Monday, September 26, 2011

Even When You Think Everything is Going Wrong...‏

I'm a little bit sick of computers right now because we came here a little bit early to do some workshops and evaluations on the computer as part of our new trainer/trainee program... and then after spending a good amount of time on my letter to the Mission President it got deleted (computers are still just as frustrating as ever), so I've been here far longer than I should. But I was happy to read your letters, especially from Dad about his experiences as a trainer. It gives me hope that there's still a lot going for me, haha :)
We've had some awesome things happen this week. One of my most dearest investigators, Huang jie mei (she's about 60 and was a former investigator a few years ago), was sick all last week so we hadn't met with her for a while, but the miracle is, she used all that time to read about 1/2 of the book of Alma! When we met with her again she was telling her how much she had learned from the Lamanites conversion and them burying their weapons of war. She has made magnificent progress, and it's all because of her willingness to immerse herself in the Book of Mormon. She is such a sweet sister, and she took a huge step of faith yesterday when she said she would throw away all the coffee and tea she has in the house so she can keep the word of wisdom, which is one of the biggest reasons why she didn't get baptized the first time she started investigating the church. I love her dearly and I cannot wait until her baptism in October!
I've re-started the Book of Mormon in my personal study, this time with the focus on covenants and receiving strength/power from the Lord. I hope to deepen my understanding of the covenants I've made, and also the covenants I'm helping other people make. I've only barely started, but I'm excited to learn more about this important doctrine. It's re-fired my passion for the Book of Mormon, which also helped one of our new investigators get interested in it too. :) Her name is Tammy, and she's a former investigator too, one from when I first got to this area. I got super exited when she voiced her recent challenge with her boss at work and I told her how Nephi had a similar problem, except that eventually his brothers wanted to kill him. Tammy responded, "Wow, well, I'm lucky I don't have that problem yet..." and she was intrigued and wanted to find out the rest of Nephi's story.
I was also impressed by the well-known 1 Nephi 1:1 as Nephi said that the knowledge of God helped him get through all his afflictions throughout his days. It made me think of all those who try to do it without that knowledge and how much harder it must be. I'm so grateful for Nephi's example and record to help anyone willing to turn to the Lord for help how they can do it. I know the Book of Mormon, when read under the influence of the Spirit, can resolve any concern.
The biggest miracle of the week was Saturday night at the baptism of one of the Elder's investigators. Sister Gibson and I had been asked to sing, and after a long, hard day of many things not going as planned we were even more discouraged when we didn't have any investigators or recent converts attending the baptism-- in fact, we were the only sisters in the whole room! But we knew we couldn't back out of this invitation so we sang the number we had prepared with all our hearts. We didn't think much of it though, and we wanted to leave as quickly as possible to get home on time to get a better start on the next day, but as we stopped to shake the hand of the newest member of the ward, one of the other investigators who has been in attendance waited by the side to shake each of our hands to thank us for the musical number. That helped us feel a little better, that someone was really touched by it and it wasn't a waste to have been there. We didn't realize just how much of an impact it had until the Zone Leaders called us later that night.
They said they wanted to thank us for our musical number because that investigator had been investigating for a long time and the only reason why he hadn't been baptized yet was because he didn't have his mother's permission. But he said the Spirit was so powerful when we sang that when he closed his eyes to listen, he saw a vision into heaven in which he saw Jesus Christ blessing all the people there. At that point he KNEW everything was true and that he NEEDED to get baptized, so he called his mom right after the baptismal service. His mom agreed, and now he's getting baptized this upcoming Saturday. Needless to say, we'll be singing at his baptism too. :) But Sister Gibson and I were both so touched by that experience, and it was re-affirmed to us that this work is not ours. Even when it seems like everything is going wrong, especially because of your own inadequacies, Heavenly Father still works miracles through the service you're willing to give.
I know this gospel is true, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord. I know He lives and loves me, as well as everyone here and across the world. I'm feeling that more and more deeply as my love for these people has grown. I love the Lord, and I love being a missionary.
All my love,
Sister Morey :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Miracles Come in All Shapes and Colors‏

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!! There's a card on its way... sorry it's a little late though! Sometimes the preparation days just pass by too quickly! Sounds like you were able to have a wonderful celebration though :)
I just LOVE my trainee, Sister Gibson. She's so diligent and hard-working and loves teaching and learning. Her language is fantastic considering she started from scratch at the MTC and is progressing rapidly. I feel so blessed to be her trainer.
This week has been challenging as many of our progressing investigators were sick, but it also opened up some opportunities to find more. This week was full of miracles! The best one of the week was on Thursday when all of our scheduled appointments fell through--I know it's kind of ironic. But that morning Sister Gibson told me, "I kinda feel like we need to find someone with a blue shirt today," so when we went out we stopped and talked toeveryone with a blue shirt or coat or whatever, as well as everyone in between! We went out of our way to find whoever that person was supposed to be. Although many people turned us down we didn't get discouraged because we knew someone was out there that we had to find! In the end we went WAY out of our way, even though it was on accident, to find who we were supposed to. We were a little short on time to get to a less active member's house (that we hadn't been to before) and so in effort to get there quicker we took a "short cut" around the lake. It got us there pretty quick, and we were totally going to have enough time, until we found out that the road we were looking for wasn't anywhere in sight. We stopped to ask for directions and the first people weren't able to help us. As we turned back to our bikes I noticed a couple that had just pulled up to the red light in front of us and I decided to ask them for help. They were incredibly friendly and knew exactly where the road was--on the opposite side we thought we were going to! Yikes! But we were grateful for their help and as they were about to go I had the thought to look at what color the mom's shirt was... it was baby blue!! All the sudden I had an urgency to set up a time to meet, and surprisingly they were really accepting and willing! We set up to meet their family in a week, and when we turned away to go back to the other side of the lake Sister Gibson said, "Wow, I'm impressed you were so diligent at sharing the gospel with them even when we were just asking for directions." I had a big smile and replied, "Did you notice what color her shirt was?"
I love being a missionary. We get to experience moments of such pure joy that almost move me to tears. Such moments especially come when we meet with dear Zhuang jiemei, who is coming up on 2 months of being baptized. She has such a sweet testimony and powerful faith. As we met with her this week I had the thought, "Whenever my parents get the chance to come meet the people I served I know they will just love to talk with Zhuang jiemei." So, I hope you get the chance some day :)
I just love being a missionary! All the love a missionary can send home,
<3 Sister Morey <3

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Talk About a Birthday Present!

Thank you SOOOO much for such a wonderful birthday package!!! I was like a little kid in a candy store opening up all the little gifts and getting everything I asked for! You can see in the pictures how particularly happy I was from getting the magic afterbite stuff, hahaha :) SO useful as a missionary! I also got an amazing birthday package from the Christensens too with pancake mix and chocolate chips! We're definitely having chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast one day! And there were a whole bunch of other goodies too, like burrito fixings, cheerios and lots of treats! I just love the Christensen family so much :) And I even got a letter from Joey the same day! What a wonderful birthday!

The other reason why my birthday was so special was because I practically got to celebrate it the whole week. I told you in my last letter that the ward threw a September birthday party. Then on Monday, Sister Smith and I went out shoe shopping with Zhuang jie mei and I took the liberty of buying some new birthday shoes :) They're super cute, and one pair is even water-proof for the rain! Sister Smith has a matching pair, and so does Zhuang jie mei :) 

On the way home we stopped at an elderly home that Zhuang jie mei's sister works at and I instantly fell in love with one of the amahs there. I wished I could spend all day there, but we had just enough time to sing I am a Child of God for them, and then on our way out I wanted to hold everyone's hand and look into their eyes and give them a big smile and let them feel Heavenly Father's love. It was a really special experience as I got to take a few seconds with each one of the amahs. I just love the people here. I got to feel a little bit of what the Savior feels for each one of those sisters there.

Tuesday was perhaps the biggest surprise because one of my best friends, Xiu, came down from Tai Zhong just to celebrate my birthday with me!! One of the members down here said she had a present to give me and asked if we could meet at the chapel for lunch and a little after we sat down to eat I heard this soft voice say, "Hey, Sister Morey." I looked over and there was Xiu, peeping out from around the corner of the church building with a big oreo cake in her hands! I just about died and screamed as I ran over to see her and give her a hug! I was so touched! The present (besides her coming down to see me with a birthday cake) was a big piece of cardboard with a whole bunch of pictures of us and Sister Weinheimer and lots of other companions and missionaries that I've been able to serve around holding a happy birthday card and wishing me a happy birthday! I could hardly believe it! Ahhhh! I just love Xiu and all the people here that love me so much!
Wednesday morning at the meeting with the Relief Society Presidency they sang Happy Birthday in English for me, which was really sweet, and then they sang it in Taiwaneese, which I had never heard before (it wasn't even the usual tune). What a special wish from them. :) That night was another celebration as we had English Meeting with all the missionaries in the district that teach English. Sister Sterling decided to sing Happy Birthday as the opening song, and they had brought moon cakes to have a little party with afterwards. Oh, I just love the missionaries here! They're so loving and thoughtful!
Thursday (my actual birthday day) was also great, but kind of crazy. I got to enjoy it mostly because I made chocolate cookies with oreo bits in them to share with everyone, which of course were a big hit. I just couldn't go a year without making birthday cookies! And of course the packages were a big highlight. As well as the 5 letters I got, which I guess makes up for about the 4 months I haven't gotten much in the mail, haha :) It was a happy day for the mailbox! And for me :) There were also a few members who came to the chapel with cards and gifts. Man, I didn't know so many people loved me that much!

The craziest and biggest birthday present of the week was...... A TRAINEE!!!!!!!! Yep, I've been called as a Trainer, which I NEVER expected this time around since I just went Senior, and because Sister Smith just got here 2 weeks ago! But nope, she got moved to Jia Yi, and I got to go pick up a brand new missionary from Tai Zhong on Friday! The cool thing was that Sister Fleming also got called as Trainer too, so we got to go up on the same train and just loved spending that extra time together, with our trainees! My wonderful new companion is Sister Gibson from Connecticut and she is just the BEST companion anyone could ever ask for. She isn't afraid to talk to anyone and teaches with power. Even though she just started learning Chinese at the MTC (had absolutely no previous experience) she's already able to speak competently and loves to teach. I just love her to death! We've seen so many miracles already and I know there's more just waiting to happen. I just feel so incredibly blessed to be her trainer.

Well, my time is up, but I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for helping make my birthday so special. I know Heavenly Father loves me because of the the people around me that show that love. I love you Mom, Dad, Jake, Adam and Jordan. Thanks for all the birthday wishes! It indeed was a special week, and the Lord just made it even happier by sending me the best companion anyone could ask for. I just love being a missionary. I love the Lord. I love the gospel. I love life! I LOVE YOU!!!
All the love a 22 year-old sister missionary can send,
Sister Morey :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy My Birthday!

Thank you SOOO much for all those sweet birthday messages! I was so touched at each of your thoughtful messages. It's definitely made this birthday special! I can't wait to open all those brightly wrapped presents!! But most of all, I'm thankful for your love through your letters this week. :) I especially enjoyed the rainbows :)

This week was special too as we had a ward birthday party after church yesterday for all the people whose birthdays are in September, including me! It was so sweet to see my name on a cutely cut out pink and yellow heart up on the board with all the other names. They gave me a balloon hat and it was so special to be able to celebrate with everyone... so I still got a birthday party! Imagine that! Since we can't take pictures on any other day except for Preparation Day I wasn't able to get any of my own, but some of the members took some and said they'd put them up on facebook, so be sure to add all the people that want to be friends with me and find the ones that have those birthday pictures up! They're super cute! (I hope you can find Sister Yao... she said she'd put them up).
This week has been good, but difficult as well. We've seen good things happening like our golden investigator on the 8th floor of our apartment building, Zhang jiemei, progressing like crazy. She loves and completely understands the Book of Mormon. She has wonderful questions and completely agrees with all of the commandments. She is seeing how in her family disobedience to those commandments has brought a lot of sorrow and she is seeking our help and the help of the Lord through prayer to be able to help her daughter, sister and mother want to learn the message of the Gospel too. What a wonderful sister. We love her.
On the other side of the spectrum, there was an amah and her daughter that were completely receptive and felt the Spirit throughout the first lesson we shared with them but when we went back to visit they had left, and when we called they said their other church friends had said that what we teach is different than them and to not listen to us and when Sister Smith tried to help them understand they said, "we're not talking to you anymore" and hung up the phone. So heartbreaking! Our wise district leader counseled us to stop by their house and drop off some flowers or fruit to show them how much we still love them, and hopefully, some day, they'll choose to accept the message again. But I guess that's just how the work goes sometimes, right?
I've been learning lately the importance of developing Christlike attributes. Another one of our investigators is struggling a lot with family issues at home. Every time she comes she always says how she's tired from going to work and when she gets home it's even more tiring the deal with the challenging family circumstances. It seems like there's no way out! But it was precious to hear last night as we met with her after church that she felt a lot of peace by coming to church and it was as if she was able to forget all her troubles and cares. We promised her that by continuing to come to church, seeking help from our Heavenly Father through prayer, and by searching the scriptures she would be able to find more and more of that peace. We also promised that through this trial she would be able to develop Christlike attributes such as patience and charity, and that by doing so she would come closer to the Lord. I know that's true because that's what I've been learning lately too.
It's challenging stepping up to the plate as a Senior Companion and having all your weaknesses magnified. The scripture Ether 12:27 have come often to my mind. I've been comforted as that scripture reminds me that my weaknesses are helping me to be more humble, which will bring (and has brought) me closer to the Lord and helped me recognize my dependence on Him. It's such a blessing to know that with the Lord, these weaknesses can be turned into strengths. Right now I'm still at the point where I'm hoping that's true, haha. But I do have hope because I've seen it before, and I'll keep working in faith to become the even stronger, more humble servant of the Lord He would have me be.
I love being a missionary! I hope you all have a wonderful week, even though I can't be there for my birthday. Thanks for making it so special anyway! All my love from across the world,
Sister Morey :)