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