Hey! I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I've realized that Christmas Day, though we all look forward to it, is kind of sad because it marks the end of the Christmas season. At least I have Chinese New Year (twelve days here!) to look forward to--I've heard it's really cool here. We are about to enter the year of the dragon.
There's not really much to report about my Christmas other than I got to talk to my amazing family, which was honestly the best present I could have gotten. Not to sound cliche, but seriously. It was great. Other than that we went around visiting less-actives and members. The work slowed down quite a bit because everyone has left the city and returned to their villages. But now they're starting to come back. :) Lots of potential investigators we'll finally be able to see again.
Wilma got baptized last night! It's been a roller coaster but she has worked so hard to get to her baptism, and she did it. Lots of concerns and doubts, lots of concerns and doubts overcome by faith and turned into trust and testimony of the goodness of God. Her faith is great and her mind is determined. Her testimony of the Book of Mormon is unshakable, and she is very sensitive to the influence of the Holy Spirit, which is great. She's so funny. She feels close to a lot of the members already which helps her a lot. Lola and I sang "Jurus'lamat Sayangiku" at her baptism... that primary song that goes "A long time ago in a beautiful place." It was good. It was hard for her because her family doesn't yet understand what she's doing, but she was happy last night. She knows it's right. What a good example to me.
Feeling more and more like myself, finally starting to adjust to all this change and getting a handle on things. Also, my trainer is finishing her mission on Monday. Unknown paths lie ahead. I'm definitely going to miss Sister Wong. She is going to be so blessed for putting up with/working with a companion like me. I've learned so much from her and am very blessed that she was my companion. A part of me I feels like I'm about to go home too. I can't wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to be here for another 14 months... next Christmas, I will still be a missionary. It feels too good to last that long. So excited for 2012. :)
So Elder Larson, a senior missionary in our area, said regarding his mission as a young man in Germany: "The mission changes your life because you see the world for what it is." That kind of hit me, or clicked with me. That's just how I feel. That's a huge difference in missionary work--the way you VIEW the world. As a missionary you need to view the world more like God sees it, which unlocks so much truth. (That and you go to places you would never normally go to, talk to people you might never normally talk to.) I will never see people the same way again. I learn every day. There's so much power in thought and in intention and in choice--the effect of personal choices when given opportunity to make one. Knowledge, upbringing, attitude, and lots more so intangible and hard to express but so real and all around me. I've been told that I will never be the same after my mission. I totally believe it. I've also been told I have absolutely no idea what that means, because it will change me and my future and my family's future more than I comprehend right now. The things I am learning, moreso the experience I'm gaining, is so valuable. I'm so far from the missionary I actually want to be, the person I want to be. I'm never going to be perfect but I'm going to come out of this so much better. The Lord really does bless us freely--I can't believe I have done what I have done so far. So much of it seems impossible--and it would have been, had it not been for Heavenly Father's abundant grace and love and willingness to bless and support me in my weakness. And these principles apply to us ALL, not just missionaries. The experiences we have in life truly shape us. We are here to learn, and we determine our futures--we even determine tomorrow. God is waiting to bless us, we just need to do what he's asked. And also pray. Prayer is incredible. :)
The Gospel is true! It CHANGES LIVES. I have SEEN IT. Jesus lives and has power to save us from sin and death. God answers every sincere prayer.
Read the Book of Mormon every day. :) It will bring you to Christ.