Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nov 24 Week 68 - Brother Xiong Baptism and Testimony, Evelyn Baptism, Howard and Nancy, Sister Yu, Pitbull barking, Yvonne Terry's Mom, Close call with Car, Evelyn, Turkey and Tea Gifts

The two baptisms went off without a hitch!  Everything was perfect.  I will send some pictures in a bit.  
In Middle - Brother Xiong, Evelyn and her husband

The members even brought refreshments!  One member made a cake that wasn't sweet.  It was weird to me, but all the Chinese loved it.  They think our cake is too sweet.  The only bummer was I forgot to tell Elder Heaton, Elder Schoonmaker told him.  I apologized and they ended up being able to come.  

Monday last week was really busy.  After dinner we went to see Brother Xiong.  He was good, and set for his baptism.  When Brother Xiong bore his testimony at the baptism it was really good.  He said that he hoped that his wife would be baptized soon as well.  We are working on her.  She has started coming to English class!  So that is a positive sign!  After visiting Xiong we went to see Howard and Nancy.  I can't remember if I told you about them last week.  They are some formers from when Heaton and Schoonmaker were together.  They let us in last week and were really nice.  The Dad talked with us and said he wasn't interested, but that we could come back, speak some English with them, and teach them the gospel.  So last Monday we talked for a couple minutes and then did some teaching, and gave them the lesson one pamphlet.  We are trying to get them from just friends who want to practice English with us to investigators.  Wish us luck.  
We also saw the Dengs (the husband was baptized by Snyder, the wife still is waiting.)  They wouldn't sit down to talk with us. We shared a quick message as they did the dishes, and left.  

Tuesday we had DDM after ddm we met with Brother Miao to plan the baptism.  We then visited another former named Sister Yu.  We had a return apointment with her but she flaked out on Friday.  At night we went to see Evelyn.  We had a good lesson 5 with her.  

Wednesday I went on exchanges with the Zone Leader.  It was ok. 'it was my first one where I am the same age (mission wise as my leader).  He had me buy him lunch, and walk to someone's door with the pitbull barking at me, while he held the gate open.  So if the dog charged I could escape.  He owes me.  We taught Yvonne Terry's mom.  (Yvonne is Elder Clarkson's OYM from SLC that got baptized, pretty cool.)

Thursday we biked around a lot, and talked with everyone we saw.  At night a member gave us money so we got Chipotle.  I almost got hit by a car though.  This one car stopped and was letting us go through so I jogged to get out of their way faster, but I forgot about the traffic on the otherside going the other way.  Luckily I saw the headlights out of the corner of my eye and stopped.  They blew right past me.  Thank you for your prayers of safety, they worked.

At night we saw Wendy Su, the member's wife that lives in Corona.  It was an okay lesson.  Some people just will take some time I guess.  They we saw Xiong with the Zhangs.  They got along well.  Then we saw Morgan. He is in 3rd Nephi, but he doesn't come to church.  We committed him again, but no luck.  

Friday we biked even more, all the way till dinner. For lunch Brother Zhu took us to pizza.  It was his birthday. Dinner was at a member who is an accountant for Disney.  It was fun to talk with him.  English class was ok.  At night we went to a Chinese member activity with Brother Zhu to the Jiang's house.  It was about how to give Chinese massages.  They talked for an hour about the history and techniques of giving massages.  They said a lot of words I didn't understand.  Just encouraged me to keep studying hard.  

Saturday we did some yard work for Sister Terry.  In the afternoon we saw Winter.  We set a baptismal date for July next year... we are just going to keep in contact with her, and inviting her.  We also saw Tracy.  They are so busy with their business.  She said it should slow down next month though.  So hopefully. While we were there,  a Kirby Vaccum guy came and they let him in to do a demonstration there.  We left, I hope I don't seem like I salesmen when I talk to people.  Saturday night we ate with Evelyn, they made this super spicy dish.   It was really hot.  

Sunday we had church, and after church the baptism.  Last night we saw another lady who we taught English to and then taught gospel to.  She said she will come to church!  Score.  She also gave each of us $50 turkeys.... I didn't know what to do. Her husband also tried to give us some tea that costs 10,000 for a brick of it.  I think we sort of offended him but not accepting it, oh well.  Last night Sister Xiong asked us to come help her buy a used mixer online.  We went, then Brother Xiong had to go.  I asked if there was another guy, they said Brother Xiong will be right back, but he wasn't.  So we were they without a  guy for a while.  I really try hard to follow the rules and be exactly obedient, but sometimes I mess up.  Glad we have repentance.   We drove to a park to talk to people.  After the park, we spent a few minutes counting up our numbers for the week.  We only got 5 member presents this week.  I am trying for 7 this week.  While we were counting Elder Schoonmaker and his comp (who is Deb Kowes nephew)  showed up.  They stood and talked to us for a good 15 minutes.   I felt bad after.  I don't like to waste time.  Again glad we have repentance.  I will do better this week!

-Elder Murray

Nov 17 Week 67 - Xiong Accepts Baptism, Winter and Norris, Yuyi, Li Bo wife calls, Brother Zhu, Lesson on Forever Families, Dong, Karon

This week was pretty good.  Monday after P-day we went out to see Brother Xiong, as we were about to go in we said a prayer. After the prayer 2 people walked by and we talked to them and they gave us their addresses.  It was awesome.  The lesson with Xiong was good.  We talked about baptism.  At first he said, "I am worried about not being able to come to church every Sunday."  (he is a realtor and often takes people to look at houses)  We told him that God knows our weaknesses and has a lot of patience with us.  Then he told us he wanted his wife to get baptized too.  So we told him about Brother Yu who got baptized first and then his wife noticed a difference in him so she got baptized too.  So he said ok!!!  He is on date for the 23rd.  He had his interview yesterday!  Thank you for all your prayers they worked!

After that lesson we went to see Winter; Norris (her bf) came and sat in too.  We read 2 Nephi 31 and answered the question why do we need to be baptized.  Our member that came with us was awesome and shared an experience where the Holy Ghost warned him.  It was all good, the spirit was there.  We invited her to set a date.  She said "well we need to get married"  then she looked at her bf.  There was an awkward silence.  It freaked out the member.  So he said "you don't HAVE to be married... you can just live together and not have a relationship."  If you didn't know that is totally not true.  So the next lesson we had to correct that.  I didn't want to correct the member right then and there.  Maybe we should've though.  I don't know.  

Tuesday we had ddm which was good.  Then we went and saw a less active that the first Chinese Elders baptized named Yuyi.  He is cool.  His parents are just really against him coming to church. Tough situation.  He still reads and prays everyday though.  We also met with Brother Zhu, he needed help calling his doctor.  We had a lesson after and invited him to baptism.  He said "I've been thinking about that!"  So he is probably our next focus.  He is super cool.  After dinner at home we went out to see some referrals from Brother Xiong.  He gave us a bunch of his neighbor's addresses!  One named Li Bo we had already seen and he rejected us.  When we pulled up, he and his fam were out front.  I hesitated but felt like we should at least say hi. So we did.  He blew us off again.  So we went and tried the other referrals with no luck.  Then we went to see some other people, and we got a call.  It was the wife of Li Bo.  She told us to come back and that she wanted to go to church!  It was super cool.  We had a good first lesson.  The didn't come to church yesterday though, and the husband told us not to come back till Jan.  We'll see what happens.  

Wednesday we saw Brother Zhu again.  We biked around a lot. We went to the very farthest edge of Eastvale where the newest houses are.  Chinese love new houses.  After Zhu we saw Winter and told her she still has to get married.  They don't want to get married any sooner though.  So she is just not progressing, keep her in your prayers.  We had a good full English class.  Then after class we visited a former family. They were very nice and welcomed us in.  He talked to us forever in English then the wife asked us to share spiritual things with her husband.  She is buddhist, but he is nothing so she said he needs religion.  It wasn't the perfect start to a lesson, we didn't have a lot of time.  I pulled out my wallet picture of you guys and we bore testimony about how families came be together forever, and that is why we do what we do.  We are here to help people have happier/eternal families.  At the end the husband said he was very moved, he said he did believe that after he died he could still be with his family.  They told us they aren't really interested in learning about our church, but want to practice English with us, hear some spiritual thoughts, and cook us some Chinese food.  We haven't really decided what we should do with them yet.  We are probably going to try to pick them up as investigators still.  

Thursday we had multi-zones.  It was a good time, it went till 4:00 though.  We had dinner with a retired military family that just got back from living in Korea for a year.  That was awesome.  Then we went and visited this potential named Karon.  We taught the first lesson. She had a lot of questions, but didn't accept a return appointment.  We also saw another former named Dong.  She knows all the members and has been to activities. 

Friday we did weekly planning.  We met Brother Zhu again.  He had read some stuff about Joseph Smith and polygamy.  We just bore hard testimony that we is a prophet, and that we know this by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.  I think it will all be ok.  We had another good English class.  More and more people come.  We had Sister Xiong come!  Hopefully we can slowly get her to take the lessons.  After we helped the Chinese members clean the church.  

Saturday we went to Chino to see the Chen Long family.  We took the young men's leader in that ward with us.  We invited them to take their oldest so to mutual.  They seemed interested.  Especially when I told them it would look good on resumes.  They aren't reading or praying, or coming to church.  Which makes things hard.  Afternoon we had a ward bbq for the Chinese.  It was really good; we had a lot of investigators show up.  We stayed for a while.  It started late and then we had a bunch of investigators and a member asked us to help synch her phone to her car.  So we spent a while there.  After we finished there we went to Tracy and Morgan's.  Tracy... we can't figure her out.  She also saw the stuff about J.S. and a neighbor is giving them anti.  Pray for her too!  It worked for Xiong!  At night we finally saw Evelyn.  She is solid.  

Sunday we had primary program.  I always have to fight tears when they sing families can be together forever.  It gets me every time.  Evelyn and Xiong both passed their baptismal interviews!!!  Then we walked around a lot and talked with grumpy white people in their garages.  That was the gist of our night.  I hate it when you have nothing to do.  They really discourage tracting here.  So we just walk around or bike and talk with whoever is on the street.  I always worry "What else can I do that would be more effective."  I don't know.  Any tips.  Dad what did you do when you had nothing to do?  

-ELder Murray

Notable Quotable:  We had dinner with a mexican family.  The mom said "all my white friends, I ask them what they are doing for dinner and usually they say, I don't know maybe cereal. I can't believe that!  Also I see lots of kid come to school with sandwhiches.... everyday and I just think those poor babies"  This has to be read in a spanish accent.  Then she asked what I like that my mom made.  I said biscuits and gravy... she asked "does your mom make them from a can?".  I told her no and she seemed impressed.  I got your back mom! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nov 10 Week 66 - Hit Standard of Excellence, Merriman is the driver, Brother Miao in Provo, Evelyn baptism scheduled for 23rd, Pray for Bro Xiong, Winter, Invite Bro Zhu, Talk on Becoming Christ-like

Ya super big bummer about not being able to email back.  I even asked President a while back if it was ok and he said yes, so I guess this is a new thing... :(   This week we hit the STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE!!!! It was close and the last lesson was a little sketchy, but we pulled it off ok. We needed one more member present so we talked to a family who had a grandma in town that wasn't a member.  We went over and taught the restoration, asked the family to share their conversion stories and asked the grandma if she had any questions.  She told us she was Buddhist and didn't want to join.  

Other news President made Elder Merriman the car driver this transfer.  That is fine with me no complaints, but it got me thinking maybe President is planning on putting me back in UCR next transfer... I sure hope not after being there for nine months already. But it could happen.   When Elder Schoonmaker found out Merriman was the driver he was excited and said, "you might go back to Riverside..." Actually Schoonmaker isn't in my district anymore, just in my Zone.  
His companion right now is a really old/really good missionary.

Also last thing Brother Miao will be in Provo this week and asked if we needed anything picked up. 
 I couldn't think of anything.  

Evelyn is great.  She should be baptized on the 23rd!  So awesome!  I am super excited for them. 
 Xiong came to church on Sunday.  He is such a good guy.  He tells us he is too busy to meet.  It is really frustrating.  Keep him in your prayers to know what to do.   Brother Zhu is a regular at church, he is a good guy.  We still haven't invited him to baptism.  The members discourage us from doing that, I can see why, he still isn't sure God exists, but we need to repent and just do it!  Hold me accountable to that next week please.  Winter isn't progressing.  She talked to Norris about marriage.  He said "why do you need to get baptized?"  Winter said she didn't have a good answer for him.  She told us she hasn't been feeling very sure about it recently.  We are going over there tonight to read 2nd Nephi 31 with her.  Pray for her too.  I really love these people.  I love this ward.  I love what I am doing here.  I love Jesus Christ.  This week I had to give a talk on becoming Christ-like.  I looked at all the Christ-like attributes in PMG and tried to think of stories where Christ demonstrating these attributes.  It was really awesome.   When we got in the car the Hymn "As now we take the Sacrament" started playing (which is my favorite) I really started to tear up.  I am so grateful for this time that I have to serve Him, and strengthen my testimony.  This really is the best two years.  Even though I miss you guys more than anything else, I am so glad I am here in this ugly, hot, dry part of the world.

On Wednesday they ate at Wanda Wach's home.  She sent the following  email and pictures

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Nov 3 Week 65 - Sister Sterner transferred away, Schoonmaker transferred in, Hot Pot Dinner with Winter, Translating Stake Conference, Ward Halloween Party, Help Evelyn enroll Heidi at school

Alright well... I'll get the big news out of the way first.  Transfer calls last night.  We are staying... but Sister Sterner is leaving... guess who is taking her place... Elder Schoonmaker... I didn't see that one coming.  That's how transfers go I guess.  So I am still a DL; my district is sweet!  Just the Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders.  That will be fun.  

Also Brother Xiong was not baptized.  He didn't even meet with us.  We don't know what is up. So frustrating.  

Winter is still just waiting to get married.  Tonight we are eating with them and going to try to teach him the first lesson as we eat.  They are making us hot pot.  They said we'll need a while to eat it.  So we are going to teach and eat.  It never seems to work out very good when I have tried it in the past but we will see.  

Tuesday Sister Katey Zhang had us over to teach her uncle visiting from China.  I used the HTBT points from PMG and asked if we could call him Brother Wan.  He flat out refused and sort of got angry.  It was a stressful lesson.  He grilled me and anytime Katey or Brother Miao tried to help he told them not to speak.  I tried my best and it went ok.  My Chinese has improved.  They think I am Chinese when I talk on the phone, and this Sunday I did translation for Stake Conference.  I was super worried it  didn't make sense, but later Evelyn (Liu Yue's wife) said she was really moved by a talk in Stake Conference.  Her English isn't that good so I am pretty sure she listened to my translation, I was glad I could get the message across. Even though it wasn't perfect. 
Tuesday we also read the Book of Mormon with Brother Zhu.  He is has lots of questions.  It is interesting teaching him.
Wednesday we tried to see a couple less actives in Moreno Valley.  No luck... waste of time and miles... bummer. I tried to call before, but the one didn't have a number and another didn't answer.  We also taught Winter, not the best lesson.  She was too excited for the Ward Halloween party.  The party was good.  We had a lot of non-members show up.  Chinese people don't like chili. At night we taught a potential named Shawn.  We just taught him the restoration on his front porch.  That was fun.  He said he is super busy, so we'll see if we can get back with him.  Maybe we can.

Thursday we did planning then we drove to Ontario to help Evelyn enroll her daughter Heidi in school.  It went perfect, I am impressed with the public schools here.  They were super accommodating and nice.  I love translating.  It makes me feel like I am really  helping people.  I'm thinking about maybe coming down here in the Summer after my first year at BYU and looking for a translating gig, to help keep up my Chinese.  Anyway we invited Evelyn to baptism after and she said of course, no problem!  Awesome!  We did a lot of walking around the rest of the day looking for potential investigators.  No luck.  Then we met with Tracy and Morgan and bishop.  We got her date set for Nov. 16.   Xiong cancelled on us that night.  Bummer. 

Friday was a bummer day.  We did studies then helped Evelyn and Heidi again as they got transferred to a more Chinese friendly school.  We came back and visited this old couple that came to church and really liked it, but don't want to meet with us.... we'll see.  Then we saw a member who's husband is not a member.  She said he isn't interested though.  Then we talked to some people.  Then we helped Brother Jiang translate his talk from Chinese to English for Stake Conference.  Then we went to the Halloween party!   It was super weird watching a movie, in normal clothes with girls there.  The Best Two Years is great.  The scene where Elder Rodgers just sits and takes pictures while Elder Calhoon tries to contact people reminded me so much of being in Riverside after Elder Snyder left.  That was all we did.  We decorated too.. I have to send the picture.

Saturday was awesome!  It rained!  Which never ever happens here.  We also got in finally with 2 former investigators including this cool family that lives in Chino.  Their name is the Fan's.  We had a bomb lesson with them.  They really didn't want to pray because they felt like if they thanked God for blessings and asked for stuff without believing it, it was just pretending.  So we shared the scripture where King Lamoni's dad prays.  It was perfect.  We are hopefully going back next week.  We also taught this other guy named Jack Wang.  He is pretty cool.  He is a referral from Brother Miao.  He was less solid about a return appointment.  We are going to call him on Thursday and see.  At night we walked around and guess what we got 3 potentials in 30 minutes.... crazy.  

Sunday at Stake Conference there was a seventy from Hawaii.  Afterwards he came up and said hi, and then all the sudden he started speaking Chinese!!  I was shocked.  I felt like how the Chinese must feel when start talking to them.  After church we did studies.  We had a really good dinner at Evelyn and Liu's house.  They are so solid!  Ok well I think that is it.  We had a good week!  Even though our numbers weren't too good.

-Elder Murray

Oct 27 - Week 64 - Updates on Winter, Melody, Wei Zhu, Li Jie Mei, Tracy Gao, Bro Xiong - Making Cookies and OYM at Chinese Market

Ugg I am regretting being so stingy about not counting dinner as lessons... we got 17 lesson and 10 member presents, and 5 people at church!  If we counted dinners we would have hit standard!  Oh well.   Also a while back I asked President for permission to oym at Chino Hill market out of the mission.  He said he would like it if we had someone to visit out there and then went to oym.  So not just going out to oym.  At the time we had no investigators there, so I asked if we could try it out once and just see, because our ward mission leader said there were lots of Chinese there.  Well then we got some referrals that lived out there, so we just did that. Elder Merriman is good.  Best comp by far.  

Here is how people are doing.  
Bro Xiong:  He came to church!  He is technically on date for this Sunday, but when I talked to him yesterday he said he wasn't sure.  So we will see.

Winter Zhen:  She is good.  She has good relationships with the members, and comes to church every week.  She just needs to get married.  So we are praying for Norris (her bf) heart to be softened.  

Melody:  On date for Nov 16.  Busy with finals this last week and didn't come to church.

Wei Zhu:  Reads, Prays, comes to church... but doesn't want to take the lessons... just wants English lessons... 

Evelyn (Liu Yue's wife): She is great!  Came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it.  We met with them last night and brought Brother Su, from Beijing.  They are also from the North so their accents are hilarious.  The add er on the end of everything.  

Li Jie Mei (Katey Zhang's renter):  Had a surgery that put a baby inside of her so she is down and out for a while.  

Tracy Gao (Morgan's wife)  We finally met with her at an English member's house.  The lesson was really good and put her on date for the 16th as well.  She accepted, but then yesterday was still a little unsure.  I

Alright that is the lowdown on everyone.  

I have been really tired recently, and having a hard time staying awake during personal study... it is bad.  I need more of those mouth drops to suck on from the MTC days.   

I am making cookies for my district today.  this is my first time making cookies since I was home, we will see how they turn out.  For Halloween we get to watch "The Best Two Years"  at the chapel.  I am excited.  

Ok I can' think of anything else to write.  I know I need to just focus on what the Lord and Heavenly Father want and think of me.  It is hard though.   Chinese was hard this week.  

-Elder Murray