Monday, November 25, 2013

"I just hit one month in Nantou!"

As always we were super excited to hear from Sister Fernley on Sunday night. Jemma had asked for a picture of Bubba's bike, and she kindly obliged. And here is her message along with more pictures.

I just hit one month in Nantou! It is insane how fast time goes! 

I loved your emails and the pictures were so fun! It is still so weird to me that Katie is getting married, but it looks like everything is going well. It was so fun to see Katie and Mandy together with grandma. Its funny how being a missionary changes your perspective on things. Before I would have been excited to go to Nathan's baptism and spend time with family, but now the importance and the meaning of baptism is so much more significant. We spend all day everyday trying to help investigators progress toward baptism or helping less actives remember their baptismal covenants and come back to church. I did a lot of study earlier this week on baptism. I was doing a Phase 1 pass off with my district leader and he brought up a concern about baptism and why we can't just repent and be cleansed of sin that way. I gave an answer I thought I could say in Chinese and made a goal to study that for myself. I have known the purpose and the promises of baptism my whole life, but while I was studying I was reminded of something that really struck me. In Mosiah 5 it talks about when we are baptized we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and then in 2 Nephi 31 it says that the only name by which we can be saved is Christ's. So we are baptized to receive a remission of our sins and start a new life turned toward Christ. We take upon us His name and we can only be saved through His name. That isn't any spectacular revelation, but it strengthened my testimony of baptism so much and I learned so much about the importance of baptism and the significance behind it.
This week was such a crazy week. It was really hard at times, but we saw so many miracles as well. On Tuesday we had planned to go visit Chen Hui Yu (our investigator who has to sell the last house) at her work. The day before she had gone to Bai Bai (this is when they go and shake incense and sticks at certain times to their ancestors. They Bai certain things like money or food.) with her family. We always let people know that we don't encourage them to participate but if their family insists on them going to Bai Bai (its a huge part of the culture here) they can but they need to remember in their hearts that we worship our Heavenly Father and that He is our only God and we give thanks to Him. Anyway she had gone and they had a ton of food to Bai which they eat afterward so their ancestors spirits can eat food through them because they don't have bodies. Apparently while they were there her mom saw spirits who were crying for help to eat. So she said she wants to serve her ancestors and needs to Bai to help them eat. Sister Anderson explained temple work, but it didn't make much affect. Chen Hui Yu then told us that she had prayed and got an answer through the Spirit that the Book of Mormon isn't true and that this religion that she has read about that teaches God is light is the true religion. So we broke up with her. It was really sad and we both had a hard time keeping ourselves together after that. Its so hard because she knew the truth and I know she knew it for herself at one point. We talked about it later and we think her family would have talked her out of coming to church and obeying the commandments so at least she doesn't have the covenants we make at baptism over her head. I just hope that someday she will realize what she had and what she is missing without this gospel. Every person has a time where they are ready for the gospel, maybe hers isn't here yet.
After that "break up" we had an appointment with a member to go visit with her co-worker and share about the gospel. We didn't get a chance to teach him anything but we set up an appointment to meet with his family on Sunday. We invited him to come to church if he had time as well. We didn't really think much about it, but he actually showed up to church yesterday! He knows a lot of the members so they were great and really fellowshiped him. In our lesson with his family later that day we shared the whole first lesson about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and gave them a Book of Mormon. His co-worker agreed to come over and peike for our lesson which was really great. We ended up being there for about two hours though because she just kept talking!
I didn't catch this, but Sister Anderson was saying that he is pretty much like Joseph Smith. He has been looking into and going to a lot of churches to find out which one is true. While we were in our lesson we gave him one of our tracts that talks about the basics of the gospel, prayer, and talks about how the Book of Mormon answers our questions and strengthens our families. While his wife was talking away with our member he was reading the tract and grabbed one of our Books of Mormon and was trying to find the scripture references it was giving. It was so cool to see him on his own trying to search the scriptures and learn about the gospel. We are praying so hard for this family and hope that they will be receptive to the Spirit and learn for themselves this gospel is true.
On Wednesday we ended up having a really long lesson with our two investigators who are getting married and then baptized. It was way longer than it needed to be and I kept feeling like we needed to go, but didn't say anything because they were in a really good spiritual discission with Sister Anderson. She felt really bad afterward because she realized it was long and that I didn't really say anything, but it gave us an opportunity to think about how we are using our time and how to be more effective. While we were biking I was thinking a lot about how I have been feeling lately that I'm not really helping anyone. The strong investigators we have were strong when I got here and the LA's we meet with aren't really moving forward with anything. So I brought it up with Sister Anderson and we decided to cut back on visiting LA's and focusing on the people who have potential to progress and finding new investigators. Since Chen Hui Yu broke up with us and our other two are getting baptized this weekend we will be down to two investigators who lately haven't been progressing. We spent some time and came up with a plan for how we want to use the rest of our time together in Nantou and I feel really good about it and feel like this is a way I can help the work in this area.
On Saturday we actually had a really good plan and were really excited about it, but we ended up trying to go visit 12 people and only got to meet with one investigator (we had to try her twice during the day to catch her) and a part member family but the non-member wasn't even home. So basically we had a three hour bike ride all over our area. Suprisingly though neither of us were that discouraged. We would get to a house, find out they weren't there, and move on to our back up plan...or our second back up plan. Eventually we went to a family mart (its like a seven eleven) and filled out forms of all the people we have tried to find who have moved for the Bishop. (There were 47!) It was a really rough day, but I think Heavenly Father knew we needed some miracles so on Sunday we were able to meet with the Chen family I talked about earlier. We also had an LA who we never thought would come to church show up in Relief Society. Granted she only came because she knew we didn't think she would and she wanted to show us wrong...but its a start. It was just a day full of miracles!
I guess what I came away with from this week is just a testimony that if we are diligent and we press forward with faith the Lord will bless us. I had an MTC teacher say that He pushes you to your limits, until you think you can't go any further, then showers you with blessings. I believe that so strongly! I've only been out here a month and I have already seen it so many times, especially this week. If we press forward with faith in Christ all will be well and He will provide for us.
We did meet with the lady who tried to speak with the gift of tongues again this week. Nothing strange happened this week. She hasn't prayed on her own, but she remembered everything we taught her and how to pray so we asked her this week to try and pray. She said it feels really peaceful so hopefully she will remember to pray and feel the Spirit. I'm still not very confident in her interest and motives to meet with us, but we will see.
Our two golden investigators get baptized and married this Saturday!!! We are so excited and they continue to be incredible! Pretty much everytime we go to teach them they end up teaching the lesson on their own. I'm so grateful for them and their examples to me. I also realized that I will still be in Taiwan when they go to the temple and get sealed! So I hope that President Blickenstaff will let me go! They are welcomed so much by the ward and even when they aren't they make friends on their own so I'm not worried about them at all.
The ward is getting a lot better and is realizing that we need their help. Its always a work in progress so we are continuing to work with them. We've been talking a lot about fellowshiping the investigators we bring to church and other members have also talked about it in Sacrament meeting so I think they are slowly catching on.
As far as your other questions...yes I am eating completely with chopsticks now. I haven't even seen a fork since I got here. At first it was awkward, but now it feel really natural and a fork seems awkward. Haha. I loved that Jemma tried to use the chopsticks! The pictures were so cute and it looked like so much fun! As for Christmas if you could send me some Myderma scar cream that would be great. I get eaten alive by mosquitos and have had a few night where I couldn't sleep because they itched so bad. The bites have been making a ton of little scars on my legs and arms, Sister Anderson said Myderma might help. I had another thought earlier, but I forgot it. pictures would be really nice, just of anything...well our family. I figured dad might take that literally and send a bunch of random pictures of stuff. ( :) )  Letters would be great! I don't know I would be happy with anything really. It takes about two weeks to get here I think.
Anyway, this is another super long letter. But I love you all so much and loved hearing from you! It looks like you have all been doing well, busy but well, and that you are having some fun experiences. Tell Jemma I love her and give her a giant hug for me! I think of you all everyday and tell stories of Jemma a lot! I'm doing well and am getting more and more used to this area and culture. I'm working hard and seeing so many blessings along the way!
With all my love,
Sister Fernley

 Missionaries of the Nantou district at the Taiwan Taipei Temple

View out the back window from the sisters' apartment.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crazy week in Nantou

Here is the latest message from Sister Fernley:

I always start these emails with "Dear Family," but that always sounds weird to me and not like I'm really talking to you (which I guess I'm not really but it feels like it) so I decided not to this week. Haha.
Anyway I loved reading your emails as usual. Even when they are just about trivial day to day things I love them! They mean so much and help me so much. The snow back home looks like so much fun! Its strange to think that it is almost December. It doesn't feel like it here at all. Today was actually the first day that I had to go put a sweater on because it was a little chilly while we were studying. And even then it will probably bet warm enough for me to take that off this afternoon. I guess I missed the really hot weather and got here just in time to experience one of the best times of the year weather wise. The humidity isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Some days are worse than others, today is actually pretty dry compared to normal. I'm sure I will be cursing it once summer comes though.

Its only been a few days since my last email and I'm trying to remember what I have actually told you and what has actually happened since. So if I repeat myself forgive me, haha. This week has been kind of a rough one as far as lessons and finding new investigators. Going to the temple was so great and I felt God's love so much and was so grateful for the opportunity I have to teach people here about His plan and know the joy of forever families and have the potential to return to the Celestial Kingdom. It was probably one of the greatest experiences I have had in the temple so far. We have had a lot of people that we have met with, but hadn't been able to set up with them again. Once we set up with them for a second visit they are considered a new investigator so we try to get an appointment there, but that hardly ever happens. They all say they are too busy or make one excuse or another. So the past couple of days we have been trying to contact and set up with them and most of them are looking like they aren't going to have any interest which is sad. We did have one which set up with us and its a
So we ended up not being able to go out and teach the less active we had planned on becuase it was too far out and we needed to be on time to go english proselyting for english class later that afternoon. So we decided to go tracting down this street a member had referred us to. The street had a ton of really nice houses connected like apartments that all had intercoms on the outside so we were going door to door seeing if they would answer and most didn't have anyone home. After going through maybe ten or twelve houses we reached some less fancy houses and knocked on the first door and a middle age lady answered the door. We said we were missionaries and she told us she didn't have any time but then asked us if we could come back on Saturday at two. Of course we said yes (I think I might have told you this story already), anyway we met with her on Saturday and it was probably the strangest meeting I have had yet.
She remembered us and invited us in and we talked for a while, I mostly listened and tried to pick up what I could and introduced myself and our family. She was really nice and happy and we found out that she is studying english pretty dilligently on her own. The more we talked with her the more I suspect that she invited us back because we are American and speak english. With the last few minutes there we talked to her about prayer and she asked us to teach her how to do it and was really excited about it. So I taught what we do when we pray and asked her if she would pray with us. She was really excited and offered to say it on her own. So we all bowed our heads and she starts babbling. At first I thought it might be Taiyu (Taiwanese) but it was a lot harsher. The longer she went on the more uncomfortable I felt and wondered if she was denouncing us or something. I looked up and made eye contact with Sister Anderson and we both had no idea what was going on and had to hold in laughter becuase we felt so awkward. The lady finally finished and looked up at us with a huge smile. Sister Anderson asked her what language that was in and she replied that it was the gift of tounges and that she had seen it on T.V. Sister Anderson told her that we don't really do that and asked if she could say a prayer. As she was praying a completely different atmosphere entered into the room and I felt the peace and calming spirit that comes from sincere prayer to our Heavenly Father. We have another appointment with her on Saturday, so we will see what happens. We both were a little thrown off by that experience for a few hours afterward. If anything it testified to me about the sacred experience prayer is and the peace that should come from prayer. We pray so often as missionaries and I'm so grateful for that knowledge and gift that we really can talk with our Heavenly Father.
We also had the biggest miracle at church this week! We have been meeting with a recent convert named Chen Ke Li Ya and have been trying really hard to get her to come back to church. We actually went and visited her my second day here and she doctored up my knee a little bit (which is almost completely healed now, its still a little pink and tender). Every time we meet we invite her to come to church and have talked about the reactivation forms we have to guage a less actives progress in coming back to activity in the church, and every time she says she will come. Last week we even called her an hour before church and she said she was coming and didn't show up. So this week we visited her and she was so busy with her work (making these cheap crystal trinkets to sell in the US) that we didn't get much of a lesson in but helped her instead for quite a while. She told us if she got the huge order done that she had due on Monday she would come to church. We went back the next day and even asked the Elders to come help us for an hour so she could come to church. We were able to get a lot done, but still didn't know how commited she would be to come. Her husband (who isn't a member) even said they would come.
And as you have probably guessed by now they came! I was sitting with our two investigators who are getting married and baptized in a couple of days and when 9:00 hit and they weren't there I was a little dissapointed, but not too suprised. Then around 9:10 Chen Ke Li Ya walks in with her youngest son and sits behind me. I was really excited, but still a little dissapointed that the whole family hadn't come. Then about five minutes later her middle son came in and eventually her oldest son and her husband trickled in. The whole family was there and it was such a beautiful sight to see them all sitting next to each other among the members of the Nantou ward. I couldn't help myself and kept looking back and couldn't keep from smiling. We have been trying so long and praying so hard that they would come and I continue to pray that this is a step toward this family coming fully into the church.
I can't think of much else out of the ordinary. I passed off another Phase 1 evalutation and have three more to go before I have it finished! I'm on track to finish it in a move call so hopefully everything will go well with that. As far as your questions we do have a mission leader called in the ward as well as a few ward missionaries. Zhang Yu Mei who I think I told you about is always willing to help us and has all the time in the world, but we never want her to peike (attend lessons) because she's not a good one. Her spirit is so strong though and all she wants to do is serve a full time mission but because of her handicap isn't allowed to. Our other ward missionary is awesome and has been trying to help us a lot lately. I think if we keep working more with them they will realize what they can do more and better emulate their callings. They are all doing a lot better and are being more diligent in helping us and helping the ward get more involved in missionary work. If we can all work together we can do great things and that's my hope for this area. I want this ward to become a missionary ward and to be so active in sharing this gospel. That's my goal for while I am here is to change this ward because we can't do it without them.
As far as eating we eat breakfast and lunch in our apartment because we have an extra hour and a half of studies because I am training. Pretty much breakfast consists of either oatmeal or toast and a piece of fruit and luch is always a sandwich and a piece of friut. Not super exciting there. For dinner it just depends a lot of the time we just go to a seven eleven or family mart and buy fruit or tv dinner type meals and eat there. Other days we will go to markets and buy dumplings or noodles. If we are feeling adventurous or more hungry we will go get hot pot or a bowl of beef noodles. They eat noodles and dumplings so much here its crazy! They will even go get noodles for breakfast! While I was on exchanges I did eat stinkey tofu...which is disgusting. I ate it and some missionaries really like it, but I think its gross. But I am also not much of a tofu fan which is also in almost everything here. They like squishy things. In EVERYTHING! They have sqishy things in their drinks and soups and almost everything else. When we eat hot pot there is some normal meat and vegetables and a lot of fish. I've eated octupus a lot and they like to congeal blood and stick that in there too or they soak rice in blood and smush it into a square that you can eat. That's about it so far, but I'm sure I'll encounter more along the way.
It does seem crazy that I will be soon going on my fourth month! I've almost been in Nantou for a month. It goes by so fast, but I am also so exhausted that sometimes it seems like time is crawling. Its pretty much the same as the MTC. The days are long and the weeks are fast. Anyway I should go write some more emails, but I love you all so much and loved the pictures of Jemma playing in the snow. Enjoy it for me too okay?
Oh I also need to tell you to get a Skype account and get used to it before Christmas because we get to talk to our families! We have to go find a member who will let us use their skype account so I don't think I will be able to use a different program. I will also need to know your username so I can find you! I'm so excited and can't wait to see you all and talk to you for a little bit. I'll give you more details when it get closer. And I will take a picture of my bike this week and send it next week for Jemma. I'll try to be better with taking pictures..I still need to go find a point and shoot to buy.
I love you all and have a wonderful week! Rejoice that we have the gospel and that we know God and Christ and our relationship with them. It is truly such a blessing! Remember I love you all and pray for you every day. Keep positive! Come what may and love it!
Sister Fernley

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A visit to the Taipei Taiwan Temple

Sister Fernley's letter to us was delayed by a few days because the missionaries' p-day was changed so they could take a temple trip up to Taipei on Wednesday. We are so glad to hear she is doing well and is enjoying the work.

Dear Family,
Thank you so much for the emails! I'm so glad you got the message that our p-day wasn't on Monday this week. Sister Anderson forgot to tell me so about an hour after we left from emailing she mentioned it and I was really worried about you being worried. We called Sister Darrington and asked her if she would email our parents and let them know. She's great and so willing to help us out.

I thought we were going to the temple on Monday but we actually went today. So we woke up around four and took a taxi to Zhonghua and met the rest of the missionaries from our zone there. Then we had a bus arranged to drive us to Taibei. We watched church movies the whole way there and it was great! I decided when I get home that I need to start getting a collection of church movies because they are all so awesome! Do I sound like a missionary or what? Haha.

I was so glad to hear that Jemma is opening up to the grandparents and that she is having a great time with friends and family. I miss you all like crazy and talk about you a lot actually. Everyone wants to see family pictures here and when I show them they always comment at the age difference between the two of us. Someone also told me that I looked like my mom :).

The bus took longer than we expected to get back to Zhonghua so we are only taking an hour to email before we have to go teach english class, so sorry if this one is a little shorter than normal. But we will have p-day again on Monday in just a few days and I can catch up then. I'll try to answer the questions I remember, but I might not remember them all.

As for emailing we bike down the street a little bit and there is a place where there are just a ton of computers that people waste their lives away gaming in. We just pay for a specific amount of time and the computers will shut off when its over. It always smells like smoke and there are people gaming all around us. Its kind of sad, we were biking this morning around five to meet our taxi and there were already about twelve scooters outside of the place.

Anyway this week has been pretty good. I can't remember a lot of specifics actually. But nothing bad is sticking out so that's good. We got another baptismal goal this week from a sister that the elders have been teaching and haven't been able to get her to commit to anything. They turned her over to us because her husband isn't interested so they can't teach her anymore. I think it will be hard, but we really want to help her.

And something not super spectacular, but really unexpected happened yesterday. We ended up not going to visit the less active we had planned because it was going to be too far out of the way for us to make it in time to english proselyte (we find an intersection and hand out fliers to everybody on the street during a red light about our english class). So we decided to tract some houses a member had referred us to. We had gone down almost the whole street and came to a house where the family was obviously really devout buddhists. (They will have shrines and idols all over and often a bunch of red lights. Sometimes it is really creepy.) We knocked anyway and didn't really expect anything, but a lady answered and we said we were church missionaries. Usually about then people say they don't need anything and close the door, or they make some crazy excuse like they are brushing their teeth or need to shower. But this lady actually told us she didn't have a lot of free time at the moment and then said, "but why don't you come back on Saturday? Does the afternoon work?" We were both a little shocked and of course we said yes and now have an appointment this Saturday which I am really excited about. We tend to spend a lot of time with less actives because we have so many of them and want to "rescue" them, so I get excited when we have someone new to teach. It also gets frustrating sometimes teaching all of our less actives, because they all know what they need to do, they just don't do it. We keep trying though and I hope we are making progress.

Also the ward is doing so much better! Even just since I have been here there is a complete change. In my first letter I asked you to pray for this area and that the members would be involved in missionary work and...well its working. Everyone is so much more willing to attend lessons with us. Sister Anderson says that they would always just make excuses and they have started catching themselves and have even been trying to rearrange schedules to help us out. Even in chuch almost every meeting something about missionaries is mentioned and they talk about how we need help with peikes (attending lessons) and need the members to be active missionaries themselves. I usually don't know exactly what they say, but I hear the word missionary and I perk up because its something I understand. I have been studying a lot about involving members and I think we are going to try and visit at least two family a week and share messages with them and get them to trust us and feel comfortable with us so they will be more active. I feel like it will really help us and will really help me get to know the ward better for when Sister Anderson isn't here anymore. Which she will most likely get transfered after our training is done which is a little scary for me. I'm going to have to really learn how to get around and where everyone lives. I'm starting to get it a little bit, but I'm still pretty unsure and still get a little lost.
I'm not sure how much time I have left so this may get cut off.
I guess to help you get a better idea of Taiwan I can describe some of the random things here. I've had a lot of people this week especially comment on how pretty we are. They like our white skin and people are fascinated with eyes that aren't brown. Sometimes its a great confidence booster because in reality we are super sweaty, my hair is pulled back all of the time and a lot of the time I'm panting from biking so fast or going up crazy hills. Probably not the most attractive, but they are nice anyway. Other times its just really creepy when its from some of the men here or when we get rude cat calls from drunk or high truck drivers or people on the street. I guess we got a really bad one a couple of days ago because Sister Anderson was really mad, but I didn't understand what they said so I guess that's a blessing.

Our mission has its own set of language study materials that were actually created by Taiwan Taichung missionaries. There are three phases. Phase 1 is basically preach my gospel in the form of the three column Books of Mormon (english, pin yin, and characters). Then it has vocab that is helpful to know and phrases that bring out the main points along with interview questions, commitments, and promised blessings. We have to study and pass of the separate lessons by teaching and having a language evaluation with our district leaders. Phase 2 and 3 are more regular day flash cards of vocab and then 3 is characters. I'm trying to get phase 1 done in a move call and have already done three of the seven chapter pass offs. We will see if I can do it.

Anyway our time is almost up. Sorry I didn't get a ton, but I will write more on Monday. I am doing great and am getting more used to Nantou every day. I'm still working on the language and its coming, very slowly. But I know Heavenly Father and Christ are at my side and know exactly what I am going through. I know this is the best thing I could be doing with my life and I'm so happy I get to take this glad message to the people of Taiwan. I continue to grow in confidence and hopefully in my spiruality and recognition of the Spirit. I can't tell you how much I love you and how grateful I am for your examples, support, and helping me grow up in this gospel. Thank you for all you do and have done for me, I couldn't be blessed with a better family and better friends to help make me who I am.
Until Monday!
Sister Fernley
Tell Jemma I love her tons! And give her the biggest hug for me!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

First week on island

It's so fun to get Sister Fernley's emails on Sunday nights! Here's her latest (along with some pictures!).

Dear Family,
Thank you as always for your emails and your support. I hope my letter last week wasn't too down-hearted. I really am doing great and am learning so much about how to teach and bring others to Christ. It is still so hard and I still don't understand most of what goes on, but I know in time it will come.

I haven't had any other bike accidents. Haha, and my bike does fit me (I have the smallest one possible). Its really nice though because the cross bar on the frame is almost non existent so we can ride with skirts on. It also has "The Taiwan Taichung Mission" written on it which looks really cool. But anyway I'm getting used to it and am learning how to better navigate through traffic. I like my actual bike a lot better than the loaner one I was using that first day (the one I crashed on). And my actual bike has a front and back lite and we have the reflector harness we wear at nights to help us be more visible. I actually feel pretty safe when we are riding. Speaking of riding I hear that I will encounter more hills here in Nantou than I will in any other place in our mission, so I guess its good that I'm starting out hard. After this everything else will seem like a breeze! On Saturday one of our appointments fell through so our backup plan was to find less actives in that area. In trying to find one we ended up biking up a mountain, and we didn't even find them. It was rediculous! I kept praying and asking why we were going that way and who we were supposed to run into. We didn't run into anyone and the house at the top that we decided to tract wasn't receptive, so we went back down to go to another appointment. I guess Heavenly Father was just testing my patience. But after that all of the other hills seemed like nothing and I knew I could go over them because I had just gone up a mountain!

This is a little off topic, but my breaks are super squeaky. Everytime I stop it sounds like an elephant and I feel like I am waking up the whole neighborhood. It just makes me laugh everytime.

Last week I said I hadn't really cried yet and was just going along with everything as best I could, but a few days later and yesterday I cracked. I finally broke down and just cried and Sister Anderson and I took our companionship study to just talk about everything. Because I am being trained we get two hours of companionship study every day. I think it helps a lot to just cry and let everything out, and afterward I feel a lot better. Sister Anderson helps a lot and has expressed so much confidence in me that I start believing it myself. Its also comforting to hear that she felt the exact same way when she first came on island. Anyway, I'm still transitioning and still don't feel like I can do this work like I want to because of the language, but I'm getting more and more used to the schedule and what we are expected to do throughout the day. I'm also getting to know these people better that we are teaching and in the ward.

(Speaking of which we are helping planning the Christmas activity for the ward and they want to have several different rooms with activities focused on the Savior. One is going to be where someone is representing the Savior and does pushups for every person so they can have candy whether they want it or not, symbolizing the Atonement. They want to have activities like that focusing of different aspects of the Savior's life. We had some ideas, but could use more. If you have any suggestions or others in our ward that would be great! I know I've been to a million of them, but can't remember them!)

I don't know if I told you already, but I came into this area having four investigators with baptismal dates, all set for November 30. I don't know if all will be able to by that date, but they have all been taught pretty much everything already, so we are just reviewing. Two of them are a sister and brother who are in their thirties and have been living together for a while. They were a member referral and are amazing! Sister Anderson has seen them through their whole conversion process over about four months. They started teaching and those two were just keeping every single commitment and doing everything the missionaries asked. Originally they didn't want to set a baptism date because they wanted to wait a couple of years, but by a miracle they agreed for the 30th. I guess Sister Anderson asked them when they were getting married and jokingly suggested November 30th. They looked at a calender and saw it was a Saturday and agreed to it. Sister Anderson then said, "and they you can get baptized the next day," joking again. Zhuang jiemei (the sister investigator) responded with, "well why not do it the same day?" So on November 30 they are getting married then baptized right after. I love visiting them because they actually look at me too and ask if I am understanding so I feel a lot more included in the conversation. Most of the time when people realize I don't understand or speak much they just focus on Sister Anderson. But these two are changing their whole lives for this gospel which shows that they are going to stick with it and that they truly are converted. Hong Dixiong (the brother investigator) even bore his testimony in church yesterday and it was incredible.

Our other two investigators are both sisters. Chen hui yu is in her older twenties and is so willing to obey the commandments. She tried to pay tithing last week, but the bishop said she couldn't until she was baptized and she was really dissapointed. She is ready for baptism too except for coming to church twice for the full block. Her boss won't let her take the time off until she sells one more house. (She's a realator (sp?)). But she is one of my students in my english class and she is so sincere in her learning and has such a strong desire to do what is right.

The last investigator is a 14 year old girl who I have only met with once because she is so busy with school. We have to finish teaching her the commandments and she is really receptive to learning and always tries to obey them. She quite drinking tea and when we taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy and not buying things she willingly said she would try. Most people would gawk at that a little and be hesitant but she is completely willing to do what she can. Also giving up tea is a huge deal here. Everyone drinks it all the time here!
Anyway those our investigators and they give me hope and are the rays of sunshine that help me get through everyday. They give me hope that I will find people just like them who are ready for this gospel and willing to listen to our message. We have been focusing a lot on less actives, because we have a ton of them. Its really good, and I hope we can rescue some of them and remind them of the joy of this gospel, but is also so frustrating. I just want them to read the scriptures, or pray or just come to church! But we all have agency and that's so hard as a missionary. They also make a lot of lame excuses. When we call people or are contacting they will say they are watching TV or brushing their teeth or something like that. And a really common reason for not going to church is if its raining no one wants to go outside. But all we can to is try, and we are doing just that. I look at the Area book a ton to try and get to know the people we are meeting with or could meet with and I want to save them all, but we have to let them choose.

Some random things that happened this week....we had planner checks and interview with the President and his wife for our zone this week. It felt really good to meet some of the other missionaries and be in that support group for a minute. Its hard to not have a huge group to turn to and give you support all of the time. We traveled about half an hour away to a city called Yuanli where they have a huge stake building. On the way I saw my first pinapple bush! There were a ton of them, and I never knew they grew on bushes. I also had my first door literally slammed in my face. Most people reject us, but they are usually relatively nice about it. The Chinese are so respectful. They will either say, "thank you, thank you we are baibai (a "religion" here where they wave incence to their ancestors)" or "thank you, thank you we don't need" (those are really bad translations, but you get the idea). AND...I was in my first earthquake here! It was small, but we were in a meeting planning for the Christmas activity and the room started swaying a little bit. So we went and stood outside until it passed. Apparently that happens pretty frequently here, so that's exciting. Ummm I don't know what else. I've eaten a lot of noodles and dumplings which are in vast supply here. Chocolate is really scarce, most of their desserts are sweet bean pastes or fruit. Their milk is really different. They mostly drink soy milk, which I'm getting used to. I have been told their regular milk is a lot more fatty than ours. Skim milk here is like drinking two percent at the least. They also have a yogurt drink that I like a lot.

I'm trying to think what else...I still have fourty minutes to write. I experienced my first rain in Taiwan a couple of days ago. And it is so true that you choose to get wet either by rain or by sweat. Wearing a jacket here in the humidity makes it really hot so I just chose to get wet from rain. I can handle that better than sweat. And its not even that hot here compared to the summer so I will experience it even more drastically in a few months.
We actually have some new investigators which I am really excited about. They were all either referrals or english students. We hold an english class each Wednesday night and I teach the advanced class because you don't need to know as much Chinese for it. My first lesson was rough, so hopefully this week goes better. I'm also going on an exchange this week with our Sister Training Leaders so that should be exciting and different.

I loved all of the pictures of Jemma! They were so cute and it looks like so much fun with all of the leaves! I don't think we get much of anything here besides hot and humid, and not so hot and humid. I will be excited to have snow again, and I only just started here. I'm so glad work is going well and life is great! Jemma looked so cute in her kitty costume! And I'm glad she had fun! I talk about you all a lot here, everyone loves to see the pictures and comment a lot about Jemma and I being so far apart. I'm so glad to tell them I love my family and we are all really close, I feel so blessed to have you all and to have grown up in the gospel. It truly ties families together! This is also a little random, but I have gotten a couple of times that I look english. I don't know what that means, but I guess to them I look like I could be from england rather than America. Kind of funny.

Anyway I love you all so much! The address is just the mission address you have already (on Wuchuan Rd or something like that) and then we get it from there. I will stay safe and happy and hope to have some stories to tell you next week!
With all my love,
Sister Fernley

Results of last week's bike accident:

View from the sisters' apartment:

The sisters' apartment: