Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hurrah for Israel!

T H E  C H U R C H   OF
J E S U S  C H R I S T
O F   L A T TE R – D A Y   S A I N T S

Georgia Atlanta Mission
112 Governors Square Suite A
Peachtree City, Georgia 30269
Phone 770-486-9191  

October 30, 2014                                                                        
Dear Brother and Sister Facer
We were so delighted to meet your daughter as she arrived in our mission last Tuesday, and to spend time orienting her to this new phase of her service.  On Wednesday morning we had our transfer meeting which included instruction to the missionaries, inspirational talks, training, and assignments to their first companion and area of service.  Following the meeting, she and her companion traveled to her first assignment.

I know she will prosper here in the days ahead and assure you that we will do everything in our power to help her find joy in her service and success in her labors.  Your weekly emails will do much to support her as she labors in this wonderful work.  Thank you so much for your support.

I hope you enjoy the attached photo of your wonderful missionary.  Look out Georgia!  Hurrah for Israel!!   

Warmest wishes, 
John R. Harding        
President, Georgia Atlanta Mission

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hey y'all, I'm lovin' Georgia!

                                                        Welcome to Georgia!

What a week! So many things have happened since I last wrote.  First of all, I love to serve in Georgia!! I'm in the Barnseville area, and we go to the Thomaston ward.  I already love me some Georgia life. So on the plane ride here, I talked with this really cool guy from Kennesaw (more north, sadly out of our mission) but he's a Christian minister and we just got talking and he asked a ton of questions! I don't think I taught him as well as I should have, but I at least gave him the basics of our church. It was cool to just have a conversation and tell each other what we believe.  I didn't have a phone, address, or ANYTHING, so I just told him to go to and check it out. We told each other we'd go to one another's churches, so he gave me his number, and I passed it along to other missionaries (: 1st contact and I wasn't even in Georgia yet! Whoo!
                             Sister Cardon, me, and Sister Giles ready to go to the transfer meeting

                     Sister Malone (the old companion), Sister Watts, and me (the new companion)

So my new companion, as y'all are probably wondering, is Sister Watts. She's so awesome! She's been out for about 13 months, and  has been in this area for almost 9, so she's a pro! She's such a good example to me because she just talks to everyone so easily, and ever so slightly slips in gospel subjects.  It's awesome! Now if I could just learn how to do that in zhongwen... Speaking of, I'm still studying an hour  every day, but it's hard when the only zhongwen I hear is my own.  But I really am trying to be diligent because I know I'll need it when I get to Taiwan.
As for people... I've met so many new people this week! I'll just share a few of my favorites. There's Ashley, who is the coolest girl ever! She's the ward missionary and art professor’s TA, and really wants to know the truth.   I really like meeting with her. Then Reggie.. Oh boy.  So we were planning to meet with him one day, but he didn't show up.  As we were walking back to the car, Sis Watts saw this guy with a bright neon sweatshirt that said, "the bible is a cool story bro, tell it again" and she commented on it.  Turns out that it was Reggie! So we made another appointment.  Talk about perfect timing! Haha so Sis Watts really did like the sweater and insisted that he tell her where he got it.  He said Rose's, so we just had to go there and check it out.  Meanwhile, while we're trying to find the sweater, we talk to the sales associate about her family and stuff, and set up an another appt.  We've already taught her the restoration and she's super interested in learning more! We also talked to the cashier, but we haven't yet met with her.  It was just really cool how one miracle led to another because we were in the right place at the right time.

                                                 Literacy, huh?  Good thing it's the ferst :)

Then my black friends! They all have the same name, so I'll just go by their last name - Brown, Blackman, and West.   Brown is the coolest grandpa ever.  He came up to the missionaries and told them he needs to be baptized, and when we came to visit him, 4 of his little granddaughters came up to us one by one and said they all want to be baptized! They are the cutest.  So we're working on them (: then Blackman also is on date for baptism, and when he started meeting with sis Watts a few weeks ago, he would drink coffee like all day.  Now he's down to one cup a day! and he studies the BOM all the time on his own! What a stud.  West is also on date for baptism, and when I met him, I just knew that it's people like him that make me so happy to be a missionary.  He's trying to figure out how to use the atonement in his life (for more than just sins) and he's just got the strongest spirit, and he’s so humble.  
Haha so I think if I say a person is black, then they're black. If not, they're white.  Easy enough! So then there's Sis. Henry, a less active tiny old black lady.  We were driving by her house one day (again, right place at the right time, just how Heavenly Father works) when we saw an ambulance chillin outside of her house.  The lights weren't flashing though, so we thought we'd go in and check on her.  Turns out that she tripped over her old, blind, arthritic dog and sprained her ankle.  She asked us to watch the dog (like it's going to run away...) while she went to the  hospital.  First she had to put in her dentures and her doo rag hahah. what a funny lady.  So we checked on the dog every now and then, and we had to change the padding that it was lying on.  Let me tell y'all, that was the most disgusting, rank, smelly, not to mention Christ-like service I have ever done in my life! Me and Sis Watts barely touched the dog, then looked up at each other and just laughed. Good times on the mish. We had a long talk with Sis Henry though when she got back from the hospital and she does want to come back to church, but she was offended a while back so that's why she quit coming.  That seems to happen quite a  lot...
We met another family which with all of their relatives, they mostly make up the whole ward, apart from another family, who literally have like 8 family members in the ward.  They're so awesome though, and your classic Southern family.  Sadly they're moving this week, though :( So they had us over for dinner, along with another one of  Sis Watt's companions in Barnesville. So that was fun! 
I also met Adam, a guy who's just had a rough life.  He's another one that I met and just knew that it's people like him that make me know that I'm supposed to be a missionary.  I related to him so well, and knew what to say to him.  That is, if he chooses to take my help.  

                                                           Our first chip baking... dang it.

On sunday, I met a man who is apparently an awesome investigator (also black).  He comes to church on his own, and even wears a nice suit.  Haha he's pretty good looking, and we want to hook him with Sheera, a single black momma that's a recent convert.  It could work! 
Someone told us that daylight savings was this past sunday, so we accidentally slept in (or woke up early?) and missed ward council, but luckily made it on time for church.  Haha that's all I have to say.  We’ll figure it out…
As I expected, I was asked to give a talk (luckily I had a few day’s notice) on a PMG topic, so I chose “recognizing and understanding the spirit,” not worrying too much about it.  I actually got a lot of compliments, but the one that struck me the most was from Tony, a member of about 6 years.  If you just looked at him from the outside, you'd think he was a rough guy with a cross tattooed on his forehead with fire above his eyebrows haha.  But he's really the coolest and nicest guy.  He came up to me after and just thanked me so much for my talk. He said he works at some trash collecting place, and this lady gave him a tip because he saw him clean up trash that had blown around. He had a feeling he should hug her, and fought it for a while until he finally did.  That whole week, he was wondering if it was the spirit, and after my talk (I talked about how in special needs seminary, even just 'good' feelings are the spirit) he knew that it was the spirit.  I'm really glad that if no one else got anything from my talk, it touched one person, although we should probably be careful about hugging strangers...  
Tonight we're going to some mariachi dinner with members and investigators, and that should be interesting haha. Friday I found out that we'll be able to go to the temple!! Whoo!
I also saw my first cockroach crawl out from under my bed.. and the second one on our study desk.. Luckily Sister Watts isn't afraid of killing bugs.
Well, Georgia is really something special.  haha but I do have to say that it's just so different from Utah.  At church, everyone wears what they can, whether it's sweats, or a decent shirt tucked out with jeans.  But no one judges, and I love that.  The lessons are sometimes sketch, but the whole ward was probably a convert at some time in their life, so everyone is always learning.  We have to remind people how to pray and start with "dear Heavenly Father" etc.  But I love it.  Everyone loves Jesus so much, and it's great! We're already on the same page (: We tell them we're representatives of Jesus Christ, and everyone is totally willing to talk.  It's so great! 
Well, I'm still not totally sure why I'm in Georgia, but I can honestly say that I just love it, and this is a great start to my mission.  This has already strengthened my confidence and my teaching skills, and I can't wait for the days to come.  Hope y'all have a good week! Love you!

            2:30 am, Oct 21, leaving the MTC. Sis Olsen, Chee, Meyer, me, Johnston, Jensen

      Me and Sister Maddie Giles on the early morning bus to the airport.  On our way to Atlanta!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Good bye to the MTC

                                                        New mission call to Atlanta!

Wow, what an eventful week! Where do I even begin... Well, if any of ya'll haven't heard, I'm getting reassigned to Atlanta Georgia while I wait for my visa.  I'm so excited! I'm leaving tomorrow morning at 2:30 am (blehh) and will hopefully start working right away.  My time at the MTC has been just awesome.  I've learned more about myself and about Heavenly Father than I ever have.  I've learned how to love people even when I may not have a reason to love them.  I've learned that different people can make things work if I just do it with the help of the Lord.  Oh, and a quick update on Sister Bowman: She tore her meniscus playing volleyball and she went home on thursday to get surgery, but luckily she'll be able to come back with no problem.  Once her doctor clears her, she'll go straight to Taiwan if she has her visa, and if not she'll come to Atlanta where she was originally called.

                                        Our last pictures before Sister Bowman goes home :(

Thank you for the packages, they are always very much appreciated.  I love getting them ( along with letters) and sharing with everyone.  It just brightens up my day!
Yes I see Sis Giles all the time! Even though she's in a different branch, she lives right next door to us and her classroom is just down the hallway.  I'm so glad that I met her before I came here.
So on wednesday, me and Bao JM got assigned to demonstrate 'how to begin teaching' for all the new missionaries.  On your first day, you have a big group of missionaries teach one investigator, and it's pretty much a train wreck because everyone just starts bearing testimony and stuff haha.  Anyway, we got to be the somewhat experienced missionaries to show all the new ones how to start off a lesson.  It was a good experience, and I decided it's definitely easier in English! It was good practice for Atlanta, I guess.  
The day that Sis Bowman tore her meniscus was quite an eventful one.  From the trainer's room to doctor's office and everywhere in between, I just felt so helpless.  I wished I would have had like three years of athletic training under my belt so I could at least help her out right when it happened.  Maybe Heavenly Father is hinting at me... Who knows.  That same morning though, she asked for a blessing.  It was so amazing to have 7 elders all worthy to stand in the circle, using their priesthood power to bless someone else.  That was just so powerful.  I'm so thankful for the priesthood, and especially for my dad who's been worthy of it all my life to give me blessings when I need them.  What a tender mercy. 
                                              Our district, including wang and ke lao shi

I saw Sis Pinder in the bathroom, as I'm sure you've seen that picture, and I also saw KK (Kaylee) Taylor from Celtic Storm! She's going to Hong Kong, Cantonese speaking though, but it was cool to see the same characters on her badge when I saw her on her first day.
We also had in-field orientation this week, and that was super helpful, but like 8 hours and just a long day.  We learned what you really need to know  like working with members, contacting, effective planning, and all that jazz.  I really hope I can develop good guanxi with the members, because that's really where the work starts! I hope you all remember that, as I'm pretty sure everyone that gets these emails is a member haha.
I love when we read the MEMJ together as a class.  This week, we read Alma 22 when Ammon and Aaron are teaching the king.  They're such good teachers! They ask him questions, and start with the basics (do you believe there is a god?) to get on the same page.  It just a solid chapter.
We had our final teaching appointments with Liang jiemei and He JM.  Oh boy! Liang JM's lesson was fine, but afterward, Wang lao shi told us the real story! Liang JM was actually her companion!! WHAT?! So we were teaching the pre-mish through half way through the mish Liang JM.  Haha that totally blew my mind. She's got such an amazing story though.  
Every sunday before a district leaves, they get to sing in sacrament! Our district sang "A child's prayer", I just love that song.  It was really cool because on the guys part, they changed it to first person: Pray, I am here. Speak, I am listening... It was super powerful.  I also played the piano for sacrament meeting, and it was nice to tickle the ivories again, even stumbling through "True to the faith". I can't tell you how thankful I am for that talent.  I know that it comes from Heavenly Father, and it's been given to me for a reason. 
We also had a departure devotional with everyone in the MTC that would leave this week. It was your standard devotional haha.  But afterward for the sunday night devotional, Chad Lewis was our speaker! He played football at BYU and for the Philadelphia Eagles just in case you don't know haha.  So he had a lot of really good stories about defending his faith and such.  Sister Nally told me to get a picture with her in the back room after the devotional so I went back and got it, but also a lot of people were trying to get one with Chad.  He wanted one with all the mandarin speakers (he went to Taichung!) so I got one with him too.  Sweet!                                         

                    Our si square pengyous! (4 square friends) Elder Clark, Wimmer, and Ethington

                                    Zone pic.  Of course they make the jiemeis crouch down.

                                   Look who I found! Sister (Keili) Kwong is in our branch!
                 President and Sister Nally - Grandma and Grandpa Sumner's old mission president

          Chad Lewis (back leftish) and all the mandos after the devotional.  Well, most of them. 
As wierd as it seems, I think I'm going to miss the MTC. It feels like I've been here for so long, and I might as well just serve my whole mission here.  I can't believe this time has finally come! I'm so stoked to get to serve two missions! I just know that I'm going to Atlanta for a reason, and I'm praying that I'll know what that is.  
Well, prepare yourself for a ton of pictures to come.  Good byes at the MTC means lots of pictures, and I'm sure there will be many more in the future.  
Keep the faith, and always look up.  I love you!

Feng Jiemei
                                                       Just running up the wall.

                                                 Last jiemei pic before Bao leaves

 Annie! She was in my ward at the riv, and gave me the not-gross cleaning assignments at the MTC (:

                                                    Me and Sister Meyer... or is it?

                         Twinners! Me and Sister Johnston. She's going to Taichung though :(

                               Qidao! Prayer every night with all the jiemeis in our branch!

                 Sister Christensen, Olsen, Meyer, and Chee. The three other than me and Sis Meyer
                                                         are all going to Taichung

    Me, Sister Meyer, (E Tang), E Gathwright and E Crockett, who Joseph knows.  Prime guys.

                       One last diqu pic. Although Bao JM is gone already and Zheng JM is sick :/

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Layover in Atlanta

                                                      The gang and their new calls

Hey! We got our travel plans a little early! I'm going go ATLANTA GEORGIA!!! So I won't have to buy a coat just yet (: But I'm in the bible belt! eeep! I'm a wee bit nervous about that but whatever haha. It will be such a good experience! Soo I have no idea if I'll be able to call in the airport, but still send the phone if you were planning on doing that, so it can get here on time.  I'm also going with sister giles and sister cardon (I met her in the bookstore before i left). so here's the schedule:

21 Oct travel office at 2:30 am... blehhh
SLC to Denver at 6:35 am, arrive at 7:55 am
Denver to Atlanta at 8:55 am, arrive at 1:39 pm

It's just $20 for each checked bag, the carry on may only weigh 35 lbs... but it also says there's a $35 fee for carry ons.. wierd. I'll have to ask about that. 
Anyway, I'm pretty stoked! I'll still email and have p day on monday, so that will be nice to be able to pack and get everything together.  East coast, here I come!!

Also, Sis Bowman tore her miniscus this morning and got an MRI. We just found out she needs surgery so she's staying in the MTC for probably 4 weeks. Please keep her in your prayers.  
And just so ya know where everyone else is going... and so I can remember when I read this: E Wu is going to Richmond Virginia, E Gray is going to Baltimore, E Anderson was already going to Boston, E Wimmer was already going to Houston, E Sessions and Green are now going to Boston, and E Tang is going to Lansing Michigan, Sis Jensen is going to Mesa Arizona, and Sis Meyer is heading straight to Taiwan (she had to get her visa before she came).  So yeah, just a crazy day at the MTC! Love you!