Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"I Am A Child of God"

Hi All!

We're starting to work with the less-actives. The Bishop and us Elders are working together to visit those less active members and try to fellowship them. It's pretty hard because a lot of them are hard to contact, and some are still bitter by something or someone who offended them years ago. We visited a less-active couple who went inactive over thirty years ago. He used to be a Branch President. They are a wonderful couple, but it's sad that they have not been able to raise their children in the Church.

The week has been pretty decent. For a couple of days this week, I was having a pretty hard time, having doubts and fears about missionary work and home, and I wasn't performing too well. I decided to read my Patriarchal blessing one night, and it was amazing. The answers to all my problems were listed down in my blessing. Not all of them were direct answers, but the blessing had much counsel that corresponded with the problems that I had been dealing with. I felt a sense of peace and calm in my heart and mind as I realized just hoe much Heavenly Father loves me, and how he helps and comforts us in different ways. It is so wonderful to know that he is always there for me, for all of His children, whenever we need Him.

Elder Pace didn't feel well at all on Thursday so we went to the doctors and they gave him some medication. I hope that he feels better soon. Sister Julie Beck, Relief Society General President, and Sister Lifferth, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency have been doing a tour of Asia and they spent a few days in Singapore. On Thursday, they gave talks which we were able to attend. They are both marvelous sisters, full of humility and Christlike love. Sister Lifferth talked about the Primary theme for the year, "I Am A Child of God." It was a wonderful talk because it helped me remember just how important we are to our Father in Heaven, how much he loves us, and how everyone around us is a beautiful son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. It seems such simple doctrine, a simple Primary song. But, I think that if we each realized our place and privilege as children of God, we would be so appreciative of ourselves and those around us. She talks about 5 "C's" that we can and should follow. They are, making and keeping COVENANTS, be COMMITTED, have a CELESTIAL marriage, have CHILDREN, and come unto CHRIST. Sister Beck gave a wonderful talk on families, about how important they are to the Church and central to the Creator's plan. Satan really is trying to destroy the world by destroying families, trying to remove the family unit as important in our lives, and trying to trivialize the sanctity of marriage. I love my family, and I have seen just how important and amazing it is to have a family. I am grateful for the blessing.

It is definitely hard sometimes to work with a companion, but I love Elder Pace and we try to work well together. I have learned so much on my mission. I'm learning how to be humble and obedient and do what I am supposed to do as a representative of the Lord. There are so many people in the world to teach, and I hope and pray that I can help Heavenly Father's children return to Him. It is an amazing work to do.

Study, Believe, Love, Live, Teach. We read that during companionship study in Preach My Gospel this morning. For these couple of days, I'm working with Elder Grant who is here on a visa run, because missionaries can only be in the country three months at a time if they are foreigners. Elder Pace is in Kuching on his visa run, so I'll have him back tomorrow. Anyhow, back to the first part of the paragraph. Those are the five things that we each have to do to serve the Lord effectively. Studying helps us to understand and believe the truths of the gospel, and, as we come to love it for its beauty, we can live it and try to be as the Savior. As we do that, we can go out and teach the world of the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ.

We had to take a couple cabs yesterday. As we tried to teach the cab drivers the gospel, they talked to us about how hard life is, how hard it is to support a family and work in life. It was sad to hear just how unhappy they sounded, with the stresses of life around them. We tried our best to teach them about how the gospel can bless their lives. The point I'm trying to make is that I realized just how blessed my life is, that I have loving parents who care and support me, and just how lucky I am at the moment not to have to deal with so many problems in life. The gospel really does help us, knowing that the Savior has felt all. And, as we strive to fellow him, the pains and struggles of this life can be taken away by Him who has gone through it all. We face so many trials and adversity, but as we trust in the Lord and hear Him whisper words of comfort to us, we can know that all will be well. After all, who better to trust than the one who has given us all, and who sees into the eternities?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Planting the Seed"

Apa Khabar! (Malay for "How are you?")

I've been introduced by the missionaries to a store that sells five ties for ten dollars! It's a great deal so I'll probably have a decent tie collection when I get back from my mission!

I was reading a quote by President Hinckley, which I thought was wonderful. It was his counsel to missionaries where he talked about how the missionaries and members of the Church are responsible for sharing the gospel to "a world that doesn't want it," but we should be the source of the gospel to them. Even if they don't want to listen then, we have planted the seed of the gospel there. In another quote, he talked about how we should all be "a little better, a little stronger, a little more thoughtful, a little humbler, a little more prayerful, and to stand a little taller." As we do that, we can seek the Lord's guidance and be more worthy to him. I certainly hope that I'm doing all that I can to achieve that. As I continue in his service, the adversary works harder and harder to plant doubts in my mind and tempt me, but that makes me all the more want to fight harder to be worthy of the Lord. It's hard at times, especially since home is so close, but I know that with the Lord as my strength, that I can overcome all.

Anyhow, going on, this week was pretty productive. We taught eleven more lessons than we did last week. I've gotten a decent amount of my training done so far with Elder Pace. We've been going through the white handbook during companionship study. We've been exploring some new areas that Elder Pace hasn't been to yet so it's been fun showing him around. It seems to me that the people here really are pretty friendly. I guess you can kind of tell who not to approach.

We had a few interesting encounters this week. The first was a referral that we got from the Chinese Elders, Elders Hunsaker and Roberts. They gave us the number of a lady who owns a Christian bookstore, and she said we could meet up with her, so we did. Unfortunately, when we got there, all she wanted to do was sell us Christian materials. It got pretty awkward so we left. A couple of days later, we were taking the MRT (train), back home. We bumped into a bunch of Christians from another church that was started by some local pastors here. Elder Pace had told me about how he and Elder Plant (his last companion), had met with them one time and went to one of their meetings and it got really weird because they had some rituals. While teaching them, I got a really uncomfortable feeling, like the Spirit wasn't there, and I got pretty scared. Thankfully, we were near our stop and we got out soon enough. It was a weird experience, and I prayed and asked for a blessing from the Elders which calmed me down. The people were really nice, and they're great people, but that was a really weird encounter. For the last crazy encounter of the week, we were waiting for investigators on Sunday when a guy approached us and said he was supposed to meet with us. We finally figured out that he was a tour guide who said that he had been interested in using the Church as a stop for his tour of Singapore. Anyhow, we took him to Sacrament, where he acted questionally a couple of times, but we ignored him. As Sunday School started, he asked if we wanted to talk about the tour inside or outside the classroom, so we took him outside. It turned into a pretty heated encounter because he insisted on only taking to Elder Pace and Elder Shute (senior couple missionary) because they were westerners and this was a western church. He rudely ignored Bishop Lim and refused to talk to the Stake President because he is Singaporean. Eventually, he said he would call, but it was a very disturbing conversation and I had to keep my temper in check. I guess that I'm building my patience out in the field.

Oh, great news! One of the investigators that I contacted and taught has accepted a baptism date for July 5th! Unfortunately, he lives in another ward's boundary so we had to transfer him to the Elders in that ward. But, the Elders said that they'll still try and see if I can be the one to baptize him. If I can that will be awesome! But even if I can't, I know that I've done my part to bring one of Heavenly Father's children back to Him, and that's really all that matters! The ward members have been really nice to us. We had dinner appointments the whole of last week. They were all wonderful and we loved it! The only thing a little off was that we were served spaghetti four nights in a row. I think one night might have been angel hair pasta. But I really should be complaining. It's just kinda funny how that happened, the food was still great. We were taken to a hotel buffet for lunch by some members too, so we've definitely eaten more than we need to. Elder Pace's stomach isn't doing too well right now because of that. That's what we think anyways. We're trying to work on eating less and eating healthier now, it's working a little I guess. The good thing is that we take public transportation and walk around, but I do need to watch my heart because it can spike pretty easily and then I don't feel too well. Other than that, it's been great, and I love doing the work of the Lord! I love being with the missionaries. It's a wonderful bond that we have. We do have to take our work seriously but we have our fun too. Elder Nixon, who lives with Elder Pace and me, along with Elder Selveratnam, had his birthday on Saturday so we've been celebrating it these past few days!

I've also seen just how important and useful members are in missionary work. We love to receive referrals from members because it helps us to get into the homes of these investigators. So, if you have any referrals, even if you don't think your friends want to hear about the gospel, try anyway! You're helping the Kingdom of the Lord to grow!

Time to write some letters and go take a nap! I've received a few letters but I wouldn't mind getting a bunch more so do write! Thanks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Seeing the Lord's Hand"

Hi Everyone!

This week has been great! The work is going forth here in Singapore! I had my welcome dinner on Thursday, while one of the Elders had his farewell dinner. He had to go home a little early because he has a pretty serious medical problem. But, he is an amazing guy and he bore a wonderful testimony of his love of the gospel and the Savior. I hoped that I can be like him one day. The food that Sister Skelton, my Mission President's wife made was wonderful. A new Senior couple was also there and it was great getting to know them. They are now laboring in East Malaysia.

We've been going around contacting this week, and for a few days we haven't been getting too many good contacts. But, we have been getting many referrals from Elders from different areas. I guess the Lord blesses us for our work in many different ways. There have been a couple of promising contacts. One Indonesian Chinese guy that I met on a bus on the way to contact a referral has turned out to be wonderful. I went on a split with Elder Howes who is on his visa run in Malaysia. We taught this guy, Edmond, who is a new Christian and very excited about the gospel. He questioned us about baptism and we explained it to him, along with the steps that he needs to take before he can be baptized. He was so excited that he committed to be baptized during our first lesson with him! His baptism date is set for July 5th so hopefully all goes well! We've met quite a few people who are drawn to the Church because of the Plan of Salvation. I guess that there are many people who are indeed searching for the purpose of life, and it's great teaching them about how we can return to God and live with our families forever. It's wonderful seeing the Lord's hand in the work.

We received a call this week from a guy who has been contacted by a previous missionary a couple of months before who promised to call that missionary. We were able to get him to meet with us. He met us with his friend and we were able to teach them more about the gospel, the restoration and the Plan of Salvation. He said that it seemed like a very positive plan so hopefully that works out.

When we went on splits last night, both companionship's were very successful and we were able to teach a good number of people. We ended up the day with fifteen other lessons taught! I've been able to see some parts of Singapore that I've never seen before! It's really cool to be able to teach the people of my country!

Well, do write me if you have time! Take care and God bless! Have a wonderful week! Take care and God Bless!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"A New Beginning"

Hey Everyone!

It's a new beginning! It's been a great two days so far! My trainer is Elder Pace from Sacramento. He's a great guy and we have a lot in common, along with friends that we both know. It's wonderful to be serving as the Lord's missionary once again. We've had a good two days of contacting and tracting. I'm currently serving in the Toa Payoh Ward, that covers a huge part of Singapore. It's actually a ward that I spent quite a few years in while I was growing up, so it's kinda crazy. We had our district meeting yesterday, and I had a great time. We were taught about putting our full effort into the work, so that when we return home, we can report that we did our best, both to the Stake President in his office, and to the Lord in the temple. We have an investigator who is set to be baptized next Saturday. His name is David, and he's gone cold turkey from smoking. He's a wonderful guy and treats the missionaries to food often. I'll be having a welcome dinner with my Mission President and his wife tomorrow. I guess there isn't much to report in two days, but it's been fun, though it's been weird approaching people randomly. Well, it's the Lord's work, and I love it!

We met a guy on a train who seemed pretty interested, so we'll probably meet up with him on Sunday. We talked to a Chinese guy who mistakenly called our number instead of the other Elders, but we sorted it out, so we're meeting with him on Saturday. It's hard to wake up early sometimes, but I guess it's not too bad. We can take naps on preparation day, so that's good too, let's us rest more. We also can do laundry whenever, because they realize for missionaries can't share a washer and dryer in one day. It's really a lot better than I thought it would be. We have a swimming pool at our Condo but unfortunately we can't swim. But, they have tennis courts and we can play tennis. We've been walking around and I really like that because it's helping me to exercise. It's also good that I'm seeing other places in Singapore that I've never visited before, getting into the heartlands. Some of the other living quarters aren't supposed to be as good, so I'm really lucky right now. Elder Pace had had a stomach problem since he returned from Malaysia, so he always has to go to the bathroom. We get along really well and have a lot to talk about. His cousin was in my vocal skills class at the Y! Also, the Relief Society president in my ward fall semester was one of his good high school friends. It really is a small world. We have quite a few dinner appointments, I'm told that the members feed the missionaries really well. Well, if you have time do, do write! If you don't have time, do still write please! Take care and God bless. This work is wonderful and I love it. I'll definitely have more to write next week!