Monday, January 30, 2012

"Low-hanging Fruit"

This week has really been amazing. Sister Chu and I are really working on diligence and consecration and I feel like we are enjoying a lot of blessings from it. We have more unity. We are seeing increased miracles. We are finding more and more joy in the work!
Since it was Chinese New Year this week, it was a bad week for scheduled lessons, but a great week for eating! We had a whole bunch of members take us out to really nice places and we ate a LOT of hot pot :) SOOO good! I ate lots and lots of vegetables, and some yummy fish and a little other meat. :D But it was awesome, and even though missionary work was tough, we still had a lot of success.
Huang jie mei got baptized on Saturday and it was such a beautiful baptism. :) She was all giggles and smiles and it was clear that she was so happy to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I wish I could send pictures!! This email place won't let me though... Anyway, He mama will be getting baptized soon as well, and it's been such a blessing to be having so much success and seeing people's lives change.
It's been such a rewarding experience to reflect on my mission and realize how much the Lord has blessed me throughout it all. I was promised some very precious things when I was set apart and as I've reviewed the contents of that blessing and the Father's Blessing I received before leaving as well, I've been amazed at just how many of those promises have been fulfilled or are being fulfilled. Over the first few months of my mission I literally could see no way some of them would happen, but it seems like they're all exploding now as I near the end.

The one I've noticed the most lately is the promise that I would "go forth and find the low-hanging fruit." That has been coming to pass like crazy here in Gang Shan, especially over the past week when we realized we really needed to find new investigators and somehow a ton of golden ones just got set on our plate, out of no where. I really have no idea where these people come from! The Lord has been blessing us so much. It has been the biggest testimony builder to see these promises being fulfilled. We are enjoying an abundance of people ready and willing to get baptized. We had one this past Saturday. The service was beautiful. We're going to have at least one, but probably two in February. There are many promising people that could be prepared for March and April. This really is a prepared place.
Sorry I don't have much time today. We went on a REALLY fun Zone Activity to go hiking at Monkey Mountain. Totally brought me back to hiking in Hong Kong and Taiwan growing up. We also got some fun pictures with the monkeys! Anyway, I love you all so much, and I'll share more miracles next week! Keep doing the best you can and Heavenly Father will make up the rest. That I know for sure.

All my love,
Sister Morey

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Gong Xi Fa Cai qin ai de jia ren :) ...I would type that out in Chinese but I have no idea how on the computer. I'll have to figure out how to do that sometime though since I'll have lots of people to communicate with when I get home!

Anyway, HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!! It's crazy that another year has come and gone and we're having another week of Chinese New Year Celebrations. Everyone things we're crazy as missionaries still going out to "work" even though it's Chinese New Year. Fortunately, New Year’s Day falls on preparation day this year!

It's been fun to be "qinged" out by a few members already, and we've got a full schedule this week of dinner/lunch appointments. The greatest thing is that we've already gotten some awesome referrals from those we've eaten with :) even though they're not in our area.... but that's OK because that's how this mission runs. I've been SO blessed though out my mission by receiving referrals from other missionaries because many of the people I've been able to help baptize have been referrals. So, I'm not so sad to give them away!

Some of the best things that happened this week were efforts of a little more diligence. Earlier in the week I re-discovered the scripture, "Search diligently, pray always and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good" (in D&C 90). I've always thought of the "search diligently" part as searching the scriptures, but this time it had different meaning to me: search diligently for people who are willing to live righteous lives, pray always that we'll be able to find those people and believe that we will find them! Just the night before I found that scripture we had a miracle because we lived those principles. We've been having difficulty finding people to teach lately because everyone's busy for Chinese New Year (it's like trying to proselyte over the Christmas season). That night we went to find a former investigator who the record said would only be home after 8pm because of work. So, we went at 8pm, but the house was completely deserted. Their neighbors said they were still at work! Ah! Our back-up plan was to tract that street, but it really didn't look like much. It was small and looked like not many people would accept the message, but we decided to pray that we would be able to find someone who would be willing to listen. As we were praying someone drove past us on a scooter and parked at one of the houses. We quickly finished the prayer and when I opened my eyes to see who it was I had the feeling, "that's her." We quickly walked over to meet her and we were shocked to find that, indeed, she was willing to listen! As we shared a message about coming closer to God she was interested, but still "hai hao" about having us come back. But before we left we said a prayer with her and then asked her how she thought her life would change if she prayed and was able to have that same feeling every day, and she said she'd be willing to try and see what difference it would make. We then set up a return appointment for after Chinese New Year and left with beaming faces and hearts! Our prayer had been miraculously answered and it was just in time for us to return home. We were a little more diligent in searching instead of quitting when no one was there, prayed in faith and believed we'd find the person... and we did!

The other joy of the week was Huang jiemei passing her baptismal interview! It's always SOOO amazing to me to see people change so much over such a short period of time. Sister Ju (I found out I've been spelling it wrong this whole time) and I were so worried for a long time that she would be able to progress that quickly to meet her baptismal goal. She didn't really understand what the significance of what we were teaching and was struggling to keep the commitments we extended. But, as happened before with Lin jiemei (the one with cancer) within a 2 week period she completely changed and Sister Ju and I are completely confident that she is ready to be baptized. Let me tell you, nothing can do that except the power of God. When we reviewed the commandments she understood every one of them and said "Yes, they're true. This is what I should do." When we talked about the baptismal covenant meaning that we love, serve and follow Christ for the rest of our lives she said, "I will never quit." She loves Heavenly Father and is SO happy! Oh, I LOVE seeing how the gospel brings light and life into lives that were previously dull and void of purpose.

Also, we found out that Chen jie mei wasn't able to come to church last week because she was actually really sick legitimately, not because of a hangover, so that's good! The sad thing was that we haven't been able to meet with her all week because she was recovering and then really busy with work/Chinese New Year. But we're still confident that she's going to progress and continue changing her life around. She really is so awesome.

Perhaps the highlight of the week (although so many little miracles could equally count!) was receiving a letter from the Peng Family, the one that Sister Chu (my second companion) and I helped baptize in Dong Hai last February. I had sent them one of the CDs mom sent to give to my recent converts and other members here and they were SO happy to receive it. The part that made me happiest though was that they said they've started the Temple Prep course in their ward and are preparing to be sealed together in March! AHHH! That will be one of the happiest days of my entire mission to be able to go with them to the temple! And just to add a cherry on top, Peng jiemei is pregnant and their baby will be born in the covenant. She was so excited to tell me that, and I could sense the gratitude in her writing for the gospel in their lives. This truly is the greatest work ever, to help families be united eternally. Accompanying this precious, dear family to the temple will be the crowning event and the perfect "ending" to my service here in Taiwan (I say "ending" because I'll still have a few weeks left after that).

So, in summary, this week has been so wonderful. :) Huang jiemei will be getting baptized next week, He jiemei will be baptized in the middle of February, and my precious recent convert family will be sealed in March. I'm so blessed to be a part of it all! My companion and I studied a talk together this morning that I feel really expresses my feelings. Elder Christofferson, in his most recent conference talk about repentance, described how one long winter of pain and suffering can be completely swallowed up in one morning of forgiveness. It's true, the last 14 months’ worth of pain, sorrow, rejection, suffering, depression, discouragement, and tears are completely overshadowed by the miraculous and joyful experiences such as seeing these people change to live and love the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's so true.

Anyway, my time is up, but I love you all so much and I think of you and miss you!! Don't worry, I don't get distracted, but every once in a while I feel tender moments as I remember the precious gift each of you are to me though your love and service. I love each of you so much! Please remember how much I love you even though I'm not there to show and tell you every day! That time will come sooner that we all think.

All my love from across the world,
Sister Morey <3

Monday, January 16, 2012

Miraculous Transformations‏

My dearest family!
This week has been so awesome as we've seen the progression of our investigators! He jiemei (the one who felt the power save her from crashing on her bike with her daughter) had never come to church before we started meeting with her just because she felt bad about drinking tea. This week she shared with us that as she's quit drinking tea for the last 2 weeks some health problems that she didn't know the reason for have completely disappeared. She has felt her trust in Heavenly Father and confidence in life grow. In the closing prayer she said she has felt her faith being strengthened. She attended church for all 3 hours this week! My love for her has been growing so much.  
Our other most progressing investigator is the one I found smoking in the dark alley behind her work. Chen jiemei said she knows the church is true because when she was late to one of our appointments she was tempted to run a red light but felt a prompting not to. She decided to heed that little voice. When she turned her head she saw there were 2 policemen parked right behind her and she was so grateful she listened to that voice. She's been learning to follow the Spirit as she's been making righteous choices. She loves to read the Book of Mormon and believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet. We've been praying as a district (plus the ward mission leader and ward missionaries, too) that she will have the desire to quit smoking and obey the Word of Wisdom herself before we even teach it to her. We were going to teach it to her a few days ago but for some reason we didn't feel it was the right timing. We decided to focus on Joseph Smith and the process of revelation instead and the Spirit was SO strong as we watched The Restoration with her. She said she knew it was true and was willing to set a solid baptismal goal. My eyes were brimming with tears the whole time because I was so happy! We decided to wait a little longer for the Word of Wisdom, and although we didn't know it at the time, it's going to work out so perfectly. We're going to teach it to her tonight. She didn't make it to church yesterday because of a hangover and she was pretty disappointed. Sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways to answer our prayers, but we think this will be the perfect opportunity to teach her and help her make the change. I'm confident that she will readily change her lifestyle. She felt pretty miserable yesterday. I'm also super excited because we're going to throw a surprise birthday party for her. It was just so happened that we planned to meet on her birthday today! We made a vanilla pudding pie with an oreo crust (thanks to all the packages that have been sent over the past few months!) and I'll be happy to help her have a REAL fun birthday party, not a "wicked" fun party where everyone ends up drunk. It's such a blessing to be a part of her miraculous transformation. Each one is a miracle and I feel so blessed for each one Heavenly Father lets me be an instrument in.
We also had the opportunity to participate in a ward activity of cleaning our recent converts' house. It was a miraculous transformation, too! 15 people and a few hours later their home went from trash and junk everywhere to none anywhere (7 HUGE trash bags full) and piles of unwashed unkempt clothes to 3 closets full (one for the dad, one for the sister and one for the 2 older boys) of only what they needed (3 huge bags full left to give away), as well as clean floors, bathroom, and cooking area. It was touching to see all the participants working so hard and with so much love. I kept thinking, "The Spirit cannot abide in a dirty apartment" and "Cleanliness is next to godliness" the whole time. There was a special feeling there as the service was being performed and the Spirit was so much stronger when we left. We plan on bringing a picture of Christ for their "new" home the next time we visit. We'll also help them change some of their habits as we keep visiting. I love being a missionary :)

Sister Zhu and I have also set some goals to be more disciplined both as individuals and as a companionship so we can have more abundance of the Spirit in our work. I've felt a big difference over the past few days as we've made the changes. I've been getting faster at getting ready and have felt less stressed. I've also felt it easier to receive and act on revelation. I'm trying to be the best servant of the Lord I can be and have my mission set the pace for the rest of my life. It's so scary that the end is coming soon. I dread that day when I'm released from full-time service, but I will never stop being a missionary! It's in my blood now :)
I love GangShan. I love our investigators, recent converts and members. I'm eager for their progress. I love doing this work. It's such a blessing. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!! I love you all so much too :)
All my love,
Sister Morey

Monday, January 9, 2012

I LOVE being a missionary!‏

This week has been great! I caught a little cold though. Luckily the On Guard has kept it at bay and it hasn't affected my work at all. It should leave quickly now, and I hope I won't catch anything else! There's something really contageous going around and just about everyone is sick. It's crazy. We're trying to stay healthy though!
This week has also been fun because it was Sister Exchanges, and guess who got to serve with me for a day? Sister Celestine Yeung! Oh my goodness, she is such an incredible missionary and I was so touched by her faith, diligence and testimony. It was fun to catch up as well and get to know each other better since we didn't know much of each other before. And guess what? She's being trained by my MTC companion, Sister DeMordaunt! How fun is that?! Anyway, I just love being a Sister Missionary here because all of the sisters are so incredible and I learn so much from them. I'm so glad I get to have them as friends for the rest of my life!
I had a really funny experience at the beginning of the week that really reminded me especially of dad... his humor :P It was really cold one evening and as the Elders and us were leaving the chapel after correlation meeting my companion and I noticed that one of the Elders was not wearing a coat! He had forgotten to bring one that day but was claiming that he wasn't cold... you know, trying to be tough about it. I was going to call him out on it and say, "Come on, we all know you're cold. You're just trying to be too manly." But I thought, "No, I can't say 'manly' to an Elder..." so in effort to find a more suitable term I said, "You're just trying to be too 'Elder'ly!" Of course I didn't realize immediately that "elderly" actually means old!  The District Leader then said, "Oh, no, we've gotta go. Sister Morey is trying to make punns..." Hahaha :) We all got a big kick out of that one.
This week has been such a blessing as we've been able to meet with some awesome new investigators and really help some progress. Oh my goodness, we have a miracle story for one of them that is always so amazing to me every time I think of it. One day a few weeks ago as we were leaving a recent convert's house we were driving down a little alley and as we passed a gutter between two buildings and out of the corner of my eye I saw a person there. It happened so fast but there was a distinct impression in my mind, "There's a person there. Go talk to them." Turns out there was a little doorway entering into the back of one of the buildings and one of the shop's employees was sitting out taking a smoking break. She was a young girl, in her 20s, and as I started talking to her I found out that she used to go to church when she was little but she hadn't gone in a long time because she's been busy. I also sensed it had been a long time since she had prayed and when I asked her about it she confirmed my impression. I felt a prompting to invite her to start praying again and to invite her to start learning the restored gospel. She readily accepted. She is now one of our most progressing investigators. She loves reading the Book of Mormon and is starting to make arrangements at work so she can attend Sabbath Day meetings. I love her so much! It truly is a miracle.
I've also been learning a lot about the importance of hope. This month's Christlike Attribute for the mission is Hope (see Preach My Gospel). I've enjoyed so much studying and pondering this attribute and have reflected on the role hope has played in my life, particularly on my mission. At one point that's all I could hold on to. I took the time to re-read some of the Priesthood Blessings that have been given me and reflecting on the hope that I have that the promised blessings contained therein will be fulfilled. This motivates me to act in faith. In fact, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how much work I still have left to do before I'm done here and I know I've got to have more faith and diligence, to work in that hope of receiving those promised blessings. It's also been a tender mercy to see that many of the blessings have already been coming to pass in miraculous ways, which feeds my hope, faith and trust even more that all of them will eventually be fulfilled.
Hope has also come to mean more to me as I've seen others live without it. Yesterday we went to visit one of the Elders' recent convert's mom. It was heartbreaking to hear her recount the struggles of her life and that she feels she has nothing to live for except to care for her son. My heart ached for her as I could hear the helplessness and hopelessness in her voice. Sister Zhu and I assured her that she is a precious daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, that she can take her burdens to Him in prayer, and that her life could be healed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and living the principles of the Restored Gospel. She started sobbing during our visit and I set my Book of Mormon down, knelt by her side and put my arm around her to try and comfort her. I told her to not worry because we would be there by her side and would help her. There was so much peace in that room and I was so grateful in that moment to be able to comfort a sister whose soul had been battered and broken by the battle of mortality and assure her that there was hope, healing and help available. When we knelt in prayer, she pleaded with Heavenly Father for peace and help. I know Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers, and when anyone goes to Him in hope and faith willI receive the blessings of peace and comfort that Heavenly Father wants to extend. I know that with all my heart.
Things are going well here in GangShan. I love being a missioanry. I love the Gospel! I'm so glad I get to share this passion with other people. It's brought so much joy as others have accepted it and have changed their lives because of it. My testimony has been strengthened so much.
I love each of you with all my heart :)
Sister Morey

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year, 2012!

Happy New Year!! It was soooo good to talk to each of my family members last week. I loved getting caught up and hearing a few more details that I might not have otherwise known. Sounds like this week has been fun for the family, especially with Varena and Jairon over for New Years. I got to "kwa nian" in my dreams, peacefully sleeping and getting rested for the next day! :P It was actually pretty fun because the ward had a New Year's party Saturday night and right before it ended they turned the clock to 2 minutes before midnight and we all counted down... so I still got to do a countdown, even if it wasn't the real one! Haha, oh it's so fun to be a missionary :D
Ok, so first I have to tell you a little more about Christmas since last weeks letter was so short. Even though it was really crazy going to zuo ying with the other sisters for 2 days, it made Christmas extra exciting. I already told you that I only got to bring some of my presents with me, so I got to open up the rest when I got home. I thought it was crazy that I had chosen the presents exactly right so that the last 2 big ones left were the exercise clothes, which I LOVE :) Thank you thank you! And the straightener is coming in handy :) I still want to know how to use it to curl my hair, if you can find the instructions for that (probably searching "how to curl your hair using a ceramic straightener" would do the trick). I've seen people do it before and it looks really simple, but obviously there's a trick to it cuz I haven't figured it out yet, haha :)
Although it was really fun to get all those presents, the best part for me was giving some away. Since I had some extra hand sanitizers from previous packages I gave them to my previous companions and Sister Bishop and Sister Liston (the senior couple sister in the office) at the Christmas activity. I loved to see their faces. It's also been fun because now I have an abundance of reallygood chocolate to share. The Elders espeically appreciate that! I also gave Sister Chu one of the pairs of fuzzy socks and she loves them! It's fun for both of us to wear our pairs at the same time :) Oh yeah, and those CDs!!! AHHHH!!! I was SOOO happy to get those yesterday and I've already been starting to send them out today. Oh my goodness, what a precious gift both to me and to my recent converts. Thank you SO much. That was so incredibly thoughtful, especially to include my song, and one of the most motivating, comforting talks of a servant of the Lord that so many people need to hear these days. Thank you, thank you.
Last week was also way fun because we got to go to the beach for a little bit. We mostly enjoyed taking fun pictures... which I can't figure out how to upload at this new internet cafe... I'll keep trying to figure it out though! I just LOVE serving with the sisters in this mission! I look up to them all SOOO much and wish I could be even just a fraction of what they are. But then it always surprises me when the other sisters say that about me! I guess we all have strengths that we admire about each other. Which reminds me of yesterday's Relief Society lesson when someone reminded us all not to compare. She said "Some of us are like forks, some like spoons and some like knives. The fork of course can try to scoop the soup but will it ever be as good as the spoon? And maybe the spoon thinks she's not good enough because she can't cut the meat as cleanly like the knife can." Of course all of our weaknesses will eventually be turned into strengths as we become perfected throughout our eternal progression. But in this life we must not compare our weaknesses with other people's strengths. It was a good reminder for me because I tend to do that sometimes... but I forget that other people are looking up to me in different ways. The Lord calls each of us for who we are. He knows our strengths and He will put them to use where they are needed most. He also knows our weaknesses, but He's also accounted for that through the Atonement. It's all about the Atonement. I've been learning more and more of that truth throughout my mission.
You've asked about my companion and her dad's passing. Her mom and dad got divorced when she was little so she hasn't had much opportunity to develop a close relationship with him. He had been sick for about a year previously so when she got the call it wasn't completely unexpected. But still, I will never forget the first thing she said in response to the news: "It's ok because I know the Plan of Salvation." She's really been able to focus a lot, and we've been so blessed this week. It really is true that the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation take the sting out of death, brings consolation and peace. It's been incredible over the past few weeks as I've seen them bear Lin DiXiong up though the passing of his wife. We got to attend her funeral, which was so beautiful. It really reminded me of Grandpa Green's funeral and the feelings that I felt surrounding his death. Sadness, of course, but lots of comfort, peace, hope, and renewed determination to be faithful and reach exhaltation with those I love so much! That's how it's motivated my dear companion and Lin DiXiong. He's even more committed to going to the temple now.
Something President Bishop said in his last letter to us missionaries means a lot to me. He said, "Because Jesus came into the world, everything is different.  We can overcome all of the problems of this world.  Every sickness, every injustice, every problem, every mistake, and every pain, all will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." I've loved sharing that message with people this week.
Well, now for the miracle of the week... we had a baptism!! It was such a miracle because it's the daughter of one of the Elders' investigators and she was always around when they were teaching him but she would never sit and learn when they were there. She's attended church several times with her dad so when the Elders referred her to us as a potential person to be baptized this month it was really a tender mercy. At first she wouldn't really stay focused and talk to us either, but after we leared that she loves to play games, she quickly progressed, she started to love us, and we had a lot of fun teaching her :) We med with her enough to help her learn the basics of the gospel, she passed her interview this week, and got baptized with her dad on Saturday. Xu baba and Xu meimei are so great and really humble. What a miracle!! I really wish I could send you a picture of her!!!
Anyway, my time is up, but I wanted you all to know that I LOVE being a missionary! Don't worry, I'm not letting up just because the time is drawing nearer... although I wish it would stop! We've been working so hard here white-washing gangshan and the Lord has helped us see so many miracles! I know the gospel is true, with all my heart.
I love each of you so much :) Thanks Mom and Dad for your special care and encouraging words of love and support. They mean the world to me.
All my love,
Sister Morey <3