Monday, August 29, 2011

Notice the Difference in Her Smile!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the wonderful birthday package!!! Ok, so I didn't open any of the presents yet (of course I wouldn't, you know me), but it made my day so joyful just to see all those happy, colorful, carefully wrapped gifts from my family. I can't wait for my birthday!! :D

It sounds like this was a great week for all of you back home! With starting high school and seminary, getting a motorcycle, thinking of changing majors and getting great grades in college classes! I'm glad you all are having such a great time. So, what is the heat like, if it's record breaking? We're in the middle of a huge typhoon here... what fun! Luckily every time we've needed to be outside yesterday and this morning it hasn't been raining, but I'm looking outside the window and we might not be so lucky when we're done emailing! It's completely dumping outside. We might have to stay in our apartments tonight or tomorrow, depending on how bad it gets, but we're going to do all we can to stay outside!!

This week was pretty crazy stepping up to the role as senior companion. On Tuesday right before district training meeting we were eating lunch at Zhuang jiemei's shop (our recent convert) and when we were trying to rush out to get to our meeting I couldn't find my keys! I was so frantic and was thinking, "No, this is NOT the time to lose my keys, not when it's making us late to DTM as my first full day as senior companion!" I wanted to call the zone leaders to tell them we'd be late but I was so frazzled that I accidentally called the Assistants instead, which made me even more frazzled that I couldn't even call the right people! But luckily I found the keys right after that, and it turns out they were just in the bottom of my bag... but it didn't help that I had switched to a new bag that I was still getting used to. Ahhhh!

Everyone was so nice about it when we got there though, especially Sister Cooper. Afterwards when we were talking about it I asked, "How can you be a space cadet and senior at the same time?!" Sister Cooper just held up her companion's "dongxi" bag (a little bag with all the proselyting materials in it) and she didn't have to say anything because I knew that earlier that morning she and her companion had to retrack all their steps from the day before because they thought Sister Sterling's dongxi bag was lost but it turns out that it was in Sister Cooper's bag all along. We just laughed together and I was comforted to know that some of the best senior companions I know still have their "spacey" moments. I guess I'll fit right in. :)

The biggest miracle and best part of the week was helping sweet, little Ji En get baptized. It was the sweetest thing this week as we met with her and asked why she wanted to get baptized. She said, "because I want to get rid of all the things I've done wrong." I was so touched by the faith of this little 9-year-old girl. We've been working with her family for a few months now, and it's been incredible to see the transformation of her mom and her as they've grown to love the Book of Mormon and as they've seen their prayers get answered in miraculous ways. I don't know if there's ever been a time where I've seen the difference more clearly. Her mom has incredible faith as well, but is facing some challenges with her husband. Even though he's a very good Christian man, he's having a hard time with their conversion because he thinks they're jumping into it too quickly. But that's just the power of the Spirit in conversion! We're praying very hard for him to soften his heart, especially so the mom can get baptized as well.

It was one of the most tender baptismal services I've ever seen, and it was even more special because President and Sister Bishop walked down the stairs to attend the baptism right when we were taking pictures, and we had no idea they were even on this side of the island! It was such a tender mercy, and Ji en was pretty excited to take pictures with them :)

The best part of the whole evening was seeing the change in Ji en before and after her baptism. Notice the difference between her smile before the baptism and right after. I've never seen her smile so big the entire time I've known her! She just couldn't stop smiling and she was sooooo incredibly happy! That is what happens when someone is truly converted and they receive the ordinances of the Priesthood. I just LOVE being a missionary and being able to be a part of it all! What a wonderful blessing!

What topped off the day was walking out of the bathroom after the baptismal service and running into Sister Watson!!! I smiled so big and ran to give her a hug, and not a moment later, President Watson walked up behind me! I had no idea they were in the chapel! What a joyful reunion, and even though it was only a few minutes, at least it was better than the last mission meeting when I basically only got to say hello and shake their hands! Anyway, Sister Watson said to remind you, mom, that she wants my address or something... I didn't really get it cuz they had to run off, but she wanted you to write her, even though she's as bad as ever at replying :P

So anyway, my time is up, but I wanted to say how wonderful it is to be a missionary and the Lord is just pouring out blessings and tender mercies. I know the Lord lives and loves me, as well as the people here in Taiwan.

All my love,
Sister Morey

Monday, August 22, 2011

I've Never Heard an Elder Scream Like That!‏

Ok, so funny story of the week :D One day as Sister Brownell and I were sitting on the couch near the front doors to the chapel we saw this HUGE spider coming for us and we jumped and screamed and ran away shocked from seeing such a big spider!! The Zone Leaders had just left so I went out and asked them if they'd mind helping us with something. Of course, them being the sweet missionaries that they are they were super willing. One of them was talking on the phone as I explained what we needed help with and when we walked in the door and I pointed out the problem, the Elder on the phone started walking straight toward it. When he was about 3 feet away he finally saw what the problem was and screamed, jumped and ran to the other side of the room!! I thought it was SOOOO funny and what made it even better was what he told the person on the phone, "wo mei yo ren zhen ting ta men shuo sheme!" ("I wasn't listening very carefully to what they were saying!"). I just about died of laughter! But to his saving grace he played an active role in getting that spider out of the church, including kicking it 3 times till it started playing dead, and then picking it up with a paper towel and moving him outside (along with a few more squeals, haha). Then when they were about ready to leave he came back and said, "Thanks for letting me serve you in that way.... Just don't tell anyone else that I screamed, ok?" I just couldn't help put poke some fun and reply, "You mean like that one time you fell off your bike?" I just laughed even harder when his companion questioned his as to what I was talking about. Oh, that was one of the funniest moments of my mission :)

Well, this week was just about one of the most joyful weeks of my life!! We had FIVE baptisms this week, including Luo jie mei and her precious little girls. The other was Lu jie mei who is such an incredible example of faith to me. She had some major trials of her faith this week (that I can really relate to) but she was able to overcome them through prayer, and singing a few hymns. :) She shared with us such a sweet testimony that on the other side she could just see that it was Satan lying to her, and her faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel was strengthened. I love each one of our new members soooooo much.

Yesterday was so sweet as I watched so many of the members express their love for Sister Brownell since it was her last Sunday on the Island. So many people gave her gifts (and I even got a few too!) and we were both just so full of joy and peace about the work we had done together here. I just love her SOOOO much. I cried when I dropped her off at the train station today. But, I am SOOO happy to have Sister Smith from Alpine, Utah as my new companion! I love her so much already and we are going to grow so much together. I'm so excited to teach with her and to get to know her better and serve her!... and I'll have to tell you more about her next week cuz my time is almost running out. But, big news is that I'm now Senior Companion! AHHHH!! It's kinda crazy to think that I'm the "da tong ban" now, but it's been so comforting to hear President Bishop express his confidence in me in fulfilling this role. I'm so grateful for Heavenly Father teaching and preparing me so carefully. I've prayed a lot and I've received very personal and specific answers. It's been so sweet to hear Heavenly Father giving me so many peaceful feelings about the transition.

The biggest tender mercy was when I asked the Zone Leaders to give me a Priesthood Blessing concerning the matter. I had prayed and fasted that I would be able to receive the comfort and counsel that I needed and that I would be able to hear it as if Heavenly Father were speaking to me. Elder Palmer performed the blessing at my request and it was one of the most powerful Priesthood Blessings I've had in my life as he clearly addressed each one of the things I was concerned about, as well as spoke about the desires of my heart recently to have my words be powerful, and to be able to stay in tune with Heavenly Father. It was absolutely perfect. I felt so strengthened and peaceful, and I'm not worried at all. I KNOW the Lord is with me.
So far it doesn't seem like that big of a difference being senior companion, but maybe that's just because it's only been a few hours. BUT, there already has been one super big miracle! This morning at the train station I got a random phone call that went a little like this:
"Wei, wo shi mi jie mei!"
"Ni hao, ni zhu zai san lou ma?"
"Wo zhu zai ba lou. Wo yao qu ni men de jiao hui!"
"OH! HAO!! Wo men jin tian wan shang ke yi gen ni jian mian ma?"
"Ru guo bu shi tai bu fang bian de hua jiu ke yi!"
"Dang ran shibian! 6:30 keyi ma?"
"Hao, wo hui qing nimen chi fan. Ni xi huan chi shen me?" ......
I hope that all made sense :P  ...Isn't that so cool?? Basically a super golden person just called us and is really excited to meet us tonight, feed us dinner, come to church and get baptized. Heavenly Father loves us so much here! It's seriously like the promised land. :) Anyway, I just love being a missionary.
Love with all my heart,
A very happy missionary, Sister Morey :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mi -- A Name I Call Myself

I'm so glad to hear that you all have been having a great fun-filled summer with lots of great activities! It's crazy for me to think that summer vacation is coming to a close, cuz as a missionary there's no such thing as a holiday. The time just passes so quickly and it's hard to keep track! I hope that as the new school year starts (especially these monumental years of the start of HIGH SCHOOL and COLLEGE!! How did that happen?!?) that you can build on your experiences this summer and keep the priorities straight. I got to share yesterday with an 18-year-old investigator about my experiences in college about putting scripture study first and how it completely transformed my life. Blessings were poured out, a long with unmeasurable happiness; strength, abilities, and capabilities beyond my own; and even a little extra time for myself since my productivity was increased :) The Lord truly blesses those who put Him first in their lives. I know that first hand.
I decided that I'm going to start titling my emails for fun. Sister Brownell was the inspiration for this one :) One day as we were riding to a recent convert's house she turned to me and asked, "Sister Morey, can you teach me how to sing?" I was delighted and we started practicing how to recognize intervals and pick out harmony lines. So fun :) Then Sister Brownell said, I think I"m just going to have to start using "do re mi..." after which she started singing the song and cleverly pointed out that "mi" really is the name I call myself (Mi JieMei) ! We had a good time laughing about that one :)
This week was crazy and filled with blessings as 5 of our investigators passed their baptismal interviews and are preparing to get baptized next Saturday!! Sister Brownell and I are thrilled and are so grateful for the way the Lord helped these investigators gain their testimonies. Four of the 5 are a mother with 3 daughters and it was a challenge to help them all get ready because they don't all live together so we didn't always know which one of the daughters was going to show up to the lesson. But it was a miracle and a tender mercy to see them near the end when they all started comingtogether. I remember the first time we saw all 4 of them together I thought it was the most beautiful and joyful thing. Sister Brownell and I have been trying so hard to teach them about the importance of family, and we definitely felt the truth of it as we've seen them together more often. The Relief Society President has also offered them a place to rent for cheap where they can all live together. That would be a miracle. We're praying that they take it.
Lu jiemei is our other dear friend who is preparing to be baptized this coming Saturday. We've only known her for almost 3 weeks, but because she is so receptive and willing to follow the Savior (indicated by her willingness to accept our invitations) that she has been able to progress really fast. I remember the second time meeting with her and throughout the lesson she would make such profound comments and give such correct answers that we asked, "How do you know all this?" She replied, "I don't know, I just speak what comes to my mind and heart--it's just given to me." We knew that the Spirit was teaching her that night. She has an innate ability to listen to and respond to the Spirit. I feel so blessed to be her fuyin jiemei!
Another special experience this week was during District Training Meeting and our District Leader, Elder Wyatt, asked each of us what it meant to be a successful missionary. After a few missionaries shared, Sister Brownell nudged me and urged me to share mine. I realized as I was speaking really how the Lord wanted me to define my success.
I shared that I've been very blessed throughout my life that to have had 2 parents who carefully recorded monumental Priesthood Blessings. As I've looked back and re-read those blessings I have seen how they have been fulfilled in miraculous ways throughout my life. Because I have records of my Setting Apart as a missionary and the Father's Blessing immediately following, I have a clearer understanding of what the Lord expects from me as a missionary. If by the end of my mission I can read those blessings and every point has been fulfilled, I will know I have done what the Lord wanted me to do and become the person He wanted me to become--I will have been successful. Therefore it's my job to work in faith to make them come to pass--and that is how I define my success as a missionary. It's been a sweet experience as I've recently reviewed those blessings and have seen how many of the points have already been coming to pass, even though there were times during my service that I thought they were unattainable. I know the Lord has been by my side the whole time. I'm so incredibly grateful and hopeful (and excited!) for the opportunity to work for the rest of my time here to reach for what the Lord expects of me. I just love being a missionary!!
I love each one of you!!! I'm so grateful you've been having such a wonderful summer! Don't get too busy to forget to write me! :P
All my love,
Sister Morey

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pure Joy & Tender Mercies

This week was one of the best weeks on my mission so far, absolutely incredible and filled with so many miracles and moments of pure joy!! I just hope I can get it all in before my time is up :)

So, on this side of the world I've been learning a lot and been learning more and more how to communicate with the Lord and have Him right there with us in it. It's been amazing because I feel like we're able to do so much more effective work, especially since we've got much more power than just our own to do the work.

Lately our Zone Leaders have been impressed with our effectiveness and have asked us what our secret was. After some contemplation, Sister Brownell and I were able to identify the turning point of our work together. We've been learning to pray in faith, in definition, going to the Lord with a plan of what we've already planned to do to help meet the needs of our investigators and then humbly asking for His help with the things we can't do on our own. Then we listen as we pray, paying attention to the specific thoughts and feelings that come and write them down (yes, you must pause the prayer, open your eyes for a bit, and write it down before it slips away). Then finally, and perhaps most importantly, we "turn the 'do it' switch to the 'now' position" (President Uchtorf in his Priesthood Session address this last conference). As we've humbled ourselves and put these specific revelations into action right away, miracles have occurred. I'm so incredibly grateful for the pattern that Sister Brownell and I have been able to learn and put into practice. I've felt so much joy, peace and comfort from using this pattern.

Some moments of pure joy from the week:

We went to visit Bishop Liu and his family with our most recent convert, Zhuang jie mei. It was one of the most joyful visits as we reviewed the plan of salvation with her and heard the bishop and his wife's testimony, then to hear Zhuang jie mei say when we got to the part about the Celestial Kingdom, "I know before I was baptized that there was no way to get to the Celestial Kingdom. But now that I'm baptized, I can go, and I'm going to be very diligent in keeping all the commandments so I can!!" I wanted to cry because I was so happy when she said that. We were then able to give her our precious gift of a triple combination decorated with her baptism pictures and a special note from each of us inside. She was thrilled, as were the bishop and his wife! To our surprise, the bishop also had a bag of goodies for her with things such as the gospel principles book, preparing the enter the temple, the Family Home Evening manual, etc. It was the perfect start to her own gospel library! As we were leaving she said, "Now I'm a little student again... I've got a lot of studying to do!" AHHHH!!! I LOVE HER SOOO MUCH!!!!

Another tender mercy was that a sister from my first area came down to GaoXiong and just happened to attend the ward I'm currently serving in! The best part was when I inquired about my dear Cathy, the first person I helped baptize here, and she said she's one of the gospel principle teachers!!! JOY!!!!

One other thing that I wanted to share with you is something I learned from a special fireside from a visiting BYU professor. He taught about family relationships and I was just soaking it all it. It was in direct fulfillment of blessings that have been given me that I would come home from my mission knowing how to be a better wife and mother. I was so grateful to attend, and I took copious notes :) But the thing I wanted to share most with you is the emotional bank account principle. Each relationship is like an emotional bank account and when you first get married there's $1,000,000 in it! You're so happy and it seems like there's never going to be anything to worry about. But over time, because none of us are perfect, some withdrawals are made (stress, conflict, hurt feelings, criticism, financial issues, family crisis, etc). When this account goes bankrupt is usually the point at which couples get divorced. But this professor taught there is a way to protect this from happening: save money in the bank, ie. make more deposits than withdrawals. He specifically taught that there should be 5 positives for every 1 negative, and if you keep this ratio, you'll never go bankrupt. If there's no money in the bank right now, you'd better start saving up quick--this principle has the power to save any relationship (especially through the principles of repentance and forgiveness). The same principle applies especially to relationships with teenagers. It rang true to me as I identified that this principle has been true in my companionship with Sister Brownell. We've had our share of disagreements and stress, but we always know we love each other and that's because we've kept many more positives in the bank than negatives.

I love you all so much. I know the gospel is true and that although it takes diligence, patience, faith, the blessings always come, and the joy is beyond measure. This I know.

All my love,
Sister Morey :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

P-Day Fun, Sister Exchanges, & Language!

I was soooo happy to see all those cool pictures from the family reunion and Trek. Oh my goodness, trek sounded like it was so amazing. I remember my own trek experience, one evening in particular that I was the coldest I'd ever been in my life and I was filled with gratitude for all the pioneers that had to do it without as many blankets, clothes and socks as I had. I remember feeling the Spirit so strongly throughout the whole experience and my testimony being strengthened immensely. 

This week was another wonderful one! We got to go on an adventure with one of our friends, Mo Bu (a new member in the next area over) to a place that has all sorts of fun things painted on the walls that you can take pictures with. I sent a few fun ones :) Needless to say, we had a great time!

Cool thing, this week I met someone who remembers Dad from when he served his mission in Taipei!! Her last name is Lin (sorry that doesn't help very much cuz there's TONS with that xing), and she said she'd email you this week, so watch for it :) She served her mission about 2 years before you, dad, but she remembers you because you served in the area she lived. She said when she saw me she wondered if we were related, and then when she looked at my name tag she knew we were! I loved making that connection with her and her telling me about what she remembered about you. I'm proud to be your daughter!! This xing, Mi, has become very meaningful to me as I've been out here following in your footsteps. I love you, dad :)
I also found out some awesome news. One of the investigators I got to teach in my first area got baptized this Saturday! Her name is Angelique (from America, teaching English) and she's been an investigator for a looooong time. I was shocked she finally made the decision to get baptized, but I was SOOO happy to find out! I know it will continue to change her life. I'm so excited to write her a letter and find out the rest of the story.
On Tuesday we got to go on Sister Exchanges, which is always one of my most favorite days of the move-call. I got to go with Sister Cooper from Washington D.C. which was an absolute blast! She is just hilarious, and we had a lot to talk about since she's traveled all over the world too. And we had more fun riding in the rain. It was completely hot and sun-shiny when we left in the morning, but by the afternoon it suddenly started POURING to the point where when we stopped at a stoplight we were in water up to our ankles! We also got to eat dinner at a fun place in her area where they sold bao zi with chocolate in the middle!! They also had cheese/pineapple ones which was basically like eating Hawaiian pizza without the tomato sauce. Soooo good :) We also had lots of miracles happen... Sister exchanges are just awesome!
Sister Cooper is such a good example to me and I was able to learn a lot from her. I took the opportunity to ask her a lot of questions about being a senior companion/trainer because I will most likely be making the jump to senior in 3 weeks when Sister Brownell goes home. CRAZY!!! I'm going to miss Sister Brownell SOOOOO much. We've been through so much together and have become really close. We've grown a lot together, have worked hard together and have seen miracles together. We're going to work SO hard these next 3 weeks and we're hoping with all of our hearts to have many of our current investigators ready for baptism the week before she leaves. It's very likely that we'll have at least a few!
Heavenly Father has been blessing us SO much lately with a ton of investigators. We had 14 at church this week! We keep getting blown away by the success Heavenly Father is giving to us. Right now we're especially working with the Chen family (a girl our age and her older brother... and maybe her mother, if she's willing to soften her heart), the Luo family (a mother with 3 daughters that are all absolutely golden), and Alexandra (a Young Woman who has been investigating for years but hasn't been able to get her dad's permission to get baptized). We've been seeing lots of miracles happen to help these people progress!
Zhuang Jie Mei has also been making the transition to being a new member very nicely. She's been coming to the ward activities, has made more friends in the ward, and will even be going on the Stake Temple Trip on the 13th! We love her SOOOO much, and she's so cute. She's started to call us "bao bei" which means something like precious baby, a really endearing term here :) AND, when we went to eat fried rice at her shop today for lunch she refused to let us pay!! I LOVE HER SOOOO MUCH!!! We're so blessed to be her "fu yin jie mei" (what they call the sisters that help them get baptized).
Hahaha, I guess it all depends on who you talk to!
I'm so grateful to be a missionary! I LOVE IT!! Yeah, it's hard. We've been having to step up our game with all of Satan's opposition trying to get keep our many precious investigators from making it to enduring conversion, but it's been such a blessing too because it's given us an opportunity to work even more closely with the Lord. I know He's helping us every step of the way. There'd be NO way any of this work would be able to get done if it was just us two terribly inadequate and imperfect sisters. Only with Him can we do His work, and when it's done that way, the blessings are immense. I love being a missionary so much!
Sister Morey