Mai Gems: February

For the month of February, a few highlights were:

  • started a new personal study project
  • had family worship every week with my own family
  • gotten close to a friend and her family
  • followed through my 30 day cleanse
  • got promoted to shift lead
  • attended a dear friend’s wedding
  • filled out the “serve where need is greater” application

This month was a personal struggle for me. It seems like once something happens, Satan just attacks you at the worst with so many challenges. I had let myself turn into a mess. But I had meditated on a few scriptures throughout this month to keep in mind that this is all temporary and for strength. 1 Peter 5:9-11.

But take your stand against him.. after you have suffered a little while, the God of all undeserved kindness.. will make you firm. He will make you strong. He will firmly ground you”

 

Mai Gems: January

I can’t believe the first month of the year is coming to an end. To begin, I got hit by a car.

Literally, I did. I was walking towards the entrance of Walmart when a driver who wasn’t paying attention, turned towards my direction and hit me directly on my left knee with her front left bumper. Talk about starting the year of with a big hit! (get it?) On the bright side, my bone isn’t fractured. But the tissues on top of it is torn. On another bright side, it’s not separated. Still dangerous though. I had to be on crutches and brace for two in a half weeks. Those weeks were horrible. But it was a great conversation starter. I haven’t been able to go out in service very much. But with constant physical therapy, I was able to take off the brace and crutches sooner than expected! I still need to work on balancing both of my legs since I don’t have anything to lean on. It did make me appreciate my legs even more and not take them for granted. I do need to be careful and my knee is still very weak and damaged. I don’t know how long it will take to mend. But being a tad active has been helping my upper muscles gain back their balance, helping my knee.

I found myself falling into depression a few weeks afterwards since my sister was hospitalized. It was a few rough weeks. I had a lot on my plate, more than what I could handle and it was breaking me down. With diligent prayer, I’m very grateful to have wonderful elders and friends in the congregation for help and encouragement.

But even with those events, my month grew to get better.

I kept myself busy with uplifting productivity. Although I was not able to go out in service much, I did get to witness to some people during work, informal at the doctor, and text messaging/phone calling publishers!

All thanks to Jehovah, I made it to my 2017 Pioneer Meeting! This meeting was so encouraging for all of the pioneers, reminding us that even though we do a lot, Jehovah will always provide for what we need at the perfect time. This meeting came at the most needed time for me, personally. It was a wonderful evening spending quality time with everyone getting to know each other.

During this month, I focused more on the kids in the congregation. I always think of them and in what fun ways I can help with the parents to keep their children busy during the meetings. I had put together a variety of candies and made goody bags. Each filled with a different project inside. It was a small piece of paper either with “What are a few things I love about Jehovah”? and “What is my favorite Bible Scripture?”. The kids all did their projects which was amazing! I’m so proud of them! For completing the project, I got them all a small book to use for the meeting and ministry, giving them another project to do during the meeting to pay attention. After the meeting, they shared with each other what their notes were. I think these notebooks was a perfect gift, because there were different cute animated animals and each got a different kind.

Another big highlight was I had my very first family study with my own family. It took us many years to finally do this. But we did it. And I’m so happy.

There’s a sister in my congregation, Hermana Quinones. We’ve been trying to make service plans together for the past almost two months. So we finally got to go out together and it was a very productive morning! We both got calls that we will go back and do follow ups on together.

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But the biggest accomplishment/highlight for this month was having my very first talk in Spanish. I’m so happy to have loving support afar and near! It was an awesome night, all thanks to Jehovah for his help and patience.

 

 

Sometimes change is good

Cliche as this is, but this year has taught me a lot.

One word that I can sum it up would be: growth. I feel like this year was a huge highlight for me compared to the last past few years. A lot of different things had happened. They somehow aligned with one another, building me up. I have to say, it was all thanks to Jehovah. Without the difficulties and changes, I wouldn’t be where I am right now — happy and striving.

Remembering back, I began the beginning of the year in a relationship. But it ended, all for the better. I remember it was a big hit for me. My whole life was about to change. A change that I was not ready for. I was still holding onto things that I just could not let go. I knew I needed a change. But somewhere I could grow in and not change completely and move my life somewhere.

I can’t remember everything that happened throughout this year. All I can remember is I got to attend pioneer school which was one of the biggest highlight in my life. A whole week with no work. Just spiritually, emotionally, and mentally focused in school with people who shared the same goals as I and created lifelong friendships.

I learned that I had to go through a lot of different obstacles to finally get where I needed to be with Jehovah’s help. I learned a few things the hard way. Painful ways. There were months I was just completely drained, but I made it out alive. Blossoming as a result.

I learned to let go a few things — needed things. And to acceptance. It took some time and will always be a part of me, but what’s important is I remember what it taught me. It’s hard to move on, but that is life. If you are moving backwards or just being at the same place, you’re not doing it right. Of course moving forward does not mean it will always be perfect. There will be bumps down down that road. What matter is how you handle those bumps.

Do you just drive over it, ending with a damaged tire? Or slow down, seeing what’s ahead and try your best to go over it?

Part of moving on does not necessarily mean you forget everything in the past. It’s good to look back and understand what you left behind. Some things you never have closure. But that does not mean you can’t give yourself the closure you need. And it can be scary, because then you realize things you did not before. Things you wish you knew or accepted. Still, you can only decide if it stops you from moving forward or not. Because at some point, you need to let go and embrace what you have ahead.

I had to let go of some people in order to gain some. But it also made me cherish the people that I have in my life right now even more.

Spiritually, I grew a lot. And that’s a highlight I mostly can remember. I am now in this foreign field I did not expect to move into so soon. I learned a lot about myself. How eager I am to work hard for something I have a passion for. How patient I need to be with myself and other people. The value of a pioneer. Taking advantage of more opportunities, trusting Jehovah fully in it that He will take care of me. Building my faith. Mostly just using my singleness and youth to the fullest. I can’t express how happy I am and I know you’re probably so tired of seeing those words in the past recent posts, but it’s true. I am completely happy. Am I having difficulties? Of course. But I have joy in enduring.

This year was also filled with simplifying my life more. I have never had a lot of things. I can easily fit all of my clothes in two large suitcases. I do not own a lot of makeup, just a small travel size bag with everyday items. For shoes, I try to keep two for work and the rest, using it for going out, service, and meetings. And jewelry, I think I only have three necklaces and five pairs of earrings. But I mostly wear the same pair every day. I have always enjoyed keeping my life as simple as I can. Because I do have a goal of serving somewhere else if my circumstances allow in the future, it would be better to start living with only needed things right now. That way when the time does come, it won’t be hard for me to move or get rid of things.

One huge thing I got to simply are my finance. Last year I got a car that was working better than my previous one. But the monthly payments were starting to get too much for me and making it hard to save. With my Dad needing a car to use, I gave mine to him and got a used car. This car is fairly older. I do miss the luxury of my old car, but with saving $200 a month in mind along with taking me safely to destination A to B, I cannot complain. It’s also a great car for service, enough space.

Change comes in a lot of different ways. It can be bad. But sometimes, change can be good.

 

Keeping things balanced

With a full time job, pioneering, and learning a foreign language; it is very hard to remain balanced. Of course, with Jehovah’s help and learning how to prioritize, it isn’t impossible.

Today’s Watchtower article was very encouraging, focusing on maintaining your spiritual health while serving in a foreign language. Moving into a foreign language from a foreign language does make me value the need and how much opportunities there are you can take advantage of while you are young and single. When I was in the Vietnamese, although I needed to study in both Vietnamese and English, it was not hard for me since I know both. I did not need to make as much time as I do now since I am in the Spanish.

Now I have to make more time than before. My personal studies are different. I have one day where I do my normal personal study and on another day, it’s mostly focused on theocratic in Spanish. Then I set aside time throughout the week to study for my weekday meeting and Watchtower. Not to mention additional time to study Spanish and review my comments. On top of that, my pioneering and job along with responsibilities at home.

At times I get worn out and get discouraged, because I feel like I can’t do it. Mostly, because I want to improve so fast, I get impatient with myself. It still is hard for me at meetings to understand everything the brother says. It is frustrating when you want to do more, but your body simply cannot. But that’s where Jehovah comes in and gives me the push of motivation that I need to not give up. Once again, I cannot express how much I love my congregation. Because of the support and love that I get, it really is what pushes me to do more. I’m not alone. Jehovah knows what I need and has given it to me more than I’d imagined.

Regular personal study, reading the scriptures, and meditating on those things is something else that helps enormously. When I meditate on what I read, in a way, I allow Jehovah to talk to me. Anyone can read the Bible. But when you really ponder on the things you’ve read, it makes it so much more meaningful and intense. That was something Daniel experienced. I remember in the Watchtower study article, he read the “holy books” and maintained his spiritual health with Jehovah God. He did not want to sin and make Jehovah sad. He did everything he could to grow and remain faithful to Jehovah.

So what I do is I plan my two weeks. I put it in schedule for service, work, studies, errands, ect. I have it on my tablet so it will be easier for me to keep. I used to carry a planner around, but I now use my tablet and my planner at home for more personal things and financial planning. I love color coordinating! For instance, my favorite color is purple. I decided to use purple for the ministry. Blue is for going out, orange for errands, so on. I try to make it fun for myself when I plan my two weeks. Plus every time I look at my calendar, it makes me happy seeing it filled with different colors! This is a way I remain balanced: is to have a schedule and prioritize things in my life as needed. It’s all about knowing what is most important in my life and setting goals accomplish it.

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I’ve learned that it is insanely important to have a rest day. It’s okay to miss a day or morning out in service. Jehovah will understand. I used to feel so bad for missing a day in service, but I needed it. My body needs it. I’ve learned that even if I do push myself, it’s not healthy to go into the ministry and be distracted due to my health. I want to give Jehovah my all, but in a positive and healthy manner. Not to go just to make hours. What’s important is when I go out, the all that I give to Jehovah is pure and healthy. It also affects other people around me. So to also have brotherly love towards them, I do not want to worry others and make them feel bad.

A few questions I ask myself are: What more can I do for Jehovah? In what ways can I contribute to the congregation more? Which of the older friends need a ride to service or meetings? How can I encourage the young ones? Who should I make plans to go out with this week? How can I improve in my comments and in the ministry? Am I keeping things prioritize from work and my relationship with Jehovah?  In what ways am I showing Jehovah I trust Him?

“For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power.”

Philippians 4:13

“Have an interchange of encouragement” Rom. 1:11,12

This past weekend was very special for me.

I had the privilege to attend the Annual Pioneer Meeting in Spanish. There aren’t enough words to express how happy I am to be part of it. Not being able to attend the English this year had made me sad, but all thanks to Jehovah, I was able to attend the Spanish. The meeting was held at our Assembly hall. 310 people attended. It was my first time attending the meeting at an Assembly hall with that many people! It was very encouraging to see all the pioneers in the circuit, young and elderly. Listening to different experiences and how they got into the pioneer work. Also to remember what it is being a pioneer and how to help out others, seeking others interests first. Remembering to always continue encouraging one another.

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Cindy & I

I remember as I was driving to the pioneer school, I was shocked and amazed. I couldn’t believe with Jehovah’s help, I’ve come this far. I was crying with happiness, because earlier that morning, my elder had sent me wonderful news. And to top that day off, attending the meeting was something I thought I was not able to do this year.

The next day I attended the Assembly. What made this Assembly special to me is it was my first official Español Assemblea. The other times I was just visiting. This time, I went on my own, with my congregation. I didn’t feel alone. I felt at home.

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It has been seven months since I’ve been with the Spanish. Just a few months away from a year! I’ve grown a lot with the Spanish. I love everyone in the congregation. With my parents the Vietnamese and me in the Spanish, I do not feel alone when I go to meetings, service, or spiritual gatherings. Some people think I feel lonely, but it’s the complete opposite. The congregation has become like my own family. Even though I go alone, I never feel like I am. I have a strong support from everyone and that is something I cherish very much. So much has been done, many waiting to be accomplished!

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My first assignment in Spanish doing the contribution box!

Spiritual Gems

I personally really enjoyed the spiritual gems we’ve had at the meeting in our workbook the past few weeks. I’d like to share my comments on it. (I don’t have a Spanish keyboard on hand so the comments in Spanish is the best as is without accents).

  • Proverbs 15:15 How can we find greater joy in life?

We don’t want Satan to grasp our happiness with every day problems. If we view everything negatively, we will feel “afflicted” and every day will appear bad. But if we focus on positive things, we will have a “cheerful heart” and feel happy.

The choice is ours.

No queremos que Satanas nos robe nuestra felicidad con los problemas. Si vemos todo lo negativo nos vamos a sntir “afligido”. Pero si centramos en lo positivo, vamos a tener un banquete constantemente y sentiremos muy felices nos.

  • What does this week’s Bible reading teach me about Jehovah?

Proverbs 5:21 Jehova Dios ve todo. Nuestro mayor incentivo para mantener la pureza moral es tener nuestros caminos y nos va a pedir cuentas de lo que hagamos.

  • Proverbs 20:25 How does this scripture apply to marriage and dating?

Marriage is sacred. We want to be prepared and know what is involved before marriage. We do not want to regret making the decision, because we weren’t ready.

El matrimonio es muy sacrado. Queremos ser sabios, preparado, y saber lo que esta implicado en la matrimonio. No queremos lamentarnos y vivir infeliz despues del matrimonio, porque no estabamos listos.

  • What does this week’s Bible reading teach me about Jehovah?

Proverbs 18:14 Jehovah gives us the strength to be positive. Health problems or every day life difficulties can lead to negative feelings. But with the help of Jehovah, “A person’s spirit can sustain him through illness”.

Jehova puede darnos la fuerza que necesitamos para ser positivo. Hacer frente a la enfernidad o problemas cronicos de vida puede conducir a sentimientos negativos. Pero con la ayuda de Jehova, “El espíritu de un hombre* puede soportar su dolencia”.

  • Proverbs 24:30-34 Jehovah does not like laziness. For example, excessive entertainment or social media can decrease our spiritual health and leads to mental laziness. This makes me want to become a hard worker, have priorities, and use my time wisely.

Jehova no le gusta pereza. Por ejemplo, el exceso de entretenimiento o medios sociales hace disminuir el apetito por el salud espiritual y conduce a la pereza mental. Esto hace que quiera ser un trabajador duro, tener prioridades, y utilizar mi tiempo sabiamente.

 

My tongue and brain was as one

Last month was very stressful with work. I had found another job at a dry cleaners, but still kept my old one at Starbucks. I was juggling two jobs at once. Even though I worked one day a week at Starbucks, it was still a lot. Fridays were my 15 hours shift since I would work at both jobs, back to back. Not to mention the next morning I have early morning service and a full day in service. The first two weeks of the job was not working out. Being the stubborn self I am, I stuck with it, hoping it’d get better. It was exhausting and I did not get enough rest making my health go down.

I had prayed for a better job. I really like Starbucks because of the flexibility of scheduling, because it allowed me to pioneer freely. All thanks to Jehovah, I was able to come back full time with a better pay and scheduling. Everything I needed at the most perfect time.

One my last day at the cleaners, I had encountered an unique experience.

As I was leaving for my other shift, a coworker had stopped me. I did not tell much of the people at the plant I was leaving. So he found out minutes afterwards. Him and I had a long conversation, starting to get to know each other. His daughter works at the store on the weekends. As we were talking, I got the chance to witness to him. One of the questions he asked was why my Spanish was different from other Hispanics that was there. For instance the word, mande. I was the only person using it. He was very shocked. He was even more surprised when I told him why I know Spanish and that I am trying to learn. Our conversation was around twenty five minutes, mostly in Spanish. It was amazing, because I did not have to pause and think about what to say. Everything came out of my mouth so naturally.. I’ve never experienced it before. And I know it was for sure, Jehovah’s help. I could not have talked on my own. I ended up placing one tract, a brochure, and an invitation to the meeting!

He is now my ongoing return visit.