Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Letter—and pictures!— from the MTC

We received some pictures from Sister Fernley this week, along with a great letter that lets us know she is doing wonderfully! We're glad to finally see her companion, Sister Grigg, whom she has written about, as well as the other sisters in her district.

Hello again from the MTC!

I still can't believe its been another week. I probably say that in every email, but we can never believe it whenMonday comes along again. 

Thank you for you emails and letters via MTC Delivery. I love them! Its such an exciting moment when we get mail. An elder in our district asked his mom to send him ten Chinese hymn books because the MTC bookstore has been out for weeks. We got them the day the MTC got theirs, but all of the Mandarin missionaries were so excited! It felt like Christmas, and the rest of the day you would see missionaries with their hymn books just singing hymnes in Chinese. 

That's one thing that is funny here. We sing hymns in Chinese and pray in Chinese that sometimes its weird when we actually hear a prayer in English at devotional or some other meeting. Maybe that's a good thing though. 

Anyway I loved the letters that you send me Dad. I'm so glad that you have that goal and I loved your letter about the purpose of reading. Its not to get through the book, its to learn from it. I actually think you will beat me to the end anyway. Its hard here to get very far on your own personal study because we are always studying some topic or another for investigators, upcoming lessons, Sunday talks or the like. But it is all really good study. We've been talking a lot lately about the importance of the Book of Mormon in conversion. One of our teachers told us a story about one of his investigators in Taiwan who just read through the Book of Mormon and what they taught him just came from his questions about the book and its principles. It was a really inspiring story and I hope that I can have at least one investigator so interested in the work and in tune with the Spirit. He also told us about street contacting and he had a man cross his arms in front of him (in an x shape, which I guess is a common gesture there if they don't want something), turned and ran the other way down the street. (This is probably a bad thing, but I kind of hope that happens to me once because I think it would be so funny. I don't know if I could keep a straight face.)

I like both of the new teachers we have, but one of them is a lot more personable and talks to us about his mission and asks about our concerns often. We taught him earlier this week as one of our progressing investigators. We had already taught him about the restoration, what the Spirit was and the importance of prayer and the Book of Mormon so we decided to move on and teach about the Atonement. That was a little rough language wise because we've never gotten that far before in our lessons, but it seemed to go really well. He actually told our district later that the two companionships that taught him that day (us and a group of elders) had taught some of the best lessons so far and that he could really feel the Spirit. That was a huge reassurance and confidence booster. Our language was really simple and we struggled with what to say sometimes and didn't understand him sometimes, but the Spirit was there and He is the real teacher.

Going along with that we ended up having a huge game of charades with that same teacher/investigator during our lesson because we didn't know the word for "save." He was trying to tell us that he had heard that we could be saved through Christ, but we didn't understand him. He ended up pantomiming cars and roads and finally saving a xiao pengyou (little friend) from a car on the road. By the end of the whole situation all three of us were laughing and had to get back on track and our teacher had to get back into character. It was really funny! 

Oh I was also going to tell Dad that Jemma and I played camoflague all of the time, and I laughed every time! It's a silly game but it is fun. I expecially liked being grass because it meant I could lie down for a few minutes.

This week I have been focusing a lot on prayer in my study. I came across 1 Nephi 11:1 and tried to put that scripture into practice, and it has made a huge difference in just the short time I have been working on it. In that scripture it talks about pondering and believing that God will give us an answer. I have been trying lately to take a few minutes before I launch into my prayers and really think about what happened throughout the day and what I want to say to my Heavenly Father. Then I pray and take a few minutes after to just listen and feel the Spirit. I challenged the members in TRC (the volunteers who come to be taught by the missionaries once a week) and figured if I was going to challenge others to do that I should as well. I have felt the Spirit so much more when I do that! It has helped me be so much more sincere and see the hand of God in my day. 

I have also been trying to be a better companion and missionary. I want to be able to walk down the streets of Taiwan and have the Light of Christ in my countenance. I want to be able to make an impact on others lives even if I just see them on the street so that one day they may be prepared to meet with the missionaries. That is the kind of missionary I want to be, and I have ben trying hard to be better and more Christ like in my attitudes. I know as I have been praying more sincerely and striving to do this the Lord has blessed me already. I know that I need to open up to Him and let Him change my heart so I can be better. 

I come to love it more at the MTC every day! I know it is going to be so different out in the field and that I probably won't be able to understand much again, but I know this is a great work. Ron Tanner (co producer of 17 Miracles and Ephraims Rescue) spoke to us yesterday and said, "Don't Give Up! This is the most important work on the earth."

Another realization I had (sorry I'm writing a lot) was when we were studying about the Doctrine of Christ and the Atonement. I read 2 Nephi 31:21 which says that there is no other way or name by which we can be saved. The more I think and study about this the more amazed I am at this. Our Father in Heaven sent us here to become better and desperately wants us to return to Him. But we have been provided a way through Jesus Christ, and we don't even have to do the hardest part. We don't even have to discover the way on our own, it has been given to us! All we have to do is follow and obey and we can return. I don't know if I'm expressing it very well, but I'm just amazed at the love of God! The way has been provided and we just need to take it.

I love you all! And I pray for you every day! Tell Jemma I love her! I'm so glad she is loving preschool. I have the gun she decided I needed in my bag, so everytime I take out my missionary planner or journal they always smell like bubblegum and it makes me think of her. Nicole I hope this first week of teaching went well for you. And Dad I hope work is getting better. Have a great week, and thanks so much for your letters!

With all my love,

Sister Fernley

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