Monday, August 24, 2015

New Look, New Chapter

So, I've decided to create a new look for my blog today and it was a good thing that my dad put me into the printing station to do so. It gave me some time to edit some of my pictures to create the pinkish look that it has today. Well, for the love of pink, I'm obsessed with it as my favorite color.

I can't believe that time flies by so fast and I have been home for 4 months now. But this past month has been wonderful. I found someone whom I know has a huge possibility that I could be with for time and all eternity. And what's amazing about it is that I get to do the same routine things that I did on my mission. Personal Study, Companionship Study, (now weekly) Temple Attendance, and Church Attendance, Personal and Companionship Prayers. We've been keeping ourselves spiritually and temporally prepared for the goal of one day to be sealed in the Temple.

As all good things, there are also some oppositions in our relationship and our goals. Being both in our mid-20s, both of our sides of the family would want us to find job opportunities out of the country. Both of us are Registered Nurses aside from being both Returned Missionaries. But we also felt that there was something that we needed to do here before heading out. We also experienced our own inner pressures, our naturalism, our carnal natures that sometimes hinders us from reaching that goal. But we keep fighting through it. Together.

Anyway, I haven't used my own laptop yet to publish posts on here 'coz we've been pretty busy. And that also explains why I haven't been online much.... :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Challenge of Choosing an Eternal Companion

I sat in front of this computer for hours being lightheaded and using all of the brain juice that I could use before my Missionary Preparation class this afternoon. I've thought about this a great deal ever since coming home from my mission and I never thought that I would making such a huge decision sooner than I expected.

After much prayer, pondering and fasting, I've done the things that I invited my friend in France to do. I told him, with your many options, write down the qualities that you've noticed, liked or learned about your potential choice, then ponder and pray about each one. I've prayed about this friend before, and it felt right, good. I thought he was going to be the one since I never had options to begin with and we knew that our conversations were going somewhere, but it didn't feel right to draw a line that time. So I was open to other options.

Well, best friend came. After 3 months of less-activity, he FINALLY came back to church with some visits with friends and me trying to pull him back into the fold. The progress was fast as we talked more about the gospel and about the Atonement, then the next thing happened, dating in the temple, spending time as much as we could, and the feeling that I am right where I needed to be. No "you have to be more patient". It was just right.

Having this other option in some way troubled me and I didn't want to make the wrong decisions. I've prayed, pondered, fasted, read the scriptures, read teachings of the modern prophets, asked friends of the same standards, asked younger friends what they thought, the whole stake became in it (in an indirect way and because it is through them that things intensified). I wrote down the qualities that I could compare between these two friends and then with all of the guides that I have gathered, I made a final choice.

It was and always will be the most difficult choice that YSAs would face and make especially in these trying times that standards and moral values are becoming lowered and less important. We need to find worthy spouses that could take us to the temple and be with us through thick and thin for time and all eternity. In order to do that, you have to be comfortable and to trust your to-be-spouse in all aspects (whether or not you are married or still in the courtship stage). People don't really change in marriage, the either become better or worse in the qualities they possess. I see marriage as a mission, and a greater mission at that.

In closing, I just wanted to share a favorite quote said by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy regarding finding (or choosing) and Eternal Companion:
"Your success in marriage will depend largely on your ability to focus on improving yourself, rather than trying to reshape your spouse. It will depend more on being the right one than finding the right one. There is greater power in giving than in getting. Pure love “seeketh not her own” (1 Cor. 13:5; Moro. 7:45). The Savior is wise; His wisdom is beyond ours. We should trust Him. He is never wrong.
'In selecting a companion for life and for eternity,' said President Kimball, 'certainly the most careful planning and thinking and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that, of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong. In true marriage there must be a union of minds as well as of hearts' (1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year, 144)."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Discovering the Fruits of your Labors

Today was a very special day at Sacrament Meeting...

A lot of things just transpired today and somehow the highlight of today's meeting became evident when we realized that one of the people that my mom taught when she was a young missionary is now one of the stake high councilmen.

I guess it all started with a lot of things running through my head when we were singing hymn #266 "The Time is Far Spent". The speakers' topic was about baptism. Memories came by that every time we sang that song on Temple Square, there is always a group chuckle. Why? It's President Paul Harman's favorite hymn. And it is a constant reminder that the time that we have to serve as full-time missionaries is but a short-moment. I can't help but chuckle as I conducted the song today and looking at my best friend, he was laughing with the same memories as well in a different scenario. Another thing that came to my mind was that the time is far spent to wait until we are ready to get married. Hahaha. Not a really good thought but somehow, I knew that I'm getting to that point of saying I am having a different feeling.

ANYWAY, going back. When Brother Baclayon of the Stake High Council stood up to speak as a concluding speaker, he shared of his conversion story of how he got to know the church and what kept him standing today. I never really paid so much attention because of the memories of the mission but one thing that definitely stood out to me when he mentioned my mother's maiden surname. He said that when he was still 16 years old, he remembered that missionaries always came to his house and would do family home evening. He was grateful for the missionaries. He somehow mentioned my mom, then Sister Cruz (with the description that she is the wife of Brother Ngo of the High Council - my dad) would visit his family and sometimes conduct family home evenings. He ended up getting baptized in 1991, about 3 years after my mom was assigned in Arlington.

My mom's reaction was priceless. She couldn't remember a thing and she just had this surprised look on her face. I was amused and amazed at the same time with the thought and I reminded myself that as a missionary, we can never really see the fruits of our labors until many years later. It reminded me of a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-16 which says:

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

It was the coolest thing that I have ever witnessed in my life. The Church is True!

Another Night... I can't sleep

Here I am again...

Ever since I got this laptop this morning, I never let go of it except for the time when my dad had to reformat it and put the necessary drives and programs that I wanted. Now, I'm waiting for some of my mission photos to finish getting uploaded on Facebook and waiting for some songs to be imported from another computer to this device.

Once again, looking at my mission pictures made me feel how much I missed being a missionary. But somehow life must go on and the things learned from those 18 months must somehow be applied in my everyday decisions. Although it was quite frustrating to learn that my mom still thinks that I think like my father who, in her view, doesn't really know how to think things differently. I, in a way, object to that because who I am and how I think now is a product of those 18 months in Salt Lake City, Utah and Athens, Monroe and Loganville, Georgia. I do acknowledge and accept that there are still a lot of things to improve on. Going to sleep early, for one, is an example.

I haven't had enough sleep for the past 3 nights. The first night was because I miss my mission. I miss becoming a missionary. I miss the experiences and I want to experience it again. What triggered it was watching a video by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, entitled "How can we feel the same joy we felt in our missions?" Elder Holland is always spot on. He definitely became my favorite Apostle throughout my mission. The second night was just that things were going through my head. This was last night. My best friend and I were together and I ended up didn't feel like going to bed because of it. I always enjoyed being in his company, even though we never really knew what was going to happen to the two of us and where our time spent was going as well. Both of us, being the same age of 25, somehow still didn't feel we are ready for a commitment... yet.

Then here's tonight. Not really a good enough reason to stay up late but do I really have a choice?

Hope I would be able to get through this next week before the temple opens again.

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Very First Post-Mission post

I can't believe I haven't been posting much and I have been home for 3 months now...

Being a returned missionary is not easy. This is the time when everything that you have learned from those 18 months to 24 months of experiences are put to use. Life is a roller coaster. It will always be. Sometimes you are able to apply the things you've learned, sometimes you don't. Sometimes there are twists, sometimes things go the way you wanted it to.

Well, even as a returned missionary, you still learn a lot. And I have posted a document called "Thoughts and Lessons that I learned as a Returned Missionary" that a wrote a month or so being home from those sacred moments.

To update you all on things...
First things first, with all the wedding bells that are circulating my Facebook page and some of my closest friends have already tied the knot, I haven't. I mean, I have no boyfriend, no fiance... so there is no wedding happening this year as far as I know. I do have potential candidates. In fact, if you would call it "dating", I am spending time with my best friend whom I haven't seen for 3 years (and 4 months as he would add) because he was already out around a year and some months when I got my mission call to serve.

Second, I am currently working as a nurse at a small clinic. (This reminds me that I might be closing down my other blog and focus on this one instead). The Salary is not that much but at least I still get some income somehow and buy the things I need to buy... (and save some money for the future).

Third, I constantly yearn to feel the Spirit. Because of that, I try as much as possible to keep my studies in tact. I have been reading the Book of Mormon, as much as possible, everyday. I also have callings as a Young Single Adults Teacher for Sunday School, Missionary Preparation Teacher for Institute, and Stake Public Affairs Writer.

So far, I have enjoyed (with some huge downhills almost every week) life being a returned missionary.

Well, I will try to update this blog as much as possible from now on... hahaha.

- Rie.

View from my early morning jog today with my best friend. :P

Thursday, April 09, 2015

If you see this (O.O), you already know what I'm talking about.

This past week has been crazy!

Crazy with conference... crazy with the Zone Activity... crazy with deep cleaning and De-cluttering... crazy with STUFF.

Conference was SO GOOD! Talked to lots of people and last Friday, before conference, we got a new investigator. Things are getting better this week and we're still finding. Although, we've received news this morning that Beth, an old lady from Lancashire, UK, is on date for the 8th of May. We are so excited and I am so excited for my companion. Our appointments fell through yesterday though so I decided to call my Filipina investigator, Catherine, who is from Bulacan. She's going through a lot and it's really hard to help her out while I'm still here. One of the things that I am excited for is that I can do member-missionary work at the tip of my fingers and never having to worry about the time difference... well... except for my friends who live here whom I don't want to leave... yet.
Going back to conference, I went to the Sunday Afternoon Session but was quite sad that I didn't hear the prophet speak live. But the talks were really good and I can't wait to read them when the Liahona comes out. It's also a fun time as well to check who of the Sisters made it to the magazine. Unlike last year, I got a lot of photo ops but I didn't like them because they were quite distracting for me. One particular moment especially when Elder Clarke from the Seventy stopped and shook our hand on the square and the camera was right in front. o.O Anyway... There are lots of things that I heard this past weekend that I can't wait to share with ya'll. I'm sad though that I didn't get to see Elise DeBry. I kept looking for her around conference time.
Filipino Fireside happened afterwards and I met a lot of familiar faces, including Elder Dallin H. Oaks. Speaking of which, I met his wife randomly on the square and Sister Ngo didn't really pay attention that I asked a dumb question... When she introduced herself to my companion in Japanese, I asked her "Sister Oaks, how are you related with Elder Oaks of the Twelve?" She looked at me and smiled saying "I'm his wife". And I thought, oh... Then I saw them at the fireside. You should've seen how ​if not starstruck but how I tried to stay as professional as I can become. I also met President Schmutz Sunday too which I think is great and he sends his love to the Filipino people and his missionaries back in Cebu. He was called to be an Area Seventy. One thing I also find amusing is that Sister Lea Burdeos gave me a referral during the fireside when I was about to give up and thinking that we weren't doing much missionary work there. Only to find out that Brother Burdeos knows my mom when she wasn't married yet and also Tita Oda. He is originally from Marikina 1st Ward and moved to the states in 1989. Surprise, surprise. My mom knows a lot of people and I'm getting to be a social butterfly like her. :P
Anyway, the work is moving forward. Definitely the Atonement makes you stretch and grow. It also comforts you during times of trial. Last Wednesday was a really hard day for me but it was worth it. The Zone Activity that we had was a blast and it was definitely spiritual. I love hearing the Sisters' testimonies in their native language. And I am definitely thankful that I was able to serve them to the best of our abilities as zone leaders.
Well, I'm not counting the days anymore. My goal this week was to be in the moment and to finish strong... stronger than I thought. And I know that a few of my loved ones on the other side is helping me get through this. I'm so grateful for the Atonement. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission. I am so grateful for the memories that I've had and I will forever cherish them.
I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that He is here. I know that He knows my heart and what I am going through.
In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Weekly update...

I will just be sending a really short email this week.
Last Thursday, we had a good training about Because He Lives and we had a really good day at Welfare Square. Friday, we had a nice training with the missionary department about the new exhibits that we have in the North Visitors' Center. We found new investigators on both days. Saturday was General Women's Session and a sister from my stake was featured. Then on Sunday... we've had church and we found out that our investigator got baptized. Yeay for Miracles!
Monday was good. we were able to find some people to share the gospel with and both of the with member present. It's quite difficult to find member present here on the Square. The Sisters in our zone were also able to get iPads.
Sorry if I'm not really diligent enough to send a weekly update this week... I'll make everything up soon...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's more fun in the Philippines... but it's even more fun in TEMPLE SQUARE!

Mabuhay! こにちわ!你们好!

​Where did this week go?! Time has flown by so fast and it's going by even faster! I can't believe that we're past the first half of the transfer!
This week has been super crazy and I always go home super exhausted. My companion and I have been busy with EVERYTHING that I can possibly imagine. Even Sisters in my class can testify that this transfer has been super crazy and that all of us have a lot of things going on in our heads, despite my trainer telling me to relax. Last week I started (and finished) making my post-mission macro plan assignment given by President Poulsen, my companion got her iPad​

​, we had exchanges, we went to LDS-BC to do some stuff that are preparing us for the mission. I've been having to many sweets. Then we had Zone Leader Reports yesterday and we were quite nervous, we had no idea if we're doing okay with our reports. To add, we will also be giving a training on "Because He Lives" Easter Initiative. We are quite excited about that though and still trying to figure out how to do it. What even makes me more anxious to do it is that it is my first time to ever give a training to the mission, let a lone a group of 180+ people. But I knew my mother taught me well and my companion and another set of companionship will be helping out. And I must not forget the Spirit as well. :)​
I guess, the highlight of the week would be our preparation for the training.​ The Assistants showed us the video so we would have an idea of what we were going to train about especially as a visitors' center missionary. The Video itself is so powerful, and I know that it is as powerful as the "He is the Gift" one. Something that I really liked is how much it reminded me of the Atonement and my conversion story. It reminded me of how much the gospel has changed my life and looking back, I have grown a lot spiritually. Two of the lines said, "No matter who you are or who you were, He is here. No exceptions, no lost causes, at all times, in all places, He is here." Through the Savior Jesus Christ, we - no matter who we are and where we've been - can be healed, happy, hopeful and helped. He is always there if we seek and find him.
That's my update for today.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meetings all over!

こにちわ! 你們好!

​Where do I begin?
This week flew by so fast that I couldn't really remember much. I have a hard time recalling things and my journal entries haven't been detailed as they should be because I always get home tired. My mind has been everywhere these past days.
Zone Conference happened the day after preparation day and it helped us refocus on what we needed to do as a mission. As a mission, President Poulsen wanted to set a new standard of excellence (we never really had any as a mission until now) of having 50 tours (lessons where we teach, testify and invite) a week here on Temple Square. Then Friday, we had LDS-BC session where it reminded me of the things that I've learned (and forgot) from the Career Workshop of the Self-reliance Center in Cebu.​ Saturday was a day full of work, work and work and we tried contacting, teaching and inviting as many people as we can. We've found some new and potential "friends" but we're hoping and praying that they will progress. I also studied, made and revised my talk on Charity. I've been so nervous about my talk but I had it successfully delivered on Sunday. What even made my Sunday better was when my trainer, Sister Natalie Stephen, came and listened to my talk. Happiest day of my week! And super busy too...
These past two days, we've had Zone Leader Follow-up Training and we discussed about the challenges and best practices that we have as a Zone Leader Council. Sister Ichikawa mentioned that it also made us more nervous because we have more things to do than we thought. It is quite reassuring though that the protocols are laid before us and we just have to study and be familiar with it and everything will be fine. We are still trying to get familiar with it together.
Despite the roller coaster ride that I have been having this week, things seem to be getting better. We still are struggling with finding investigators that would progress. But we've found some people who have the potential to do so. We are still exercising faith by finding those low-hanging fruits and hoping for those we haven't gotten a hold of. We are still trying to work hard. But I guess with so many things in my mind, I haven't been overwhelmed but I tend to forget some important things because I am just so focused of finding the elect for our companionship. I'm still trying to learn how to balance. So far, Sister Ichikawa has helped me a lot and been very supportive. There has never been a day when she wouldn't say, "Sister Ngo, what can I do to help you?" She always wanted to serve me and others no matter what and that's definitely what I love about her. She also reminds me to be focused at ALL times. With the time flying, there are times that my thoughts have been on creating my 1-year Macro Plan (an assignment given by President Poulsen).
But something that I have definitely pondered on this week is setting my priorities. It has helped me think of my goals and the plans that I need to make to achieve them. Planning has definitely been a major lesson that I got from my mission and when I get a hang of it, I might proceed to learn how I can manage my time wisely so that I can execute those plans effectively. I really love Preach My Gospel Chapter 8 because it is one of my weakest points in my life. But I'm working on it!
Well, I guess that's all for now. More updates later....

愛してるよ。 我愛你們!
Sister Kristel Marie Cruz Ngo (吳姐妹)
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission/
Georgia Atlanta North Mission

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Culture of Purpose-focused Discussions

こにちわ! 你們好!
Taking deep breaths every few minutes. Going home to the apartment exhausted. Positive thoughts that I am a successful missionary everyday. I just love Sister Ichikawa, she really helps me a lot to see things positively. We see miracles every single day, not the ones that I wanted but the ones that I needed to see. This past week was quite hard and challenging, but they were moments that it made me stress and push forward no matter what. We've been diligent, finding as many people to teach as we can: taking chats, making phone calls, talking to people, teach and invite, and we have also been taking a lot of Japanese tours. So now, I know how to introduce myself in Japanese. :)
This week started out with a hard time to get up in the morning because of daylight savings. Both of us weren't used to it so we were looking ways to relax. The day ended up good though as we called people and found out that one of my Filipino investigators and her recent convert husband went to Church. Brother Bondoc will be performing proxy baptisms scheduled on the 30th of March. And Sister Bondoc has made the decision to be baptized on July after going home to Cebu for a couple of months to visit family. I told them that when they go to Zulueta, I will be happy to attend Sikatuna ward with them and have the meet Bishop Osumo there. I also offered to take their son to church who's also a nurse.
We had Mission Leadership Council last Monday and it was really good. One of the topics was entitled "The Culture of Purpose-focused Discussions." Being Temple Square missionaries, we sometimes fall into a trap of talking about our cultures and our countries and sometimes waste time doing so. So we discussed on ways of how we can have purpose-focused discussions not just with guests on the square but also with the other sisters. The mission is becoming pretty young so as leaders in the mission, we are asked to train these young missionaries to become effective and efficient leaders and missionaries in the future. It was quite a challenge but it helped me think about what can I do myself to become better so that I can lead by example. So this week, aside from studying my talk on charity, I studied on my purpose as a missionary and thought a lot about purification, sanctification, consecration, sacrifice and obedience. I prayed to Heavenly Father that in these last few weeks, I need to put all in (not that I haven't but I felt I was backsliding a little bit) and sacrifice everything on the altar. Then at the beginning of our preparation day hours, Sister Ichikawa and I had a talk about what can I do better as a missionary, how can I help my investigators even more, and what have I changed these past 16 months in my mission. I just told her "everything". I had changed my views, my perspective, what I viewed to be most important in my life and all.
On the side note, we had a success yesterday when Sister Ichikawa called her investigator during exchanges with younger missionaries. One of our investigators, Dave, wanted to be baptized in April and has been going to church for the past few weeks. He has met with local missionaries. We are praying that he would be the ONE for our companionship this transfer since we couldn't get a hold of Lazaro who was scheduled to commit on the 28th of March. I also am wondering how Linda is doing but sadly, we haven't gotten a hold of her for around 3 months now. Bummer. We are still finding and we got a lot of chats earlier today and it was quite funny because the common theme was law of chastity. We also had some good ones but they aren't very solid and the chat would disconnect the moment we would ask them to keep in touch. But it was a productive day nonetheless.
Well, I'm happy. I'm happy to be able to do the work of the Lord and by inviting everyone to make and keep commitments. Sister Ichikawa and I discussed yesterday that somehow, all I could get a hold of are my recent converts and less-actives. Sister Ichikawa positively said that there might be a reason for it. I told her that Heavenly Father is helping me strengthen these people so I would be prepared to strengthen the RCLAs back at home. We're still diligently exercising the faith to find though. We know that there is someone out there who is seeking for the truth and knows not where to find it.
I guess that is all for this week. "Because He Lives" Easter Initiative is coming up. Be excited!
愛してるよ。 我愛你們!

Sister Kristel Marie Cruz Ngo (吳姐妹)
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission/
Georgia Atlanta North Mission

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The First of the Last!

こにちわ! 你們好! Hey Ya'll!
So today was transfers and things have been crazy! After my P-day last Friday, I received a call from the mission secretary that President Poulsen wanted to talk to me.
I had a feeling that what I was thinking will happen. And it did.
He called me into his office and asked me questions of how the transfer was, how being district leader was and asked if I could step up. And of course, being taught by my wise mother to always accept callings from the Lord, I accepted a call to become a missionary with a special assignment to help the whole zone become successful missionaries. Such a huge responsibility. But after talking to my previous companion last night, I know that the Lord put me in this assignment for a reason and that He trusts me enough that I can do it. I knew I'm dying as a leader.
Well, let me introduce to you my new companion. Her name is Misuzu Ichikawa from Toyota, Japan (My sister will be so excited and yes, the cars are named after her town). She's my fourth and last Asian companion so it's going to be a pretty exciting transfer. I was in the same Zone with her in my 3rd Transfer in the East 2 Zone. We trained at the same time. She has such a sweet spirit with her which makes me even more happy to be with her. So I will be using the Japanese that I know this transfer. Yeay!
Ever since p-day last week, it has been hard since none of my investigators have been answering the phone. But I did have one miracle though. I met a girl on chat named Analyn who lives by Bontores in Basak Pardo. When I was asking her where is her area in because I wasn't quite familiar with Bontores, as soon as she said Tabada, I knew that she was right by me. I invited her to meet with the local missionaries and I got her phone number, being excited to do missionary work with someone who has the potential not only to become a friend but to be an amazing convert to the gospel and she's going to investigate my ward! We are still struggling with investigators but this transfer, Sister Ichikawa and I will do our best to Find, Teach and Baptize this transfer.
Another thing that has happened this week is that I got my "good-bye" talk that I will be delivering on March 15. I laughed when I got my talk because a few days before that I thought that if President Harman was inspired, my topic will be on Charity. Charity was a Christlike Attribute that I told myself I needed to work on ever since before I came on my mission.
I guess that is the update for this week. I'm so excited for this transfer!
愛してるよ。 我愛你們!

Sister Kristel Marie Cruz Ngo (吳姐妹)
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission/
Georgia Atlanta North Mission

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lessons for Eternal Progression

Hola! Como estas?

I was contemplating on what to put into my weekly update today. As I was typing, I realized that the email was getting long so I had to give a summary of the events that transpired this week. I am not perfect but I will do the best that I can to give you an idea.

This week, we have been struggling with people to teach. Those that we have put as new investigators haven't been answering the phone. Lately, we've found that they have been meeting with the local missionaries. We were happy about that but sometimes, it is quite frustrating because you want to know how their progress is. And I thought I had learned my lesson from past experiences that are exactly like that. Believe it or not, it is one of the lessons that I have come to fully understand these past few weeks. So as to summarize my email, I will break them down into what are those lessons that I have learned.

1. To completely rely on the Savior in EVERYTHING!
This week has been a week of much prayer, evaluation, pondering and reflecting on self and what I need to improve on. My companion has definitely helped me out on that a lot and even if I don't necessarily agree with how she goes about it, but I love her for that. It helps me change for the better. And knowing that I also needed the aid of the Atonement to do so, the burden was also made light. What's amazing about the Atonement is it does not only heal the sick and the afflicted, it does bear up our burdens with ease, just like what Elder Bednar said. 

2. If we fall short, "The Savior is not disappointed as long as we earnestly seek to repent".
This is one of the things that I've learned during the training that we had last Wednesday about missionary work and the digital age. I failed to mention in the previous emails is that we will soon be having iPads as a mission. But that does not make us an "iPad mission" nor a "facebook mission". We are still a Preach My Gospel mission using iPads as tools to hasten the work of Salvation. But we do have weaknesses. As younger generation, we tend to be so caught up with our digital devices. Knowing how I was before my mission with technology and facebook, felt uncomfortable about having facebook in the mission at first but Elder Clarke reassured us that it is just a tool. And if we feel vulnerable, we need to acknowledge and be aware, choose to act, and learn and improve from our experiences and evaluate if we are using time wisely as a missionary.

3. We, and others around us, have the ability to choose for ourselves. And let go of things we cannot control.
We are agents - to act and not to be acted upon. We have the ability to choose how we can respond to the stressors that we have everyday. But we also must remember that there are things that we can control and there are things that we cannot control. That I guess is the very highlight of what I have learned with us struggling with missionary work. As missionaries, we are to invite others to come unto Christ by HELPING them receive the restored Gospel. We have that choice to internalize our purpose and do all that we can to help them. People also have the choice to accept that help or that invitation. What we choose is ours to control. What others choose is beyond our ability to control or manage. We can choose to let go of the things we could not handle or we can choose to dwell on what we feel as our failures resulting from unrealistic expectations. Having these thoughts, I have come to be more positive about the work. I was mentioning to my companion yesterday, "I feel sad because we didn't have anyone we taught that can support our numbers. But it doesn't matter because we called everyone that we can, talked to everyone that we could and it was their choice not to answer or accept the invitation. That was beyond our control."

Those I guess were the top three things that I have learned this week and probably from my mission. I am just amazed of how the gospel and the mission truly changes us because of the experiences that we have.

Well, this is it. Next email that I will be sending is the first of the few last emails I will be sending home. But I look forward to good things this next 6-7 weeks.

On the side note, I met Elder Edvalson who just got home from the Philippines Cebu Mission last Wednesday. I just wanted to let my family know that I have received your regards. It was just funny because I was in a middle of the a when he called out and I had no idea who he is. XD and can anyone search for me the alternatives for increasing HDL levels in the body? I got a chat today about drinking red wine and saying that it's the best option to raise HDL (High-density lipoprotein). Sorry... this is just the nurse in me. :P
Sister Kristel Marie Cruz Ngo (吳姐妹)
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission/
Georgia Atlanta North Mission

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Valentine's Day to Chinese New Year

Hello Everyone!
I have no worries because I am loved by Heavenly Father even though I received Valentine greetings from home a little bit later. I've been meaning to greet last P-day but I guess the thought of Valentine's day slipped my mind and because I am such a missionary minded person that I felt like I celebrated Valentine's day every day with my Father. :)
So Updates this week!
​We've seen much successes the past week. We reported a baptism that happened last transfer because we weren't able to confirm it this transfer so that was a blessing. I never gotten a hold of the Filipino investigator na pero okay lang sa akin, that means he is not yet prepared. We have found people who are interested to learn more about the gospel. Heavenly Father is definitely a "Fourth Watch God". He makes us do all that we can in His work then He lends a hand if we couldn't do it anymore. We've been tried and tested, we've had times that we wanted to give up, but Heavenly Father truly showers us with blessings when we endure to the end.​ I have learned this week is that when Heavenly Father gives us challenges, that means it is time for us to progress and grow and develop that what you've asked for. And when things get hard, that means you are doing the right thing and that you are taking a step closer to your relationship with Heavenly Father. Well, I am happy. I am continually finding my inner peace and I am glad that I am able to slowly discover it here in my mission.

​Yesterday was Chinese New Year and it totally reminds me of some of the things that we do at home as a tradition. Chinese sisters ​gave us some 紅包 (Ang pao) with some Chinese characters and how they came to be. I really love my Chinese heritage and I am so happy that I was also able to improve with my 普通話 (Mandarin) on my mission. I can't wait to practice it with my Grandmother!
​Today, we had zone activity. We visited the Elderly and we were able to sing some songs with them. We also saw a cooking demonstration on how to make Chicken Mollet(?), a kind of chicken soup or some sort, and we also spent some time with them as well. I met Gloria who is a Lutheran from New York City and moved to Utah 2 years ago to be with her daughters. It was a really fun activity.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Zone Leader Exchanges and Roller Coaster Week (Plus Linguistics)

This week has been absolutely CRAZY. As like any other week. It has been so slow, and still some struggles here and there but we've had a lot of fun. Sister Kim is just a great companion that I cried even more when she comforted me when I was SO DEVASTATED with one of our teaching appointments last Tuesday. I don't really want to go through details so as not to really sound negative about it and the investigator is a child of God and I love him so....
okay, 我的傳教怎麼樣?

​I've been praying that I would be able to help my people (Filipinos) this transfer and I have found someone who was willing to learn more and to meet with the local missionaries. Sadly, I haven't gotten a hold of him and I still couldn't call him because he is still sick. We've met a bunch of really good chats in as well and we hope to find those low-hanging fruit as President said. We are still praying. We had a miracle baptism this week which is good too and she is Korean.
So this week, I had the chance to also practice my Espa​ñol. Now the Spanish sisters want me to pass off and I don't really feel like it. I just have this drive to study all of my languages when I get back at home. I am so excited that my Sister will be going to China so that when she comes back, I will be practicing my Mandarin with her if my grandma is not very available and I'll practice my Spanish with Mama. :P
Spiritually speaking, I've had some pondering this past week. I have not had dreams that woke me up at 3am now but I've somehow always thought of reevaluating how I am doing as a missionary and I always fall short. There was actually a chat that asked if the Lord forgives us if we make the same mistakes over and over again. That reminded me a time that I felt that exact same way here on my mission. I am falling short over and over again and especially now, all of my imperfections are surfacing. But something that I've thought is that there is still so much about the Atonement that we couldn't really comprehend, we couldn't really fathom. And that is why the Atonement is there so that we can start over, we can strive to improve, we can do better to overcome those weaknesses and to turn them into strengths. After that turning point of the week, that devastating lesson, I felt the sense of depression coming in but I was able to recover fully because of the Sisters around me. Sister Jin, one of the Assistants to the President and a really good friend of mine in the mission, helped me realized how much I am loved by the Lord and by those around me and how much Heavenly Father is proud of me with what I am doing. She even added, "Sister Ngo, you are such a wonderful leader." And told me of the comments that my Zone Leaders have shared during Zone Leader reports. She said "I am so proud of my friend." Sister Jin is such a wonderful missionary and I am so glad to be serving with her.
That night was one of those nights that I prayed to my Father in Heaven in the same way that I prayed to Him when I was struggling with myself two years prior to my mission. I guess I said the same things saying that "My Heart is broken and I can't work so well, Can Thou heal my broken heart? And tell me, what do I need to do better?" That night, I was having that conversation with Him and I was able to sleep well and since then I have asked Him every night, "What can I do better?"
I was on exchanges with Sister Garcia yesterday and she's just an amazing missionary and she's an example of being a Christlike leader. I learned so much from her this transfer and I felt like I always screw up when I'm with her but she's just wonderful. She even pointed out the things that I can improve on and saw more of my strengths rather than my weaknesses.
Well, that's basically all that I can share with you today. :)

Sister Kristel Marie Cruz Ngo (吳姐妹)
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission/
Georgia Atlanta North Mission
​Just wanted to share this picture that I took when I was called to become a District leader. 
I love President Poulsen. :)​ 
But hey, any one's mission is the best mission in the world for them. Mine happened to be Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square and Georgia Atlanta North. 
My mom's are the Philippines Cebu and Bacolod Missions... and my brother's is the Philippines Legazpi Mission.