Monday, August 25, 2014

Aug 25 Week 55 - Christy and Emma doing great, Dong Fang investigates, Jay already member, Chinese Hunt, Uncle Chuangs' hot chocolate

Well we had another good week!

Tuesday this week we meet with Christy.  She is doing great!  She said she feels really good after her baptism and she got confirmed just yesterday!  Awesome!  We taught her lesson 5 so her teaching record is all filled out now!  Tuesday we also picked up a former from when Heaton and I were together.  Her name is Rainy.  She has a really cute 2 year old named Do Do.  We met with her again and tried our best to teach the Plan of Salvation to her.  She kept getting a little distracted watching her kid, but it was ok in the end.  She came to church yesterday!  She's is going back to China for a while though so we won't see her till end of September.  Tuesday night we went Chinese hunting on a street close to campus.  If you guys ever find yourself in a situation like me where your whole purpose is to find Chinese people here is how you "Chinese Hunt."  Talk to all the Asians... 8 times out of 10 they are Chinese.  (However always ask if they are Chinese first -don't just start speaking Chinese to them.)  Next you can look for a couple clues to know where they live.  Shoes outside the door, a mop or broom leaning against the wall, potted plants, leftover Chinese new year decorations, also really poorly taken care of lawns are all pretty good indicators.)  

The hunt turned out to be a success,  We got a lesson with this group of Chinese guys living in one house.  We haven't been able to get back in with them though.  We also met this lady named Jay.  She was super nice and invited us back.  

Wednesday it rained... a lot.  All of our appointments cancelled.  Everyone that we contacted told us to go inside, but we stayed out.  It was a pretty cool storm!  It was a little cold though.  We were pretty wet, muddy, and cold.  I took Elder Merriman to Uncle Chuang's and got some Chinese desserts and hot chocolate.  I think he liked it.  We changed our clothes and went back to try to have English class.  No one showed up.  So we went Chinese hunting again.  No luck.

Thursday was a lot better.  We went to Jay's house.  Turned out she was already baptized in 2000.  She was super excited to tell us.  So we just practiced re-teaching her the first lesson, and gave her a version of the 2010 translation of the Book of Mormon.  She enjoyed it and said, that she needed to end her own apostasy.  She came to church on Sunday and made some friends with the people.  She is going back to her home town in 1000 Oaks CA, but we committed her to going back to church there.  I hope she will.  Thursday we also met with another former named Frank.  He was super cool.  Elder Yeung oymed him.  We put him on date for September 21.  Hopefully everything goes well.  He is really cool.  We also met with another former named Kenny.  He isn't so solid, but it was nice to see him again.  

Friday we met with Frank again and read the Book of Mormon.  We also met with Emma and Dong Fang again.  He has been reading, and praying, but hasn't been asking about the Book of Mormon.  We invited him to set a baptismal goal.  He said no.  I backed off.  I should have been more bold and tried to resolve his concern, but I chickened out.   It will be harder to set a date now.  He did come to church for the first time on Sunday though.  Friday night we also taught a family that just moved here.  They were really nice and impressed with our Chinese, but after we taught the first lesson, they said they were too busy to read the Book of Mormon or pray.  So they aren't super solid yet.  They said we could come back, so maybe when we go back we will just read with them.  

Saturday was good.  We met with Jay again to practice Chinese.  She actually called and scheduled us.  We also met with a former investigator's boyfriend visiting from Spain.  He was cool, and made me want to go visit Spain.  He also wasn't too keen about reading the Book of Mormon.  We also met with Emma again.  After dinner we went to family housing again to Chinese hunt.  We knocked on a Brazillian family's house by mistake.  The wife rejected us, but then as we were about to bike away, the dad came out.  Talked to us for a while and invited us back for chocolate cake in an hour.  I called the English speaking Elders and they came down.  We split up and Elder Merriman and one English went to the Brazillian guy's house and I went around Chinese hunting with the other.  We talked to a white couple for a while that always waves to us and is super nice.  They are from the mid-west, but went to China on a study abroad trip.  They have a few member co-workers.  They are awesome and would make great members, but when I asked if they wanted to meet some members in the neighborhood they said no, but they said we could stop by anytime.  So  I will pass them off to the English guys and see how it goes. We also got a lot of other good potentials that night.  Lots of people had arrived recently, so they are starting to come!

 Sunday was good.  Dong Fang came.  Also this other Lady that the car chinese missionaries found.  I gave a talk in another ward and told them to keep an eye out for Chinese speakers for us to teach.  At night we meet with Dong Fang and Emma again.  He still hadn't prayed about the Book of Mormon, because he hadn't found a good quiet time.  We committed him to find a time and pray.  He know's how to recognize his answer.  We also taught about the atonement.  We read the pamphlet and I tried to explain it.  He was still a little confused.  We asked Emma to help.  She explained it perfectly.  It was so cool.  Dong Fang got it and said.  "I think this is really good, if more people thought like  this the world would be better."   I am really praying for them. 
Today was good.  Basketball was fun.  Elder Merriman is good.   His Chinese is getting better too.  I am so glad to get to be comps with him.
-Elder Murray

Oh I can't remember if I sen this but when Elder Heaton  was telling Emma about how baptisms work, he tried to say afterward you wear your normal clothes again, but he accidently said one half of your clothes....  awkward

Aug 18 - Week 54 The adventures of Elder Murray and the UCR Chinese exchange students part 2 - Emma And Christy Baptisms, Awesome Elder Merriman

Hello!  Well I feel pretty bad I spent all of last letter just telling you about the situation and not recording the week.  It was a pretty good week last week.  Emma got baptized!  She is doing awesome.  She got the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and is going to the temple this Thursday to do baptisms for the dead!  I will send the pictures real quick. 

Yay! Dong Fang is on the right. Emma is in the blue dress

Monday this week was good.  After e-mailing we went with Elder Yeung to Brother Caldwell's house.  I can't remember if I have ever told you guys about Brother Caldwell.  He is super awesome.  He is a professor at UCR.  His wife is Chinese, but doesn't speak it anymore.  He is a professional rock climber.  In fact this week the forest service called him in to retrieve a body of someone who died while climbing and fell to an inaccessible spot.  Pretty intense.  He is super smart and he helps us out a lot.  Anyway, he has us over to his house.  He told us he wanted to take us on a swing.  I thought it was just a little rope swing in the backyard.  We had to take a small hike to get to it.  It was a huge swing that we had to get harnessed in for.  I am not completely sure if it was in line with the white handbook.   It was really fun though.  Afterwards we went back to his house and they made us the best meal I have had on my mission.  It was smoked salmon.  For dessert we had blueberry and pear pie.  It was really good.  That night I went out with a temporary English companion and talked to a bunch of Chinese people in student family housing.  One family said we could come back.  A lot of the families I have already talked to, or talked to their friends.  So they already sort of know who we are.  

Tuesday I went to get my new companion.  I am with Elder Merriman!  He is AWESOME!!!  I could not have picked a better missionary to come here.  He is super hard working, he follows all the rules.  He isn't afraid to go try.  He helps me do stuff (he took change of the  phone and kept it on his 2nd day!!!)  I am so glad we are together.  We worked really hard this week, it was really good.  We do go running every morning.  He is really good.  He did every event in track, he also is really good at basketball.  He is a little quiet, but I think I was too when I got here.  He is going to be a great missionary here.  

Wednesday we went to DDM.  I am a district leader again.  My district is pretty awesome!  They are struggling to find people to teach though.  Both are in really rich areas.  We also met with Alina on Wednesday.  She is doing good.  We practiced teaching her the first lesson.  We also met with Emma. No one came to English class, so we went around trying to find some people around campus.  I ran into a lot of former investigators, who said we could come back.  

Thursday we had a meeting in the morning with the new institute director.  He wanted to take away our key.  He didn't think it was necessary for us to have it he said "other missionaries don't have a institute to teach in."  "Can't you find another place like them?"  "Why can't you use the Church building?"  So I just used my missionary skills.  I asked questions to figure out his concern.  As far as I could tell he was worried about us trashing the building, or leaving it unlocked.  I promised him that we would be very responsible.  He still wasn't convinced and asked if it was really necessary for us to use the building.  I explained how the building was right in between international housing and the campus.  So all the Chinese people walk by, and it is a perfect place to meet.  I also listed of the names of all the 9 converts baptized in the last year.   I also told him that I believed that Heavenly Father placed the institute here for the purpose of spreading the gospel to these students.  It might have been a little intense but he was convinced.  We have secured the use of the institute.  

Thursday day we met with Shelly.  She moved to Rolland Heights on Saturday.  I got in contact with the bishop of the Chinese ward there and gave them her number.  Hopefully the transition from ward to ward goes well.   Thursday we got a lesson with a guy that used to come to English class.  He seemed interested and agreed to read and pray.  We went back last night though and he dropped us because he was too busy.   We also found this guy named Joseph he invited us back Saturday night, and then dropped us because he is already a Christian and doesn't believe Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are separate.  I explained why we believe that, and invited him to pray to know if Joesph Smith really did see them.  He refused.  Oh well...

Friday we had another good day.  A member printed us off some English class signs.  I asked him if he needed any service.  He asked us to find him some service projects to put on the new started by the church.  He told us to try the International center, and said they might have an English conversation partner thing for exchange students.  We went and they were more than happy have their name on the website, and also tried to recruit us to become partners.  I am going to see if it is allowed.  It is one hour a week we just sit and talk with an exchange student.  Hopefully Chinese.  I think it might be some good exposure for us.
Friday we also met with Christy she was ready to be baptized!!

Saturday we helped out with an Eagle project for a bit.  Then we did studies.  Then we met with this girl named Angela that I OYMed.  She was really nice and said she would be baptized if she got an answer from God.  We have a return apt tomorrow.  The only problem is her English is probably better than her Chinese.  She has been here for 9 years.  We will see if we can keep her or have to pass her off.  That night we tried to find, more people.  We have gotten a lot of people that say we can come or who seem interested, but few that actually will meet with us. That is just how it goes.

Sunday we went to meetings.  After Church we had the baptism.  It went really smoothly, no problems.  Christy was really happy.  She has thought a long time about this, I am glad she made the decision.  

At night we had dinner with a member couple and Emma and her husband Dong Fang.  We invited Dong Fang to read and pray and if he feels that it is true he will be baptized!!!  He said that he wasn't sure when that would be though.  We told him everyone's time is different.  He also agreed to meet with us every weekend.  The member couple born testimony about how the gospel helped them because better people for each other, and Emma bore her testimony about how the Book of Mormon makes her feel "happy and comfortable"  It was really good.  I am excited for him.  

Well that was the outline of the week.  It included a lot more biking and oyming than I put in.  I had a great time.  I think Elder Merriman did to.  I was dead tired and slept really well last night.  I had a dream I bought a small blow up raft for 200 dollars with my msf $ and tried to sail to some other part of American along the coast.  

I love you guys have a great week

Aug 11 Week 53 - Headed back to UCR

Here is how it all went down.  On Saturday morning we got our leadership calls.  (when they call to let you know what calling you have next transfer.)  President called me as a trainer and as a district leader.  Elder Heaton got called as a district leader.   He figured that he would be put into UCR area with an English speaking missionary.  He was lamenting over the fact that it will be a while till students come back, and that he would probably not do Chinese work.  I told him it would be fine and I am sure it would all work out.  
Elder Heaton texted president.   At about 2:00 president calls and asks to speak to Elder Heaton.   About 5 minutes later he comes out super happy.  President told him he wasn't going English speaking, in fact he is staying in Eastvale and I am going back to UCR.....  Elder Heaton's new companion will be an English Elder named Elder Huggie.  I lived with him back when I was at UCR.  He bought a Chinese Book of Mormon a couple of months ago and has been begging to go Chinese speaking.  So that is who is coming to Eastvale with Elder Heaton.  

I am a little upset.  I feel like I have already more than served my time there.  I am sad to leave this place where there is actual Chinese ward members. School doesn't start for another couple weeks so I don't know how many people we can find.   I am worried about my and the new guys Chinese.  


Aug 4 Week 52 - Hao de xinxi - Good News - Elder Dyer and Elder Merriman coming next week, Jim and Mia, Annie and Johhny, Xiong, Christy Baptism planned, Lots of Farewell Dinners for Elder Yeung

Hao de xinxi means good news!!!!!!   President called me today, after receiving an e-mail from Elder Heaton.  He asked me to get the message through to Elder Heaton that we will not be in a trio next transfer.  :)  I am pretty happy honestly.  Also other good news.  Both Elder Merriman from Utah, and Elder Dyer from Shang Hai are coming next week!!!  So sounds like Elder Heaton and I will both be training.  

This week was not the best.  You can read more about what happened after the temple on Tuesday in my handwritten letter.  It was not cool.  

Wednesday I went on exchanges with an Elder in our Zone.  He was a funny guy from Canada.  He really likes Britain.  He spent the whole day telling me about the Common Wealth healthcare system and their secret service called "SAS or SES"  I can't remember.  It was interesting.  I enjoyed learning about it.  The only thing was he whispered as he told me about it,  probably so other Americans don't hear.  It was a long day, we did a lot of walking.

Thursday we had a really long MLC with all the Zone Leaders the STL's and the president.  It was good.  He cracked down on some things like calling our investigators Brother and Sister, and directly going over the baptismal interview questions with our investigators.  Some missionaries were a little angry and argued with him about it.  We also talked a lot about how our mission has a lot of old missionaries that are dying soon, and that they are getting sort of lazy.   Like sleep in all day lazy.

Afterward we had weekly planning, that went ok not the best.  Then we saw Jim and Mia.  They are doing ok.  Jim still feels like he hasn't gotten an answer that the Book of Mormon is true at first I was a little worried, but yesterday I saw another family in our ward's teaching record.  They took 2 years to get an answer and now they are super active awesome family.  So I know that we just have to keep working with them and bring members with us and eventually it will all work out.  Same with Annie and Johnny.. although Annie recently had surgery.  Hope we can see them again this week.  

Dex, Elder Yeung, Jim and Mia Mohammed

Our one guy that we found miraculously has disappeared.  I can't get a hold of him.  Tuesday I asked him if we could come by. I got one response, but the text was blank.  I figured it was probably ok to go stop by, but then this whole crazy thing happened on Tuesday.. so we didn't go over.  Now he isn't responding at all and won't answer the door.  So I am pretty sad about that.  We are trying again tonight.  

Thursday we also saw Xiong.  He is doing really good.  We brought up baptism and the Holy Ghost again.  He was still a little hesitant.   I think bringing more members will help a lot.  He dodges the question every time we bring it up.

Friday we did another one of those presentations to exchange students and then we had ZDM.  It went pretty well.  My Zone chowed down on the jelly beans Grandma Cahoon sent.  I loved the 1/2 package.  It was super good.  Also I got Maren and Matt's wedding invite.  Congrats to them!!!!

Friday we also met with Christy.  She is back from China and ready to be baptized.  She is on date for Saturday.  The same as Emma!  Emma is doing great. We met with her on Friday too.  She recognizes the spirit!  She has come to church 3 weeks in a row now!  Awesome!   

Saturday we cleaned up the road again for service project.  We had lunch with the Changs, a family in our ward.  It is so nice being with Elder Yeung right now. Everyone wants to have him over for a final dinner or lunch and Elder Heaton and I get to tag along.  Today we got sushi.  Pretty good, but not my favorite.  Saturday we also met with Emma. We had a good lesson on the Atonement and repentance.  After wards we went and OYMed a lot and taught Jim and Mia at another member's house. His testimony I think really helped Jim. 

Sunday was also a good day. It finally rained here, which hasn't' happened in forever.  Church was really good.  We had a full house.  Pretty much every Chinese member showed up!  We also took brother Miao, our ward mission leader, to eat dinner with the old Taiwanese Changs in Riverside.  They became good friends.  Hopefully they will come and see how church is.  They are really into their own Christian church.

Well I guess this week was just hard because I felt like we didn't get as much work done as we should have.  I am worried I didn't work as effectively or planned as well as I could have.  Also with all the crazy meetings Chinese study kind of took a back seat.  I still would try to study in the car, but it wasn't as good.  I worry that I haven't been getting my Chinese up to where it needs to be.  I am trying, but I will try harder.  I really am going to be better this week.  


Jul 28 Week 51 - New President, Permission to teach Muslims - Brother and Sister Mohammad, Henry heads to San Fran, Charles, Brother Ip

This week was pretty good.  I am extremely tired today.  We played soccer this morning.  It was pretty fun, I even scored a goal.  Let me know if you get the letter I sent this week, it was a little thick, and I wrote Utah instead of UT, hopefully it comes. 

Well Tuesday morning we had interviews with the President, mine went really good. The new president is a cool guy.  He has challenged all the missionaries to crossfit workout next p-day.  The only thing was with Jim and Mia.  Since they are Muslim we have a rule that we have to talk to President before we teach them.  Just to make sure they will be safe if they have to go back.  Well I texted President 2 weeks ago, but he didn't respond.  I figured he was busy, so I just asked the APs.  They said just to go ahead and teach them which is what we did.  Well president asked in the interview if we were teaching them.  I said yes, he said we had to stop.  I didn't throw the APs under the bus, but we stopped, and then got them interviewed by the 1st counselor in the presidency and they passed!  So we are legally teaching them now!

They are doing pretty good.  Jim has a lot of doubts.  Mia  (who grew up Muslim)  has no problems with believing in God, but her husband who converted Muslim is not so sure.  He is doing all the right things reading the Book of Mormon, coming to church and praying, but he isn't asking God if it is all true.  I am confident they will both receive their answers, if they ask, like we talked about last lesson.  They are super awesome still, I am excited to see if we can set a date with them this week!  On Saturday they cooked us some food from where she is from.  It was so good, the best was boiled peanuts and celery all together.  It is some sort of stir-fry.

Wednesday we met with Ema.  She is still on date for August 10th.  She told us she really wants to know if this is true, because she wants to improve and become better, and have help getting through hard times.  She is really sincere.  She came to church this Sunday again!  I translated sacrament for the first time this week.  This RM from India spoke, it was really cool, but a little hard to translate. 

Henry update:  He says he is really busy preparing to go to San Francisco so he can't meet... I am really bummed out. I tried my best with him.  I am really glad we got the chance to know him and share with him.  I asked for his address to give the San Fran missionaries.  He doesn't know it yet, but I will ask again!

Charles is still doing good.  He didn't come to church though.  We read Alma 32 with him this week and he really liked it.  I need to repent.  I think we haven't been bold enough about inviting him to baptism.  I guess I have just been worried about scaring him off, because he seems so golden, but I know that making a promise to God to keep his commandments and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is what he needs to do.  So this week I will be more bold.

Saturday was super hot.  This whole week was hot.   Anyway, we went and knocked on this door we have tried a billon times before.  (Elder Yeung had talked to a family that owned the house before) I went and knocked on the door, and turns out the family moved, but the guy that lives there now is also Chinese, and I had also OYMed him 2 weeks before, but he hadn't given me his number.  He told us that the day before he texted his ex-girlfriend (who he was with when I oymed him) because she had the card I had given them.  He was super nice.  We went in, had a quick lesson, and he came to church the next day... but that is not all.  He also already knows Morgan (the guys who just got baptized.) 
On Saturday we also had Tracy and Morgan teach the Plan of Salvation to us.  It was really good.  They learned a lot.  Tracy prayed for help finding a house to rent this week, and found some good stuff.  Her faith is growing slowly but surely.

Sunday was also good.  We visited this really awesome less active guy that has been a member 20 years in an English ward and didn't know about the Chinese ward.  We went with his former bishop and said we need his help to strengthen our little group.  He agreed to come.  He has an awesome testimony and is super familiar with how the church works.  His name is Brother Ip.  His wife passed away a few years ago, and he really misses her. 

Oh I forgot.  Turns out that Jim and Mia's last name in Chinese actually means Mohammad.  So we are teaching a brother and sister Mohammad. 

Elder Murray