Sister Fernley's message from January 5, 2015:
SHI YUE GOT BAPTIZED!!!
And that's my email for the week. Haha just kidding, but honestly I could close this right now and be completely satisfied, but I won't.
So to start from the beginning every month the mission has a Mission Leadership Conference, or as we call it MLC, in which all the zone leaders and sister training leaders go up to the mission home and talk about the training and changes in the mission that we want to relay to the missionaries in our zone training meetings...or ZTM.
We had MLC on Friday and spent the whole day up in Taizhong. It was a little weird, but exciting to be back in my old area again. It was nice seeing the senior couples again. Sister Murdock just got moved out, so I didn't get a chance to see her there, oh well. Anyway after all of our meetings and training we stopped into the mission home to grab a few proselyting materials before heading back to Tainan. We were in there for about ten minutes when Elder Yang (one of the senior missionaries) said, "Well Sister Fernley you did all the work and we got to reap the fruits." I looked over at him confused and unsure what he was talking about when he said, "didn't you hear about the Wang family." I was still pretty confused, and i think he could tell so he clarified..."Shi Yue and her husband got baptized!"
Pretty much that was probably the loudest any of the office staff has ever heard me be. I was ecstatic! The last I had heard about them they didn't pass their baptismal interview because they had had alcohol that week and were a little out of the picture because Shi Yue had a test coming up.
So that's the story, and I am so happy for them! I feel like it was a huge tender mercy from the Lord. I know that we do so much that makes a difference in so many lives, but we don't get the opportunity to see it. I am so grateful for the Lord and how merciful He has been to me in allowing me see the fruits of my labors already. I'm extremely lucky. Honestly my time in BeiQu was one of the hardest times on my mission, but we always had Shi Yue. And honestly there were times I didn't know if they were going to make it, but they pressed through, they changed a lot and have started on a new path. It won't be easy, but I know it will be worth it! She is one of the most incredible person I have ever met. She understands the scriptures better than any investigator I've ever taught. I know that with the help of the ward and the sisters there now she will be in good hands and will see so many blessings down the road.
At MLC we listened to the zone leader's reports on how the mission is doing, discussed some new standards for language study, had some training, and talked about some excited changes in our mission! I know I've talked before about how we have some standards set for our mission on the amount of lessons we should teach etc. These numbers have given me a lot of stress on my mission, and since becoming a sister training leader I've realized that I'm not the only one. Sister Chang and i have been talking about how to help our sisters have joy in the work, and not focus so much on numbers and I think the changes President is making will help the moral of our mission a lot. They didn't lower them per-say, but some changes have been made to make them more of a standard that most people should be able to hit rather than just a select few. I'm excited to see the help this brings to the mission.
As far as the rest of the week goes I went on my first exchange! I went to Yongkang with Sister Kwan who just started training and her companion came to Tainan with Sister Chang. The more and more experience I have as a Sister Training Leader the more and more I realize just how unqualified I am to be here. The sisters are so amazing and teach me so much. I'm just grateful I get the change to learn from them and see the strengths that each and every one of them bring to the mission. They really are my role models.
I sent some pictures of me and Sister Kwan. I got gifted the balloon animal while we were biking home for the night. I stopped at a red light and had this old man pull up to me with this giant box full of balloon animals wedged onto his motor-scooter. I started smiling and asked him if he had made them all. He immediately pulled one out and handed it to me. I have to say that is the first time I have ever been given a balloon animal while contacting. It kept me grinning the rest of the night.
We haven't really had much progress with any investigators yet, but we are still trying. When I was here on exchanges about a year ago the sisters had a ton of investigators and saw a lot of success, so I know we can see it as well. I know this area has great potential, we've just got to have faith and patience and trust in the lord's timing.
I'm slowly getting to know the area. Sister Chang doesn't really know it either, so we are learning it together. And weather-wise it feels like June in utah here. The sun is out and it is just about perfect weather. It gets cold mornings and nights, but the rest of the day is pretty comfortable. It's so different from last year. I don't know if it's just the area, or if all of Taiwan is just warmer this year, but I am definitely not complaining.
Last Monday we had no idea what to do, so we called one of our members and she took us to the Kong Miao here in Tainan (Confucius temple). There wasn't a ton to see, but we had fun taking pictures together. The line of red boards each have the name of a different god on them. Apparently when you go to the temple you go and pick which god, or gods, you want to worship and take them into the main room of the temple and put the board on the alter and proceed with the rituals. It is such a foreign concept to me that still fascinates me.
Well I love you all! Sorry I don't have much to say this week. Honestly it feel like a lot of this past week is just a blur. Time is moving so fast!
Have a great week! Don't forget to see the miracles! Give Jemma a hug for me!
ps. I think for school I'm just going to plan on going back for the fall semester. I need some time to save up. I actually forgot about the paperwork, but i have it downloaded and will get it off as soon as possible!