Thursday, April 18, 2013

Week 42, in which I pretend to be less happy than I actually am for fear that I might scare away potential investigators

Yeah, it's true, I'm pretty much having the time of my life here. Sure, I may still have my down moments (opposition in all things, it's kind of essential right?), but we just go out, teach some people, work, get rejected a few times, and by the time we get home, I'm just singing! I've had the most random songs going through my head this week: primarily "Princesses on Parade" (from Swan Princess), but I've also been singing "Please Bring Honor to Us All" (Mulan) and "Seventy-Six Trombones in the Big Parade" (which is kind of frustrating because all I know is the first line, so I just say it over and over again). It's pretty great.

Eating out with Sister S
So t-shirt of the week! I think it might be trying to be one of those "I hate the world and proud of it" t-shirts, but it doesn't do it very well. It says, "So what, this is the rude gallery."

Oh, and here's the text message of the week, from some random person in our phone who I've never actually met, but who seems to be a real sweetheart: "Hopeing the weather these days are warm they shine ur days.take care and have a gud day :)"

So sometimes God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. We met a girl a few weeks ago named E, and we haven't been able to contact her since then. We went finding in the rain last week, and had little success, so we were about to go home when we ran into E! We'd only talked to her for about 30 seconds when we first met her, but as we walked past her, her name just popped into my head and I kind of yelled at her (she only looked a little frightened) as she passed haha. But then she recognized us and immediately said that she'd meet us the next day! It was such a miracle that we ran into her, but the even bigger miracle was that God helped me recognize her and remember her name. And then the biggest miracle that happened was this: the next day, she didn't show up. We'd originally planned to meet her at the public square and then take her back to the church to teach. But as we were getting ready to leave, I grabbed two copies of the Book of Mormon in Tagalog. Then I put them down thinking, "No, they're too heavy, and we can just give her one at the church." But then I just picked them up and took them along anyways. And as we stood there in the square waiting for E, we saw two other girls that we'd met a few weeks ago, J and G! They're so cute, I just love them. They're cousins, and together they take care of about 12 dogs! We've never been able to meet with them because they always work, but we keep running into them while they're working, and so we're slowly sharing bits of the gospel with them. They're so sweet, so prepared. And I just happened to have two Book of Mormons for them. It really was so perfect, and they were really excited to each have their own! I told them that this was evidence of how much Heavenly Father knows them, and they said that they really could feel his love for them.

And then we had General Conference this weekend! It really was such a happy weekend for me, and I've learned so much! I loved what Elder Scott said about how the Lord doesn't expect us to learn everything all at once--there's a time and a season for all things. At first I thought, "Okay, perfect, so this is the time for me to learn how to be a missionary, all the spiritual growth I'll need for the near future." But then I realized that the Lord is even more specific than that. My mission is broken into different times and seasons, and each different principle, skill, or lesson has its own time. So I don't have to freak out and try to master everything all at once! I just have to try my best to learn what the Lord expects me to learn in the time I'm to learn it. God knows our mortal weaknesses and limitations; his patience is perfect and his comprehension complete. And I loved President Monson's talk about obedience. And Elder Holland's talk about faith. And wow, I should probably calm down. But honestly, I've never appreciated the blessing of having living prophets and apostles as much as I do now. It just makes so much sense that we need prophets today, and that the Lord would provide them out of love for each of his children.

I think the most ridiculous thing that happened this week was when we did companionship exchanges with the other sisters. People always say that companionship exchanges bring miracles, and I've found this to be true... However, in my experience, they also bring the truly weird and crazy and ridiculous experiences too. Due to poor directions from several different people, Sister Y and I ended up wandering around in the pouring rain under one tiny umbrella about five or six bus stops away from where our appointment was. We were absolutely drenched, and I'm pretty sure we looked anywhere from fairly amusing to quite unsightly due to the looks people were giving us as we wandered back and forth. Fortunately our investigator was okay with us showing up a little late (or maybe an hour late?), and it all worked out just fine. Those kinds of things just happen sometimes, and all you can do is laugh and move on!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 41, in which I experience minor electrocution every day or two, and in which I have the BEST SUNDAY ON MY MISSION.

Hello everyone! I'm still in Macau, hallelujah! I love it here, and it's a miracle how quickly I've learned my way around. I feel like I've always lived here and like I'll stay here forever.

Between a rock and a hard place
T-shirt of the week! Well, I saw someone wearing a Utah Jazz shirt, and that was weird. I was about to ask him if he followed the Utah Jazz, but I decided against it because he looked really upset. Unfortunately, it's been quite chilly and rainy recently, so most people are wearing jackets. And I've also noticed that fewer people wear the funny t-shirts... it's probably because more people here understand what they say.
Oh yes, and in regards to my electrocution, the sisters I live with may think that I'm crazy, because no one else ever gets shocked, but it's true! Every time I put my hand on the top of the washing machine, it zaps me! And my whole hand tingles for a few minutes afterwards! It really is an awful feeling, but I still keep doing it. That washing machine is probably my third worst enemy in our apartment, topped only by the mold... and the cockroaches. I've become an expert cockroach slayer in the past few weeks. We've played with the idea of making a tally of how many cockroaches we kill a day, but we decided that might be a little too barbaric, considering we ARE sister missionaries and all. But other than that, I love our apartment and the sisters I live with. We laugh all the time, and turns out Sister L loves Lord of the Rings too! We were trying to remember elvish the other day. The only thing I could remember was, "Nagadagathya!" (Yeah, that's probably spelled really wrong) which means "They're all going to die!" So that's become our new war cry whenever a cockroach appears.

Lunch with Sister S

So yes, yesterday was incredible, the best Sunday of my mission. We've had, at most, one investigator at church since I've been here, and it's been really challenging to schedule people... which means a lot of finding. And I really do love finding, because it brings a ton of miracles (and weird, hilarious stories), but Sunday we were so slammed with miracle lessons that we had no time to even eat! So I accidentally ended up doing a 24-hour fast, but it was worth it. We met with two new investigators in the morning. First we met R, a man from India who told us that we seemed 'like angels.' He said he's a Hindu Sheik, although I'm not really sure what that means. I kind of thought those were two different religions? No idea. Anyways, after him we met with a woman named M, who I contacted a few weeks ago for maybe 15 seconds. It was the shortest contact ever, I just saw her and said, "Hey, we're missionaries, can we call you later?" And she said, "Sure, here's my number!" And she actually met with us! It really was a miracle. We taught her about prophets and the priesthood authority, and then right after that she came to a baptismal service! It was such a good experience, and the ward members were so wonderful to her, treated her like part of the family. Afterwards we had SIX investigators at church! It was a miracle! And right before church we went on splits and taught two lessons, and then again right after church! The people we're blessed to work with are so sweet, so humble, and so prepared. They have so many trials, but they're so optimistic and faithful! I just love it! And the members are wonderful too! On Saturday, Sister F met a girl named I at McDonalds, and they started talking. And by the end of their conversation, they were best friends, and Sister F had invited I and her other friend A to church the next day! And both of them came. A was so sweet too, she said that she felt so at peace as soon as she walked into the church, like all of her trials had just fallen right off her shoulders. Unfortunately, she only has two holidays a month, so we'll have to just keep in touch over texts and calls. She's so great though. So we got home about 9 pm and I just ate a big bowl of oatmeal and crashed. But wow, I wish I could describe how Sister L and I felt last night. Like God really has seen how much work we've been doing. Only he could have arranged things so perfectly, where we were able to meet with so many people and have so many miracles in one day. Seriously, we hardly had time for anymore miracles! So today is a nice, relaxing P-day so that we can rest up for the next miracle day! Because we're not satisfied with just one--we're going to have miracle days every day from now on!

I love you all so much! Thanks for the letters and prayers and love! Salamat! (Thank you in Tagalog)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 40, in which it was the best of times, it was the best of times. Dickens would be jealous.

Believe it or not, I, Sister Katie Cutler, have gone 10 weeks without eating chocolate. Are you amazed? I am. And I can still honestly say that this time is the best of times.

Anyways, I'm still in Macau, but in two days I'll have yet another new companion! That's Macau for you, the place with the weirdest schedule and the fastest turnovers. Sister Fernelius is headed back to Hong Kong, so now Sister Lau is coming to serve with me! She has been serving in the Chinese branch here for the past four weeks, so we've gotten to know each other pretty well and I know we're going to have a blast! And she has perfect Cantonese (her parents are from Hong Kong) and perfect English (she grew up in England), so my Chinese is definitely going to survive, even though I'm serving in an English-speaking branch at the moment. WHEW!

Oh yeah, t-shirt of the week! Here's a cute one: "Be proof against all weathers." My new motto I think, except for the only weather we need to be 'proof against' at the moment is RAIN. We have had several light monsoons already, and although we haven't had "black rain" yet, we have definitely reached a dark grey, that's for sure.

So for our P-day, we four sisters went around and took some pictures, goofed off, and ATE DAIRY QUEEN! Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen, after more than nine months, I was once again able to taste the sweet, creamy goodness of a DQ blizzard. They even handed it to me upside down! All is right in the world.

We've been struggling a lot to schedule people to teach recently, so we've been doing a lot (the computer editing software just put a scribbly line under 'a lot' and is telling me that it's actually supposed to be one word... I may not be fluent in English anymore, but I'm not dumb!) of finding in the rain. Put nicely, it's a miracle that I don't have the grout at the moment. Okay, now I'm doubting that 'grout' is the word I'm looking for. I might have just made it up. But you know what I'm talking about, right? You know, in World War I, how their feet got that gross disease because they were walking around in water-filled trenches all day? I remember seeing pictures in 6th grade history class; that day that scarred me. Anyways, finding in damp feet isn't too pleasant, but the people we talk to and the miracles we see more than make up for it. And Elder Holland once said, "Nothing is bad enough that whining about it won't make it worse." So no more whining! (And ten points to Gryffindor for whoever can tell me if grout is actually the word I'm looking for. Also, the computer is telling me that Gryffindor is not a word.)

The great thing about finding in Macau is that, unlike in Hong Kong, we're actually allowed to knock on doors here. So the other day, we went door-knocking and a young man answered the door. We explained who we were, and he immediately invited us in to teach him. Of course we didn't go in right then because we can't teach a man without at least one woman there, but we rescheduled him for the next day. We invited the elders and one of our members to come with us, and we had the most spiritual, amazing lesson. It was awesome. The man's name is Mac, and he has been here for a couple of months now. He actually met elders around Christmas time, and he really wanted to go to church with them on Sunday, but he didn't know how to get to the church and the elders never called him back. But the Lord knows what's going on, and so he sent missionaries to go find him at his house. It's amazing to hear stories like that, because it just shows that Heavenly Father is aware of everyone's needs, and he works through us to help meet the needs of others, even if we don't know it. Mac really wants to know if the gospel is true and when we gave him a Hindi Book of Mormon (he's from India), he opened it up and immediately started reading. He really wants to know, and that means he'll know. He'll find out, and I'm so excited for when he does! We turned him over to the elders, because we try to have the elders teach men, but we'll be keeping an eye on him. Mac is definitely the miracle of the week.

In other news, our Relief Society president's name is Sister Cheete Alayon. Get it? Say it out loud. Now do you get it? I guess her parents must have really liked wild cats or something... Anyways, she is awesome, so eager to help the work. And so sassy too, just like you'd expect from a sister named Cheetah Lion.

So in our district meeting last week, Elder Welling (one of the senior missionaries) was asking about some of the data that the mission collects, including the number of lessons we teach with a church member present every week. He said, "So member presents lessons? What does that mean? Do you count it by how many members are at a lesson? What if I had ten members help teach one person?" And I whispered to myself, "That still only counts as one!" And then I giggled uncontrollably for about 30 seconds because I knew that no one in that room would understand such a subtle Lord of the Rings reference. Oh how I miss you all, Bec, Rachel, Rowan. You'd understand me.

So I could say probably a billion more things, but I don't have time. And I could send you all the pictures we've taken so far, but I don't have time. Maybe I should worry more about content and less about trivial things like spelling and punctuation, but a cheetah can't change her spots. Maybe a Cheetah Lion can though? I just had an image of a cheetah with a giant mane pop into my mind, and it's pretty amusing.