Monday, March 31, 2014

Mar 31 - Week 34 Getting Hot, New Semester, Ward Member Chinese Neighbors, Wangs, Giovanni, Busy Lu, Avocado Smoothie, Justin In China until August, Prayer with English Class Couple and Baby Dodo

Hello Family!  This week it has started to get even hotter.  I am starting to get funny missionary tan lines where the collar of my shirt and watch are.  Even though this week was Spring break we were still able to get a lot of work done and we actually still got 20 lessons... just barely!

Tues was awesome because we had an old lady in our ward call and ask us to come over with her to give a Book of Mormon to her Chinese neighbors.  It turned out to be really good and they agreed to let us come back and teach them.  Tuesday night Elder Heaton made me some Taiwanese food that was really good.  I am jealous of Parker this summer, he is going to eat some good stuff.

Wednesday I went on exchanges with my District leader Elder Jensen.  It was a pretty slow day, but we walked around and got a lot of people's numbers and invited a lot of people  to English class.  It is amazing how many Chinese there are here.  At night we had fifteen people at English class!  It was awesome.  I hope it gets even better as we start the new semester.

Thursday we met with the family from Tuesday.  It went ok.  The wife seems more interested than the husband does.  This weekend they went out of town so we haven't gotten a return appointment yet.  Thursday night we also met with the Wangs.  The mom and daughter that we found.  We had a really good lesson with them and got them set for church... but they missed it for the third week in a row... bummer.

Friday we got a new English class sign, it looks pretty professional!  I am excited to put it out this week.  We also got a new investigator named Giovanni; he just came here a month ago.  He is already some type of Christian in China.  He accepted a Book of Mormon, but I can't tell if he is really interested in the gospel or just wants to learn more about the church.  At night we went out to eat at a new Chinese place.  I got an avocado smoothie that actually was pretty good.

Saturday was a busy day we met with a potential named Lu, but said that he is too busy right now to investigate the church; that seems to be a common excuse.  We met with a few other people including a kid that we just picked up last week.  His name is Justin.  He met with us everyday this week.  He is really interested in the gospel, and he has recognized that he felt the sprirt, but he went home to China today and will be back in August.  

Sunday was really good.  Church was awesome as always.  At night we were at 19 lessons and we needed one more to hit the mission standard of excellence.  We called a bunch of people got reject twice at people's doors, but after an hour of scrambling around a family from English class let us in.  They are a really young couple with a 10 month old baby named Dodo.  They were really nice, we taught about prayer and help them say one together.  It was a neat experience.  

Ok that is all for this week..  I love you all.  Tell Amy I love her and am praying for her.  Keep on keeping on! 
-Elder Murray

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mar 24 - Week 33 Awesome Dave Email, Yvette and Justin, Henry - Shell's Friend and RS graduates, Shell LiRui and Shelly, Christy, Dallin Chen Taiwanese piano playing former missionary and T-mobile salesman

Hello family!  There is a really angry guy in the library. It is sort of sketchy; he is yelling and cussing everyone out.  It is pretty sketchy.  I hope I make it out  alive. (We got our snail mail letter on Friday so he made it out ok!) I got an awesome e-mail from Dave today.  He has an English teacher that is also a member, pretty awesome!  I have had a really good week.  It was pretty slow  with finals and all, but not too bad.

I ran out of time to write down a day by day thing and I forgot my planner so I will just write the cool stuff.  Hopefully I can remember all of it.

Well we got some new investigators this week.  We had a couple show up to English class really late, but the stayed after and talked to us a long time and we set up a return appointment for the next day.  Their names are Yvette and Justin.  Justin is really interested and accepted the invitation to baptism.  No date just yet.  Yvette is still pretty skeptical, but we will work on it.

Christopher is doing good, but he went back home to see his family for Spring break so we haven't really gotten to meet with him at all last week or this week.  It is a bummer but we are texting him and reminding him to read and pray. In our last meeting we gave him a blessing to help with his finals.  It was a cool experience.

Henry (Shell's friend from last week)  is reading the Book of Mormon with us, but still doesn't believe there is a God.   He came to a ward activity this Saturday where a bunch of Relief Society women "graduated" from some program or something.  It was sort of awkward, and I think Henry was confused with all the old people in caps and gowns, but he enjoyed the food and he met the ward, so that is all that matters.

Shell  is doing great.  She came to Sacrament meeting yesterday, and is getting along really good with Li Rui and Shelly.  They are a good group of recent converts.  Shell came to help us teach a girl named Christy (has an aunt and uncle investigating in Arcadia).  They got along really well and Shell gave her a ride home.

Friday we had a guy walk in the institute to play piano.  He a guy from Taiwan who met the church when he was 15 and served a mission there when he was 18. Then when he finished that served the mandatory one year in the military as a paratrooper, and has been studying at BYU Idaho, but then came here to work for a few months as a T-mobile Salesman.  He just took us out to  lunch today.  His name is Dallin Chen.  He is really cool and willing to help us teach!  

Ok that is all that is going on.  I am having a great time.  I love the ward here.   I have been here a really long time (in missionary terms) so I've gotten to know them all really well. 
Plus side of California Pollution - Sunsets
  I love you guys and miss you!

-Elder Murray

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mar 17 - Week 32 St. Patricks Day, Overflow Baptism, Finding a Shell's Friend, Christopher, Multi-zone Conference, Finals Week

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  I hope the Leprechaun came and that you are all wearing green, and eating green pancakes or potato soup or whatever we do for today.  Today I got pinched hard by my district leader for not wearing green.  So I made sure to wear a green tie today.  This week was a lot of work, but it was really cool. 
Sorry for the short letter last week.  One thing I wanted to tell you guys last week that I forgot was that at Elder Yeung's baptism we overflowed the baptismal font, and water was running out from the dressing room door into the relief society room and hallway!  It was really stressful, but we got it all cleaned up with a vaccum type thing and mops, so it wasn't too bad.  It is funny now.
Well this past Tuesday we had almost nothing planned.  We just had one lesson with Shell.  So we spent a lot of time out contacting.  We had a security guard come harass us for a bit.  Elder Heaton got really mad because we weren't on campus propoerty at all.  So we went in and talked to an adminstrator.  They weren't very sympathetic. They said that they thought our English class was competition with their English programs so we tried to say we don't want to compete just help out.  They weren't convinced, but the said they would at least talk to the security guards to not bother us when we are on public property.  After all that we were walking on the street when we noticed a guy staring at our name tags.  So we stopped and talked to him.  We invited him in for a tour of the institute building;  he came in and we taught him the first lesson.  As he was leaving Shell came.  Turns out they are good friends!  Since then we have brought Shell to help us teach him, and she even brought him to church.  It was such a cool miracle.
Wednesday was pretty average.  English class has hit a plateau of about 10 people each class.  Which isn't as big as with Elder Snyder, but it helps us find new investigators so it is doing it's job.  Wednesday we taught Christopher the word of wisdom and committed him to live it.  The bummer is that he has finals this week and then goes home for a week of spring break.  His date for baptism is as soon as he gets back. Please keep him in your prayers this week.
Thursday we had multi-zone conference.  It was really good.  President and Sister smart gave really good trainings on loving your companion, and how hard times help us grow as people.  

Birthday Elders

Mt. Rubidoux Zone

Friday - we had 2 appointments fall through so we went and knocked on these apartments nearby campus that are FULL of Chinese.  The first door we went to was a really nice woman in her 50's we told her who we were and about our English class.  She was really excited.  We asked if she was interested in learning more about Christ and she went back inside and pulled out a huge pile of books on Christ and English and Chinese bibles.  We got her number and got a return appointment for the next day.  After that we went back to the institute to teach some new investigators that just came from China two weeks ago.  They aren't too interested, but while we were teaching them, we had 5 random people walk inside because they saw our sign for English class.  They came and Elder Heaton taught them a lesson and they came to church this past Sunday!
Saturday we went to the return appointment with the woman we had contacted the day before.  We taught her, her daughter, and her husband the restoration.  It went ok.  The husband has to go back to China, but has been to Salt Lake City before and knows a little about the church.  They are really nice, keep them in your prayers.
Sunday was good we got 4 people at church!  That was awesome.  We also go some translation equipment for sacrament meeting.  It works really well, the only problem is when don't have someone that can translate well enough.  Shell tried, but didn't understand enough of the church vocab to translate fully.  Elder Heaton tried and did pretty good, but they would periodically laugh because he translated something awkwardly or his Taiwanese accent or both. 
All in all it was a good week.  Keep me in your prayers this week, because it is finals.  When that happens all the Chinese students shut themselves up in the dorms and study, so it will be a stuggle to find people to meet with, also it has been heating up A LOT this week.  I am not looking forward to the Summer here, but I guess it is just one of those things that I have got to accept and learn from instead of just worry and complain.  I love you guys.  Have a good week!
-Elder Murray

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mar 10 - Week 31 Shell Baptism (semi-drowned her), Former Elder Snyder visits from Utah State and takes trunk load of costco supplies to Dex, Exchange with Elder Yeung and Translating for Baptismal Interview

Ok today today has been really annoying and stressful, and not relaxing at all.  We are running late for dinner right now so I will have to make this short so I will just talk about the later half of the week which was the more eventful part. 
Friday afternoon we did an exchange with Elder Yeung and Elder Schoonmaker.  They had two investigators who needed baptismal interviews from a member of the mission presidency, and they needed a translator.  So I got to go do it since Elder Heaton had already taught her before.  It was a really amazing experience.  It really strengthened my testimony to hear their experience and how they had come to feel that the gospel was true.  They are a mother and a daughter.  They came to America a few months ago. Her daughter is about to have a baby that will be American citizen before they return to China.  Anyway they met with the missionaries to practice English and long story short they accepted the gospel.  I am really glad I got to meet them.  It was also a good experience for me to see that my Chinese was useful.  Here at UCR the students love to just speak English with us to practice.  They could all probably understand without me speaking Chinese.  The interview gave me a good chance to see that my Chinese can be useful, and I am not quite as bad as I thought.  I was at least able to understand what they said and get the interviewer's point across to them.  Even if it wasn't perfect.
Saturday I stayed over in Eastvale that night since... ok sorry I gotta go.  Long story short I had a good time in Eastvale with Elder Yeung.  It was awesome to see Elder Snyder.  [Former Elder Snyder now at Utah State called our house Thursday and we rushed to fill his trunk with Costco goodies and new shoulder bag for Dex.  It was so nice of him...we wanted to meet him but he came during work meetings for both Ty and I so he just took stuff off our porch]
 (In rush to get off of the computer to dinner apt -  Dex asked us to get baptism story from another email so here it is) "I baptized someone (Shell) this Sunday, and she wouldn't go under.  So I had to shove her down, then she came up and spit up water and was coughing a lot.  Everyone was sort of freaked out, they thought I was drowning her; I was just trying to get her all clean.  It was bad, she probably thought I was trying to kill her.  Oh well.  She can get into the celestial kingdom now."

Chinese Elder, Li Riu, Shelly and Shell and Shell's Baptism
 It was funny.  I love you
-Elder Murray

Mar 3 - Week 30 First week Elder Heaton, Shell Baptism coming Sunday, No One came to English Class

This week was crazy busy!   I had pretty much no free time.  So this P-day has been nice.  My first week with Elder Heaton was good!  His Chinese is really awesome!  Even better is that he really knows how to teach Chinese people.  Everyday we do roleplays together and he shows me what points of doctrine Chinese people really struggle with.   I'm glad to have him as my companion. 
Well I am getting cut short on time today because we got to the library a little late, so I won't do a day by day thing.
Shell is still on date.  She came to all three hours of church yesterday and I think she really enjoyed it.  She should be getting baptized this Sunday!  All she needs is to come to church once more, and have her interview.  I am really stoked for her! 
Christopher is a guy that came and talked to Elder Schoonmaker and I on the street one day.   He is a senior at UCR and is getting an electrical engineering degree.  He came to the US when he was one.  He still speaks Chinese, but English is his first language.  We still teach him though.    He has been doing really well.  He reads and prays and he came to sacrament yesterday!!  He is on date for April 6th.
Well those are our top two investigators right now.. English Class was sad on Friday.  Not one person came...  It was raining so that might be a factor.  We are also working on getting a more professional sign made to attract more people. 
It rained a lot this weekend.  On Saturday night we were wet and cold and it was 8:40 and  I made us stay out till 9:00 and try to visit moses. Well we didn't get to moses, but this random drunk guy came up and was trying to help us get into Moses's apartment complex.  And here is the cool part... he spoke Chinese and was from Taiwan.  It was crazy.  He was super drunk.  We tried to help him out, but his phone was dead and we couldn't find where his friends were.  Eventually we just gave him our number and said to call us if he had problems. He told us he could get to his friend's house safely.  We also got his number and are going to give him a call today. :)
-Ok that is all  ILY