Monday, December 30, 2013

Here is the latest message from Sister Fernley:

(first of all forgive the lack of apostrophes in this email, that key as well as the semicolon have gone missing on my keyboard.)
This week has been such a good week. It was so good to talk to you and actually see your faces on Wednesday! (Well Wednesday for me.) Im so glad you are all doing well and you look happy and healthy. I loved that I got to have some time to talk to Jemma too. It was really silly to have the blanket over the computer, but it reminded me of the tents we used to play in at home. It looked like Christmas was so much fun and that Jemma got some really fun things from Santa!
As always the pictures are incredible! I love the hula-hoop pictures and Jemma peeking out of the bathroom. She is so silly! I was actually talking about her doing that to Sister Anderson a few days before Christmas and thought she probably wouldnt do that again, but I was proved wrong. This is a really random thing to notice, but I saw that you changed my pictures that are on the wall!
The rest of Christmas was pretty uneventful. After I finished talking to you we watched the Christmas devotional for companionship study then Sister Anderson called her family. I think dad would ger along really well with her dad. The first thing he did was show Sister Anderson his T-shirt that said T-rex hates push-ups. I figured dad would appreciate that. 
After she was done we went back to our RCs current place and ate lunch. They run a noodle shop and their food is incredible. I would be happy eating there everyday, but its a ton of food and not very healthy so we refrain. We mostly eat rice with this meat sauce on top of it with vegetables (theirs are actually pretty decent), deep fried pork and usually an egg. It varies, but thats usually it. We visited a couple of less active members and even stopped by Chen Hui Yu at her work. She was our former investigator who we dropped a while ago. We have started stopping by every once in a while to see how she is doing and share a small message. Then we went and powerboarded for english and taught english class. Before we left the church the Hong family (our RCs) called us and said they would meet us at our place. When we got there they had some soup and cheesecake (literally, cake that tastes like cheese) for us for Christmas. It was so good to end off Christmas with them!
Over the rest of the week we have seen so many small miracles and tender mercies. We have been trying really hard to get our former investigators progressing again. We met with Liao jiemei (the 16 year old) again and extended a baptismal invite. She is really afraid of family opposition and wasnt sure because of that, but without that worry she has such a desire to follow Christ and be baptized. We are still trying to figure out what to do with that, but have faith that the Lord will provide a way.
We also met with Chen Zhen Zhen yesterday again as well. We had planned to teach her the Plan of Salvation, but as I was following up about our last lesson she told us that she didnt understand the big deal about the Book of Mormon. We changed out plan and read the introduction with her and explained a lot about the Book of Mormon and how she could gain a testimony for herself. I feel like that helped her understand a lot more the importance of the Book of Mormon and why it is important to read it. We extended a baptismal invitation to her to and she said if she gains her own testimony by that time she is willing to be baptized. We have been blessed to find these people who are so willing to learn and prepared to hear the gospel, we are just praying that they will progress to learn for themselves.
On Friday we met with Chen dixiong (the father in that family weve been teaching) at his work. We havent been able to meet with them for a while and have felt like theyve been avoiding us a little. One of our church members is his coworker so we had a good lesson with the two of them. Before he was so golden and willing to act on what we taught him, but lately his attitude has completely changed. We found out that he isnt praying anymore, has stopped reading the scriptures and didnt come to church last week. He kept saying he didnt understand some things and wasnt feeling anything in regards to the gospel. We were pretty frank with him and simply said it was because he wasnt doing anything to learn more. He came to church this Sunday, so we are hoping they will realize they need to do their part to know if this church is true or not. We had an appointment with them for Sunday night, but they canceled because his wife got sick. Hopefully we can meet with them again soon.
That is most everything that has happened with our investigators. We did have an incredible lesson with a less active this week too. Her name is Li mama (if they are over 50 we usually call them mama) and we meet with her everyweek and study the scriptures together. Her son has been gone on his mission to Australia and just got home about a week ago. He sat in on our lesson and actually got her thinking about changing her rest day to Sunday so she can come back to church. Family influence is so incredible! We will see where she is at again this week. If she actually does change her rest day she will be able to become active again!
The Hong family went to the temple on Saturday! They went up to Taibei with Hong jiemeis sister and their stake and did baptisms for the dead. I called them later that day and they said they were able to do ten baptisms each and it was a really special experience. (Also that was my first full, and coherent phone conversation in Chinese!) And I forgot that morning I ended up leading a lesson on my own with Huang jiemei (another investigator we havent been able to meet with for a while). She brought her two kids who make it impossible to have a good lesson with her so Sister Anderson took them out and entertained them while I and a sister from our ward stayed and taught her about faith. It was a good day of break throughs for me.
So we have seen so many miracles this week! Heavenly Father blesses us so much! We have had a hard time for the past couple of weeks, but now we are seeing so many blessings. Ive been trying really hard to gain better relationships with the ward members and talking to them more. They have been so kind and I feel so honored to know them. The sister who helped me in my solo lesson has been freaking out because we dont wear warm enough clothes. It has actually gotten pretty cold lately, but because we expect Taiwan to be hot we dont have many cold weather items. She ended up bringing tights for me on Sunday. I had a sister the day before at the elders baptismal service go home and get a heavier jacket to give me. Then on Sunday after church I went up to the sister who had given a talk in sacrament to thank her and she freaked out at my lack of warm clothes and gave me the coat off her back. I protested really hard, but I ended up having her and the sister who gave me the tights force the jacket on me despite anything I said. Their generosity amazes me! There are so many incredible people in the world and I only wish I can be as much of an example to them as they are to me. So, I am very quickly accumulating jackets in my closet.
I did get your package this week! It came on Saturday, so it wasnt too late. I also got the package from my moms family at the same time, so it really was like Christmas. Thank you so much! It was so much more than I expected and I loved it all. I have already shown off the pictures you sent to so many people. It makes me grin every single time I look at them. My moms family gave me two of the big bags of M&Ms in their package, so along with the M&Ms you sent we have a pretty good candy stash now. Mostly we just pick out the chocolate because thats the best part. Last night after planning Sister Anderson and I ended up talking and eating M&Ms until it was time to go to bed. It was so much fun, and Im so glad that we have developed such a good friendship. We probably only have three more weeks together.
I almost forgot to tell you about the baptismal service we had. Some of the elders in our district had a baptism on Saturday, and because they were still helping a new family move in asked us to go to the church early to fill up the font. We rushed there, but they actually ended up beating us. So they started the water and we just stood in the hallway with them and some of the ward member talking. To keep the story short they ended up overflowing the font and having water come into the hallway. It was really funny, and Sister Anderson and I kept joking about just having the baptism in the hallway.
I love you all so much! I am so grateful for you all and for what incredible examples you are to me. I always appreciated you and knew I was so blessed to have such a great family, but being on my mission has increased my appreciation and gratitude for you all so much!
Have a great week! Play in the snow and enjoy the time together. Time is so precious and once it goes by we can never get it back (also something I have learned out here). I cant believe I have already been out on my mission for four months. Its not much compared to the 18, but it has gone by so fast. Give Jemma a hug for me! I loved her letter! I want to hear more about the new show she was talking about and the craft she found. (I also like jumping in leaves and miss her too!) Love you all!
Sister Fernley

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