Love from Hong Kong

I don't even know what to write right now... My heart is full of so many different emotions, I can't even keep them straight. One minute I feel like crying, and the next minute, it's a totally out-of-body experience. It feels like I'm not going home... someone in our apartment is, but it's not me.

At the same time, I'm so excited to see all of you :) It's crazy to think about how long I've been away from home.

I don't want to say goodbye to this beautiful, wonderful city. I have learned so much here. To think that here, a million miles away and on the other side of the world, I have come to know my Savior. I have come close to Him in a way I didn't even think was possible. I have the amazing privilege to wear His name on my heart every single day!!

Yesterday was so sad. I thought my heart was going to break saying goodbye to so many people who mean so much to me. I love Tin Shui Wai ward with all my heart!!! I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting and the thought of next Sunday, giving a talk and looking out at people who are not Asian, makes me want to start bawling. I love these people! They are different from me, but I have tried to live like them and become one of them. We got home from church (where there were WAY TOO MANY goodbyes) and started doing our studies. I said the opening prayer for comp study and I couldn't even peep out "Dear Heavenly Father" without COMPLETELY breaking down. I'm so incredibly thankful for this experience to have served Father in Heaven. I hope I've made Him proud :) I have truly tried to give everything I have to Him. I've sacrificed and been as exactly obedient as I know how to be and truly striven every day to be better.

I wouldn't have wanted to end my mission in any other way. I know these streets and tsuens and light rail stops like the back of my hand. I've cried, laughed, taught, been stretched, and grown so much in the past 18 months. Actually, almost 19 months. ah I'm so lucky!

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

Missions end. It's the weirdest, craziest, most beautiful, and life-changing thing that I've been through so far. But oh, I'm excited to be home. I'm excited to take all the things I've learned and be a new me. A brand new Shaylee Wilcox. (wait, do people actually call me Shaylee at home?? that's weird...ha!). I'm excited to continue to develop my relationship with my Savior and my Father in Heaven. I know that they are there, "before my face, and on my right hand and on my left, and the Spirit in my heart, and angels round about me to bear me up."

The future is as bright as our faith! President Monson

WHITNEY. I'm so jealous of you. You're in Japan! You're only beginning the most wonderful journey you'll ever take. Laugh every day :) Be YOU. Keep changing and being a bright light to everyone around you. You've always been the best and brightest light to me :) I love you so much!!! I'm so sad you won't be there at the airport, but don't worry, I'll be there for you in 18 months :) I LOVE YOU MORE THAN LIFE!!!!!!!

P&J, holy cow I'm excited to see you and hang out with you. You guys are men now!! What happened?! :) Dad, I'm so excited to talk with you and learn from you and laugh with you. Mom, oh my goodness I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to see you. You're going to get the biggest hug in just a few days!!! I am so excited to spend time with you. Please tell me you're going to be my new companion until I get adjusted. I need one ha :) FAM! I never thought this day would come!

See you so soon!

Love from Hong Kong.
Sister Gwok


Labor of Love

Dearest everyone that I love:

Wasn't general conference AMAZING?!?!?!?! I know I'm behind the times but I loved it more than life. I've seen 4 conferences on my mission. I'm so blessed!!! General conference as a missionary is the most amazing thing in the world :) I LOVED Elder Scott's talk. He's one of my faves ever since the MTC. I feel the spirit so strongly when he talks! I loved what he said about prayer: "CHOOSE to converse with Father in Heaven daily!" It's a choice, really. Are we choosing to arm ourselves with this power? It's such a privilege to be able to talk with our Father. I love the way He says "Father in Heaven" not "your Father in Heaven" or "our Father in Heaven." For some reason it makes it feel more real. He says "Father in Heaven" because we're all brothers and sisters, talking about the Father we all share :) I also LOVED Elder Bednar's; that story about his sons was so powerful!!! Ok ok i loved it all.... i have too many favorites to share.

oh man i'm typing this in the apple store while standing and it's KILLING my hands. i swear i have carpal tunnel.

Anyway... I can't believe I'm already at this point in my mission. We were all sitting on our beds talking last night and it just hit me.... I've been in HK for a long time. And I'm about to leave. And I REALLY don't want to! I love it too much. I love this area. I love the people here, all our investigators, all our recent converts, all the ward members, everyone. I love the people we walk past every day and the things we do and the way we talk and everything. It's going to be awful to walk away from all this. I don't even want to think about it.

Let me tell you about some cool miracles from the zone lately....

Us and the zone leaders decided that this month, we would try passing out as many BOMs as we could. We wanted to aim for 65 for each district (because it's the 65 anniversary of the church in HK! 65 is the magic number these days!). Our district (4 companionships) just took this and RAN with it. By the end of the first week, our district alone had passed out 72 copies of the BOM. SEVENTY TWO!!!! How crazy awesome is that?! We saw so many miracles and found so many new investigators with this :)

We also decided that we would take turns praying for our investigators. (i.e. we'd pray for Ivan in Hung Shui Kiu on October 6, Jason on October 8, etc etc). SO! Jason is an investigator in Tuen Mun (a different area in our zone). He's 15 and super golden but his parents won't let him be baptized. The entire zone prayed for him on Wednesday night. Super cool :) THEN. The next day, he texted the missionaries and said he'd talked to his parents and they said YES!!! Isn't that amazing?! According to the faith and prayers of so many people, his righteous desires were realized. How amazing is that?! We wanted Tina to have the same blessing. We called her and told her about it and she loved the idea. So on Saturday night, we all prayed for Tina. Every missionary in the New Territories. We're still waiting for her to talk to her mom, but we're praying so hard and hoping for miracles! We know she can do it! She could use your prayers too!!!

I love this zone. I love this place. I love HK!! I'm SO INCREDIBLY thankful for the opportunity to serve. I've been trying to notice the little things each day. It's funny how it's taken me this long to figure out a perfect balance between worrying about the numbers and not worrying about them (if that makes sense at all). I've been so happy these past few weeks. I love everything about everything right now!!!

As Elder Holland said in general conference,
"My work is about love, not statistics. What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean. But if we didn't do it, the ocean would be one drop less than it is."

I'm taking that as a theme of my last full week. This is about love, not statistics or having wonderful numbers or getting the most lessons i've ever gotten in a week or anything. I'm going to focus on LOVING these people and LOVING my God and giving Him everything I have. This work will go on with or without me. But I couldn't live with myself if I didn't give everything I have to Him and Hong Kong this week.

I love you all so much! SO MUCH! I hope you have the most wonderful week in the world!

Love always,
xoxoxoxo :)

lasts...(Letter from Oct 5, 2014)

Dearest family and friends that I love so much!

This week was so good. I feel like the time is passing SO fast. It is like Morgan said, it just slips through my fingers no matter how I try to hold onto it! So crazy! I tried to slow down and look at every moment individually. We had some really, really sweet moments this week. I just love this crazy city. I love it more than anything.

I had a lot of "lasts" this week...

My last MLC (mission leadership council). I realized this week that I've been a sister training leader for exactly half of my time in HK! I feel so blessed to have gone to so many leadership meetings and learned so much from President and Sister Hawks. I love them SO MUCH. They are the most wonderful people in the world. Besides M&D, I've learned more from them than anyone else.

My last zone training meeting. The last one I'll ever plan and lead and do trainings at and share my testimony at. Oh man, I'm going to miss it so much! I shared "words of wisdom" at the end because I'm the only missionary going home this month. I said over and over and over, "LOVE THE MISSION! It flies by! I want everyone to have the chance to love their mission like I've loved mine. It's meant everything to me."

My last fast and testimony meeting.
My last fast Sunday as a missionary.
My last Women's Session of general conference as a missionary.

I LOVED Sister Marriott's talk from the Women's Session. (Haven't seen the other sessions yet!! So excited for this weekend!) She quoted Harriet Uchtdorf and said we are "vibrant and enthusiastic beacons to the world." I loved that so much, especially because of an experience we had on Friday. We did Zone 24's (my last one) and i was with Sister Poulsen, a newbie. She was actually my companions MTC companion. Anyway, we were walking through the park doing finding, and some lady out of nowhere says, "Hey, I recognize you!!" I was like, "Oh, really?" Super excited because maybe I'd contacted her before or something. She said, "Yes, I recognize you from the Subway in Tai Kok Tsui!" Okay, now Tai Kok Tsui is in my old area. The one I was in 8 MONTHS AGO. And we're in HONG KONG. This lady has probably seen millions of people in the time she was working in Subway (yes, like American sandwiches, that Subway). I said, "Really???! But I haven't been there in 8 months!" I knew she was right, we used to go to that Subway all the time when we craved American food. She said, "Yes but I still remember you, you and your friend were always so nice and so friendly!" WOW! I was STUNNED. She wasn't really too interested in the gospel, but she was so nice and we had a great conversation and I walked away feeling lighter than air. People really do watch us! They really do notice us! It's so important to be a good representative of Christ ALWAYS, even when we're tired or hungry or grumpy or whatever. People remember us.I have no doubt that lady will accept the gospel later in her life. And maybe part of it will be because I was nice to her. I hope so :) "We are vibrant and enthusiastic beacons to the world."

A ward member invited us over for dinner last night. We went and were able to teach their domestic helper about the Restoration. Last time we were there, we gave her an English Book of Mormon. This time we shared the Restoration. It was SUCH a good lesson. The Spirit was stronger than it's been for a long time. She is so humble and prepared! She is from the Philippines and left 3 kids behind (an 11 year old, a 4 year old, and a 9-month old) to come to HK to work so she could get money for them. How sad is that? She was so happy to hear of a message that can help her family be together forever. We passed her phone number onto the Filipino sister missionaries that are here and her address in the Philippines onto the office elders! Here's to hoping and praying for them to have the chance to hear it as well!

I love being a missionary. I'm so incredibly thankful for this experience. I love Hong Kong. Can I just repeat that? I LOVE HONG KONG. I love these sweet people and I love the food and the sights and smells and laughter and mountains and trees and crazy things and culture and..... everything. I love everything. I LOVE this work. I love my Savior. I love what He's done for me. I loved in Sister Marriott's talk when she talked about being in the temple and looking at all of her weaknesses and thinking, "I don't want to be that woman!!" I have so many of those experiences too. But the Savior is our only Hope. He loves us and wants us to come unto Him. I love bringing people that joy!

I love you all! So much!
Sister Gwok