Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Spirit and Joy of Christmas

hi everyone!

This week was really good. We had a lot of investigators make good progress as far as setting baptismal dates.

Here's the funny story of the week. We met with L and his grandma this week. We knew that lately he has been struggling with prayer, scriptures, and hasn't been coming to church, so we reviewed the commandments with him in hopes that we could motivate him to do those things. We asked him to pick one he wanted to work on for this week. His answer? Coveting. Hahahaha!

Skyping with the family on Christmas day
  The 75 year old investigator H that Sis Jenkins and I used to teach came to church yesterday! We gave him over to the elders when we switched areas, and the last time they met with him, as they were chatting before actually starting the lesson, he told them that as soon as he finishes the Book of Mormon, he wants to be baptized, and that he wanted to go to church that week. It made us so happy to see him in sacrament meeting on Sunday! He is such a sweet old grandpa.

Traditional Christmas dinner with the missionaries
Christmas was so good. It was (obviously) completely different than any Christmas I've ever had before, but I think I finally understood why people say that Christmas on the mission is the best. One of the most interesting things to me was that it still felt like Christmas- the spirit and joy of Christmas really doesn't come from presents or traditions or food or snow or even from being with family (although all those things are pretty great :D). It comes because everyone is thinking about Christ.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me their family christmas letter- I love reading them and seeing pictures! If you haven't sent me your christmas letter, I'd love to get it! My address is on the sidebar....and if you send me yours, I'll send you one from Taiwan!

Love you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Plumber and Exterminator are in!

This week we saw SO many miracles, especially as far as new investigators are concerned.

On Wed, Sis Jenkins and I were out knocking doors. I had prayed that morning and felt prompted to ask that we would be able to find someone who was prepared, someone who really needed the gospel. We knocked on one door, explained who we were and that we were sharing a Christmas message, and the lady let us in (which NEVER happens....I think this is maybe the 3rd time on my mission that someone has invited us in to their house!). She is from the Phillipines, and is married to a Taiwanese man and they have 3 children, two of whom were there. She gathered them in and told them that they were all going to listen to us share. The mom is Christian but hasn't been to church in a long time, and wants her children to understand Christianity. We taught them the 1st lesson and set baptismal dates with all of them! When we asked them if they would be baptized on the 24th of January, the 10 year old son asked us what day of the week that was, and after we told him it was a Saturday, he said, "If I don't have a football game, I can definitely do that." We assured him that we can work around his football game schedule! :D

We also started teaching the teenage son, Z, and set a baptismal date with him! Both of them came to our ward's christmas party, and it turns out that the son is friends with L, one of our other youth-age investigators. I think God really wants to expand the youth program in Danshui...He keeps sending us teenage investigators.

We met this week with R, the one who showed up last week after our church block and asked to be taught. He is awesome and he has pretty much adopted Sis Jenkins and I as his grandchildren. He came to church yesterday, and we called him in the evening to see how he liked it, and he said he really enjoyed it. I asked him what his favorite part was and he said that in Priesthood meeting, one of the brothers that he met last week came up and sat by him, and then the bishop noticed that he was new and had him introduce himself, and then everyone said "welcome! welcome!". The elders told us that in his introduction he said that he originally came into our church building becuase he was interested after always seeing it from driving his granddaughter to school, but he felt a "quiet difference" in our church and wants to keep coming back. He said he has been to a lot of churches, but our worship method is different, and he likes it. He said he was so touched by the warm welcome and how nice everyone is to him. We are going to set a baptismal date with him this week! He is such a sweet man, and I love him.

This week we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders- our new sister training leader is Sis Zhong, who I was companions with for a week back in the summer when we did the tsunami in YuLi. It was so fun to do misisonary work with her again! Apparently she was pretty surprised with the state of our apartment, so she told the mission office that we urgently needed blankets, a working microwave, and a plumber. Hahaha! But the next day some blankets and a microwave showed up at our apartment, and so did a plumber. He and the cockroach exterminator are my best friends this week! We haven't seen any cockroaches for 3 days!
 Speaking of our apartment, Sis Jenkins and I had another adventure last Monday! Our apartment is pretty small, which is fine, but there was a ton of extra furniture everywhere that was making it feel really cramped. We asked our security guard what we could do with it, and he told us to bring it all down, and that they could call someone to pick it up for us for free! Sweet! We started with the couch, which we assumed would fit in the elevator.....no matter how much we shoved, it just wouldn't fit. So Sis Jenkins and I carried it down 3 flights of stairs, laughing the whole way down as we unintentionally shoved each other into walls and tried to figure out how to manuver a sofa over handrails and around corners. In all we got rid of the sofa, 2 end tables, 3 large couch cushions (that don't even belong to the couch!), a bookshelf, and a foot stool. And we got a fantastic arm workout in the process! :D

Yesterday at church, one of our members, X, who always helps us peike, gave a talk and spoke about how much she her life has changed since we started asking her to help us in lessons. She said that she used to not feel comfortable speaking to strangers, but since seeing our example and enthusiasm, when she sees people she doesn't know, she just wants to share the gospel with them. When I first got to Danshui, she was less active in the church- it's amazing to see the change that the gospel, and especially something has simple as having the chance to bear her testimony frequently, has made in her life. Hearing her talk really touched me as I could see clearly the way that God had used us to influence her and strengthen her resolve to live a Christlike life.

I love you! Merry Christmas! Talk to you Friday (my time!)!
Sis Murri

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Missionary apartment woes...and an earlier relase date!

I found out this week from President Day that my release date is June 29th, not Aug 14 like I had originally thought. It's actually a little weird because my group will only be getting 11 transfers instead of 12, like normal. But if it means I can see Jared before he heads out to Taiwan on his mission (hahaha calling it now!), that would be really cool. (In Feb Jared will be submitting his papers to serve a mission and should find out where he is assigned sometime in March) 

 On Monday evening, we came home and started making phone calls and saw some cockroaches chilling out in our apartment. So we pulled out the Raid and started spraying. We just sort of switched off- one person making calls and the other on cockroach duty. We killed probably 60 or 70 in the hour. That's just an estimate though; we stopped counting after #50. But apparently that counts as a problem, because the mission is sending a guy out this Thursday to take care of it. By the end of the night, we had little dead cockroach bodies and Raid puddles all over the floor. And we had eaten a package of oreos. But the nice part is that the Raid was "country-fresh" scented, so at least by the end of the night we had a fresh smelling apartment. I am a little paranoid about the bug situation in the apartment so every night before I get in bed, I check it for bugs. It makes Sis Jenkins laugh, but hey, peace of mind is priceless. :D
Sink is broken-can't wash dishes? Line everything with plastic wrap!

On Wednesday we had another apartment adventure! As we were trying to clean our dishes after lunch, we noticed that our sink wasn't draining at all. So on the way back from contacting, we bought some magic drain unclogger stuff and poured it down the sink. It fizzed and bubbled and got warm and we were pretty excited that it was working. So after it had done its thing, I turned on the water. We were very excited that something in our apartment was finally working....until we noticed that there was water spilling out from beneath the cabinet. We opened up the cabinet to find that the pipe was made out of thin plastic- it looked like a drinking straw- so the drain opener had just totally eaten through the pipe! Hahaha! Sis Jenkins and I just stood there and laughed! Good thing she is such a chill person. Hopefully this week the plumber guy will show up so we can get that taken care of.

Dedication of the new chapel
The Bali elders had quite the adventure with their baptism this weekend! I guess last week after Y's baptism, we forgot to turn off the water heater. So they turned it on again, and it heated the water double- up to 95 degrees celcius! They didn't realize this until they went to turn on the water and only steam came out, which set off the fire alarm, and a voice telling everyone to evacuate. Luckily there is a way to manually turn off the fire alarm, which the elders did, and then got on the loudspeaker and told everyone not to worry or evacuate, that it was just the baptismal font! The baptism went really well. The convert is adorable, and is one of our English students. Lately at our baptisms, while the new convert is changing into dry clothes, we have been showing a Mormon Message (www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages for short videos on various gospel topics) to those attending the baptism. I guess the elders put one of the church members in charge of it, but he chose that "spiritual crocodiles" video where the crocodile keeps attacking the gazelles and ripping their heads off...over and over.... and over. Sis Jenkins and I were dying of laughter because it was just so violent and we couldn't figure out why in the world he had chosen this one! Not exactly the most spiritual way to pass time during a baptism. Hahaha! 
The "light lunch"served after the dedication

This week we saw lots of miracles. I think God knows how much of our time is being taken up by traveling all around Taibei for choir performances all weekend long, and is showering us with blessings! There was a guy who just walked into the chapel after church on Sunday and set up a time to meet with us. Pretty cool!

 I love being a missionary! It is such an adventure all the time! And how lucky am I to get to spend all of my time thinking, talking, and teaching about Jesus Christ. Incredible!

Love you!
Sis Murri

Monday, December 8, 2014

Choir, Christmas contacting and Cockroaches

We got moved into our new apartment this weekend, so we are closer to the church now. The best way I can think to describe the apartment is that it's like living in a 10-square-foot Ikea showroom house, but without the nifty ikea furniture and with lots of cockroaches. Hahaha! It has been such an adventure! Every night I pray that God will make all the cockroaches die, but I think instead he's answering my prayers by making me not freak out about seeing them everywhere. 

with the "one more, two more!" ladies
 Y was baptized this weekend!!! Her baptismal service was such a special experience for me. I was emotional the whole time just thinking about all the sacrifices that she has made and all that she has given up to get to this point.  At the baptismal service when she was bearing her testimony, she said, "It's kind of hard for me to believe that I've actually been baptized- the first time I met with missionaries and they invited me to be baptized, I told them that I would listen to their message but would never be baptized or join their church. But here I am." She is incredible!

The church has put out a new Christmas video initiative called "He is the Gift" (go to christmas.mormon.org to watch it...it is so good!). The First Presidency has encouraged us as missionaries to use it as a contacting tool, so we have been doing Christmas contacting! Since everyone here is always on their phone anyway, we will approach people and wish them merry christmas and ask if we can show them a short video. We help them pull it up on YouTube and then watch it with them and talk about the real meaning of Christmas. Then we give them a Christmas present- a Book of Mormon. It is amazing how receptive people are when they hear the words "video" and "chrismas present". Christmas is much different here than pretty much anywhere else in the world. No one has the day off from work or school. We ask people what they know about christmas, or about the meaning of it, and they say, "I don't know". But we are changing that, one person at a time! I think this Christmas will be really special to me because it will be totally focused on Jesus Christ. 

Yesterday we had stake conference at the chapel by the temple. I was feeling really sick, so I asked Pres Day for a blessing. He gave me a blessing and then said, "why don't you just come up to the mission home and rest until your choir performances tonight?" He and Sister Day took such great care of me. (and I am feeling much better today- I'm sure the 3 hour nap had something to do with that!) We as Taiwan Taibei missionaries are so incredibly blessed to be led by President and Sister Day. They are incredible! Being around them just makes you want to be more Christlike

***IMPORTANT*** We can skype home on Taiwan's dec 25 or dec 26. I am thinking the best time will be the morning of the 26. We can do it any time after 8, so let me know what you think would be best.

Love you! Watch that "He is the Gift" video and share it with everyone you know!

Sis Murri

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Our little hearts are saying 'pleaaase pleasssse pleeeease!'"

We have been super busy with tons of investigators, christmas choir (practices every monday and performances every Sat and Sun) and also, this Friday we are moving! We are switching areas with the Elders because President likes for the sisters to be close to the chapel. We will still keep all of our investigators, though. 

This week I passed off Phase 2! Yay! Now it's on to Phase 3, which is learning to read and write Book of Mormon characters. Luckily I've been trying to read the Book of Mormon in characters since I got on island, so it should be pretty easy. 

We also had temple tours this week, and my favorite tour was with the Jin Hua elders' investigator, who is Japanese. His english was actually pretty decent, but they also had a white guy who had served his mission in Japan to help peike. Then at the last minute a Taiwanese person (who had super good English) also joined us. So we were switching back and forth between English and Chinese with some Japanese in there too- pretty fun!

There is a park near our house that we run to in the mornings with a bunch of Taiwanese old ladies who do this dance exercise routine. They are so funny and they LOVE us. The only english they know is "one more, two more!" which they yell at us as we do sit ups and push ups and stuff. They also love to touch our skin and tell us how young and beautiful we are. I love old Taiwanese ladies. Anyway, one morning this week we decided to join their little dance routine... they were THRILLED! They told us to come earlier so we could participate in the whole thing, and we asked what time. 5:10 am. We told them sorry, we were way too tired to get up that early! 

 We visited W family a couple times this week and taught them the plan of salvation by writing the characters for each of the steps on pieces of paper and having them walk on it like a trail. When we got to the earth life part, we asked them, "what kind of things should we do in our life here?" The youngest, P, who is 7, immediately shouted out "TAKE PICTURES!" and threw up two peace signs. Hahaha! She is a crack up! When we were reviewing the ten commandments with them, we did a hand sign for #9, and asked them if they remembered what the 9th commandment was. She said. "Don't eat stuff!!" Hahaha thank goodness that's not a commandment! I love these cute kids.

We also visited L and his Ama this week. I don't remember if I told you this, but last week we visited just the Ama, and invited her to be baptized, she said no and gave us all kinds of excuses.  She is a funny old lady. When we visited them this week, she said she was busy and went into the back room. When L went to go get his scriptures, we told him to invite his Ama to come in and listen. From our seats in the front room, we heard her say, "I told you, I'm busy", to which he replied, "you're not busy! You were just watching TV!". She said, "stop talking so much and go back in there with the missionaries!" Hahaha! I just started laughing and then translated for Sis Jenkins and then she started laughing, and then L came back and we all laughed together!

The best part of the week.......we fasted on Fri for Y (speaking of which, I have gained such a big testimony of fasting on my mission! I feel like I really understand the power it brings, and I actually look forward to it). We had told her we would call her on Sat night to see how it went speaking to her family about being baptized. On Sat we called her and she said that she had talked to her mom, and that her mom wasn't super thrilled about her getting baptized, but she doesn't fandui! Yay! She had her interview last night and is getting baptized this saturday! I am so excited for her!

What Nicole made for her Thanksgiving dinner
 I guess I should explain the title of the email this week....in our weekly planning this week we were setting our goals for the week- and we set them pretty high. Sis Jenkins said, "well, these make sense- goals are supposed to reflect the desires of our hearts right?" And I said, "yep, our little hearts are saying please please please!" And God is pouring out the miracles!

Life is so good. Seriously. I am so blessed.
Sis Murri

"More happiness than you have yet exerienced awaits you..."

Sometimes I wonder why God has seen fit to pour out so many incredible blessings upon me and upon this area! We had an amazing week!

Last week I remembered one of my past companions telling me about a less active family with kids who were old enough to be baptized. That was surely the Holy Ghost “bringing things to my remembrance” as the scriptures say. This week we were able to get in contact with them and set baptismal dates with the 10 year old, the 8 year old, as well as the 11 year old cousin! What a miracle. And their dad is willing to bring them to church. Their family situation is pretty dysfunctional right now, but I hope that this will motivate the parents to return to church. There are few things that rip at my heart strings more than seeing broken families- I have really gained a testimony on my mission of the importance of families and how they aren't just an "earth thing"- families are the core of eternity. 

 This week C was baptized! She is adorable! It was such a neat experience to watch someone who I found, taught, and worked through the whole conversion process with finally enter into that covenant of baptism. She reminds me a lot of Carol- actually, their birthdays are only a week apart. This morning, a quote from one of the apostles popped into my head- "when you save a girl, you save generations". There is a part of Preach My Gospel that talks about how the people we meet don't necessarily realize that eternity hangs in the balance- but we do. I know that someday she will look back and it will just hit her how important this is!

We met with a new investigator, L yesterday. Yay! It was the first time meeting with him since the street contact, so we shared the first lesson with him and recommitted him to be baptized (he had committed on the street). He was like, "yeah, of course- I told you last time that I would be baptized..." Hahaha! He is really great. We pulled out our copies of the Book of Mormon from our bags and he immediately apologized for not having read it yet and said he would do better next week. He has a baptismal date for the end of the month!
the "forbidden fruit"?

On Monday evening we had a couple hours of finding time but it was pouring rain, so we decided to just keep our big blue ponchos on. Imagine being you (except Asian) and opening your door to find two white, soaking wet American girls who look like oompa loompas and one of them is carting around a CD player. Hahaha! Yep. Being a missionary is really awesome!

The past few days, I have just been given a knowledge, an assurance that I- me personally- really did live with God before I came here. I feel like the Holy Ghost has just given me an incredible eternal perspective. I think I am feeling in my heart what I've known in my head all along. 

Yesterday in church as I was sitting in the chapel, I think I finally understood what is meant in my setting apart blessing by "more happiness than you have yet experienced awaits you as you labor among His children". As I sat in our beautiful new chapel with C, our recent convert on one side and our soon-to-be baptized friend on the other side, watched another recent convert pass the sacrament, and saw our investigators sitting across the chapel and being surrounded by members I love so much, I felt it. I felt more happiness than I had ever experienced. I love these people. They are "my" people. 

Life is good.
Sis Murri

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The gift of tongues is...when you can suddenly read Japanese characters

  Wow! This week was really really good! Here is a little bit about a couple of our investigators,

-L: I love this kid- I think he is just the greatest 15 year old on the planet! (except you, Haylie. :D) He just shows up to church every week on time and stays the whole time and is great friends with all of the Young men and attends the activities. Seriously, he has a maturity and understanding of the gospel that is just incredible to me. We shared the plan of salvation with him yesterday and he asked some super great questions. We were finally able to get him to give us his address, so hopefully we will be able to stop by and meet his parents this week. He said that his dad is more against Christianity but his mom has a more "do what you want to do" kind of attitude- which actually is progress from last week, when both of his parents were pretty opposed. 

-H: This is our 75 year old investigator. He told us this week that he doesn't feel like he has ever felt the Holy Ghost, so we are working hard to help him understand what the Spirit feels like, as well as trying to get him to commit to come to church. He is in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, but he keeps telling us he won't know what he thinks of it until he finishes reading. Good thing he's reading quickly... :D
college students from Japan taking a temple tour

This week we went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. Sis Jenkins stayed in our area and I went to Beitou, and did temple tours in Taibei. Right as we finished setting up all the stuff for the tours, a group of 4 Japanese college students came in. They spoke no Mandarin and only a little tiny bit of English- enough for us to figure out that they were on vacation and wanted to look around. We grabbed a Japanese copy of the Book of Mormon and gave them a tour by bringing them to different paintings of Jesus Christ and then showing them a scripture in the Book of Mormon in Japanese for them to read. It was an incredible experience to be able to locate passages in the Book of Mormon in a language neither of us had ever studied- somehow we just knew what the words for "1 Nephi", "Mosiah", and "Alma" (a few of the books in the Book of Mormon) looked like. 

I love contacting and knocking doors because we always have such interesting conversations. On Tues we met a guy named T who told us (in English!) that the virgin Mary could appear in the form of my companion's face, that Jesus was Asian, and that heaven was actually not a place, but it rather inside of us. Yesterday we talked to these old ladies who just kept telling us that they were sisters and all almost 80 and didn't understand Christianity, and that they were 80, and oh did they mention they were all 80 years old? On Thursday we contacted a lady who was smoking, and she pointed to inside of her office building and said, "go preach to them- they all need help!"

We met a ton of really awesome people this week and we are excited to try to keep working with them all! DanShui is going to have a white Christmas!

Sis Murri

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Baptisms and PVC pipe

On Tuesday we met with L and went over the baptismal interview questions with him. He answered them better than I have ever heard ANYONE answer them- such a cool kid. He really has developed a testimony of the gospel. We also acted out Alma 17 with him - the one where Ammon cuts off all the arms- which he thought was pretty fun. Made me think of Jared and I putting pvc pipes on our arms and using the plastic sword to cut them off...good times! :D (This is a story in the Book of Mormon where a man named Ammon serves the king of the land of his enemies by defending the king’s flock from some thieves.  The king is impressed with this newcomer’s loyalty and Ammon has the opportunity to teach the gospel to the king and his whole family.) Anyway, we scheduled his interview for Friday, and he passed! So we started planning his baptismal service for next weekend.

On Saturday night, we went to visit C’s parents to try to help them understand baptism and stop fandui-ing. We went in and talked to her dad and got to know him.  He seemed to be pretty open, so we said that Candy had expressed to us that she wanted to be baptized, and asked what his view on it was. We explained the meaning of baptism and emphasized that it wouldn't cause her to discriminate against Buddhism. We had her share why she wanted to get baptized. Then he said, "well, if she wants to do it, I'm fine with it." Sis Jenkins and I were just having a little party in our hearts! We handed him the permission form. He picked up the pen, read the form slowly.....(probably only about 3 seconds, but it felt like ETERNITY!)....and then signed his name!!!!! YEAH!!!! We had C say the closing prayer, and she said a beautiful prayer asking God to bless each of her family members and telling Him how excited she was to get baptized. 

Celebrating Sis Jenkins' birthday with chocolate cake
 X, a recent convert,  is doing SO well! He is like an entirely different kid! He passed the sacrament for the first time yesterday, has been called to be the teachers quorum president, went to the temple to do baptisms, and is helping his mom get active again. He is a rock star! I got a letter this week from a family I taught who were baptized in SongShan...they are incredible! There are few things that compare to the joy of seeing that your converts are still going strong. 

This week Sis Jenkins and I were talking about how to help two people recieve baptism in Dec. We both had the thought come to our minds that there are not only two people waiting for us, but two families. So we are doing our best to find them! We started teaching a new family this week who we think has a lot of potential. The dad lived in Australia for 8 years and has great English, and they have two adorable daughters. When we visited last week, the daughter was watching Dora....in chinese. Who knew Dora was so multi-lingual?! 

I love being a missionary! Sometimes we are so exhausted- mentally, physically, emotionally, everything. But then we remember Christ, who sacrificed so much more than we ever will, and who is our Strength. I love this quote from Pres Eyring: "When my body begs for rest, I give myself this rallying cry: Remember Him!". It is true. "Greater happiness than you have yet experienced awaits you as you serve among His children." Yes. 

 Sis Murri

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A good workout, a missing key, and a chance meeting

We had so many great adventures this week! Seriously, so many. Missionary life is the best.

On one day, we had a lesson set up with someone who had previously been investigating the church. Our peike (member who comes along to help teach) was CMH who is such a great missionary. The investigator ended up standing us up, so our backup plan had been to go finding. But then Sister C said, "I have some friends who live over in this area- lets go see if they're home and you can teach them!" We, of course, were happy to oblige. Sister C jumped on her scooter and starts zooming up this huge hill. Meanwhile we are huffing and puffing on our bikes trying to keep up with her as she rides up, down and all around the hills of Danshui. She kept getting lost and forgetting where all of her friends lived, so we ended up trying to follow her around on our bikes for about an hour, and of course no matter which way we turned the wind was against us! :D None of her friends ended up being home, but it was a good workout, and we also showed our members and God that we will do just about anything for a member referral!

Wonderful people who shared their food with a couple of hungry sister missionaries

Yesterday after church, we got back to our apartment only to discover that our apartment key had disappeared from the key ring. Hmm. So we went back down and got on our bikes and retraced our steps from our house to the bus stop. No key. We thought for sure that our security guard would have a master key, so we asked him, only to hear that he doesn't. Hmm. He says that we have two options- call a locksmith to come and replace our locks (several thousand dollars) or try to call the landlady and see if she has an extra. Our landlady said that she had an extra, but that she was in YiLan, and couldn't come up- but thought she had given the mission office an extra key. We were pretty sure they didn't have one because they had to borrow ours last time they came to do apartment inspections. So we tried to call the mission office anyway, but the office elders were still in church and couldn't answer our call. Meanwhile, we had already been fasting for 24 hours and were feeling a little woozy! So we decided to just sit in the courtyard and relax a little until we could get in contact with the office elders. God's tender mercies are real- let me tell you! In the courtyard were a group of older people drinking lemonade and eating dried soybeans and nuts. We sat down and they just came over and gave a bunch to us! I have never been so thankful for soybeans in my life! We struck up a good conversation with them about America and church for an hour or two while we waited to try to get the key situation all worked out. We called the temple sisters, who said if we came down to Taibei a little early (we were already planning on going that evening for the new member fireside) they would give us some dinner. When we got into Taibei, we got in contact with the office elders, and one of the keys they had was ours. Yay! And, when we got home that night, we found our key stuck in our door- apparently someone found it. Sis Jenkins got a little paranoid and grabbed a knife and handed me a pair of scissors and we walk around making sure no one's in our house. Nope, all clear. So, all's well that ends well! It was actually such a fun experience...we just laughed about the situation the whole time because it was so crazy. :D

Last week while we were on a bus, I struck up a conversation with an older lady. Right as I was about to get off, I asked her if we could have her phone number and visit her sometime and share the gospel. She said yes, so we got her contact info. Then, this week on Thursday, we were in her area to visit C, the one who is just starting to come back to church, so I called the bus lady up and asked her if we could stop by. The voice on the phone was a lot younger than I remembered the lady being, but she said she could meet with us. We set her up for after our appointment with C, who doing so well; she came to church again this Sunday and has a goal to be baptized in Dec in behalf of her mom who has passed away. After our lesson with her, we asked C if she wants to accompany us to the lesson with the bus lady, and she agreed. We walk into the Family Mart where we had planned to meet the bus lady and don't see her. But then, a lady in the store and C suddenly recognize each other and give each other a hug! Turns out the lady I called was the bus lady's daughter, and she and C are friends! This lady is one of the cutest, most smile-y people I have ever met and we had a great lesson with her. C invited her to church and encouraged her to get baptized. YEAH!

I love Taiwan- some of my favorite people in the whole wide world are here. I got to see some SongShan members and one of the people I taught at the fireside last night- that just made me so happy! My companion said to me this week: "I love watching you interact with Taiwanese people. It is so obvious that you were meant to be here." I really do love these people. And I can feel that this is where God needs me to be. 

Spanish Halloween in Taiwan?
Life is good! We are working hard, the weather is cooling off, I am wearing a cardigan (and I know you all know how happy that makes me! the only thing better would be if I had a scarf on too...not quite cold enough for that yet :D), and we are more tired than 90 year old grandmas (not the Taiwanese kind though- they are like energizer bunnies!).

love you! 
Sis Murri

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Missionaries are not exempt from real life"

Sis Jenkins and I worked SO HARD this week. We talked to EVERYONE and asked for referrals from EVERYONE and used every single minute of our time and studied Preach My Gospel like no one's business and prayed and prayed and prayed some more. Seriously, I am exhausted. And by exhausted, I mean more than the usual missionary tired! But we had a great week and I learned a lot about God and how He operates in my life. 
 beautiful new chapel in Danshui

President Day told us all this week that he has a vision for the month of December to be a "white Christmas"- meaning he feels that every companionship can have 2 baptisms in the month of December (double the usual goal). He gave us some suggestions as to how to accomplish this, and I know that because he is called of God, if we are diligent in following his invitations and following the spirit, we can achieve this goal. DanShui will have a white christmas! We set a goal this week to have a new investigator every day, and so far we are rocking it! Last night we realized we hadn't gotten a new investigator that day, so we called every potential person who we'd had a lesson with on the street in the past week but who hadn't yet set up a time to meet with us. After 4 calls with no success, we finally talked to one guy who wanted to meet. YEAH! Miracles! 

letting every know about their free English class
 Sis Jenkins and I were invited to participate in the annual Missionary Christmas Choir! We 40 missionaries from within the 3 Taibei zones were asked to participate. We will rehearse every p-day and perform every Fri, Sat, and Sun in December for wards in the Taibei area. It takes us an hour and a half of travel each way to Taibei, so it will pretty much consume all of p-day after our email time, but I had heard from a lot of missionaries who participated last year that it was an incredible experience, so I was really excited to get the call to sing with them! And, they are going to try to find a harp for me to play. No one in Taiwan has harps, so we'll see how that goes. But that would be so fun- I love playing Christmas music. 

With the Christmas choir and the extra hour of studies we have because of training for Sis Jenkins, we have less time than ever, higher goals than ever and more faith and willingness to work than ever before. This is the perfect environment to see miracles. :D

  X got baptized! Yeah! He's a good kid. I really hope that his baptism will help motivate his mom to become more active and they can work together to learn the gospel. 

This week we fasted for our three investigators whose parents fandui (oppose)- but who really could get baptized any minute if their parents agreed. We said a lot of prayers and put a lot of faith into it, knowing that God could work miracles in the hearts of these parents. A couple hours after breaking our fast, we called up Candy to see if she could still meet with us. She said no, that her mom said she couldn't. We asked if she had had the chance to talk to her parents about baptism. She said yes, and that they were angry and said no. I was totally crushed- I was trying not to cry the whole bike ride home. For a little while I was just so confused. How after all of our faith and prayers and fasting was this sweet girl who WANTS to be baptized still not able to? Sis Jenkins and I started discussing the scripture that says that if you ask in faith for righteous desires, God will give them to you. Baptism certainly is a righteous desire- what were we lacking? Then sis Jenkins said, "missionaries aren't exempt from real life".  We aren't exempt from God's will just because we are missionaries. 

The next day in personal study, I read Pres Uchtdorf's talk Continue in Patience, and this part stuck out at me: "We wait for answers to prayers. We wait for things which at the time may appear so right and so good to us that we can't possibly imagine why Heavenly Father would delay the answer." As I read that, I realized that God wants these kids to be baptized just as much as we do- probably more, even! So if they have to wait, there must be a reason. I don't know why He allowed us to meet them at this time only to have their parents oppose. I don't know why their hearts weren't softened. There are a lot of things I don't know. But like Nephi, "I know that He loveth His children, nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." I do know, however, that if we trust in God, he will make everything happen for the best, and continue to guide our steps. If we do what is right, he will make all things right. This week has been such an amazing opportunity for me to learn to REALLY trust God- just like we are asking our investigators to do. So I am actually thankful for this experience!

 We are going to the temple today! I am so excited. I have always loved the temple, and having a vision of the temple shapes and directs people and families on the path to exaltation. 

Love you!
Sis Murri