I just uploaded the pictures from the temple last week! I love the temple, every time I go it gives me a boost to go back to my area and keep working. I'm so grateful for that gift in this last dispensation!
I also added a picture of on of Jemma's creations that she sent to me. Its now posted up on my wall. I was looking at it one night after planning and decided that those faces perfectly describe what a mission feels like. I feel like most often I'm the face with the eyes and mouth wide open not knowing what I'm doing. Every once in a while I feel like the upside down smiley face in the middle, but even though that happens sometimes the happy smiley faces greatly outnumber the upside down one. So, way to go Jemma! That was inspired. :)
This week was good. I honestly can't remember much, but that's what planners are for. I'm going to be so weird when I get home. If I forget my planner at home one day I feel lost until I get my planner back. It's going to take a while to adjust.
You were saying I've been in the city for a while. It really does feel like I just got here, but I am almost done with my third move call here (about four and a half months). Sister Murdock is almost done with her second move call and we will be done with training after the next two weeks! So crazy how time flies! I feel like we just got together and I was just explaining everything included in our day to day missionary work to her. Now I don't have to do that. She has progressed so much! So many missionaries have told her that she doesn't seem like a new missionary and I completely agree. She has adjusted so well. Of course there were tears and stress, but everyone gets that. I'm so grateful I had the privilege to be here for her and help her get on her feet. What will most likely happen is that when these next two weeks are over I will be moved out and Sister Murdock's "breaker" will move in and she will lead the area. Nothing is set in stone, but I will probably in a new area in the next couple of weeks. I'll be sad to leave here and our investigators, but I think part of me is ready for a change. I'm secretly hoping I get moved back to the country. I like it better there. However, wherever I'm called I'll be happy to go.
As far as investigators go most of ours are pretty mediocre investigators. The problem with the city is that no one has time! They can be super awesome and really willing to learn and do what you ask, but after the first couple of lessons (or even the first) they disappear because they don't have any time. Its frustrating!
We did get to visit Shi Yue this week again. We were there for a little while, but we really wanted to figure out what her concern was. She believes these things are good and that what we teach is all good and will help her family. She knows she needs to do what we invite her to do, but she just never does. Mainly she just doesn't come to church. If we give her something to read she will do it and usually ends up teaching us when we follow-up. After a while of listening to her thoughts and feelings toward our message Sister Murdock turned to me and said, "we have to ask her if she knows the Book of Mormon is true." So I replied, "okay, go for it."
We ended up finding out she has never prayed about it, so we invited her to read the testimony of Joseph Smith and then pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon was true. She accepted and really did do it, but still has no feeling or special thoughts, experiences etc. So we are stuck. I don't know where to go from here. I don't know what is stopping her from receiving an answer, but we are going to keep trying and keep visiting her. Hopefully sometime soon we will figure out what she needs to get her walking down the path again.
I think I might have mentioned this last week, but Yi Jun has gone MIA lately and probably will be for a little while. We stop by her work and leave notes and scriptures for her to make sure she is still reading etc. We are praying that they can find a new house (in BeiQu) soon so we can keep working with her.
We were able to meet with one of the girls we met last week again. We had a lesson planned, but she came in and started talking to us about some trials she is facing lately. She basically feels lost and doesn't know what she is doing with her life. We talked with her for about an hour and I hope what we said made a difference. But I think more importantly we were there to listen. I feel really honored that she trusts us enough to tell us what she did and express how she really feels. I hope we can help her, I've been there several times and know firsthand that the Gospel is the only thing that can give you real purpose and motivation in life.
As for investigators, that's about it. We did have some crazy miracles with less actives this week though! We've been meeting with a sister named Zhu Jiemei. She came into the church on her own onebecause she felt she needed to come back. We didn't recognize her, so we set up to meet and discovered that she was a less active. Apparently she left right after she was baptized and has declared herself as Buddhist since then. She has pretty much forgotten everything and teaching her feels like teaching an investigator. But the last few weeks we've been trying really hard to have more frequent contact with our investigators and less actives. We've been calling her almost every day and making sure she is reading and praying. This week we met with her and as she sat down she looked at us and said (in the most excited voice), "sister! I felt the Spirit! I really did feel the Spirit this week!" She was so excited, and so were we! She is developing her own testimony and having her own experiences in the gospel which is fantastic. Its funny how such a simple thing can be so exciting nowadays.
We also met with a new less active this week that another sister contacted on the street. We called and she was extremely willing to meet..which usually doesn't happen with less actives. We got to know her and found out that she used to be a ward missionary and would go around with the missionaries all the time. Apparently she got in an accident and had to stay in the hospital for about a month and then never came back. I have no idea why though. She already seems super willing to come back and has no problem with her testimony in the gospel. I think she just needed a reminder from God to push her back onto the path. I like her a lot. She is a little awkward, but after church we spent some time talking to her about America and as I was describing fry sauce (in Chinese, it was difficult) she was laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world. I think we are going to become friends pretty quickly.
Oh yea! I don't think I told you this. I had set up a lesson with a contact we got from another missionary through our mission referral system. I had tried to set up with her before, but she stood us up. She called us back though and set up another time. So we went over with our relief society president and got to sit down with her. Turns out she was so willing to meet with us because she is a member of a different Christian church and wants to preach "their gospel" to us and save our souls. She even started crying because God gave her this opportunity to save us. It was interesting, and irritating, because she wouldn't let us get a word in. We asked if we could pray with her and she decided to show us how she prays. It ended up being a whole ritual of babbling, clapping and chanting. It reminded me a lot of the investigator I had in Nantou who started babble praying on us. It was interesting. Who would have thought I would run into that as much in a prominently non-christian country?
One of the highlights of this week was the opportunity we had to go to the hospital in our area and visit a little two year old staying there. One of the members in our ward recently graduated from medical school and is doing his residency at the hospital by our church. He recently has also gotten super into missionary work and is giving us all these referrals. Its perfect really, they can't really go anywhere. (Haha, just kidding). Anyway he told us he was taking care of a little two year old girl who didn't have eyes or ears and just had a nose transplant. He asked us if we would go visit her, and we were happy to. She was adorable and I think she was genuinely happy we were there, even though she couldn't see us. It was hard to leave. She had such a sweet spirit!
Well that about sums up our week. We're trying really hard to find new investigators, especially ones that have time. So your prayers would be much appreciated. I pray for you all every day. I'm so grateful for your support and encouragement. It keeps me going throughout the week.
I know this gospel is true. I know that it is the greatest gift we could ever receive, and that we are blessed beyond belief that we were born in the gospel. I know God loves us and that He is always watching over us. I know He is a God of miracles and that that will never change. I know He knows what's best, even though we might not see it. I know He has put us here to learn, and that is our most important purpose here. I know He gave us our families to help us on this crazy path of life. I know He loves me incredibly because He gave me an incredible family that I am grateful for every day.
Have a great week! Look for the miracles! And be grateful in every circumstance...they are all for our good. I love you all!
With all my love,