Update: We got the pictures and as you can see, they have been added.
I loved reading your emails and seeing all the fun that was had on Halloween! Jemma's costume turned out great! Really clever. I'm glad she liked it. I liked your pumpkins and Halloween 'decorations.' I always show my companions the things that you do and all I can say is, "yep, that's my family." Haha I love it though. At least we've got personality right? Who likes being normal anyway? ( Not that our family isn't normal, just a different normal from everybody else :) ) Sister Murdock thought it was hilarious though, she even forwarded the pictures to her family, because she knew they would appreciate it.
I did get the package you sent. Thank you so much! I didn't really expect that since you just sent one for my birthday, but it was really fun! I even took some pictures to show I got it. :)
Halloween wasn't anything super special over here. Honestly any American holiday in Taiwan is super boring. We did go get giant bowls of bing (shaved ice with added fruit, milk, and chocolate) for dinner with Alexis to celebrate though. So that was fun. You are always super full until about half an hour after when you have to go to the bathroom every ten minutes, then you aren't full anymore and need to eat something else. We did also get to go visit Lerma again that night. She has been really busy lately, so we haven't had much opportunity to see her. She couldn't leave the apartment, and her boss was gone, so she had us come up to their door and we sat outside the door on some stools. She told us that the mom (her boss) was probably going to get home soon so when she came we would just grab everything and head up the stairs to some of the upper floors so she wouldn't see us. It was probably the most nerve wracking hour of my life. Every time we heard the main door open my heart skipped a beat. There was once Lerma had to step back inside to help the old man she takes care of, so Sister Murdock and I were left sitting on the stairs wondering if her boss would walk in while Lerma was gone. I've never seen her boss and don't know what her motorcycle would sound like, so I looked at Sister Murdock and said, "if we hear the door open we're grabbing the stools and the scriptures and going up."
Sure enough a few minutes later the door opened and we booked it up the stairs and stopped a few floors higher up. It actually ended up being a couple of college age boys, who passed us on their way up. I couldn't help but laugh. It must have been confusing and slightly comical to see two white, sister missionaries, one sitting on a stool in the corner and the other clutching a few sets of scriptures still open with papers falling out, in the dark. We all just kind of stared at each other for a second before they moved on and I started busting up.
Lerma came out a few minutes later and called us back down. We left shortly after that and I wasn't back at ease until we had ridden our bikes well out of the neighborhood. It was enough Halloween excitement for me for one day, to say the least.
The main event this week was the missionary work fireside held by our ward this week. They got the whole ward together for an Asian style pot-luck and then had everyone go out and do Dan Jones! They split the ward into two groups and had each companionship take a group out. We took our group right up to the entrance to the church. They asked us to give a demonstration and go first. Sister Murdock's Dan Jones experience was still a little too fresh I think, so I got to stand back up on, well a chair this time, and shout out my testimony again. It felt a lot different than the last time I did it (almost exactly a year ago). It wasn't as strange or scary. My Chinese is a lot better and I'm not as afraid to shout out my testimony anymore.
Anyway, that's not the point. After I did the demonstration the members started getting up one by one and bearing their testimonies to their peers. It was an incredible experience to see how the members faces lit up as they watched their friends and family members bear testimony of the gospel. Pretty much every one of them are converts, so I can only imagine the memories it brought back to them of their conversion experiences. There really was a special spirit there and I was so proud of our members!
One of our members, Xie Jiemei (the sister who feeds us a lot), even pulled Sister Murdock out to go contact the people across the street. I was watching them and she wasn't afraid of anything. They actually even had a woman come up to them and ask for a tract. We ended up getting her number, and hopefully we can find a time to meet with her and share more.
We were also able to get back in contact with Yi Jun this week! We decided to go stop by her work and see if we could find time to sit down with her. After stopping by a few times we figured out what time is best for us to stop by. So now we stop by aroundand help her clean and set up their stand (its a food stand that just has a bunch of meat, noodles and vegetables spread out. You can go put everything you want in a basket, and then they boil it, put some spices and some broth in it and serve it to you. It's actually really good, and healthier than a lot of other things here.) and then after everything is set up we usually get about fifteen minutes to sit down and share a message with her. She is still doing great and has a really strong testimony. Her only problem now is time. We are just going to have to wait for her mom's permission and until they can officially move back to BeiQu.
Shi Yue is doing great as well! Her progress is a little slower, but the past couple of days she has seemed a lot better. She has been having trouble lately feeling like she isn't accomplishing anything. (She went from being a team leader at her work to staying at home with a baby, and I think it's started to get to her. ) So last time I felt like I should invite her to write down one thing everyday that she feels like she did well that day. Two days later we called her and she told us how much better she felt and how much she had gotten accomplished. I was so happy. I'm really glad it helped and I'm so glad we had the spirit helping us know how to best help her. She told us that she really, really wants to come to church, but she still has to rely on her husband. She's doing great though, and feels so much happier than before.
We also got to meet again with one of the referrals from our member who works at the hospital. We went out to lunch with her and her son and got to share a little bit. I don't know how far we will be able to get with her, because she just kept talking about her god and the god her son likes and the god her husband likes. She even gave us the cards with pictures of their gods they they like. I put them in my bag and this morning asked Sister Murdock if she wanted some of them. She had said earlier that she wanted to put some in her journal. About half an hour later she walked into our room to grab something before we walked out the door and realized that both of us had turned the cards over on our desks so we couldn't see them. We decided to just throw them away because they were too creepy.
That's about it for our investigators, not a lot yet, but we are working on it and hoping for a ton of miracles up ahead.
One last story:
ook it up. I turned to where I though he said it was, but couldn't find it anywhere. I decided to start reading the section anyway. Here is what I read:we ended up not having any investigators at church and our less active that came left after about forty minutes. So the two of us were left sitting by ourselves and wondering what we did wrong this week. I was feeling a little depressed when our new ward mission leader (recently returned missionary) got up and started bearing his testimony. He quoted a scriptures so I grabbed my set to l
Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touchingone thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you. Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
To say the least, it was a huge comfort. I know that as long as we are doing what Christ would do that is enough. I know that as long as we are doing good, we will be rewarded good in our lives as well. It may be now, it may be later, but we can trust in God and know that He will fulfill every promise that He has given to us.
Well I have to go! I love you all and can't wait to hear from you next week. Have an incredible week! Remember to see the miracles, and remember that I love you!
Give Jemma a hug for me!
With all my love,