Monday, November 26, 2012

It's a week for 2's!!

Here is Ashley's latest!! As you might imagine she had a very memorable Thanksgiving!!
FAmily, HI!!!! I love you.
Today is my 2 month mark here on the mission & 2 TWO TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY I will be on a plane to Hong Kong. Is your mind blown as much as mine?!!!! Ahhhhh I am so excited but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I am a tad nervous. But mostly excited & anticipating going to HONG KONG. Is this real life?!
I want to say something smart to you in Cantonese but I am selfish & just want to tell you everything so let's get right in it here. I am so glad you all had a fun thanksgiving & that my recorder made it in time!!!!! I thought about you all on Thursday & gave repeated prayers of gratitude for my family. When the clock struck 3 & I knew that you all were eating dinner I had a small tinge of missing you that was replaced with a happiness to be right where I am right now. I am so grateful to be where I am & that Heavenly Father trusts me with such sacred work.
Before I tell about how wonderful Thanksgiving was here, let me say something, If i may. Being a missionary is better than I could have ever, EVER imagined. Now don't get me wrong, life is not perfect because I am far from perfect. Some days are so hard & others are so good I am overwhelmed by my blessings and the privelage I have to be a missionary and the opportunity to learn Cantonese. Who would have thought I would like rules & being 100% obedient so much?
On Wednesday, in preparation to really appreciate my Thanksgiving, I went out on a limb (just call me a tree monkey) & I did an English Fast. I know. No English for the whole day. What?! Yes. I didn't want to do it, (in case you've forgotten I like to talk) but when the Lord speaks I am learning to listen. My companions & district were simply angels & translated for me. I thought "This will really help me appreciate English..." but what I didn't expect was how much it made me even more grateful for ALL I have learned & how much I love Cantonese. I felt like it helped me grow so much & the whole next day my first instict was to try to say things in Cantonese. How does God love me so much? I don't even know. But I am doing an English Fast again tomorrow & I know that when we exercise even a little faith God produces huge miracles.
OKAY THANKSGIVING AT THE MTC IS A REAL LIFE DREAM COME TRUE. It is a spiritual party & pure magic. Let me go on a semi-worldly tangent here in an effort to paint an accurate picture. Imagine going to Christmas at Hogwarts. (Do I have Wade's attention?) YES. It was that good, and more. After breakfast we waited in line for 2 hours so we could get a good seat for the Apostle Devotional. I nominated myself to be the entertainment committee (& of course Sister Larson assisted me) so we played all sorts of games while we waited. (drawing game, don't eat the turkey aka don't eat pete, the ABC gratitude game & bouncing a bouncy ball & everytime it bounced you would have to say one thing you were grateful for.) All, at least I would dare to declare, were wild hits & made the time go by fast.
Eventually they opened the flood gates & the 2 thousand missionaries squirmed in a less than orderly & non-quiet-dignity fashion to get good seats. All our waiting paid off & our district got awesome floor seats! As we sang the prelude music & waited to see who was here to speak to us, the door kept opening & I would stretch & squirm to see if I could see who it was. About 10 minutes before 10 I almost had to be revived via smelling salts because I saw the profile of the one & only JEFFREY R. HOLLAND. My prayer of seeing him in person as a missionary had been ansered. He, his wife, & their grandchildren  gave us a wonderful Thanksgiving program. Him & his sweet wife were both very emotional as they delivered their addresses. They said we were their adopted children for the day. One of his granddaughters told a funny story about how she called her grandpa (Elder Holland) in September when she had decided to serve her mission. She asked when she would be able to put in her papers. He said "Well you won't be able to until April but I think it wouldn't hurt to get them done & just be prepared..." She was like 8 months early?! but then of course after conference it all made sense:) Haha.
When Elder Holland spoke the spirit  that touched me so powerful & electrifying. I know he is an apostle of God. His remarks focuses on how little moments build a testimony, we have a lot of work to do as missionaries, the opportunities we have in this dispensation everyday that some people don't have in a lifetime. He bore such a powerful testimony about Joseph Smith & the Book of Mormon. I need to just copy down my notes & send them to you. It was so good.
The rest of the day was awesome. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime, we were able to help set up & do a fun humanitarian project to benefit people in Mali, Africa, we went on a slightly brisk but delicious temple walk, Sister Larson & I ate our Thanksgving day dinner sack lunches in the cute pajamas her Mom sent us (Thanks again!) & OH MY HECK. Heavenly Father must have known that I wouldn't be able to go to Temple Square this year so HE BROUGHT THEM TO US. The MTC is covered in Christmas lights & they turned them on Thanksgiving night. I about passed out & my eyes were watering! That night they also surprised us with bags of sweet popcorn bigger than our heads & we watched 17 miracles. It was such a fun day. I had a lot of time to reflect on you all, my gratitude for my Heavenly Father, & Jesus Christ's atonement.
Family, I love you all so much. Thank you for ALL your letters, packages (EVERYONE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVED THE CRESCENT ROLLS, I was an obese American & ate 5 of them for dinner instead of my sack dinner), & for all your support. I couldn't be here without you. I know this gospel is true. I know Jesus is the Christ, the Book of Mormon is true & Heavenly Father answers ALL OF OUR PRAYERS. Pray changes things. I know it.
I love you alllllll sooooooooooooooooooooooo much. I pray for you, & I cannot thank you enough for your sacrifices for my behalf!!!
Love you!!!
Love, Paahk Jimuih

Monday, November 19, 2012

Round up your cornicopias, there is so much to be grateful for.

This week will be a little hard, having Ashley so close but not being able to have her come home for Thanksgiving. I'm holding myself back from taking a plate of food over there and leaving it by the fence. I will be sending her some rolls on Wednesday though!! A few more details about the ambassador story she talks about. He came to the MTC about a month ago and met the missionaries in Ashley's district, (some of them are learning Cantonese and going to Australia instead of Hong Kong) They were instructed to be very respectful. They had to call him "your excellency" and they couldn't talk about the gospel for the few minutes that he was with them, yet obviously he felt the spirit during their short time together. So glad Ashley got to be part of that miracle.

Leih ho! Family!
Are you getting your turkey on? I have no doubt you are you festive gratitudians! Ah. I can almost smell the house & the turkey (but mostly the crescent rolls) now! How fun. I wish I could be there, But know how much I love you & I can't adequately express how much I am grateful for you.
Okay La, here we go!
-Following up with the Ambassador of Sri Lanka & Austrailia postcard that I sent you, The rather robust man that was the mediator of all that happening came to us later that week to thank us for our professionalism. But he told us of a miracle. He said that right now there are no missionaries in Sri Lanka but after the ambassador spoke with us he went to Salt Lake & later that day was going to allow Senior missionaries there to speak English. Isn't that incredible? It's a small step in a life saving & eternal work.
-Let me tell you about TRC. I will just come out & say it: I hate it. Now I am a self proclaimed lover so let me explain myself. TRC is when the volunteers come into the MTC & you teach them. The English speaking missionaries teach there every day so it's no big deal to them, but we teach there once a week & our lucky day is Saturday. From weeks 3-7 we taught 2-20 minute lessons, & now from weeks 8-11 you teach 1 -40 minute lesson on previously assigned doctrines. Yep, you guessed it, teaching in Cantonese. Now even though it's scary usually the feedback is positive so after you feel good about yourself. However, this one time, I think it was week 4 (??) a volunteer wrote on her evaluation that she felt "uncomfortable" I'm sorry............ WHAT?! You feel uncomfortable?! After 3.5 weeks of being here I'm trying to speak to you in Cantonese & you're the one that comes away uncomfortable?! Hahahaha. Looking back it's basically wildly hilarious but at the time I was quite distraught. Ever since I go into TRC like I'm going to a battlefield. Well this past week I thought we had the best lesson we could have possibly prepared & what do you know, no volunteers showed up. We ended up teaching Sister Farr (BOOYA) as herself. It was incredible. The spirit was so strong & even though I couldn't speak basically anything, it didn't matter. The Spirit was so tangible & I know that Heavenly Father lives & loves us. I wish I could explain it better. There are simply not words. I wish I could explain how happy I am here.
-Okay I love my Cantonese district so much. Sister Larson is as wonderful as ever, I confessed to Elder Shaffer in companionship inventory (PMG pg 150) that since he gets Cantonese so well I am his trial here at the MTC, HAHAHA, (I promise I am being on my best behavior here) & I love Sister Alder-she's an angel, Sister Wright is a huge example, & Elder White is so much fun & has such a great spirit. We are so blessed here in District 45-D.
-The big buzz around here is about Thanksgiving on Thursday. The morning devotional will include a general authority. You better believe I'm going to be there 2 hours before it starts. That is totally happening. I can't wait to tell you all about it. Who is coming is very hush hush & I am as excited as you are to find out who it will be.
- I do not deserve to be fed this well. Last night we watched the talk by Elder Bednar on The Character Of Christ. (it was the talk he gave last Christmas here at the MTC)  He said, "Who you are is far more important that what you will ever say." This is a huge comfort to me. As long as I continue to be completely obedient, I know I will be able to teach the people of Hong Kong what they need to know because I will have the spirit with me. Elder Bednar also encouraged as part of the talk to get a brand new paper back copy of the Book of Mormon, write down a question, & then as you read mark every time you find answers to your question. He said, "by the time you're my age you should have a whole libary full of copies of the Book of Mormon marked with answers to different questions. I'm totally going to do it & I am so excited.
-Thank you for anyone who has written me & also those who are praying for me. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate & feel them. Honestly. I know when I feel like I can't go anymore,& then all of the sudden I get a new burst of energy it's an answer to someone praying for me, somewhere. So thank you. Thank you so much. I am so weak & I need them so much.
Family, I love you all so much. Do you know that? I am constantly reminded of how lucky & blessed I am to have you. You are perfect. So supportive, so loving, & your letters keep me laughing. Thank you for the packages & for always sending my stuff. I am so sorry I am so high maintenance. At this special time of year I will be thinking of you & praying that you all continue to be blessed in all you do.
I'm about out of time, but I will be sending a nice little recording, so be looking for that wherein I can respond to all your lovely messages. You are all so very funny & Mondays are my very favorite because I get to hear from each & every one of you.
I know Jesus Christ lives. I know that He loves each and every one of us individually. I know the Atonement can ease all of our pains & make our burdens seem light. I know that the Book of Mormon is true & answers all the questions of the soul. I know families are forever. I know missionary work is God's work & I am so humbled to be apart of it.
I LOVE YOU FOREVER & EVER. MISS YOU ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Paahk Jimuih

Friday, November 16, 2012

I love the MTC

So Sorry this is late this week. I must have forgot to hit publish!! OOPS!!!
Here's Ashley's latest... She sounds so great!!

Dearest Loved Ones,
Oh my sweet Cantonese speaking tongue. It was such a delight to hear all of your voices this week. While I was doing one of the hot hot hot workouts Mom sent me (THANK YOU BY THE WAY) inside the residence hall, I listened to them & was just laughing oh so hard. You all are very funny & I appreciated your kind words & stories so much.
Okay... highlights: Here we go.
-So there I was in my class just hohksaahping the Cantonese & I may or may not have tuned out my dear teacher for a teeny tiny baby second & she asked me a question. Well I thought she said something about lunch so I pull a Mosiah 3:19 instead of asking her to repeat herself. I answered "Pizza" (because I thought I heard the word lunch & that was what I had dined on earlier that day) Did she ask what I had for lunch? No. Not even close. So it's pretty sweet. I"m now the fat kid in Cantonese class.
-The new Cantonese district got here this week. One of them is Natalya's friend from a camp that she worked at. I love her!!! (She actually reminds me of my roommate Kelsey from Snow College so naturally I love her.) Sister Wright is also great & Elder White is wonderful as well. The gospel is bringing us together one principle at a time & I seriously love everyone. Sister Larson & I are still having a great time & Elder Shaffer is doing great & still loving 3rd Nephi. As you can see, all is well in Zion.
-BIG NEWS THAT MAKES MY KNEES FEEBLE & my heart quake: I'm on Week 8 here. Are you as shocked as I am? As of Saturday I am at less than a month at the MTC & then kung-pow Hong Kong here I come!
-You asked about what speakers have been here. For Relief Society we have been enjoying hearing both last week & this week from members of the Primary presidency. This past week devotional was so good. Elder Zwick from the seventy spoke about becoming a disciple. 3 Nephi 5:13 (Look it up!) He talked about how true discipleship is rarely easy or comfortable. But as I thought about that, true discipleship is a price worth paying. God is the same yesterday, today, & forever. But I am not! Each choice I make will reflect if I am coming closer to Christ & being able to be called one of his disciples. There is no such thing as being the same as yesterday. I am moving forward or I am moving back. It has been very humbling to think about that this week & think about all my shortcomings & what I want to improve on.
-This week I had a very humbling chat with my teacher, Sister Tai. As she was talking to me I felt like I was having my own con-fab (shout out to Grandma Gooch!) with the Spirit. I was thinking about all the things I was doing that are so selfish. The MTC is not about me. It just isn't. It's not about me learning Cantonese here & then I'll help some people later. No! It's about me helping His children now! I know you all are too kind to tell me to get a grip when I complain but I feel like I was whacked with a big humble paddle & then wrapped in a huge hug. After I had this little experience & began to implement it, I saw my language continue to increase even more. Heavenly Father is there & He is so good to me.
-How about all this snow? People at the MTC are honestly freaking out about it. Some love it, & some hate it. Some pray for more, & others have told me that they are praying for a heat wave. Have Big S & Wade gone Snowboarding yet? Also Sister Wright says that we are all going to play in it today for P-day. Let me just say right here & right now that I will not be doing that. Hahaha. I don't have Snow gear & I care too much about my limbs.
-We have been memorizing Joseph Smith's first vision in Cantonese. I am almost done! I have one sentence left. Can I just attest to the fact of the miracle of fasting? I would fast every day if it were a medically sound thing to do. Really though. It's incredible how when we put our physical needs aside & on the back burner how Heavenly Father opens up his spiritual flood gates & pours such delicious knowledge into our minds.
Side notes: shoe size 8.5. Thank you AGAIN! You are truly angels for not being mad & helping me, a sister, out. Also the blog draft you asked about Mom? I know this is probably wildly disappointing because you were hoping for some delicious story but it was when I surprised Heather in Arizona aka the greatest surprise I have ever had the opportunity to be apart of. I know you were crossing your fingers for some intimate detail that I had somehow yet seemingly left out but alas, not the case.
Dad- YOU WERE TEXTING INSTEAD OF READING THE NEWSPAPER? Someone call in the Marines because I think we have a 23-19. I'm serious. I love when you text! What a delight? Did you end up going to the BYU game in this frigid weather? I bet you were so nippity chill. I hope you are unthawed by now. Also I told some missionaries about your piggy back ride gift. People are astounded that you would do such a thing!
Mom- YOUR SUNSHINE PACKAGE. Like what? Perfection timing. THANK You you sweet sweety sweeter. Seriosuly. It was perfect timing. I was having a minorly bad afternoon because I felt like I couldn't understand anything & your package turned my frown upside down. Also great goal to read the 4 gospels before Christmas. I do declare that I will join you. See you at the finish line.
McKay aka Zipper Zurley- Your emails are honestly a straight up SNL skit. Tell me more about your dating life. I'd like pictures & a brief synopsis. Or a long synopsis. Your choice. Also I hated your pumpkin. Bane is the worst. He gives me nightmares.
Spencer- speaking of nightmares, I'm glad you had fun on your zombie slayer race!!!!  that sounds so fun yet so scary. Also I was cracking up that 90% of your voice record to me was about food. nothing has changed. I'm so glad.
Wade- hahahahhahahahahha. You are still doing nicotene jokes? Yes you should probably stop but I was laughing so hard that you know MOm & Dad are disappointed when you say them. Also what have you & Big S been debating/fighting about?
Rachel- Thanks for your letter!!!! I love you so much! Sister Larson says hi! I hope you are still loving school & your fun little Life. I miss you!!!!
The church is so true. I love being a missionary. I feel like I was born for this lifestyle. I am so happy & I feel so blessed. Thank you for your support & prayers.
Ngoh ngoi Leihdeih!!!!
Love, Paahk Jimuih

Monday, November 5, 2012

If you Invest In God, He will invest in You!!

Here is Ashley with her companions outside the residence hall. Fall has arrived at the MTC!!

 Ashley and her district with her teachers. Sister Tai and Sister Farr. She loves them.

She loves a good temple walk. The curtseys continue.

She found Sister Abby Tucker on one of her walks. Yay!!

Here's another great letter from Ashley...

My favorite people!!!!! LEEEEEIIIIHHHHHHOOOOOO!
I think it is safe to say this is the only time in my life where I will say with all sincerity, ¨I love Mondays!!!!¨ Yay for P-days. How are you all? I hope so good. I can't wait to hear your Dear Elder's later today :) I miss you & love you all so much.
Okay! So here we go, here's what's new down in the MTC.
-I found out what my name means in Cantonese, Paahk= Vigor & Life. Cool right? I am trying to live up to our family name & live each day with vigor & excitement.
- Okay so the Cafeteria showered down blessings upon me twice this week. Can you say "Sweet Pork Salad" & Wingers sticky fingers? Because GUESS WHAT. It happened. Sure the salad only had 1.5 TBSP of chicken but I was so grateful & shouting to anyone at our table how good it was. I honestly was being ridiculous & embarrassing. The wingers chicken for dinner was a similar experience. I need help.
-This week's language moment is brought to you by ommitted anonmyous. So- a little background: before I lecft on my mission both Bishop Walker (can't wait to hear the news!) & President Gleason both counseled me to be a bold & fearless missionary. Well mouh damsam because I am doing just that, whether I know it or not. It has been brought to my attention via my tuhngbuhn's that I have a habit of ommitting the word "if" when extending commitments during lessons. For example: "I know you will read the Book of Mormon & you will know Joseph Smith is a prophet." Not "if" you read, I know you will read. ha. It reminds me of those times we saw those parents at Disneyland that would tell their kids, "you are going to go on this ride & you are going to like it." hahaha. Elder Shaffer thought I was just being bold at first, but even though it's been brought to my attention when appropriate I might as well keep doing it. Ha! I've always said, "Go bold or go home."
-Speaking of bold, that is what I am doing with our investigator Kim. We have about taught her all the lessons but I still don't feel like she is getting it. I finally told her: "Kim our message is either true or it is not. I can't give you my testimony. You have to want it for yourself. We've taught you about praying with a sincere heart. Now it's your turn to do it." YOu should have seen her eyes! Ha. So pray for Kim. I am hoping we can solitify her baptism for next week. But as soon as she knows the Book of Mormon is true it will all fall into place. The Book of Mormon is so powerful. I love it.
-I promise this is me Sister Ashley Palmer. I promise. Just wanted to preface my next request so you didn't think someone had hacked my email. Mom could you send me some print outs of some of your workouts? I know. Are you sitting down? Have you passed out? Okay sweet glad you're still there. Because Sister Larson is still sick I do gym at the residence hall & running up & down the stairs for 20-30 minutes is so monotonous. I know. I KNOW. I never thought this day would come either.... the day where I ask for one of our cross-fit mama's work out's. What is this world coming to? :)
-This week I wrote my missionary purpose, & instead of sharing my testimony this week, I thought I would share this. I think they go hand in hand:
Heavenly Father has been preparing me to serve for a long time. I can look back now & see that. He loves me & I can feel it so powerfully. My purpose as a missionary is to bring souls to Christ. With God, nothing is impossible. Not the language, not finding families, & not feelings of inadequacy. Missionary work is not of men. Missionary work is orchestrated by God because He loves his children. I promise to always have faith and work through the trials & the hard times. I promise to work everyday so I can look back & see that not a moment was wasted. I promise to always listen to the spirit & always act on those promptings. I promose to teach people and not lessons. I promise to read, use & love the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon coupled with the spirit is the perfect missionary to testify that Jesus is the Christ. I promise to look for families & tell them that they can be together forever. I promise to serve. I promise to thank Heavenly Father & pray always. I want God to know that if He needs something done or a person to be loved & talked to, I'll do it. I know that if God has enough faith in me to be a good missionary I need to put enough faith in Him to get me there. I will plan & be completely obedient. I will be a representative of Jesus Christ.
"I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."
-I love Missionary work & I am so happy to be here! While sometimes it is so much easier to focus on the things I can't say in Cantonese, I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father trusts me enough to teach His children in Hong Kong.
-We had to move residence halls (dorm is a forbidden word at the MTC, haha) & so now Sister Larson & I will only have 4 of us in a room rather than 6! And guess who is coming this week... The new Cantonese district! We are all so excited. It is the exact same as ours. 2 sisters going to Hong Kong & 1 solo Elder going to Sydney, Austrailia.
Dad-I'm so glad you had fun @ South Pacific, even if the music wasn't your fave. I was laughing so hard about Mom & her counting story. I can just see your face during that whole convo. So funny! Thank you for the Yellowstone story, I LVOED IT. ps are you reazlly planning to go there March 2014 or is that a little joke?
Mom- I'm so sorry you've been sick, are you feeling better??? THANK YOU FOR YOUR PACKAGES. Since Halloween didn't exist here (although I did wear my Cheetah headband I told everyone I was a cheetah), so the package was so perfect & delicious. YOU'RE NOT SURPRISED BUT I AM OBSESSED WITH ALL THE PICTURES. Oh my the jumping & laughing ones... be still my soul. I love love love them. Your Reeses's package was so clever, hahahahahha I loved it.
McKay- Hi Ghandi! 4.0: typical you. Are you valedictorian or what? hahahahha thanks for the chief updates I miss him completeling my life with his weather repeorts. But I will have you know I miss you more. ARe you voting for Romney or what?
Spencer-You're a dream. Good job on Math & matching socks. Also, thank you for sharing your testimony. I loved it so much.
WAde-HAHAHAHHAHAHAHa your mrs. wEasley costume is the greatest thing I have ever  seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're a celebrity here. Did you have a fun halloween?
RAchel- you-whoooo Who is your secret admirer? I loved your Owl costume!!!! Did you get lot's of candy? Did you get asked if you were from the Snow Pony?
Well once again my time is up!!! I well send you a letter with more comments on your hilarious letters & more updates.
I love you all SOOOOOOOOO MUCH! Thank you for all your support & prayers! I don't deserve you.
Love Paahk Jimuih
ps Hermana Farr if you are reading this HI I'm obsessed with you, I pray for you everyday & will write you a letter TODAY!!!! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!