Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jan 27 - Week 25 - Chinese New Year Festival, Li Rui, Seeing Moses Again, Remembering that people we help is reason to be there even on hard weeks

Well since this week was not very eventful I will only go over the one exciting day and then I want to write about some people I have met.
The only day that was eventful was Saturday.  Riverside City held a Chinese New Year festival downtown and President Smart gave us permission to go.  It was a long/really hot day, but we talked to a ton of Chinese people, and got to see some cool stuff.  In the morning there was a parade through downtown.  There were a bunch of dragons, drummers, and firecrackers (really loud.)  It was fun to watch.  Then the rest of the day they had a bunch of tents set up selling Chinese food and souveniers.  I got some green onion pancakes, which sound really weird, but are actually my new favorite.  The place was swarming with people (students and families)  from Mainland China.  It was great to talk to so many of them.  We invited people to meet with us and/or go to English class.  (we need English class students!  On Friday our numbers were down to 3, but on wednesday (our superbowl night) we had about 15)  Lots of people totally rejected us, but we also found out it was a great place to find all of our former investigators who have stopped responding to our texts or calls.  For example we saw Moses! Finally! He was really friendly, and we invited him to come to church.  HE CAME!!!  It made the whole day worth it.  I hope we can pick him back up again. 

Something funny about the festival is that a lot of people decided to come dressed up as their favorite Japanese cartoon character.  In the afternoon there were hundreds of really strangely dressed teenagers.  Elder Clarkson came too and he told me it is called Cos Play.  It reminded me of how you described comic-con.  I thought of Conner when two people dressed as Doctor Who came up behind us and asked us to get a picture with "representatives from the religion of the time-lords"  Is Doctor Who LDS?  All in all it was a good day.
Well now I thought I would just talk about the recent converts we work with.  They are all really cool, and I just want to let you guys know how they are doing.
Li Rui:  Li Rui came to American 2 years ago, just as she was finishing high school.  Her parents both came, but now they are divorced. Her mom lives in Florida, and she lives with her Dad here in Riverside.  She was walking on the street one day and got lost.  She asked the missionaries for directions since they spoke Chinese.  They helped her out and invited her to English class.  She came and the missionaries offered to help practice English with her and teach her more about the gospel.  She accepted.  From what I've heard the missionaries helped her a lot, she was going through a really hard time in her life, her parents were divorced, she had no friends, and could barely speak English.  The missionaries helped her realize she could rely on Jesus Christ.  He will always be there for her and help her.  After some cool experiences with the Book of Mormon that really gave her a strong testimony, she decided to be baptized in April 2013.  Li Rui is awesome!  She helps us so much.  She gives our investigators rides to chruch every week and helps us teach lessons all the time. She has recently enrolled in BYU-Idaho online pathway program, next year she will be able to transfer up there.  She just got a job at DI this month and next month she is moving into a member's house.  She is also teaching our Chinese gospel principles class at church.  She has a really strong testimony, the gospel has really helped her change her life. I love talking about this because this is the reason why I want to be out here.  To help people like Li Rui (pronounced LEE RAY) know that we have a Father in Heaven who has prepared a way for us to have peace in this life, and eternal happiness in the world to come. To help people know that through Jesus Christ and his atonement we can overcome our mistakes that we all make, that we can learn and grow without being cut off forever from God.  So even when weeks are hard I think about Li Rui and all the other people (looks like I only have time for one this week) that I have been called to serve.
I Love you all so much.
-Elder Murray

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