Monday, June 22, 2015

From Taipei for the last time!

This is a pretty strange email to write. 

My setting apart blessing promised that if I followed the spirit, I would have the opportunity to "teach and baptize those who you knew in the premortal life, who are waiting for you to come". 

When I moved here last transfer, it didn't seem to make any sense for me to have moved to this particular area at this time. President Day told me that he had a very strong impression that I needed to serve here. I figured that God had a specific purpose He wanted me to fulfill here, and I was excited to know what that was.

view from the train ride to the east coast
I know why I am serving here.

My first week in this area, we got the referral from another set of sisters for CT. They said she was super awesome, and wanted to be baptized. I called her and set up an appointment with her. I remember praying to God and saying that if she was someone that I knew in the spirit world, then I knew that she would be able to get baptized before I left, and asked that if that were the case, for us to know what to do and how to help her and make that happen. She is getting baptized this Thursday evening. I can't think of a better way to end my last proselyting day. :D In Sister Graham's words, "Heavenly Father is awesome!". The whole situation is too "coincidental" to not be an incredible manifestation of God's ability to keep His promises. CT  moved here to Taibei from Taoyuan a month before I got here, but we didn't get her referral until my first week. If the referral had been sent right when she moved, she would certainly have already been baptized by the time I got here. 

 one of the sisters I taught last year 
She is incredible. She has such a pure heart. You know someone is prepared when the most spiritual lessons you have with them are about the word of wisdom and tithing. She actually started off the lesson by asking us if there is an age limit for girls to go on missions, because she was thinking about it. Teaching her is such a privilege! I think I have learned so much more from her than we have taught her. She had her baptismal interview yesterday before church. We were waiting outside for her while she met with our district leader. It's been such a privilege to have had a front row seat to the most amazing work on the planet. This isn't the end, though- just a new start. 

from Taibei for the last time (or at least until I'm called back as a senior missionary!),
Sister Murri

Monday, June 15, 2015

Seeing my "baby"

This week was a good one! We spent Thursday-Sunday morning down in Hualian exchanging with the sisters there....including my "baby", Sis Jenkins! It was so fun to see her and work with her again and see how she has developed and grown as a missionary. 

~First a neat experience with the Holy Ghost and finding this week:
 God really does number all of his sheep, and He knows them. Last Monday night we were out knocking and Sis Graham and I both had the impression to knock on a specific door. It wasn't a strong urge or a push, just a subtle idea~ so subtle, in fact, that neither of us said anything to each other, just both walked toward the same door, even though there were no lights on inside that we could see. The man who opened it recognized us as missionaries, and said he was a member of the church- but  it had been a while since he had been active. He actually lives in TaiNan, but comes to Taibei once a month to see a doctor because he has lung cancer. He told us he had been preparing to head back to TaiNan in just a few minutes when we knocked. We were able to have a little lesson with him on the door step and invited him to attend church this Sunday in TaiNan. We'll probably never know what happens to him, but it was a tender mercy to see how the Lord led us to find one of His lost sheep.

~And onto investigators...
C is FABULOUS!! She has a desire to get baptized and just loves learning about the atonement and the plan of salvation. She is on track to make her baptismal date of 6/25, my last prostelyting night. I am so grateful for the chance God has given me to work with her. 

The H family is doing great as well. I'm not sure if they will make a June baptismal date, but they are progressing toward baptism, and it will be an amazing day when they do enter into that covenant. 

~Sis Smith (Nicole's previous companion) called me with several pieces of exciting news from XinZhu:
-W is going to the temple to do baptisms for the first time on Friday!!
-W, the wife of the Z who we helped to reactivate, is getting baptized on the 25th! And her husband is baptizing her!!!
-A girl that Sis Smith and I met on our last night together is still going strong and coming to church every week and praying seriously about baptism.
-L was able to give his first blessing as a Melchezidek priesthood holder to another member of our ward who was sick this past week

Next week we'll be spending Thurs-Sat in TaiDong doing will be a busy one! 

Love you! 
Sis Murri

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Focus on "the One"

Wow, this week was crazy- and filled with so many miracles. I have come to realize this week that one of the greatest feelings in the world is to be a tool in God's hand- I was blessed to have several experiences this week that reaffirmed this to me.

I am trying to focus on the One- not just in our area, but with the sisters in the mission. I learned that Christ's greatest influence came through His ministry with individuals, not with groups- and I want to apply that to this transfer. Similarly, my greatest ability to help and influence and minister probably isn't in the trainings I give or a testimony I bear in sacrament meeting (although those things are important and influential) but rather in the one on one interactions I have with God's children. I may not be able to meet ALL the members in the ward, but I can make sure that I am able to spiritually lift the ones I do interact with. I may not know well ALL of the sisters in the mission, but I can pray to know what God would have me say to the one I'm on an exchange with. That's what I learned this week.

A miracle experience I had this week was in finding. Sis Graham and I had about an hour, and decided to go to a place that we planned to weeks ago but had never gotten to go to. We thought from looking at the map that there were some small lanes with houses that we could knock, but when we got there, all there were was tall office buildings. We saw some doorbells that were facing the street, but didn't have any particular feelings about ringing them, so we kept riding our bikes...and riding...until we got to our area boundary. We were a little confused because we hadn't felt prompted to stop at any point along the way, but really felt like that was where we were supposed to be. We stopped for a minute and said hi to a college kid walking on the street- and ended up having an INCREDIBLE, entire first lesson with him right there on the sidewalk. He is one of the most truth-seeking people I've ever met and thought so deeply about everything we shared and asked really good questions- just a really genuine person. He set up to meet again and said in the closing prayer that he really wanted to know if all of this was true, and was willing to read the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately (for us) he lives in the Elders' area, but it was just such a privilege to find him and be able to share with him the message of the Restoration. It was amazing to see how the Holy Ghost led us to be right where we needed to be at the right time. 

the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
Next Miracle experience- I was on an exchange with another sister, working in her area. We were in a park contacting, and we saw a lady in the distance who was walking with a little kid, and we decided to go contact her. As we approached, she got a big smile on her face and said hi to us. Turns out she had met with sister missionaries before, and had loved it, but had gotten busy and sort of stopped meeting with them. But she was super excited to see us, and set up to come to English class last night. She told us what a "coincidence" it was that she ran into us right then- she had planned to meet a friend at the park, but right as she was heading out the door, her friend texted and cancelled. She decided to come anyway....and ran into us. Pretty amazing. 

Not done yet! This week we got to help one of our Recent Converts go to the temple for the first time to do baptisms. It was such a neat experience- we got to be like temple workers and hand them towels and squeegey the floor. I love the temple, and the influence that it has on new members' faith.

Okay, last of all, I want to tell you about our INCREDIBLE investigators. They are miracles in and of themselves. 
-H family: Dad, Mom, 9 year old son, 5 year old son. They have been coming to English class for about 6 months but hadn't ever been invited to meet with missionaries. We invited and they accepted immediately, and even came to church last sunday! Their 5 year old son has a terminal disease that requires constant monitoring, so the Dad does that, and the mom works night shift as a nanny to support the family. They are amazing. They currently all have dates for the end of this month (6/28). It will take a miracle to get them there, but I believe in miracles :D

-C T: She was a referral from another area and had already had the first 2 lessons and been to church twice when we got her. She is such a sweetheart! I asked her if she had a baptismal goal with the other missionaries she'd been meeting with, and she said, "yes, but then I moved here, so I need you to help me have the lessons and get baptized." Can do :D She now has a goal for the end of the month as well. 

 This week is going to be CRAZY! Zone Conference all day Wednesday, and then we're taking a trip to HuaLien Thursday through Saturday for exchanges with sisters on the east coast. It's going to be a great week! :D

Love you, Sis Murri

Monday, June 1, 2015

"My mission is not about me"

Hi again! This week was good and busy- filled with meetings and exchanges. This week we provided trainings at a New District Leader/ Sister Training Leader meeting, a Trainer/Trainee follow up meeting, and our monthly Mission Leadership Council, and exchanged with both sets of the sisters in XinZhu, which was really fun. 

I feel like every week I learn more and more that you just have to pray about the truthfulness of things! We met (in two separate lessons) with an active member this week and an investigator who has been investigating for 2 years but hasn't been able to be baptized because of family opposition and talked about Joseph Smith with both of them. Neither had actually prayed and received an answer about him being a prophet. They both just "believed". I feel like there are 2 levels of knowledge- the first is a more logical or "this makes sense" sort of knowledge. The second comes from the Holy Ghost as we exercise faith and pray for testimony. The first kind is great, but the second is absolutely essential. We invited both the investigator and the member to join us in praying every day this week for a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. I felt my own prayers answered as we read Joseph Smith's account of the first vision and I felt the spirit witness to my heart that everything we were reading really happened. 

We found a couple of really great new investigators this week, one of whom set a baptismal date, and the other ones are a family- a dad and two sons! I'm really excited to see how they progress. 

Also, just because it's funny....

Foods I Didn't Like Before My Mission That I Now Like:

I am still trying to adjust to the new type of missionary work that is serving in this area. I think one of the things that God is trying to teach me is that my mission is not about me. It is supposed to change me, it's all about my work and effort and love and change...but it's not about me. 

Well, that's about all for today....

Love you!
Sis Murri

Monday, May 25, 2015

Back in Taipei!

Well, I moved.

I'm in JinHua as the new temple sister. (if you're not familiar with how our mission works, the temple sisters are sort of the female version of the assistants)   

Surprised? Yeah, me too!

last picture with her XinZhu district before transfers
We got the call on Wednesday afternoon that I would be moving and that we would need to come to transfer meeting on Friday in Taibei. I wasn't super surprised to be moving- I never felt like I would finish off my mission in XinZhu. I was thinking I'd maybe move down to the east coast or something. As we were sitting in transfer meeting, the power point kept going zone by zone and sister Day kept announcing and it kept not being me and not being me and not being me. Well, we got to the very end of the power point which is the office zone and it was about then that it hit me...there was only one place left to go! I was totally shocked.

her new companion Sis Graham
Logically, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for me to be here~ I'm going home in less than a transfer, so that's not going to provide as much continuity for the next mission president; I'm white, and so is my new companion, Sis Graham, and usually there is one white and one Taiwanese sister serving in this area. Actually I think we are the first companionship in over a year to be made up of two white sisters. So basically I've come to the conclusion that God has something specific He really wants me to do here! I'm not sure what it is yet, but I want to find out. It has motivated me to be more diligent in talking to everyone, more committed to being focused on the work, more desirous to love and serve my companion. I don't want to miss out on the whole reason God placed me here. I read a scripture this past week in the Doctrine and Covenants that is the Lord's counsel to a group of saints in Ohio- he told them to "act upon this land as if for years". I think this is my motto for this transfer. 5 weeks isn't a lot, but it's enough.

Now, since I'm sure you're wondering what on earth a temple sister does (I'm still trying to figure that out myself!), let me tell you a little bit about what some of our responsibilities include other than regular missionary work stuff. We coordinate and arrange the sisters who come and do daily tours on the temple grounds and provide training for them when they come. We also exchange with each set of sister training leaders and each sister companionship who is in training. We attend all of the mission training meetings and conferences and provide trainings. We are basically responsible for all of the sisters in the mission. So we are just a little busy. :D

 I read a talk by President Eyring, in which he said, "I do not depend on what has happened in the past. To keep my living testimony of the Book of Mormon secure, I receive the promise of Moroni often. I don’t take that blessing of a testimony for granted as a perpetual entitlement."

That caused me to have a desire to pray more specifically and thoroughly about all of the principles of the gospel. So I made a goal this transfer to pray everyday about a principle that I study in personal study for an increased testimony of it and knowledge of its veracity. On Saturday, it was the Sabbath Day. As I knelt in prayer to finish my personal study, I asked God if keeping the sabbath day holy was really a commandment and I felt a peace immediately come into my mind and say, "of course it is- you already know that". It was a voice different than my own thoughts- it was the voice of the Holy Ghost. I know that often, answers and testimony do not come that quickly, but I am thankful for God's promise that as we ask with a sincere heart, we will receive.

Love you! 

once again from downtown Taibei,

Sis Murri

Monday, May 18, 2015

"I'm peanut butter and she is jelly and we're so happy on our little piece of bread"

Will Sis Smith and I still be together after this week's transfer meeting? That remains to be seen! Sometimes I think we will stay together for our last transfer and sometimes I feel like one of us will move. So basically I have no idea. :D

I had one of the most tender experiences of my mission yesterday afternoon. This weekend was our stake conference, and during the Sunday morning session, we sustained Brother L (baptized in Feb) with a group of other men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and be ordained to the office of Elder. After the meeting, Sis Smith and I saw him and a couple other men going in to a room to be ordained and quickly got permission from President Day to go in and watch. As he sat in the chair and the brother ordaining him took a moment to prepare spiritually, the Spirit filled the room so strongly. I couldn't hold back tears during the entire blessing~ there was a power there in the room. At one point I opened my eyes, and noticed that just behind him on the wall was the painting of Jesus Christ ordaining His apostles. That made it all the more significant to me that today we have that same priesthood power on the earth in full force- and that now my recent convert was blessed to be a holder of it. In the blessing, he was promised that if he continues faithful in the gospel, his daughters will also join the church and they will be sealed as a family. This was one of those moments that just makes it all worth it. 

President Day's big board of missionaries
Our less active member's wife, W, set a baptismal date! 6/13. And we talked with her husband about being worthy to use the Aaronic priesthood which he has to be able to baptize her on that date. I am so excited for them. The two of them have been having family prayer and scripture study every day and are loving it. 

A is still great. She found out that in her contract, it says that she should either be getting a day off or extra money, neither of which she is getting. So, she is working on trying to get that resolved, and maybe that will allow her to come to church. She is such a sweetheart. Sis Smith and I were like, "is this what serving in South America is like? having all your investigators be this incredible?" hahahaha! 

Well, that's about it. Love you!
Sis Murri

Sunday, May 10, 2015

"In God we craziness we thrive!"

It was so good to see all of glad we have an eternity to talk because I think we could have chatted all day long! :D (We got 45 minutes to skype with Nicole on mother's day)

A is such an angel. She is every missionary's dream investigator. We fasted with her last week, and met with her on the evening of the fast. At the end of our lesson, I said to her, "you did eat dinner, right?" She said no- she had been fasting since the previous day's dinner, and it was almost 9 o'clock at night and she still hadn't eaten! We told her to go eat right away. But that's just the kind of faith she has- she is so willing to sacrifice for what she feels is right. We met with her last night and told her we wanted to receive some revelation together about when God wanted her to be baptized. We asked her to say the prayer- she said, "Heavenly Father, I really want to go to church. I want to enter into the covenant of baptism." She closed her prayer, looked at the calendar, and then said "June 27th". So that's her goal. I don't know what kind of miracle God's going to do to get her to church. It might involve her having to quit her job. I sort of hope it's not that, because I know that if that's the answer, she will do it, even though it would mean a huge blow to her family, and to her credibility as a worker. But if that's what God wants her to do, I know He'll make a way. 

I've learned a lot about following the Spirit as I've been with Sis Smith. That is really one of her gifts. Last week, we were out looking to visit less active members of the church, and had planned to go at a specific time to go to another road to find. As we were getting on our bikes to go to the road we had planned to go finding on, we kept feeling like we should stop and knock on other houses. None of the houses we knocked on had people who were interested/home. But we really were feeling the Spirit to knock on them, so we kept doing it, even though it didn't seem to make sense. Eventually we made our way to the place we planned to find. We parked, locked our bikes, prayed, and started walking. There was a miao to our left, and we said hi to the people who were getting on their scooter leaving it. The lady said, "sisters, hi!". Turns out she is a less active member that wasn't on our ward list! It was really neat to see how the Spirit had guided us the whole night so that we could be there at the exact right time. 2 minutes earlier and they would have been inside bai-bai ing and we would have passed by without a thought; 2 minutes later and they would have already left. Even all the impressions that didn't seem to yield any fruit were just to get us to meet her at the moment God needed us to. 

God answered another one of my food prayers this week. :D That is one thing I will be really happy for- some good meat that's not deep fried. Taiwan just doesn't understand a good chicken breast. Anyway, we had a meal appointment set up with one of our members. This member is so funny- she's super sweet but what she usually cooks us are a little lacking in meat and veg. During the afternoon, I said a little prayer in my heart that somehow we could get some meat in the dinner (we had eaten at a vegetarian place for lunch). Just before we went to her house, the lady called and said she was taking us out...and she took us to a super yummy place with lots of good meat and vegetables!!!!! God loves me! And if he loves me enough to answer prayers about things like meat that don't even matter that much, I know He will answer my prayers about things that I really need revelation for. 

I love you so much! Be good, remember who you are, say no to drugs and yes to chores, and all that. And don't forget to pray. And also email me (ahem, you know who you are... :D) Until next week,
Sis Murri