Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dexter is Coming Home This Tuesday!!! Come visit with him!!

Dexter gets home this Tuesday.  Please feel free to come by our house for a visit anytime after 1:30 pm.  We will have ice cream.  Call my phone (801-755-2671) if you need our address.

The joint Homecoming/Farewell is Sunday July 19 at 1:00 pm at 261 East Center Street in North Salt Lake.  We are so excited to hear from Dexter coming home and Parker heading out to Korea.

July 6 Week 100 - Bike in Box, End of Mission Finish Strong, Sister Huang, Ryan and Selina, Who have you Become? (not report card), 4th of July Going Away Potluck Party and Miao's Friends from Provo, LI Rui at Church

Well this week has been just another week. I don't even feel like I am going home yet. It doesn't feel real. Sort of just like how I felt before coming to the MTC. It is such a big change that I can't even imagine what it will be like. So I am just enjoying the time here, while I can, and trying not to think too much about going home. My bike is in a box, and I am going to send it using bike flights in just a bit.  So coming to the end of my mission has brought some stressful stuff too. Everyone has made a huge deal about finishing strong. So I am really trying not to slack on anything, because lots of missionaries going home here, get sort of lazy. I do pretty good but it is a balance.  Ok this week was we had a lesson with Sister Huang. She will get baptized as soon as her husband gets back. So we are fasting that they pass their interview this next week for their visas to come here. At night we saw Ryan and Selina where we talked very long.  We also went to the DMV with Tony out of the mission. He passed his test! We are having great numbers for English class right now! The Liangs are coming and they really enjoy it. They are such a solid family. I am glad they moved into our ward. Thursday we had Mission Leadership Council with President Mullen. It was a good meeting. I really was touched by a quote from a talk. It said that final judgement will not be like a report card, where you add up all the good, and all the bad, and if the good is more you go to celestial kingdom, and if the bad is more then you don't. He said it is not what you have done, but what you have become. I thought it was really meant for me here. As I have been closing my mission, I have been thinking about if the Lord is pleased with how I did. I was counting all the good, and bad I had done. The quote made me realize that isn't what I should be looking at. I should be looking at who I am now. I think I have become better than I was. If anything, I at least feel like I am on the path to become who Christ needs me to be. I am grateful President Mullen shared that. 4th of July we had a potluck/going away party with the Chinese members. It was really delicious and fun. I love all the people here. The Miao introduced me to their friends that live in Provo, and attend the Chinese ward. They invited me to come visit and join their activities, so I will do that. Li Rui came to church yesterday for the first time in a long while. Glad she was back.  I hope that we can get her to come back to activity, she was so solid. Ok that is all. I love you guys a ton can't wait to see you! -Elder Murray

June 29 Week 99 - Tony and Tina Priesthood Lesson and Baptism, Ryan and Selina, Jiangs and Xiong Dinner, Eastvale Fair Contacting and Fireworks, Final Meals

This week was way too fast, I can't believe it is already p-day again. Things are going pretty good down here in Eastvale, CA. It is hot, but not unbearable. That is fun that you met Amy (recent convert from his mission visiting Provo) for dinner. Thanks for doing that, sounds like she met Elder Dyer's Sister for dinner one night too. She should be getting her patriarchal blessing this weekend right before she heads back to China. I hope in the future you get to meet more of the people I have spent the last two years with! I talk about you a lot with them. I wouldn't be doing all that I am in my life, if my biggest goal in life wasn't to be with you all forever! Can't wait to see you soon! :)

Well this week on Tuesday we had exchanges with the AP's. I was with Elder Andersen. He is a good missionary. He is younger than me mission wise, but he is 24 years old. We had a lesson with Tony and Tina about the priesthood, Tony is excited to receive it and serve others. We then had a lesson with Ryan (the recent convert) and Selina (his wife.) We invited her to be baptized again. She said maybe, but we'll see. She needs to read and pray. At night we had dinner with the Jiangs and the Xiongs; they have become good friends. Sister Xiong rescheduled her baptism for July 11th. I hope it happens, that would be a cool miracle. I am praying for it, but if it doesn't happen I am not stressed. She will get baptized when she is ready. Wednesday I was back with Elder Dyer we saw Louis in University Heights. He is doing well, he is going back to China in August. He will get in touch with the church when he gets there, I just barely sent him the Church in China's contact info. That night we had a good English class. I am excited to be done with those for a while. It is tiring. Thursday we saw Tony and Tina again. They moved to Fontana, which is a poorer area about 20 minutes from here. They are struggling to adjust. Keep them in your prayers. At night we had correlation wtih Brother Miao. It is always fun to go his house for meetings, because they always give us good snacks. All the members are signing up to feed us and on weekend we will have a big party with everyone to send me off. I am excited, but also super sad. I have been spending language study writing cards to everyone. I wanted to ask if we know what phone number I will have when I get back, and I wanted to ask parker to help me make a wechat (Chinese facebook) account so I can stay in touch with everyone. It is hard to leave here, but I am planning to keep in contact with everyone. Friday I was on exchanges again. We had a lesson with Shell and her friend Hank. Shell commented on how good a teacher I had become. We also contacted a referral that Sister Jiang gave us. Her name is mao yin yin. They are so golden. It was crazy. They came to church yesterday and when they were asked to introduce, they basically bore testimony of how good they felt here. They are probably going to get baptized. I invited that day, but she said she needed to feel it in her heart. I think she has felt it now, so next lesson we will try again for a date. :) Saturday We had Tony's baptism!! He was 20 minutes late which was stressful, but it was all good in the end. In the afternoon we saw the An family. They were nice, but he really doesn't want to change his ways with tea. He does want to donate money though, he is very well off, and has a custom built cell phone. They are feeding us lunch this week too. These next two weeks, I will probably eat nothing but Chinese. At night we went contacting at this big fair thing that Eastvale puts on. We talked to a lot of people and lots of members saw us and thanked us for coming representing the church even during the supreme court decision. To be honest no one even talked to us about that, but the members were glad to see us. We were trying to get out, when we ran into the Liang family. They were happy to see us there too. They are so solid and awesome. They came to Tony's baptism that day. Well by then it was 9:00 already and the firework show started. We ran back to the car and we got in at 9:34 really sweaty.  Sunday we had a good day at church. President Mullen came, and met some Chinese members. We had a good night of contacting people in the streets at dusk. The weather is perfect at that time, and their are great sunsets. I will miss that about CA. Ok I love you all. Thanks for the money. I will buy a suitcase today! Love you! -Elder Murray

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22 Week 98 - "Mom Loves Me and Knows How much it Hurts" - So does our Savior; LIang, Deng, Xiongs, Ryan and Selina, David, Ans, Luo Yan and Melissa, Liu Yue and Evelyn, Tony and Tina - Tony Baptism is Saturday

Well this week seems like it went by so fast. I agree  - I wish that this group was together more than one transfer. It is fun. This week we had interviews with President on Tuesday. Mine was literally just 5 minutes since I just had my outgoing last week. That day we had lunch with the Liang family that just got baptized. They made homemade noodles that were so good. We had a good lesson with them after. Sister Liang still has a lot of questions, but was comforted by the fact that we all have questions and things we don't understand. At night we saw the Deng family. Sister Deng still is just too busy to listen. It is a bummer. We ate dinner with the Xiongs. It was delicious. Sister Xiong should be getting baptized this weekend! Keep her in your prayers. She is still a little unsure. Then we saw Ryan and Selina. We ended up having a good lesson with them. Wednesday we had our DDM meetings then we went to eat lunch with a RC named David. It was nice to see him before he left for China. He went to church over there yesterday. Then we met a new family named the An's. They are interested, but are really into drinking high end tea. At night we helped a Luo Yuan and Melissa enroll their kid in kindergarten. Thursday we went to the temple! At night we saw Liu Yue and Evelyn. They had us over for a Chinese style BBQ. It was really good. Then we met with Tony and Tina at the Jiangs. Everything is going good with them. Tony is getting baptized this Saturday. We committed them to getting married in the temple and they said yes! They are so awesome! Friday I was on exchanges with the Eastvale 2nd Elders. We biked in the Sun all day, and got in no lessons. It was a really hard day, but I felt good. We tried our best and talked with everyone we saw. I wasn't disappointed. The Lord always blesses you when you try. Saturday we went on splits. I went and saw a really not solid investigator named Jasmine. She isn't really that interested. Elder Dyer saw the Liangs with another Elder. Sunday we had lots of people show up to church. We are having a lot of good success at the parks at night now that it is summer. All the Chinese families are coming out. It is a fun time to be a missionary in Eastvale. Yesterday was also the Dragon Boat Festival so Elder Zeng made us a really good meal. I love this dish called Liang Mian. It is spicy cold noodles. So good. I think Conner might like it.  Ok that is pretty much all from this week! I am really just enjoying this last few weeks. Everyone is inviting us for dinner to say goodbye. The Chinese members have been especially nice saying that they will miss my translations in church, and that I should marry a Chinese wife and come back to help them get a branch out here. I love it here, but I am ready to come home. Last night at dinner. We were talking with the family about charitable acts that others had done for them. The youngest son talked about how his mom had stayed up with him a good part of the night because he had cramps from swimming. We asked him why his mom would do that, to try to help he see the kind of love that Christ has for us. His response was. "Because she really loves me, and know how much it hurts." I really felt the spirit. We testified that Christ is the same way. He really loves us, and because of the Atonement he knows exactly how much everything hurts. So he is the there to perfectly comfort and succor us. I understand that scripture in Alma 7 more than I did before! I love you all see you soon! -Elder Murray

June 15 Week 97 - Soccer with Tony; Yoyo and George; Visiting Qiu's at right moment before he went back to Taiwan, Exit Interview, Hannah, Sichuan Food, Ryan and Selina

YAY!! Thank you so much for getting my classes all figured out!  You guys are awesome! I am super excited-  it should be a fun time.  I am trying not to get too bummed about my mission ending because I have a lot of fun stuff to look forward to.  Life is all good.  

I want to finish my mission strong, and be obedient like I have tried to do my whole mission.  President has made a huge deal about not "dying" (slacking) before your mission is over.  

Ok so this week we had a great meeting with Elder and Sister Nelsen of the Seventy who just so happens to be in our stake.  They gave some great training.  I really enjoyed them.  They talked some about the enabling  power of the atonement, and we read a talk Dad sent to me at the beginning of my mission.  We talked about getting along with companions, and the safe use of technology.  It was really a good day.  I felt uplifted.  After the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders had a meeting with him.   It was good. 

Wednesday was pretty regular.  We met with Tony.  He is doing great!  He played soccer with us today, and he participated a lot in gospel principles yesterday.  At English class that night we met a cool new couple named Yoyo and George.  They are very nice, and said maybe to baptism as they learn more.  

Thursday we saw Liu Yue.  Evelyn is really pregnant, and Liu Yue is working in a restaurant.  They are doing ok, but aren't making church a priority which is sad.  They said after they have the baby, they will come, but I am worried about them.  Please keep them in your prayers.  At night we had a cool experience.  We did a split and during the split all my appointments fells through, so we went to see the Qiu's.  Sister Qiu lives here with her non-member husband.  He dad was living here, and he was one of the first members baptized in Taiwan.  He got a medal when from the church at the 50th anniversary of the church in Taiwan.  He is really old, and had, mild dementia.  Well turns out we should up the night before he left to go to an old folks home in Taiwan.  Sister Qiu couldn't take care of him anymore, and was really sad.  She was really touched we came, and said that the spirit had told us to come.  It always feels so good when the Lord puts you in the right place at the right time to do what he would do.  So we said goodbye to Brother Qiu and wished him a safe trip,  and said a prayer with them.  It was a very special experience.  

Friday we had a busy day.  I also had my exit interview with President Mullen.  It was fine, nothing crazy.  We talked about accounting, he told me he highly recommends looking about BYU's masters program for accounting, and keeping my Chinese up so I can work in Hong Kong or Taiwan for one of the big 4 companies, which I hadn't even heard of.  He also said I need to start dating immediately...   

Saturday we got another new investigator named Hannah.  She has had lots of encounters with the church before.  She is really nice, and interested in the church.  However, not sure about baptism yet.  At night we had a great dinner, of Sichuan food.  It is so spicy, but so good.  I don't want to eat it because it burns my mouth, but it tastes so amazing, I just keep eating it.  Love hate relationship. At night we went to see Ryan and Selina.

Sunday the Liangs came to church.  It was really fun to have them there, and meet the members and get confirmed.  They are a great addition to the ward!  

Ok so there is a recent convert from UCR that is going to Salt Lake.  Her name is ZiJin.  I gave her your guy's number, just in case she had any problems.  If you and her schedules work out you could meet up.  She is really nice, and is thinking about going to BYU, that is why she is going to Utah, to check out the campus.    Her English is really good.  

I love  you guys! See you in a month
-Elder Murray

June 8 Week 96 - Back with Dyer, Ryan Baptism, Liang Baptism, Cool Miracles this week, Liang Baptism, Shelly is RS Secretary

This week has been pretty amazing, but also a little stressful.  I love being with Elder Dyer.  One of my favorite companions.    It has been a fun week with a lot of miracles.  

On Monday after emailing I went with Elder Dyer and Zeng to send Elder Schoonmaker off.  He was really excited, and all the students there were really bummed to see him go. 

The next day after we helped two investigators get fingerprinted for their green cards.  

It was fun to work with the UCR students.  They are all new to me.  They have a good group of new members there.  They are all fun, and are also good friends.  At night we saw Ryan and Selina.  Elder Merriman talked to them one of our day's on bike months ago.  Ryan finally decided to get baptized this Saturday!  Selina is still Buddhist, but I believe one day she'll come around.  

On Wednesday we went out to do finding, and the first person we talked to turned out to be a Chinese person.  She invited us to sit down.  Then she just started attacking the church.  I could see it wasn't really going anywhere, and tried to end it.    At night we had English class.  There is this girl there named Cola who was on date but then dropped us because of coffee and tea, and communist parents.

Thursday we had to take our car in to get fixed.  We taught a girl at the institute named Aggie and put her on date.  She isn't solid though.  We had a correlation meeting with Brother Miao.  I love their family.  I am going to miss them.  At night we say the Liang family.  I think I talked about them when I went on exchanges with Elder Zeng last week.  They were having a rough day.  "Luckily" that day I had put a Chinese Ensign in my bag for some reason, and it had an article that we shared, that I think really helped them.  They told us that they were planning on getting baptized that Sunday in Rolland Heights, since they were taught/had been attending there.  So Elder Dyer called President and he called their President and they said that the Liangs could get baptized there, but they needed to be confirmed here.  So that means the baptisms counted for our mission... President was pretty excited for us.  He even gave us permission to go see the baptism.

Friday we had ZDM.  It went off pretty well.  It is fun to have Sister Sterner in the Zone.  She is a great missionary!    We did our weekly planning that night.  We also ate at Sister Zhangs.  She made some really good Taiwanese food.  I was in heaven.  

Saturday we had Ryan's baptism.  It was really good.  Ryan bore testimony about how he wanted his kid to grow up in a church environment, and how he felt different in our church then he had in any other.  It was a well attended baptism too.  

Sunday at church we had a miracle.  This guy just showed up, he moved from  Maine and his friend told him to come to church.  He came and was asking how he could get baptized.  I have been overwhelmed with all the cool little miracles that have come this week.  

We went to the baptism with Bishop L and Brother X.  Bishop L told us about his wife.  He basically single-handedly started the coconut water craze.  He went on his mission to Brazil, and is a runner.  He later went to MBA school, and did a study abroad in Brazil.  He made a business plan, and started working with an already existing company is Brazil to get it started.  It took off.  He lives really normal though.  He drives a Toyota from 2002.  He said he doesn't need to work, but feels that his kids need to see Dad go to work everyday.  It was cool to hear his testimony about how the Lord has blessed him, as he is always trying to do his best.  He is a great bishop.  

The baptism was great.  They were happy to see us there.  They both gave great testimonies, and expressed gratitude for being led to the church in the US.  They were really impressed with the part in the Book of Mormon that said that all those that come to America are led by the had of God.  After we translated bishops welcome to the ward for them.  Then I saw Shelly from UCR.  She has moved to that ward, and has been active there ever since.  It was fun to see her.  She was really excited.  She is doing great as the Relief Society Secretary!  It was really cool to see the area.  All the signs were in Chinese everything.  The banks the hospital, even the church had one!  It was really fun to see!

Ok that is all this week.  I am really just enjoying this last part of the mission and trying to run hard to keep up with all the work the Lord is blessing us with!  I love you all!
-Elder Murray

June 1 Week 95 - Transfers back to Chinese to be Zone leader with Elder Dyer; DJ; 3 Woods Cross Missionaries in same Eastvale ward; Getting back out after disappointment blesses single mom with broken car

Big news of the week!!  Transfers.  This one threw me for a loop.  I am still a Zone Leader... but not with Elder Muir.  I am with Elder Dyer.  I get to go back Chinese for my last transfer!!!  We are all 4 living in one apartment, and Merriman and Zeng will be together.    It should be a good transfer.  Hopefully we will see Sister Xiong baptized, and many others.  I am excited to work with the Zone and Elder Dyer again.  Lots to keep me busy and focused.  
Well this week was full of a lot of challenges.  So DJ almost said he didn't even want to meet anymore, we barely convinced him to keep meeting with missionaries to learn and come closer to Christ even if his Mom won't let him get baptized right now.  So hopefully the next missionaries will work well with him. 
Oh I just though of some other news.  Sister Sterner is coming back here to be in the same ward and the same zone as me.  She will be an STL with Sister Cozzens.  It is too weird how things work out.  3 Woods Cross missionaries in the same ward in Eastvale, CA. 
This week we also had a nice meeting with President and Sister Mullen and all the leaders in the mission.  We got lots of good trainings.  I am really excited to try to help our zone do the best that they can!!   We have a great Zone and should do well these next few months.  I think the ideas President had were really inspired and will help a lot with problems the mission has.  I am so grateful for my patriarchal blessing.  It helps me to strive my very best to see all the good, and learn all I can from President Mullen.  If I didn't have that I might not have tried to learn or admire him as much as I do now. 
 In other news Lucy had to move in with her mom, who is against her taking the lessons, so she dropped us.  It was really sad.  I suggested that we go park in a neighborhood, and just walk and talk to people to get over our sadness.  (I have found that just getting out and doing stuff is the best way to get over sadness, it forces me to focus on something else, and smile)  Well as we got out I talked to this lady who turned out to be a single mom member.  Her car was broken and she needed help pushing it.  So we helped her push it a few blocks back to her house.  The family was really grateful and said we were sent by God.  I think we were.  It was a good reminder that getting out and doing service also helps us cope with hard times.  Cool little experience. 
Alright so that is pretty much all the news I can think of this week.  It was full of lots of walking around in the heat, avoiding angry dogs. 
Last night I went out with a team up, (it was the guy that invited DJ over for lessons)  he told me I was an amazing missionary, and that my future was going to be really bright.  I felt really good after. I always struggle giving compliments to others, sometimes it just is awkward, but I should do it more, because it really makes others feel good. 
Alright love you guys see you in just a bit!!!
-Elder Murray

May 25 Week 94 - Max Baptism - Holy Ghost Talk and Prompting - Met due to slippers; DJ, Jerome, Johny, Ethan and Jamie, Diana and Lucy

So this week was rough.  When President Mullen called to tell me I was going English he said the Lord had told him I needed a challenge.  Well I think this week was part of it.   So the most bummer thing is DJ, he cancelled our appointment, told us his mom disapproves of the church, and then left to Vegas for the long weekend and stopped responding to us.  Super sad.  We will keep trying though.

So on Monday we saw Jerome the recent convert.  He is doing ok.  He got a job and is super busy.  He didn't come to church on Sunday, which was sad as well.  

Tuesday we had Multi-Zone conference.  I had to give a training with Elder Muir on dinner thoughts. I also had to give my outgoing testimony since this was my last conference.  It was nice to get done with no tears.  I am not a big public crier.  After that we met with a referral from the Spanish sisters.  She was nice, but her husband is a pastor in another church.  So we'll see if she keeps the return appointment.  

Wednesday we did some service at an old folks home.  We moved some furniture.  It was nice to help out a little bit.  We did a lot of biking this week since we are low on miles for the month.  It was nice and cool this week though, so that was a blessing.  So after doing service we biked and tried to see people with no luck.  We did see Jonny and his Mom and Dad.  They are more open to having him get baptized after meeting with the bishop.  However, they missed church this week and cancelled the appointment where they were going to sign the baptismal permission slip.  

Thursday we did planning and at night we met with the new family from last week.  I can't remember if I put this in, but we talked to the wife last week on the street, not realizing she was a member.  We are teaching her and their 11 year old son Ethan right now.  They are nice, the son is willing to get baptized, but didn't want to set a date.  The mom Jamie is not so interested, but oh well.

Friday was exchanges.  EVERYONE cancelled that day.  It was a real bummer.  All the team ups that came out with us were kind of annoyed, that everything fell through, but hey that is missionary work sometimes.  Saturday got a little better.  We got two member presents with Diana and Lucy.  They are both doing so well.  Diana will be baptized June 27th!!!  So solid.  We also had lunch that day at a new Thai place in Eastvale.  We got mango sticky rice for dessert; man that stuff is good!

Saturday Max Z also got baptized.  I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and talked about how Elder Carling and I had felt the Holy Ghost to go to the neighborhood to find them the day that we did.  Afterward he and his wife said that the story was cool, because they had already left for the day, but realized Max was only wearing slippers, so they came back just to switch shoes, so we caught them in the driveway at just the right time!  Pretty great bapitsm.  I really felt the spirit there, and so did his wife.  She was crying, and is on date for June!

Sunday only Lucy came to church, so that was hard.  Then we couldn't find a new investigator, so we didn't hit standard. It was so hard to come so close but not hit it.  We had someone questionable we could've counted, but I felt it was better to just be honest, and not worry about the honors of men.  The AP wasn't happy, but I feel good.  I tried really hard.  

I love you guys the trip sounds so fun, I can't wait to be with you all together!!!

-Elder Murray

May 18 Week 93 - Better letter next week AND ELDER MURRAY COMES HOME JULY 14 and his HOMECOMING (and brother's farewell) WILL BE JUL 19

Ok I have like 0 time because I spent all my time looking at the classes (that we sent him to review for BYU).  This week was good.  I will have to play catch up next week.

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 11 Week 92 - Basketball Pday, Canadian Converts teach great lesson, Exchanges with Dyer and Sister Xiong agrees to meet each week, DJ comes to Edwin Feng Baptism, Lucy comes to a baptism, Working for Standard

It was so awesome to talk to you guys. I am super tired right now, I played one on one with an elder from our zone. He isn't very good at basketball either, but not horrible. Anyone I barely won. It was fun. I have grown to enjoy basketball a lot more on my mission. So grateful for the court out back and all the money you guys paid for me to play on teams. I probably didn't make the most of either, but now I am so glad that I at least know what to do, and I don't just have to sit on the stage awkwardly. Ok well I onto the week. Monday we had a missionary couple that works in the office come with us to visit a recent convert who relapsed into smoking cigarettes. It was a really good lesson. This couple is super awesome. They are converts from Canada. Their accent is the best, and they are so nice. Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Dyer. It was fun to be back with him again. We had a good day, and put someone on date. We saw Sister Xiong that night. We had a good lesson with her finally. She agreed to meeting with us every week! I hope they follow up on that... I will follow up with them. Wednesday we did some service in the morning for this guy in the ward. We leveled out part of his backyard. Then we did our studies and weekly planning since the next day was Missionary Leadership Council. MLC. 

Pictures from Down by Riverside blog

At night we tried a bunch of potentials, but no one answered. Thursday we had the meeting. It was really good. We did get chastised, because the area and zone didn't do very well last month. There was lots of good training form President and Sister Mullen. Sister Mullen talked about how our last couple transfers are the ones where we take everything we have learned and use it to be the very best we can. It was really inspiring. Especially because the attitude of the mission recently has been you sort of "die" at the end of you mission. At night we had a good lesson with DJ. We moved his date to May 31st. He was cool with it. We had a good member there with us. After we had a lesson with Diana (she is the one that is super solid, but needs to get work off.) So she isn't progressing right now. Things will work out, I think she will get baptized before I go home. Friday we had the Zone Development Meeting ZDM. So we basically just repeated everything said in the day before's meeting. It was good though. I think our zone was really excited. We had one struggling companionship, buck up and hit standard this week! That was good. Then we taught Wendy (the lady in the old folks community). She isn't coming to church so we have to stop teaching her soon or "drop" as the English missionaries say. At night we went to our ward mission leader's house and asked for referrals, but that was about it. Saturday we were really behind on lessons. So we had a long day. DJ came and watched Edwin Feng's baptism!!! It was really good, I had to translate for him since it was in Chinese. Then we tried to visit a lot of old potentials we found in the area book. Elder Zeng made us hot pot for lunch at 12:00. It was really good. It is really spicy.
Edwin Feng Baptism from Dyer Blog

Hot Pot by Elder Zeng from Dyer Blog

 Then we went out and tried to visit more people. We got a couple lessons with less actives, and Jonny (the little kid that we are trying to baptized), before we had to go to another baptism for the ward. Lucy came. She really enjoyed it and felt the recognized the spirit. She said she was excited for her own. Sunday we were stressing. We needed one new investigator to hit the Standard and 3 people at church. Well Lucy cancelled because her daughter took her out for Mother's day. DJ cancelled for no reason... big bummer. But we still had 3 committed to come. So we went out early and luckily one of the people from the area book turned out to be solid. His name is Narciso. So he picked him up and thought ok we are home free. However, only 2 of the 3 showed up to church. So after church we still needed to find two. I was really stressed. Luckily talking to you guys calmed me down a bit. Afterwards we cut dinner short, and went crazy trying to visit people. Finally Elder Muir said there was a family they had dropped for not coming to church nearbye. So we went and picked them up again so we got the two new. We had worked so hard so it was nice to meet standard after all. Anyways that is the week! ILY -Elder Murray

May 4 Week 91- Bro Xiong Stake Conference Talk was highlight of mission; Never Happier; Daisy the recent convert, Lucy lives Word of Wisdom, DJ commits to baptism, Diana tries to get work off

Well I might have to make this a little short as my companions computer is not working so that is a problem. So we will be face timing at 5:00 or 6:00 Cali time. I am super excited!!!! I can't wait to talk to you all! Ok so to the week. We meet with a recent convert named Daisy on Monday. She is really funny, and very nice. I love working with recent converts! Tuesday we had to go to a weekly planning meeting. That was interesting. Oh by the way President was very strict on just 40 minutes for calls. It's ok though. I will see you guys pretty soon after!!! After the meeting we went out to see a referral that wasn't interested with the gospel as much as she was learning about family history. So we referred her to the family history people. Wednesday I went on exchanges with the AP's which was fun. I helped put a family on date for baptism. Our AP's right now are both really cool. Thursday we had to train our Zone on how to do weekly planning. It went well. I enjoyed it. Friday we had an interesting lesson with our investigator named Wendy. She is really nice, but she isn't that committed. She has missed church 3 times now, so we will have to drop her pretty soon. At night we had a good lesson with Lucy. Her husband can't come out to baptize her until September. So that is a bummer. However, she is super solid. She is living the word of wisdom. The first day she had a lot of headaches, but after the first day she was ok. Saturday we had a pretty slow day. We saw a less active family that is really nice, but not that interested in coming to church. At night we had stake conference! It was fun to translate it again!!! I really enjoy learning and speaking Chinese. I can't wait to continue to use it at home. Sunday was a highlight of my mission. Brother Xiong spoke in stake conference. HE DID FANTASTIC. He bore a really powerful testimony and all the speakers after commented on it. He talked about how he started to wonder if God was there after his father passed away. He talked about how grateful he was to know the plan of salvation and that he has a Father in Heaven to help him. He also talked about how he had faith that one day Sister Xiong will get baptized and go to the temple with him. It was really really good. He is so amazing. I am so glad I got a chance to meet him. It made coming to Riverside worth it! This whole experience has been really hard and a big challenge, but the moments when I feel the spirit, when I feel close to Christ, and when I can see him helping people through me have helped me get through. I have never been happier in my whole life.
Translating at Stake Conference from Dyer Blog

 After church we had a lesson with a former investigator named D.J. Apparently he is sincere, but he likes to debate. He asked a question "How do I know the feelings I have are from God, and not just me creating them." We were able to answer this question by telling him that we have to choose to have faith rather than doubt. Then he said. "So I should just get baptized." :) We put him on date right after that. He seems pretty cool. On Diana is doing good. She is talking to her boss to get work off, and then she should be baptized on Jun 27th. Things are going good out here. It is even cooling off a little bit. Talk to yall on Sunday!!! -Elder Murray

April 27 Week 90 - Week of Change: Almond milk, Speaking English, Little Mexico; Elder Muir, Elder Zeng, Lucy, Diana and Jonny

Well this week has been full of changes. First I decided to try drinking almond milk instead of regular milk. I tried it on exchanges last transfer and thought it was pretty good, so I bought some this week. I think since I am so used to skim milk, it isn't that big of a change. Another change is the new area. Night and day. Just over the freeway from Eastvale in Mirao Loma. It is absolutely crazy that they are so close to each other yet they are so different. (see the quote) It is the area that you guys google mapped when I first came in and asked if it the part of California I was in was really rural. The missionaries call this place little Mexico. Some of our lessons I have not understood because the member and investigator were talking in Spanish. The investigator pool is really different now too. In Eastvale and UCR I worked with pretty educated people, but some people here really struggle reading anything, let alone the Book of Mormon. It is really different work than what I am used to. I am really enjoying it though. It feels like more of adventure out here. With the roads flooding, dogs biting my shoes, and no sidewalks, it feels more like how I pictured missionary work before I came out. I live in a home share in Mira Loma, California. The Mom and Dad are really nice, and they have a son named Bryce. Bryce is 15, and he really likes having missionaries there since all his siblings are grown up now. He comes in and talks to us every night. My new companion is Elder Muir from Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been really good in helping me get adjusted to English work. For example instead of flat out saying "we want to share about how a prophet restored Christ's original church" which works for Chinese work, Elder Muir always says "We want to help you grow your faith in Christ." We have a lot of meetings this week. It should be a lot of fun. I just got my suit dry cleaned, and and sewed up the back pocket which got ripped. So I should look good for all the meetings. I just have to say that I have really felt helped a lot this week. I was amazed at how quickly I got the hang of things, and how I wasn't sad and missing Chinese all the time. I have been blessed with the ability to be more grateful for things, and more self discipline to study Chinese in every spare second of free time I have. I feel like I haven't lost it yet. So here is a quick rundown of the highlights of the week. Tuesday we went at 4:00am to drop off Elder Carling and Elder Dalmer.

Dropping off Elder Carling (Murray and Dyer), Elder Dalmer, Elder Jones from Dyer blog

 While there I ran into Elder Simmons from the MTC. It was cool to see him there. He was dropping someone off too. He was the Zone Leader of the first all Chinese speaking Zone outside of Taiwan. Sounds like he is doing good. Wednesday we had meetings and I met Elder Zeng (Elder Dyer's new companion.) He is really cool. He reminds me a lot of Shawn Choi. Same sense of humor. I have asked a lot of Chinese questions to him. So that will help me not lose my Chinese too; along with having to go help at English class. Since Elder Zeng is learning English himself, he can't really teach it that well, so Elder Dyer asked me to come. Heavenly Father has got my back. Elder Zeng's story is cool. They had a friend that introduced him and his mom to the church when he was 13 and living in Cheng Du. They had to fly to Hong Kong to be baptized. His Dad is still not a member, but fingers crossed. So get this they have not one but 2 branches in his city cheng du. From these two branches they have 20 missionaries out. I am talking native mainland China people that all got baptized out of China. So crazy. That is just one city. I am so glad to know the church is doing well there. I am excited to see it grow through my life, and feel like I helped with it a little.
Elder Dyer and Elder Zeng from Down by Riverside Blog

 Ok so our investigators. We have this really solid person named Lucy. She wants to wait till September though so her husband can fly from Texas to baptize her. We have Jonny who is 8. His parents are not interested, but he is coming to church. Then we have Diana who 21 and knows everything is true, but is getting a lot of grief from here Catholic family. Ok sorry I to not do a play by play, but that is who we are working with. I will write more on them next week. They are all awesome and I love them all! Notable Quoteables: Me to Elder Zeng at district meeting (before he knew I spoke Mandarin) "You speak Chinese?" Him "Yes, well Mandarin." Me "Oh that is so cool! Can you say something to me? Or like ask a question in Chinese?" Him "Um ok, "Ni cong nali lai?" (where are you from in Chinese.) He was pretty shocked when I responded. Everyone got a kick out of it. Elder Muir introducing me to the area. "This section and this section are pretty ok, but then everything else is just poverty." (It isn't that bad, but definitely won't be walking around some places at night.) I Love you guys! -Elder Murray

April 20 Week 89 - Transfer Call to be English speaking Zone Leader, Laughter at night made me think I was home, Edwin Deng, Become Christ-like through pain, suffering and service, Big Wild Fire

Transfer calls - I am going to be a Zone Leader in the ward right next to here. Jurupa 2nd. It means I can be by Elder Dyer and Zeng still so I can practice Chinese with them. So that is good. I asked President if I would be back, and he said most likely. So I think things worked out as best as they could have. Keep praying that all goes smoothly and I go back to Eastvale 1st for my last transfer! Ok so this week we hit standard. All the walking around paid off, with getting us 3 new investigators. Some of them seem pretty solid. Elder Dyer will have some good potential to work with next transfer. The first one was this old lady we talked to when our appointment fell through. Usually old people aren't interested, but this one was, and even told us where she lived. So we went back and found out that she and her daughter Amber were totally looking at churches to attend. So they came on Sunday! I think they liked it! Amber's two daughters weren't so good with primary and nursery though. The other guy is named Zhang. We talked to him one day when we were just walking around. He is a recent immigrant that is renting a room in the Xiong's neighborhood. Brother Xiong is an excellent missionary and came with us to teach the lesson. He seems pretty interested. He is bringing his family to church next week! ther news on the Xiongs. Brother Xiong is just awesome. He has been reading "Our Heritage" recently. We had a nice discussion on Church history this week. He also got his temple recommend interview on Sunday. Sister Xiong sat in on the interview. I don't know if that is ok or not, but it happened. I translated for them so I sat in too. Brother Xiong explained some of the temple to sister Xiong and how they have to get married again for eternity in the temple. Sister Xiong just said "what do we have to do to prepare?" I said "get baptized!" Then I asked when she wanted to get baptized. She said "right now." Then Brother Xiong said. "You have to meet with us together and read the scriptures then." Then came Sister Xiong's classic reply. "I am too busy!" Darn it. She is closer now though. I can tell how hard Bro Xiong is trying to be nice since his baptism. Baptism/Christ's atonement really does change people for the better! Sister Xiong will be baptized one day I know it! I want to just thank you guys again for being such great parents. This week I was falling asleep, and Elder Dyer and Dalmer were up past 10:30. I was half asleep when I heard laughing and I thought I was back at home. There were lots of times when I was trying to fall asleep and you and Dad came upstairs and laughed about something and woke me up. It used to bug me. Now I realize how cool it is that I have two parents who laugh with each other. Seeing lots of families on my mission has shown me it isn't always that way. Thank you! Edwin Feng is doing good. He didn't come to church though. So his baptismal date will have to be moved back. He is so ready though. He asked me to come with him to the DMV. But it doesn't look like I will be able to go, so we need to find someone to help him. That is sort of stressful. This Sunday there was a great talk on how we become more like Christ as we serve others. He said as we going through pain and suffering for others (just like Christ did) we become more like him, and Christ is proud of us for following his example. It made me think about how sometimes when people are rude to me it literally pains me to bite my tongue and smile and not say anything back. It doesn't feel good. However, I know that Christ is pleased when I try to act like him. Also this week we saw a big fire. I drove by it with Elder Carling. I forgot to write that in.
Pic of Fire from Elder Jacob Dyer Blog

 Ok that is all this week! ILY -Elder Murray

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13 Week 88 - Account too high, Always say your Prayers, Xiong and Jiangs teach Edwin and answer tough questions, Walking and Talking while Car is fixed,

Ok so funny story. So I have been trying really hard to practice saving money on my mission. So I haven't bought a lot. If we go out to eat. I get something really cheap and small. For food from the grocery story, I just buy a lot of different types of vegetables and rice, and try to make Chinese food. So I have saved up quite a bit. Well the church did an audit, and told President to call and ask my about my account because it was "abnormally high." So he told me to just go ahead and spend it, or else they won't give me more money next month. So I am thinking about fast offering a lot of it. Sort of a funny thing to get a call from President for. I hope I can keep up the habit when I get home. I forgot to bring my journal so no day by day play. Here is an interesting lesson learned this week. So last week Elder Dyer and Dalmer were rear ended by an Indian man. So their car was in the shop. Then while it was there they also decided to fix some scratches I put in the front from hitting a bush a couple months ago. I didn't think a little bush could do so much damage. So Elder Dyer took our car and we have had to walk a lot because Elder Carling has no bike. It has been fun. We have talked to a lot of people.
Elder Murray on right at car inspection from Down by Riverside blog
Well one day we go out and I remembered we forgot to say a prayer. We were already out on the street though. I remembered and should've stopped to say one, but for some reason (the evil spirit that teaches a man not to pray 2 NE 32:9) I didn't. Well the rest of the day was completely awful. Appointments all fell through. We got lectured by a misinformed Chinese christian, and then yelled at by a crazy guy. We got home that night sunburned, and really tired. I vowed never to miss a going out prayer again. So the next day we go out, we said a prayer. The day started out about the same. No one wanted to listen. Then all the sudden we found this guy named Mr. Li. He was out smoking in his garage. He was so nice to us, and said we can come back this week! I was so happy. Lesson learned! Ok so update on Edwin Feng. We have brought the Jiangs and Brother Xiong to meet with him the past two lessons. Edwin has asked tough questions. When Xiong was there he asked about LGBT and abortion and Brother Xiong did amazing! He said "well I read in the Ensign" and proceeded to give a perfect answer. Edwin was really impressed. I was too. Brother Xiong is pretty amazing. He should be going to the temple to do baptism for the dead the next two weeks! Then he asked the Jiangs why the church doesn't release an exact transcript of what all the tithing money is used for. The Jiangs just bore their testimony of tithing, and how they saw that all the local leaders were so good and sacrificed so much time with no pay. So they believed that the leaders of the church would not use the money the wrong way. I really am impressed with them! The Jiangs are so solid too. Edwin really liked their answer too! He came to church yesterday. Lawrence Pu got confirmed so that was good for him to see. Alright lets see what else happened this week... that was pretty much it. Most of it was walking around talking to people on the street. It is tiring, but also kind of fun. It is like a new challenge everyday. It is fun trying new ways to approach people or navigate to talking about the gospel. I love it. I am really trying to live up this last couple of months!!! Ok well that is all this week! I love you guys and wish you the best! ILY -Elder Murray

April 6 Week 87- Last Mission Field General Conference, President is looking out for our future...use good grammar, Long Ge and Shuai drop, Edwin, 1000 year old egg and talk to Everyone

Conference was great! I was sad it was my last one. It is really fun watching conference as a missionary! I brought my notes so I could remember what I liked the best. I really liked how Elder Parker told us our spirits can be totally healed with no scars. What a great blessing that we don't have to live forever with scars from past sins, we can be fully healed through the atonement! Lots of encouragement to get married. All the missionaries were a little freaked out with how much there was of it on Saturday. Do you guys notice that too? Also what was with the yelling during the sustaining. Sort of made me angry. Ok I also liked Elder Renlund when he said that in God's eyes we really aren't all that different. Conference always makes me realize I have a lot to work on, and makes me so grateful for the enabling power of the atonement. There is so much I wanted to write you guys about, but I realize I don't have a lot of time so... just ask me when I get home to share more about conference with you! I will add this though. I really liked Elder Eyring's priesthood session talk about being in touch with the spirit as we do the work of the Lord. It reminded me to be more bold as I am calling people to repent! Ok that is all. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Can't wait to hear all your thoughts. Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Parker and Dad this weekend. I forgot this morning when I was writing letters, so I promise there will be two letters next week for you guys! This week was pretty interesting. We had a lot of meetings. I wanted to share one experience from them. So President Mullen sent out an announcement through the Zone Leaders, telling us to correct our grammar, and be sure to say Elder Carling and I, not me and Elder Carling. At first when they told us the announcement, I rolled my eyes and thought "President is really critical and picky." Then they told us President wanted to make sure we changed it before we got into job and college interviews. He was just trying to look out for us. I learned that I am the one that needs to be less critical. Lesson learned. We met with Edwin Feng this week. He is so solid. He loved conference, and taught the restoration to his wife. Who unfortunately is not interested at this time. He is golden. What a blessing to find him. He is my first investigator to show up to church the first time with a tie!!! He should be baptized this month! Keep him in your prayers! :) Ok really quick summary of the week. Monday we saw Long Ge. He really likes us, but he isn't keeping commitments and isn't really as interested in learning about church as we thought. It's a bummer, we have to limit how much we go over there until he starts getting more interested. Tuesday we saw Lina. She is doing good. She came to conference as well! She is moving to Alhambra this week, so we have to move her records over there. We also saw Lawrence with Brother Jiang. We talked about recognizing the spirit. It was a really good lesson. Wednesday we had a trainer trainee meeting. English class was ok. At night we saw the Xiong's and Sister Xiong sat in, and she really liked the temple magazine that you guys sent. She left halfway through though. Bummer. Thursday we saw Edwin, and then spent a long long time talking to people on the streets. No success yet, but if I have learned anything it's that you just have to keep talking with EVERYONE, because eventually you will find someone who will listen. Friday we had Zone meeting. It was good, but really long. We had English class at night. We had dinner at the Miao's. They gave us 1,000 year old egg. Look it up, or look at Elder Carling's blog for pictures. I was not a fan of it. It is black, and the yolk is like gooey black tar. I asked how it was made, and they didn't know. Saturday and Sunday were conference. We did see Shuai in between sessions, he dropped us. Oh well. On to find new people this week. We don't have a car for the beginning part of the week for repairs. So hopefully we can find some new people as we are biking around! Sunday night we helped Sister Chen with computer stuff again. Then this other Chinese member that just moved here, invited us in. They were really cool. He was baptized in 1971 and is super cool. It was nice to meet them. There house was really nice inside too. Ok well that is the week. Thanks for the package. The music is great. I love those Reeses eggs. I love you guys hope you all are great!! -Elder Murray

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Mar 30 Week 86 - Lawrence's Baptism on Saturday, Dong jie mei and unpaid clergy, Quiet but great District, Atonement and Interview with Christ from Adjusting to Missionary Life, Elder Carling does great job teaching on his own, Guide Dog Quotable

Lawrence's baptism was great! Well attended. He was very excited. It was definitely a place where I could feel the spirit. This random guy just walked into our baptism named Omar. He just saw the visitors welcome sign outside. Pretty neat. We got his number and gave him to the English Elders. I have a picture of the baptism to send. I won't forget!!
Ok well let's see I am trying to remember all that happened this week. On Monday we went to see a former investigator named Dong jie mei. I have talked about her before I think. She loves our church and says she believes it is true. However, she is afraid of what her other church friends will think if she joins ours. We taught about the plan of salvation. Then they asked about the bishop. We taught about how they all are unpaid. They were shocked. They are going back to China for a bit. However we are excited for them to come back. Tuesday we had meetings. My district is so quiet. They are all good workers though. They are a tough crowd though. I tried to make a joke about the new rule "no tank tops on p-day." Obviously it didn't apply to anyone in our district, but they didn't laugh. Awkward. My district is really trying hard to put people on date. I know they will see success. They are all so awesome. Glad I didn't get any trouble missionaries to deal with. After meetings we helped Sister Terry move a bed from one house to another. That day we also saw Lina. Her aunt told her that we support homosexual relationships now. I told her, I haven't heard anything about that. We told her to check and let her aunt see what it says on there. The Chinese media makes a lot of speculations. So annoying. We also saw Long ge, and committed them to come to church!!! Wednesday we went out in the morning to the parks to find Chinese. There are so many. We talked to a lot of really nice Chinese people this week. They all weren't interested, but they were nice. I am really working on being more graceful with rejection. I feel like at the beginning of the mission it didn't bug me, but somewhere along the way I picked up a habit of getting a little upset and not very polite about it. I trying to be better now, and it is good. I feel better about what I am doing. They might not accept it now, but at least they have an impression that mormons are nice and not pushy, and speak Chinese :). Thursday we had interview with President. Mine was pretty good. This week I have really been impressed by the scripture in Moroni. "If you have not charity you have nothing." All the regrets I have in life are not being charitable towards people. I feel so much better about life when I treat people the nicest I can, and don' t say negative things. I am definitely far from perfect at it. I am trying though, and I believe that the Atonement can help me change! BTW HAPPY EASTER! There is a new Easter clip from the church "Because He Lives" I like last years better "Because of Him" It makes me think about all the good that Christ brings into the world through the Light of Christ and the Atonement, and his Gospel. I have really gotten a greater understanding of who Christ is and what he has done. I have a lot more love for Him, than I did before my mission. At night before I fall asleep I try to focus my thoughts on Christ. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to have an interview with him. (I always pick a cool place for the interview like the beach or a mountain) then I just think about what I would say, and how he would respond. It is a relaxation strategy from the "Adjusting to Missionary Life Guide" I highly recommend it. Oh also Thursday I had to take a missionary in my district to the doctor. So Elder Carling went with Brother Miao to a lesson we had set up. He did AWESOME!!! They taught lesson 1, word of wisdom, law of chastity, law of tithing, and set a baptismal date for April 18th!!! We found out in interview Elder Carling isn't leaving till the 21st! He might be a little bummed, but I am happy. He is a good missionary! I think he is Tai Zhong's next AP. The investigators names are Stella and Feng. Friday we went to the temple! So good. I feel the spirit every time I sit in the celestial room. I can wait to go with Parker when I get back. What a neat experience. We went to cafe rio after. I really like their rice cinnamon drink. It is really good. We hit gnarly traffic on the way back. Welcome to California! At night we saw Lawrence one last time before his baptism. Saturday the baptism was great. The rest of the day was ok. Our phone had lots of problems though. We had dinner with the Jiangs. They told me my Chinese was good and that they really liked me. They made me feel really good. I still always try to remember a quote dad sent me though. Something like a really successful person doesn't let criticism bother them too much, or compliment make them too happy. I thrive off of other's praise, so I am trying to work on that as well. Sat we saw the Xiongs, and watched the Easter movie with them. They liked it! Sister Xiong is not willing to take the lessons, but we maybe things will change when Christine their daughter gets baptized in June! So that will be cool!!! Sunday was good. We got in a lesson with the less active Deng family. They are really a good family, but they have different priorities right now. It is hard, but PMG says all we can do is love, and serve. Enduring to the end is a personal responsibility. OK that is all. Notable Quotable. Chinese member to kid. "Don't watch too much TV, it will ruin your eyes" Kid to Mom "Just buy me a puppy, and then when it grows up it can be my guide dog when I go blind. " :) -Elder Murray

Mar 23 Week 85 - St. Patrick's Day, Lina, Sister Yu, Long Ge, Great Members like Miaos and Jiangs, First Oyster, Ivy Jiang Sweet 16

I am still thinking about Parker's call to Korea. I was totally not expecting that. What a cool adventure that will be! So last Monday we found out that the Elder that Schoonmaker was training got his visa and he was off to Taiwan the next day. He didn't even get to stay a week. So they are in a trio over there. Our two visa waiters here are doing good. Elder Carling is an awesome companion. He is really helpful! He comes up with lots of good ideas. Elder Carling has been really good at thinking of good things to do or teach, and I have really appreciated it. We spent Monday night walking around a lot. We talked to a lot of people and set up appointments. However, they were all not chinese people. The Sisters should thank us! Tuesday, St. Patrick's Day, I wore my new green tie! I also gave rolo's to my district. It was fun. Thanks again for the package. Elder Carling has loved that PMG. I wonder if Parker's mission will have something like that? We are working with this guy that we saw on Tuesday called Long Ge. He is an older guy that lives at Tracy and Morgan's. He is mildly receptive. However, he says that we need to take it slow with him. Wednesday we did a lot more walking around parks and talking to people. I am so grateful Eastvale has so many parks! Eastvale is a pretty nice place actually. Right now it feels like Utah's Summer, everything is in bloom. All the flowers sort of mask the cow odor. Did I tell you Eastvale used to be Cow pastures until recently? We saw Lina. She is doing good. We also saw a former investigator named Sister Yu. She is surprisingly solid. We just picked her back up. We invited her to baptism and she said yes. She didn't come to church this week, but I think we can get her to come. Sister Xiong on the other hand says she doesn't have time to meet with us right now. She is really good friends with Sister Jiang, and last night Sister Jiang said she doesn't think she is really interested right now. A bummer, but I am sure she will get dunked one day! Brother Xiong is just too awesome. In fact the Stake President asked him to speak in stake conference on May 3rd. I hope I can come watch even if I get transferred. At night we got dropped by Li. Her mom, hates our church. I am really trying hard to be more Christlike when we get dropped. Thursday we did our planning then we walked around and hung up English class signs. The Miao's had us for dinner that night. They made Bao zi for me. I love them so much. They also gave me a can of this really good spicy fish sauce that goes on them. I try not to look at the sauce as I eat it. It had whole dried little fish, it doesn't smell the best either, however it tastes really good. The Miaos talked with Elder Dalmer and Carling a lot about Taiwan, and then they told their conversion story. They pulled out this big scrap book thing with pictures and notes from missionaries. It was really cool. I think it made the two of them more excited to go to Taiwan. At night we saw Lawrence. He is solid. He passed his interview this Sunday so BAPTISM this Saturday!!! Ya! :) Friday we had a member take us out to a seafood buffet. It was ok. I ate an oyster for the first time. It was good. We hit traffic on the way back though. That was a bummer. We got stood up by a new investigator. We walked around a lot more. At night we had English class, and we saw the Xiongs (not including Sister Xiong). We taught the Easter family home evening. Christine liked it, Peter didn't really get it though. Saturday we cleaned the church, then cleaned the road. Then we went to In n Out burger. That was delicious. Then we went out and got stood up a few more times by potentials. At night we went to Ivy Jiang's sweet 16. All the members + their friends showed up. I went to go leave after one hour, but was convinced by another that it was dumb to leave when we had no appointments and everyone was all at the party. So I tried to talk to all the non members, and investigators there. I don't know if it was the best use of time, but I tried. Sunday we had Lawrence's interview. We also went to try to go meet some other former investigators. At night we saw the Jiangs. They are such good members. I am so glad to have met the members here. They are all super awesome! OK that is my week! I love you all so much! Elder Murray

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mar 16 Week 84 - Elder Carling and Elder Dalmer are our visa waiters, Lawrence, Jack and Maggie, Liu, Sister Huang and Brothe Wu, Chicken Feet, Li and twins

What a week!  Ok well, Monday we went to Chino Hills to go to a family home evening with Jack and Maggie.  Well as we talked with the sister missionaries, we found out that their STL's (the ones who gave us Liu)  had gotten back in touch with him, and were baptizing him that Saturday!  I was happy, but also a little sad they didn't contact us.  When we couldn't get in touch, we asked them to help us call/find him.  So I texted them right there, and got his number, and thanked them for finding him.  After calling Liu, he said he had tried to contact us, but couldn't get in touch, so he called the Sisters.  He also said he wasn't sure he was getting baptized this weekend.  So I set up a time to meet on Wednesday.  

Tuesday I finally used my CPK gift cards to eat lunch in downtown, before we went to the mission office to get our visa waiters.  So crazy.  The meetings were good.  I got an awesome companion.   His name is Elder Carling.  He is from Tennessee.  He is really smart (he got into Columbia in NYC), he also plays rugby.  It is fun being with him.  Elder Dyer got Elder Dalmer.  He is a nice guy too, from Oregon.  It is fun being all together in the same apartment.  We don't know when they will get their visas so we'll see how long it lasts. 

Wednesday we had DDM meetings.  Then we did our studies.  Then we went out to talk to people in the park.  He is pretty good at talking to strangers.  I am impressed.  Then we had English class.  Rita, and Wang  and Jody showed up late.  They aren't as interested as I thought.  :(  Then we met with Lawrence and Brother Xiong.  We put him back on date for March 28th and taught tithing.  It was a good lesson.  Brother Xiong rocks.  

Thursday.  Elder Dyer and I had a district leader meeting.  Did I say I was Sister Cozzen's District Leader last time?  Too crazy I was Sister Pope's Zone Leader, and Sister Sterner's and Sister Cozzen's District leader.   I actually saw Sister Sterner again at the District leader meeting.  She is an STL now!!!  Orchard 13th is well represented here!  The meeting was good.  At night we went to visit Sister Huang and Brother Wu.    We also saw Tracy and Morgan, and invited Tracy to baptism again.  Still not ready...

Friday we helped Sister Chen with her computer again, and got some delicious fried rice after.  Then we had yet another meeting, to talk about the church's new Easter campaign.  They showed us the new video.  It was good, but a little too similar to a movie trailer if you ask me.  I do like the Church's bible videos though.  I feel the spirit as we watch them.  After the meeting.  We went back, and hung up a lot of English class signs.  Then we went to dinner at the Yu's.  They made some great, spicy food.  They even had chicken feet.  Great way to introduce the new Elder's to Chinese food!! :)  They were champs and tried them.  Though neither got a second.  We had English class, and a whole ton of people showed up.  So crazy.  After English class we went to see a new investigator named Li.  She is pregnant with twins right now.  Hopefully we work fast and she accepts quickly before she can't leave the house to come to church or get baptized.  She was really nice and receptive!

Saturday we found out that Maggie had received some Anti-Mormon information, and decided not to get baptized.  Elder Dyer covers her area now, so I didn't go.  They tried to talk with her, but it didn't happen. :(  Saturday was a bad day.  We saw Brother Zhu for the first time since he came back from China.  He told us he doesn't like our church.  He said he doesn't understand because part of it is in English.  The members are old.  And he feels like no one wants to be there, they are just forcing themselves.  (I admit Elders quorum can feel that way sometimes.)  He also commented on how restricted we missionaries are, and said in 4 months you will be "free."   I went to go resolve his concerns, but he cut me off.  I said it was fine if he researched the other churches that want him to come, but also asked him to continue learning with us.  He said no.  I was so sad.  I prayed for help to know what to say.  All that came out was "can we say a closing prayer?"  Afterward's I was so angry.  I should have at least told him to pray about it.  Why didn't that come into my mind after I prayed.   At night we went and saw Brother and Sister Xiong.  They surprised us with food.  

Sunday church was great.  Lawrence and his wife came.   Katey Zhang brought 3 young employees to see the church.  They enjoyed it.  Gospel principles got really off though.  They started discussing circumcision.   Ok well at night we saw Lawrence with the Jiangs.  That went well.  Keep him in your prayers this week!!!   

Today we played soccer and tennis.  I like playing tennis, because I am actually pretty good.  Thanks for all they lessons!!!   I think it will be a fun date when I get back.

OK that is all this week!  

-Elder Murray

Mar 9 Week 83 -Elder Zeng delayed and four visa waiters anticipated so staying Chinese! Yuan Xiao Jie and glutenous rice balls, Jack and Maggie, Lawrence stays, Evelyn and Liu Yue, Tracy, Xiongs coming to visit

After reading your letter I realized how much has happened this week. It has been pretty darn crazy. So Tuesday I got a call from President.  He told me that Elder Zeng isn't coming in this transfer so I would "most likely be staying." I was elated. Elder Dyer said I got "Abraham'ed." I was all ready to make the sacrifice, I had prepped for it, was starting to say good bye to people, and then all of the sudden, I didn't have to do it. :) Ok well the story doesn't end there. Well later in the week the mission found out that we are getting four visa waiters from Taiwan. So now all four Chinese missionaries are training! Elder Dyer and I are both staying in Eastvale and we are just going to split up the work. It is so crazy!!! I am really excited though. I am going to make sure that my and my greenie's Chinese gets super good. So that is the biggest new for this week.

On Monday we went to Chino to see the Chinese investigators the Sisters had there. The mom has pretty good English and wants to go to the English ward. The 8 year old son, however, has trouble with English, but he wants to get baptized with his mom, so we are helping teach him. It is interesting. I haven't really taught a little kid on my mission. We also help teaching the Mom, it is just easier to understand in Chinese. They are named Jack and Maggie, they are getting baptized this Saturday!! Should be fun. Tuesday didn't have meetings, we went and helped Sister Xiong weed. I wish I had taken a picture of the yard. It was all weeds. Sister Xiong had already done one fourth of it all by hand. We came with two other missionaries some tools, and some round up. We got it done pretty quick. Sister Xiong was super grateful. Her heart is getting softened. I think we will get her this next transfer. :) Also they are coming to SLC in the summer and want to say at our house. I said I thought it would be ok. Is it? I would love you all to meet them. We also saw Luo Yan (the really big Chinese guy that rides motorcycles ) and his family. They are nice, and really like missionaries, but said they need time to accept our message.

 Wednesday we had English class taught by the Sisters again since we had to go practice the dragon dance again. Ok so since it is a new transfer I have my new planner with me, not the old one. So I am struggling to remember all that we did. Thursday it was Yuan Xiao Jie. A chinese holiday. We saw Evelyn and Liu Yue. They are good. Liu Yue is still trying to find work.  Evelyn gave us some chocolate filled tang yuan. I tried to look up the translation. It say they are "glutenous rice balls" they taste way better than they sound. We also say Jack and Maggie again that afternoon, Brother Miao came with us. Then we went to the Miao's for dinner. It was really good as always, we got some more tang yuan. Then we saw the Xiongs. They are doing good. Brother Xiong is so solid. He has read gospel principles twice now. He has learned a lot. He was telling us a lot about how he realized that we have to be humble to have faith. He is going to do great things in this little Chinese group. We also saw Tracy. She is still not interested.

 Friday we had ZDM, then we decorated for the Chinese new years party. Then we had English class, we got a new family from it. We invited them to baptism, and they said ok!! There are named Jodi, Wang, and Rita. The date right now is march 28. Oh another cool thing. So Lawrence told us his company was transferring him back to Australia. We were really sad. We got his Australian address, and his email, and were going to give him to the missionaries there, but then Sunday we found out, he is staying!!!! He told them since his wife is pregnant he needs to stay with her! YES!!!! Saturday we went to a nature preserve and cleaned up a really polluted river. Then we tried to meet with people, but not a lot of luck, so we went to the church and got ready for the Chinese new years party. So many people came, and we got some new investigators from it!!! Everything was good. The lion and dragon dance went so smoothly! It was a great time, the Chinese are glad it is over though.

 Sunday was a good day. We had some new people at church that we found at the party the night before. One of them named Michelle is really solid!! She found one of the invitations on the ground, and just called us, and asked if she could come. Pretty cool. After church, we needed more lessons. After lots of calling around we got a lesson with he Yu's and their non-member mother who was in town.  Elder Dyer is a really good missionary. I am excited to still be serving around him this next transfer. Ok that is the week. Ok that is all I love you guys!!!! -Elder Murray

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mar 2 Week 82 - Lina and Sister Wei Baptism - "Be Nice to EVERYONE", I'm 20..Parker is 18; Lawrence, Miao's delicious lunch, Dinner with Chinese Neighbor for Elder Schoonmaker, Christy accepted to BYU, Helping Luo's and Wu's, Seeing Ryan, Selina, Tracy, Morgan, Winter

Ok this week has been pretty crazy.   I hope I can remember everything I want to write.  Elder Dyer writes everything that he needs to put in a letter on a sticky note in his planner.  Pretty good idea.  Cool hearing about all those little sophomore's mission calls.  I still feel like I am 18.  Yesterday as I was filling out Lina's baptismal white, she said she was almost 18 and then I looked at her birthday and saw it was 1997, and I thought, "ok something is wrong here." Then I thought about it and realized "oh ya I am 20 now and Parker is 18."  So weird.  I am anxious to hear about Parker's call too.  

Ok well on Monday we took Brother Miao with us to see Lawrence.  He is super cool.  We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he committed to live it!!!  He also came to see the baptism with his wife on Saturday!  He is so solid.  He didn't make it to church though.  

Tuesday we had our meetings and afterward everyone wanted to go to BWW.  It is a thing in our mission.  I spent the whole time talking to a pretty new missionary who I could tell was also trying not to watch all the TV's.   That day we also saw an old investigator named Chen, she is from HK.  Then we went to see Lina.  She was super prepared for her baptism, and had gotten anti-ed by a friend, but she defended the church.  Really good.  She was elect.  She is also looking into BYU right now.  Speaking of; Christy from Riverside got accepted to BYU!!!  At night we saw some other old investigators, Ryan and Selina.  They talked a lot and had a lot of questions.

Wednesday, I woke up in the middle of the night with a really upset stomach.  I made lots of trips to the bathroom.  I tried my best to exercise in the morning, but it was interrupted by more trips to the bathroom.  So I showered, didn't eat breakfast, and laid down.  I slept for a while.  I felt really really bad.  The Miao's had invited us to lunch that day.  I almost cancelled, but then I didn't want to hurt their feelings.  So I just took two imodium, and went.  The food was good, but I was so nauseous. When I blessed it, I prayed really hard that it would be healthy for our bodies.  I was able to eat.  They made this dou jiang... it is like Chinese oatmeal, and dan bing.  A tortilla type thing with egg.  Then gave us stuff to make it at home.  It tasted a lot better the next day when I was feeling better.  Well after the lunch we planned out the program for the baptism and helped them download videos for the Chinese New Year party this Saturday.  After there, I tried to go out to work, but no one was letting us in, and I didn't feel so good.  So I went home and slept for 45 minutes before we got a call from Schoonmaker.  He got invited by a member in the English ward where he served to have dinner with their Chinese neighbor.  So he asked us to come pick him up and take him.  He tried to get me to just stay in the car because he said they only asked for 2 missionaries but we all went in.  The dinner was fine, the lady wanted to go to church, but her English is good and she doesn't want to come to Eastvale so she will probably go to the English Elders.  Then we practiced the dargon dance at night with the YM.  I felt pretty good by then.  Weird bug.

Thursday we had a good weekly planning session.  We met with the Wu family.  They are good, but they want to wait to be baptized.  At night we saw brother Xiong.  He is doing really well.  He actually did the baptism for Lina on Saturday!  

Friday we got a call from the Wu's.  Her parents had come to visit, but they got sent back at the airport.  Apparently this is happening a lot recently.  Lots of people are just getting sent away.  They are cracking down on  how many Chinese people are coming in.  If you do or say anything that is in anyway suspicious, or might lead them to believe you are coming here to stay, they will kick you out.  The Wu's just asked us to come and talk with them, because they feel better after talking with us.  So we went and talked.  They told me my Chinese was way better than the people that talked to them over the phone at LAX.   At night we had English class which was good.  Then we saw Winter and Tracy and Morgan.     

Saturday morning was the baptism.  It worked out so well.  It was extremely well attended.  3 missionaries from Irvine came, since Sister Wei moved out there.  We had some good talks, good testimonies, and a nice musical number.  Sister Wei got up and pulled out the the English class card that I had given her in July last year.  And talked about it took of lot of contacts with the church before she decided to join.  To all my brothers: talk with EVERYONE, and be nice to EVERYONE no matter if they reject you at first.  You never know what will happen.  The missionaries from Irvine were cool.  The white one had really good Chinese because he had been with a bunch of native comps.  I was really impressed.   I translated the bishop's welcome without even breaking a sweat, but I don't know if I say things right or have the right accent.  The rest of the day was really uneventful.  Lots of walking around, and talking to people.  We got bao zi and oj for dinner.  We saw Annie and Jonny again.  They are good, but still not interested... so sad.

Sunday was good.  Lina got confirmed.  Sister Xiong came. We had lots of lessons on the priesthood.  There were 3 times that Chinese people talked about stuff that I had translated.  I was glad to know people listen to what I am saying, and can understand.  Sometimes I feel like while I am translating I am just rattling on and on, and no one listens.  Good to sometimes hear that they were listening and that I make sense.  At night Brother Jiang came with us to visit the Luo family and the Wu family.  He was really nice and really good.  This morning we went with the Luo's to help them register their kid for school. 

Next transfer is coming soon.  -Elder Murray