Jou sahn! :) (good morning!)

WHO CAN BELIEVE THAT AT THIS TIME NEXT WEEK I WILL BE IN THE SAN FRAN AIRPORT WAITING TO GO TO HONG KONG CHINA?!!! Not me! But I couldn't be more excited about it! :) We got our travel plans on Friday!! Oh my gosh I haven't been that nervous since I actually got my mission call. We knew they were coming after lunch, so during lunch my stomach was doing backflips. I couldn't even eat. Our whole district wolfed down our food and ran to the mailbox. We all wanted to know who we were traveling with so bad. We had heard that they hardly ever keep everyone together, so I was terrified that they were going to split up our district, or worse.... me and my tuhngbuhn! (companion). WELL GUESS WHAT?! We are ALL traveling together! All the Cantos! I could not be more happy!!! We have to be at the travel office at 3:00 AM on Monday, June 3. Yeaaahhhh... 3:00 AM. I just threw up. Anyway, our flight to San Francisco is at like 6:15, we get to San Fran at 7:15ish Cali time, then have a 5 hour layover in San Fran. Get this. We leave San Fran at about noon on Monday.... don't get to Hong Kong until 6:30 PM on TUESDAY (HK time). How weird is that. 16 hours on a plane... hmm..... that should be interesting! But I am SO THRILLED! We are actually going to Hong Kong! It finally feels (sort of) real! As for calling in the airport.... I AM SO EXCITED TO TALK TO MY GATIHNG!! Seriously. You have no idea. I am stoked. Sooo I will probs be calling around 10 your time? 11? I'm not really sure how long it'll take us to get through customs and get settled and everything. But plan on that. Monday morning sometime, be expecting a phone call from meeeee! Should I call Dad's cell? That's what I'll plan on right now unless you tell me otherwise. I won't call from the SLC airport. Unless you want me to call at 4:30 AM. Which, I don't think ya do ;)

Now that's out of the way.... how are you all this week?? :) I didn't hear from you very much but I know how busy the end of the year gets. Dad and Whit, how was speaking at seminary graduation? I'm sure you both did AWESOME! I wish I could have been there! Whitney, when the heck is your graduation? I assume this week but I don't even know! Sorry I feel like a bad sister... and that's way weird that I won't be there :( I will be there in spirit! I will be thinking of you on.... Wednesday? Thursday? Friday? Whenever it is :) How bout I just think of you this whole week, then I'll be sure not to miss it ;) Mom, how are you doing? What's new with you? I really miss you! I miss talking to you about things. Sometimes I get in bed a lil early and just look at pictures of you guys and have conversations in my head with you. Haha. I wish you could come here, sit on my top bunk with me, and we could just talk for hours and I could tell you everything I'm learning and everything I LOVE about being a missionary. Daddy, thanks for your dear elder! Parker, how's driving? have you been on a date yet? I hope you've taken Mom out on a date! :) Jaren Baren! How are you dude?? YOUR BIRTHDAY IS THIS WEEK! I almost had a freak out the other day. I've been telling everyone that I have 2 brothers, one that's 16 and one that's 13. Because you're almost 13 and that's just easier. But the other day I got kind of confused and thought you were turning 14 this week... I about died. No way can my little bro be 14 already!!! And then I remembered. Nope, you're not 14. Just 13 :) haha. And I'm glad!!! I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful birthday!! I love you so much fam!! Pleasetake advantage of the last week you can dearelder me! hehe. I love your mail so much!!

Also, Hay! Your birthday is this week!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU'RE FINALLY 20!! :) i love you soo much and pray for you in every prayer i say! We are SUCH GREAT friends! Haha I hope you have a great birthday!!

Annnnnnnnnnnd Marianne! Your birthday is this week! Check it out, 3 of my favorite people in the world share May 31 as their day of birth :) Mare Bear, I hope your day is great too! YOU ARE A LEGAL ADULT! 21! That is so weird. I love you!! (Mom or Whit, will you put that on FB or something? Or text her to let her know I remembered her? I don't have her email..)

Misti and Matt and Caleb! I pray for you every night! Today is little baby girl's due date! I hope everything works out. I love you guys so much and have been thinking about you a lot lately!!

G&G Waddoups - thank you SO MUCH for the cookies! That was so sweet and I LOVE THOSE COOKIES. Oh man. So did the elders in my district :) And they loved the way you packaged them. I opened the package thinking, how uncharacteristic of Grandma to send me a can of Pringles! But hey I'll take it! Then I looked inside. Cookies!! :) Mmmm they were so delicious! Thank you so much! I love you both so much!

I got thinking this week... If this was the end of my mission, or if I had to go home for some reason, I'd be completely devastated. I would miss everyone here so much, but more than that, I would miss the feeling of being a missionary. This is the greatest work and the greatest feeling in all the world... and I am a part of it! How did I get so blessed?? In a week, I will be laboring with my might and helping the Lord nourish His vineyard. There could not be a greater feeling in all the world. I know when I get to Hong Kong, it will be discouraging. It will be difficult. I will be challenging. But I am so ready to get out there and be the most optimistic, positive person I can about this, because I honestly love it. I have never been so happy. This past week was another amazing week at the MTC. I wish I could tell you everything!

First of all, earlier in the week Sis Morgan volunteered us to do the musical number in sacrament meeting! (Us means our roomies - Sisters Johnson, Palmer, me, Morgan, Probst, and Tidwell - all the Canto sisters). We decided to sing Lead, Kindly Light. Wednesday night we were practicing in our room. Our choir director, Brother Eggett, is always telling us that when we sing, we need to be teaching through our singing because that is when the Spirit is there. So that's what we decided to do. We sang through it and then went through and broke down the lyrics and talked about what the song meant to us. It was awesome. We talked about how the light of Christ should shine in our faces. We are putting on Christ's hands as his missionaries. Why did Christ make sure to keep the marks in his hands and feet and side after He was resurrected? So that we would know with a surety when we saw Him that HE IS THE CHRIST, and that He truly did what He did for us. As missionaries - representatives of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - we should be doing all we can to help others have the experience of touching Christ's feet and hands and side. We are there to help our investigators come unto Christ as those Nephites did. We should be doing all we can to be examples of His light. We are going to Hong Kong as the Lord's light to bring light to His children there. And who is ultimately giving us that light? Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. We also talked about how we need to let Christ lead us. It is time to let Him take hold of our lives.

Lead, kindly light
Amid the encircling gloom
Lead thou me on
The night is dark
And I am far from home
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet,
I do not ask to see
The distant scene -
One step enough for me.

Heavenly Father, lead us on. We are putting our trust in you, because we know you will lead us where we need to go. We don't need to see the big picture. You know the big picture, and you'll lead us one step at a time, and that's okay with us. It was a really powerful experience, sitting on the floor in a circle in our pajamas - 6 sisters that have never met before, but now sharing a bond as missionaries of Jesus Christ. It was such a sweet moment. Sis Probst said, "Our room feels different now." I loved it. This is what makes missionary work worth it - sweet, sweet moments when you get to know the Savior a little better and the Spirit bears a strong witness: yes, this is right. It's sometimes difficult and exhausting, but oh my goodness I'd never trade it. Never. I love it. I love Him.

Saturday, we had the BEST TRC lesson. (TRC is different from our regular lessons with our "investigators" = our teachers. TRC is when they have volunteers come in that speak Cantonese and we teach them 20 min lessons. They are not pretending to be investigators, they are just members, so basically we share a 20 minute spiritual thought with them in Cantonese. Super fun!) But Saturday, they didn't have enough volunteres. So Sis Morgan and I just taught Sis Palmer and Sis Johnson, and then they taught us. The topic this week was prayer (it's always assigned). During our lesson, I shared an experience we had with Vina. (remember Vina? one of our investigators?) We had showed her a picture of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked her what she thought it was. She'd said, "Yeh Sou Gei Duk jouh keihtou?" (Jesus Christ saying a prayer?) At the time, I had smiled and thought it was so funny and cute of her to say something so simple. But as time has gone on, I have thought about it more and more. I have realized that Vina was right. That WAS Jesus Christ saying a prayer. He was praying for all of us. He was pleading with the Father to allow Him to perform the Atonement any other way - but He also said, "Not my will, but thine be done." Jesus Christ was prahying right then in behalf of all of us. In behalf of me. I underestimate and take for gratned sometimes the opportunity I have of being able to do what Jesus Christ did in the garden of Gethsemane - say a prayer. Prayer is soo powerful! We then asked them if they had any powerful experiences with prayer they'd like to share. Sister Palmer shared her experience of joining the Chruch. She started sobbing and said that she felt like she didn't want to join because she didn't want to leave her parents behind. But she prayed about the decision to be baptized and felt the overwheliming feeling that Jesus Christ was there with her and that He would NEVER leave her. It was really a powerful testimony and had us all in tears. I was sitting there in that tiny TRC room thinking, you can't get these experiences anywhere else. Sharing the things that are most dear to our hearts with each other is such a priceless and beautiful thing. I never want to miss out on an opportunity like that. I think about the many times I said, "I'm not going on a mission!!" and shudder. I can't imagine not being here, not knowing these wonderful people, not knowing the Savior like I do now, not growing and getting to experience this beautiful, wonderful life of a missionary. I love it so much!

Sunday, I had to speak in sacrament meeting. Remember how I told you they tell you right before? Yep. It was so nerve wracking. President Capik stands up after the sacrament and says, "We'll now hear from Sister Shaylee Wilcox." Okay! Haha guess that's me! I spoke on the gift of the Holy Ghost and how much it meant to me and what it means to be sanctified by the Holy Ghost when we receive that "baptism by fire." I hope I did alright. I really felt the Spirit prompting me to share certain scriptures or say something. I was glad I had that opportunity. And then two seconds later I was singing with the Canto sisters hahaha I felt like I put on sacrament meeting yesterday. I should have said the closing prayer too! Our song went great. We sang a cappella - 3 sopranos, 3 altos. It sounded really pretty. Sister Hanson (one of the branch presidency's wives) was sitting in the back just crying. She told us after that she felt like angels were singing with us, and I really believe they were. It was awesome. :) Later, at choir practice, we found out that the song this week is Lead, Kindly Light. What a tender mercy for our last song we'll sing in the MTC choir! I think I'm going to make that song my mission song.

Aw, fam, I wish I could share everything!! But I have to get off. I hope they let us email on Saturday afternoon so we can verify when I'll be calling, all that jazz. Mom, if you don't get all that stuff sent, no big deal. I'll survive :) If you can, the most important things are ribbons for my suitcases, a portable CD player, and pictures of you all! Lots of pictures! Can't get enough of my family! :) I love you so much. So, so, so much. I'm so thrilled to be a missionary! On to Hong Kong! With the Lord on my side, who can be against me?!

With all the love in the world,
Shaylee K




"Sister Gwok, you remind me of my girlfriend's mom!"

Leih hou my amazing, wonderful family!

How is everyone this week? I hope you're doing great! I love you all so, so, so, very much. I can't even express it. Dad, thanks for your dearelders! I love hearing from you! Mom, you too! Thank you! I love you so much. I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing about what you do everyday. It makes home seem not so far away :) Whit Twit! I was crying laughing over your dear elder. Seriously. I loved it so much - it made me week. You are awesome and I love you to pieces! Parker brother, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I wish I could be there today so you could take me for a spin in Carlos.... legal now! :) haha. I love you bro! Jaren Cade! You only have 2 weeks left to send me a letter mister! I better be getting one soon! For real though. I miss hearing from you :) Love you!

My heart breaks for Ben this week :( I know, though, that through the Savior everything will be made right. Ben, I love you and my district is and has been praying for you! I hope there are no complications with your eye and everything is okay there! That is so scary! Please keep me updated!

The craziest thing about this coming week is that WE GET OUR TRAVEL PLANS ON FRIDAY. ohmygoodness. I can't even believe it! I'm hoping that we all get to travel together. But that never happens :( so I'm hoping I get to travel with some of the Cantos at least! I love em all. Only 2 weeks left in this special, special place! Gotta make the most of it!

This week was really hard at the beginning because Elder Black went home. Honestly, it was probably the most difficult thing I've ever been through. It was a really tough time for our district. Monday night I couldn't stop sobbing, and neither could Sister Morgan or Elder Barker or Elder Black. We've become so close to our district... I really love these elders. To see one of them go home was so tough. Tuesday was also tough, but I prayed on my own too many times to count during the day, and our district prayed together a lot. Through the Savior's infinite, intimate, all encompassing Atonement, we were able to overcome this challenge. My heart goes out to Elder Black. We have been keeping him in our prayers and we love him so much. This experience was such a testimony to me, though, that the Savior heals our broken hearts. He knows how we feel. He understands. Oh, I know He does. The only way I was able to get through Tuesday was to lean on my Savior, my Brother, my best friend, Jesus Christ. I am so incredibly thankful for Him!

Our district is PSYCHED to get to Hong Kong! We practiced "street contacting" with Yeung Hing Daih... oh my gosh it was so much fun! He pretended to be at the train station waiting for a train and we got to go street contact with him like 4 times in a row. I LOVED it. I thought I wouldn't, that I would be too scared or too shy or not know enough Cantonese, but it was seriously awesome. One of the times, we walked up to him and told him who we were and that we had an important message about Jesus Christ. He said he wasn't interested, he was Buddhist. So I just started asking him about his family and his friends. He was pretty open about that, then he asked us where we were from. When we told him Utah, he said he had a Mormon friend in Utah. We explained that we were Mormons! Then he was really open. But then his "train" came. So I quickly asked him if we could get his number. He said he didn't think so, he needed to get to work. So all of a sudden (I don't even know where this came from) I said, "Please? We need friends! We don't have any friends in Hong Kong yet!" And then he gave us his number :) It was so awesome! It made me so excited to get to Hong Kong. The fact that I could actually communicate in Cantonese was great!! I know it'll be different when we get to Hk but STILL! I have this glad, wonderful message to share with people! I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH THEM RIGHT NOW!!! I'm so excited!

This week Elder Smith told me I remind him of his girlfriend's mom..........

.... uh..... thank you?

Haha. Our district was laughing so hard. What a compliment! ;)

Elder Martinez got these little plastic ninjas in the mail from his family. There are 8 of them, and we've been hiding them around the room every week for Jeung Jimuih to find. She loves it. It's so funny. This week, we were running out of hiding spots in our classroom so we taped a blue ninja to Elder Nestman's waterbottle, a red one to Elder Barker's waterbottle, a purple one to Sister Morgan's waterbottle, and a green one to the back to Jeung Jimuih's hymn book. She found all the ninjas right off besides the green one. She was laughing and loving it, then she wanted to start class. So she picked up her hymn book to sing and all of us were trying so hard not to laugh. She didn't suspect a thing. She asked us what song we wanted to sing, opened her hymn book, felt the ninja, and started laughing SO hard. We were all cracking up. It was so fun! I am convinced I have THE BEST district in the MTC. I love them all so much! We are all so close and feel like a little family away from our own families. It's awesome :) I want to be friends with these people for the rest of my life! They are all such great examples to me and I love learning from them. I wish some of these elders' mothers knew what incredible missionaries her sons are.

Tuesday's devo this week was ELDER RUSSELL M. NELSON! Two apostles! How lucky are we?? It was so awesome! He talked a LOT about the other side of the veil and how our ancestors are helping us on this mission. I believe that with allllllll my heart. I have felt so close especially to Papa while I've been a missionary. I feel like he wants to be with me since he didn't have the opportunity to serve a mission like this. I feel him with me all the time, and I know that what Elder Nelson said is true. Having these sacred experiences with loved ones on the other side of the veil is so special and wonderful.

Sister Morgan and I during our weekly planning session on Saturday night had an interesting experience. She was feeling REALLY down. She said that she didn't feel like a good teacher and she didn't know how to convey to our mouhdouhje (investigators) the doctrine. I felt the Spirit prompt me to share a scripture with her. Now I can't even remember the exact reference. Dang it. But it's in Ether, and it's scripture mastery (sorry Bishop Woodruff...) and it's the one that says contention is of the devil and he stirs up our hearts to anger and doubt and frustration. Anyway, I told her that all bad things come from the devil - including doubt, discouragement, fear, competition. I told her how grateful I was to her as a companion and how glad I was that she was there to help me teach. I told her what a fantastic teacher I think she is and that she conveys things wonderfully and I know she has the Spirit with her. It was a really neat experience. We were both in tears by the end. I'm so grateful for a good companion and how we strengthen each other. She truly is such a blessing! I love her so much!

Our branch president told us earlier in the week that he was going to send the district president (who is over a bunch of different branches and was going to visit our branch yesterday) to our district's district meeting on Sunday. He told us that was a great compliment to our district and he was proud to send the district president to us out of every district in our branch. That was really nice. Our district meeting went great! President Hemert (the district pres) is awesome. He told us how proud he was of us. He said, "Imagine yourselves 6 months ago. You were not here, crammed into this tiny classroom, wearing clothes you're not used to wearing, sharing things with strangers that are very dear to your heart, praying more than you thought possible, and studying the scriptures and a different language every waking moment. You were not here. But you are now. And that took a lot of faith. I'm so proud of you. I know you'll do great things." It was really neat. A lot of elders were teary at the end of district meeting. And of course I was. It did take a lot of faith to be here. And my faith is growing every single day. I would never trade it! This experience is shaping me into the woman I will be for eternity. I hope and pray that I can be humble enough to let the Lord do what He wants to do with me. I want to be a good servant of His. Not just a good one. The BEST one I can be!

I gotta go, I'm out of time :( I'll get on later and send some pictures! I love you all so much! I know with all my heart that this work is GOD'S. It's so mighty. I love, love, love being a part of it. It is the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I know my Savior - YOUR Savior - lives. He lives! He loves us! All we have to do is believe in Him and act. I will never doubt again. This work, this knowledge, has been burned into my soul. Jesus Christ is the reason for everything. Because of His Atonement - the crowning moment in all of eternity - we can do all things. How grateful I am. How grateful we all should be!

I love you so much! Keep your letters coming. I love your support. I pray for you all every single day!

With all the love I have,
Shay Bay

aka Gwok!



The Sisters of Zion

Leih hou! Ngoh ngoi leihdeih!! (Hello! I love you all!)

First things first, Mommy! I hope you had a great Mother's Day! I really wish I could have called. But I hope you got my card and know how much I was thinking about you yesterday. I was thinking about the stripling warriors and how they were taught by their mothers. They did not doubt their mothers knew it. And neither do I :) I love you more than I could say!

Dad, I hope you are not too overwhelmed with everything you're doing! You sound so busy all the time. But I am so glad you're my dad. Thanks for supporting me and loving me and being such a great teacher. I love you! Whit, thanks for your dear elder I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT SO MUCH! I'll write ya back today :) Park, 7 days! How do you feel?!! I wish I could be there for your birthday. Jaren Kincade, I haven't heard from you in a while! I love you so much and hope you're doing great! School's almost out! Hooray!!

This week was a really, really great one. I love the MTC so very much. I'm going to be SO sad when we leave to Hong Kong. But I'm also excited... excited to be able to teach real people. Excited to be very, very sweaty all the time. Excited to serve the Lord with all of my heart, might, mind and strength for the next 17 months! Missionary life is a wonderful life. I am so thankful to be a missionary!

(FYI my mind is so scattered right now, so this email will be all over the place. Oops.)

Best Moments of this week:
- We got a new "teacher". He's training to be a teacher so he sits in on our classes with Jeung Jimuih. His name is Yeung Hing Daih. He's SO GREAT!! Love him. He has a kangaroo scripture case (he served his mission in Australia, Cantonese speaking) and he calls it his dog. Haha. He gave us some advice this week that I absolutely loved: SMILE! This is a happy thing we're sharing! We've got to be happy about it! :)

- Jeung Jimuih showed us her wedding dress and her engagement pics!!! Did I tell you she's getting married in June? She is THE BEST. We love her so much.

- We committed Zoe to baptism! YAY!!! We were so happy! Now we just have to figure out how to teach her the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. We don't know those words yet. Ha... that should be interesting.

- Elder Barker and Elder Nestman have been quoting Brian Regan a lot this week. Their favorite: "K-A-T I'm outta here.... I knew there were two T's." hahahahaha we die every time.

- Sand volleyball is still the best thing EVERRRRR. It's so funny because none of us are very good. So I don't even feel that stupid. :)

- All the Cantos ask me to say Nacho Libre's "Ramses! How are you??" all the time. They say I do it the best. I tell them they should hear how Park says it. And Dad of course, with his "It's the BEST" quote that doesn't even sound like Nacho haha :) anyway, I say that all the time. So during sand volleyball we made a rule that you had to say a Cantonese word every time you hit the ball. We had a lot of hits and you couldn't say the same word as someone else. One of the jimuihs went for a hit, paused, and yelled, "RAMSES!" We all laughed so hard. I almost peed my pants. Ramses? That's not Cantonese! Hahahaha time to cut back on Nachooooo.

- We got our first names in Cantonese! My name is Gwok Sam Hiu. So "Gwok" is my last name. It means "the outer part of anything." OKay, random. My first name is Sam Hiu. "Sam" means "to affect others deeply" and "Hiu" means "daybreak; dawn; to know; to understand." Cool huh? When I write you I'll write it in characters! I learned how :)

- Sister Morgan's mom sent her a CHEESECAKE. Not even kidding. An entire cheesecake. I'll send pics later!!

I had a lot of neat experiences with music this week! We were singing "I Believe in Christ" to open our district meeting on Tuesday night. Of course we sing everything in Gwong Dung Wa (Cantonese). Every hymn starts off with "I Believe in Christ..." right. Well in Cantonese it's "Ngoh seunlaaih Gei Duk." Which actually directly translates to I TRUST CHRIST. How cool is that? After we were done singing I pointed it out to my district. We all sat there, letting that sink in. I believe in Christ. I TRUST Christ. It was a really neat moment. The direct translations of Cantonse to English are beautiful. I love that about this language! Another cool moment with music was that yesterday our speaker in Relief Society was Janice Kapp Perry. Remember when she came and spoke at Youth Conference and it was amazing? Yeah. It was probably 500x more amazing in the MTC. I didn't even make it 5 minutes into her talk without bawling. We sang a medley of all the different Primary songs she has written - A Child's Prayer, Love is Spoken Here, Armies of Helaman, I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus, I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was so powerful. I wish I could have actually sang them, though. I was trying! But I was crying too hard. Haha. (Yes, Parker, I know. I cry ALL THE TIME. Don't make fun. ;) I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus reminded me SO MUCH of Dad and how he always used to sing that to us when we were little going to sleep. Those are fond, fond memories. I love you Dad. At the end of Sister Perry's comments, she told us that she had written new words to "As Sisters in Zion" for missionaries. She called it "The Sisters of Zion". WE ARE THE FIRST ONES EVER TO SING IT! And let me tell you, it was the most powerful thing in the world. One verse goes:

We go forth, enlisted with Helaman's Army
In numbers much greater than ever before!
We'll preach to all nations, to all who will listen
The heavens have spoken and truth is restored!!
(sing that to the tune of As Sisters in Zion)

Pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the room. Sister Morgan doesn't usually cry and she lost it. And me, the crybaby, I was a mess. The MTC presidency's wives up on the stand were all blowing their noses at the same time and wiping their eyes. Can you picture it? The huge auditorium - FULL of sisters - singing that we are enlisted as the army of God! We are in numbers much greater than EVER before! We are going to nations ALL OVER THE EARTH to preach this gospel! To preach THE WORD OF GOD! It was incredible! I wish I could put that into words better. Oh man, missionary work is so amazing. This is God's work. I feel so blessed to be a part of it at 20 years old!

I feel like I always just tell you about Sundays in my emails. Mostly because Sundays are THE best days at the MTC. Hands down. It's like the biggest spiritual feast ever. Sacrament meeting yesterday was phenomenal. So, I don't know if I told you this or not, but we have to prepare a talk for Sunday every week. Then after the sacrament President Capik (our branch pres) just chooses an elder and a sister to give their talk. Yesterday, a Canto elder spoke. Elder Dorman from Rexburg, ID. He did an incredible job. The topic was repentance, and he spoke about 1 Nephi 8 - Lehi's vision of the tree of life. He said that the fruit of the tree is the Atonement, and that all of us need to partake of this sweet, wonderful fruit through repentance. He said that he has been at all stages of repentance during his life - in the mists of darkness, unsure of where to start and unable to see the end goal; letting go of the iron rod before he had partaken of the fruit; and then ultimately, the one that caught hold of the end of the iron rod, not skipping any steps of repentance, and falling down (1 Nephi 8:30) at the Savior's feet to beg for forgiveness. But the really neat thing is, Jesus Christ has already paid the price for our sins. When we repent honestly and fully and fall down at the Savior's feet and beg for His forgiveness, we can feel assured that our brother and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will scoop us up into His arms and tell us, "Thy sins are forgiven thee. Go thy way, and sin no more." Elder Dorman just sobbed when he was speaking. It was so humbling. I felt at that moment SO much gratitude for my Savior. I studied 1 Nephi 8 in my personal study this morning and cried. Elder Nestman sitting next to me asked if I was okay. I just told him I was having a GREAT personal study. Jesus Christ is MY Savior. He has paid the price for MY sins. Everything I do wrong, every sorrow I feel, every disappointment. He loves me so much that He died for me, and He loves me so much that He now lives for me. Go read D&C 6:33-on. It's my favorite. The Savior loves us. He wants us to repent. I think sometimes we think of repentance in a negative light, but it is not so. Repentance is beautiful and wonderful and magnificent. It is such a great gift. I am so thankful to my Savior for what He did and does for me. I want to be more like Him.

I can't imagine not being here on a mission. I already feel like I have grown in leaps and bounds! I LOVE everyone here. I LOVE the Lord. EVERYONE WHO MIGHT BE CONSIDERING A MISSION -- do it! You won't regret it. It is the greatest, most rewarding, wonderful, joyful thing I have experienced. Ever. Ever. EVER. I love being a servant of the Lord. I love putting my nametag on in the morning, knowing that I represent Jesus Christ Himself. I have to do everything I can to prepare to be the best missionary I can be for Hong Kong.

I love you all so much!! The Lord has given me SO MUCH! I have the greatest family on the face of the earth. I have the best, most wonderfully loyal friends. I have a strong healthy body. I have the most amazing opportunity to be serving a mission and going to HONG KONG!!! I have the best companion and the BEST district in the MTC and the BEST teachers. I was born into this glorious gospel and have the sacred privilege to share it with others! I have a miraculous life! Since He has given me so much, I am trying to give back everything that I have for Him. I know I can do it. Through Christ, I can do all things.

I LOVE YOU! Group hug with me right in the middle! xoxo

Love always,
Sister Shay


4 weeks to go!


How is everyone this week?! I hope you're doing great.... I missed hearing from you all this week. But Mom, thank you for the package!! I absolutely LOVED getting it! It was so fun to hear that you'd seen some of the Canto elders too!! haha! How was Brian Regan??!!!!! I'M SO JEALOUS. I told my district that you went to Brian Regan and they all agree that it's completely unfair. So Elder Nestman quoted some Brian Regan and I allllllllmost felt like I was there with ya :) Was it so warm in St Geezy? Ahhh. I wish I could have come. Michelle Bowman - it made my entire WEEK to get your letter and your pictures! Your boys are the cutest! I loved hearing about what you're doing, and I'm writing you back today. Thanks so much!! Matt and Misti - I cried when I read your dearelder and so did one of my roommates. I told my roommates a few weeks ago to keep you in their prayers and we've all been praying that you'll get this baby!! Prayers are continuing to be sent your way from the MTC! I'll write you guys back today too! Grandma and Grandpa, thank you for your dearelder! I love reading about what outside life is like. haha. Any news from someone outside the MTC is like gold. Thank you so much everyone! I have so much love and support and feel so blessed.

Basically, time is FLYING. I cannot believe we've only got a month left. Some districts in our branch left this morning and it was so sad! :( but at the same time so happy. They're off to the Philippines to start sharing this awesome gospel message! How lucky! :) Anyway, that means we're now the oldest districts in our branch (all the Cantos). Wow. I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday I was timidly walking around the MTC feeling like everyone else knew what they were doing and I had no clue. Now we'll be out in a month. It's pretty crazy. By the way, Arlynn Robinson is in my branch. Small world!

Teaching our "investigators" is becoming my favorite hours of the day. We usually teach every day and it is so amazing. I love preparing lessons for these two girls to hear. We have two investigators, Zoe and Vina. This week was an emotional week for me with both of them! When we taught Zoe on Tuesday, I started to cry. I felt SO MUCH COMPASSION for her and I wanted her to know SO BADLY how this gospel can bless her life! I was bearing testimony about how desire can grow into faith. I asked her, "Do youwant to believe in Christ?" She said yes. So I bore testimony of Alma 32:27 and how I KNEW that the Lord works with our desires. If we desire to believe, we need only take action and give ourselves unto the Lord. I KNOW that He makes up the rest. I feel that with a conviction I have never felt before in my life. I started talking about that in our lesson and all of a sudden the Spirit hit me like a wall and I KNEW - with ALL of my heart - that what I was saying was true. I started crying and couldn't even go on. Sister Morgan had to take over. It was the most intense feeling I have ever experienced. Later, in calss, when we were doing companion practicing, Sister Morgan was acting as an investigator that didn't know if she was ready for baptism yet. I bore testimony of the same thing and again, the tears, the choked-up intensity was back. I know the Lord works with our desires. I know it with my whole self. I desire to be like Him. I know that with Him, I can do all things. I just have to take action.

We "street contacted" Vina earlier this week and invited her to come to the "church" with us to hear our message about Jesus Christ. In our first real lesson with her on Friday, we were teaching her about God's love for her. We were really trying to teach her to pray and she wasn't understanding it and didn't want to pray. I was trying to make her understand how important prayer is. I asked her, "You love your dad, don't you?" thinking that I would say, well, you talk to him because you love him, right? Heavenly Father is our father. He wants us to talk with him because He loves us. We can show our love to our Heavenly Father by praying to Him and talking with Him. Anyway, I said, "You love your dad, don't you?" and she looked at me with big eyes and shook her head and started bawling. It was soo sad. I was just in shock. I hadn't meant to pry and I hadn't known she didn't love her dad. We all just sat there for a minute, letting her cry it out. I said softly, "Mh hoyisi" (I'm sorry). Then I started crying. I looked over at Sister Morgan and she was crying. I was thinking, oh my goodness I want to help her SO BAD. I want her to be happy! I want her to know that God loves her and knows her and wants to help her! So, after letting her cry for a few minutes, Sister Morgan started testifying that she knew God knows us. Life is difficult, but God is there for us. He loves us so much and wants us to reach out to Him for help. I testified that I knew God knows HER. I know that Jesus Christ knows her trials and that he loves HER. I told her that we wanted to help her, and the reason we were meeting with her is because we want to serve her. I said, "Ngohdeih ngoi leih" (we love you). We then taught her to pray. When our 30-min-turned-hour-long lesson was over, Sister Morgan and I left both feeling so inadequate and so humbled. "Vina" is our teacher, Leih Jimuih. But those tears and those feelings that she didn't love her father were real. I don't know if Leih Jimuih is just a really good actor and really felt the feelings of someone that does not love their father, or if she herself doesn't love her dad. I don't know. But all of a sudden this mission experience became so much more real to me. We are not going to Hong Kong to teach a bunmch of robots that are going to jump up and want to be baptized. We are going to Hong Kong to teach REAL people with REAL heartaches, REAL problems, and REAL lives. I have to be so in tune with the Spirit and so receptive to what our Father in Heaven has in mind for His children. Sitting there watching Vina cry because she does not love her dad.... I couldn't relate. I love my dad more than I could ever even say. But I felt an overwhelming sense of love and compassion for Vina. I can't even imagine how our Heavenly Father feels, watching the grief and sorrow that goes on here on earth. I can't imagine the pains and the sadness that other people feel. But I so badly want to share with them that Christ is our Savior. He can make the pain go away. He can come to us and hold us and help us along every difficult part of life. He will be there for us when no one else will be. His Atonement can heal our hearts and show us how to be truly happy. I want Vina to know this SO BADLY. I hope I will be able to teach her of the things I KNOW to be true.

GOSH, being a missionary is SO AWESOME!! I wish I could express it better!! Yesterday, I felt so STOKED to be a missionary. I don't know what other word to use haha! Being here is so exciting! Fast Sunday yesterday was incredible. I feel the Spirit so much more when I'm fasting. I can tell a difference - I am much more close to the Spirit. It's really cool. Anyway, on Fast Sundays here they have a mission conference in the morning for 2 hours. SPECTACULAR. Oh my goodness. The MTC presidency and their wives spoke to us. It was so amazing. They spoke about Jesus Christ and the Atonement and I'm not kidding when I say I was bawling THE ENTIRE TIME. My sweater needed to be washed so bad afterward... there was snot and tears all over it. Gross. haha. Btu it was so good. The spirit was so strong. I am so thankful to have a firm testimony of my Savior. He is the center of my testimony, and I'm working to make Him the center of my life. I hope I can show Him how much I love Him and want to be like Him! Last night the devo was by Chad Lewis. He used to play football at BYU and then he played for the Philadelphia Eagles! Now he's the NFL Ambassador for China because he went on his mission to Taiwan. He gave us a pep talk. It was SO awesome. Seriously after the devotional I was grinning from ear to ear. I felt like flying. We are missionaries! This IS possible. Not only is it possible, this misison is the greatest time of my life! The Lord is with his missionaries. Now it is time to work hard and be my best! I am part of the greatest army of warriors in history! It's so empowering and sooo exciting!

We watched Legacy last night for our Sunday movie night - it almost felt like being home! - and watching it with a bunch of missionaries is hilarious. Everyone laughs and oohs when they kiss, and everyone has been quoting it today. "I'll have none of that!!" "Johnnnyyyy..." "No, finish it for Mama" (with that face you know she does... whit and park, i know you know what i'm talking bout :) hahahaha) And everyone thought Jacob was going to hit David with the hammer when he tells him that Eliza will have to choose between them. So many of the elders had never seen it before!!! Insane! I've seen it so many times, I couldn't even count! Some missionaries say that is the cheesiest show they've ever seen, but I still love it. And yes, I cried.

Dad, Elder Barker (our district leader) reminds me SO MUCH of you. It's weird. He played football and ran track in high school. He is super dedicated and focused and diligent. He has a super strong testimony and he's a great leader. He's super funny and calls everyone stud (like you did in your letters home from the MTC hahahaha). He was so excited to have a football player come speak last night. He's like your twin. Just a fun little fact :)

Hmm.. what else is going on here... I floss my teeth every single night. I haven't missed a night yet! Tell Dr Flick :) I love cinnamon altoids. Since we can't chew gum here, I am all about mints!!!! I hate bad breath. I am sick of eating salads. So, so, so sick of salads. So i've been having rice sometimes. It's a nice change. I hope I'm not gaining weight. Sand volleyball is still so much fun. We're hoping that we get another general authority for devo sometime soon! Keeping our fingers crossed! That's like the most exciting thing that happens around here. I still LOVE my district. They are so amazing. I love how close we've become. It is going to be soooooo sad to leave the MTC and all of these awesome people!!

The Lord has blessed me beyond belief. I feel so humbled by everything I am given every day. I still can't believe I'm on a mission. This feels like routine now to me, but sometimes I'll be sitting here thinking, wow. I'm a MISSIONARY. I'm going to China. CHINA? what??! I have the privilege of teaching His children about this glorious gospel message. I am doing the right thing! I love it SO much.

I love you all sooooo much. I can't believe the Lord blessed me with such an amazing family. I think about and pray for you all every day! I love you so much! I'll get on a little later and send some pics! :)

With allll the love in the world,
Shay Bay
Gwok Jimuih

xoxo :)


The Cantos!

Leih hou to all my favorite people in the world!!

How is everyone this week?! I want you to know how much I love you and how much I pray for each of you - by name, in detail, every morning and every night. I wish I could better express how much I love you all and how much I care about you. Dad, I hope all is well with stake presidenting and traveling. Indianapolis this week, huh? Crazy. I'm keeping you in my prayers. I know you've got a lot on your plate. Mom, I miss you like crazy! I think about you every single day. I hope you're doing wonderfully! I hope RS and subsituting and mommying is all going perfectly. Whit Twit -- WHERE ARE YOUR PROM PICTURES YOU DWEEB?!! But for real. I want to see them! I hope you had such a good time! I pray for you and what you're going through all the time. I love ya :) Park, how is track? Are you about done? I heard about your 5:34 mile - uh HOLY COW! nice job!! Jaren, what's new with you dude? I haven't heard from you in forever!! Write me please!! :)

This week absolutely FLEW. I honestly can't believe it's already Monday again. It feels like I was just here, emailing you all in the zoo of a laundry room. Seriously. It's a zoo. Even though our schedule got changed, we still got up at 5 to do our laundry because otherwise I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have been able to do it. It's crazy around here. Also, I'm sick. A cold is going through the Cantos (that's what we call ourselves haha, the 3 districts that are going to HK together) and it's been a beast. I feel like I'm sleeping in a hospital. Everyone's snuffly and gross. It's super fun. But I am the only one that completely lost my voice. I'm not even kidding! I wish I could give you a call just so you could hear how I sound. I sound like a grandpa smoker. Everyone makes fun of me haha. It's been like this for 2 days now, and it's not getting any better, sooooo... we'll see. I have never ever lost my voice like this in my life, it's the weirdest thing. Last night I was just mouthing things and the elders were laughing so hard. Gotta love it! I went and bought some EmergenC at the bookstore and have been taking that at breakfast every day. And I've been getting plenty of sleep. Hopefully I'll get better soon!

One thing that has been so much fun this week has been volleyball. Yep. I, Shaylee Wilcox, have been playing volleyball with everyone during gym time. Who's shocked?! :) It's been SO FUN! Our elders wanted us to play with them so bad, so on Wednesday night for gym we all played together - a bunch of Cantos. It was sooooooo fun! I'm horrible, but they just laugh and help me and we cheer in Cantonese and it's the bomb. And then on Thursday it was warm enough to go out to the sand volleyball pit outside! BEST THING OF MY LIFE!!! We get to take our shoes off! I've never been so excited. Being cooped up inside all day is hard, so we all look forward to gym now that it's warm enough to play outside. We have been sprinting straight to the volleyball courts every time. It's been awesome! I absolutely LOVE all the Cantos. We have so much fun together! All of our elders are like my brothers. I love them so much. I'm going to be so sad to leave the MTC and not see all of them 24/7!

Friday was Haa Hin Dai's last day :( super sad. I'm really going to miss him and his great teaching! It seems like so much of our vocab and grammer knowledge came from him. (I think it's because he was our only American teacher and he knows how it feels to learn a crazy language, so he could explain things really clearly to us). But he didn't even give us his email address, so I'm pretty sure we're not getting married. Bummer. ;) And Saturday was Daai Ji Muih's last day. I BAWLED. Oh my goodness, I'm going to miss her so much! I'm going to send pictures in a minute so you can see her. She's the cutest. She graduated from BYU so her mom was here to help her fly back to HK and so her mom came to our class and we had a testimony meeting (all in Cantonese). It was so powerful. It's amazing that with the few things we know how to say, we can still bear testimony of the things we know to be true. I felt the Spirit so strongly. It was so neat. Daai Ji Muih's mom went second to last, and she bore such a sweet testimony. I was sitting there crying at my desk, looking at this little lady from Hong Kong, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I love the people of Hong Kong so much already. SO much. I'm so excited to be able to travel there and learn from them. I am so excited to serve them! They have such big hearts. I can't wait :) Anyway, Daai Ji Muih went last and Sis Morgan and I were bawling. It made it worse that we were both sick, so we were blowing our noses and being all gross and sobbing. Haha. But we're going to miss her so much! I can't think of someone who has had a bigger impact on me and my testimony than Daai Ji Muih. She is so amazing. THEN we found out that her parents are in the temple presidency in Hong Kong! She hadn't told us before. So hopefully we'll get to see her in HK!!

This week I have been humbled more than ever before. We read Mosiah 3&4 during one of our class periods, and discussed it. I felt the strong need in my life to put off the natural man. I need to be better. I need to be more diligent. I need to be strong. I need to remember Christ and what He did for me. "It was not easy fro Him; why should it be easy for me?" It shouldn't. I need to work to be better. It is only when I am giving my ALL to the Lord that I am qualified. The Lord called me to this mission, and I know He will help me, but that does not mean He does not expect me to work as hard as I can. I am a Wilcox! We are HARD workers. I have such a legacy of hard work to live up to. I feel the weight of that, and it motivates me to work harder and be better. I don't want to disappoint the Lord. I want to get this job done RIGHT, the first time. I want to do my mission RIGHT. And "right" means doing everything the Lord's way. I must have dedication and determination! It hit me this week that I don't ever want the Lord to think that I haven't done my best. I want to BE my best at all times and it all things and in all places on my mission! I heard a quote, "If you think you can't, you're right. But in the strength of the Lord, YOU CAN." I love that, and I know it's true. If the Lord hadn't been helping me, I would have quit already. I would have given up. This mission is hard, and it's only going to get harder. But the Lord is here with me. No companionship is a companionship of two. It is always one of three -- me, Sister Morgan, and the Lord. I know that is true. I love this quote from Jeffrey R. Holland, "Whn you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out, YOU ARE STANDING WITH THE BEST LIFE THIS WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN; THE ONLY PURE AND PERFECT LIFE EVER LIVED. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him - the Way, the Truth, and the Life." I know I quote that a lot, but it has immensely changed my life. It forever will be a part of who I am. I am so incredibly thankful for my Savior and His sacrifice. He died for me. The Atonment is infinite, yes, but it is also very intimate. Jesus Christ knows me. And he knows you. He knows exactly how to help you in whatever you're going through... if you will let Him. I know that is true with everything that I am.

Last night we were able to watch a talk by Elder Bednar called the Character of Christ. Morg and Haley talked about how much this changed them and I was so excited to watch it. It was AMAZING. Elder Bednar said, "The character of Christ turns OUT when the natural man wants to turn IN." In the midst of Christ's sufferings, he turns outward in love and service and compassion. Elder Bednar told us to GET OVER OURSELVES. It was pretty powerful. I felt such a huge desire to change my life and turn outward. I feel like I have been such an inward-turning person in my life up to this point. I feel so bad about it. I'm trying to repent. I'm so sorry for my selfishness before coming out here! I wish I could better express how I feel. I need to, as Elder Bednar so bluntly put it, get over myself! This work is NOT about me. I need to be more like Christ. I need to turn out and focus on others. I am trying, and I will keep trying. Mom, I think you are such a wonderful example of this. You are SO friendly and always, always, always thinking about and caring for other people before yourself. I have watched you put others first my whole life! And now it is my turn. I will try to live up to your example, and the example of our Savior. This is a mighty work, and there are many souls to save. I want to be converted unto the Lord.

I am learning so much here! I can really feel the Master shaping me into who He wants me to be, little by little. It hurts a little bit, to humble myself and really turn unto Him. He is taking me in His hands and making me the kind of woman that will do His work forever. I only hope I can give myself to Him adequately! I know He has great things in store for me.

I have never been so happy in my entire life - despite hairy showers, bats in our residence, stinky feet, smoker voice, not-so-good food, no family/friends... I am discovering the true and lasting joy that this gospel has to offer. I am so thankful that I am on a mission!! It's the BEST decision I've ever made. I love the Lord SO much. I want to make Him proud. I want to make you guys proud! I am working hard to do that :) I love you all so, so, so much. I wish I could see you!! But June 3, I get to talk to you. Yayyyy! :) I hope I have my voice back by then :) You are the best family in the world. Thank you so much for teaching me how to be devoted to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that I have this gospel in my life.

I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you!!!!!!!!!! More than life! :) xoxoxoxoxo

With all my love,

Gwok Ji Muih