Sunday, May 18, 2014

Still looking for miracles in Qishan

Our message from Sister Fernley arrived with several photos! Here they are:

Dearest family,

This week has definitely been interesting. President Blickenstaff has invited us to pray for miracles every day, and as we have been trying to do this we really have seen so many miracles come forth. I feel like this week has really helped me look for the small things again, and realize that no matter where we are serving we can see miracles and the work of God roll forth. I can be here in Qishan, or I can be in Taizhong, but both places have missionaries sent to them and both places have great potential to see miracles. 

So to just highlight a few things that happened:

Tuesday morning after studies we went over to the morning market here in Qishan (which is where everyone is in the mornings) and tried to get back in contact with one of the shop owners we had contacted a few weeks ago. Yet again her shop was closed, so we went on and contacted in the market. We were there for maybe five minutes when this old lady came up to us and invited us to come to her house. We hadn't even told her we were missionaries yet, but we went along with it and followed her down the street to her house. (It doesn't matter their first intent in talking to the missionaries, they can still accept the gospel) We talked to her and her son who is handicapped for a little while. It was really hard to teach, but we finally were able to introduce prayer and pray with them. They didn't sound too interested, but you never know. At least we planted a seed.

That same day we tracted into someone who had been tracted by the sisters that were here back in August and let them in. I couldn't find a teaching record so I assume they only went once, but they told us we could come back. 

Then as we were riding to where we were going to powerboard for our english class I glanced to the side of the road and saw this guy and thought he looked like someone who would listen, but because we aren't allowed to talk to men unless our companion is right next to us I didn't pull over. Then down the street about ten minutes later I saw him pulled over on the side of the road again. I though that was a little strange, but didn't think much of it. We then stopped at the gas station so Sister Anderson could go to the bathroom. While I was waiting outside that same guy pulled up and awkwardly tried to act like he was calling someone or washing his hands. Then when Sister Anderson came out he followed her out. I figured he was following us so I gave him an english tract and invited him to come. Then we left to go to our powerboarding spot. As we were parking our bikes he stopped at that stop light, hesitated, then drove up to us. He then started talking to Sister Anderson and asked her about church. I tried to help her explain about church, but he wouldn't look or talk to me...just her. Then as he was leaving he put his hand out for a hand shake and said to her (in english), "Hi, I'm Stephano." So we're not too sure about his motives, but we had to give him to the elders anyway. They called him and he said he doesn't have any time until next month, we'll see what happens.

Then on Wednesday we were sitting at a 7/11 eating lunch and doing language study. The guy who came and sat by me saw me studying my character flash cards and asked me why I was in Taiwan. (He asked in english, most people seem to assume we can't speak Chinese and try to talk to us in english). We were then able to explain who we were and what we were doing here. He was a Christian so he was really curious how our church was different with other churches. So we were able to teach a little and invited him to attend the church in Gaoxiong (where he lives). Then the lady sitting on the other side of him scooted over when he left and asked us if we were the Mormons. She had overheard our conversation and wanted to know why we couldn't drink coffee. She had heard a co-worker or someone decline coffee because they were a member. So I was able to explain a little bit about the Word of Wisdom to her. Neither of them gave us their numbers, but were both really nice. Suffice it to say my language study was shot, but we were able to plant some really good seeds.

That same day we were also able to go meet with a lady we contacted a few weeks ago at the morning market. We were able to sit with her and her husband and answer a lot of their questions about missionaries. They actually thought we were Catholic missionaries (there are several families here on missions). When we told them we were different I was afraid they weren't going to listen anymore, but they were still willing to listen. We had a basic first lesson and talked about prayer. They were both willing to listen, but we are also not too sure about her motives. As we were leaving she told us we could set up with her son and teach her son the gospel because she wants him to go on a mission. We told her he would have to believe and get baptized first, and she still wants us to teach him. We're going to see this week if we can teach them as a family.

Friday all of our lessons fell through, it was a rough day, but we got through it!

I don't know if I've told you about one of our LAs named Xu Zhao Hui. We found her in the list we have of members and went to go find her. She fell asleep on us the first time we went and visited her and kept telling us she did not want to accept our church. She was offended by someone shortly after she was baptized and hasn't been back since then. She has one leg, an incredible mullet and acts really drowsy all of the time. Since the first time we visited her we've seen her one the streets a lot and say hi to her as we pass by. We have also stopped by and written her notes, and gave her a new Book of Mormon. We stopped by her house this week and almost got a lesson in with her, but she feel asleep before we could share a scripture. She seemed a lot more open to us though and was a little happier. It is just really awkward, and hilarious when you are talking to someone and mid conversation they pass out on the couch. We just wrote down the scripture we were going to share and set it in front of her so when she woke up she could read it. Maybe if we keep fellow-shipping her she'll come back to church someday.

Sunday we didn't have any investigators come to church, but Shao Jie had her little brother come with her. I guess their uncle (who is a less active member) told him he would give him food if he went to church. So he did, haha! The stake president also came and talked in Sacrament meeting. He is also really on board with missionary work. He asked us all before we left what our biggest problem was. We just said we didn't really have any investigators and he replied with, "it's because you don't get referrals do you? What about peikes, do members attend your lessons? I'll talk to the bishop." He's so cool! If everyone was as enthusiastic about missionary work as he is the work would move forward like a tidal wave.

That night we went and visited Huang Jiemei (our only investigator right now). She didn't come to church so we were a little worried. Turns out she had guest over that morning, so couldn't come. We taught about the Gospel of Christ and invited her to be baptized again. She told us that she thinks her destiny with Jesus Christ (it sounds a lot weirder in english) has come and that one day she will get baptized, but she will let us know when she's ready. She is just worried about not completely obeying the commandments (well coming to church, we haven't gotten to the rest yet) after she is baptized. She said she would feel like she was betraying Christ. We tried to explain to her we aren't perfect and just need to try our best, but I don't think we will push it again for a little bit. Her ten year old son sat with us too and was really into the lesson. The last time we were there he sat by me and was intently looking over my shoulder and reading my scriptures I had open. Huang Jiemei asked him if he wanted to be baptized and said she thought it would be a really good thing for him to have guidance and follow Christ. He was seriously thinking about it, but wasn't sure. We invited him to pray about it, but I think he is really interested. Maybe he can help his mom and be an example for her. This family has a really good feel about them, I know someday they will accept the gospel. They are what's keeping us going every day in Qishan right now.

I loved seeing your pictures! That exhibit looked like a lot of fun. Jemma looks like she had fun playing in the tube. I miss our family outings, but time will go faster than we know and I'll be home. I'm about half-way which is crazy! I'm glad you're getting the pictures too. Sorry there aren't a ton. We aren't allowed to take pictures other than P-Day. So I'm trying to be better. 

As always I hope you are all doing well. That you are happy, healthy and always looking forward with hope. I pray for you always, and can't wait to tell you about the miracles that come forth this week.

There's always another miracle just around the corner.

With all my love,

Sister Fernley

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