Friday, March 20, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Sister Fernley's message from Dec. 28, 2014 (we received her return travel itinerary a few days after this—it seemed so soon!):

Hello everyone!

It was so good to see you all last week! You looked happy. It sounded like Jemma had a lot of fun too. I can't believe how big she has gotten! Thank you so much for being so supportive and not saying anything to make me trunky :) Sister Chang's mom was really bad and got both of us crying. So thanks!

I'm not sure what there is to tell you honestly, not a ton has happened and we talked about most of it earlier this week.

We did end up meeting with one of our contacts. We've been doing a lot of contacting lately. Sister Chang didn't feel like a lot of the investigators were all that interested so we decided to clean the slate. We have actually gotten a lot of numbers and talked to some really great people.

Anyway we were biking around Tainan talking to whoever we saw on the street when we got stopped at a red light. For a little while there was only one person there (who Sister Chang was already talking to). I had almost made up my mind to get off my bike and tract the few doors that were on the side of the road when this girl, probably around 23ish biked up behind me. I hesitated for a second, not knowing how to smoothly get myself and my bike to where she was. I waved and she waved back, then the light turned green and she biked off. I was a little disappointed and was kicking myself for hesitating. I waited for Sister Chang to finish her contact and we continued down the road. A minute down the road the only person we saw was this girl pulled up to one of the maps at a bus stop. She looked like she was studying the map pretty intently. 

Sister Chang was in front of me and slowed down, moved to go contact her, then hesitated and moved as if she was going to continue on down the road. I started moving in the girl's direction when Sister Chang decided last minute to pull up to her. 

Anyway she was trying to figure out the roads in Tainan because she just moved out of her house and was trying to find work in Tainan. We set up with her and met with her on Friday. We took her on a tour around the church and taught her the first lesson (The Restoration). She was really willing to listen and even set a baptismal date for the 24th of January! Then, we set up with her for Saturday and invited her to attend the elder's baptismal service. She did and the members were really great and took good care of her. She couldn't come to church because she went back up to Taibei, We actually found out that she doesn't live in our ward, so we will have to hand her over to the elder's in our district, but I'm so grateful that Sister Chang contacted her. She was probably our biggest miracle this week. I know that Heavenly Father is preparing people for us to teach, and if we are faithful and worthy He will put us in their paths, or put them in ours.

Honestly that's most of what I've got this week as far as investigators goes. We met with a few other people, but not much has happened yet.

For Christmas we were invited over to one of the fourth ward families home for dinner(Sister Chang and I are serving in the third ward). The brother is American who married a Taiwanese member. They made a bunch of American food and invited all the missionaries over for Christmas dinner. He served in Hong Kong and she went to America for school so they both speak english and chinese. The food was really good and it was really kind of them to invite us over. I think the thing that went the fastest was the mashed potatoes. :)

I loved talking to you all and seeing your smiling faces! I was thinking about our skype session a few days later and realized a difference in myself. You commented about my pictures and that it looked like I was genuinely happy. I thought a lot about that and about seeing myself on the computer screen while we were talking and realized just how happy I am. I honestly wish I had come to this realization earlier on in my mission. 

I feel like I was happy before, but I always had the stress of numbers, baptisms and comparing myself with other missionaries in the back of my head. I know we aren't supposed to do that, but sometimes it's hard to stop. But as I was thinking back on our conversation I realized that that was gone and I was completely happy. I have an incredible companion, I'm serving in an amazing area and I've found a family here in Taiwan. I'm so grateful for my mission and for all I've learned and how much I've changed. I'm grateful that I was able to spend the year of 2014 in the service of my God. I've seen trials, felt heart-ache, cried tears of joy, and witnessed miracles. God truly has changed my heart and opened my eyes. 

(I actually told a less active on the phone to do just that. She refuses to meet with us, but I keep calling her to let her know we love her. She lives alone. I told her if she would start praying again she could see miracles. She told me she wasn't seeing them, so I told her to start praying and to open her eyes.)

I'm so thankful for the perspective and the joy that the gospel brings. We've been given the greatest gift of all. I can't believe how lucky I am.

I love you all so much! Have a great week and enjoy all the snow!

ps. thanks for sending me 'snow!' It was quite entertaining and I now have a bowl of snow sitting on my desk so I can see snow everyday.

Sister Fernley

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