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

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Feb 23 Week 81 - Elder Dyer is Good Missionary, 13 at Church, Service Tuesday, Sister Wei and Lina Baptism next Saturday, Brother Su, Sister Su Share about priesthood blessings, Pink Lemonade

Thanks grandpa cahoon for taking pictures (of Parker's Chinese performance)! I wish I could have been there. His teacher is so funny. I cannot believe she did all that. What a cool experience! Parker looks super shuai, in his Chinese outfit. This week was pretty good.  Elder Dyer is still really good. He is a good missionary. We are trying our best, and we are getting blessed. We had 13 people at church! New PR!!! Well on Monday we had a dinner with this guy that spent the whole time trying to convince us to do door to door sales after the mission. I had no idea how popular it was for returned missionaries to do. After that we went around trying to find people at parks, with no success. Usually parks are gold mines of new investigators, but not that day.

 Tuesday we had meetings then we did a lot of service. We took down someone's Christmas lights. We put up a trampoline, and then helped someone move it. Fun times. At night we went to see Brother Su's dad. He wasn't as solid as I thought.  He straight up told us he didn't want to be baptized. So we were like "Ok, can you pray everyday?" It took a lot of concern resolving to even get him to commit to that. We'll see. Extra prayers for him. He really is a nice guy. The Su's are such a cool family. On Sunday Sister Su shared about how when then hadn't even been baptized a year, she got really bad morning sickness. She asked Brother Su for a blessing, and after the blessing, she felt a lot better. Then she shared about how the same thing happened when their daughter was sick. It was a really cool testimony. Tuesday we also talked to Sister Wei.  So I can't remember if I put this in last week, but Sister Wei and Brother Wei moved to Irvine. So we called President. He called Irvine's president. They said that we should do the baptism here, but have her confirmed there.  So glad we got that all worked out. Wednesday we saw Lina, and taught the commandments. She accepted everything! It was a good lesson. Lina is super solid. She and Sister Wei's baptism are happening this Saturday! At night we had English class. Then we went back out to Lina's to meet her aunt that she is living with and eat some Chinese New Year's food. We made sure the Aunt was aware of everything and cool with it! She was, so everything should go smoothly this week! Thursday I was on exchanges with the Zone Leaders in an area they call  little mexico. It is very poor and very hispanic.  The Zone leader is a hard core UNC fan. Good thing Duke won this week!!!!! Actually he is a good guy. We had a good day there. But I am running out of time to tell the details. Friday Lawrence cancelled the appointment. His daughter is really sick. We had weekly planning and correlation with Brother Miao. Then we had English class. The sisters keep inviting non- Chinese people to it. So the sisters teach them, and we teach the Chinese. It works out. Then we saw the Xiongs. Sister Xiong sat in for a bit. She is slowly coming. Saturday saw sister Yan. She doesn't want to be baptized anymore. We also found a new investigator named Zhu. He is a really nice guy, and said maybe to the baptismal invite so we will see. At night we had the ward Chinese new year potluck at the Jiangs. So much good food. If you can find Elder Dyer's blog you can see pictures. It was so good!!! Sunday we had so many people come to church. We are working with a lot of cool people. I only talked about the top guys, but we are working with a lot of others. It is so fun. At night we saw Brother Su again. He is praying, and reading, and coming to church. He likes it, he believes it is true.

 Notable Quotables: Taco bell drive through. Elder Henderson: "I'll have pink lemonade." the lady must have thought he said what is pink lemonade because she said "umm it is like lemonade... but pink."

 ILY -Elder Murray