Monday, March 31, 2014

More Miracles…and Cockroaches

Here is the latest from Sister Fernley. Sounds like the work is going well in Qishan.

I can't believe another week has gone by and that this move call is coming to an end! Time goes so fast! I realized a few weeks ago that I was hitting my only-one-year-left mark, and I didn't like it. One year is still a lot of time, and I have a lot more time than many of the other missionaries, but it still feels like not enough time. Sometimes I wish they had lengthened the time for sister missionaries to two years as well as the age change. (I know dad probably doesn't like that idea :) ). Anyway, this week has been an incredible week and Sister Yeh and I continue to be amazed at the progress we are privileged enough to be a part of in Qishan. Truly so many miracles!

We were talking the other night an wondering why now? Why is it this move call that Qishan is seeing so many miracles? Why for the last two move calls was this area "dead"? Its interesting to see the pattern of an area's progression, and most the time we don't have the answers to these questions. We just continue doing what we know we need to do, doing our best, and trust in the Lord's timing. But I really am so grateful that I've been given the privilege to see the progress here in Qishan and hope that I've helped a little.

Earlier this week we had Zone Conference so we headed over to Sanmin to hear from President and Sister Blickenstaff and be trained by our leaders. It was an incredible conference and we were all reminded and taught how we can better do this work and invite others to come unto Christ. I think sometimes we try to make things too complicated, or get nervous about being bold when we teach. But if we just go to the basics and are brave enough not to care what other people think we, as missionaries, will be better able to further this work of salvation.

This move call I've been trying really hard to remember the invitations our leaders give us and actually go and do them! I don't think I can count how many times I've been given an invitation at church, during FHE, or from home teachers that in the moment I agreed to do and thought that was a really good idea and then afterward didn't do anything. Unfortunately I know I have done that a lot even on my mission. We receive invitation in every DTM, ZTM, zone conference, mission conference you name the meeting we receive an invitation. As missionaries we give everyone invitations in every lesson (or we should), and when our investigators don't do our invitations we are always disappointed. Without acting on these invitations they have no way of progressing. The same goes for us. So I've been trying really hard to obey and go and do. Our leaders give us these invitations for a reason and I know that if I do them my missionary work will improve and we will see miracles. 

I've seen so many blessings from doing this and I don't know if all the miracles we are seeing is because of this, but I sure do hope it is helping.I do know I have become a better missionary a lot faster because I have been doing this. I've grown a lot more bold in inviting others to repent and receive the ordinance of baptism, I've become a lot braver in talking with everyone we see, I've had more effective study...and the list goes on an on. 

In having this focus for the past month I've also been a lot more excited for General Conference coming up! Every single talk will have an invitation whether directly stated or not, and every single invitation will help us become better disciples of Christ and strengthen our testimony of this gospel. So, if you can't tell, I'm giving an invitation! Listen to conference and remember their invitations. Then go and do, just like Nephi went and did the things the Lord commanded. Our prophet and apostles aren't going to directly command us, but their invitations should be taken as such. I know if we will all do this our testimonies will be strengthened and Heavenly Father will bless us immensely. (Also I won't be able to watch conference until a week later, so don't spoil anything :) ).

This week we were also able to move into our new apartment! Yay! The office elders came down with a bunch of new furniture they bought from IKEA and helped us move the last of our stuff up to the ninth floor. They spent a few hours putting together our new desks and book shelves for our apartment while Sister Yeh and I got curtains put up and figured out where we wanted everything. It is really nice to be living out of one apartment now. I also had my first encounter with cockroaches here. Almost every day so far we have come home to find one or two giant ones in our apartment and have gotten pretty skilled at sweeping them up and running just outside our door and dumping them out the ninth story window. We don't have our new washer yet (yea they went all out and got us a new washer and dryer) so there are a holes on our deck where the hoses connect to. We think the cockroaches are coming from there, but aren't sure. Anyway, its a fun experience to cross of the bucket list. I had a few emerge on my desk the other night as we were finishing daily planning.

Oh man...this email is already long and I haven't even gotten to the miracles yet. Zao gao (literally translated=messy cakes, I know, Chinese is weird). 

Thursday we had appointments to meet with Zong jiemei (the street contact who immediately wanted to go to church) and Shao jie (our thirteen year old investigator). We decided to be good Preach my Gospel, and more brave missionaries and invited them both to be baptized and they both accepted! After having such a long stint in Nantou and then here without any baptismal goals or progressing investigators it is an incredible feeling to actually have some. 

We continued to meet with our RCs and LAs and some of them are actually progressing and are slowly coming back to church. I love getting to know the people! Leaving an area is hard, but I love that we get to move around and get to know so many different people. There are so many incredible members here! 

And then the best day of the week...Sunday

Sister Yeh and I went to the church about an hour early on Sunday so I could practice the piano. When I got to Qishan I was asked if I could play the piano because the Bishop had asked the missionaries to prepare a musical number. Unfortunately my ability is very limited. We were finally able to pick a song we could sing in Chinese if we could find the instrumental music. To our disappointment none of our members could find the music. So we postponed the number and I started practicing when we could find a little time. I finally managed to piece together something I could manage that sounded decent, but our number got postponed by the Bishop to next month. Move call is in two weeks, so some of us could be gone by then.

Anyway we greeted everyone as they came into the church and found a seat by shao jie. Just as Sacrament meeting was starting someone poked our backs from behind. I turned around and saw this teenage girl, who I knew I had seen before. She waved at us and walked around to come sit on our other side. It took me a few seconds, but I realized that she was a girl that I had contacted at a 7/11 a few days earlier! We had gone to the 7 to call phones and spent a little time talking to one of the elder's RCs we ran into there. As we were talking I had watched a few women walk in, sit down, and walk out that I wanted to contact but couldn't. So as we were leaving I decided I was going to be a brave missionary and talk with the one student who was still there. She was really cute, but wasn't really willing to give us her information or set up to meet with us. We invited her to church and gave her the church address and told her about english class. At the very most I would have expected her to come to english, but she came to church! And she stayed for the full three hours! She is really busy, but we have an appointment with her this Wednesday and she kept talking about the next time she comes to church, so we are keeping fingers crossed.

So Heavenly Father has taught me not to give up on anyone, and to talk to everyone, because you never know who could progress and come to accept the gospel. 

I loved the gifs you sent! It looks like Jemma is getting pretty good at the hula-hoop. So cool! She is getting way too big! It also sounds like life is pretty busy back home. But I'm glad that you are all happy and healthy, that's the most important thing! I love you all and absolutely love hearing from you every week. If I forget to answer any questions ask me again and I will try to remember. 

As always, with all my love,

Sister Fernley

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Miracle Week

Sounds like Sister Fernley had an amazing week in Qishan. Here is her latest message:

I have been so excited to email and let you all know that God is a God of miracles! Truly His hand is in our lives so much and He gives us so many miracles. Sometimes we are just too blind to see them. He lives, He loves us and He cares about us. 

This week I saw the fulfillment of there being "another miracle just around the corner." That seems to be the catch phrase for my mission so far. It is so true and I am learning more and more how much His hand really is in our lives. Its becoming easier and easier to see the miracles, small they may be, and see how much our Heavenly Father really loves us.

Honestly I don't even know what we did or what triggered everything. This week seemed like a normal week, nothing much incredibly special happening, but yesterday at church we ended up with an incredible amount of RCs, LAs, and yes even investigators at church! It was an incredible blessing! We had correlation meeting after church and our Ward Mission Leader and the elders were also really excited about the progress that we have been able to see this past week. When I first got to Qishan they had two investigators weren't and still aren't very promising. But in the past week the Lord has blessed us so much that we were able to find four new investigators!

Last week I think I told you about Du Shao Jie (?). She is the thirteen year old daughter of the bike man that we go to. He is one of the Elder's investigators and consequently his younger brother is one of our less active members. I guess Du dixiong's daughter has heard some of the lessons the elders have with her dad and always asks us her questions, which are pretty deep, when we stop by. So the before I got here they would go over and answer any questions she had, but she was never formally taking the missionary lessons. So we went over one day, I can't remember if we actually needed to fix our bikes that time or not, but she asked us a question about a scripture in the Book of Mormon. It just so happened that that morning I had studied and taught a lesson to an LA in Tainan (while I was there for exchanges). It was perfect and I was completely prepared to answer her question. I don't even know how the discussion turned, but we started How to Begin Teaching (from Preach my Gospel) and ended up asking her if she was willing to formally start taking the missionary lessons...she was, and then if she would be willing to be baptized. After we asked her this question she didn't even hesitate and said, "I want to!" 

On Sunday we got to church just in time for sacrament to start because we were trying to help her get to church. She was so excited when her grandma gave her permission to come! She is handicapped and has a little bit of trouble walking, so we painstakingly tried to find a member that 1.could actually drive a car to church and 2. had enough room in their car to bring her. Anyway we were able to get her to church okay, but most everyone had already showed up so I ended up sitting on the other side of the congregation with one of our members who had brought two friends to church. Two miracle investigators at church! 

We also had a sister that we contacted on the road about a week and a half ago show up. We have never met with her, but during our initial contact she told us she wanted to come to church and set up with us to meet right before church so we could help her find the chapel. Two weeks in a row she didn't show up, but yesterday part of the way through sacrament meeting she came in with her two kids! We were able to talk to her for a minute after church and have an appointment with her later this week. 

So pretty much after church on Sunday I was a very satisfied and a very grateful missionary :). 

On Tuesday we were able to meet with two high school girls who our Sister Training Leader contacted on exchanges. They brought another friend and we were able to introduce them to our purpose as missionaries and talked to them about baptism. This was the first time I have ever been that bold as to bring it up the first time I've met with someone, but Sister Yeh and I have been really trying to be more bold as missionaries. So we went for it, and they looked a little uncomfortable, but we both knew that we were completely fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. We weren't ashamed of our message. It was such a good feeling.

Friday and Saturday we incredibly busy days. For some reason everyone wanted to set up for Friday morning and afternoon (which is usually our weekly planning time). So we had to call our zone leaders and get permission to change that and headed off to meet with several LAs. That same day we helped move furniture out of our soon-to-be new apartment! I keep forgetting to tell you about this, but when I got to Qishan Sister yeh told me they were trying to find a new apartment for us because our current one has a lot of problems. A couple of weeks ago they told us they found one on the ninth floor of our current complex. The ninth floor is where they used to hold church services before their church building was build. (Destiny right?) So for the past couple of weeks we have been going up to the ninth floor to shower (our apartment doesn't have any hot water so before we were taking cold showers). We are going to be able to completely move into that apartment this Thursday

Saturday we biked forever! Earlier in the week I was calling dead stack and called a lady that had been contacted twice by missionaries on the street. Once in 2009 and then again a few months ago. Before when missionaries tried to set up with her she always said she was too busy, but this time she was willing to set up with us for Saturday afternoon. 

That morning we had set up to go visit a member and it took us about an hour to bike to her house. She is an elderly lady and her house is huge so we helped her do some yard work for a little while then left her house around one. Our appointment with the contact mentioned earlier was at three, but it took us the whole time to bike to where she lives. It literally felt like we were biking forever! A lot of it was uphill, so coming home only took us about fourty minutes. I think there and back was about 30 km. 

Anyway we had planned to teach her the first lesson, but she immediately told us that she often feels like she doesn't know what she is doing on earth and doesn't know what our purpose here is. So...we taught her the Plan of Salvation. It was a really good lesson and she was really engaged. She has investigated a lot of different religions and was always comparing what we were saying to other religions, but I think our lesson helped her a lot. We don't have a specific time to go back and visit her because her work schedule is unpredictable, but we hope that we will be able to share with her more. 

And then we had our incredible Sunday! This week was super busy and I am incredibly tired, but very happy and grateful to have seen so many miracles. 

To answer your questions for this week we have been trying to meet with the members a lot more. The stake president has asked the missionaries to do that more to try and get referrals from the members. So last week we went and visited five of our members and shared "Hastening the Lord's Game Plan" from general conference. This week we have another five that we want to try and go visit. At this rate we are going to quickly run out of members to visit, but it is helping me get to know the members a lot better. The ward isn't very big, even smaller than Nantou, but the members are great. They are so willing to help the missionaries and peike, but the sisters didn't have investigators before so they never had the opportunity. Truly "nothing happens in missionary work until you find people to teach."

We haven't heard anything about general conference yet, but I know the members here have to wait until the week after to watch it in Chinese. They go to the church and watch it together, but I don't know what they are going to do for us. I am so excited to listen to conference again and hear what the prophet and apostles are going to invite us to do! I can't believe that conference is coming on us again. It seems like I was just listening to conference in the MTC! 

I loved seeing what you did for Saint Patrick's Day! I love that you're having so much fun with it. Jemma will remember it forever! So creative! And your cheescake looks incredible. They have cheesecake here, but they take it more literal here, it's not as good. And they don't like things too sweet. They even sell mildly sweet oreo's here...that would never happen in America. Haha.

Dad told me in his email this week that he has learned he doesn't like change. I have realized recently that I don't like change either, but my mission is teaching me to like it. In regards to investigators I love change (for the better), but when it comes to move call and moving areas I don't like it. I don't like being out of my comfort zone and on a mission you are constantly out of your comfort zone. I guess Heavenly Father helps us make weak things become strong. I hope everything works out with work, I know it will. Keep me posted. 

Well I think this email is long enough! Besides I'm almost out of time, but know that I love you all so much! I love this gospel. I love being a missionary. I love trials because they help you grow. I love that I'm learning how to change myself. I love that I'm learning to see miracles every day. I love that I get to bear testimony everyday. I love that I have a family that I know loves and supports me. I love that I have a sister who I love with all my heart. I love my Savior and I know He loves each and every one of us. 

I can't wait to hear from you all next week! Stay happy and cherish every minute. Time is precious and it goes by way too fast.

With all my love,

Sister Fernley

(Sorry I don't have any new pictures this week!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Report from Qishan

It sounds like Sister Fernley is doing really well in a pretty hard area. Here's her latest message to us--and we're pretty sure she meant peanut butter and banana sandwiches, not peanut butter and apple…but who knows? We didn't think she meant "Toilet" restaurant a couple months ago either, but she sure did!


I hope you are all happy, healthy and enjoying everyday! I also hope your anniversary was a happy day and that you were able to have a good day together. This time we have and the relationships we have in this life are the most precious gifts Heavenly Father has given us. I am so grateful for our family and for the strength and strong family foundation it gives us. 

And I'm sure Jemma is having a great time at grandma's. I can't wait to hear about it next week! I loved the pictures of her latest adventures with friends and making Clifford cookies! So cute! It sounds like it was a pretty busy week, but that you were able to have a lot of fun. 

The pictures I put up in Dropbox are from last Monday. There is a tourist temple here in Qishan. Unfortunately a lot of the museums and tourist sites are closed on Monday so we can't go see a lot of them (since Monday is our p-day). So the pictures of the temple were taken through the holes in the outer walls. I love looking at all the Buddhist, actually I guess they are Daoist, temples here, but they often bring mixed feelings. Before I would have probably thought they were really interesting and cool to look at, but as a missionary I also have a natural dislike toward them. Basically the people go to these temples and burn incense and shake the incense at their idols inside. They also have more personal temples or alters in their homes where they have pictures of their ancestors and do the same thing. This practice is called "bai bai" here. Often when we pull up to a stop light or are tracting people will see us and before anything else is said will say, "I'm bai bai," and will shake their hands as if they were shaking their incense. A common joke among the missionaries is that we are also "bai bai" (bai can also mean white), referring to our skin. 

Anyway we biked past the steps one day and I asked Sister Yeh what it was. When she told me I asked if we could go on P-day and she was nice enough to appease me. It was beautiful and I love learning about the culture here. Sister Yeh has taught me so much already! She likes to introduce me to different foods. I'm willing to try anything at least once, but a lot of the foods I've eaten I could do without a second try. I also introduced her to peanut butter and apple sandwiches earlier this week! It was hilarious because I didn't think she would like it, but for a few days after she would suggest packing sandwiches for lunch. She's even been telling the other Taiwanese sisters about it when we meet for ZTM. 

This week we've been able to pick up the pace in Qishan a little bit! Our zone leaders gave us a talk titled "The Challenging and Testifying Missionary" during ZTM to take home and read and I absolutely love it! It was perfect and exactly what I needed at this time. I've been praying and trying to figure out where I can improve and how I can become a better missionary to best help the work here in this area. This talk helped me so much and taught me how to be a more bold missionary. So in studying this talk and trying to obey the invitations of our zone leaders I have been putting forth more effort to overcome my hesitancy and talk to as many people as I can on the street. As a result Sister Yeh and I have been able to come across several people this week who were willing to give us their numbers and possibly set up another time to meet. It may just be the lack of progress before, but each and every contact we receive seems like a tender mercy and miracle to me. I guess that is one thing nice about coming into an almost clean slate, everything seems like a bigger miracle that it might have in an already flourishing area.

I was able to go on exchanges with the Tainan Sister Training Leaders this week and it was an incredible experience! Tainan isn't in our zone, but because they are closer to us than our actual Sister Training Leaders we go on exchanges with them. Sister Anderson was trained there so I had heard a ton about that area and was really excited to go there. I went to Tainan with Sister Adams and Sister Jian came down to Qishan with Sister Yeh. I learned so much! Sister Adams has a gift of loving everyone and outwardly showing her love. She motivated me to come back to Qishan and show absolutely everyone I come in contact the joy this gospel can bring. I met with some incredible people and we had some lessons that were so full of the Spirit. It renewed my faith in myself that I actually can be a teacher by the Spirit and that my ability to feel the Spirit hasn't been dulled. Sometimes when you don't have much happening it feels like that. I know it shouldn't, but sometimes, well a lot of the time you doubt yourself.

She also told me a lot about what has been going on with Qishan lately. It helped me get more of a vision of what kind of area I am actually in and what a blessing it is to have been called here. Three move calls ago President Blickenstaff pulled the sisters out of Qishan because they were struggling and he thought it was too hard for the sisters. After one move call without sisters the Bishop here requested to have sisters back because the work slowed down a lot. So President called Sister Yeh and Sister Lee to come and white-wash the area. During their time here they didn't see a lot of success and found that the investigators and small progress the sisters had just a move call early disappeared. It was a really hard two move calls for sister Yeh. Our sister training leader told me that the zone leaders were even worried about the Qishan sisters and mentioned it to President. Then I got here. Sister Adams told me it was a big compliment that President trusts me enough to send me here, and the more I hear the more privileged I feel to be here.

Before I was excited to be here and wanted to do all I could to help this area, but now I feel more and more that this is an incredible blessing. I was a little confused about what the Lord wanted to teach me in sending me once again to a very rural area. So far I have been sent to two areas missionaries here refer to as xingku (basically really hard). But I have realized what a great opportunity Heavenly Father is giving me to grow. I may not see a ton of success, I hope to, but I have already seen myself change and come closer to my Father and Savior. I have already learned so much about how to be a better missionary and what being a successful missionary really means. I may have been sent here to change myself, to help my companion, or there may be people here prepared for me to teach. Whatever the reason is, I'm extremely grateful to be here and know the Lord sent me here for a reason. If not anything else He is definitely teaching me humility and patience. 

Anyway those have been my thoughts recently. Not much else has happened yet. We have several potential investigators and are going to try and track down some formers this week. And of course we are going to hit the streets and knock on as many doors as we can. 

As always I love you all dearly! I'm so grateful to have your support. I wouldn't give this opportunity to serve up for anything. It's been hard but beautiful at the same time. The Lord is helping me become who He wants me to be. In our weekly letter from President this week he shared with us something Elder Holland shared with them a few weeks ago when he came to Taiwan. He said, "Elder Holland taught us, as mission presidents and wives, to have a vision for each missionary, that includes what you can become. He said, “God has not called them for what they are, He has called them for what they can become.”
I believe that with all my heart. My mission is changing my life for the better. Love you all! Give Jemma a giant hug for me (I have a letter in the mail for her so it should come in about two weeks). Stay happy and know that I think and pray for you all every day.

With all my love,

Sister Fernley

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Getting to Know Qishan

Sister Fernley is doing well and working hard. It sounds like she has an excellent opportunity to improve her Chinese skills with her new Taiwanese companion who doesn't speak much English. She must be doing really well if they can stay up too late talking!

Also, I've updated some of her recent blog posts with the pictures she just sent us, so you might want to scroll through and see pictures of the temple trip and the lantern festival.

Dear Family,

Again thank you for your letters! Aside from baptismal services emailing on P-Day is my favorite time of the week. It lifts me up and strengthens me every time. Even when not much happens I just love hearing what is going on back home and that you are all happy and healthy! I think of you all often. You're always in my heart and gives me more motivation to go out and preach this gospel.

I wasn't able to see the videos you sent me, I would have to download a program onto the computer and I'm not allowed to go to that website. Dang...I'm sure it is a really fun video. I can't wait to see Jemma's incredible hula-hoop and jump roping skills when I get home. We'll have to go on a bike ride and go to a Taiwanese resturant too so I can show her the biking and chopsticks skills I am developing. It is really funny when we go to a family's house to eat and they are amazed that I can use chopsticks. I always tell them that I have to eat so I had to learn fast.

As far as the new area and my new companion things are going really well. Sister Yeh doesn't speak english so I have spoken very little english this past week. I want to make this opportunity of having a Taiwanese companion a good one and one I can learn from, so I am constantly writing down words she says that I don't know, correct grammar, or asking her how to say something. She is being incredibly patient with me and is helping me a ton. I asked her to correct me when I say something wrong so I have had to develop more humility to accept correction. It actually isn't as hard to communicate as I thought. We get by alright. After planning is over and we have some time to just talk I often have to reach for my dictionary to look something up or my pen to write something down. I used to keep my dictionary in my desk drawer, but now it has a permanent spot on top of the desk within arms reach. 

I think we get along well. Lately we have been talking so much at night that we look at the time and find its past time to go to bed (we need to repent for that). The past two move calls for Sister Yeh were really hard. She was white-washing (both companions coming in new to an area where sisters were pulled out for a while) the area with another Taiwanese sister and had a hard time with her companion. White-washing is stressful enough I can't imagine what it would be like without a good companionship. Qishan is also incredibly rural (even more so than Nantou) so that makes it even harder.

So very rural (it almost feels like Idaho except there are a ton of rice fields instead of potatoes), is a very big area, and is incredibly beautiful. I haven't gotten to take a lot of pictures yet, but I'm uploading a ton onto my dropbox so I hope you can see them. The last few are the view out of our back window, that's about the feel of Qishan. And there are also a couple of me and Sister Yeh.

Its such a different feel from Nantou. Before we were able to plan a lot of different people we could go visit, but because we don't really have many investigators and everyone lives so far away from each other that's not possible. Our back up plan, and our front plan for that matter, mostly consists of tracting. Sister Yeh and her companion before (who were white-washing) mostly tracted and got no new investigators, so a ton of the streets have been tracted recently. But we keep moving forward and doing the best we can. I'm going to try and go through the formers from when sisters were here before and see if we can set up with any of them. Part of the problem is that a lot of them live one to three hours away by bike. But we are still willing to go! Every soul is great in the sight of God!

So that's my goal for now. Go completely through the formers and determine if they still have interest, call through dead stack completely (its not very big) and continue tracting and hopefully we will find those who are prepared for us to teach. 

We do have two investigators that Sister Yeh and her companion before tracted into the week before I came. They are both Amahs (grandmas). Zhang amah I have met with once and we talked a little about the Plan of Salvation because she has a friend who recently passed away. We still aren't sure how deep her interest lies, but we will keep trying. The other is Hong amah. I have also only met with  her once and we taught the first lesson about the Restoration. She told us that she doesn't want us going over very often because it is inconvenient so the next day we stopped by to give her a Book of Mormon and are giving her a break until later this week. We will see what happens with her. The rest of our lessons are with the eight RC's they have here and the LAs.

Yesterday we actually went and visited one of our LAs (an older woman) who came to sacrament meeting that morning. I'm not sure how long ago it was but before there were a few elders that got an enormous copy of the Book of Mormon made for her so she could read it. She still has to wear glasses to read it, but is happy that she can still read the scriptures. The book is probably at least a foot wide. She told us a story about sharing the gospel with her son (who isn't a member). She said there was a time where he was having a lot of bad dreams every night and couldn't get a lot of sleep. She told him to take the Book of Mormon (which he's never read before) and every night open up to a random page and read a little bit. Then put the book under his pillow while he was sleeping and his dreams would go away. guessed it...they did! Such an incredible story! And her faith is so strong! I loved hearing about her experiences in sharing the gospel with her friends. No one has accepted yet, but she's not letting that get her down. 

That's about all that has happened. I had my first Sunday here in Qishan. The ward is smaller than Nantou, but surprisingly has a a few people who speak english (return missionaries). It was really weird to have them come up to me and start talking in Chinese then shift to English. I'm excited to get to know them better and already love them. There are so many incredible people here. I was sad to leave Nantou, but am so excited to have a new adventure and get to know more amazing people. (On my dropbox account I also attached all the pictures I took on my last day in Nantou. I will remember those people forever.)

Its interesting to hear that Qishan is a popular tourist site. I've been wondering that this week because we have actually run into a lot of foreigners. The funny thing is rather than making me excited it scares me a little. I always think to myself, "what are they doing here? they're not supposed to be here." I find myself more comfortable being a missionary toward the Taiwanese people rather than the foreigners we come across. (I guess that shows I was called to the right place right?)

I love what Nicole was saying in her email to me about putting family first. That has also been on my mind a lot and is one thing I think my mission has changed my perspective on. Before I loved you (my family) and wanted a family of my own, but I don't think I put as much importance on it as I should. So since coming out here I have realized more and more how much I want to be there for my family and to raise them so they know the gospel is the most important thing. So suffice it to say I'm rethinking my career choice. But I still have a while before I need and even should think about that, so we are leaving it there for now. 

Family is so important, and is an incredible gift we have been given. I know that as we put our family and the gospel first before anything else our lives will be happier, we will be better fulfilling our purpose on earth, and the Lord will bless us in ways we couldn't imagine. I love you all and am so grateful for the blessing I have of being raise in a family with the gospel.

To answer dad's question the area has a lot more giant mountains, but I haven't had to ride up any massive hills yet. I was suprised because my first sight of Qishan was mountains and I was expecting more hills. But I've had a break for a little bit. I do hear if we want to go farther out in our area we go up the mountain (the elders and Sister Yeh have all told me horror stories). 

Also Sister Yeh has been on her mission just a month longer than me, but has been serving in Taiwan for about three more months than I have. She didn't have to stay in the MTC for over two months.

That's about all I can think of for now, I'm sure I will remember more as soon as we walk out the door. But we always have next week. I love you all and am so glad Jemma feels better and is her happy, silly self. You are in my prayers as always!

With all my love,

Sister Fernley

Monday, March 3, 2014

Farewell to Nantou

Big news from Sister Fernley this week:

Dear Family,

I'm sorry, this week I don't have much time either. I only have about twenty more minutes of email time. I promise next week will be better!

Well another move call has come an gone and I have been called to leave Nantou! I am now serving in Gaoxiong in the city of Qishan with Sister Yeh. My new companion is Taiwanese and I don't think she can speak I'm terrified, but am also excited to learn a lot. This will give my Chinese an opportunity to grow a lot! Qishan has a lot of the same feel as Nantou, it is actually a little more rural I think. We are right next to the mountains (just like Nantou, maybe a little closer) and it is beautiful here! Sister Yeh says they haven't had many investigators recently and the work here is really hard, but I can't wait to get to work and see miracles in Qishan!

Honestly I have no idea what happened in Nantou the past few days, since I emailed you on Thursday. I forgot my planner from last move call and without that I can't remember anything! 

We weren't ever able to get a hold of Jia Zhen (our baptismal date). So her baptism will have to be moved again because she hasn't done an interview yet. We have no idea what happened and are a little nervous. She didn't answer any of our calls, texts, and was sleeping when we stopped by her house. I'm sure she just got busy, but we are praying nothing happened to change her mind. 

That is something that happens a lot here, at least lately with all my investigators. They will be incredibly golden when we meet with them and then along the road someone will tell them to stop investigating the church and we will lose them. I continue to have hopes for them someday, maybe in the Spirit world.

Oh also....drum roll please.... the Hong family (my RCs) are going to have a baby!!! I don't know why they didn't tell me before, but we found out this week and I freaked out! Hong Jiemei has been really sick lately, but still has to work. Her husband has even been fasting for her (which makes me a really happy missionary). I'm so excited for them and it has been a privilege to know them! 

I also felt the love of the Nantou ward so much this weekend. I have always considered myself an easy person to miss and feel pretty unnoticeable, but after they announced I was leaving I had so many sisters come up to me and hug me. I had a few say they felt like I was their daughter and one sister even started crying! Yu Mei of course gave me a perfect sending off by calling me this morning at 6:30 saying I was forever Nantouren. She told me after my mission I need to bring my whole family (especially Jemma) to Nantou. I figured you wouldn't have a problem with that.

Well that's about all my time, but I loved your emails and it sounds like Spring is coming soon! It seems strange that I missed all of winter. Enjoy the snow, I never appreciated it until I didn't have it. Also tell Mandy she can't get married until I get seems like as soon as I left everyone got engaged and married. I want to be there for at least one, haha. Anyway tell her I'm happy for her and that I love her! Well tell everyone!

I think of you often and love you more and more every day. Thank you for your prayers and your support. I couldn't do this without you.

As always, all my love,

Sister Fernley

ps. I don't know what's wrong with my new camera, but all the pictures I take with it don't show up on the computer, but the ones from my other camera will. I will try to figure it out, I have a lot of pictures :)

Give Jemma a giant hug for me and tell her I love her 80 80 80 90 80 90!