January 29, 2015You are my hands.
This past Monday, we went to visit a member...it was such a funny visit!! We call him Li BeiBei and his nurse is also a member, Sister Song. Li BeiBei is from China, so he has this super awesome thick accent...it's so hard to understand his Chinese! And he's been studying English lately, so he says things in English sometimes...it's really hard to follow what he says. But the two of them are SO cute. Li BeiBei is 93 years old, and he's super active and healthy. His nurse teaches him English. He was going on and on about how he loves learning, especially English. He has this really big, well used dictionary that he would flip open occasionally, and a big chalkboard with English written on it. His nurse made sure that we knew she loves to draw and sing. She showed us all these drawings that she has done of flowers and people, and then she sang us a song in Taiwanese and would stop after each line to translate it into Mandarin for us. They come to Church every Sunday and sit in the front. I love them so much! They really inspired me and helped me see how important it is to be a lifelong learner. I think that's the biggest reason they're so happy and so healthy. They're always learning and improving. I LOVE THEM. AH. This week I went on exchanges with our sister training leaders - Sister Lin came to Xiao Gang with me. It was so fun! She's from Taipei and was baptized just a few years ago. Her sister first met the missionaries and then Sister Lin started taking the discussions and was soon baptized. She told me about her experience being an investigator. She said that after a lesson once, they said the closing prayer and the missionaries asked her if she would be coming to church. She broke out in tears because she realized that she had scheduled to go to work. She called her boss as soon as she could to change her scheduled, but her boss wouldn't let her change, so she just quit her job right there on the phone with her boss. She kept going to church and is so happy she made that decision to put God first in her life. Now she's on a mission and she has helped so many people come to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ! I absolutely love her. She's such a huge example in my life. We had a pretty challenging week as far as lessons. We spent a lot of time trying to find new investigators, and it felt like nothing was working. Sister King prayed and cried and fasted and tried to be exactly obedient and just do our best, but nothing really seemed to be working. We were having a hard time, and I really felt like we needed to see success. I remember being on my knees for a really really long time on Sunday morning, praying and asking Heavenly Father to bless us to see miracles and to give us the strength that we need to continue to do the work. We were blessed this Sunday with eight investigators at church! Eight! It was a huge miracle!! And what was even more amazing is we didn't even really need to do very much to help them feel welcome. They were integrated very well with the ward and were surrounded by people to help them understand what was going on during the meetings. We have two investigators who are really prepared for their baptismal date in February! Vivian and her daughter Casey. They're amazing!! This Sunday, Vivian was in Gospel Principles class and we were talking about agency and why it is important to make good choices. They were talking about the question why does making good choices make it easier for you to make more good choices, or something like that. Vivian raised her hand and said she has to come up to the front to show everyone something. She walked up there and explained to the class that if she had a goal to get to the chair in straight in front of her, she has to walk in a straight line to get to the chair. But then she showed us that if she turned her feet just a tiny bit to the side and started walking forward, then in the end, she would be really far from where she wanted to go at the beginning. She then explained that we need to keep our focus on our goal and continue going straight forward. This week we had a lesson with Vivian and Casey. Casey told us that she tries to pray with her mom every night, but sometimes her mom is too busy. So Casey will just start praying out loud, telling Heavenly Father that her mom is ignoring her and not following what she has been taught to do and how she needs to repent and pray with her. Then Vivian comes over and prays with her. They're so cute! It's so amazing to see how the gospel has really strengthened their relationship. They're so happy and excited to be baptized soon! This week, the ward organized a missionary activity for the members to go on splits with us. Unfortunately, both the sisters who signed up to come on splits with us all of a sudden had things come up, so they weren't able to come to the activity. But the elders had several members come to help them out, so we were at the activity with them at the beginning. The Elders did a little demo/training on how to contact people. The Spirit was really strong as these members practiced with us, bearing their testimony about how the gospel has helped their lives. After the training, we all got on our bikes and rode to the church for lessons. We were like a big parade, and at every stop light we would each contact someone. It was so fun! I felt the Spirit so much as we were traveling - seeing these people who have been changed because of the gospel of Jesus Christ go out and try to help others experience this same joy that has come to their lives. This gospel is true! The work is moving forward and God is working through us to do it! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and for this opportunity I have to be His representative. I have recently been reminded of a talk by Elder Uchtdorf, You Are My Hands. In it, he stated, " A story is told that during the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus Christ Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God's presence in their lives. Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested that they hire a sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as it was - a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war. Ultimately, the statue remained without hands. However the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with the words: 'You are my hands.'" I love you all so much! Sister Berrey