Friday, March 20, 2015

All we can do is hold on

Sister Fernley's message from Mar. 2, 2015:

Dearest family,

It was so good to hear from you! I'm glad this week went well. I just got everything sent into the mission that they are asking for, so I now have the next fourty minutes to reflect on the past week. 

I now have a new companion! Actually I've had two! We got a call on Tuesday informing that I would have a new companion come in on Friday, and that my companion would be....Sister Murdock! Yes I got to be with my beloved trainee for the weekend. Her companion was training so she got kicked out of her area for a few days until the real move call. She came in on Friday and left for her real area this morning. I am so grateful that I got to have a few more days with her. She is incredible and I love her so much. I feel bad because our weekend wasn't very eventful. Friday night I ended up throwing up all night and fought a fever all day Saturday, so she got stuck staying inside calling phones in an area that she didn't know for a whole day. She was trooper though and we have now called through all of our our formers and our area book. I was hoping I was going to go my whole mission without getting sick, but I guess I jinxed that one. Heavenly Father decided I needed that experience. I'm just grateful I was with Sister Murdock when it happened. It was a tender mercy and a small miracle.

Sister Murdock left for her new area, and to become Senior companion!, this morning and my new companion came in around the same time she left. My companion for the next two weeks is Sister Cosby. She came at the same time as Sister Murdock and was actually Sister Chang's trainee. Small world right? She is really nervous about having to lead the area after only two weeks. Hopefully I can help her meet the ward and get used to the area as fast as possible. We also have what we call power week this next week, so I'm hoping we will be able to see some miracles and find some new investigators for Sister Cosby and her next companion to teach. The New Year celebrations and Sister Jiang and I moving around everywhere caused a lot of our investigators to disappear. But I know that we can bring it back to life again.

President actually sent me a short email this week in response to my weekly report last week. He said, "Thank you for trying to hold all of Tainan together for the last few weeks! I know it hasn't been easy but I'm sure you have felt the hand of the Lord in your work. That is often the way life is - you kind of hold on, do your best, and trust in the Lord. Things have a way of working out in the end. I hope that you can relax and just take care of your ward for these last few weeks. I appreciate all that you have done."

It meant a lot to hear that and brought a lot of comfort. I love what he said about life. All we can do is hold on. I feel like often I have the tendency to try and steer and control the way my life goes, but honestly how many of us can really take complete control of everything that happens in our lives. We can't. All we can do is hold on and trust in the Lord. He will carry us and steer us through the dark, as long as we are willing to trust Him. That's one thing I was talking to Sister Murdock about. She told me that she didn't feel like she knew how to bring souls to baptism. I replied that we don't. None of us do. We do our part and trust in the Lord and in our investigators to do the rest. This is something that has been hard for me to learn. I tend to think that if only I was better more people would get baptized, but in reality our part as missionaries is very small. We always need to improve, but the rest is up to the Lord.

A lot of you have asked about the New Year celebrations. They usually last about a week and we finished up our meal appointments on Monday. Sister Jiang and I ended up going out with Ya Lan (one of our members in the third ward) and spent the whole day with her. She is incredible and loves the missionaries. She will do whatever she can to help us out. She took us to several of the historical sites here in Tainan, bought us all these strange snack foods they eat here, and we even ended up stopping unexpectedly to go tour a navy boat we saw as we were driving by. It was fun to just enjoy the day with her and learn more about the history and culture of Tainan.

After we met with Ya Lan we had an appointment to eat dinner with the stake patriarch. If I said I was full and had eaten a lot of food before that was an understatement. All of their food was salad or fruit, but it never stopped coming. I learned this time around that New Years is particularly troublesome for missionaries because 1. we can't refuse any meal appointments or any food they put on our plates 2. everyone thinks we are starving so they tend to give us more than everyone else 3. we have to go out biking after eating and incredibly enormous meal. It reminds me of an experience I had while training. The Bishop invited us over for Thanksgiving and we ate so much Sister Anderson and I felt like we were going to explode. I've never been more uncomfortable in my life. Eating at the patriarchs house was almost as bad. I am grateful the elders were there as well though. They always seem to take the heat and help us out. It also provides for quite an extent of entertainment as we all make faces at each other because we can't eat anymore and are desperately trying to slow the flow of food the members seem to keep shoveling onto our plates. I do love meeting the members and love the excitement of the New Year, but I am so glad that that mountain has been crossed and we don't have any worry about any extremely extravagant meals any time soon.

After Monday Sister Jiang spent the next couple of days trying to get back in contact with our investigators. We did end up contacting Abby! She set up with us, but ended up getting sick so we didn't have an opportunity to meet. I hope she keeps meeting with the sisters. She really does need the gospel.

Thursday we came back to my area in Anping and were able to meet with Mei Ling. She's been having a hard time recently keeping commitments, but is still willing to learn and keep meeting with us. Hopefully now that all of the New Year celebrations are over and that I will be able to stay in my area we will be able to have more time to help her. 

Well my time is up. I love you all! Have a great week. Can't wait to tell you about all of the power week miracles!


Sister Fernley

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