Saturday, May 30, 2015

Week 91

alright, this was a great week filled with lots of finding. The majority of the lessons we teach are from thursday onward so tuesday and wednesday are always a bit slow. we get to do a lot of talking to people on the streets. its fun because we just hunt down the chinese people. we have lots of fun finding. I realized that my whole mission i have always been in a large area. Wollongong was my smallest area, size-wize so i've never had to worry really about accidentally leaving my area. We realized this on the train one day as we passed through like 5 areas on our way to an appointment. its nice. i think i'd get too claustrophobic if i had a small area to work in. 

We met with a recent convert named Li Wei on monday and he is the man. He's actually not too recent because he already has the Melchizedek Priesthood but we talked about the plan of salvation with him and he's solid as when it comes to that stuff. He asked us what we do when we have a question about the gospel. I got to then bear my testimony to him of how i know that god answers questions. I've had lots of questions throughout my life and though it often takes time, my questions always get answered one way or another. There was a cool quote from conference that i love and i think it was from elder Pearson but he said "don't let something you don't fully understand unravel everything you do." or something like that. its so true. everything always works itself out if you trust in God and move forward in faith.

We met with joy as well and she is doing great. she is really busy with school right now so the baptism is going to be pushed back a couple weeks because she can't come to church again until the 17th which is after mid-term is over. so in the meantime we are just meeting up to teach her everything and hopefully she will be baptized on Elder Bowcut's last sunday. please pray for her. She's progressing well, reading the book of mormon regularly, accepts the restoration and plan of salvation. we'll be teaching her the gospel of jesus christ this week and then its on to the commandments and laws and ordinances! Joy has convinced me to get a WeChat when i get home, which is an app that all the chinese people have that uses the internet to text and video chat and send voice messages. its pretty cool. she showed me some of it and i will definitely be using it when i get home. especially since it's the best way to keep in touch with my chinese friends. 

Nicole is doing well, we went over the plan of salvation with her again and explained the parts she didn't really understand. we feel like she will either drop us or start progressing a lot soon. She's way cool. hope she gets an answer to her prayers. 

Carol is doing pretty good as well. we met with her and taught about the restoration and answered questions she had about the book of mormon. she read a lot, actually! i was impressed. she had lots of questions for us to answer. 

YuHan is the man. he's the other elders recent convert that we are working with now because he doesn't speak any cantonese so its pointless to have the cantonese elders work with him. We went over lehi's dream with him. it was awesome and he had some great insights. and he gave us a referral! its for his friend that said he wants to learn more about "the mormon". haha we'll see what that means but i'm excited. we should be meeting with him this coming week sometime. 

Bro. Xu is so good. we had a lesson with him and he told us he hasn't smoked in two weeks! he bore his testimony to us of the power of prayer and then they asked him to share a scripture in priesthood on sunday and he smashed it! he shared 2 nephi 2:14-16 and talked about how he has overcome opposition in his life. I personally think we should have recent converts teach our sunday school classes because they have the doctrine so simply and clearly. and that's really all we need. 

Things are good here in Sydney. time is going quickly. can't believe this week is my last call home! i'm still not exactly sure on when i'll be calling home. because everyone in our branch works on monday so it might be tough to find a place but plan on sunday afternoon/evening for you guys and i'll somehow let you know if its a different time. 
Love you all! The church is true! Me and elder Bowcut got invited over to our neighbor's house last night where we got bible bashed by six lebanese guys, but it's all good. we smashed them:) hahaha i like teaching chinese people with no religious background more.... well, have a good week! talk to yous on sunday! love you!

-Elder Tingey

PS: just got word that on the 26th of May Elder Cook will be visiting our mission! i'm sooo excited! another apostle! that will bring the total up to 5 different apostles that i have seen speak on my mission. pretty cool!

Me and Elder Bowcut

Week 90

Alright we had a great week last week. It was pretty crazy because we had to split up the area and we were trying to figure everything out, but it turned out really good. Monday to wednesday it was pouring rain all day every day. it was so bad that the church offices contacted our mission and told us to park all the cars so they didn't get ruined. there was heaps of flooding and crazy stuff. The trains were all either really delayed or else shut down. one of the train stations had water all the way up to the platform. so things were pretty interesting for a few days there. one of our friends showed us a picture of the harbor bridge during the storm and it had a full-on waterfall coming off it. pretty crazy. we were just soaked completely for three days. it was lots of fun... but i won't say i didn't pray for it to never happen again....

The worst part about the storm is that nobody wanted to meet with us because it was pouring rain and also it was just too hard to get anywhere so we struggled to teach people last week, but the people we DID see were great.
We met with Nicole quickly this week. had a good chat about the plan of salvation pamphlet she read. i love teaching about the plan of salvation. it's something that is new to a lot of people, and its something that you could study your whole life and not get it fully, but it makes life so much easier when you have a basic understanding of it. i'm trying to understand it at a more basic level so i can explain things better, and the more simply i study, it seems the more fully i understand why i'm here, where i came from and where i'm going. And preach my gospel makes things so easy on us as missionaries. i wish i could teach as simply and powerfully as preach my gospel teaches.
We couldn't see joy this week and she had so many assignments that she wasn't able to make it to church so that was sad, but she's still awesome. We talked to her on the phone and she said she's up to 1 Nephi 12! pretty good! we'll be meeting with her later this week to go over what she's read and teach some more.

On saturday there was a BBQ at our branch president's house for all the recent converts to come and all the auxiliary leaders to meet them. it was really good and we met some new people that haven't been to church in a while. This branch is really good at inviting people to activities. it makes things heaps easier on us when we can meet people in a setting that is not us knocking on their door and magically knowing their name because we have the ward list. it was especially good for the recent converts to meet everyone.

Sunday night we had FHE at our 2nd councilor's house. it was awesome. Bro Xu made it and he loved it. we played this game where you sit in a big circle and everyone picks a fruit (and remember this is all in chinese so you have to be on your game with the fruits) and then someone is in the middle with a rolled up newspaper and you start with someone and they say a fruit and the person in the middle has to hit the person who picked that fruit before they can say another fruit. it was hilarious. i was dying.

All-in-all it was a really good week. i love being here and serving with elder bowcut. his chinese is way better than mine. everyone was freaking out because he sounds native. its pretty cool. we were talking to a couple members after church and we got them to teach us some chinese jokes. totally hilarious. but they don't make sense in english so i wont tell yous. sorry... chinese people only... like i said, chinese speakers is the most exclusive club in the world. represent!

Love you all! have an awesome week! weird that i'm going to be skyping with yous in a couple weeks... be thinking of questions you want to ask and be ready with a list of general classes for me to choose from! haha jk i can probably do that over email.

I studied the parable of the talents this week. i love that parable. so much we can learn about our stewardships and what God expects of us. go read it! love yous heaps and heaps!
-Elder Tingey

this was  a huge tree that was out front of our chapel. pretty lucky it fell toward the street and not toward the church, right?...

Week 89

Alright sorry this is coming a bit later than usual. the past couple days have been a bit crazy... We got transfer information on saturday and they told elder ward and i that we were both packing! but then they told us that we are still in the same branch, but we're moving flats. and we both got new companions! My new companion is elder Bowcut! we lived together in canberra for 6 months and i'm way excited for this next transfer. But they moved us to a place called Revesby... its about a half hour drive from hurstville and it's definitely not in china town like our last flat. But it's a pretty nice area and it's right next to the train station and Woolworths is across the street. but the problem has been that it hasn't been lived in for the past couple months so it has nothing. not even toilet paper... so we've been trying to figure all that out but i think we've finally got it all sorted. its been a big pain, though and the worst part is that we had to split the area and that's never any fun. so i'll keep you updated on everyone but im not working with all of them anymore. 

as for last week we had some good stuff happen. This guy named Chen just rocked up to church on sunday and told us he wants to learn about our church. he said he went running one morning and ran past it and decided to come on sunday so he showed up and our ward clerk introduced him to me and i was confused as to whether he's a member or not so i just asked him, "are you a member of our church?" and he said "not yet. how to become a member?" haha so i explained to him how baptism works and he was pretty interested but he had already scheduled something during the day so he couldn't stay for all of church so i got his phone number and we'll be meeting with him on saturday hopefully. 

Joy is doing really good. she came to church and really liked it again. She's reading her book of mormon regularly and really enjoying it. she's on date for the 10th of May but we might push it back a bit just to make sure shes really ready. 

Nicole we met with during the week up at Sydney University and she told us she got online and watched conference and really liked elder pearson's talk. i also really liked his talk but she was a bit confused about what temples are and what the difference between a temple and a chapel was so we talked about that for a bit. she's really good. asks good questions and it helps me to make sure i understand the doctrines well enough to explain them clearly. 

matt and Bro. Xu are both doing really good. They have strong testimonies and strong desire so follow the saviour. Elder ward and his companion elder knighton will be working with matt and me and elder bowcut with be working with Bro. Xu. Bro xu is up to 2 Nephi 10 now with his book of mormon reading and i can tell he's really trying to understand it because he asks questions like, "is the jacob that its talking about Nephi's brother Jacob, or a different jacob?" haha i was so proud of him. His english is still pretty rubbish, but we might start teaching him english when we go over for the new member lessons. He's working on bringing some friends to church so that could be really good. he's the man.

Other than that it was a pretty normal week. Elder Lam is on the plane to hong Kong now and it was sad to watch him die. and now this is elder bowcut's last transfer so i get to watch another one go in 6 weeks. it's so sad! i hate watching people go home. on saturday all the YSA threw elder lam a party and it was kindof depressing being there so me and elder ward left early. We have good YSA in this branch. It makes things a bit more fun when there's people your age there. 

on sunday the other elders had a baptism, which was cool because it was elder Lam's last sunday and this guy is awesome. His name is Yohann and after he was baptised, he gave his testimony and it was the most powerful recent convert testimony i've ever heard. So cool. and Elder Bowcut and I will be working with him in the future so i'm really excited. 

Life is pretty good. time is going too fast for comfort and its really sad to say goodbye to people that i've met and made friends with while i've been here. It's going to be hard to come home. But that's okay. i've still got 4 months to enjoy! This morning i was studying in the book of mormon alma chapter 34. its such an awesome chapter. i love the teachings it has about the atonement. It's such an incredible thing to study. and the more i study, the more i realize i don't fully comprehend what it really meant. i'm so greatful for our saviour. He has made everything possible for us. i have come to love wearing his name on my chest and its going to be a sad day when i have to take it off. But today is not that day! haha it's going to be a good transfer. lets hope my chinese continues to improve. the big test will be on mothers' day i guess! haha Love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Tingey

ps. prayers going out to Elder Murphy and his family! i got an email from him so he sounds like he's healing up alright.

okay, you tell me, have i gained or lost weight? or stayed the same?

Week 88

Can't believe this is the last week of the transfer... time is going way too fast. i'm scared to blink, cuz i know if i do i'll be back home. i'm hoping not much changes this transfer. Elder Lam is going home so we are definitely getting someone else in our flat but hopefully that's the extent of the changes. haha i'm a happy camper right now. and i know its at times like these that heavenly father decides to give us a growing opportunity, but i can hope, can't it? haha It was a great week.

Wednesday was probably our best day. We literally had to run from appointment to appointment from 1:00 until 9:30 it makes the day feel so short when there's no gap time to do street contacting or anything. There were two days this week where we were too busy to have dinner even! so that should tell you how busy it was if i didn't have time to eat... haha actually i'm losing weight now so soon all the clothes i bought when i got fat will not fit anymore but i don't have the clothes from before anymore so i'm in a bit of a pickle again... hahaha all goods, we'll figure it out. The lord always provides for his servants.

Joy is doing great. She wasn't able to come to conferene yesterday because she has a big test today and she had to study but she told us she reads the book of mormon every night! Shes pretty awesome. she's planning on may 10th for baptism unless somthing with school comes up. we're meeting with her on sunday and until then we're just praying that she gets an answer about the book of mormon because "those who receive this witness by the Holy Spirit also know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these the last days, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God once again established on the earth preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah." Pretty cool how that works out.
Liu is the man. He's keen to meet like every day if we want to, but he goes back to china tomorrow for three weeks so we are meeting with him tonight and we will give him a book of mormon to read on the plane and while he's back there. He came to general conference and said he really liked it. he came to the sunday morning session, which was awesome. even in mandarin i was getting a lot out of it.

We met with a girl named Nicole this past week and it was really good. She is an australian-born-chinese so she can understand chinese because her parents only speak to her use chinese but english is her natural language so we teach in english. She is baptist and has a pretty good understanding of what she believes and what the bible teaches. We met her up at Sydney University when we got lost trying to find where we were meeting someone else and we asked her to help us and she showed us where to go. We met up on friday at a park in hurstville to talk about the restoration pamphlet we gave her and answer any of her questions. She had some really good questions and when we explained the book of mormon she was really interested in it. So we gave her a book and invited her to read it and pray about it and she agreed! So hopefully now she gets an answer. She's really cool. and she's only 18! i think i just assume that everyone who goes to uni is older than me because i've never been before... weird how soon i WILL be going, though. and MJ's right behind me! haha

Matt and Brother Xu are doing really good. Both of them had to overcome smoking addictions to be baptised and it seems to be weighing on them both a bit so prayers for them would be appreciated. Brother xu was expressing to us that he feels a bit uncomfortable at church because he doesn't have a suit so i gave him one of mine. haha he had the biggest grin on his face when he showed up to church in it. (and it fit him better than it fit me)
General conference was amazing. haha we were laughing after saturday sessions because it was pretty much all about marriage and pretty much all of us went to conference with questions like "how can i finish my mission strong?" or "how can i focus more on the work?" haha and then bam, marriage, fatherhood, children. it was great, though. good stuff for 4 months from now. We watched the sunday morning session in mandarin so we missed quite a bit of it, but that is one session i will definitely be studying for a while. Elder Holland and  President uchtdorf both had amazing talks. so i can't wait for the ensign to come out. i'm going to get my own copy. and then the sunday afternoon session was awesome too! Elder renlund representing the holladay 3rd! smashed it. "twas I, but TIS not I" what an awesome talk. and then i can't remember his name, but the guy that talked about hearing the music and not just doing the dance moves. that was really good. now when we get rejected we just ask each other why they can't hear the music! haha and then i loved Elder Pearson's talk as well. "if you lose the spirit, you are lost." he's the man and he's the pacific area president and he's from holladay! he's so good. such a good conference. although we did have to explain to our investigator and less actives why they were talking about easter as if it was yesterday when really it was a week ago, but that's alright.

Love you all. hope you all have a wonderful week and do lots of fun stuff. We have Zone p-day today down in burundula or something like that. its like a park or a beach or something but apparently it's really beautiful so i'll take some pictures and send them next week. have a great week! Church is true.
-Elder Tingey

This photo tells you everything you need to know about the elders assigned to all the mandarin speakers in sydney.

This is us with our friend joy last sunday. and that's my new suit that i bought a couple weeks ago.

this is the mission home... yes it has a pool in the back yard.

Week 87

Alright another great week, and sorry i don't have too much time to email this week. We're having p-day on tuesday this week because it's easter holiday so nothing was open yesterday. and i begged and pleaded with president back to let me and my companion go to the temple and he agreed! So we got to go to the temple this morning and it was awesome. It's been over a year since the last time i went and i forgot how awesome the feeling is in there.
This week was invitation sunday for the easter program and everyone did a really good job of inviting people. we had about 70 people show up to church which was actually a lot. it brought our branch president to tears over the pulpit. It was an awesome sacrament meeting. so cool to have a whole day of church focused just on the saviour and his mission and resurrection.

We gave Joy a tour of the chapel on saturday afternoon and she really liked it. she came to church and told us she loved it. It was great because it was her first time coming to church and it was such a powerful meeting. it was interesting because half the program was in mandarin and half of it was in cantonese, and one of the musical items was in english, but the spirit was the same the whole time. President and sister back even came in for a bit because one of the senior couple sisters was playing the violin for the musical number. it was all around a great day of church. Joy agreed to be baptised on may 10 if she doesn't have school stuff that day so we are excited for her.

One of our recent converts in the branch that got baptised about 7 months ago told us he was bringing a friend to church! so we were really pumped to meet him because referrals seem to be few and far between. But he showed up to church with this guy and we were talking afterwards and he said he really enjoyed it. The crazy thing is, i introduced myself to him and told him that my chinese is not very good and i only speak a little. and he got this funny look on his face and said, in chinese, "I know you." haha so i was a bit creeped out and then he pulled out his phone and showed me a contact in it that said 田长老 (which means Elder Tingey) and had my old canberra phone number. haha so then i was REALLY freaked out. and he asked if i remembered him and i told him i was sorry but i didn't remember meeting him. So i asked about how it was we met and i finally realized what it was! Elder Bryce and i were walking down the main street in canberra one night and this chinese guy stopped us and asked how to get to woolworths so i tried to explain in chinese how to get there and then asked if he would be interested in meeting up with missionaries to learn about jesus christ. he told me that he was moving to griffiths, which is way out in the middle of nowhere down by Victoria. so i gave him our number and told him to call us if he ever was interested. and that was it. never called. and then he moved up to sydney where he worked with our recent convert and got invited to church! Crazy how that one all worked out...  but apparently elder ward was talking to him later after church and he said he wants to be baptised. so we are now teaching him. had our first lesson with him yesterday and it went really well. he bought us lunch too! his name is Liu. (Lio)

Bro. Xu got the holy ghost on sunday so all is well with that. and now we are on left to focus on finding some more investigators. all goods, though. the lord always provides someone. Whether it's just someone to brighten your day, or someone that's ready for the message, there's always someone.
Love you all. I really do. I realized just exactly how much i miss all of you as i sat in the temple today. I realized how badly i want to stand with my whole family in the celestial kingdom one day. i feel like that reunion will be even cooler than the one we'll have in august. Today marks 20 months in the mission field. It's strange to me how much i've grown over the time i've been here. I firmly believe that who we are is a direct result of our experiences and reactions to those experiences and i'm so greatful for the decision i made so long ago that put me in this position. I know God has a plan for us. I know he loves us. I know he knows us and is aware of us. That knowledge is what helps me when i'm frustrated. Whether it's frustration with myself or with those around me, i always know there's someone who knows the bigger picture. have a great week! love you all! i'm soooo excited for conference! president back called it "the mormon superbowl sunday" haha gotta love it:)
Elder Tingey

i'm pretty sure this is the bay just south of sydney harbour. I think it's called Botany bay or something like that. and its me and elder ward.