No more AC, miracles, and Korean BBQ!

HELLO!! You know what's sad? That all of you are not in Hong Kong. That all of you don't get to do this every single day.... preach the gospel and speak Chinese and laugh so hard and work so hard and love the Lord..... I hope one day you can all know what it feels like to be doing what I'm doing :) I LOVE IT!!!

So yes, as the email says, this week was the beginning of no more AC! The zone leaders texted us saying that we can't use it anymore. We haven't been using it during the day - only at night - but we were all dreading turning it off for the night. We opened up our windows and the first night wasn't bad. The second night was pretty comfortable! And the third night, when we woke up, we were all COLD! after exercising and getting ready for the day, we were sitting in our study doing personal study with our window open. So I'm sitting there and I'm like, "hmm... i feel weird... what is this feeling.... I WANT A SWEATER." So I went to my suitcase and dug a sweater out and put it on! It was the weirdest thing ever and I LOVED IT. I can't wait for the weather to really start cooling down! I WANT WINTER. During the day it's still pretty hot here, but it's starting cooling down in the mornings and nights! yay!!!!!

This week started out slow and hard again. Lots of finding time. LOTS. We were also kinda sore because last Monday I led us in an exercise routine that killed our legs for the rest of the week ;) haha whoopsies! But yeah. Soooo much finding time. There were a couple days when I had to take a deep breath and remember why I'm out here doing this. But the Lord gives us trials, and then He gives us blessings.....

Like Friday. We went finding (surprise, surprise) and we got to this park and there was almost no one there. But I was like, "Hey, i have this feeling that we need to say here until we teach a lesson." So we stayed. We talked to everyone and no one was interested. We still stayed. 10 minutes before we were going to head back to the church, we ran into an investigator Sister Aldana had had before I came to this area! WE JUST BUMPED INTO HER! Her name is LJ. She was so happy to see us! Her phone broke and so that's why she stopped having contact with Sister Aldana before. It was a straight up miracle. Who bumps into people that they know in HONG KONG?! Heavenly Father definitely wanted us to see her again. We scheduled her for the next day!!

Or Saturday. Saturday morning we taught LJ again. We met her in the park, and her daughter, S, was so sad. She was just crying and crying and we couldn't have a lesson. So finally I said, "S I'll go play with you!" and we went and played on the playground together so Sis Aldana could talk to her mom! It was fun :) these little Chinese kids! They're the CUTEST! After that we taught A at the church. It was so good! We taught her the Restoration and at the end, committed her to pray about Joseph Smith's experience. She said, "I can't pray and get an answer. There's no way I could get an answer from God." so i said, "Let's kneel down right now and see if God answers our prayers." She said the prayer and it was SO GOOD! After the prayer we asked her how she felt. She said warm and comfortable and good. We testified that is the spirit. It was just such a good feeling! After the lesson we went outside (we were going to go eat lunch) but then she was looking at the temple across the street, so we asked her if she wanted to go over there and she said yes! Who needs lunch?! We went over to the temple with her and walked around the courtyard and sat in the waiting room and felt the spirit of the temple. It was soooo good. She's definitely getting baptized someday :)

Or Sunday! Sunday we had 3 investigators at church! One of our members brought her friend and we got to teach her! Someone in our ward's little 2 year old daughter had a birthday so they brought birthday cake and SO MANY egg salad sandwiches for everyone and after church we had a party! haha i love this ward. I love this place.

I am aboslutely LOVING this mission. I love everything about Hong Kong!! I'm so, incredibly, wonderfully, fantastically happy to be here!!!!!! Keep praying for us, but don't worry. We're learning loads. The Lord knows what He's doing :) and I trust Him completely!

I love you all so very, very much!
加泅! 夫父愛你們!

Love always,
Shay Bay

French Toast, Noodle Soup, and Ovaltine...Random!!

 Sweet pants we bought!

 Fun with grapes...this is ward FHE

 Korean BBQ!



I couldn't think of a more creative subject than "leih hou!" haha sometimes my brain doesn't want to work...

GUESS WHAT?!!!! Elder Holland is now over the Asia Area! HE'S IN CHARGE OVER HERE!!!! I freaked out when I heard! Seriously! I hope he visits us next year! That would make my entire LIFE if I got to meet Elder Holland as a missionary. Ahhhhhh!!!!!! And the Asia Area Headquarters is here in HK! So we have a pretty good chance! whoohooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Missionaries get excited about the weirdest things.

ANYWAY. Hello!!!!!!!!! How are all of my favorite people this week!? :) I hope you are all doing well! This week was crazy... so many miracles. I've gotta tell you about it all!

But first the bad news. YJ hasn't answered the phone since last Thursday. Over a week. We're bummed... looks like her baptism next week can't happen because she missed 2 weeks of church and no contact with us. We're not really sure what's going on. We've been praying for her like crazy. I won't lose faith in her. Keep praying for you, will you?

So. Our investigator pool has been rapidly shrinking and we're not really sure why. We've been trying our hardest to keep all of these awesome people, but everyone in HK makes themselves so BUSY all the time. It's frustrating! Needless to say we've been doing a TON of finding.

Tuesday finding: We took J and A-K, two youth in our ward. A-K is getting ready to leave on his mission in Texas in January and Jacqueline is 20 and is just working right now because she wants to go to BYU-H. They're both awesome and we had so much fun finding with them. We went to a park and it was so cool to have so many of us there! A-K went and started shooting hoops with some other guys and then I saw him giving them fliers and talking about church! J helped us find 2 girls named V and V that wanted to come to English class! After finding with them for hours, they came back to the church and had dinner with us. They're great :) I LOVE our ward here!!!

Wednesday finding: We were not looking forward to it. We had nothing planned for the entire day and when you're looking at your planner and all it says is "finding" from 12:30--7:00, it gets a little discouraging. But we decided to really pray about where we should go and what time we should be there. We took 20 minutes before we went out and each knelt down and said our own personal prayers and then wrote down 5 places on a piece of paper. When we compared, we had 2 that were the same. We felt like we should go to Mei Foo first. And let me tell you, it was AMAZING!! Literally the first people we talked to gave us were 2 ladies named A-L and they both gave us their numbers! THAT NEVER HAPPENS! Then we turned around and there was this guy named S that said hi to us and told us about his 2 little daughters and wife that would love to learn more! WHAT?! It was incredible! The whole finding block was that way! Then that night we went to English class and E came and V and V came.... so we were so busy we had to go on SPLITS after English class to teach them all! THAT NEVER HAPPENS EITHER! It was so amazing! I taught E (with C from our ward who is so awesome) and we gave her a baptismal date! WOW! I just can't even tell you how happy we were this day. Ahhh the church is true! And I get to be a part of telling people about it! :D I LOVE IT!

I'm running out of time so I'll tell you about a hard thing we went through:

One night we were so bummed. Haven't heard from YJ, no success that day really, we were just wiped out and really discouraged. We got ready to do our planning session. Before every evening planning, we always sing a hymn. I chose "How Great Thou Art". By the end of the song, we were both in tears. We knelt down to say our prayer to begin planning and I said the prayer and just cried. Then we both just sat there on the floor of our office and cried together for a long time. (Okay, so I cried a lot and Sister Aldana cried a little and watched me cry for a while) We had a really good talk about the Atonement and how we know that Jesus Christ helps us in our trials, even small ones like having a bad day. It was a really good experience. I'll remember it forever, sitting there on the hard tile, crying, and feeling the power of the Atonement and knowing everything would be okay.

I am so thankful to be a missionary. I'm thankful for the downs because they make the ups sweeter. I'm thankful for the ups because they strengthen my testimony. I'm thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the strengthening, enabling power of His Atonement. I'm thankful to be here in China, where the missionary work is hard, but it's so jihk dak ge (worth it). I LOVE this mission so much. I love the changes that are happening in my life. I love the Lord. I LOVE these people. I love all of you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for EVERYTHING! Keep the faith! Ga Yauh!!!!!

Love always,
Sista Shay


BBQ...Chinese Style!

Leih hou wonderful family and friends!

I have SO MANY THINGS TO SAY THIS WEEK. I don't think I'll be able to say them all. I can't type fast enough!!!!!

First of all, TODAY was awesome! Our ward had a BBQ up in Sai Kung (like an hour bus ride away) and oh my goodness it was gorgeous and so much fun. I'm serving in the most beautiful, amazing, wonderful, fun place in the entire world, just in case you guys didn't already know!!!!! And riding a bus was one of the best parts hahaha. Because we always ride the MTR and we're in the middle of the city, we don't get to see the beautiful parts of Hong Kong very often. BUT HOLY COW. It's amazing. I really want to tour HK on a bus one day. The bbq was a blast. The way these Chinese peeps do it is the BEST. It's just a weenie roast basically, but they bbq whatever. Chicken wings, hot dogs, fish balls, bread, and whole fish are among the most popular ones. And THEN. They smother it in honey before they roast it. MOST INGENIUS IDEA EVER! We gotta try it when I get back!!! It was delicious. And so much fun! Cheung Sha Wan Ward is the greatest in the entire world. Everyone is just one big happy family! I love it SO much!

This whole week I was looking forward to conference like Christmas. And it didn't disappoint! Wasn't it amazing?! I had too many favorites.... Elder Holland (of course!), President Uchtdorf, President Eyring, Elder McConkie, Elder Bednar...... okay pretty much all of them. They were all so good. It was the most wonderful spiritual refresher! I literally can't wait for April! We got to watch it in English upstairs in the church while all the Chinese speakers watched it downstairs. Technology is the biggest blessing.

I saw Deonn Stott in the choir and freaked out a few times :) It was fun to see a face from home!

This week...

We helped YJ resolve her concerns about baptism! Still heading for October 27 as her baptismal date! She was worried that she'd just barely started believing in Christ and felt like she needed years of time to prepare herself. It was cool to be able to testify to her that if she had enough faith in herself, she could be ready by the 27th. She is so amazing. I wish we had more time to meet with her. She's got a pretty stressful and crazy life. I love her so much, though. I know she'll get baptized!

We met a girl named R a few weeks ago and contacted her. She was obsessed that we were foreigners and so we thought she'd have no gospel interest. She agreed to meet with us, and we thought it was because she had English class interest. NOPE! When we met with her she said she wanted to meet with us to learn more about religion because she wanted to be religious! WHAT!? who says that?? It was awesome. We're a little bummed because she doesn't live in our area :( We're the queens of finding investigators for other areas. But still happy to be furthering the work somehow!

We heart attacked a LA this week. That was fun! (pictures to come!) Some lady that walked by kept saying "wow hou leng!" (so pretty!) and we tried to contact her but she wasn't too interested. Maybe just by seeing us doing a good deed (like heart attacking the door of a LA!) she will want to meet with missionaries in the future. There is so much of that here.... planting seeds. I just have to continue to have faith that people will see my Christlike acts and want to know Christ because they know me. I've decided that's my mission motto. I want to live my whole life in such a way that when people know me, they will want to know Christ because they know me.

We met with A this week! I contacted her a week or so ago, and found out her sister is a member living in AZ and she met with missionaries 20 years ago! I just randomly met her on the street. DEFINITELY not a coincidence. I'm thankful that the Lord led me to her and hope that she'll continue to have interest in the gospel. Something really cool happened. She was pretty quiet the first part of our lesson, and then we shared Alma 32:27 with her. She read it and then said, "How did you know this would touch my heart?" in English. It was so sweet. I love following the Spirit and seeing the fruits of doing so!

I absolutely love what I'm doing. I was thinking today about how much I love this place and love these people. I don't ever want to leave. If I could stay in a time warp and be 20 and a missionary in HK forever, I would do it in a heartbeat. I LOVE what I'm doing. Every single day brings so many new adventures and surprises and miracles.

I loved in Elder Bednar's talk when he said that sometimes, when we ask the Lord for specific blessings, he withholds those blessings and blesses us with something else. In my journal that night, I went through and wrote some specific times in my life when I prayed for something to happen and instead got something else. Not the least of which was this wonderful mission. I think about where I was a year and a half ago and am SO INCREDIBLY thankful that I am here right now. The Lord knows what He's doing with our lives. We just have to trust Him. I do. I trust Him. Mom, I loved your email. "I'm a believer." I am, too. Completely and 100% believing and trusting in my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope you all are, too.

I love you all more than I could say! Thank you for your wonderful examples and your wonderful support! You really are the best family and friends in the world!

Love forever and always,
Sista Gwokamole


Another Transfer Gone!

Hey howdy hey! (I'm just getting my Heber Hick fix in, okay? there are NO cowboys here and.... I actually kinda miss it :)

ANYWAY.... How is everyone?! I loved getting all your emails/pictures/news of home from conference. I wish I could have been there! We actually didn't watch conference this past weekend. Due to translation, we are watching it this coming weekend! I'm not sure how the Chinese/English thing is going to work, but Sis Aldana was here for conference last time and she watched it in Eng. So I'm hoping for that :) my language is getting better, but it's FAR from that good yet.

This week was great! Again! What am i saying, every week is great as a missionary. Let me give you a little rundown:

Tuesday: We did companion exchanges! I was with Sister Foong from Malaysia. She speaks perfect Canto, Malay, Mandarin... probably some other langauges too. She's amazing. We went finding all day but it was so much fun. I like seeing how other missionaries do finding and get some new ideas and some new insights!

Wednesday: One of our members, YJ (she's like our mom) invited us over for lunch with 3 of the YM in our ward who are leaving on their missions soon. It was fun! We shared a part of "The District" with them about the purpose of missionary work and I cried. I get so emotional all the time. I just think this is the greatest thing I could be doing in the world. I'm so happy to have such a significant part in helping the Lord's work go forward. Wednesday we also met E! I had contacted her last week on the street and invited her to English class. She came and she's AWESOME! She's 25 and she's adorable. We taught her afterwards about God and how much He loves us and she has interest! So excited to meet with her again! She couldn't come to church this week, but hoping for next week!

Thursday: We helped a LA member clean her apartment. She has this teeny tiny little apartment... it made me feel SO incredibly spoiled, thinking about our beautiful enormous house in America that has a backyard and a shed and three cars. We are so blessed, it's ridiculous. Anyway, her house was really.... horrible. It was really dirty. I was glad we helped her out. I hope it can stay clean! I love doing service. It always makes me feel like I'm doing what the Savior would be doing. Sometimes it's hard to imagine the Savior on the streets, chasing people down and handing out fliers and trying to contact them. But it's never hard to imagine Him helping someone clean or taking someone to the doctor or just seeing a need and fulfilling it. It makes me feel closer to Him and I love it.

Friday: We had Zone Training! Doesn't it feel like we just had it? It does to me. I can't believe how time flies! I love being with other missionaries. It reminds me that I'm not alone in Hong Kong. There are lots of us, having similar ups and downs, and we get to help these people come unto Christ! Anyway, then we went and visited LJ (a LA) and then straight over to see HJ and S! S is so cute. He was trying to teach me Mandarin. So I know a little bit more now :) I wonder if I'll take Mandarin when I get back from my mission.... anyway, the lesson was great. HJ is so prepared and so wonderful! She said she'd come to church on Sunday, but then she slept in :( we were bummed, but not losing faith in her! She doesn't have any Christian background at all, so it's been interesting to teach her. A lot of the people we teach when to a Christian primary school so they know about Christ at least a little bit. HJ is from Mainland and has no idea.

Saturday: We tried to schedule YJ, but she's so busy! These people fill their lives with SO MUCH. It makes me so frustrated sometimes. YJ and K were even too busy to come to church :( I was reading in Moses today about his experience with the burning bush and it made me think of Becca Wilhite's essay she wrote about seeing the burning bushes in our lives. Moses spoke to the Lord because he paused, noticed the burning bush, and then investigated. Do each of us notice the "burning bushes" in our lives? Do we let the small, sacred moments of each day pass by because we're too busy? Definitely something to think about. It made me think. Sometimes I get so caught up in the day-to-day. I want to have more slow moments where I am still and know that God is there and He is guiding this work. He wants a relationship with each one of us. We just have to be willing to be still enough to listen to Him.

Sunday: Church! Mouh mat dahkbiht. (Nothing special)

Today: SISTER TRANSFERS! Sister Aldana and I are staying here! Sad thing is, Sister Tidwell is leaving. But happy thing is, Sister Yeung is coming here to be Sister Pearl's companion! They were companions together in Macau! How crazy is that?! I'm so excited to be living with Sister Yeung again! And to have a bundeih (native) here to help us with our language! YAY! :D

Okay, Dad! I wanted to answer your questions!

The language is coming! Slowly but surely! One step at a time. I feel like my understanding is pretty good... most days. Sometimes I still feel lost, but I can communicate pretty well and I feel really comfortable with most gospel words!

President Hawks in my interview asked me if I had any questions. I asked him how we could better not seem like salespeople. He told us to follow the Spirit more in our finding and teaching. We talked about it for a while. It was really good. He also told me to humble myself and remember that I am junior companion, and follow the counsel of my senior companion. That was also really good for me to hear. I love him so much. He is so wise and awesome!

Weather? Still REALLY hot. But it's cooling down! It's hot now like, bearable hot. You still sweat if you walk fast or if you're out in the sun for too long, but we're not dripping anymore. Yippee! The mornings are really pleasant, but I still sweat WAY more when I run that when I'm at home.

Being in the city is crazy. I'm used to it now! Riding the MTR, being with a bazillion other people all the time, living in a high rise... it's fun! I would never want to live here for real though. Never want to raise a family here. It would be so hard! But the shopping here is AMAZING. Whitney and Melina would go INSANE. Seriously, there are so many things. I'm thinking about slowly getting rid of all the clothes I brought and getting a bunch of new stuff here! Maahn maahn maaih... (slow slow buy...it's a saying. hard to explain)

Welll..... looks like I'm out of time. Hate that. I love emailing you all and telling you all about the adventures I'm having here. I love this mission so much. I love what changes I am making in myself. I wish I could do this forever. I love the Savior. I love the neat opportunity I have to represent Him. I hope I am doing a good job.

I love you all. Did you know that? I think the world of ALL of you. You're the best family and friends in the entire world.

Love always,
Sista Gwok