Sunday, May 22, 2011

Transferred to GaoXiong... and It's HOT here!!!

So I don't know what the weather is like in Utah right now, but you can be grateful that whatever it is, it's not like GaoXiong!  It's HOT here!!!  We are SO blessed to have a great air conditioner in our bedroom :) As for the rest of the apartment, well there was one morning in particular that was quite pleasant when we first woke up... but then I opened the bedroom door and it was like walking into a sauna!! It reminded me of when we first moved to Taiwan and as soon as the sliding doors of the airport opened to the outside world I remember thinking, "I'm going to drown just by breathing!" Anyway, needless to day, despite the heat, I LOVE it down here!!

It's so fun to be companions with Sister DeVictoria again. It's great because there's so many things we reminisce and laugh about from the MTC, and we already know each others' personalities (at least the basics) so it's easier to avoid/resolve conflicts. It's such a blessing! We've also got a lot of Sisters in our zone, as well as more in the next zone over, so it's going to be way fun on preparation days to go out and do things with them.

This morning we went bowling with almost the whole Zone, and it was a blast! We got some fun pictures.

It was especially fun getting to know the Sisters a little better, and I found out that Sister Smith (the one in the pink in the pictures), who moved to Taiwan as an exchange student soon after we moved away is good friends with the Mickelsons, Chiles, Perkins, and more of our dear friends. I LOVE hooking up with people like that, and it's crazy how even though we've moved away, the circle of friends keeps getting bigger and bigger :) Sister Lew (the one who stuck her head in between Sister Smith and me) and I were in the same Mandarin Conversation class at BYU and I was there when she announced her mission call! Ahhh! It's just so cool to be here in Taiwan with so many amazing people and to be making so many wonderful friendships that will last for forever!
Speaking of amazing people, the wards here are incredible. Sister DeVictoria and I serve in two wards, the Yuan Shan and San Min wards. Both of the Bishoprics and Relief Society Presidents are so awesome, and the ward members suck investigators right in. It's such a blessing to work here. We've also got some great investigators that I already love and care for so much. I feel so invested in their journey and want to do all I can to help them progress and build their testimonies. It seems like the problems we're trying to help them overcome are different than in other areas I've served in, but they all come back to Faith in Jesus Christ.
This morning I studied just about that--Faith in Jesus Christ, what it means and how to build it. As I studied the faith section of chapter 3, lesson 3 in Preach My Gospel I was amazed at how many times it said "obey," or "keep the commandments," or any variation of the two. I had never noticed that before. I learned that faith in Christ is a principle of obedience, but it's obedience because you trust Him and believe He has the power to keep His promises. Ether 12:6 talks about faith being tried "because ye see not," but the blessings are sure as we exercise that faith and the testimony comes when our faith is sufficiently tried.
I am so grateful to be serving a mission. It's hard work, and I feel like every day is another hurdle to jump, but I've also experienced so many blessings through it all. I have so many dear friends that I've made here, and I've seen how the gospel, when it is lived to the fullest, changes people's lives and brings incredible blessings. As I learned in this past General Conference, the path of a disciple only gets narrower and steeper, but the blessings get richer and richer. I'm so grateful for this path I've chosen to take and the blessings that have already come of it. I know that every time we choose to follow the Savior, we've chosen the right path, and blessings will follow whether they're immediate, in the long run, or in the eternities. The promises are sure. This I know.
I love you all SOOOO much!! All the love an older sister (or daughter!) can send in an email,
Sister Morey

Monday, May 9, 2011

Miracles All Around!

I made it to GaoXiong!!! I was so excited to see Sister DeVictoria again, and Sister DeMordaunt was even there at the train station with her new trainee! I was just so excited that I completely spaced taking a picture of us three! AHHHHH! Silly spacy  Sister Morey. :) But that's ok--we've still got more opportunities. Sister Demordaunt is in the next area over, so not too far away! I'm so excited to be here and to get to know the ward, investigators, recent converts, less actives, and the people on the street! It really is kinda crazy that I've had different companions every single move-call from the beginning of my mission, and have never been in an area for longer than two, but it's been a great learning experience, and I get to make so many more friends! I'm thinking I'll spend a little more time in this area though. We'll see.  :)

It was SO wonderful to get to talk to you on Sunday! I was so happy to hear each of your voices (even though I thought Jordan's was Mom's for a sec... sorry!!!) except Jake's. Jake, I LOVE YOU!! I especially loved chatting in Chinese--thanks Dad! But of course the best part was hearing and sharing a few miracles that have happened since I've been out here, especially the ones I didn't know about (the letter to the ward and Bishop Bennet's experience). I want to share one more that stands out in my mind that the Lord works through small and simple means, and often in ways that we don't know until later, or never at all.

Lin Li Hui (Anne) had her baptismal interview on Wednesday (right before I left) and passed with flying colors. The scare was the next day when she didn't answer her phone at all and fanged our appointment (didn't show up), which is SO not like her. Sister Ko and I were really worried about it and we decided to say a special prayer for her. When we ended, we both thought for a while, and then Sister Ko said, "She'll be fine." I had the same feeling that it would be ok. I'm just sad that I didn't get to see her one last time before I left the area on Friday. This morning I got to talk to Sister Ko so she would know where to send my luggage to, and she updated me on Anne. She and her new companion went to go find her at her house and they were wondering if they should go in or not because her parents didn't know that she was investigating yet. They knew they had to find her though, so they went inside anyway. When Anne saw that they had come to find her she said, "I thought that if I stopped answering my phone for a while you would forget about me." Of COURSE that wasn't true! They found out she was worried about her parents opposing and so she didn't want to get baptized right away.

Before I left I wanted to give her a picture of Christ right after he was resurrected and came to find Mary next to the empty tomb. I chose that one for her because I loved how it portrayed the light that Christ brought to her, and how he came to personally comfort and minister to her. Since I didn't get to give it to Anne personally, I left it with Sister Ko. She told me that when she gave it to Anne she said, "She knows me so well. This picture is exactly how I feel." I was so touched to hear that that picture really was meaningful to her. I was thankful for the Lord helping me to touch her life and bring her closer to Christ through that small and simple act. I hope it will give her enough strength to overcome this obstacle and make it all the way through baptism and on to the Celestial Kingdom. I know it's only through Christ that it's possible!

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I'm looking for the little miracles every day. I'm grateful that sometimes the Lord lets me know the second half of the story (like with Bishop Bennet, talking to Sister Ko about Anne, Mom's friend reading my blog.... and the list goes on.) It gives me hope to "not be weary in well doing" and to have faith that those little things I do ARE making a difference, even when I never get to hear the other side.

I love you all SOOOO much!!! Jia you!! I KNOW this is the Lord's work, His kingdom, His restored gospel. Let's go out and share it!

All my love,

Sister Morey <3

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cookies in Taichung!

This week started out really fun because we got to do one of my most favorite activities in the whole wide world... make cookies!! It was kind of a gamble because I wasn't sure if we'd be able to find all the ingredients and supplies to make them, but with the help of one of my favorite member families (Zhou Jiemei and her daughters Zoe and Annie), we were able to pull everything together and make them in the kitchen at the church. We even found leftover brownie mix there that another member said we could use. Oh yeah, and Zhou Jiemei decided to bring along a chocolate cake and chocolate milk we had plenty of sweets! It was kind of ridiculous :)

Zoe (10) and Annie (6) were such good helpers, and soooo cute! You can see from the pictures we had a lot of fun, especially Annie with the brownie mix! We used the "Arvid's Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe but since we couldn't find chocolate chips we used a few Dove dark chocolate bars all cut up for 1/2 of the dough and M&Ms for the other half. I bet you can guess which ones were my favorite!

Sister Ko was amazed at how many cookies there were and asked if I knew that the recipe would make that many, to which I replied, "yes, I knew it would make that much. I can't stand having to limit people to how many they can eat." My favorite part of making cookies is watching other people eat and enjoy them and then when they ask if they can have another one I say, "Of course you can! Have as many as you like!" It was fun to share them with our investigators, members, the Elders in our district, and even a few random people we contacted :) The only funny thing was that many of the Taiwanese people thought they were WAY too sweet. The chocolate cake Zhou Jiemei brought had NO flavor in comparison, and we had a good laugh about that. But that's just the way it is here, hahaha :) Ok, so enough about the cookies...

This week was also great because we got to meet with our fabulously golden investigators, Li Wen Ting (tones are 3,2,2) and Lin Li Hui (tones 2,4,4. I identified her as Anne last time). They both LOVE to come to activities, especially singles Family Home Evening. Each of them have wonderful developing testimonies of the Savior, especially through the Book of Mormon. When we met with Anne a few days ago she said, "I love the Book of Mormon!" And she showed us the parts that she loved and highlighted, and I was amazed to see that many of the pages were almost completely marked with a yellow highlighter! Wen Ting is basically a member already. In fact, whenever she comes to church and meets the members they're shocked to find out that she's not a member yet! It's really funny because I always feel a little odd extending commitments to keep the commandments to her because either she's already keeping them or she responds with "yuan yi" (I'm willing) before we even finish the sentence! Those two always brighten my day whenever we meet with them. (By the way, even though I always talk about them together they meet with us separately and are in no way connected, except that we found them around the same time and they know each other because they come to the same ward and activities). Anne is planning to get baptized on May 14th and Wen Ting will get baptized on the 21st. The only reason why she's a week later is because she's taking a trip to Thailand! Oh my goodness, I'm SO excited! I just hope I don't move next week. But I'm pretty sure I'll be staying here with Sister Ko. But still, there's never a guarantee!!

As always, there are ups and downs to missionary work. Yesterday after church Sister Ko and I decided to make a quick visit to one of the members that we noticed wasn't at church. She has a problem with her brain that makes it really easy for her to fall down so she often has lots of bruises and cuts and sometimes can't come to church because of it. But we always love to visit her because she loves it when we sing to her, and is so thankful that we come and show our love. Well, yesterday when we were riding down her street looking for her house we accidentally passed it because there was a funeral procession getting set up. When we realized we had passed it already we turned back to look more closely, and my heart sunk as I realized the funeral procession was at her house.

In Taiwanese funerals they have a stand set up filled with flowers and Chinese gods and other traditional things, as well as a picture of the one who passed away. When I looked at the stand and saw that it was Chen Mama's picture I was heart broken. I stared in a few moments of horror before I told Sister Ko (she was still a little confused and thought that we must be at the neighbor's house) before some family came out to meet us and told us what had happened. She had taken her own life with poison. It was too hard for her to deal with her physical and emotional problems and wished she could rest from her troubles. We were all really sad, but also enjoyed a sweet moment of comforting the family. Even though they don't have the same beliefs (only Chen Mama was a member), they were appreciative of our company and were incredibly grateful and said they would come to church sometime after all the funeral proceedings were over. Sometimes the Lord works in myserious ways, but always, the love and light of the gospel can bring peace to those seeking for it, and perhaps her death will open a few doors. I love Chen Mama and will miss going to visit her dearly.

I'm so grateful for the gospel in my life and the stability and comfort it brings. I know that no matter what, the Plan of Salvation is true and that there is always hope. Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to all live together again, with perfect, resurrected bodies, and if we are faithful, with those we love, and with Heavenly Father. I know this gospel is true with all my heart, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share it.

I love you all, my dear family! Keep being happy and cheerful and serving others and showing love. That's the best way to have a happy day!

All my love,
Sister Morey :)