Monday, August 23, 2010

Amy - MTC - Aug 23, 2010

Da jia hao!!!
      This week once again has come and gone way to fast!!!! I dont' even know what to write about!!  Thank you so much for your letters and packages!!! I love them all! Unfortunately I love them too much because I have gained weight!! So if you could when you send packages send more healthy stuff that would be great. I will have a list at the end of this e-mail what I want. haha
        Our TRC went really good this week. It was our last lesson in English! AHH!! Next week we teach the first lesson in Chinese. Our task is to talk about food, and tell what we like and don't like. We also need to be able to share a scripture in Chinese and ask about what it means to our mudaoyou. Crazy!!! I'm really excited about it but nervous too. We did a practice run in our class on Saturday night just one on one with one of the other missionaries. I did really good suprisingly. It was awesome to see how much progress I had made. I also saw how much work I still needed to do. This week is going to be crazy!! I have made a sign to stick on my nametag that says "Sorry! No English!"  I am trying to speak Chinese all the time. Which is hard but fun too. You find crazy ways to describe things like if you stomach hurts we say "wo de duzi panjiao!" My stomach is apostate! haha we have a lot of fun. Its really crazy because the older missionaries leave this week! So now my district and the other three are the older missionaries! Its so weird! I dont' fell like I have been here that long but now its been a month! I'm excited to be the older missionary but I dont' feel like i know engough. i know though that the Lord will help me. This week I have upped my antey and am learning twice as many words. I know I can do it!
       Because of all the older missionaries leaving a lot of changes were made. namely, Sister Bready was named as the cordinating sister (Relief Society President) of our branch. Yay for her! and Yay that is not me!! haha jk. I'm so excited for her. I know that she will be a great coordinating sister. Church is so amazing!! We sing, pray and give talks in Chinese. The Spirit is so strong. I love it. Expect when we sing God Be With you Till We Meet Again for the older missionaries. So hard!! Oh something that was crazy this week. So Sister Ith was going to Taiwan Taichung with the older missionaries but last mintue because of her visa she got temporarlily sent to Nebraska! She will be there for a transfer and then hopefully come to Taiwan with us. Two other Elders were sent to Alabama. I dont' know who in Nebraska and Alabama speak Chinese but I'm sure that there is a reason for them to be sent there. Hopefully that won't happen to me. The reason for visa problems is that all three of them moved up in classes so they travel office didn't speed up their visas.
     I don't know what else to tell you. How are things at home? I want to see pictures of the finished coop! That story about Alaina and Abby breaking it gently to Mom about them being adopted was HILARIOUS!!  I was in the laundry room and about died laughing!! I told everyone that story!! Keep those funny stories coming!!

Well I love you all!! Please Dear Elder me! I have been getting a lot of e-mails and I would love to write but I don't have time to e-mail. I can only snail mail. But I would still LOVE to hear from ya'll. I love you so much!! I pray for you everday and think about you all the time.

All my love,
Yang Jiemei
Sister Papritz

Austin - Milwaukee Wisconsin - Aug 23, 2010

Hello my friends and family,
The city is soooo TIIIGHT! Everyone is so chill here. There are tons of latinos and tons of them just hanging out and chillin' out on their porch or having a fiesta on the weekends. For the most part they love the missionaries too. Oh and my new companion is *drumroll* Elder Cook hahah! What is the crazy chance of that?? Only our second transfer and we are companions again. It's nuts, we are both so green and yet they put us together. Him and I are going to tear up Milwaukee. And we've already had a crazy week, you would NOT believe what happened. A quick story:
So I got a new bike for 500 bucks but was worth like 800 because someone traded it in to the shop and it literally has no signs of use but anyways. I was excited for my one speed Biachi road bike and Elder Cook and I were riding down this alley way to go to a less active member in the morning. We actually moved our studies in to the afternoon which is rare to do but we felt impressed that we had someone to visit. So we were riding down this alley-like way and these two large latinos yelled out to us from 40 yards away, "Hey you two stop." And I first thought, sweet these guys want to talk to us. So we rode up to them and we dismounted our bikes and then the guy on the right, holding a beer, told us, "Give us your ****ing bikes." heart stopped. I could not believe it. All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind like, do I fight? Could I win? Do they have weapons? Could I probably just outrun them, I mean, they weren't in shape by any means. I just looked to the ground and just said, "Are you serious?" And he was like, "Yeah I am, we need a couple bikes, Hey primo, which one do you want?" I just didn't know what to do and right when I was about to just hand over the bike the guy on the right says, "Nah, we're just ****in' with ya'll." ooooooh my gooooosh. I literally just layed on the ground. I was so pumped full of adrenaline and it just had nowhere to go. Nervously laughing, I asked them, Are you members? And they said nah they just saw us coming and wanted to play with us.
Seriously, I can not tell you how scary it was. Elder Cook said he was about to just punch one of them or do something, little old sheltered Arizona boy doesn't know how to handle the streets.* It was nuts, but they were so cool they were like, "Nah we'd never steal your bikes it would take one 911 phone call saying, "Hey there are a couple large Mexican men on two nice bikes." and they'd find us in no time" hahaha. We started talking to them and yeah they beer but they weren't drunk by any means. In fact, one of the two guys was quite interesting in the church. He had a loooot of regrets from past sins, he says that they haunt him at night, he can't sleep, he's not happy with life...he wants to change. It was ridiculous how God led us to those two men, it was an unforgettable moment. It was odd too because we were lost just before that as to where the less active member house was and this lady came up to us and asked us if we were lost and then told us where it was at but she admitted she was embarrassed to talk to us because of how she was dressed (in a low cut spaghetti strapped something). But she pointed us down the alley which would lead us to a street that would take us there.
Then there were a couple high black guys we ran in to which were hilarious, but that's a story for another time.
So the city is awesome and pretty much the stake is in huge need of less active work. They have like 50 that attend and 400 less actives. There are 4 Spanish missionaries in the whole city and we have way too much to do. We are hoping to get a couple more missionaries but it's probably unlikely.The Branch is lead by an American that servied a Spanish mission. He's a dentist. The ward mission leader is latino, he knows English really well. He is suuper active and cool. There are three major families in the branch and we are working on reactiviting the grandpas of those families in hopes that the rest of the family will follow. It's actually a very detailed plan that came by revelation to Elder Campbell (Elder Hulet's companion).
It's an exciting area.

 I'm doing so awesome, these experiences are so cool. Ones that wil last my whole life, I just know it. Also, Elder Hulett is in the other companionship here so there are 3/4 newbies serviing in Milwaukee, all we need is Elder Moore to have all four of us here.
Think aboucha all da time,
Elder papritz
ps. soo I could really use those 500 bucks back. Thanks haha.
 *Moms thought- Yeah, Austin is such a street wise kid!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Amy - MTC - Aug 16, 2010

Da jia hao!!!!
        This week has seriously gone by so fast! I dont' even remember what happened this week. It was a really good week. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the packages!! I LOVED getting my skirts and all the goodies. The pictures that the girls drew were so cute too!! Although you sent me some of Austin so I will mail those to him. It was so great to get a package. Classes were really good with our new teacher Zhang Laoshi. She is really nice. She served in Taipei which is awesome! This whole week we prepared for our TRC appointment on Saturday. We taught the second lesson on the Plan of Salvation. So hard!!! The plan of Salvation is so amazing so it was so hard to teach it simply to someone who has no Christian background. There was so much information to leave out. Our whole district stuggled with this lesson. Our contacting task this week was to pick up our investigator from their house and take them to church via the bus. We had to ask them about their family and work and also ask about commitments that had been extended the previous week. If they didnt' do it we had to recommit them and testify. I actually felt really good about this one. As a district we practiced a lot which made it easier. When we did it on Saturday the Chinese came easier than it has before granted I still messed up on some grammer but it went better!! I figured out this week that Heavenly Father indeed has a sense of humor...... its called Chinese. haha This language is so crazy!! The grammer is crazy on top of the tones and pinyin. Dont' get me started on the writing !! haha but really I love learning Chinese. There are a few missionaries from Taiwan that we have seen at the temple walks on Sunday. They are going to California. I understand very little of what they are saying but I can talk to them a little. Its all coming together slowly but surely!!!  So, our TRC appointment on Saturday went good. It definately wasn't as good as the last two weeks. Our mudaoyou Taylor didn't seem that interested in our message. I think that we didnt' ask the right questions.  He was involved when we talked about prayer and answered his questions about that but then during the middle of our lesson he was looking around and giving very short answers. But on the bright side, Sister Bready and I did a great job of sharing the time and communicating with eachother. I'm glad that we had a lesson that didnt' go as good as the others so we know what to improve. We teach that lesson one more time and then in two weeks we teach it in Chinese YIKES!!!!
     All of the older missionaries in our Zone leave this week and next week. Its so sad!!! We have all become so attached to them. They are all such amazing missionaries! Its also weird to think that soon we will be the older missionaries. I dont' feel ready for that. I feel like my Chinese has a long way to go. But I know that who the Lord calls He qualifies so I'll be ok. On Sunday the older missionaries sang a musical number which was beautiful. The Spirit was so strong. Relief Society was AMAZING this week!! Sister Virgina H. Pearce, daughter of President Hinckley, spoke to us. She spoke on the Spirit of Navuoo and how we need to take that with us out in the field. I wish I had time to write all of my thoughts about this talk but time is short. The one part I really love is that she said that we need to "sell" or share that the Gospel will bring joy and happiness into our investigator's lives. Many people are seeking that now. She also quotes Brigham Young and I just loved this quote. It says," Let the fruit of bad thoughts, complaining, and negative fellings drop off the tree unnoticed and left their to rott. When there are fruits of virture, love, wholesome thoughts, and happiness pluck it off and share it with all our neighbors and those around us." I love this quote because I feel that it is so easy to notice the bad things that happen when there are so much better things happening. We need to just let those bad things "fall of the tree unnoticed and left to rott." I have been trying to do that since I have heard that talk and it has been very helpful. I hope that each of you can do that. At the devotional on Tuesday Brother Evans spoke about the Book of Mormon. He said that the Book of Mormon is our most powerful tool in sharing the Gospel to those around us. He said that we need to engage our investigators from the beginning and get them to read the Book of Mormon from beginning to end. Again, I wish I had time to share everything about this talk but time is short. Blasted 30 minute computer time. haha oh well.
    I dont' really know what else to tell you. This week went by so fast. Time flies when you are serving the Lord!! I love you all so much. I think about you all the time and pray even more for you! I know that this Gospel is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ and he is our Savior. I know that by repentance we can repent of our sins and become like our Heavenly Father. I know that the Plan of Salvation is God's plan for us. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of that plan. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the word of God. Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and is Son Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove in answer to his prayer. I know that through him God restored the fullness of the Gospel in the earth. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and that he is the mouthpiece of the Lord in these Latter-days. I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve the Lord and share the Gospel with the people in Taiwan, Taipei. I love you all!!!!
All my love,
Yang Jiemei
Sister Amy Papritz

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Austin - Madison Wisconsin - Aug 16, 2010

How do I even begin? It seems like forever since I last emailed. And even last weeks email, I'll admit, was pretty lame. We had finished playing golf late and didn't have much time to email so I just tried to send a quick one.

I'm just going to start typing, it might be out of order and stuff but whatever.

Yesterday Elder Kelly and I got a late call from our Branch President saying that he got an odd phonecall from a guy in San Diego telling him to send the missionaries to a person in the hospital. He told us it was a brief phonecall and he only knew the name but didn't know how to spell it and what hospital and instructions for us to go visit this lady who is supposedly going through liver failure and may or may not be a member or related to a member. We made some phone calls and figured out she was in the ICU at the University of Wisconsin hospital. It was 9:05 at night and we walked in to her room and we saw an incredibly sick, jaundice affected middle-aged latina with an older lady sitting by her side, that was her mother. We explained who we were and the Mom told her daughter, "it's the missionaries from your Uncle's church. They are here to help." They lady just looked in to our eyes and started to cry. She was in so much pain. As we tried to talk to her and comfort her (she had a very hard time speaking back) the memory of her dark pupils floating in a sea of yellow catching my eye, we didn't stop looking at each other for a good couple minutes as it seemed our spirits were talking. She was begging for help. It was a remarkable feeling but I felt a Christ like love for that woman and I had just met her. We gave her a blessing and she appreciated it so much. I think she thought that we were angels or something she asked Elder Kelly, "can you see yourself in the mirror?" Elder Kelly played along and looked in to the mirror and told her, "Yup, I can see myself. Can you see yourself?" She replied, " I can't. I'm trying." It defintely had a little more weight than her simply saying that she couldn't sit up enough to see herself in the mirror. We just stood by her side for a good 20 minutes comforting and encouraging her. At the end of it we got a good smile out of her which her Mom said she hadn't seen from her for a couple weeks. It was hard. Elder Kelly and I were both so drained after that. It was hard to see. And the reason she had liver failure was because she started drinking because of marriage problems. Her husband is sick too from drinking as far as I could tell from what the mother said. Thank heaven she didn't have any kids though.

Elder Kelly and I played golf this morning at a real golf course. It was so cool, golfing is such a cool environment. I did so well the first 9 holes but I was getting worn out the last 9 holes. It's tough. On the 6th hole I got on  the green in one shot! I couldn't sink the put though, that would have been cool to get a birdie on my first time golfing at a real course (before we had just been golfing at a little free course). Anyways, it was suuuper fun, we had a cart and everything and the weather was phenomenal! Oh, and there were Hispanics on lawn mowers while we were playing and we started talking to them and they just loooved us. They were so funny making fun of my shot and stuff, and one of them was giving me advice like what iron to use. I came out with a seven one time and he was like, "no no, you're doing it wrong, that's definitely a six." hahha And then another guy looked around in the tall grass and found five lost balls and gave them to us. They were cool.

So tranfers are coming this Thursday, I already know I'm going to Milwaukee, I don't know who is going to be my companion yet but we have a pretty good idea who it is going to be. Elder Kelly is also moving too, he is going to be a Zone Leader over the Madison Zone but he's going to be in a different area, Janesville. So poor Madison Spanish is going to have two new missionaries. Elder Kelly and I have a lot of work to do before Thursday to clean up the place and make sure the area book is thorough and we make the transition as easy as possible for the new missionaries. But it's going to be weird, my 20 month streak in Milwaukee begins this Thursday. I'm excited and unsure at the same time. Elder Kelly tells me that it will be hard to never be surprised at tranfers sicne I know I'm going to be staying in Milwaukee for the rest of my mission. And I was thinking about it the other day, I have to be so careful to never get on the bad side of any members in Milwaukee. I plan on doing lots of service for the members. Instead of running in there on fire and expecting everyone to start doing member missionary work. I recently read through the Ammon story to see how he did it since he served a long mission in the same area too. And it struck me that it said the Lord told him to be patient to be an example to the people. So I'll have to definitely practice that when I don't see immediate success coming out of Milwaukee. It's going to be like a game of golf. I'll need mental toughness and precision for all 18 holes. hahha

Sonya fell off the face of the earth. She is suppose to get baptized this Saturday along with her daughter buuuut there hasn't been anyone in her apartment for 7 days and her phone is disconnected. Apparently she has family in Dodgeville so Elder Kelly thinks she might have moved but he isn't sure why she wouldn't call us. So we're really not sure what to do with that. She wasn't at church either sooooo quien sabe??

Oh, I got to do service at a food pantry last week and it was so cool. It's this really cool service where poor people can come in a literally receive free food and they are giving a certain amount of "points" to spend in the store depending on how many people they are trying to provide for and their income. I got to help a couple of Latinos and they just appreciated it so much that I spoke Spanish, usually the volunteers there are just older white people or students from the local high school. But it was a cool experience, I'll definitely try to find a food pantry in Milwaukee.

So now that Elder Kelly and I are leaving we have like 8 lunch/dinner appointments that are going to happen before we leave in 4 days. Sheesh why didn't we get this many before? I'm thining we should have announced every week that we were going to leave and then when it didn't happen just tell them, "oh it got pushed back another week, for sure we're leaving next week." I bet we could keep that up for a couple months.

I'm really starting to hit a good stride lately. I'm starting to find the balance between helping people feel comfortable and the urgency of conveying the gospel message. It's a hard mix, most people are very uncomfortable to talk to missionaries and so you need to take some time to just talk about anything and help them feel uncomfortable but then when it comes to gospel topics to be able to draw from that comfortability during the free talk and bring that in to the gospel topic is tough. A lot of the people tense up when we start talking about it and make less eye contact or start fidgetting. And sometimes if they obviously feel super uncomfortable we don't even bring up the gospel. We figure that it's better for them to think, "Oh hey, it's not so bad to talk to those gringos in white shirts." And then have future missionaries already have a good step on the conversation when they run in to them again.

I've thought of you all a whole lot this week. I'm not sure why but it seems like a lot of stuff happened this week that reminded me of ya'll. Also, Cecillia and Abinadi are getting married soon, they got the paperwork and they just need to fill it out (they are the ones with the daughter that reminds me of Alaina.) I promise I'll send the memory card this week. Sorry I've been terrible about letters and stuff, p-days are sooo busy and I can't write any other day of the week. No excuses. I'll be better.

Much love,
Elder Papritz

Monday, August 9, 2010

Amy - MTC - Aug 9, 2010

Nimen hao wode jiating he pengyou!!!
    This week has been crazy!! So much has happened! Thank you so much for your letters and for the packages. I LOVE the popcorn. I have been eating a bag everyday! I aso share some with the Elders in my district and zone. They love it too. Ok so we found out mid week that we needed to get tests done for our visas. I thought that it would be a simple blood exam and maybe something else. We got chest x-rays at the BYU health center last weeks. Well come to find out it was a stool exam!!!!! EWW  I won't go into details about it because it was really gross but needless to say the Elders were having a great time with the idea. They handed the stuff that we needed for the test in a little white bag. The Elders wanted to take a picture as a district with our bags. 19 year olds... shesh. Anyways, we also had to do a blood test that day too so we could take our sample to the blood test if we had finished it. All the Elders and Sister Bready finished their test that day! It wasn't until the next day in the evening that I was able to accomplish the task. hahaha So that was a lot of fun.......ish.
  On a much happier/ not as gross note. One of our teachers Bai laoshi was promoted to be the director of the Chinese teachers so we lost her as our teacher. They haven't found a replacement yet but in the mean time this week we had Mi Laoshi. He was Amazing!! He served in Taipei and loved it. We learned so much as he taught. One activity that I really liked was he would read a hymn or out of the Moermen jing (book of Mormon) and we would right down word for word what he said. It was so hard but great practice since being able to hear tones and write down the pinyin for a word I dont' know is difficult. Every class we learned so many new words. He also helped a lot with our contacting that we needed to do on Saturday. I learned this week that I am HORRIBLE at contacting!! I get so tongue tied and I dont' know what to say in my limited Chinese. But I am learning slowly that the most important thing that I can do is rely on the Spirit and say things simply. So that has been a challenge this week. With Mi laoshi we also learned a lot of wenfa (grammar) which was really helpful. Now I can say a lot more because I know the grammar. Mi Laoshi also challenged us to learn the First Vision in Chinese by Saturday night. He gave us the challenge on Thursday night. It was so hard but I know that the Lord helped me. I now have the First Vision (Yuese Simi de yi ci yi xiang) memorized!! Can you believe it!! I know that the gift of tongues is real because just in the almost three weeks I have been here I have learned to pray, testify, contact, and say the First Vision in Chinese! This Gospel is so amazing!!! It has been very hard but well worth the work. Mi Laoshi has been a great teacher and so has Tan and Wei Laoshi. Unfortunately Mi Laoshi only taught us last week. He is leaving soon to go to China to study abroad. He will be in Nanjing which is North of where I was. Its sad but I am so glad he got to teach my district for that short amount of time. I feel like I have really improved and like now I can set good language goals.
   Saturday was our TA. It went really well. We contacted for 15 mintues doing door to door contacting. It went a lot better than last week. Sister Bready and I are getting better and sharing the time to talk and relying on eachother more. Our lesson went GREAT! We taught a Buddist lady (she was really a member) and a member friend was  there with her. We taught the First Lesson. The Spirit was so strong. We even committed her to baptism! Its interesting because you totally forget as you are giving these lessons that these people are members and that they already know what you are teaching. I felt such love for Helen (our mudaoyou) and I wanted her so much to feel the Spirit. Sister Bready and taught simply and with the Spirit. Teaching with the Spirit is the MOST important thing. It was great! We have room to improve like having the investigator talk more but it was better than last week.
   Sunday was great! Sacrament meeting and our District meeting went great. I helped teach the lesson in our district meeting on the Atonement. In the evening after the devotional, which was great, Sister Bready and I watched the Joseph Smith Movie. It is so powerful. I knew as I we watched that movie that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he helped restore the fullness of the Gospel on the earth today. I loved the part at the end where Joseph says, "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?"  I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to be a missionary. The cause of spreading the Gospel to all the world is truly the greatest cause that I could be a part of. Helping people come unto Christ is amazing! I love this Gospel!!!
     Anyways, It is so great to get your letters. Except dads when he talks about ribs and walla walla onionrings!! haha Autumn I'm so sorry that your stake president is dragging his heals. I hope that he gets them sent in soon. I'm so glad that Zach's papers are in!! Let me know where he is going. What is the news about finding Kyron? Have they found him yet? Have they charged the stepmom? I was thinking about that the other day and was curious as to what happened.
I love you all and miss you very much! I pray for you and think about you always. I can't wait to hear from you soon!!
All my love,
Yang Jiemei
Sister Papritz

Austin - Madison Wisconsin - Aug 9, 2010

No me toques
That is a phrase my campion uses all the time which means, "don't touch me." Not that I touch him a lot, he just says it a lot if I were to pretend to touch his white shirt if I had ketchup on my fingers or something.
Anyways, played golf again this morning, it was a blast. I did 13 strokes better than last time. I even sunk a 20 foot put...not bad.
So I should probably clarify, there is only one pregant investigator. Cecilia. She gave birth on the first of August, actual. They were going to do a c-section on the 2nd but after we visited her on the first we left and then ten minutes later she tried to stand up and her water (which in Spanish is 'fuente' or fountain haha) broke. So she has a darling baby son now. That's the same lady with the daughter that reminds me of Alaina. She also needs to get married before baptized.
Amparo is the one that is struggling the most with a less active husband and her son is in jail facing 20 years in prison for only witnessing a gang related murder and not reporting it. She needs to get married too before she can be baptized.
The Jones family were in the pictures I sent you. They are a member family. We helped them move to Milwaukee by carrying a bunch of big stuff to the POD they had.
Sonya and her daughter Cindy both have baptismal dates again. She quit her job, I think partly because she didn't like it but also because she didn't like working on Sunday! She called us after she quit kind of like, "What did I just do?" We reassured her that she would be blessed and helped for her incredible decision.
I'll be sending my memory card this week since it is full.
Last night was ridiculous there was lightning flashing BAZERK like every 2-5 seconds. We have part of the window covered by cardboard and at 2:00 AM it blow out and all of this water came in. It was nuts. We could not go back to sleep. I have a nice video of it that I'll try to send ya'll.
The biggest news is that we did exchanges this week. I worked with the district leader. He is so savvy and missionary smart. His name is Elder Sharrah, and he is so good at Spanish. He's also just a really chill guy. Like just looking at him you wouldn't expect him to be the most successful missionary in the entire state. He is truly a spectacular missionary and I just had a ball learning from him. I just tried to open my mind as much as possible and try to analyze and take in everything he did. The Latinos love him too, his Spanish is really, really good. It was a huge lesson to me that I need to make my Spanish as good as possible and it will help the missionary work.
While talking to a few Hispanics on the street, we got to know them and we got pretty familiar with them. They asked us if we played any sports and I said I played soccer and they asked if I was good and I was like, "yeah, I'm pretty good." and they were like, "yeah? Ya wanna play for our team?" And I was like, "yeah sure." And they were like, " what position do you play." And I was like, "striker." And they were like, "what? In Spanish please." And then I had to try to figure out how to say forward in Spanish. But it was cool, I'd totally play for them but I'm leaving in two weeks obviously for Milwaukee, *for those that don't know: I already know I'm going to Milwaukee to be closer to my gastrointerologist since I have frequent doctor appointments.) Anyways, we try to play soccer pretty frequently around here. The latinos love it and it really gets a lot of respect for the missionaries when a lanky gringo steps on the field with a nametag on. It's tight.
Well, I don't have much more time so I'll be going now. Off to McDonalds, probably, for the hundredth time.
Elder Papritz

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Austin - Wisconsin - Aug 2, 2010

I played golf for the first time in my life this morning! Oh man, it was so much fun. I filled up the rest of the memory card with pictures and videos of me played so I'll be sending the memory card home for ya'll. It was so funny, on the last hole (par 3) Elder Privett (Elder Olsen, Elder Privett and Elder Kelly and I were playing golf) told me that if I could get par then he would jump in to the swampy water hazard. I had yet to get par but the hole was 129 yards away (lucky number) so I was feelin' it. Off the tee I drew the ball pretty bad to the left but it took a pretty lucky bounce off a tree and came back. Then I got the wedge, about 40 yards from the hole, and just absolutely ducked it right on to the green only 5 yards away. Elder Privett was freaking out, I had never got so close. I lined up for the put, took my time to calculate the velocity and direction. I factored the wind. adjusted my feet. Pulled the club back. Tapped the ball, the ball rolled right for the pin. Elder Privett yelled out a girlish squeel. The ball hit a tuff of weeds and got redirected but it was still on course to the hole. 10 inches, 8 inches.... 6 inches....4 inches and it curled away from the hole!! I didn't put enough juice behind it. Uuugh, everyone was freaking out it was so close to going in haha. Anyways, it was a blaast, I never thought golfing would be so fun and I think it's awesome I got to experience it for the first time on my mission of all places.

This last week as been a blast, Elder Kelly and I have really gotten along well (not that we hadn't before, but we just really connected this week). Also we had so many fun appointments and lessons, it was great. Cecilia (one of our baptismal dates) is as pregnant as pregnant gets, they tried to induce her twice and it hasn't worked, crazy huh? But we were over at her and Abinadi's house (her boyfriend, he's a less-active member) and they were babysitting this little boy that was like 7 years old and it was sooo funny. The little boy was just running around without his shirt on in the first place and then while we were eating lunch he just got up and starting doing a Michael Jackson impression and he was singing Billy Jean in this terrible Spanish accent and was dancing like him and even grabbed his crotch and did all that. Oh man, we were dyiiiing, it was so funny! That family is so awesome, they call me Papita which means potato chip.

So we were going to have two baptisms this week, Sonya and her 8 year old daughter Cindy, and on Sunday morning she got called in to work and they reworked her schedule, gave her more hours and so she couldn't get baptized. That was frustrating. She still doesn't know how many Sunday's she'll have to work now. It's just kind of a "well, great!" moment because now even if she got baptized who knows how active she would be so we kind of have to take it a little slower with her now and make sure she's in the right place to get baptized. But man, Satan has sure been doing some work in Madison lately. We found out another one of our baptismal date's boyfriend might still be married to a random white girl that he married when he was in Utah which he claims he got divorced to but that's not what the member records show. And we went over for her birthday and they had a ton of family and they were drinking and he was drinking with her and he's a member (albeit less-active).

Let's see, last p-day Elder Kelly sprained his ankle pretty dang bad, it swollen up and there's a bruise ring around his ankle. Good thing we had the car this week though. He hobbles around everywhere and it's kind of embarrassing to be next to him, sometimes when I get ahead of him I'll turn around and he'll be hobbling towards me and I'll say, "Oh no, Frankie's comin'!!!"  (frankie as in Frankenstein).

On Saturday Elder Moffat (an English Elder in the area called the campus area which is the University of Wisconsin campus) and I played soccer with a bunch of non-members from all over the world, it was really cool. We played the first week I got here too so this might sound familiar but it was cool. They really had a lot of respect for us because we could play really well.

All has been well, I can't believe it's about to be a month out in the field. And then soon enough my first transfer will be over. Oh, and my Spanish has really been taking off. I've been taking a lot of phone calls lately and my comprehension has just been skyrocketing lately. It's super exciting.

Love you all, I pray for your happiness and well being. Take care!

Elder Papritz

Monday, August 2, 2010

Amy - MTC - Aug 2, 2010

Dear Family,

This week has been crazy!!! It has been full of ups and downs but mostly ups. I love the MTC though. It is the best place in the world!!!! Our district is awesome!! So for the downs of the week. I realized on the 29 that this is going to be a WHOLE lot harder than I thought it would be. We had our first teaching appointment on Saturday (more about that later) so this whole week we were preparing for that. It was really stressful. We had to contact for 15 minutes in Chinese. We needed to be able to ask them different questions about their lives and then ask questions about their religious beliefs all in Chinese. Stressful!! The language has been hard. Its difficult to memorize the words and phrases that I need to teach adn then recall them in a seconds notice. But I know that from the time that I entered the MTC to now I have made HUGE leaps of progression in my language. So that bit of discouragement just lasted that day. I know that the gift of tongues is real and that is works in my life.

So on to the Lehi (or awesome) part of the week. On wednesday we listened to an AMAZING talk by Elder Holland called "The Miracle of a Mission." Phinmonial!!! He talked about how his mission changed his life. He said that we need to not waste any day, hour or second of our mission. "We are involved in the MOST important work that we can be doing on the earth namely, the saving of souls." I love that part! As missionaries we are saving souls. I know that their are people in Taiwan that need to be invited to come unto Christ. After listening to that talk it made me so excited to work and to do that much more to prepare. So that was awesome!! The devotional on Tuesday was amazing too!!! All of the meetings here are so uplifting and really help us focus on the work.

Saturday was our teaching appointment. It went soo good!!! The contacting was a little rough and there are a lot of things that we need to work on but we did really good for it being our first time. We contacted three different people and then gave our lesson to the last person we contacted. Or in our case two people. We taught Brittany and Agnis the first lesson. We spent most of our time on the first two points of the first lesson which are that God is our Loving Heavenly Father and that God Blesses Families. We also focused a lot on prayer and how Angis could recieve answers to her prayers. I was worried that we didn't get through the whole lesson but our teacher said that the most important thing that we can do is to follow the Spirit's promptings. Aftere lesson Sister Bready and I were discussing our lesson and what goals we needed to make to improve when Brittany came up to us. She told us that Agnis was a real investigator and that she said after we had left that we answered all of her questions. She is also planning on getting baptized!!!!!!! AHHHH!!! Sister Bready and I were so excited to say the least!! Both of us burst into tears and we gave Brittany a huge hug. I felt so grateful that we had followed the Spirit and talked about the Holy Ghost and how Agnis could get anwers to her prayers. Needless to say, the Elders in our District were way jealous!! Both of us were so pumped after that for the work. This Gospel is so amazing!! It is so simple but can really touch the hearts of everyone who are willing to listen to the message and the Spirit.

Sunday was great too! We had mission conference which was great. All of the speakers were amazing!! After that we had fast and testimony meeting on our Branch. The whole meeting is done in Chinese. The songs, prayers, talks, testimonies everything. So for fast and testimony meeting we could bear our testimonies in chinese, english or chinglish if we didn't know how to say something. And guess what??? I got up and bore my testimony completely in Chinese!!! I was so nervous!! I could literally feel my heart pounding as a waited for my turn. As I spoke I could feel the Spirit guiding me in what I should say. It was amazing!! I only had to use English in one spot and it as for the word answers. I was shaking so bad after that but I was so excited!!! I learned so much about myself and the Spirit then. I learned that I know more than I thought and that the Spirit can really help me and fill my mouth with the words I need to say if I will just rely on the Spirit. It reminds me of a scripture in Moses 6:31-34 when Enoch is talking to the Lord about his feelings of doubt in speaking. The Lord says ," Open thy mouth and I will fill thy mouth with my words." I KNOW that is true because it happened to me. This Gospel is so true. There is no doubt in my mind about that.

So how is everything at home. Dad, I literally laughed out loud at your letter about the loose rooster. The Chinese Elders that walked past us proably thought I was Crazy!! Please send me pictures of the chicken coop when it is done. Mom, here is a list of things that I would like you to send. I don't know where my jacket is. Im pretty sure its in my closet. Maybe it got put into yours by mistake???

I love you all and miss you VERY much! I know that this was the right choice for me. There is no where else I would rather be than here!!!

All my love,

Yang Jiemei (Sister Papritz

P.S Sorry this is in a ps but ZHU NI SHENGRI KUAILE DAD and AUTUMN!! I hope that you both had great birthdays. I'm sorry that I had to miss them.

P.P.S Please send Austin's e-mails to me on Dear Elder!!! I dont' have time to read them!!! LOVE YOU ALL!!! GOD BE WITH YOU TILL WE MEET AGAIN!!

Amy - First week MTC - July 26, 2010

Nimen hao!!!!
I am so glad that Monday is finally here!!! This past week has been ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!! I love the MTC! A lot of people told me that they hated the MTC and that they couldn't wait to get out but I can't see why. I love it here! The Spirit is so strong all the time. Austin was right! There is truly no other place on earth like this. Its so awesome to walk down the hallway and to hear Elders and Sisters speak in a bunch of different languages. Many have beared their testimonies with me and it is amazing how simple they are yet so powerful. I am doing great! I sent a letter to you saying that I need my immunization record sent to me with the two dates for my MMR shots. If you could send them ASAP that would be great!
Ok, about the MTC. Once I tearfully said goodbye to mom, dad and autumn I walked with that sister inside where they showed me to my room. I once I put my stuff down I went to another building and got my tag, whitehandbook, and a bunch of other things. This older sister put my tag on me in place of my mom. It was so wonderful to finally put my tag on. It was so amazing to feel the Spirit so strongly once I had my tag on. I love it!! 550 new missionaries came in the same day I did. Isn't that awesome!? Just on the first day I saw Elder Rane and Fredrickson. They love it here too. I have also seen a few other people from our stake that are here.I did a bunch of checking in stuff which was crazy! It felt like I was in a hurricane. Then I went into my classroom and met my companion and district. My companion is Sister Bready!! Its so crazy how we ended up being companions. She is absolutely amazing and has such a strong testimony of the Gospel. We have a lot of fun together but we work really hard. My district is incredible!!!! There are 5 companionships total and Sister Bready or Jiang Jiemei and I are the only sisters. These Elders are so amazing. They each have such strong testimonies of the Gospel. Most of us have had a little experience with Chinese except for 3 Elders. One of them is from Malyasia. His name is Elder Deines. Pray for him. He is having a difficult time with Chinese. His English is not very good so he has to learn English and Chinese. But dispite the fact that they have little or no knowledge of Chinese they have done amazingly. Its amazing how the gift of tounges works and how much we have learned in the last 5 days. When we started we could barely speak Chinese now we can all pray a sincere longish prayer and bear our testimonies. I know the Spirit is really and that it is such a blessing in my life to have. This next Saturday we give our first lesson!! YIKES!!! We first contact someone in a park setting (really its just in a classroom) in Chinese and then we teach them a lesson in English. I am so excited to teach but scared stiff. I know though that the Spirit is the real teacher. Our laoshimen (teachers) are wonderful. We have three sisters teaching our class. Each of them served a mission in Taiwan. They have such a love for the Chinese language and for the people in Taiwan. They make our classes really fun but they work us really hard. After our meeting each other and having a few meetings about the MTC we did some teaching. They had all of the new Elders and Sisters in a room and taught us that we need to keep our lessons simple and we need to teach by the Spirit. It was a truly humbling experience. It made me excited to teach but also nervous because these are really people with real problems that we need to help bring unto Chirst. Its exciting to know that I will be able to help them.
Today is our Preparation day. We had the wonderful opportunity to go to the temple to day. I love the temple. The Provo temple is beautiful. The session was great and the Spirit was so strong. It definately will set the tone for the whole week. For the rest of P-day I am going to write some letters. By the way mom if you can send me Sister Papworth's address I bought a thank you card to send her. Other than that and studying that is really it. We also have classes today in the evening. The classes are long but really great.
Well family I can't think of anything else to write. I got a huge e-mail from Austin but I wasn't able to read it because the computer was being stinky! I will write him today. I love you all so much! I miss you like crazy!! Please write lots of letters and send pictures. I know without a doubt in my mind that a mission is the best thing that I can be doing right now. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that it is the only way that we can be happy. Love you! I pray and think about you every day and night.
All my love,
Sister Papritz (Yang Jiemei)

Austin - Wisconsin - July 26, 2010

Oh man, on Thursday it was BONKERS. We woke up in the morning and we literally could not see a dot of blue in the sky as far as we could see, it has been way sunny and bright and hot and humid every day here. In the middle of the day, as we are waiting for the bus, we hear the city sirens go off warning of tornado (but from what Elder Kelly told me they are pretty sensitive about turning those on even at the smallest sign of a tornado). So we thought nothign of it. We continued the day and we were in the ghetto and we heard live marching band music and so we started walking toward it and the University of Wisconsin had sent out their marching band to play for some of the ghetto people, there were like 40 people with their kids just dancin' in the street, it was way cool. And then it started to rain and so we ran for cover, the local McDonalds. And then it just started to POUR. And we had another appointment to get to on the other side of town. It rained so hard that it literally formed rivers in the strees and sidewalks. There was zero fog and yet we couldn't even see the highway which was only 50 yards away the rain was sooo thick. A few more people came in to the McDonals from off the highway because they said it was nuts, they just couldn't see at all. One man came up in his truck and he kind of sat down next to us and started talking, he reminded me soo much of Josh Hunsaker. He was just like, "Yeah I couldn't see a thing I was pretty much just watching the line and hoping no one else was slowing down." haha, he is also a carpenter like Josh too and he was heading to a project and just had to stop. Then....all of the sudden....*SHWOOM* the power goes out in the McDonalds, the flicker back on (probably the generator, I'm not sure) but then they go out again, then it comes on for a couple seconds more and then goes out for good. I look to my left at the nearby neighborhood and stores and they are ALL out of power. We were trapped. And the place started smelling like stale fried chicken. Then Elder Kelly brought up that he hadn't seen a bus pass in the last hour (yes we were refuged in the McDonalds for 2 hours). We had to call and cancel our appointment because the busses stopped running. The Josh Hunsaker guy told us, after he got off the phone with one of his co-workers, that the project was off because a tornado had touched down in the down he was going to haha. It was crazy.
Finally the busses started running again but it was still pouring. So we had to wait under the cover of McDonalds and just run to the stop once we saw the bus coming around the corner (so that we didn't have to wait outside in the rain). We saw it coming and we starting running, we were dodging all sorts of big puddles and small rivers and then we got to the street and there was seriously a foot-deep puddle that ran all along the street and was 5 feet long, I made a long jump and only caught the edge fo the puddle. Elder Kelly hesitated and tried to do a standing jump and aboslutely got rocked by the puddle haha. We both rushed in to the bus and just headed home an hour early. On the way home we passed by some streets that were just compleeetely flooded, there were cars under a foot and a half of water. I've also never seen such distinct lightning in my life, it was brilliant. Uuuugh, anyways, I'm alive. But it was so intense.
The week in general was kind of bleeh, we were on bus week so we have to spend so much time on the busses and our days are pretty muched ruined when people dog us on appointments. Our numbers were pretty bad this week but we did pick up two new investigators, this girl named Jasmin and her Dad Pedro, she also has a member sister named Karen, she seems to be really solid in the church and loves to go and talk to us and has a really strong testimony but is randomly pregant and has a boyfriend that lives in Utah. I don't know, I must have missed something because it was in all Spanish. But they are a cool family, when we first knocked on their apartment door only the girls were there and they are 19 and 20. (Elder Kelly and I are 19 and 20 years old respectively) and we peeked in to their apartment and all that was in there was a sheet-less bed in the middle of the living room and they said their Dad wasn't home yet. It wasn't a big deal but Elder Kelly and I liked to believe it was more than what it seemed. But we just waited outside until their Dad got back from work, which was only 15 minutes. It turned out that they had just moved in to that apartment a week ago and they just didn't have much furniture, we had to eat our fatty, half-cooked chicken standing up. It was an interesting meal.
Cecilia had a baby come out of her last Sunday. She was one of our baptismal dates but had to put it off for marriage and the delivery. We went over and gave her a blessing before she was induced, that was a really cool experience. She is the investigator with the daughter like Alaina. It's darling, whenever we are in lessons, she be kind of sitting behind her mom and while we are having a deeply spiritual lesson she'll be giving me the pirate-eye and then will make a "i'll slit your throat' motion with her hand across her neck and then she'll point at me. And it is so hard not to just bust out laughing.

Austin - Wisconsin - July 19, 2010

¡Hola a todo!
Second week was fantastic with the car! We got a lot done, had a lot of teaching appointments and picked up three new investigators this week. But it seems our baptismal dates are kind of wavering. Two of them are definitely excited and we have started the process of planning the actually baptism but the other three aren't doing as hot. Two of them need to get married and just seem to have no motivation to get married and so during our last companionship study we had construction paper and we made DARLING Calendarios del Matrimonio (Marriage Calenders haha). They're all colorful and we have the date with the marriage on it with a big cake drawn in the box and pictures of the temple, hearts and stuff, it's quite cute. And our last baptismal date is having a really hard time, her son has gotten in to drugs and lives on the street and with bad friends.

We met this 19 year old kid that was driving a Cadillac and he pulled up into a driveway while we were walking, we started talking to him and he was so cool. He's so mature for a 19 year old. He's been through a lot. His dad drank and kicked him out of the house when he was 16 and he has a girlfriend and a child and he has a job at a door making factory and has recently got promoted to the managerial position. And he was just so willing to talk to us, he had so many good questions like Who created the earth (he was kind of confused because Catholics believe God and Jesus are one and so he didn't understand how Jesus could have made the earth if he wasn't born yet.) And what is God's plan for families and he was just curious how he could thank God for all that he had. He was really interested about creation, like creation of the world, babies, mountains, flowers...everything. It just thought it was incredible how God made everything, he knew it wasn't from man because man can only create "robot-like stuff"as he put it. And obviously interested about the creation of babies because he just recently had one. He thought it was cool that God allows people to create other people. Anyways, he was quite a bright young man.
Let's see, Elder Kelly and I also had a really bad day on Thursday, a lot of our appointments fell through, it seemed like no one answered the doors or wanted to talk to us and to top it off I got a headache and was feeling nauseous. So we went back to the apartment and I took a small nap and then we went to Dairy Queen and got a blizzard and recommitted to speak Spanish more, work harder and do better and trust in God always! It was fantastic! We're gonna get some work done, fuurr shuure. In fact, I make 20 notecards every morning now and together we are learning 20 new words a day, it's actually really useful. We try to find different reasons to use words like bleach, squirrel, hierarchy, ditch, birdcage and other stuff in contacts and lessons. I'm learning fast.
Okay, so the day where I was all alone with an English speaking companion -- AMAZING. Holy cow, I didn't even know God knew Spanish but he obvious does because I know it wasn't me that was speaking or understand what anyone was saying. The Zone Leader was quite impressed. We went tocaring (knocking on doors and contacting) for like 2 and a half hours and I managed to hold a conversation with every we met and extend a commitment and even get return appointments with several people. I also taught two lessons all by myself. To Paulo, a knew investigator we have that we found while tocaring, I taught the whole first lesson, it was awesome. He had lots of questions too that I was able to answer and he's excited to meet again, he also asked me about what the bible said about abortion, I didn't really have an answer so I told him I'd search for an answer and have something for him when we returned (I could use help with this too, I still have no idea what scripture I'm going to show him besides the normal don't murder scriptures.) And I taught an impromptu lesson to the investigator with a baptismal date with her son living on the streets (it was the first time I had seen or talked to her). I asked her about how she felt about baptism and she told me she wish she knew more about the Book of Mormon so we sat down and had a little lesson on the Book of Mormon and it was incredible. The spirit was so strong. And I found out later it was honestly a miracle because Elder Kelly tells me that for some reason she has a reeeallly hard time understanding Elders but she never once asked me to repreat myself and she would respond to me very appropriately. But really, they've tried bringing in several Spanish speaking Elders from other areas to try to speak to her and not even the best speakers could communicate really well with her haha. When I told my companion that I taught her a lesson he just got really wide eyed and was just like, "What? Did she understand you at all?" And I said, "Oh come on, I'm not that bad."And he said, "No, she always has a hard time understanding Elders." He was pretty surprised, he expected me to just make a return appointment with her not teach a lesson. How cool is that?
It's hot as a biscuit in our apartment, I don't sleep with anything over me and if we have both fans going and the AC blasting then it's actually a pretty good sleep but it's funny that it's just way to hot even with even one blanket so I just sleep on top of my sheets and blankets. And last week I washed my garments but didn't want to spend $1.25 on drying so I just aired dried them and I guess I didn't dry them enough because I put them in my draw and then throughout the week we noticed a sour smell coming from my body and I honestly thought I had developed body odor but it took a couple days for me to pinpoint that it was my underwear and that it was from when I had put them away still a little wet. It was terrible and my companion has still never let me forget it, he sometimes say as we are getting in the car, "Uugh, smells like a dirty garment bottom in here." haha
Much Love,
Elder Papritz
to Tom Westover, thanks for the letter, it was the first letter I got out in the field. They had it waiting for me in the sleeve of the binder they gave each of us at an orientation meeting. I'll write you later but I just wanted you to know that I had just gotten the letter, and from what you were saying I think you assumed I was only in the MTC for 6 weeks. One more month until marriage, right? Sick. haha