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:
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...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 . 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.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.
Soshe 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 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!