"The last few months of a mission are the most productive time for missionaries. They have the maturity, language ability and teaching skills to be most effective in doing missionary work. However, sometimes missionaries can become distracted and lose focus as they contemplate returning home. Accordingly, I would like to suggest that your correspondence during the last few months of Sister Fernley's mission center on making the most of her remaining time as a missionary rather than on homecoming plans. Please address only the necessary issues of her return, then focus on encouraging her to finish strong in her missionary work. These last few months are very valuable and we thank you for your assistance in helping your missionary leave her vineyard of service without regret."
Guess what!? I'm not moving! Well at least not today anyway. Today was supposed to be our move-call day, but the only people it is affecting are the missionaries that are going home this week. The embassies in the States decided about three months ago that they were only going to process ten visas total to Taiwan a month. So that includes the Taibei missionaries as well. To keep the story short we haven't gotten any new missionaries from America for the past three months, and with our missionaries ending their service and going home our missionary numbers are declining.
Last week we got news that some of the missionaries would be able to come in next week, but that has been delayed another week. SO President just lengthened our current transfer and we are all on standby until the new missionaries come in. So I could be transferred out (it will most likely be me who is transferred because Sister Murdock just finished training! Usually trainers get moved out) next week, the week after, or somewhere in between. I got lucky and get a few more weeks in BeiQu.
We've made some breakthroughs with Shi Yue and Yi Jun so I was a little sad to be leaving. It has to happen someday, but at least I got a little more time.
This week we set another baptismal goal with Shi Yue! She accepted it and has been more willing and excited to accept a baptismal goal than I have ever before seen. We set it for Christmas, but are hoping she can get baptized earlier. She felt really good about that goal though and was pretty excited. She even started talking about how she really wanted this and how she wants her husband to get baptized with her. She has seen our examples and the kindness of our members and really wants that in her life. I almost cried there in the middle of our lesson. I've never worked so hard and had to overcome so many challenges with an investigator before. We've been though a lot with her, and we still have a while to go, but I hope it keeps going downhill from here.
We went back several days later and she told us later that night she told her husband that she wanted to get baptized. Their conversation went something like this:
Shi Yue: "Hey I want to get baptized. Do you want to get baptized with me?"
Husband: "Sure...wait... if we go and get baptized who is going to watch the baby?"
Taiwanese don't usually have a very good sense of humor, but its nice when you find someone who does.
Anyway they even came to church yesterday. Shi Yue wore a dress and everything! And our ward was great and everyone took such good care of her. We didn't even really get to talk to her that much.
Yi Jun is also doing great! I think I mentioned before that we've started going over to her work, helping her set up, then sharing a message with her. She is still reading, praying and obeying the commandments but still can't come to church. So we decided to get her started on Personal Progress to give her something to work towards and to help her progress in faith and in testimony. She's really excited and has already started.
Thenwe stopped by, but she wasn't at their stand. We thought maybe they had taken that day off, so I started writing her a note that we could leave for her. While I was writing she showed up on the corner! To keep a long story short her mom was conveniently there as well so she ran into the shop and asked her mom if she could go out to dinner with us. Her mom gave her permission so we went out to eat. Then when we got back she gifted us some fruit that we ate with Yi Jun outside their stand. It wasn't much, but I think we might be making improvement with her mom. Hopefully we can keep having a good impression on her.
AND...while we were out eating dinner I got attacked by this guy. Okay, well not exactly attacked, but I was very uncomfortable. We were unlocking out bikes and getting ready to go back to Yi Jun's shop when this heavy, super tan, really dirty, and a little bit crazy man saw us and pulled up to us on his bike. He asked if we were American. We were all a little weary, so I told him yes we were, and started getting ready to get on my bike. Then he grabbed my hands and started petting my skin, all while he was intently starting at me and mumbling about pretty Americans. I was legitimately freaked out and glanced over at Sister Murdock and Yi Jun who were moving to help intervene. The only thing I could think of, and maybe this is a bad thought process, was to pull out a tract and invite him to learn about the gospel. Most people seem to leave us alone when we do that (haha). So I was able to pull my hands out of his grasp and grabbed the scariest tract I could think of...the baptism one.
It worked, he left pretty quickly.
Yi Jun was super freaked out. I don't think she's ever seen anyone act like that before. We were pretty grossed out and I felt pretty violated, but I'm super grateful for baptism tracts.
On to more happy things. We got a member referral from one of the young men in our ward last Sunday and got to meet with her this weekend. She is about 16 or 17 and was really cool. She kept asking us questions about if we really believed and how we believed in the Gospel and that the Book of Mormon was true. She asked us how it has helped us and we were able to bear our testimonies to her about how we came to know this Gospel was true. When we talked about the Book of Mormon and about praying about it she stopped and asked, "can I try that? Can I read and pray about it too? Because I really want to know if what you are saying is true."
I've never had anyone say that to me one my mission. It was incredible! So pray for her, pray that nothing happens and that she can recognize the answer that God has promised she can receive. We are excited to meet with her again this week.
What else happened this week? Well...
-Sister Murdock finished Phase 1, so now we have to go out to Korean food (I promised her when she finished we could go at the beginning of the move-call)
-We are officially done with training
-I went to Taiping on exchanges and loved talking to Sister Parkinson, who has had a mission very similar to mine. It was good to talk to someone who really understands.
-We had another meeting with Lerma up her staircase
-We had our english party and Sister Murdock and I decided to be Mexicans...thanks for the mustaches!
-We won the "most original" prize for the costume contest
-ZTM- November is Faith and Diligence month for the mission, we have activities similar to Power Week that they want us to try and accomplish
-we met a mute girl on the street who was super nice and took a Book of Mormon
-Alexis is going to be a duanchuan (short term missionary) for two weeks with Sister Anderson until the new missionaries come in. She is going to have to wear a skirt which will be fun to see. (She doesn't even wear one to church.)
-I found your prize in the cereal box, thanks! I think I might know who picked that one out.
Also, I decided to stop lying to myself. I am going to admit that sometimes I don't want to get on my bike. I don't want to talk to people. I get annoyed when people don't even acknowledge that I'm talking to them. I hate it when people seem to run away from me like I have a disease. I get sick of Taiwanese food. And I don't like being stared at, laughed at, and pointed at like we are some sort of attraction.
BUT I will also be honest and say that this has been the best year of my life. I have grown more than I could have ever imagined. I love testifying of Christ. I have loved my companions and have made some of the best friends here. I'm so grateful I could come here and learn. I'm so grateful for the hard times and the humility building experiences, because I have become better because of them.
This week I read a verse in Enos that I loved it reads," And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world."
I haven't gone to my grave, but I have gone on my mission, and I have rejoiced in it above that of the world.
I love you all! I've got to go. Can't wait to hear from you next week!
With all my love,
Remember to keep looking for the miracles!