Sunday, August 17, 2014

I have grown so much!

Here is Sister Fernley's message from 13 August 2014:

Dear family,

So I'm sitting here in the internet cafe with almost a whole hour before me, no emails needing to be written to President, no numbers to enter in, two days since my last email, eight hours until the new missionaries walk in our door tonight, and a day and a half until I meet my trainee and new companion for the next three months and I don't quite know what to do with myself.

I don't even know how to express what I am feeling right now. We just got out of the temple which was incredible, and the fact of what I'm about to do for the next three months is always in the back of my mind. To explain what I feel: I'm nervous, excited, overwhelmed, privileged, all of the above.

Tuesday morning we had a train the trainers meeting for the north part of our mission conveniently at our chapel. (There's lots of perks to living near the mission home.) It was really good. It helped me relax a little more, realize what an honor it is to have the opportunity to train, and get excited for the opportunity to learn so much and have hopefully a good lasting impact on our trainees. We have the incredible opportunity to start a new missionary off and get them standing on their own feet and ready for the rest of their missions. Then at the end of the training Sister Blickenstaff treated us all to her mission famous cinnamon rolls!

Its really interesting being called as a trainer, because you start thinking back to the time when you were training. You think about your trainer, what kind of an impact they had on you, what they taught you, what they might have not taught you, how you want to be like them, how you want to be think about everything. You remember back to your first day on island. How scared you were. How excited you were. How long you spent with a deer-in-the-headlights look on your face struggling to figure out your bike, falling off your bike ;), fighting to speak chinese and constantly fishing for english translations when people start talking to you. 

It all seemed so long ago, but it also feels like it was just yesterday. And we have grown so much! I have grown so much!

I'm no longer afraid. I'm no longer nervous of the unknown. I hope I don't always have a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. I feel stressed out when I'm in a car because I don't have control like I do on my bike. (I haven't fallen off my bike again yet.) Chinese comes naturally now (gospel Chinese), sometimes I even dream in Chinese, and now just understanding Chinese comes faster than trying to translate it back into english. 

But I think the biggest change is I have grown closer to my Savior and know that this gospel is true more than anything else. I've learned that miracles happen and we are all able to see them if we would just open our eyes.

After I sent in my email last week Sister Schultz and I went back out on the streets, the intersections, and the church classrooms to preach the gospel! We had a lesson go longer than we planned and by the time we were ready to leave the church we only had about fifteen minutes until our next appointment at the church. Neither of us wanted to go outside. My first instinct was to suggest that we stay inside and call and set up appointments until our investigator got to the church, but I was looking at my planner and figured if we had planned to contact we should contact. If we don't follow our plans how can God plant miracles in our paths. So I suggested we take one round around the church and see if there was anyone to contact. We walked out the gate and around the corner and saw a girl about middle twenties sitting on a bench listening to her music. We hesitated for a second then waved and started talking to her. She looked up, saw who we were and instead of rudely waving us away gave us the biggest smile and sounded ecstatic to see us. 

We started talking to her more and she told us that she worked at the big department store down the street and sits on that bench right outside our church almost every day. She said she saw missionaries all the time and always wanted to go to our church, but she didn't know how to come in or when. She said she always wanted to learn more, but no one had ever "chuanjiao-ed" (preached the gospel) to her. We were the first. 

Sister Schultz and I walked away from that contact with goose bumps and completely shocked. If we hadn't planned to contact around the church the night before, if we had stayed inside and called phones for fifteen minutes, if we had walked past her bench we would have never found her. We would have never known there was a prepared soul right outside the gate. She ended up not living in our area (like everyone else around), but we found an incredible investigator and handed her over to two amazing sisters who will take care of her.

Miracles happen just around the corner. Literally. 

Sister Fernley

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