Monday, November 24, 2014

Way Down South

Here is Sister Fernley's message from Nov. 23 with lots of pictures from her last days in Taizhong:

Dear Family,

Well I finally moved! I'm now serving way down south in ChaoZhou. It's the farthest south you can possibly go as a sister, so it is still hot! It is almost December and I don't even have to worry about a jacket. I'm serving with Sister Bi who just got done with training so I am her breaker. I'm actually really excited to have a Taiwanese companion again. The difference from last time is huge! I don't have a dictionary out on my desk all the time, and I feel like I can express myself adequately. It feels good.

I remember my first interview with President Blickenstaff and expressing how nervous I was about speaking the language (I'm sure every single first interview he has includes something about being nervous about Chinese). Then in my last interview with him he asked me if I felt like I could express myself in Chinese and how it felt. It was really nice to finally feel the fruits of the past year of language study. It may not be the best it could, but the difference between a year ago and now is drastic.

Anyway I'm so excited to serve with Bi Jiemei. I feel like it is a little bit like training still, because there are still some things she still hasn't learned, or isn't very strong in yet, but who is right out of training? I'm excited to learn with her and to see miracles!

As far as last week goes we actually had a pretty good week. Even though Monday randomly ended up not being P-day we were still able to accomplish a lot! That night we met with a few new people who were referrals from other missionaries and members. They are both willing to keep learning about the gospel and meeting with the missionaries! 

Wednesday we were delegated to teach the children's english class because the elder's couldn't handle them last week. Before it was the other set of sisters (from Dakeng) who taught the kids, but that area was closed for sisters a couple of weeks ago. Originally they were going to have us do it, but I protested and told them it was their turn because sisters always have to teach the kids. Thankfully Elder Ward volunteered, but apparently he can't handle them. So we taught the kids and I remembered why I hated teaching english class so much in Qishan. The kids were so bad and the adults in there weren't much better. I finally fought my way through the hour and a half english class (with a shocked Sister Murdock sitting off to the side) and dismissed everyone to go home. A few minutes later we realized that our phone was gone. We spent the next half hour looking for our phone. One of our members and her husband helped us by calling the phone hoping we would be able to hear it. While they were calling it would be on one minute then off the next. So we decided that our phone was stolen and ended up having to pick up one of the old phones from the office the next day. It was extremely stressful and couldn't have happened at a worse time (right when I was moving), but we got it all worked out and Beiqu has a phone again.

We also got to take new missionaries out to do Dan Jones! Sister Murdock and I were asked to help out since we live in the area. I was really nervous because I knew how nervous I was doing Dan Jones and had also heard some bad experiences about taking new missionaries around. Thankfully it went really well! I was nervous at first because the sister they had me take was really shy and really nervous, but we talked to a lot of people and were able to give out two copies of the Book of Mormon! I felt like I redeemed myself a little bit from my first time, because I didn't get to give out anything or get any numbers. It was a fun experience, and I'm glad I got to do it right before I moved out.

The rest of the week felt like it was spent making last visits to investigators and members before I left Beiqu. I feel like leaving always makes you realize just how much you love the people and the area. I realized just how many great friends I have made there and how much I loved working in the area. It was really hard, but I learned a lot about how to trust God and put everything in His hands. And now the area looks like it is on the rise and is seeing a lot of miracles.

Then Friday I said my last goodbyes and left Sister Murdock to lead the area on her own. I am so grateful for the last three months and for her companionship. I couldn't have done it with anyone else. She is an incredible missionary and is hitting the ground running. I trust her completely and know that she will take good care of our investigators. Her new companion is actually Sister Hicken who happens to be following me around the island. She took my place in Qishan and just took my place in BeiQu. Unfortunately I moved to the farthest place away from Beiqu, so I won't be able to attend any baptisms that happen in the next couple weeks, but we will just keep praying that they happen!

It took about four hours, but I finally got to ChaoZhou and met up with my new companion, and got my first view of ChaoZhou. I am back in the country! And it feels like home. I don't know why, but my first night here I couldn't stop smiling. Sister Bi must have thought I was crazy because they really don't have any investigators here (we've been spending all of our time trying to find formers, calling phones and tracting), but I'm just so excited for a new area and a new challenge. It is going to be really hard. We're starting from almost nothing, but I know that if we are diligent and faithful we will be able to see miracles.

The ward here is already incredible! Sister Bi was with a member when she came and picked me up. When I told this member that I only had about four months left on my mission and that I was most likely ending my mission in ChaoZhou she started telling me how sad she was and how much they were going to miss me. Then on Sunday the Bishop and his wife invited us over to their house for lunch. This is the first time the Bishop in my ward has made an effort to reach out to the missionaries. I really like them! They are very kind and really humble people who have strong faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

When I heard I was coming down to ChaoZhou every missionary started telling me how great this place was. Everyone calls it the "promised land." There has been a history for a while of a lot of baptisms coming from this area. As of right now Sister Bi and I don't have any investigators, but I'm excited for the chance we have to work hard and to see miracles just like the missionaries before us. 

Well, I honestly don't know what else to write. I'm glad you are all healthy and hopefully happy. I was so excited to see the snow! I hope there is still plenty when I get home. I miss the snow! 

Have a great week! Remember to look for the miracles given to us everyday! Sometimes they are hard to see, but they are always there.

With all my love,

Sister Fernley

No comments:

Post a Comment