June 25, 2012

The YSA conference has been a great success with the Chinese recent
converts and investigators alike! We ended up being at the Chapel and
other related activities most of the time in order to facilitate the
integration and communication between the Local Brits and the Chinese
students. Overall we ended up with about twenty Chinese who attended
from within the boundaries of our mission. Seventeen from Liverpool,
two from Preston, and one from Manchester. It was also great to see
other Chinese students from other parts of England show up. There was
one from Cambraige, one from Leicster, and four from Newcastle
up-on-tyme/Hull. At times it was very difficult to initiate
conversations between the Chinese students and the English speakers,
but for the most part we were able to keep them fairly involved in the
activities. In the end we were also able to build up the relationships
between the Chinese students from the different areas of the country,
we feel that that was a great success in itself.

To be honest the whole experience was very awkward and out of place
for me. We literally attended the whole of a YSA conference except for
the dance part of Saturday night. I haven't even been to a YSA
conference or anything else like that in my life, and now I had to
experience it as a missionary. I had such mixed feelings the whole
time I was there. The worst part was the fact that all 250 of the YSA
were probably thinking the same thing. What in the world are these
four missionaries doing here at our Convention?! They had either one
of two things in their mind, or both. These missionaries are so
apostate wasting their time at a YSA conference, or, oh no, the
missionaries are here to make us speak to the 20 Chinese people they
brought, run away! So awkward.... I truly feel that I will never
experience such an awkward social situation like that in my life
again. But like I said, the time spent there was very effective in
helping the Chinese in their own personal conversion process and
really enjoying their time there.

It was a great learning experience though which built character in a
specific way. Imagine walking up to a girl YSA, speaking to them in
the most professional yet personable way possible so that you can then
smoothly/casually lead them to speak to a Chinese member or
investigator who is standing there by themselves not sure what to do.
All of this so you don't look like an apostate missionary flirting
with a girl while not making it seem to the girl you are just using
them or forcing them to speak to a Chinese person. Elder Cai and I
have had many a conversation about the whole thing, and we are just
grateful it is over and it went as well as it did.

So like I said, mom and dad, if there is anything that is going to
distract my attention or focus on my mission, it would be going to a
YSA conference for three days where most of what they talk about is
dating and marraige. I am pleased to say that we succeeded in our
mission of helping the chinese while keeping focus on why we were
there in the first place. Talk about experiences you can only have as
a missionary.... Haha

Because we were there to translate for some of the Chinese during the
Firesides we had that wonderful opportunity to listen to President
Kopischke answering some questions the YSA had. Unfortunately for us,
much of the discussion was centered around dating and getting married
as you would imagine at a YSA convention. It was very strange being
there and listening to those types of comments as a missionary. One
thing he did say though that he tied directly to missionary work is
about recieving a confirmation of whether or not you should be
married/baptized. He said that sometimes people know that they truly
love each other before they get married, recieving the confirmation
that they should. Whereas others don't feel that true love or joy
until later after the marraige. He said it is very similar to people
joining the church.

Some people feel/recieve an answer that what they are doing is right
before they are baptized, but for some it comes even later after the
Gift of the Holy Ghost has been given. When he said that, Elder Cai
and I looked at each other. We had been discussing the very subject of
whether or not you should baptize someone who has not recieved their
answer yet. And it sounds like from President Kopischke that yes you
should if they want to do it for the right reasons and are doing
everything right, but they just have not felt or recognized the answer
yet. In time when all of the right things are being done they will
recieve that confirmation telling them what they have done is right.
Both Elder Cai and I are very grateful for the opportunity we had to
learn important and useful principles even at a YSA conference with
the main purpose being to find an eternal companion or being taught
how to do so elsewhere.

I had a great time on Exchange with Elder Caner this past week. Elder
Caner being from France I thought he would be much more reserved and
quiet. Much to my surprise I was very wrong. Elder Caner has a
fanastic personality and is very charismatic, always laughing and
helping others to laugh as well. He has a great strength of helping
those around him feel comfortable, which then allows them to share the
way they are really feeling. Always optomistic and willing to help and
be of service, I can honestly say that Elder Caner went about doing
everthing he could to make my life better and happier as well as
everyone else we met. He is a great missionary with a very pure heart
and right intentions and I am grateful I was able to learn so much
from his example. The only thing that keeps him from progressing
quickly in his skills is his English speaking abilities. And as I can
empathize with him, that is something that will have to be worked on
slowly but surely on a daily basis. Oh the joys of missionary work!!

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