Sunday, October 26, 2014

Temple Trip and a Midweek Message

We were blessed with an extra message from Sister Fernley this week--because she had to rush her first message because of limited time due to a temple trip, she was granted a bit more time later in the week to write more. We didn't mind at all!

Here's a link to the Taiwan Taichung Mission blog, where you can see photos of Tasha at the temple with many of the other missionaries in her mission.

And here are a few of the photos she sent:

Here's what she had to say:

We just got back from the temple! I love the temple! I've been lucky and haven't had a very long stint here where I couldn't go. I was only down south for four and a half months then got to go right when I moved back up to Taizhong. It is always so inspiring to go and feel the spirit there and be with all the other missionaries. I know I've talked about this before, but there is something special when a large group of missionaries get together. It's like an instant stress relief. You all get together and remember that you and your companion aren't the only two foreigners running around desperately trying to look like we know what we are doing in bringing these people unto Christ and helping them find their eternal salvation. You realize that there's a whole fleet of which you are a part of and we are all experiencing the same joys and the same rejection. It's comforting to say the least.

Well anyway, I was thinking on the bus ride back to Taizhong about what I've learned this week and how grateful I am for the hand of the Lord in our lives. He definitely sent us so many tender mercies this week to lift us back up on our feet and help us keep pressing forward. 

I mentioned briefly that we had interview with President this week, and it was much needed. Sister Murdock and I have been having a hard couple of weeks. If one of us wasn't breaking down or feeling depressed then the other one was. We were a little bit of a mess, but that's why we have companions right? I can't tell you how grateful I am for Sister Murdock. Lately I've been needing a lot of support and pep-talks and Sister Murdock has always been there. I told her the other day that when President called me as her trainer I didn't get a trainee, I got a companion. 

Anyway, back to interviews...We usually have planner and area book checks first with one of the assistants and one of our zone leaders. So we introduced ourselves, did the checks and right before we were done Elder Sumsion (one of our assistants) took some time and just really thanked us for the service that we've been giving and for the decision we made to be on the Lord's team. It was really simple, and he might have not thought that much about it, but it helped me a lot and was really touching. Sometimes I think I forget the big picture of what we are really doing, but it help to put me back on the right perspective. We are part of a vast army, not just of missionaries, but of members all around the world, and the work we are doing is the most important work we could do on this earth. And every little drop, every small contribution, every effort is great and is worth more than we could imagine. 

Then I was able to have my interview with President Blickenstaff. This is the first time I've been really struggling when I had an interview with him, and I know he could tell. He looked straight at me and I knew that he knew and that he wanted to help more than anything. You can just feel his love for the missionaries and his desire to help us. He said once, "You are the most important part of this work, now forget that and go to work."
Lately I've been having a hard time feeling like I haven't been helping this area or fulfilling my purpose like I should. While I was in my interview President looked at me and told me that he felt and that God felt that I was fulfilling my purpose on my mission (despite the fact that I didn't tell him anything about that concern.) Then Sister Murdock was telling me after her interview that she was a little nervous about taking up President's time and feeling like she shouldn't bother him with silly concerns, but as soon as she walked in and sat down President Blickenstaff told her that he has time for all of us, and he never wants us to feel otherwise. It was really cool, and so inspiring! I'm so grateful for the leaders and the support we have here, we couldn't do it without them.

Then the next day we went to go visit Shi Yue. We had a lesson planned, but she ended up talking to us most of the time and encouraging us in our missionary work. She talked for almost an hour about how we shouldn't feel discouraged if we don't get baptisms or think that what we are doing isn't having any effect, because it does and what we have done for her has already helped her a lot. She talked about how she believes what we are doing is one of the best things we could do and how much it is going to influence our future lives and the lives of our children when we come home. It was really nice and actually really surprising coming from an investigator. She really understands! I just hope some day she will actually feel it. But I felt that that lessons wasn't for her, that lesson was for us. 

Then we have been blessed to meet some new incredible people and start teaching them the gospel. We've been weeding out our investigator pool and focusing more on finding new people to teach who will progress. Heavenly Father has been helping us for sure. 

As far as Shi Yue and Yi Jun are they haven't really progressed much the past week or so. Yi Jun is actually staying with other family until they can find a new house in BeiQu, so we can't really meet with her and she can't come to church so that's disappointing. But she is starting the Book of Mormon over again! Shi Yue is getting there, very slowly, but getting there. The ward is being great and has offered to read scriptures with her and have been calling her and following up on her scripture reading (per our request). The member referrals we've received have been AOL this past week. Hopefully we will be able to get in contact with them this week.

And as another side note...a year ago today was my last day in the MTC. I've almost been on island for a year! How crazy is that! I keep getting reminded how long I've been here and what little time I have left. It's precious, so I hope I can make the most out of it and cherish every moment.

I just got to keep looking for those miracles!

Have an incredible week! Love every minute!

Sister Fernley

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