Monday, February 24, 2014

Feb 24 Week 29 - Elder Heaton will be NEW Companion! Shell Baptism anticipated for Mar 9, ABC Christopher, Dave back looking for job, BinBin tries to give back Book of Mormon,

Well this week has been really good.  I have been eating WAY too much candy from my birthday gifts, but other than that everything is going really well.   Shell is on date and keeping her commitments and we have a good teaching pool.  Saturday was transfer calls and we got some big news.  I will keep you in suspense until the end to tell you what is going on today.
Tuesday after e-mailing with you guys we went to teach an investigator that we recently picked up named Christopher.  He saw us on the street one night and came and talked to us.  He is an ABC American Born Chinese, but he read our Chinese name tags and decided to talk to us.  He had us come over to his apartment and teach him.  He is already a Christian and was interested in learning more.  Our Zone Leaders told us to still work with him, even though he speaks perfect English.  He is nice and is keeping commitments. He is a senior in college and an engineering student, but the member that we took with us thinks he might have autism.   He is doing well so far. He agreed to be baptized but isn't coming to church because he is really busy, which is a pretty common problem here with all the students we teach.
Wednesday Dave came back!  We walked into the institute and he was just there.  He had been waiting for us to come.  He is applying for Spring Semester at UCR and is hoping to stay till June, but is struggling to find a job, because his family can't support him.  He is still reading and praying, but he missed church again this weekend.  It is really frustrating, he always comes up with an excuse Saturday night.  Wednesday night we met with Sunny and Yudi, a daughter and mother that come to English class and who have come to church the past three weeks.  The mom told me they had been doing research and found out that if they joined the church she would loose her job and her daughter would recieve a lot of pressure to leave from all her teachers.  The communist party is really frustrating.  I don't know what to do.  I guess it is one of those things I can't control.  We are still trying to teach them to help build their faith, but I don't know if they are interested.
Thursday we went to free lunch at the institute then weekly planning.  Then we went to meet with a new investigator that we had named Bin Bin.  She said that she no longer wanted to meet and tried to return the Book of Mormon we had given her; Elder Schoonmaker made her keep it.  Anyway, we think it was her roommates who are already Christian that maybe gave her some Anti-info.  Whatever happened it was sad to see her go.  At night we met with Shell.  She is commited to keep the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and Tithing.  The only thing she needs to do now is come to church two more times.  She is on date for the 9th of March.
Friday we met with a potential and she brought this cool scroll that she uses to practice caligraphy on with water instead of ink.  She let us try it out.  It was pretty fun.  After we tried to share the gospel with her, she told us she wasn't interested, so we put her in our list of not very interested potentials. It is a big list...  Friday I also ate my first Kumkwat?  I don't know how to spell it.  It is an orange the size of a grape and you eat it with the peel and all.  It was really good.  I tried to find some at the store today, but no luck.
Saturday....We met with some potentials and then gave English class cards to all the Chinese businesses around the campus.  Most of them were really nice and allowed us to leave them in a little card holder, we also hung up some more signs.  I hope we get some more people to come.  It is doing ok, but we need to get some more students.  At night we got in contact with Liu!!!  His phone started working again!  He met with us.  He is really busy and says he has no time to come to church.  He is also struggling to give up coffee.  We need to get him on date, but it is hard.  He says he really doesn't want to be pushed. 

TRANSFER CALL... I am staying here with Elder Heaton and Elder Schoonmaker is going to
Eastvale with Yeung and Clarkson. I am pretty excited. I hear Heaton is really a good missionary, and his Chinese is super good.  So I hope I can learn a lot from him.
Elder Clarkson (Dexter's MTC companion), Elder Heaton (Dexter's New Companion who was previously
 serving in Taiwan before coming to CA Riverside Mission), Elder Yeung (who goes home in Aug)

Sunday was good.  All our investigators left right after sacrament though so our Chinese gospel principles class was small.   Elder Schoonmaker and I tried to answer Li Rui and Shelly's questions about the Abrahamic Covenant in chinese... that was interesting.  At night, Simon texted us and dropped us too.  Getting dropped is really hard. 
Ok that is my week!  I hope you guys had a good one. ILY
Love, Elder Murray

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feb 18 Week 28 - Fastest Week of Mission, Shell meets Shelly, Thanks for Birthday Packages, Exchange with Spanish DL, Eastvale Chinese New Year Party

This week was the fastest of my mission.  We did a lot of things besides our regular routine, so it was nice to have a change of pace this week.  Tuesday was a pretty normal day.  At night we taught our best investigator named Shell.  She is willing to be baptized, we have her on date for the 16th.  She came to church this past Sunday and she got a chance to talk with Shelly about her baptism, so that was really cool.  Keep her in your prayers. 
Wednesday I went on exchanges with my district leader.  His name is Elder Jensen.  He is a Spanish speaking Elder. They cover a huge area, but they don't have a car so they have bus passes.  It was sort of fun to ride on the bus, except at night.  That was sort of weird.  We had a good day in "Spanish Land."  I wasn't much help in lessons.  He serves in one of the poorest areas of Riverside.  It was interesting to see a different side of town besides just the college campus.  Just a few blocks away, it is really poor.  For dinner he took me to an authentic mexican place, and we got some good Horchata. 
Thursday was also pretty normal day.  We did our weekly planning.  Elder Schoonmaker bought a new binder for our area book.  It is pink and has a picture of a pug wearing a sweater.  He named it our P.U.G. binder Progressing Under God.  I'm just rolling with it. 
Friday I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  They did it because Elder Schoonmaker and I are hitting the "standard of excellence" every week.  We get about 5 people to church on average, and we get a ton of lessons, but we don't have people getting baptized. So they took us out on exchanges.  They told me I need to be bolder.  So that is what I am working on.  We are now pushing to get every investigator on date, no matter what their excuses are, and I have been inviting everyone I talk to, to get baptized.  It is sort of weird but they said it will help me just get in the habit of being bold and not beating arround the bush.
Saturday!  19 years old!  Thank you for the package!  It was awesome.  All the elders appreciated the cupcake things, I love Fletcher's sign, hearing your guy's voices was great!  except you all sound really tired.  Did you do it in the morning?  Saturday night we went to Eastvale for a Chinese New Year party at the ward in Eastvale.  We had a bunch of investigators show up.  Including Moses!  It was really cool.  They served some pretty decent Chinese food; there were those dragon dancers, and a pretty funny program. It was a good time, and a good chance for our investigators to come meet the Chinese members in Eastvale.  Moses had a good chat with Brother Jiang, (Elder Snyder's recent convert)

Sunday  Moses came to church and we met with him after sacrament.  He knows he needs to get baptized but he can't because as a member of the Communist party he has to say he isn't religous.  He said that in June he thinks they will kick him out because he hasn't been paying the fee.  We tried to see if there was any way he could get out sooner,but he is afraid that if he quits he will get fired from his job. It is a tough situation.
Yesterday, we had a short P-day since we went to the temple  today.  So tell Grandma Cahoon, and Emilie that I will write them next week, I ran out of time.  Tell them sorry.  Ok that is my week life is good.

ILY-Elder Murray

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10 - Week 27 Good week! Dave extends US stay, Shell accepts baptism invite, Jenny Has Concerns, Girl Scout cookies, LiRui moves into Member home, Explaining Relationship of Women and Priesthood in Chinese, Last letter as 18 year old

Good week this week!  Thank you for all the fasting and prayers it really helped.  I'm realizing I just have to take it one day at a time.  If I think about the 18 months I have left, I get stressed out.  So I just focus on what I need to do now, and I am able to get through days and weeks ok.
Monday we met with our recent convert Dave.  We were trying to help him get in contact with the head guy in China that is over the church.  We got an e-mail reply and he gave a phone number to call, but when we met with Dave it was still early in the morning over there.  Well Dave was supposed to go back to China today, but he extended again on a student visa and has gone to Santa Barbara.  He says he will come back this weekend and say hi.  I hope he does. 
Tuesday we had our DDM district development meeting.  That was pretty good.  I always leave excited and ready to go teach people what we just practiced.  That day we met with a guy named Clark.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and he seemed interested, but not really wanting to investigate the Church.  That night we met with Shell (the buddhist girl). We invited her to be baptized and she said yes, but said she needed some time to learn more.  We got her on date for March 2nd!
Wednesday we couldn't find anyone to meet, so I spent 1 hour calling every unknown person in our phone.  There are a lot of contacts in our phone, and a lot of them were put in before we got here, and they have no teaching record.  So I called them, and made a big list of notes on all of them.  It was good to get done, but I don't know if it was an effective use of time since there weren't any really find any solid potentials.  After that we went out and hung up English class signs and met a white lady that spoke Chinese selling girl scout cookies with her daughter.  We talked to her in Chinese for a bit, and she told us about lots of programs that send American students to China to look up when we get home.  We also bought a box of Samoas.  At night we met with a girl named Jenny,  She didn't want to be baptized anymore because of her parents.  She was worried about what they might think.  We tried to help her resolve that concern, she believes in Heavenly Father and we helped her recognize that she has felt the spirit.  So we told her to pray and ask what Heavenly Father wants her to do.  We are meeting with her again on Friday to follow up (that was the earliest she could meet again)
Thursday it rained!  It hasn't rained here in a long time.  I finally got to wear the rain jacket you sent for Christmas!  It was perfect...thank you!  On thursday we weekly planned.  We taught Shell again, for dinner we tried a new Chinese place.  It was pretty bad, but Elder Schoonmaker and I had a nice break together.  
Friday:  We met with a girl whose name I found in our phone a few weeks earlier.  We invited her to be baptized.  She started crying and said she did not know if she could trust God.  She said that she really wanted to, but that she didn't know if she could.  Well what ended up happening is that our member that came with us totally freaked out and talked to her straight about 15 minutes trying to comfort her.  Which was nice but he didn't give us a chance to talk to her or ask more questions then she had to leave really fast to get to class.  So that was a bummer.  I hope we will see her again.
Saturday:  We helped Li Rui move into a member's house.  It was a really short move.  Her bed was easy. It is just a piece of plywood with four 4X4 as legs.  She said that she really doesn't like mattresses; she just lays on that with a thin little mat on it.  She said a lot of chinese people sleep like this.  It doesn't look very comfortable. 
(This is a picture of Li Rui and Dexter and Schoonmaker.)

Saturday night we met with that kid named Leo or Liu.  He is really cool.  He said that he hasn't felt anything as he has been praying everyday.  Well Elder Schoonmaker talked to him about how he feels the spirit and Li Rui shared an experience about how the Holy Ghost helped her know where to find her car after she got in an accident.  It was a cool lesson.  Then he said talked about how he felt peace when he went to temple square.  I told him that was the spirit.  He agreed to come to church the next day, because that feeling of peace is what he wants more of.
Sunday we had Liu, and four others come to church!!  Two of them were a mother and daughter (Sunny and Yudi) from English class.  It was a really good sacrament meeting.  Afterwards we had our Chinese gospel principles class.  The class was on the priesthood,  Then mom (Sunny) asked about why women couldn't have the priesthood.  Shelly was teaching and asked me to explain.  It was hard to figure out how to say it all in Chinese, but I think I got my meaning across.  That class is hard.  It is all in Chinese and the students always bring up crazy questions.
Ok well that is my week. This is the last letter you will get from me as an 18 year old!  I love you guys.  Brothers thank you so much for your letters sorry I haven't had time to respond.  I will try when we get home.  Oh today I ate a ghost chili that a spanish Elder gave me.  It was dried so it wasn't as hot, but it was still pretty bad.  Alright that is all!  Happy Valenitines Day.
-Elder Murray

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Feb 3 - Week 26 Liu and Word of Wisdom, Running into less Active Senior, Dave leaves on 10th, Taiwanese Starting Chinese Church warning people away from missionaries

Not really much to report.  It felt like a really unproductive and uneventful week.  Monday we taught Liu (the super cool guy I talked to on the street).  He asked about the word of wisdom so we taught it.  He hasn't been able to meet with us since.  I really hope we don't have to drop him, but we might.
Tuesday we has a lot of time to fill.  We got some new English class signs printed off and went to hang some up at a park.  At the park we saw a Chinese guy shooting hoops by himself so we went to shoot and talk with him.  He wasn't interested.  We met with Dave, he extended his stay in America till the 10th so we still have him for a while.
Wednesday we had a bunch of people cancel, so we went out to talk to people, and we found a less active Chinese kid.  He was born in China, and he and his family immigrated here where they met the missionaries.  He joined the church when he was young, but recently he has stopped coming.  We have tried to meet with him before but  he hasn't had time, so it was cool to just run into him as he was walking home from school.  We went to his house and talked.  He is really cool.   He is only 16 but is a senior; he is hoping to go to Berkley next year.  We talked to him about a mission, he said he isn't sure.  We invited him to church and he said yes.  Then Sunday came and he actually showed up!  Sweet!!
Thursday:  Weekly planning day.  Not very fun, but it is important.  At night we met with a potential to  practice English.   When we started to try to teach her the gospel she told us she is devote buddhist which is rare to find.  She said she is still interested in learning more, so we will see.
Friday we had ZDM.  It was good, but went a little long.  Afterwards we all went to... IN' N OUT.  It was my first time in my mission.  It was good. Friday was also the Spring Festival.  No one came to English class that was Chinese.  We had two Mexicans and one Indian guy.  So that was a bummer.  On Friday we also met with a girl named Christy that I found in our phone.  She has good potential.  Her uncle lives in Arcadia and he has talked with the Chinese missionaries there and even took Christy to church with him there.  She really liked it, and at the end of our lesson she said. "I think God is directing my path." 
Saturday More cancelled lessons.  So we went to these apartments really close to campus and knocked on all the doors that had Chinese New Years decorations.  It is cool because to scare away the new years monster they put red paper with symbols on the sides of their doors and they place an upside symbol on the middle of the door to bring good luck.  So we
knocked on all the doors that had that, and we talked to a bunch of people.  The problem was is that there is a...
Ok we have to go early I just found out so I will have to cut this short.  Can you send me mom's letter?
ily Elder Murray

"A few minutes later he told us he was able to stay on longer on the email.  We asked him about the problem above.  He emailed "there is a Taiwanese guy that has started a Chinese church up there, and it sounds like he is warning them about us, because they all said stuff like... why do we need more Bible."