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 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