Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dexter is Coming Home This Tuesday!!! Come visit with him!!

Dexter gets home this Tuesday.  Please feel free to come by our house for a visit anytime after 1:30 pm.  We will have ice cream.  Call my phone (801-755-2671) if you need our address.

The joint Homecoming/Farewell is Sunday July 19 at 1:00 pm at 261 East Center Street in North Salt Lake.  We are so excited to hear from Dexter coming home and Parker heading out to Korea.

July 6 Week 100 - Bike in Box, End of Mission Finish Strong, Sister Huang, Ryan and Selina, Who have you Become? (not report card), 4th of July Going Away Potluck Party and Miao's Friends from Provo, LI Rui at Church

Well this week has been just another week. I don't even feel like I am going home yet. It doesn't feel real. Sort of just like how I felt before coming to the MTC. It is such a big change that I can't even imagine what it will be like. So I am just enjoying the time here, while I can, and trying not to think too much about going home. My bike is in a box, and I am going to send it using bike flights in just a bit.  So coming to the end of my mission has brought some stressful stuff too. Everyone has made a huge deal about finishing strong. So I am really trying not to slack on anything, because lots of missionaries going home here, get sort of lazy. I do pretty good but it is a balance.  Ok this week was we had a lesson with Sister Huang. She will get baptized as soon as her husband gets back. So we are fasting that they pass their interview this next week for their visas to come here. At night we saw Ryan and Selina where we talked very long.  We also went to the DMV with Tony out of the mission. He passed his test! We are having great numbers for English class right now! The Liangs are coming and they really enjoy it. They are such a solid family. I am glad they moved into our ward. Thursday we had Mission Leadership Council with President Mullen. It was a good meeting. I really was touched by a quote from a talk. It said that final judgement will not be like a report card, where you add up all the good, and all the bad, and if the good is more you go to celestial kingdom, and if the bad is more then you don't. He said it is not what you have done, but what you have become. I thought it was really meant for me here. As I have been closing my mission, I have been thinking about if the Lord is pleased with how I did. I was counting all the good, and bad I had done. The quote made me realize that isn't what I should be looking at. I should be looking at who I am now. I think I have become better than I was. If anything, I at least feel like I am on the path to become who Christ needs me to be. I am grateful President Mullen shared that. 4th of July we had a potluck/going away party with the Chinese members. It was really delicious and fun. I love all the people here. The Miao introduced me to their friends that live in Provo, and attend the Chinese ward. They invited me to come visit and join their activities, so I will do that. Li Rui came to church yesterday for the first time in a long while. Glad she was back.  I hope that we can get her to come back to activity, she was so solid. Ok that is all. I love you guys a ton can't wait to see you! -Elder Murray

June 29 Week 99 - Tony and Tina Priesthood Lesson and Baptism, Ryan and Selina, Jiangs and Xiong Dinner, Eastvale Fair Contacting and Fireworks, Final Meals

This week was way too fast, I can't believe it is already p-day again. Things are going pretty good down here in Eastvale, CA. It is hot, but not unbearable. That is fun that you met Amy (recent convert from his mission visiting Provo) for dinner. Thanks for doing that, sounds like she met Elder Dyer's Sister for dinner one night too. She should be getting her patriarchal blessing this weekend right before she heads back to China. I hope in the future you get to meet more of the people I have spent the last two years with! I talk about you a lot with them. I wouldn't be doing all that I am in my life, if my biggest goal in life wasn't to be with you all forever! Can't wait to see you soon! :)

Well this week on Tuesday we had exchanges with the AP's. I was with Elder Andersen. He is a good missionary. He is younger than me mission wise, but he is 24 years old. We had a lesson with Tony and Tina about the priesthood, Tony is excited to receive it and serve others. We then had a lesson with Ryan (the recent convert) and Selina (his wife.) We invited her to be baptized again. She said maybe, but we'll see. She needs to read and pray. At night we had dinner with the Jiangs and the Xiongs; they have become good friends. Sister Xiong rescheduled her baptism for July 11th. I hope it happens, that would be a cool miracle. I am praying for it, but if it doesn't happen I am not stressed. She will get baptized when she is ready. Wednesday I was back with Elder Dyer we saw Louis in University Heights. He is doing well, he is going back to China in August. He will get in touch with the church when he gets there, I just barely sent him the Church in China's contact info. That night we had a good English class. I am excited to be done with those for a while. It is tiring. Thursday we saw Tony and Tina again. They moved to Fontana, which is a poorer area about 20 minutes from here. They are struggling to adjust. Keep them in your prayers. At night we had correlation wtih Brother Miao. It is always fun to go his house for meetings, because they always give us good snacks. All the members are signing up to feed us and on weekend we will have a big party with everyone to send me off. I am excited, but also super sad. I have been spending language study writing cards to everyone. I wanted to ask if we know what phone number I will have when I get back, and I wanted to ask parker to help me make a wechat (Chinese facebook) account so I can stay in touch with everyone. It is hard to leave here, but I am planning to keep in contact with everyone. Friday I was on exchanges again. We had a lesson with Shell and her friend Hank. Shell commented on how good a teacher I had become. We also contacted a referral that Sister Jiang gave us. Her name is mao yin yin. They are so golden. It was crazy. They came to church yesterday and when they were asked to introduce, they basically bore testimony of how good they felt here. They are probably going to get baptized. I invited that day, but she said she needed to feel it in her heart. I think she has felt it now, so next lesson we will try again for a date. :) Saturday We had Tony's baptism!! He was 20 minutes late which was stressful, but it was all good in the end. In the afternoon we saw the An family. They were nice, but he really doesn't want to change his ways with tea. He does want to donate money though, he is very well off, and has a custom built cell phone. They are feeding us lunch this week too. These next two weeks, I will probably eat nothing but Chinese. At night we went contacting at this big fair thing that Eastvale puts on. We talked to a lot of people and lots of members saw us and thanked us for coming representing the church even during the supreme court decision. To be honest no one even talked to us about that, but the members were glad to see us. We were trying to get out, when we ran into the Liang family. They were happy to see us there too. They are so solid and awesome. They came to Tony's baptism that day. Well by then it was 9:00 already and the firework show started. We ran back to the car and we got in at 9:34 really sweaty.  Sunday we had a good day at church. President Mullen came, and met some Chinese members. We had a good night of contacting people in the streets at dusk. The weather is perfect at that time, and their are great sunsets. I will miss that about CA. Ok I love you all. Thanks for the money. I will buy a suitcase today! Love you! -Elder Murray

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22 Week 98 - "Mom Loves Me and Knows How much it Hurts" - So does our Savior; LIang, Deng, Xiongs, Ryan and Selina, David, Ans, Luo Yan and Melissa, Liu Yue and Evelyn, Tony and Tina - Tony Baptism is Saturday

Well this week seems like it went by so fast. I agree  - I wish that this group was together more than one transfer. It is fun. This week we had interviews with President on Tuesday. Mine was literally just 5 minutes since I just had my outgoing last week. That day we had lunch with the Liang family that just got baptized. They made homemade noodles that were so good. We had a good lesson with them after. Sister Liang still has a lot of questions, but was comforted by the fact that we all have questions and things we don't understand. At night we saw the Deng family. Sister Deng still is just too busy to listen. It is a bummer. We ate dinner with the Xiongs. It was delicious. Sister Xiong should be getting baptized this weekend! Keep her in your prayers. She is still a little unsure. Then we saw Ryan and Selina. We ended up having a good lesson with them. Wednesday we had our DDM meetings then we went to eat lunch with a RC named David. It was nice to see him before he left for China. He went to church over there yesterday. Then we met a new family named the An's. They are interested, but are really into drinking high end tea. At night we helped a Luo Yuan and Melissa enroll their kid in kindergarten. Thursday we went to the temple! At night we saw Liu Yue and Evelyn. They had us over for a Chinese style BBQ. It was really good. Then we met with Tony and Tina at the Jiangs. Everything is going good with them. Tony is getting baptized this Saturday. We committed them to getting married in the temple and they said yes! They are so awesome! Friday I was on exchanges with the Eastvale 2nd Elders. We biked in the Sun all day, and got in no lessons. It was a really hard day, but I felt good. We tried our best and talked with everyone we saw. I wasn't disappointed. The Lord always blesses you when you try. Saturday we went on splits. I went and saw a really not solid investigator named Jasmine. She isn't really that interested. Elder Dyer saw the Liangs with another Elder. Sunday we had lots of people show up to church. We are having a lot of good success at the parks at night now that it is summer. All the Chinese families are coming out. It is a fun time to be a missionary in Eastvale. Yesterday was also the Dragon Boat Festival so Elder Zeng made us a really good meal. I love this dish called Liang Mian. It is spicy cold noodles. So good. I think Conner might like it.  Ok that is pretty much all from this week! I am really just enjoying this last few weeks. Everyone is inviting us for dinner to say goodbye. The Chinese members have been especially nice saying that they will miss my translations in church, and that I should marry a Chinese wife and come back to help them get a branch out here. I love it here, but I am ready to come home. Last night at dinner. We were talking with the family about charitable acts that others had done for them. The youngest son talked about how his mom had stayed up with him a good part of the night because he had cramps from swimming. We asked him why his mom would do that, to try to help he see the kind of love that Christ has for us. His response was. "Because she really loves me, and know how much it hurts." I really felt the spirit. We testified that Christ is the same way. He really loves us, and because of the Atonement he knows exactly how much everything hurts. So he is the there to perfectly comfort and succor us. I understand that scripture in Alma 7 more than I did before! I love you all see you soon! -Elder Murray

June 15 Week 97 - Soccer with Tony; Yoyo and George; Visiting Qiu's at right moment before he went back to Taiwan, Exit Interview, Hannah, Sichuan Food, Ryan and Selina

YAY!! Thank you so much for getting my classes all figured out!  You guys are awesome! I am super excited-  it should be a fun time.  I am trying not to get too bummed about my mission ending because I have a lot of fun stuff to look forward to.  Life is all good.  

I want to finish my mission strong, and be obedient like I have tried to do my whole mission.  President has made a huge deal about not "dying" (slacking) before your mission is over.  

Ok so this week we had a great meeting with Elder and Sister Nelsen of the Seventy who just so happens to be in our stake.  They gave some great training.  I really enjoyed them.  They talked some about the enabling  power of the atonement, and we read a talk Dad sent to me at the beginning of my mission.  We talked about getting along with companions, and the safe use of technology.  It was really a good day.  I felt uplifted.  After the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders had a meeting with him.   It was good. 

Wednesday was pretty regular.  We met with Tony.  He is doing great!  He played soccer with us today, and he participated a lot in gospel principles yesterday.  At English class that night we met a cool new couple named Yoyo and George.  They are very nice, and said maybe to baptism as they learn more.  

Thursday we saw Liu Yue.  Evelyn is really pregnant, and Liu Yue is working in a restaurant.  They are doing ok, but aren't making church a priority which is sad.  They said after they have the baby, they will come, but I am worried about them.  Please keep them in your prayers.  At night we had a cool experience.  We did a split and during the split all my appointments fells through, so we went to see the Qiu's.  Sister Qiu lives here with her non-member husband.  He dad was living here, and he was one of the first members baptized in Taiwan.  He got a medal when from the church at the 50th anniversary of the church in Taiwan.  He is really old, and had, mild dementia.  Well turns out we should up the night before he left to go to an old folks home in Taiwan.  Sister Qiu couldn't take care of him anymore, and was really sad.  She was really touched we came, and said that the spirit had told us to come.  It always feels so good when the Lord puts you in the right place at the right time to do what he would do.  So we said goodbye to Brother Qiu and wished him a safe trip,  and said a prayer with them.  It was a very special experience.  

Friday we had a busy day.  I also had my exit interview with President Mullen.  It was fine, nothing crazy.  We talked about accounting, he told me he highly recommends looking about BYU's masters program for accounting, and keeping my Chinese up so I can work in Hong Kong or Taiwan for one of the big 4 companies, which I hadn't even heard of.  He also said I need to start dating immediately...   

Saturday we got another new investigator named Hannah.  She has had lots of encounters with the church before.  She is really nice, and interested in the church.  However, not sure about baptism yet.  At night we had a great dinner, of Sichuan food.  It is so spicy, but so good.  I don't want to eat it because it burns my mouth, but it tastes so amazing, I just keep eating it.  Love hate relationship. At night we went to see Ryan and Selina.

Sunday the Liangs came to church.  It was really fun to have them there, and meet the members and get confirmed.  They are a great addition to the ward!  

Ok so there is a recent convert from UCR that is going to Salt Lake.  Her name is ZiJin.  I gave her your guy's number, just in case she had any problems.  If you and her schedules work out you could meet up.  She is really nice, and is thinking about going to BYU, that is why she is going to Utah, to check out the campus.    Her English is really good.  

I love  you guys! See you in a month
-Elder Murray

June 8 Week 96 - Back with Dyer, Ryan Baptism, Liang Baptism, Cool Miracles this week, Liang Baptism, Shelly is RS Secretary

This week has been pretty amazing, but also a little stressful.  I love being with Elder Dyer.  One of my favorite companions.    It has been a fun week with a lot of miracles.  

On Monday after emailing I went with Elder Dyer and Zeng to send Elder Schoonmaker off.  He was really excited, and all the students there were really bummed to see him go. 

The next day after we helped two investigators get fingerprinted for their green cards.  

It was fun to work with the UCR students.  They are all new to me.  They have a good group of new members there.  They are all fun, and are also good friends.  At night we saw Ryan and Selina.  Elder Merriman talked to them one of our day's on bike months ago.  Ryan finally decided to get baptized this Saturday!  Selina is still Buddhist, but I believe one day she'll come around.  

On Wednesday we went out to do finding, and the first person we talked to turned out to be a Chinese person.  She invited us to sit down.  Then she just started attacking the church.  I could see it wasn't really going anywhere, and tried to end it.    At night we had English class.  There is this girl there named Cola who was on date but then dropped us because of coffee and tea, and communist parents.

Thursday we had to take our car in to get fixed.  We taught a girl at the institute named Aggie and put her on date.  She isn't solid though.  We had a correlation meeting with Brother Miao.  I love their family.  I am going to miss them.  At night we say the Liang family.  I think I talked about them when I went on exchanges with Elder Zeng last week.  They were having a rough day.  "Luckily" that day I had put a Chinese Ensign in my bag for some reason, and it had an article that we shared, that I think really helped them.  They told us that they were planning on getting baptized that Sunday in Rolland Heights, since they were taught/had been attending there.  So Elder Dyer called President and he called their President and they said that the Liangs could get baptized there, but they needed to be confirmed here.  So that means the baptisms counted for our mission... President was pretty excited for us.  He even gave us permission to go see the baptism.

Friday we had ZDM.  It went off pretty well.  It is fun to have Sister Sterner in the Zone.  She is a great missionary!    We did our weekly planning that night.  We also ate at Sister Zhangs.  She made some really good Taiwanese food.  I was in heaven.  

Saturday we had Ryan's baptism.  It was really good.  Ryan bore testimony about how he wanted his kid to grow up in a church environment, and how he felt different in our church then he had in any other.  It was a well attended baptism too.  

Sunday at church we had a miracle.  This guy just showed up, he moved from  Maine and his friend told him to come to church.  He came and was asking how he could get baptized.  I have been overwhelmed with all the cool little miracles that have come this week.  

We went to the baptism with Bishop L and Brother X.  Bishop L told us about his wife.  He basically single-handedly started the coconut water craze.  He went on his mission to Brazil, and is a runner.  He later went to MBA school, and did a study abroad in Brazil.  He made a business plan, and started working with an already existing company is Brazil to get it started.  It took off.  He lives really normal though.  He drives a Toyota from 2002.  He said he doesn't need to work, but feels that his kids need to see Dad go to work everyday.  It was cool to hear his testimony about how the Lord has blessed him, as he is always trying to do his best.  He is a great bishop.  

The baptism was great.  They were happy to see us there.  They both gave great testimonies, and expressed gratitude for being led to the church in the US.  They were really impressed with the part in the Book of Mormon that said that all those that come to America are led by the had of God.  After we translated bishops welcome to the ward for them.  Then I saw Shelly from UCR.  She has moved to that ward, and has been active there ever since.  It was fun to see her.  She was really excited.  She is doing great as the Relief Society Secretary!  It was really cool to see the area.  All the signs were in Chinese everything.  The banks the hospital, even the church had one!  It was really fun to see!

Ok that is all this week.  I am really just enjoying this last part of the mission and trying to run hard to keep up with all the work the Lord is blessing us with!  I love you all!
-Elder Murray

June 1 Week 95 - Transfers back to Chinese to be Zone leader with Elder Dyer; DJ; 3 Woods Cross Missionaries in same Eastvale ward; Getting back out after disappointment blesses single mom with broken car

Big news of the week!!  Transfers.  This one threw me for a loop.  I am still a Zone Leader... but not with Elder Muir.  I am with Elder Dyer.  I get to go back Chinese for my last transfer!!!  We are all 4 living in one apartment, and Merriman and Zeng will be together.    It should be a good transfer.  Hopefully we will see Sister Xiong baptized, and many others.  I am excited to work with the Zone and Elder Dyer again.  Lots to keep me busy and focused.  
Well this week was full of a lot of challenges.  So DJ almost said he didn't even want to meet anymore, we barely convinced him to keep meeting with missionaries to learn and come closer to Christ even if his Mom won't let him get baptized right now.  So hopefully the next missionaries will work well with him. 
Oh I just though of some other news.  Sister Sterner is coming back here to be in the same ward and the same zone as me.  She will be an STL with Sister Cozzens.  It is too weird how things work out.  3 Woods Cross missionaries in the same ward in Eastvale, CA. 
This week we also had a nice meeting with President and Sister Mullen and all the leaders in the mission.  We got lots of good trainings.  I am really excited to try to help our zone do the best that they can!!   We have a great Zone and should do well these next few months.  I think the ideas President had were really inspired and will help a lot with problems the mission has.  I am so grateful for my patriarchal blessing.  It helps me to strive my very best to see all the good, and learn all I can from President Mullen.  If I didn't have that I might not have tried to learn or admire him as much as I do now. 
 In other news Lucy had to move in with her mom, who is against her taking the lessons, so she dropped us.  It was really sad.  I suggested that we go park in a neighborhood, and just walk and talk to people to get over our sadness.  (I have found that just getting out and doing stuff is the best way to get over sadness, it forces me to focus on something else, and smile)  Well as we got out I talked to this lady who turned out to be a single mom member.  Her car was broken and she needed help pushing it.  So we helped her push it a few blocks back to her house.  The family was really grateful and said we were sent by God.  I think we were.  It was a good reminder that getting out and doing service also helps us cope with hard times.  Cool little experience. 
Alright so that is pretty much all the news I can think of this week.  It was full of lots of walking around in the heat, avoiding angry dogs. 
Last night I went out with a team up, (it was the guy that invited DJ over for lessons)  he told me I was an amazing missionary, and that my future was going to be really bright.  I felt really good after. I always struggle giving compliments to others, sometimes it just is awkward, but I should do it more, because it really makes others feel good. 
Alright love you guys see you in just a bit!!!
-Elder Murray