Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WEEK ELEVEN: week 1 in SLC: Hunky man from Holland wants to be baptized!

Sister McKenna Wright
Salt Lake City South Mission
8060 S. 615 E.
Sandy, UT 84070
HELLO FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!! Yes, I have survived 6 days in the Salt Lake City South mission!!! Sorry my title is a little weird...but i will explain shortly!!
I am SO GRATEFUL that I got to speak to my parents on the train on the way to SLC! I definitely missed their voices a lot!! Of course it was too short, but it was good nonetheless. So I only get mail once a WEEK so send me letters!!! :)

So I am in a trio and my companions have both been out for over a year. Sister Swain is 22, from Hawaii and has about 4 months left. Sister Aldridge is 21, from Missouri and has about 5 1/2 months left

I live in a member's house and it's tiny, barely big enough to fit two, let alone three. So I live every day out of my suitcase because I have no room to unpack. It's a very cute cozy home, but....I sleep on an air mattress on the floor.
Not speaking Chinese is hard, but at every house pretty much I'm asked to pray in Chinese. So that's good practice. There's also a ward mission leader here who served in Taipei and gave me his PHASE 1!!! How lucky am I?? It's the mission regulated study book that I wasn't supposed to get until Taiwan so I am very blessed. 
I am serving in the YSA Stake in Sandy, so we split the stake with the elders and we have 5 wards. So.....5 bishops and 5 mission leaders to know and TONS of members!! Most of the people we teach are less actives. Well besides 2 potential investigators, EVERYONE is less active. We also teach actives too because we have so few people to teach.
Some happenings from this week:
The FIRST door we knocked on was a member from TAIWAN. Like how crazy is that, and such a testimony that I'm supposed to be here! So cool!!! The same day we talked to someone from Malaysia who speaks Mandarin. So two in one day, SO cool!

That same day, the first person I actually talked to who needed help was a house full of dread-heads all smoking weed on the porch. The one who talked to us, his name was Artino and he said he was baptized but not active. I shared a scripture and he said "Thanks for letting me be your first." His friends were all BoM-bashing in the back but he was receptive. It was cool. 

I also went to the Ogden temple dedication which was awesome. I wonder if Sister Akita was there!! Last night we contacted this guy from Thailand whose name was unpronounceable and so his nickname is Best. We talked to him a little and walked away and he goes "love you guys!!!" haha, I guess we really made an impression!!
The food here is unbelievable. So many people are wealthy and have so much food and big houses and yah. Alex Boye and Pres. Packer live in our area too. Haha utah connections. 
So, about my subject line: We have this investigator who set his OWN baptismal date pretty much!! Jonathan Bosch... He's from Holland and he's 24. He works for the MBA and his fellowshipper has pretty much already taught him everything. He just needs to take the missionary discussions. He believes everything and is so ready to be baptized! Plus he says he already "feels so LDS" and we went to a baptism with him and he loved it!! So if I have a baptism while I'm here...that would be pretty cool!!!

It's pretty great here, pray for me to be patient for my visa.  I love you all!!! I love the gospel and I know it's true!!!!

Sister Wright (Salt Lake City South Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi (Taiwan Taipei Mission)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I HAVE ARRIVED in the Salt Lake City South Mission!!

I have arrived in the Salt Lake City South mission! You can (please) write to me at:

Sister McKenna Lorane Wright
8060 S 615 E
Sandy UT 84070
United States

I will update you on the new mission adventure on my next Preparation Day! Love you all!

Sister Wright (Salt Lake City South Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi (Taiwan Taipei Mission)

Two missions! One big adventure!
President and Sister Chambers

At the mission home

Yep, I'm a missionary! (I don't have my new English-only tag yet)



So I am spending P-day frantically racing around doing every little thing!! Not to mention taking care of all of the stuff my roommates left, like boxes and food and trash! So this is gonna be a crazyyyyyyy day and we'll see if I get sleep tonight! Which I definitely hope I do since sleep has been in short supply lately. Sister Baker and Elder Shoop left to Vancouver Canada Tuesday morning so we all stayed up late saying goodbye. Sister Akita left to Ogden on Friday, Sister Sorenson left to Tacoma this morning at 2:30 am and Sister Morris left to St. George this morning at 3:30 am!!!

So Thursday night we didn't sleep because we were helping Sister Akita pack. Elder Jensen and Elder Christensen left Saturday so we slept a little bit but woke up early to see them off. We actually slept on Saturday night so that was good, but I literally didn't sleep at ALL last night!!!!!!!!! When you live in a room with two people who are leaving in the middle of the night, there is a lot to get done and no time to sleep! So we stayed up all through the night until 4 am when Sister Morris, Sister Price, Elder Robinson, and Elder Griffin were gone and I decided I would sleep until 7. So maybe 15 hours of sleep total in the past 4 nights!!! And possibly none tonight if I don't get everything done!!!

Our teacher

Goodbye classroom!

Our district, last time together

Branch President and his wife

 So who is left you might ask?? From my district, Elder Pincock and Elder Nielson. From the other district, Elder Humphries, McNeil, Ploeg, Perkins and Roe. Sister Griffin and I are the only sisters left!!!!! (along with one other sister from the other zone) I like being her companion, she's great!! So who leaves with me....Sister Griffin, Elder McNeil and three other missionaries from the other zone. The Carlsbad California peeps go tomorrow too, so that's Ploeg and Pincock. Then everyone else goes to Nebraska on Wednesday. WOW it's hard to leave everyone, let me tell you!!!! 

Things I've Learned:
Although it has been quite crazy with everyone leaving, I have learned a lot this week. One of my favorite quotes was from my new teacher Brother Vernon..."Be a sniper, not a clay-pigeon shooter. Don't just shoot a spray of doctrine and hope it hits someone's heart." I like this because it emphasizes that we teach individuals, not general populations. Our purpose is to help other become closer to Christ, not spout doctrine at them.

Another thing I learned is to not say "I believe..." rather say "I KNOW" because it is much more powerful and the Holy Ghost will back you up and testify of the things you say when you really truly have a testimony of it. 

I also gained an even stronger testimony that God knows me. I got a priesthood blessing from my Branch President this past week and in it, he talked about how I would be blessed with charity. You see, I had been studying and praying for charity all week and here is a promise that I would be helped in developing that. COOL.

Another way that I learned this is that this morning at the temple, this old lady grabs me and starts saying " I'm gonna tell you a story"....well I don't know this lady and I'm like oh great she's probably crazy, but she told a story about how she had a dream that she was supposed to tell all of her children to have priesthood blessings to keep their homes safe. The next week was a terrible tornado that knocked down all of the houses around except for theirs. She then bore strong testimony to me that God knows us and is aware of us and loves us. See, everything just kind of tied together for me and it was awesome. 

Ge Jiemei (our teacher who got assigned to another class :( ) came and visited this week just to tell us about some awesome talk she read called "Receive the Holy Ghost" by Bednar. She said that it's not just about being obedient, it's about seeking ways to be righteous. She related it to us staying at the MTC longer because maybe it's so we can find more ways to be righteous and fulfill our purpose other than the obvious ways. I really liked that. Also, she gets married in ELEVEN DAYS!! 

Not with the vacuums again...

We love each other!

Last Selfies

What can we say?

Funny Stuffs:
Go look up "In our Lovely Deseret" in pinyin translation. That song is already fast, don't even get me started on in CHINESE! Our teachers loves to sing fast songs and watch us struggle so that was a hilarious experience. We also sang "Angels We Have Heard on High" because the Gloooooooria part turns into ROOOOOOOOONG-YAO and it's the stereotypical asians-mix-up-their-r's thing. So hymns in Chinese are basically the best. 

Elder Robinson, aka Luo Zhanglao, has been only speaking Chinese for the past two weeks. It's been incredible. So whenever he slips up, it's awesome. This week, he said "It's a duel, pull out your wands!" which is amazing. Then we were deciding who had to pray and he said "Let's play rock, paper-" cuts off and starts over "Let's play-" and puts a hand over his mouth like he was shocked that his mouth was betraying him! haha he's so awesome. 

Elder Christensen, aka Ke Zhanglao, had everyone take turns writing a continuous story instead of people writing goodbye notes in his Bye-Bye Shu (shu means book). So it mentions Nacho Libre, Hot Rod, Napoleon Dynamite, TMNT, Adventure Time, Harry Potter, Kim Possible, Indiana Jones, Pokemon, Jimmy Neutron, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. Just everything awesome pretty much. So reading that was a highlight. 
I saw a cat at the temple today. That's all. I don't know why or where it came from, but it made me happy. 
Kitty at the Temple

I miss my cat!

Not fun stuff:
I went to the chiropractor again. Turns out...I have mild scoliosis in my upper back. I've been having a LOT of pain, so there's another reason I'm not already in Taiwan riding a bike everyday. If you feel like praying for my back, that would be pretty swell :)

Elder Neal L. Anderson from the Quorum of the Twelve comes TOMORROW NIGHT WHEN I LEAVE TOMORROW MORNING!!! We literally missed an apostle by a day coming and leaving. cool. NOT. 

SO YAH the Tahitians (here for 12 weeks) left before us so we were literally the very very very oldest missionaries in the MTC for a week and half!!!!!!!!! How crazy is that? How many people can say that? I can now:)

I used Google Earth for fun this week...I found my old house in Florida and the playhouse we built about 10 or so years ago is still there. Still miss it and everyone there. That was a good time but sad.  

Well, I'm starting a new phase of life. I'm scared and excited. I'll still be in Utah so as soon as I get my real address, I'll send it out. I love you all. Thank you for all the prayers and support. I know I'll make it to Taiwan eventually. God is so good to us. One of my favorite moments of the week is always choir. This week Brother Egget said that God is as personal as he is omniscient and incomprehensible. (from a talk by Elder Maxwell). As much as God is capable of, the universes he has created and all of the people he takes care of...just as massive as all of that is, he is equally personal and knows us and cares for us. Everything that happens is shaping us into who he wants us to be if we let him and trust him. I love it. He loves you. If you don't have a testimony of it, borrow mine and hold onto mine until you get your own because I KNOW it's true. 

Sister Wright (Salt Lake City South Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi (Taiwan Taipei Mission)


Last night party

My MTC Bed
Late night shenanigans...all the water bottles from 10 weeks

We blocked their door! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I'M GOING TO SALT LAKE CITY SOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I leave on Tuesday, September 16th at 7 am! The Frontrunner Train leaves at 8:20!!!

My companion Sister Morris is going to St. George, leaving Monday at 3:30 am!!!!!! The other places the missionaries in our visa delayed group are going are: Ogden, leaving tomorrow, Omaha Nebraska, leaving Wednesday, Pocatello Idaho, leaving Saturday, Tacoma Washington, leaving Monday (at 2:30 am!!), and Carlsbad California, leaving Tuesday, Vancouver Washington, leaving Tuesday!!!!! 

WE ARE FINALLY GETTING OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!! I AM LITERALLY SO EXCITED!!!!!!!! And I'm gonna be in Salt Lake City when the leaves are turning orange and red and maybe when it starts snowing!! And maybe be there for CONFERENCE!!  (What if the Prophet wants to have mission conference with us??) AND we can go to the temple!!!!!!!  I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!! 

Well, I leave really soon! So if you want to send me can until I leave!! When I find out my new address, I'll let you know! And of course, you can always email me!!

I love you all so much!!
Sister Wright
Salt Lake City South Mission

Friday, September 5, 2014


We found out today that we do NOT have our visas. So instead of keeping us here at the MTC, we will receive temporary reassignments to the states. We will get those reassignments in a week or two, then our visas will take another 3-4 weeks. We will remain in the states until we get our visas or the end of the transfer. I'm not sure how I feel about it, other than reassured because I know that the Lord knows this is what I'm supposed to do and there is someone in some state waiting to hear the gospel from my mouth. Please pray that we get our visas and that all turns out how it should. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!!

All my love,
Sister Wright

Monday, September 1, 2014

WEEK EIGHT: YOU'RE GOING TO TAIWAN!!..​...PSYCH. AKA, hardest week of my mission

Well my dear friends and family, let me tell you, this was one heck of a week. I’m going to start with funny stories just so you all know that I’m still optimistic and don't hate life all of the time, ha ha. :-)

I was sitting at lunch with Elder Shoop and Elder Ploeg and I’m watching, horrified, as a new elder sticks a whole banana into his mouth and proceeds to pull it back out. I say "Elders are disgusting" and proceed to look back at my friends. As I do, I see Elder Ploeg trying to eat onion rings off of his plate with just his face!!! Perfect timing, absolutely perfect! He slowly and embarrassedly sits back up and we all died laughing. :-)

And I'm sorry but that's about it for funny stories. I have a good spiritual story though! We do Skype TRC on Monday nights and my companion was still sick so I did TRC with Sister Price. We didn't know we were doing it together so we had no time to prepare and went in blind. We skyped for 45 minutes with a Taiwanese lady who was living in Australia. We had no idea what we were doing, but we had a list of 3 scriptures about prayer that Elder Shoop had given us. We just read them and shared feelings and experiences, and the Spirit was so strong. I prayed before our lesson and basically said "Qing bangzhu women, women xuyao hen duo de bangzhu" which means "please help us, we need a lot of help" and that's exactly what Heavenly Father blessed us with. We came out feeling so good and even though we had no idea what happened, we knew it was good.

Headed to Taiwan? Maybe!

We had a picnic!
Friends Sister Bean and Sister Rich!
Sister smiles!
My friend Elder Wu!
We love our vacuums!
Friends from BYU 49th ward!

I also had a long conversation with a returned missionary, who has only been home from her mission for 2 months. We talked ONLY IN CHINESE for about 45 minutes!! Let me tell you, she was a blessing in my life. I was having a super rough day, feeling like I would never learn the language and would never touch anyone's life. And this sweet sister comes to the classroom and has a solely Mandarin conversation with me and I was able to do it!!! Not only that, but she was a dancer, so someone I was able to relate to!!! I have stopped believing in coincidences.

One more positive thing this week: I RAN 3 MILES. If any of you know me at ALL, you know that I hate running. Well because of my lack of a companion, I was with Sister Price for exercise time and she loves to run. Well I couldn’t wimp out and the other gym with the equipment was closed so I RAN. Let me tell you, pretty dang sore the day after. Oh and I probably should mention that it was 2 miles one day and 1 mile the next. Oh you thought I ran all 3 at once? FUNNY!

Ok, ok so you're probably all wondering what my subject line is about. Well we had in-field orientation this Friday because we all thought we were leaving next Friday right? In the middle of it, the host announces "Any of you going to Taiwan Taipei needs to go to the travel office immediately." We all knew immediately that it was bad news. And it was. All she said, as 30 scared missionaries entered the tiny travel office, was "You don't have visas. You're not leaving Friday," and kicked us out. And that was it.

We don't know when we're leaving.

If you read my email two weeks ago, you read about the FAKE FLIGHT PLAN SCARE that we already this was just devastating. I did make a list of positives of staying at the MTC and that helped a lot. But the main reason I was so devastated was because I have been having a hard time. I'm going to get a little bit personal right now, so I hope you all learn something from this like I did.

Well, because all three of my roommates were sick, I I have been alone a lot. I wake up every morning by myself, get ready and have had to sit in the hallway and wait for someone else, ANYONE else to wake up so that I could go to breakfast. Literally every morning, I would get up and pray for someone to wake up so I could eat and exercise. Then I would pray that no one would feel sick after breakfast so I could go to class. Many times for the past 2 weeks, I was the only sister in the classroom.

Every morning I was feeling so alone and every day I was feeling so frustrated. Why couldn't they get better? Why did I have to be by myself during the one part of my life where someone is actually ASSIGNED to be with me? And why was I always having to teach with different sisters, and never my companion? I was doubting my companion and myself and my purpose.  

I have been blessed to see one immediate blessing of this frustrating time; I got to be companions with every other sister in the zone, from the sisters who came in right after us, to the brand new sisters who had been there for a few days. I got to teach with Sister Griffin and Sister Price, and go to choir with Sister Baker and Sister Brown, and exercise with Sister Cardon and Sister Noble and Sister Kunzler and get ready in the morning with Sister Moore and Sister Strong. I got to build relationships with these amazing sisters and see how Christ's light can shine through so many different personalities. That was amazing.

Finally, about two nights ago, my companion was feeling better and we sat down and talked for about 5 hours. Now everything is fine and I know that everything will be better from now on. I feel like I had to go through this trial so I can become better at building relationships and also to learn how to teach with other sisters. And today has been SO good! We had a picnic! The picnic was the best idea we've had yet.

I have been praying this week harder than I ever have in my life and I have been seeing a difference. I am learning how God talks to me and it is such a blessing. I am learning and growing so much. I learned that there are a lot of things that I can improve on, and I learned a great quote this week....IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME. That is powerful, and I challenge you all to remember that YOU control your life. Through God and Christ, and your own power that comes through knowing you are a child of God, you can do all things.

I have learned a lot this week through being alone physically, but I know I am never alone when I know Christ. This work is amazing. I love you all so so so much and hope you have a wonderful week!!!

Wo ai nimen!
Ren Jiemei