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

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Following the Spirit

FIRST: Skype info for next week. Monday morning, 8:30 am my time- which, if I've calculated correctly, is Sunday night, 7:30 pm my time. I want to do something a little different this time- I want to have 5 minutes with each person individually, and then the last 10 minutes all together. Mom and Dad, you can decide if you want 5 minutes individually or if you want 10 minutes together. Also, I would love to have a family prayer together at the end. 

 Sis Smith and I saw so many miracles this week in getting referrals and new investigators. 

-We get a pretty good amount of new investigators from english class, but they are ALWAYS in the XinZhu3 ward. Always. Well, last week, Sis Smith and I decided that we wanted a new investigator from English class this week, and we were going to pray specifically for it every day and see what happened. Wednesday night english class came and new investigator in our area. But after then we got a call from the XinZhu 3 elders saying that two of their English class students stayed after class to ask some questions, and then set up for Saturday. Two new investigators for us!

The following is an actual phone conversation I had with A on Saturday night at about 9:45 pm:
"Hi! This is Sis Murri. Sorry to call you so late- were you sleeping?"
"No, I'm just reading the Book of Mormon right now."
[little moment of speechless excitement]
"Wow! That's great! What part are you at?!"
"I just finished reading chapter 8."

Yeah, she's amazing. We met with her last night, and she pulled out her Book of Mormon, which she had highlighted with her favorite parts, as well as a notebook, in which she had written an entire page of the verses that she liked. She told us, "when Ama sleeps, I just can't sleep because all I want to do is read the Book of Mormon." She has the strongest desire to come to church- which is incredible in and of itself, because she won't be able to understand a lot of it since her Chinese isn't that great. We taught her about fasting last night. I have so much faith that God will provide a way for her to come to church so that she can get baptized. We asked her to pick a day this week to fast, and we will do it with her. We also asked her to pray to know what day God wants her to get baptized (her date expired since she couldn't come yesterday). I think if she receives the revelation herself about what day God wants her to get baptized, she will have more faith in the miracle that He is about to do to help her get to church. I REALLY want her to be our May baptism. SO BADLY. But I will trust God's timing and if that's not what He's got in the cards, I'll be okay with that too, although I totally have faith that it can happen.

Another neat experience this week: we were riding our bikes, and I saw a door and sort of felt like I should hop off my bike and ring one of the bells. At first I thought, "nah...." but then I just decided to do it anyway. Well, the lady who answered the speakerphone said it was inconvenient (which is what most people say when they don't want to talk to us...) but then I asked her when would be a more convenient time, and she gave me her cell phone number to call her and set up a time! One of the things I was promised in my setting apart blessing was that my ability to listen to and follow the spirit would get stronger on my mission- and  I really feel like I have seen that come to pass. I feel like I have a better understanding of how the Holy Ghost communicates with me, and have more of an ability to hear the "ideas" he puts into my mind and just do them, even if I don't really understand why. 

I love prayer. I feel like it's only taken me 20 years to understand how to REALLY do it. But now I think I am starting to get it. I have come to see that there really are so many blessings God wants to give us that He is just waiting for us to ask for. What do we as missionaries really want from our missions? To see many baptisms, to have our RCs go to the temple, to achieve the standards of excellence, to experience personal conversion....then why aren't we always praying for those things. Or really, why am I not always praying for those things? Just because God CAN read our mind doesn't mean I don't need to tell him what is on it. :D Prayer really is the key to not living beneath our privileges. 

Well, that's about all for this week.... love you!
Sis Murri