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.

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