Monday, January 6, 2014

Oyster Omelettes in Nantou

We love to hear from Sister Fernley! She has always been a mature, level-headed, and strong person, but it's exciting to read about all the growing and learning she is doing. Here's her latest:

Dear Family,
I don't even know where to start for this week. Mostly because I can't remember much of what happened. I was able to get all of your emails before our computer time was up. We actually still have about an hour, I just got that picture and forwarded it while I was looking at it.
Lets see...Monday we went to go visit a less active family we have been really focusing on. They are still considered RCs because they were baptized last March. The mom and two of her sons were baptized. Their dad and their younger brother (who's not old enough anyway) are not. This is the family that we actually got to come to church a few weeks ago miraculously. We continue to meet with them and try to get them to church. We will confirm with them up until 20 minutes before sacrament meeting starts and they still won't show up. Yesterday we called her and she said she couldn't come, she just got home from buying breakfast. We decided we need to review a few commandments after that one, especially considering we had spent the whole week before talking about fasting in preparation for this sunday. Anyway...that was a tangent. We were headed over there to follow up because they yet again didn't come to church. We stopped at the light before turning onto their road and as is normal in Nantou there was a lone scooter at the light to contact, and miracle of miracles it was a woman (in our mission we aren't allowed to contact men, so naturally many stop lights we pull up to only have men stopped at them). Sister Anderson was riding ahead of me so she pulled up and started talking to the lady. Simple pleasantries were exchanged then the light turned green. We continued on and visited with the Chen family I mentioned before.

After that lesson we had planned to find the address of a girl we had contacted on the street in that neighborhood weeks before. She had been in our plan almost every day since then, but something would always happen so we never went to find her. Today it was our first priority though so we found the house and knocked on the gate and their two girls came out (the 12 year old we had contacted and her 10 year old sister). They were so excited to have waiguoren (white people) coming and visiting them so invited us in and went to get their mom. Their mom came down the stairs, a few words were said then Sister Anderson exclaimed, "I know you!" This woman was the woman she had contacted on the street about an hour earlier! They were both pretty shocked and the woman asked us how we knew how to get to her house. We quickly exclaimed the situation so she wasn't as freaked out and she allowed us to stay and talk with her family for a little bit. She doesn't sound like she has much interest, but she probably would have never allowed us to come in if Sister Anderson hadn't met her on the road earlier. It was crazy!
We helped the Hong family (our recent converts) move two doors down on Wednesday. They have been closed since then to get everything set up again, I think they open up again today. When they came to church yesterday they looked so tired! But we are so proud of them for making the changes in their lives to better follow Christ.
Thursday we went out to eat those Oyster Omelets with Michelle. She is my english student who would go out to eat with us every now and then. This week we actually invited her to Institute on Friday night and she actually came! She also came to watch 17 Miracles at the church last night and brought a friend. We aren't going to push teaching her yet, but she is slowly being more open to our church and listening to our messages. After the movie last night we were talking about how those people were our ancestors and that all the miracles they saw were true. After that she made a comment about how missionaries are kind of like the pioneers. Its a different kind of trial but we see miracles as well, just in different ways. I love hearing investigators make connections and comments that are so true. When they make comments like that you know they are at least understanding something.


Thursday night we were also able to meet with a couple of high school age girls. They were contacted by the sister missionaries in another area and set up a time and a place to meet with us in Nantou. They had planned to meet at McDonalds (which is actually a pretty nice building in Taiwan, a lot of American resturants are) that night. We walked in and started to call the number. We think they got a little freaked out when they saw us because her phone started ringing and she was about to reject the call, but we saw it was her. So we went over and started talking and the more we talked the more receptive they became. We talked about our purpose as missionaries and why we are serving missions and then taught about prayer. Near the end we asked them if they would want to pray and they both immediately said yes. They were so willing to learn and we have another meeting with them this week.
 Man the more and more I write the more I remember about this week. I'm flipping through my planner and remembering so many great lessons. We taught that young girl who self contacted us at the church again. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was so good. She is so willing to learn and loves everything we teach her. She is still afraid to talk to her parents though, but we will get there. She actually called us soon after we got to the wenka (computer place) and said her teacher told her she should only study the Bible and not the Book of Mormon. I guess her teacher saw her with the book and started telling her some anti-mormon things (her teacher is American). She told us she can't get baptized, but we are going to meet with her this week and try to clear some things up. She said it made her sad to think about not studying the Book of Mormon and that she doesn't want to be close minded, so we still have hope.
Saturday we had another meeting with Chen Zhen Zhen. We had planned on teaching the Plan of Salvation and I had been in charge of planning the lesson, but it ended up not being right for her then. Sister Anderson started teaching the story of Nephi and his bow to her and talking about faith and acting. I had no idea where it was going, and Sister Anderson was just talking so I sat back and listened. Chen Zhen Zhen was really into the lesson, but her son who she had invited to sit in with us wasn't really. Since I didn't really have a part in the lesson either I spent a lot of time watching him and trying to see what his reactions were about what was being taught. During most of the lesson he wasn't very invested and started reading one of the tracts we have about the gospel that Chen Zhen Zhen had in her Book of Mormon. I don't remember what part of the conversation he started tuning into, but he asked his mom about a couple of his friends and if they were Christian. Then he suddenly looked up and asked, "Can I?" We didn't really know what he was asking, but his mom clarified and said he sees the examples of some of his friends and wants to be like them. He wanted to know if he could. Sister Anderson bore her testimony about the change that the gospel can bring and Chen Zhen Zhen started crying a little bit. It was about then that she turned to her son and started teaching him. And she wasn't just spouting off information she was bearing her testimony to her son. She talked about God and Jesus Christ. She talked about how He created us. She told her son that she gave birth to him, but she didn't have the power to create him. She couldn't pick his nose or arrange a body or a spirit; that is what God has done. It was incredible! She taught him prayer and we asked if he would say one with us. I don't think he understood that we were going to do a group prayer because we all bowed our heads and it just stayed silent. We all just said personal prayers and when Sister Anderson and I finished we looked up and just looked at these two wonderful people with their heads bowed sincerely praying to God. The Spirit was so strong! They said they would go to church yesterday as well, but Chen Zhen Zhen came on her own and heard the last few testimonies in Sacrament and stayed through Gospel Principles. Her son got scared and was too nervous to come. We hope that since she came and saw what church was like she will be able to convince him to come next week.
I have to admit that during that lesson with Chen Zhen Zhen I wasn't in the best attitude. I was a little annoyed about not being able to say anything, but mostly I think I was just down on myself. I was seeing these people be touched by the Spirit and felt like I had done nothing to help that. While we were riding our bikes back to the church after the lesson I was having a hard time holding back tears. I was feeling like a failure as a missionary because I didn't feel like I was helping anyone. While we were riding though I realized that I was being a little selfish and proud. I'm not here to change people's lives. I'm not the one teaching these people, the Spirit is. I just need to be worthy of the Spirit and do my best and if these people are ready their hearts will be touched. I also just needed a little time to get back to rational thinking and get a hold of myself.
Sunday helped me a lot with overcoming some of that feeling. I've been branching out a lot and talking to the ward members on my own. So this week I had a lot of people come up and talk to me. It feels so good to be noticed and included by the ward. I continue to grow to love them and feel their love more and more for me as well. We actually have a return missionary who just came home a few weeks ago who brought his referral for us to church. She came in late and as she walked into Relief Society he mouthed to me from the doorway she was our referral. After Relief Society ended she bolted and I looked to Sister Anderson because we needed to set up with her. Sister Anderson was stuck (kind of, really she just wanted to force me to do it on my own) so I ran out to try and talk to her before she left. As I ran out to the hallway I got accosted by ward members. I was five feet away from li jiemei (our referral), who was looking into the elder's class to find the member (return missionary) who had brought her, but I had like four members come up to me and talk. It was a fight to actually break through and get to talk to her, but I did and we are going over to her house on Wednesday!
After most of the people left the church one of our ward missionaries asked all the elders and us to stay for a "special meeting." I need to give you a little background on this. On Tuesday when Sister Anderson and I went to go check out mail we had an envelope with our names on it with a chicken foot in it from the elders. Sister Anderson refuses to eat a chicken foot. Even just looking at them make her want to throw up. So I guess the elders think it is funny and decided to give us a chicken foot. (Which is technically against the rules.) Because we were on our way out we just stuck it in our bike baskets and were going to throw it away later. We stopped by Hong Qiu Lisa's house (our member) to see how she was and follow up with if she has talked to a friend she wants to introduce us to. We showed her the chicken foot and she thought it was really funny and asked if she could have it. She said she could give it back to the elders in some unexpected way. We happily gave it up and went on our way. The next day after english class we were the last to leave the church and found two more chicken feet in our bike baskets from the elders. We forgot to take them up to our apartment to throw them away so they were there the next day. Randomly we ended up going with Hong Qui Lisa to meet with her friend who was with her daughter at the hospital down the street that morning. Again we showed her that we had more chicken feet and again she asked if she could have them.
So on Sunday she arranged for all the missionaries to meet after church with her family. She had told us earlier that we couldn't laugh during the meeting, but we had no idea what she was going to do. She told this whole story about how her family was out of money and she didn't have much work so they were going to move back to their old house in Zhanghua. (She had canceled FHE with the elders the Friday before and pretended to be really sad and upset about something, so this was a continuation of her charade.) It was hillarious to see the elders faces and so hard not to laugh because we knew this was all a joke. She said she wanted to give us all something before they left and gave us come cookies and the other elders some cheetos. She then said because the other elders went to her house the most often their gift was the most special. She then pulled out this box. They opened it and pulled out this chicken figure made out of apples for the body, a duck foot for the head, and the chicken feet tacked onto the bottom as its feet. Maybe I'll get a picture, but it was so funny. She put some serious thought into it.
Anyway I'm almost out of time and that is pretty much it for this week anyway. I was showing my pictures to someone this week and they said dad looked like John Trovolta. I thought you might get a kick out of that. The Ice castle looked really cool (litterally). I couldn't see much in detail, but it looked and sounds like fun. And as always the doughnuts look delicious!
As far as your questions go, we have three phases to our language study plan. Phase 1 is preach my gospel in chinese, so we learn the gospel terms. Then phase 2 is a couple thousand flash cards of more normal words. Then phase 3 is characters. Someday I want to be able to read the Book of Mormon in Chinese. But as for right now I am mostly illiterate. I love you all as always! Send me some pictures of the wedding and tell them all I love them too. Give Katie my congratulations! I got her announcement this week. Give Jemma a giant hug for me and tell her I love her 80, 80, 80, 80.
I love you all! Good luck this next week! Until next monday!
Sister Fernley

No comments:

Post a Comment