Sunday, April 17, 2011

Xiaogang, Graveyards and Conference

This week has been amazing! On Monday we went to this CRAZY place in Xiaogang which is the area bordering ours. It was children's day here so it was hopping! There is a restaurant next to an airstrip (funny how worst land in America is considered prime property here... :P) where the attraction is eating while seeing planes land and take off. But that is not all--there is a smallish zoolike section and a pony ride place! Lol, the whole place looks like a tropical wonderland--pictures will come soon. One of the FUNNIEST things EVER was that our new convert who took us made us use the bathroom...she was like, you have to use this stall right now! We were like..uhmm, ok. Turns out that the stall is a squatter and that the wall you face is GLASS. Yes, GLASS. And it looks out onto this bird exhibit. So while you do your business you can watch birds! Lol, kind of creepy. I took a did Sister Lew. It is totally enclosed, but still makes you feel like someone is watching...:P.

Then on Tuesday we had the awesome opportunity to sao mu---sweep graves! It was a huge Buddhist holiday where everyone goes and takes care of their ancestors graves. So two whole zones of missionaries got together at 9am and went to this really forsaken graveyard. It was soo overgrown and had litter of every sort imaginable--including medical supplies. YUCK. Many of the graves were dug up too...apparently here--since ground is scares--they dig up the bones every ten years and rotate graves...yep. GROSS. So about fifty missionaries were out there doing all sorts of work. We cut grass, pulled weeds, picked up old medicine IV drips...yep, and all sorts of random stuff.  It was fun because Sister Bray was there!!! We had fun being together again. I also got to know a Sister If and we are totally going to be besties when we go home. She is also a BYU student and an ABC. She did the Nanjing Study abroad a year after I did! Her cousin is actually an assistant to the mission pres. too! Cool eh? So we ended up doing this work until 11:30--many a splinter inflicted upon us all and in great need of a second shower. With all the ash around..not really sure what it was from (please not cremated people!!) we all blew out black when we sneezed...yep, gross. But we totally got "song"ed sports drinks from a random passerby who saw us working hard. A senior missionary couple from Taibei came down and took tons of pictures and are writing an article for the church news! So we are apparently on the website...check it out and let us know! Lol. Then we headed back to the chapel and were rewarded with a delicious lunch.

On Wednesday we also had a delicious lunch---C. J. ordered us pizza after our lesson! We had such a feeling of being a family! It was soo fun. While we were waiting for the pizza to come we played with the kids (in a totally missionary appropriate way of course :) ) and it was so great! After we finished eating, little Ryan scooted up next to me on the couch. It is hard to resist those cute little kids, but mission rules are pretty strict when it comes to them. Sigh, I miss being able to just not worry and play with them. Oh well :). Blessings come through obedience.

P. peiked for us a lot again this week! We are soo proud of her :). She is becoming such an awesome member--and it has only been like two weeks!!!! We are really excited about H.--totally going to be baptized soon. General Conference had a HUGE impact on her...and on us all!! I loved it soooooooooo much.

But before I go to that part, on Friday we had the unique chance to sing for a family at a mortuary. One of our member's father passed away that week. She asked us to sing for him and it was such a sweet time. He was behind a curtain and her family and sister Lew and I were on the other side. Her family is Christian, but not LDS....yet. We sang Nearer My God to Thee and Lead Kindly Light (the favorite funeral song of the Chinese) in Chinese with the family and then Sister Lew and I sang "A Child's Prayer" in English. Sister C. had heard us sing it at P's baptism and wanted us to sing it for her dad. She is very tender and I am so glad she knows the plan of Salvation and that we could have this faith promoting experience together. It was so great to be able to share the gospel with her family at least a little. She is going to keep working with them and we gave her older brother a book of Mormon. Member missionary work is vital!

Well...I just absolutely LOVED conference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will have to write more about it next week, but I really really loved Sister Stevens address. I need to become more childlike--more Christlike so much!!! Also, I really loved how during every talk I was able to think of someone I could share it with! I loved knowing that God hears our prayers and through His servants He answered EVERY question I had prepared for that Conference. I cannot wait until October!! Lol. I know I need all the time until then to truly understand all of the beautiful truths shared in this one. I am excited to see everyone go into action and serve the poor and the needy! It is such a HUGE need to be filled, every where in the world. I also really really loved Elder Bednar's talk on light and the Spirit. It is sometimes hard to recognize what you truly know--like walking outside when the sun is behind clouds. But God will always give light to those who seek it! It is soo true.

Well, all for now, but I love you all so much and I am excited to hear about all of your experiences with Conference :).

If I can help you with some of your goals---let me know :). I know you can be a success with the Lord's power behind you.

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