Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chinese New Year=Not so Good for Missionary Work!

Here is Sister Fernley's message from last Sunday. We'll be getting another message tonight, and if it comes early enough I'll try to post it tonight. If not, tomorrow morning!

Dear Family,

Well this week has been interesting. I am going to be so grateful when Chinese New Year is over. Our days consist of desperately trying to find Less Actives, former investigators (or really anyone for that matter) to meet with us. New Year's Day was this Thursday, but they basically celebrate it for about two or three weeks. Everyone I have asked about it says that the celebrations usually go until February 10th. So until then PRAY. Really...we need it.

I guess I'll just go through the week (I can never remember anything until I flip through my planner). Monday we traveled into Nantou (I don't know if I've ever explained it before, but our area technically consists of three different cities. The church is in the middle area called Zhongxing. Going north is Nantou and south is Caotun.) So anyway we decided to go into Nantou for the night (we have to bike over a freeway bridge to get there). We had several options, but they all fell through. So we went to go find some LAs that I didn't have much hope of meeting with because they've been avoiding us since I got here. We ended up meeting with one who I have only met with once during my first week here. It was a miracle we caught her at home!

Tuesday was probably the most eventful day of the week. While we were calling phones a few days earlier, desperately trying to set up with anyone, one of our phone referrals that we have been trying to contact forever actually answered and set up with us. So Tuesday morning we met with her at the McDonalds and taught the whole message of the Restoration. Neither of us understood a lot of what she said, so that was kind of awkward, but she said she would come to church and meet with us after. (Which didn't happen.) We are still hoping to set up again with her and hope she progresses. She was a self contact for the missionaries in Taizhong. She went up to them and asked them to teach her how to chuanjiao (preach the gospel). Not very sure where her interest lies right now, but we hope to continue working with her. 

That same day I took Sister Hill to the Hong family's for lunch (our RCs). Luckily their business slowed down for a little bit so we could share a message with them. Sister Hill had planned a lesson on Charity. It just so happens that Hong Dixiong had been studying for his talk next week and was studying about charity. He then told us about trials that God was giving him throughout the week to help him develop charity. I love hearing their stories! They are so incredible and have such a desire to follow Christ's example and learn from the scriptures. The week before I shared with Hong jiemei my experience of receiving an answer of comfort from the scriptures and how I was struggling a little bit in Nantou. This week as we visited with them they were both so supportive and had so much faith and confidence in missionary work and our efforts. I was so grateful for their encouragement and will always cherish their friendship. Hong Dixiong even told me my Chinese has gotten pretty good (which is always a confidence booster).

Wednesday we met again with Chen Zhen Zhen and I think we are going to drop her for now. I still have hope someday she will accept the gospel, but we need to move on to people who will progress and are prepared at this time. Other than that we taught english. We have a new rule that companionships can't separate to teach english so Sister Hill and I are now teaching the children's class, which gets interesting at times. But it's still fun.

Thursday we had little success in meeting with anyone or finding any new investigators, but it was also the start of our New Year's meals. The members invite the missionaries to eat and have signed up for different meals throughout the week. Because New Year meals are usually a big deal and they prepare and eat a ton of food President gave us two hours to spend with members when they invite us over. Usually we spend the whole time there. We have had lunch and dinner appointments for the past couple of days and have a few more this next week. It has been a great opportunity to get to know the members more and the timing is perfect because so many people are too busy to meet with us during the New Year. So we have been spending a lot of time traveling to member's houses and eating, literally eating so much! I've heard of some missionaries gaining up to 30 pounds during Chinese New Year! (Haven't gained much yet, but I'm trying to be careful.)

Then on Friday we had a lunch appointment then did exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders! I went to Zhanghua with Sister Anderson and Sister Lin came to Nantou with Sister Hill. It didn't really feel like an exchange because I was just back with my old companion, we were just in a different area. And then during the whole exchange we were basically just going to member's houses to eat. But it was really good to just talk about the past couple of weeks together and motivate each other. That is one thing Sister Anderson is really good at. She is so good at encouraging and makes me feel like I can do anything. During our companionship study she read Alma chapter 4 to me replacing Alma with my name and the city with Nantou. I cried. And since then I have read that chapter several times. Like Alma there have been so many times where I just want to turn my back and be done, but I know what I have been called to do and just need to press forward and give my best. 

Saturday we switched back and had another dinner appointment. Sunday church was only an hour, but we got to meet with Mei Xin (the lady from China) after. She still doesn't feel like she has received an answer and doesn't really think she can receive an answer already so we taught the Holy Ghost in more detail. I really hope she progresses more. Sister Hill and I both really felt like extending a baptismal invitation to her, but our member talked so much and got us so off topic that it didn't work out. We are going to try and meet with her this week again.(To be continued...)

That is pretty much it. We did meet with Jia Zhen this week (I can't remember what day) and were able to talk to her about baptism. She was saying that she will be able to come to church after she finishes testing. Her tutor had to change times anyway so that was perfect. We were also able to keep her date for the 22nd. I fought really hard for that, I did not want to lose our last baptismal goal. But she is really willing, she is really busy still (her school doesn't have New Year's break like all the other schools) but after this week I think we will be able to work with her a lot more. 

I hope my emails aren't boring. Sometimes I feel like they aren't that interesting and feel more like a time log. 

The lantern festival starts this week and they have been doing so much preparation for it. I think I told you, but it is the big festival for all of Taiwan. There have been so many cars and so many people from out of town. Even though we might not get new investigators for ourselves we might be getting a lot of referrals for other missionaries. I asked President for permission to take pictures of it, but still have yet to hear from him. I'll keep you posted. 

Also I got an email from Sister Anderson today and she an four other companionships were authorized to start using Facebook for our mission yesterday!!! So crazy! 

It sounds like Jemma is doing as great as ever. She is still so creative and I love that she loves to do crafts so much. I loved her letter! The Valentines decorations look so cute (I actually forgot about that holiday with Chinese New Year going on). And she is so big! I can't believe she is in CTR 4 already! Time goes too fast. I so proud of her for being so good with Winston and for being so great at taking care of Tigger for me. I want to see her dream catcher! I love you too Jemma! I love you 80 80 80 90 80 and even more! My favorite thing is to tell people about my family and my little sister who is my best friend and the cutest 4 year old I know. (They all think so too.) 

I just got Nicole's email and I'm sorry to hear about all of the medical problems going on, but I'm glad to hear everyone is doing well and on the mend. I hope everything with work works out. I'm sure it will and that everything will work out for the best. Dad you said that the Lord puts us where we need to be. It is so true. He knows what's best for us. He knows what He wants us to be and He will give us those experiences we need to become our best. 

I love this gospel and I love that I have this opportunity to serve the Lord! I can't believe I have already been gone for almost six months. Time goes by way too fast, so cherish it. I don't have a lot of time left, but know that I love you and that I'm so grateful the Lord allowed me to have such an incredible family who I love with all my heart. Know that I know this gospel is true and that I will work my hardest to bring this happy message to these people of Taiwan. He is changing my heart and making me into the person I need to become. He is teaching me what is really important and strengthening my conversion in this gospel. He loves us all and only wants us to reach out to Him. 

Come What May and Love It!

With all my love,

Sister Fernley

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