It was really powerful. I really hope she gets baptized sometime soon, but even if it takes her a little longer, I know she will someday. She's sooooo awesome. Ah. I just love her so much. I told her like 50x in our lesson. "We love you. We really love you. Did you know that? We REALLY love you." She was like, "I know! I know! You love me!" haha we were all laughing. Ah. Love that girl :)

Thursday: There we were, in our apartment. Dinner had just ended and we were going to do some more weekly planning when our cell phone rang. I said, "who is it?" like I always do and Sister Lau said, "OL!!" I almost DIED. Remember OL? How she hasn't called us or answered our calls/texts for 3 weeks now?? SHE CALLED US! I was acting like a crazy person. I jumped out of my chair and started hugging everyone, on the verge of bursting into tears and crazed spurts of laughter. I couldn't stop laughing/crying. I kept saying over and over again, "I'm SO happy!" (like Morgan, hahaha) and I was dancing all over the apartment. OL told us her popo's been really sick and she's had to take care of her the past 3 weeks! She hasn't had time to answer the phone or call us back, but she's read our texts every night. EXCEPT this week we decided to give her a break. So ever since last Sunday we stopped texting her. She said, "Why'd you stop sending me the texts?" Sister Lau said, "We thought you didn't like us anymore!" She said, "No no!" OH MY GOSH. I can't explain this happiness. I was beside myself. I felt like Ammon. You know, when he got so happy about converting the Lamanites he literally passed out? I about passed out too :) There is so much joy in this work! It's the most wonderful thing in the world! I LOVE OL!

Okay, so I'll try to answer your questions now:

A typical day for us in Macau: we get up at 7am, do 30 minutes of exercise. We usually go running or else just do exercises in our apartment. I like running more because I get more of a workout. Then we get ready for the day and eat breakfast. Then we do an hour of each: personal study, comp study, and lang study. Then we have appointments or finding or LA finding or whatever else we do during the day! Once a week (on Sat mornings) we have correlation with the missionaries and the ward mission leader. He's really awesome. We don't go to ward council but the zone leaders do.

It's about a 10 minute walk from our apartment to the church. We are SO lucky here. It's not like that in Hong Kong.

Macau is a special place because the whole entire island of Macau is our area. In Hong Kong, only like 4 MTR stops is an area so it makes it a little more complicated. We have to ride buses or walk here though. No MTR in Macau.

No, I haven't had to speak in church but on my first Sunday here all the new missionaries bore their testimonies. That was scary haha. but that was a long time ago. Every time I go to a new ward I'll bear my testimony the first Sunday I'm there. No lessons in church either. Although I make comments sometimes in our Gospel Principles class! That's always a little scary! :)
No, most of the members don't speak English. Or if they do they're not very confident. So we speak Cantonese pretty much! And a lot of body language! Haha!

My companion is straight up British! She doesn't speak with a Chinese accent haha :) she speaks in a completely British one! She thinks my British accent is awful. Dang it. I thought I was pretty good haha. We speak... mostly English... although we are trying to SYL more. Actually I'd say we speak mostly Chinglish. I am getting pro at my Chinglish. Throwing in random Cantonese words all over the place. It's awesome!

Tell Uncle Tyler I could understand his message to me in Mandarin! "Hello! You are a very good missionary!" I can understand some Mandarin! Like, a very little bit. Like shi shi ni and ni hao ma and chuan jiao shi haha. But I wonder how much of it I'll be able to understand when I get home. Tyler, Mikell, Kaden and I could have secret conversations!! That would be cool!! :)

Well fam, it is time for me to get off now. I love you all SOOOO much. I hope you have the best week ever. I really love you guys. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers. I need them! I'm loving this work though. I love the Lord. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ. I love every minute of every day here in Macau. And I really, really, really love YOU!

Love always,
Sister Gwok