Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fresno Days (Dinnerware?)

Nyob zoo 'os! 

How's it going? Everything is going great in the CFM! Yesterday, I had my first baptism which was extremely exciting. We had a great program, and a lot of ward members came and supported her. Overall, just awesome. We have the best ward in the church. They are super supportive of missionary work and love to feed us so :) . 

Also, I wanted to thank you for my awesome package (the clif bars...yum, the mango is all gone so...yum too, and the letter stuff...super helpful).

Funny for the week: 
We are eating dinner and there's Hmong sausage on this funny looking plastic plate. Anyways, I just kept eating...then Elder Burton lifts it up and says: "Umm...yeah its a Frisbee." So just so you know, sporting equipment is truly multi-purpose. If you run out of plates, don't forget about the disc golf Frisbees in the garage. Hilarious. 

The Work: 
One of the things were thinking of starting in our area is a Hmong reading/writing class at the church building so that'll be interesting if that works out. I heard that Sacramento has one and that it is really good for finding people and practicing Hmong. 
We are working on finding more people right now so that's exciting. I love tracting and talking to new people, its so much fun.

Spiritual Thought: 
This week I was studying "Preach My Gospel" and came across a study activity that was really good. It was trying to teach about the importance of effective gospel study. It asked the question: How did Joseph Smith's personal study change the world? Joseph Smith studied the bible and really pondered about his question before he went and prayed. Do we think he would have received the answer he did, if he didn't go and study it out first? The next question was: How did Joseph Smith's study change your life? The Restoration started with his simple question. It started with his personal study. Its amazing when you think of how influential his study of the scriptures really was. However, do we feel the same way about our studies? Do we consider them to be life changing, let alone world changing? Perhaps if we did, we might make more time for them. I know that as a missionary, our personal and companionship studies are extremely important, but they are also critical for everyone else. It does not matter if we are a member or an investigator, our study of the gospel will change our life, whether by small degrees or huge leaps. I invite all of you to take time every day to study the gospel and really find the treasures in the scriptures and in the gospel. 

Love you all so much! I appreciate all your love and support!!! 

Elder Tseem Fwv Leem Xai Yob Vaj

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fresno Days (09/17/2012)

Nyob Zoo! [Hello Family!]
So life is going really well. We are preparing for the baptism on Sunday so that's exciting. Loved your spiritual thought too! Still working on Hmoob so its coming right along. I don't have a ton of time today to write but I'll give you some quick highlights. 

We painted a garage/office. (It was awesome but I definitely have removed "painter" off of my possible future career list)

My Hmoob dad (the people that gave me my name) is now on the high council so super sad because he won't be able to do as much in the ward anymore.

Had Chipotle with some members that signed up on the dinner calender...AmAzInG 

Went on exchanges again, I was in charge of our area for a day and a half so pretty crazy having to do everything with another Elder that didn't speak Hmoob. 

Got a small taste of "English work"...went to followup on a list of names our ward clerk gave us. The one person just yelled at us through the door, so that was fun... apparently the Hmong people we were looking for moved 3 years ago so super sad.  

We had crawdads, ribs, rice and kua txob, and mash-potatoes for a meal...super random and awesome! 

Anyways, that is some of the stuff happening in Pioneer Park (East Side). 

Spiritual thought: 
"We have to forgo the things in the moment, for the things that matter most." -Elder Caprio 

I think we forget this all the time. Success does not come without sacrifice. Exaltation does not come without sacrifice. We have to make the sacrifice! Nobody else can do it for us. So, let us all ask ourselves the question: What do we need to give up? What do we need to sacrifice to come closer to Christ? If we do this then we will truly become better disciples of Christ. 

I love you all and apologize this letter is short. Also, sorry that I am not able to write back to everyone yet...I'm working on it. :) 
Kuv hlub Nej! [Love You]

Tseem Fwv Leem "Xai Yob" Vaj 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fresno Days (About that fork...)

Nyob Zoo tsev neeg!  (Hello Family)

Things are going really well here in Fresno! We have a baptism on the 23rd so that is really exciting. Elder Golden of the Seventy came and spoke to us yesterday and his message was awesome. He and Sister Golden are from South Africa so their accents were super strong! 

Funny stories for the week: 
There is an awesome old guy from Laos and we went and visited him yesterday (he's a recent convert). Every time we come over, he always tells us that we should marry a Hmong girl or a Thai girl or a Laotian girl because if we do, then we'll learn more languages and if you know more languages you make more money. He's always saying: "English girls only know one language! But if you marry a Hmong, Lao, or Thai girl, she knows 2 or 3 languages and then you learn the languages and make more dolla." And when it’s all in Hmong it’s even funnier! It’s really hard to communicate with the older people.  As missionaries, we just do our best.  Old Hmoob people are the best, though! They are so nice and just love to talk to us about everything. Most of the men who came from Laos served in the army and it’s crazy to hear their stories about the war. 

Also, this week we went to a ladies house for dinner but there was no male person in the home so we had to sit in the doorway to eat. Of course with my luck, as we were almost wrapping up the lesson/meal, I accidentally slammed my hand down on my fork that then goes flying out the open door onto the sidewalk. In English this would turn into an awkward conversation, but in Hmong it’s just 10x more awkward. Super all kinds of laughing, though, from my companions. 

Still doing awesome! Had chicken feet again...I really have to take some pics of it and send it to you guys! (Quote: "Just chew the soft bones") 
We eat bamboo and pho more often now. Pho is awesome especially with all the different stuff you can put in it (chili garlic sauce, kua txob, sugar  if you want, just so many possibilities)

Things have been going really well. We teach a lot of less active members and are trying to help them get back to church. Also, we went on exchanges last Tuesday so I had an English elder from Auberry with me so that was really interesting. We went tracting and I held a 40 minute conversation with a Green Hmoob Husband and a White Hmoob wife. Overall, pretty awesome! 

Favorite Scripture: 
Joshua 1:9
I really like how the Lord commands us to be of good courage and be not afraid. He commands us. He isn't saying: it’s a good idea not to fear, but rather He commands us. Also, it gives us comfort that the Lord is with us. He is there to support us through all our trials if we are willing to listen to His voice. 

I love you all so much! The work is going well! Make sure you feed the missionaries and give them people they can go see! Love ya!

Elder Tseem Fwv Leem Xai Yob Vaj 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fresno Days (In the Vineyard)

Nyob Zoo! (Hello Family!)

Thov txim rau qhov vim hais tias kuv email hnub no. Peb muaj preparation day hnub no. [Sorry I didn’t write an e-mail on Monday]  We have preparation day today and next Tuesday instead of Monday because of zone meetings etc. We have a member of the Quorom of the Seventy coming so that’s pretty cool. 

Some awesome stuff happened this week: 
We got to go to the grape vineyard and do a ton of grape picking. I was a cutter so I was all up in the vines working hard cutting grapes out. Pioneer Park is the Hmong Ward and they are awesome. We had close to 150 show up for this so we started at 6ish and finished around 9 so it was awesome. It was the best service ever. The Hmoob ladies gave us medical masks b/c of all the dust and we had gloves so we were decked out in our Hmoob vineyard gear! Literally working in the Lord's vineyard! 

(This picture was sent via text from a ward member's phone.  We were SO excited to get it!)

We had an investigator commit to a baptismal date for the end of this month so super exciting. We are doing a lot of work with finding and also less active members so the work is moving right along. Tonight and all of tomorrow, Elder Burton is going on exchanges with another companionship in Auberry (Burton is a district leader so he has to go check up on different areas to see how the work is going in our district). Therefore, I have to lead our area the next day and a half and make sure it doesn't crash and burn :) Should be fun! 

Today we also got to go to the temple so that was good. We go once every 3 months so very awesome. President Gelwix met our zone outside and gave us some awesome counsel. He said, "Listen for that which isn't being spoken...analyze your feelings and thoughts and learn what the Spirit is trying to teach you." So it totally changed my perspective on stuff at the temple. I've always gone trying to look for deeper messages but really, we should be thirsting for the spiritual and personal revelation that will guide us in our personal journey and conversion. I love Pres. Gelwix! I promise that if you go to church, read the scriptures, go to the temple, etc. with an attitude of "WHAT IS THE SPIRIT TRYING TO TEACH ME?" you will find the answers to the questions you long for. You will feel Heavenly Father speaking peace and comfort to your heart and mind, and you will know what to do. 

Spiritual thought: 
Apparently when the Spaniards came to the Americas, there was a commander of a group of soldiers that was pitted against the Aztec empire. They were grossly outnumbered and defeat seemed imminent. However, their boats were sitting in the bay. Therefore, there was solace to be found in the possible escape route which could lead them safely home to their families if they had to retreat. The commander knew his men and knew what he had to do. He unloaded all the supplies off the ships and onto the beach. Then he ordered the ships to be set on fire. Why did he do that? Why would you cut away your only way of retreat? He did it because his men had to know that failure was not an option for them. They had to conquer their enemy or die. There was no looking at the ships while the enemy swarmed them. They had to focus solely on the war at hand. Any distractions would have cost them everything. What things keep us from focusing on the Lord’s work? Do we try to fall back on old ways? What boats do we look at when the battle is raging in front us? We learned that we must (as missionaries) burn all are boats in order to focus on the work. Also, investigators must burn all their boats; alcohol, old friends, everything that keeps them from coming closer to the Lord. It’s going to be hard. The war is not easy. But it demands everything of us, and until we give it, we cannot and will not be successful. So burn your boats!!! Awesome lesson from zone leaders!

I love you all so much and appreciate all your help and support! Kuv hlub Nej tiag tiag! kuv tsev neeg zoo tshaj plawm! [How “I love you all so much and appreciate all your help and support!” is written in Hmong]

kev Hlub [Love]
Es Daws Tseem Fwv Leem 'Xai Yob' Vaj